Posts Tagged ‘Evanix Speed air rifle’
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is velocity/power day for the Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle. In a reversal of the norm, I tested the rifle for accuracy first, and this is a follow-on to that. Of course, now we do know which pellet works the best in the test rifle, but I will also test it with a couple others to get the true power potential.
First test: JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes
The rifle was filled to 200 bar before the test began. The first pellet I tested was the one we know to be the most accurate — the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome. Since this is the pellet I would chose for this rifle every time, the results of this test will give me realistic performance parameters of the rifle as I would use it. I’ll be testing velocity, which translates to power, and also the useful shot count. Velocity comes first.
The first string of 10 shots gave an average 955 f.p.s. The high was 960 and the low was 948, for a total spread of 12 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the rifle produces 32.21 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
Please notice that we already know the rifle is most accurate at this speed. This relates directly back to what we learned in the Pellet velocity versus accuracy test. Now we know that harmonics and not velocity are the most influential forces when it comes to airgun accuracy.
The average velocity of the second string of 10 shots was 948 f.p.s., with a spread from 943 to 954 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 11 f.p.s., which is one foot per second less than the first string. It’s still a good, tight velocity range; and we know from the accuracy test that the rifle is just as accurate on the second string as on the first. The full-auto group that amazed us all was fired on the second string of 10 shots. At this velocity, the rifle generated an average of 31.74 foot-pounds of energy, so not much difference between this and the first string.
The third string of 10 shots averaged 944 f.p.s., which is a small drop from the first 10. The low was 927 f.p.s., and the high was 949 f.p.s. The total spread opened up to 22 f.p.s. That’s still reasonable; but if you lump this string in with the first two, the total spread is now 33 f.p.s. That’s still a good spread for accuracy at 50 yards, yet the third string was where the groups opened up a little and also dropped on the paper a little. On this string, the average muzzle energy was 31.47 foot-pounds, which is still very respectable.
The fourth string of 10 shots averaged 924 f.p.s. and ranged from 915 f.p.s. to 932 f.p.s. This spread spans a total of 17 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 30.15 foot-pounds. Again, it’s a fairly tight string; however, if you throw it in with the first three strings, you get a total velocity spread of 45 f.p.s. That’s too much of a spread for a smallbore pellet rifle to be accurate across 40 shots at 50 yards. And it was seeing the results of the fourth string during the accuracy test that made me stop after 3 strings of 10. The point of impact dropped over an inch and the groups all opened up to twice what they were in the first 2 strings.
If you’re shooting the Conquest at 50 yards and going for the ultimate in precision, refill the rifle after 20 shots. But if you’re just shooting casually at 35 yards, you should be good all the way to 40 shots. After that, however, the velocity starts to drop rapidly.
After 43 shots, the onboard pressure gauge reads about 130 bar remaining in the gun. The gauge is too small to be more exact than that. When I refill the gun, the reservoir inlet valve opens at around 2,150 psi on the large gauge on my carbon fiber tank.
Okay, this first pellet has taught us a lot about the Conquest. We now know the power, the velocity and the shot count. But we’re not finished testing the rifle.
The Conquest has a shrouded barrel, and on the rifle range it is quieter than a .22 rimfire. But it’s not a quiet airgun. I rate the discharge noise at a solid 5 according the scale Pyramyd Air uses on their site. Nothing short of a big bore or an AirForce Condor is as loud — despite the shroud. So, this isn’t an air rifle for the suburban backyard or shooting in the house.
Second test: Eun Jin 28.4-grain domes
The second test was with the 28.4-grain Eun Jin dome. Because the Conquest is a pneumatic rifle it should give the highest power of which it is capable with the heaviest pellet. Being a magazine-fed repeater, also, we have to be careful to choose pellets that actually fit and work in the magazine, but that was already done at the range.
With a drum magazine, the fit we’re concerned with is the length of the pellet. Will it fit the chambers and not protrude on either end, which would tie up the action when the rifle tries to advance the magazine to the next pellet? The 28.4-grain Eun Jin both fits the magazine of the Conquest and works well. The accuracy was only acceptable — in the 1.25-1.5 inch range for 10 shots at 50 yards, so I wouldn’t use it in this rifle unless there was nothing better.
