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Air Arms S510 TR

Phill Price looks at the Air Arms S510 TR – a tactically inspired model that marks a change of pace for the English sporting gunmaker

Air Arms S510 TR

I’ve been using Air Arms guns for over 20 years and have come to know their range very well, with my Year 2000 S410 holding pride of place in my collection. Typically, Air Arms guns are beautiful sporting rifles, with classic wooden stocks and elegant lines, so the Air Arms S510 TR on test came as a bit of a shock to my eyes.

This rifle has the appearance of a Colt M4 centrefire – hardly a sporting gun, but wow does it have presence! The ever-inventive team at Air Arms has again reimagined the 400 series action, this time in its S510 guise, and then given it a new set of clothes.

The action, trigger assembly and air reservoir are largely unchanged, and wrapped around these is an all-new ‘chassis’ that acts as the connection to everything else. Up front we find a handguard that on the firearm would prevent you from burning your fingers on a hot barrel, but becomes a vehicle that allows us to add an almost unlimited number of accessories.

Included with the rifle is a Picatinny rail that you can move anywhere you choose, and a vertical pistol grip, made by Magpul Industries. 

This is a huge business in America, and it makes a mind-blowing array of gun accessories, many to fit the M4 platform. I can well see why Air Arms chose this company’s gear. Magpul has a great reputation for making strong, durable parts, and the ones seen here feel rugged. If that stuff can survive a battle, a little airgun action should be a breeze.

The chassis offers full protection to the delicate gauge

Magpul also supplies the rubberised pistol grip, which is connected to the chassis in the exact same manner as an M4, so you can easily swap it for one of the numerous types on offer around the world if you fancy a change later on. 

The final Magpul component is the length-adjustable, combat-style stock. This attaches to the chassis in the same way it would attach to the buffer tube on the M4, so again it could easily be swapped with many other options on offer. Air Arms is stocking some variants of each of these things, as a visit to the firm’s excellent website will show you. 


Air Arms S510 TR – key specifications

Maker: Air Arms (
Model: S510 TR
Price: RRP £1,479
Type: Pre-charged pneumatic
Action: Sidelever, multi-shot, regulated
Length: 900mm to 985mm
Weight: 2.8kg
Fill pressure: 250 bar
Magazine capacity: 10 pellets
Trigger: two-stage, fully adjustable
Shots: .177 – 90, .22 – 120


Handling the Air Arms S510 TR

Because of my implausibly large head, I found the standard cheekpiece too high, which meant that I couldn’t get a full sight picture. However, the very modular nature of this gun meant that I simply popped the cheek riser off and got the fit I needed in no time at all. 

I doubt that I would ever want to shoot the rifle with the stock in its shortest position, but being able to make small adjustments is very welcome. For example, in the coldest winter I’ll have thick clothing on and being able to shorten the stock to suit that situation keeps the rifle fit just the way I like it.

I found the pistol grip comfortable, and appreciated the way it presented my index finger to the trigger blade for excellent control. In its base it has a small compartment that could hold a barrel pull-through for in-field emergencies, or a few vital Allen keys wrapped in a cloth to stop rattling.

The chassis is hewn from a big chunk of aluminium, making it very solid indeed. 

The handguard is attached to it with two bolts, while the stock adaptor fits with one large one. I sensed no flex or movement in any of these pieces. However, the adjustable stock does exhibit some movement, but has a secondary lever that clamps it onto the tube, cutting that to minimum. The chassis encloses and protects the pressure gauge, ensuring its safety should the rifle be knocked.

The t-bar filling system is very safe to use

As the rifle was having a dramatic new look, Air Arms decided to update some other areas to ensure the appearance was in keeping. The silencer has more of a firearm look and is now bonded permanently to the barrel shroud. Inside it utilises Air Arms’ Q-Tec technology, so it’s very quiet. Below this, the air filler cap has been restyled subtly. I quickly noticed that the long flutes on the sides had sharp edges that make gripping it very positive, even with the cold wet fingers I had through my testing. 

The upper section of the S510 action does have one very specific change, which is that the traditional 11mm dovetail has been replaced with a Picatinny rail that’s integral. Any rifle of this kind needs that system included and this one looks just right, as well as being a very practical mount. It has the usual cut-out where the magazine is installed. The mag’s faceplate is smoked grey, very much in keeping with the looks. 

