Shooting With The Silk Moths.
Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter
I have shot and reviewed almost everything there is in the way of rifles/shot guns and indeed air rifles, many of my reviews were directly for the companies and will never make it to the pages of a magazine, Air Arms being one of those companies that sends me air rifles to try out and put through their paces both on the ranges and in the hunting fields, these articles do get published both in the magazines and on the websites and blogs etc.
This time Air Arms asked me to review and really put through their the simply awesome Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter, a true piece of brilliant British engineering with artwork of the highest standard, I have nick named this air rifle or set of rifle rifles The Silk Moths, quite simply they are sweet on the eye and as comfortable in the arm as wearing your favorite pair of slippers, and to shoot, Oh Wow they are as smooth as pure silk, the cocking action is like a well oiled machine effortlessly recycling the next pellet, the shot is so smooth almost like velvet with the silencer so whisper quiet I literally have to check I have actually fired it, in sub 12 ft lb it is truly whisper quiet and in the FAC version its almost as quiet as its sub 12ft lb brother, and boy oh boy do both rifles pack an almighty deadly accurate punch on target, from the very first shots my smile just got wider and wider like a Cheshire cat who had just got the cream, I felt like a kid again as I got that buzz of excitement when I fired my very first Air Arms and that was the Carmargue oh so many years ago, I have written so many articles on that gun and even featured it in some of the chapters in my books, I have said this before and I will say it again, this will not be a technical article, writing those literally sends me to sleep the wood is this the metal is that the sound mod has this in it the pellet weighed that I washed it in this, someone give me a nudge I am snoring now, what I want to know does the product do what it says on the tin with it hit the target with pin point accuracy and will it humanly kill the vermin I hunt, that’s it the what its made of etc I have no real interest in except my preference is a wood stock and above all it has to be a .22 I am no fan of the .177 although I have several of that calibre.
Right lets get on with this article, we start off on a cold windy afternoon, much like the one now, I am rained off of my pest control rounds due to storm Derrick and health and safety, as I look out of my West Country penthouse apartment office window at the back paddock even the wood pigeons in the oak tree are hunkered down sitting out the storm.
We start off a few weeks previous to the Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporters arriving at the office, in fact pre The British Shooting Show 2019, Louis one of my young sports from my Pass It On Young Sports range came to me, he had a rat problem on his families farm around his pet chickens, his Dad a very old friend of mine said could I come up and sort the problem out, I of course said yes and said I would bring George my Young Sports Ambassador for shooting with me for the experience, I got up there on the Thursday tea time and went about setting up my old Air Arms S410 with a NiteSite Eagle Rtec dark Ops mounted upon it, I said to young Louis show us the way to where the problem is.
Right away I could see rats on the NiteSite screen and the best bit they never knew we were there, I turned to the wide eyed young sports and said right boys who wants to shoot first, you mean we get to shoot they said? Of course that’s why I have brought the S400 instead of the S410 only single shots so you have to make them count and cant get to excited, also lets see if you have learnt and taken on board what I have been teaching you both on the range, safe fire arms handling and shooting from a calm pond is what makes you the best marksman you can be this will give you accuracy too, don’t forget to calm your breathing and take each target on its own merit.
The boys smiles said it all as it looked like all their Christmases and birthdays had all came at once, Louis shot first and straight away bagged a huge bore rat behind some stacked up pallets next to the chicken house, then George had a go and bagged another big rat under the pallets, the boys swapped after each shot putting in some really great shots even on small rats not much bigger than mice, the evening got late very quickly when you are having fun and as it was a school night I called it a night early well early for me, we went to retrieve the shot rats and I saw a big rat dragging a dead one down a whole, blimey around 20+ shot rats we only retrieved 2 the other rats dragged the dead ones off and munched them, I have seen this before my theory is those big rats will get a taste for their mates and cure the rat problem for me, but who knows we are still shooting rats there so I may be wrong with that one.
A couple of weeks later I caught up with my Ole Mucker’s Gavin and Mark on the awesome NiteSite Stand at The British Shooting Show at the NEC Birmingham a couple of weeks later and told them of the boys with the rats, they both laughed their heads off with my tale of the big munching rats, you will hear a lot more about the awesome NiteSite Eagle Rtec Dark Ops in my other series called Out Foxing Charlie, I wont go on too much about what I consider to be the very best night vision on the market in this article as its more about the Air Arms, but if you want to read more about the awesome NiteSite range go over to the Countryman’s Diary Magazine and search for the Out Foxing Charlie series (countrymans-diary.co.uk) all will be revealed right there.
A few weeks later there is a knock on the door, I am as excited as the Jack Russell terrier in the John Smith advert on the TV years ago, I knew today was the day the Air Arms Ultimate Sporters were arriving, I must of answered the door in record time at the delivery driver didn’t even have time to get up the steps to my front door after I had buzzed him in the security door, all signed for I bid him good by and was sat on my sofa like a kid on Christmas morning unwrapping my Christmas presents, seriously WOW as I UN-boxed them, these were things of sheer beauty so sweet on the eyes my jaw dropped, now some men like cars/fishing rods/golf designer cloths etc, but me its guns and not just any guns but well build guns, Air Arms never fails for me, the sheer beauty the engineering the look the feel it gets me every time. I could not wait to get a scope on them and get out and shoot them, I put a Hawk Scope on the XS and a Walther scope on the R as both scopes had been sent for demo too, you know Air arms think of everything they even built in rifle sling loops, so I added a Jack Pyke rifle sling to the rifles too, the moderators were already on the guns so apart from filling them with air I was set to go as I put them into the Jack Pyke deluxe Rifle Slips and off out I was in a flash.