The rifle was again filled to 200 bar for this string. The average muzzle velocity was 697 f.p.s. for 10 shots. The low was 691, and the high was 707 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the rifle generated 30.64 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That is lower than I expected, as PCPs generally become more powerful with heavier pellets — but that’s what it did.
Third test: Beeman Kodiaks
Next, Beeman Kodiak pellets were tested. In .22 caliber, these weigh 21.1 grains and would be ideal for a rifle of this power. But they don’t group as well as the 15.9-grain JSBs, and that has to be the most important criteria. Out to 50 yards, they’re okay. Beyond that, they can’t keep up.
Kodiaks averaged 819 f.p.s. for 10 on a fresh fill. The low was 813, and the high was 825 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they produced 31.43 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Again, the heavier pellet wasn’t as powerful as the lighter one.
Fourth test: JSB Exact Jumbo 18.1 grains
The last pellet I tested was the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo heavy pellet. They averaged 895 f.p.s. on a fresh fill, with a low of 891 and a high of 901 f.p.s. At the average velocity the rifle, produced 32.2 foot-pounds of muzzle energy with this pellet. So, it equals the 15.9-grain pellet for power, but not for accuracy, as we have seen.
The trigger of the test rifle releases at a very consistent 1 lb., 10 ozs., but the release is different than any other trigger I’ve ever felt. If you squeeze slowly, you’ll feel the solenoid fire an instant before the gun fires. It’s a small click before the boom. The actually firing is felt as a prolonged forward cycling of the bolt to push the pellet into the breech and back again to clear the magazine. The feel through the trigger while the gun fires is long and sloppy, but as you saw in the accuracy test, it works well and doesn’t affect the hold at all.
Bottom line thus far
The Conquest is stacking up to be a fine hunting air rifle. It’s powerful and amazingly accurate in the .22-caliber version I’m testing. And I’d like to mention that all the pellets tested fed through the magazine with no problem. Sometimes a rotary magazine like the one on the Conquest has problems accepting longer pellets, but even the big Eun Jins fit this one.
Without question, the one best pellet for our test rifle is the 15.9-grain JSB Exact dome. It’s not only more accurate than the others, it’s also more efficient, which was a surprise result. Test other pellets just the same, but make this one your primary choice until you find something better.
This was the fourth part of what would normally be a three-part test. I feel compelled to return to the range with a more powerful scope mounted on the gun and have another go at it. Maybe — just maybe, mind you — I’ll also take this rifle out to 100 yards. It will take a perfect day, but as I am planning to test other airguns at that range, I thought this one might be included.
by B.B. Pelletier
The cat’s out of the bag, so to speak, because today’s title tells you what my big news is about. And I tied reader Kevin to this report because he owns an Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle that hasn’t given him much joy. Today, I’ll show you the most astounding shooting I’ve ever done, but I’ll also address a mechanical concern and how it was corrected! This will be a report to remember, and here we go.
The Conquest is a very different air rifle. It took me two separate reports just to get through the general description because there are so many differences and unusual aspects of this airgun. The action is operated by a battery in the same way that an AEG airsoft gun operates, so I had to show you all of that. And, as I predicted, the forums are full of discussions about upgrading the battery pack — discussions among shooters who haven’t even seen the gun, yet. My advice it to see it and shoot it, first. It might just be good enough as is.
The rifle shoots both semiauto, which very few pellet rifles do, and full-auto, which only one other CO2 gun (the Auto Ordnance SMG-22 belt-feed carbine) currently does. Until this test, I had a lot to say about the wisdom of providing a full-auto mode — likening it to a shopping cart with wheels rated to 200 mph. That’s my way of saying, “Who needs it?” Today, I’ll eat those words. Stick around.
Also, I am reviewing accuracy out of the usual order. Normally, I look at velocity first and accuracy afterwards. Several readers have commented that they do it the other way, because who cares how fast certain pellets will go if they aren’t accurate?
Believe it or not, I put a lot of thought into doing a review in the order I usually do it. When I review velocity it’s not to correlate it with accuracy, but rather to show the power potential of the powerplant. I do understand the readers’ viewpoint that only accurate pellets are interesting; and like everyone, else I do tend to shoot only the most accurate pellets. But when I do the velocity test, I’m separating the power question from accuracy. I want to know what the gun is capable of doing as far as power is concerned, then in a separate test I want to discover what its accuracy can be.
