Air Arms S400 Carbine .177

Discussion in 'Equipment Reviews' started by MojoCrow, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. MojoCrow

    MojoCrow New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Hailsham, East Sussex
    As much as I liked my S200, I had a few niggling irritations with it. Due to my scope set up (eye relief), the front mount was positioned on the barrel mounted dovetail. This led to the occasional POI shift if the gun bag took a knock in transit. I also found that the pellet tray area was stupidly small and meant that a pellet often managed to somersault and try and load backwards. The shot count was a tad small to be comfortable. I could of got a regulator fitted or tried a different scope but the small loading area was a problem.

    I decided I needed a solution and something better for me & HFT and I upped and decided one day to buy an .177 S400 Carbine (with a beech stock). I went with the Carbine over the Classic due to being 5 7†I didn t want to be kicking/knocking the Classic s barrel with my leg while carrying it slung.
    My Carbine was made in April 2009 and is, of course, AT. I have only had two problems with it (both problems were related). I had to take the carbine back to Air Arms (living in the same town certainly has its advantages) after it started leaking by the fill gauge. The problem (a faulty fill gauge) was quickly sorted out within three days (thank you Air Arms) and a chrono test print out was supplied as well (Air Arms do conduct a chrono test after any mechanical work done). The other problem happened a couple of days after the rifle was sorted. This was a slow leak from the same place as before and turned out to be an insufficiently tightened replacement fill gauge.

    In use, the carbine seems to want to put pellet on pellet with only myself and the current batch of AA Field 4.51 letting it down. I fill it to 175 BAR and it shoots tight groups until about 90 BAR then the groups start to ‘shotgun . I keep meaning to keep count of the number of shots I get from my 175 BAR fill down to the 90 BAR ‘shotgun pressure but I get carried away with shooting the carbine. I have found that the fill gauge is reads 20 BAR lower than the gauge on my 3L bottle. An inaccurate onboard fill gauge isn t unusual.

    The factory trigger setting was very ‘two stage . I could pull the trigger up to second stage and hold it there until the knockdown target stopped dancing in front of me (honest, I don t shake; it s the target that moves). A few brief minutes with the manual (man no read manual unless desperate) and tweaking the trigger and it s much more manageable. I could have set it lighter but I have a poorly educated trigger finger (thousands of pellets shot while plinking has lead to a ‘snatchy finger if I don t concentrate). There are a few websites that give advice on tuning the trigger (polishing parts & replacing o-rings with fibre washers).

    The bolt action cocking effort has eased up with use (300+ pellets so far). Don t over oil the bolt body as the oil can work its way into the hammer area and affect consistency. The pellet tray feels like it s a country mile wide & long in comparison to the S200.

    The S4*0 design is a lot easier to clean/dry out if out shooting in the rain compared to the S200 (how many damn nooks & crannies on the S200?). Taking the action out of the stock just requires one allen bolt to be undone (I d like to see a Formula One Pit Crew strip the S200 s action from the stock as quickly). The bluing looked fine on my Carbine and it doesn t hurt to rub the bluing over with an oily cloth after use/handling it.

    I chose the beech stock because I wanted to keep the cost down and I didn t plan on sticking with it. So far the shape of the stock is fine apart from a few shots/positions where the shape of pistol grip gives very, very little support (well for my small hand at least). I stuck a piece of Velcro on to the cheek piece to help me maintain correct eye relief and it works well with the shape of the cheek piece.

    I have had only one instance of POI shift and this was due to my rifle falling over while secure in my Garland Tactical Carbine gun bag (I know I should have been more careful where I put the bag). When I checked the zero, it was only one click right of zero and there was, fortunately, no sign of the classic S4*0 bent barrel/barrel band problem.

    I mounted my MTC Viper 3-12x44 SCB in Sportsmatch two piece medium mounts that was previously on my S200 (now sporting my AGS VIPIR 4-16x50). The mounting of the scope was easier to achieve and certainly quicker than with my S200 and still allows plenty of room for my fingers to place a pellet in the loading channel.

    The only change that I have made to the rifle so far, apart from Q/D studs, is the fitting of a UK Neil Air Stripper and it looks good & works well.

    I don t normally like buying something that everyone else buys but the S4*0 series is a classic design and is competitive (HFT) out of the box (ish) and certainly suitable for hunting. There are lots of accessories for the design from companies like Rowan Engineering or clever chaps like UK Neil. The design can be customised and made to look very individual.

    Should the safety catch (a cross bolt type built into the trigger) ever drop out (the grub screw can back out with use and should be periodically checked for tightness), I ll replace it with a Rowan Engineering MPR style trigger. I m used to not relying on a safety catch having used my S200 (it s either loaded or unloaded but always handled safely. “Oops, sorry I shot you.†Never quite cuts the mustard in the aftermath of an accidental discharge).

    Despite still liking my S200 (I might try Benchrest with it), I ve now concluded that the S400 Carbine is the PCP I should of originally bought. It s accurate, more stable in kneeling & standing shots (the crosshair never wobbles off the target).

    I ll have to think hard to come up with an excuse to buy another rifle now.:D

    My S400 Carbine with MTC Scope, Harris BR bipod & UK Neil Air Stripper
    Air Arms chrono test report
    25 yard indoor groups shot with AA Field 4.51 and factory trigger setting
     
  2. Feral

    Feral New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    338
    Location:
    South London
    Great write up Ben, as for the last bit "because" usually suffices... "just because" in a pinch and if things become really desperate "Would you like a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes" always saves the need for an excuse!;)
     
  3. MojoCrow

    MojoCrow New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Hailsham, East Sussex
    Thanks, Cliff. 'Luckily' I'm single again so there is very little she could say about it (although if she finds out I've taken up shooting again, I'll have to join the Witness Protection Program:D). She used to say 'only' in front of a price; as if that would make it any cheaper.:rolleyes:

    As for justifying another rifle; well, I don't own a tart gun yet. Oh no, a chink in the armour has been found:(. You'd think I'd have tough will power working in a gun shop. Then again, I dread the trade & gun magazines coming out each month in case some new gun is launched.:D
     
  4. Big Dave

    Big Dave New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Location:
    Hayes, Middx
    For the trigger mod use Copper crinkle washers instead of the fibre ones. Available from Radio Spares.
     
  5. MojoCrow

    MojoCrow New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Hailsham, East Sussex
    Thanks for that Big Dave, copper crinkle washers are now on my to do list.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice