Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Electric Airguns - the way forward?

The heart of Daystate's electronic air rifles - this is an 'MCT' motherboard
It's always baffled me: how come we don't see more electrically-powered airguns? After all, in the world of airsofting, they're the bee's knees!


Of course, soft airguns are a totally different kettle of fish to airguns - but the question still stands. And I ask it as a long-standing user of Daystate's electronically-powered models. Since the launch of the MK3 at the very end of 2002, actually; after I'd finished testing that rifle, I ended up buying it, ultimately trading it in for an Air Wolf once I got my hands on that buddy-bottle model to do a review a few years later!


In the late 1980s, Feinwerkbau released a match-oriented air pistol - the Model 90 - which featured an electronic trigger, and Steve Harper (the airgun designer/engineer who's had a hand in the Daystate electrics) produced a pistol - also called the Wolf - which used a solenoid-operated trigger to release the shot. And back in the very early Nineties, Browning imported an electrically-cocked rifle made by the Belgian firm Rutten (The Air Star) which used a battery-powered gear system to wind back the piston. It was seen as a useful option for disabled shooters - although when I was invited over to their workshops to view its production for myself, I recall I was far more interested in what I saw when I was taken for a surprise visit to the nearby workshops of FN!


With the exception of the Daystate(s), all the aforementioned electric guns lasted but a short time. So why is it that the Daystate version - which is now seen on the MK4 derivatives and the Air Wolf - is still with us and pretty much seen as the ultimate air rifle to own by many an airgunner? Perhaps it's because it's not just the trigger that's electronic, but the entire action which uses an on-board computer system to regulate the valve opening and air release.


But as a long-time user of this highly innovative airgun system, I'm still baffled as to why it's only Daystate who market such a rifle. The fact that they continue to persevere with the system (though I'm not sure 'persevere' is the right word here), suggests to me that they're clearly on to a winner.


I recently compared the latest version of their Air Wolf - far more up-to-date than my own gun - with its conventional, mechanically-driven equivalent (the Air Ranger). You can read my in-depth review in the January 2012 edition of Airgun Shooter magazine - a digital copy of which is available from PocketMags - and watch a detailed video test on AirgunTV.


Make up your own minds: do electronic airguns have a future? (I certainly think they do...)  

1 comment:

  1. I think the biggest reason behind the slow adoption of electrically-operated airguns isn't the newness(or strangeness) of the technology, it is the battery. You can check the charge level all you
    want before you go out in the field, but if your batterie(s) die, you aren't shooting. If there is some way to put in a 'fallback' manual mode, then perhaps it may see more interest.

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