Yes, I’ll recommend shooting the most accurate pellet, but if it only produces 20 foot-pounds while the most powerful pellet produces 25 foot-pounds, I want to show that the gun is fully capable of producing 25 foot pounds. Who knows if there will be a new pellet in the future that will be able to use all the power the rifle has and be accurate at the same time? So, my test will have demonstrated the peak power potential. If you look back at my discussions of accuracy and power in many past tests, I think you’ll see this has always been my thrust.
Today, we’re looking at accuracy first, because I had the opportunity to get to the rifle range on a dead-calm day. I could not let such an opportunity pass. So, today is accuracy day, and velocity day is still to come for the Conquest.
A couple corrections
During the time I was examining the rifle for this report, Edith wrote the most comprehensive airgun manual I’ve ever seen. She wrote it for both the Conquest rifle and the Speed, and we had to operate the gun extensively to check facts for her manual. Several things I initially told you have been changed as a result of this more detailed look.
1. The batteries need at least an 8-hour initial charge before the first use.
2. The magazines hold only 10 rounds instead of the 12 rounds I told you (with all double-mags holding 20). That holds true in all three calibers (.177, .22 and .25) but not for the 9mm, which is yet to come.
3. There was a problem with the magazine sticking in the action that was corrected by lubrication. Let’s look at that right now.
Magazine sticking problem
When I first examined the gun, I noticed that sometimes the magazine would not come out of the action when it was supposed to. When this rifle fires, the bolt passes through the magazine and pushes the pellet into the breech just before an air blast propels it out the barrel. If the bolt doesn’t retract all the way after the shot, you can’t remove the magazine because the bolt will still be inside.
Now I know what the plastic window on the right side of the receiver is for! Use it to access the bolt, so you can lubricate it properly. Then, it’ll retract and the gun will run perfectly — or at least mine did.
The bolt has two diameters — a large rear section and a narrow front section. Both diameters must be lubricated, because they pass through different passages in the receiver.
Use an oiling needle to get oil onto both diameters of the bolt. The larger black steel portion on the left looks oily in this picture, while the smaller silver portion on the right, to the right of the hook-like part in the middle of the window, looks dry. That’s because the surface is too smooth to see the oil. It’s there. I used bike chain oil, but Pyramyd Air used FP-10, and both products did the trick.
Once I lubricated the bolt with the oiling needle, it worked fine and there were no more sticking magazines. But if you do encounter a sticking mag, the recommended solution is to pull the trigger and hold it back for a few seconds after the rifle fires.
A great day at the range
Well, it was a great day for shooting the Conquest. The morning was foggy, where not a breath of air could be felt. I shot the entire test in the most perfect conditions imaginable. And all shooting you are about to see was done at 50 yards.
The first four rounds got me on target, and then six more went into a group that measured 0.811 inches between the two widest centers. If I accepted 5-shot groups as standard, my job would already have been done, and the Conquest would be a very accurate air rifle. But that’s not how I roll, as you know, so I reloaded the magazine and shot a full 10-shot group.
Ten shots into 1.241 inches isn’t the level of accuracy I’d hoped for, even at 50 yards, so I decided to move on. However I note that the 21.1-grain Kodiaks do feed smoothly through the magazine. Length is not a problem.
The trigger and what it feels like to shoot
Shooting these two groups (6 shots, followed by 10 shots) afforded me the opportunity to get used to the Conquest’s trigger. I remember saying that a rifle at this price has to have a perfect trigger. Well, the Conquest trigger is far from perfect. But then I thought of another semiautomatic air rifle — the FX Revolution, which I’d tested a couple years back. It also has a less-than-desirable trigger that slaps you back through the trigger blade every time the rifle fires. In comparison, the Conquest trigger is less annoying. Instead of breaking like glass, this trigger has a rocket-push feel to the release. It’s difficult to describe, but you feel the movement of the bolt through the trigger blade.
But the magic of shooting a semiauto with almost zero recoil allows every shot to go where you want, and soon you forget the trigger. Knowing the rifle will stay exactly on target — and all you have to do is pull the trigger for another shot — builds your confidence like you wouldn’t believe!
JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
Next, I tried the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets. In many rifles of this power, the 18.1-grain Jumbo Heavy JSB is the most accurate pellet, but not this time. In the Conquest, 10 JSB Jumbo Heavys made a group measuring 0.958 inches between centers. That’s not bad, but it’s still not the best the rifle can do.