I Chronoghraphed them and then zero them both for a night on the rats in the hay barn, again mounting a NiteSite Eagle Dark Ops on them I was set, but first the zeroing session I found the FAC version liked the JSB heavies the best as I was running out of my Air Arms Field heavies, but as I thought the sub 12ft lb version like the Air Arms Field Diablo 5.52 the best when zeroing, chronograph reading were exactly what I thought they would be, on the sub power air rifle they were 11.56ft lb and on the FAC they were 32.83ft lb of muzzle energy, so that’s about as technical as I will get as I am starting to fall asleep again.
The first rat to show itself never knew what hit it as I let fly with the sub 12ft lb air rifle, a pin point accurate shot right between the ear and the eye as the rats tail did the last throws of the helicopter, those of us who shoot rats will know exactly what I mean, its when the last of the brain nerves of the rat die off when they are shot perfectly, the rest of the evening went on like that with this smooth as silk to shoot rifle, I was enjoying myself so much I actually forgot to switch rifles and give the other a go, I got called off by the farmer to deal with a fox in the nursing paddock of the day old lambs so I switched the NiteSite to my 243, again you will read about this in my next Out Foxing Charlie article.
The next couple of trips out were on one of my professional pest control contracts on a caravan site, this was a tricky contracts as some shots were perfect for the sub 12ft lb rifle but others were long shots more suited to the Fac version, now the first day was a little frustrating as there were a lot of people about checking their caravans were OK over the winter etc, so I did not really get a chance of a shot this first day, but what I did get was invaluable field craft build up a picture of what was going on, you see this caravan site had 2 problems well 3 actually, the first problem is a squirrel one, the squirrels are getting into the caravans taking a holiday and partying all day and night, thus causing damage and raiding the owners bird table and causing tree damage too, the second are the pigeons were defecating on the caravans causing a lot of damage to the exteriors of the caravans as their poo is like acid, the third is a randy roe buck (male deer) having his wicked way with one of the caravans, that one I will write about in my Professional Deer Management series, you had to be there to see it to believe it, if I had not seen it with my own eyes I would never of believed it, its a good job I took photos I telle.
The next time I went back to the caravan site mid week it was nice and quiet with only the owner there, she came right out to see me as I unlocked the security gates with my key, thank god you are back those darn squirrels caused a power cut and damage everywhere, I will get onto them today I said confidently as I pulled my truck around to the turning bay and locked the gate behind me, I had picked a position to shoot from where I could cover the bird feeders and the Ash Trees, I worked out the last time the squirrels were coming down out of the woods coming along the Ash trees and down onto the bird tables to feed, equally the pigeons used those trees as sitty trees and where a lot of the damage to those caravans were coming from, I was there sat in my truck rifle out of the window for a steady shooting rest with a good field of view in no time, the truck is not only a comfortable shooting hide but the animals and birds are used to vehicles and take not much notice of them.
It was not long before the first pigeon landed in the Ash Tree, I dropped the cross hairs onto his head allowed a little windage and squeezed the trigger, the pellet left the gun like pure silk and struck the pigeon perfectly with the sound of a cricket ball hitting the bat, the pigeon dropped stone dead right by the bird feeder, a cat tried to steal my pigeon so I chased it off and lay it out as a decoy, half hour later the first squirrel appeared on the feeder, thwack I nailed him too with another perfect head shot in almost complete silence except for the pellet strike, he fell stone dead as another appeared in the tree above looking down at his mate, so I nailed him too as he dropped behind the tree, I left it ten minutes just in case any more came out, all clear so I went to retrieve my kills, as I got there that bloody cat ran off with my squirrel behind the tree and 3 more cats sat there looking hungry, I chased them off growling like an old bear at them, I laid my one squirrel out as a decoy like it was feeding and went back to the truck.
A good set of binoculars are a Countryman’s friend my Pappy (grandfather) taught me that as young Countryman, I scanned tree top and hedge bottom for any sign of movement, spotting another squirrel coming through the hedgerow I swapped to the air rifle scope tracking his movement to the bird table, thwack I nailed him too and as cheeky magpie who came to shout abuse at the squirrel, I stayed in my truck thinking I best not disturb the area again, I bagged 4 more pigeons and 2 more squirrels then thought the light is starting to go so I best go have a clear up and retrieve my shot quarry, before I had even got out of the car a Ginger Tom Cat trotted past the truck with one of my pigeons in its choppers, I got over there and it was a cats convention behind the tree by the barn, the buggers had stolen all my kills except for 2 squirrels and 2 pigeons, all my hard work to feed her cats, I told her I was charging extra for cat feeding.
The next time I got to use the rifles was on a VIP horse riding center and their ornamental gardens, they had a rabbit problem and contracted me in to get it in check, the owner was also partial to rabbit stew so asked could I field dress one for him, as this would be his revenge for them munching all his flowers/herbs and vegetables etc, no problem at all in fact I dropped the first rabbit almost straight away with him stood next to me, I said was that one fresh enough for you, he was amazed and said yes please, I later field dressed it on the back of my land rover and gave it to him at the house, again using the awesome NiteSite Eagle Rtec Dark Ops mounted on the simply brilliant Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter I really cleaned house on those rabbits, I recommend Hawk Scopes on these Air Arms air rifles, for two reasons, one they just fit like a glove and are crystal clear and they work the best with all NiteSite systems too. I had young Tess my Dad’s springer spaniel there to continue her training and the retrieving experience, she never missed a beat, I swear
Ole Brook my black labs spirit was there guiding her on.
All in all a great days and nights putting these awesome British Air Rifles through their pace, like I say using these Silk Moths (Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporters) really are like firing silk they are that smooth, watch out for my next installment of the Flight of The Silk Moths.
By The Ole Hedge Creeper