JSB Exact 15.9-grain
The next pellet I tested was the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome. JSB calls this one a Jumbo, but I find that confusing with the Jumbo Heavy, so I make an exception by referring to this one by its weight. Over time, I’ve found this pellet to be the most consistently accurate .22-caliber airgun pellet.
Now, that’s a group! Ten JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes made this 0.547-inch group at 50 yards. This is fantastic performance. It is accuracy rivaling some of the finest semiautomatic rimfire rifles — after they’ve been accurized.
The 15.9-grain JSB Exact shot many groups between 0.50 and 0.75 inches, time after time. It was so dead-reliable on this perfect day that I would have picked it over all other PCPs for a benchrest match. But there’s one dynamic you do need to watch.
Other pellets tested
I also shot the .22-caliber Crosman Premier and the heavy 28.4-grain Eun Jin dome. Both groups were about the same as the Kodiaks, and I did not pursue them beyond a single group.
The Conquest holds a lot of air, so the tendency is to keep right on shooting for magazine after magazine. If you are shooting spinners at 35 yards you’ll get away with it, but out at 50 yards things start to look different. That’s why I test at that distance with super-accurate PCPs like the Conquest.
I noticed that the first three 10-shot groups were all very tight. The group of JSBs going into 0.547 inches, shown above, was the first group fired on a fresh fill of air and also the best group of the test, but let’s take a look at the fourth group fired on the same fill with the same pellet.
This group of JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes was the fourth group on the same fill. It measures 1.267 inches between centers. Three 10-shot groups are the limit at 50 yards when the best accuracy is required.
That fourth group is approximately the same size as the group of Beeman Kodiaks I showed you first. While it’s a good group, it’s not representative of this rifle’s true capability at 50 yards. What this means is the total shot count you’ll get on a fill with this rifle depends on what you’re shooting and how far it is. If you want the absolute best the rifle can do, refill the gun after 30 shots. But if you’re hunting squirrels at 35 yards you can go to at least 40 shots, if not more.
This 10-shot group of JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes measures 0.760 inches between centers. There were many groups like this, and I would say this is representative of what the rifle will do all the time under good conditions with this pellet.
Of course, semiautomatic is only half of the game with the Conquest. I had to fire the rifle on full-auto, even though I was scoffing at the thought. Why would anybody even do that, I wondered. Well, the first group I shot answered my question.
The big surprise!
When I looked through the scope after the burst was finished I couldn’t tell if all the pellets were in the group or not, so I checked it with my new super-sharp spotting scope. What I saw caused me to jump up and down and pretty much stop the shooting on that range.
I am fortunate that my shooting buddy, Otho Henderson, was there to witness what happened. I had told him the Conquest was a full-auto gun; but until you hear it rattle the shots off, it doesn’t sink in. Seeing me this hyper after looking through the spotting scope, he knew something was up because I don’t even crack a smile unless a group is really astounding.
We both walked down to the target to examine what was a single ragged hole at my exact point of aim. I had used a 12-inch by 12-inch paper target, stapled to a 24-inch by 48-inch cardboard backer that had no other holes in it close to this target. The other target on which I’d been shooting semiautomatic groups was 12 inches above this one, so it was clear that all 10 shots went into the same tight group.
Now I know what many of you are thinking. This was a fluke. You’ll never do it again. I thought the same thing, so I shot a second full-auto group for you.
I’m guessing that this second group is closer to what the Conquest will do on full-auto at 50 yards most of the time on a perfect day. But since 90 percent of all the air rifles in the world can’t do as well shooting their pellets one at a time, it’s still pretty amazing.
In fairness to Mac, he did predict exactly such a thing when we were still in Las Vegas. He once owned a .22 rimfire semiauto that would occasionally dump its whole magazine; and he noted that when that happened, the group was always smaller than what he could shoot pulling the trigger each time. Apparently the gun takes care of business before the shooter can screw it up. I didn’t believe him until this happened.
All the good was used up!
Following the Conquest test, I went over to the 100-yard range and proceeded to shoot my old Ballard with the new bullets and loading techniques. Nothing worked, and the best I could do was shoot 4-inch groups! Then, I tried a 30-30 that had shot a half-inch at 50 yards the time before and it, too, shot four-inch groups. So, all the accuracy for the day was used up by the Conquest.
One last thing
Perhaps I should have mentioned this earlier, but I thought it would be a nice surprise here at the end of the report. I had mounted a 4-12x Bushnell scope on the Conquest for this test, but in doing so I failed to notice exactly which Bushnell it was. When I got to the range and tried to adjust the power ring, it wouldn’t budge. I had mounted a broken scope on the rifle, so the entire test had to be shot at 4x!
I doubt that mounting a 32-power scope would improve the groups all that much, simply because these groups can’t be improved much more than they are right now. But please feel free to imagine what might have happened if the scope had been better.
We look at velocity and power potential next, but at this point in the test my mind is already made up. The Evanix Conquest is a most worthy precharged pneumatic air rifle. It has a number of interesting deviations, some of which, like the battery, will turn off some shooters. But other features, like the full-auto capability, are surprisingly more effective than you might imagine.
As I look at these results, I’m reminded of two weeks ago at Las Vegas, when I pounded a 200-yard metal silhouette with the 9mm Conquest that’s still in development. Who knew these guns could be this accurate?
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is a second look at the general characteristics of this new Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle with thumbhole stock. I was surprised that a couple of you criticized the woodwork in Part 1, so today I’ll show you the butt of the rifle I’m actually testing. Neither FX nor Daystate has anything on this stock — it’s that good. Criticize the real faults all you want, but let’s evaluate the rifle on its merits and not on where it was made.
Since I have to show a lot of details, much of today’s report will be pictorial. The captions have as much info as the text, so be sure to read them.
Fully ambidextrous, the Evanix Conquest rifle stock is a thing of beauty. The woodwork is perfect, and the wood itself has deep, rich grain. The red switch at the upper left is the power switch for the gun.
Yep! Like an AEG airsoft gun, the Conquest is run by an electric motor that’s powered by a battery in the butt. Before you start asking all those voltage and amperage questions, this rifle works exactly the same as an AEG. Add amps, and the charge lasts longer. Add volts, and the motor turns faster. And also like all AEGs, there’s only so much room for the onboard battery.
According to the manufacturer, one charge is sufficient for about 500 shots, but that’s a variable that depends on many things. Cold weather decreases the number. As the battery loses its charge, it heats up, which is undesireable. And I would expect that full-auto fire would use up the battery faster than semi-auto because the motor runs longer in that mode. I’ll try to give you an estimate of how many shots I get on a charge when I know something. Thus far, I’ve shot the gun about 35 times and everything is fine.
I charged the battery pack for 8 hours before my initial use. The batteries do not come precharged.
The batteries fit into the butt, so the rubber buttpad must come off first. The batteries use single-wire connectors — red to red and black to black. From what I see, there’s just enough room in the butt for the wiring and the battery that comes with the gun, so I doubt battery upgrades will be possible, as space is a concern.
Once the battery pack is installed and the reservoir is filled, the gun is ready to fire. Turn it on with the red switch at the upper left rear of the receiver, insert a loaded magazine and you’re ready to go.
The .177 and .22 versions of the rifle have 12-shot magazines. The .25-caliber rifle has a 10-shot mag. All versions of the gun also have optional double mags available, but I mistakenly wrote in Part 1 that they come with the gun — and they don’t. They must be ordered as options. So, this .22 rifle would have a total of 24 shots when the double mag is used. However, after the first 12 shots, the mag has to be slid over to the left to index the second mag. So, it’s really 12 and 12 — not 24 without stopping.
The back of each magazine has two holes through which pellets can be seen. The hole on the left is where the pellets are loaded. There’s a coiled wire band spring that runs around the circumference of the drum to hold each pellet in its chamber until the bolt pushes it into the back of the barrel. When you drop in a pellet, the head stops on this band. Like all circular magazines and clips with this feature, you have to press in each pellet past the retaining band. Nothing works as well as a ballpoint pen. If the magazine didn’t have this band, pellets could vibrate out of their chambers and jam the action — especially with the vibration of firing full-auto.
This is the back of a single 12-shot magazine. Pellets are loaded through the hole on the left. Note the black tab that sticks down at the top of the middle hole. This is used to release the magazine spring when you want to unload the magazine, or any time you want to reverse the direction of the chambers. When the magazine is loaded, a ratchet catches it at every empty chamber, and this tab gives you control over that ratchet. When the mag drum is not under spring tension, this tab does not appear.
I’m going to show you loading in detail because it’s very important to the gun’s operation. Everything I say about loading a single magazine applies to a dual mag, as well, because it’s just two single mags stuck together.
And this is what a properly seated pellet looks like. This is a large JSB pellet, so you can see there’s plenty of room for big pellets in this mag. Now, rotate the mag drum one click counterclockwise and load the next chamber.
The magazine body has a small key or shelf at the bottom edge of the front side. This fits into a mating groove in the front of the receiver notch and prevents the mag from being incorrectly inserted. The front of the mag has a spring-loaded ball bearing that indexes the mag in the receiver. It’s important that the mag is indexed properly, because the bolt moves by electrical power and could damage the mag or the gun if not aligned with the hole that runs through the magazine.
Here’s the front of the magazine. There’s just one hole where the pellet can be pushed out of the mag and into the breech by the bolt. Notice the small shelf at the bottom of the mag. This is a key that prevents the mag from being installed incorrectly.
Because this gun fires electrically, DO NOT stick your fingers into the receiver magazine notch at any time. Every time the gun fires, the bolt first comes forward to push the pellet out of the magazine and into the breech. If your finger is there, the bolt will go through it like a nail from a nail gun! Never put your fingers into this opening, no matter where the safety and power switch are set. For this reason, do not let children or anyone who’s unfamiliar with the rifle handle it.
The double mag is two single mags joined together. In operation, you exhaust one side first, then slide the mag over to the other side — pushing from right to left. In .22 caliber, this mag gives a total of 24 shots.
I mentioned the fill coupling in Part 1. Today, I’d like to show you the available space where the gun is filled, which is why it has to be a proprietary quick-fill device and not a standard Foster fitting. Besides the fill connector, the pressure gauge is also in this space, which is tucked out of sight in a slot under the forearm.
This macro picture shows the fill port that accepts the quick-disconnect adapter. The manometer reads in bar for the first time! Although this looks like a lot of room, my thumb is just as wide as this slot.
Well, that was a long introduction, but a gun this novel warrants it. I probably have still not told you everything you wish to know about the gun, but we have both the velocity and accuracy tests yet to come, so there’s more than enough time. Ask your questions, and I’ll attempt to answer them as we go.
by B.B. Pelletier
Announcement: Some time soon, Pyramyd Air will change the log-in process for comments. I’m hoping it’ll be active no later than Thursday of this week. We’re getting hundreds of spam comments every day, and the blog now requires 24-hr monitoring to delete the spam so it doesn’t overwhelm the legitimate comments.
If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you may remember that we had a spam attack when we used Blogger software to write the original blog. We ended up tightening the comment process and stopped much of the spam. We’re going to use the same process for this blog. It involves entering a randomly supplied word when you log-in. If you decide to not log-in and just write your name anew every time you post a comment, you’ll have to go through the same process each time you make a comment. Obviously, logging in will save you time and effort. Thanks for your understanding.
Now, on to today’s blog!
Well, new year, new gun. I’m surprised I haven’t been besieged with questions about this latest offering from Evanix — the Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle with thumbhole stock — especially, in light of the YouTube videos! What you’ll see on YouTube is a semiautomatic pellet rifle that is also capable of full auto! We’ll discuss that feature at length in this review.
The first thing you will note about the rifle is the price. This one is not intended for those just starting in airgunning. At $1,700 ($1,759 for .25 caliber), this rifle has got to be serious enough to hold its own in the world of pellet rifles. Here’s what I think that means.
What is has to be
The rifle has to be accurate. It cannot afford to be any less accurate than any high-priced pellet rifle or any lower-priced rifle, for that matter.
It has to be quiet. It must have the best sound reduction technology commensurate with its power level, which is advertised as 35.50 foot-pounds in the .22-caliber gun I’m testing for you.
It has to deliver a reasonable number of full-power shots. We’ll see what this one has to offer in the velocity test.
It has to be beautiful. It is, and I’ll comment on that some more in a little bit.
It has to have a fine trigger. It should be adjustable at this price; but if it’s fine, I really don’t need that feature.
It has to be reliable — as in absolutely and without equivocation. So, I plan on testing the sample rifle more than the average pellet rifle.
It should be straightforward, and I will comment on this today. I think the builders could have done things a little differently to get a better reception from the established airgun market — because that’s where all the sales will come from.
Okay, when you open the box on this one, there are many surprises inside. The first is the need to charge the batteries for at least 8 full hours before installing them in the butt.
Yes, this rifle has an electrically driven action that runs on rechargable batteries. They drive the semi-/full-auto feature. Don’t complain about them, because in the world of airguns there’s only one conventional full-auto .22-caliber rifle and it isn’t for sale — yet (or perhaps ever)! That’s the M16 made by Mark D. (Doc) Schavone, and it shoots only round balls — not pellets. Then there’s also a belt-fed full auto .22 submachine gun made by Air Ordnance. The SMG 22 is full-auto and can be run on high-pressure air, but the primary fuel is CO2. When I tested one for Shotgun News last year, I found the air-powered version was slower than the CO2, which is odd, but there you are. At any rate, other than these two guns, the new offerings from Evanix are the only full-auto pellet rifles available.
There are actually two models, the Conquest I’m testing and the Speed, which is a lower-priced ($1,400) model that shares many of the same features, including the semi-/full-auto action. But I asked for a Conquest, because I know you guys want to see what is entailed in the best of the best, as do I.
Because the action is electrically driven, you don’t really have to cock the gun. The electronics do that for you. Personally, I plan to shoot the gun a lot more on semiauto than full auto, but I’ll put it through its paces on rock-n-roll to test the reliability factor.
You get quite a few accessories with the gun. For example, the battery charger comes with all the adapters needed for most national power grids. Naturally, you need to select only the correct one for your country and stick the rest into a drawer with all the other stuff you never use.
You get a selection of electrical adapters for the battery charger.
Here you can see the two switches that operate the action. The one in back is for “fire” and “safe.” The one in front is for “semiautomatic” and “full auto.” It is set to semiautomatic in the photo. Full auto is represented by the three dots seen at the bottom of the action.
Another feature I want to call attention to is the magazine. Each side of this two-sided circular mag holds 12 .22-caliber pellets, so this is a 24-shot rifle. Whether you get all 24 shots on a single fill remains to be seen. (edited 1/4/12: the gun does not include the 24-rd double magazine) In the video, they had the gun tethered to a scuba tank, but I’ll make this one perform on its own. In .177, the rifle is also a 12/24-round gun (edited 1/4/12: 12-rd mags only; edited 2/26/12: all calibers of the Conquest have 10-rd mags). In .25-caliber the numbers change to 10 and 20 (edited 1/4/12: 10-rd mags only).
With the rifle, you get one 24-round magazine, (edited 1/4/12: the 24-rd double-mag is not part of the package) two 12-round mags (edited 2/26/12: 10-rd mags) and a proprietary quick-disconnect fill probe.
You can also see a window in the right side of the receiver. I’ll have to find out it’s purpose, but I’m sure they put it it there for a good reason.
The woodwork is stunning! In fact, the rifle I’m testing (serial number 1111H012441) has even better wood figure than the rifle shown above. The stain is dark and rich, like a medium-dark chocolate. And the checkering on the grip (one panel each side) is flawlessly executed — as befits machine checkering. The stock is completely ambidextrous and needs no apologies. Since most of the high-end European air rifles get their stocks from Korea or Turkey, it doesn’t surprise me that this one is the equal of anything they produce.
This rifle is short and relatively light for an air rifle. It’s just 40 inches long and just a shade under 8 lbs. It’s ever-so-slightly longer than a carbine, which I think will appeal to hunters. So, is it a hunting air rifle? Well, with all the power on tap, hunting is what it will do well. At this price, it’ll probably appeal to a broader group of owners. If it’s as accurate as I hope, it could become another long-range legend. But that’s yet to be determined.
You also get a quick-fill adapter, and this one is proprietary. I wish they’d used the male Foster hydraulic fitting that has become the airgun standard all over the world, but they didn’t. Fortunately, their adapter works easily enough once you get used to it. Knurling on the part that moves to unlock the fitting would be an improvement, because there’s precious little room in the stock where the fitting has to be attached and detached.
The manometer (onboard air pressure gauge) reads in bar! Hallelujah! No more learning some other pressure quantification, this one is something we all understand. I filled the rifle to 200 bar, and the job was straightforward.
The barrel is fully shrouded, so I’m looking forward to a reasonably quiet operation. At 35 foot-pounds, it has to make some noise — but it shouldn’t be a bear.
I’m going to stop here, because there’s so much more information to cover that this introduction will take place in two parts.
Let the games begin!