On the opposite side we find the sidelever, as you’d expect on an S510, and this has been enhanced with a vertical post that some call a biathlon rifle-style handle. It gives a bigger contact area and is indeed very easy and quick to grip if you have the need for a fast second shot. It could almost be the cocking handle on a combat rifle, if you’d like to think of it that way.

The additional mounting points allowed Phill to fit this red dot scope for fast, close-range shots


Air arms agility

I was surprised at how compact and light the Air Arms S510 TR felt in my hands, because with all that added metal, I was expecting a weightier gun. It was a pleasant surprise just how naturally it pointed. Looking angular and lumpy made me think it might need adaptation to my shooting style, but no, it came up onto aim in one smooth movement every time. 

I fitted one of Hawke Sport Optics’ Airmax SF Compact scopes in the 3-12 x 40 spec, which I thought suited the rifle well. 

Hawke also supplied the two-piece, four-bolt mounts, whose matt appearance went well with the scope and the rifle’s finish. I didn’t want an overly heavy scope as I was sure that it would have negatively affected the handling and balance.

The sidelever has been enhanced with this biathlon rifle-style drop-down handle that Phill liked very much

Filling the rifle’s air reservoir was the usual Air Arms experience, with the T-bar connector being quick to use while offering a level of safety not seen on other manufacturers’ guns. I was surprised to learn that this rifle fills to 250 bar, not the old 190 standard. 

I think this might be connected with the use of their recent regulator, which the engineering team is very proud of. It has proven very durable in long-term testing, and doesn’t suffer from “reg creep” as so many others do. This is a problem in which the regulator cannot maintain the operating pressure over time, and can lead to inconsistent velocities, which is something nobody wants.

On that subject, through my chronograph I saw no more than 4ft/sec variation over 30 shots, which is quite superb and that was with pellets straight from the tin with no inspection or preparation at all! Of course, the Air Arms Diabolo Field is one of the best pellets ever made, but all the same, that’s truly impressive from a production gun. I sometimes think that we just don’t appreciate how spoilt we are today with the kit we have available to us right off the shelf!


Speedy and simple

The TR had a muzzle velocity of 780 ft/sec with the 8.44gr pellets, meaning 11.4 ft-lb of muzzle energy, which is plenty of power, but safely inside the legal limit. Just right in other words. 

During testing, I was reminded about just how good the Air Arms magazines are. I’ve been using them for over 20 years and can load them with my eyes closed. And other than wearing out an O-ring, I’ve never had a problem or failure. They’re also so simple that I can strip, clean and lubricate one in minutes, a useful feature for delicate equipment that is used in rough, dirty environments. 

The action is in some ways similar, in that it’s been proven totally reliable and durable over decades, so the heart of this radical-looking gun has a long and proud heritage. 

Loading Air Arms’ ultra-reliable magazines is child’s play

Air Arms is rightly proud of its high-tech CNC machining capability, so feast your eyes on the chassis and handguard you see in the pictures. The handguard is delicately machined from a huge extrusion to incorporate the M-LOK system, which is an international standard for mounting equipment to guns invented by, you guessed it, Magpul. The chassis is thick and beefy where needed, but stylishly machined down where weight can be saved. Finally, the parts have a semi-matt anodised surface that looks great and is tough as well. 

Interestingly, the M-LOK MVG vertical grip uses 1/8in hex wrench bolts, while the Picatinny rail fitted uses 3mm socket heads, so it’s clear which parts come from America and which are from here. Either way, the M-LOK system is quick and easy to use. 

Firstly, you pass the bolt through the item you want to attach, and then you thread the ‘t-nuts’ onto the bolts. Next, align the nuts with the handguard slot of your choice and then tighten slowly. At first the nut will spin, but soon they stop and you can pinch the bolts up to lock it in place. It’s a really simple system that works as advertised.

This trigger system is crisp to use and fully adjustable


Ranging the Air Arms S510 TR

Noting just how versatile the handguard is, I tried out an idea I’ve seen used on firearms of this kind. With a variable scope on top, zeroed at 32 yards, I mounted a red dot scope at two o’clock on the handguard and zeroed it at 8 yards. Should a rat pop out up close I can cant the rifle anti-clockwise and use the red dot as fast as you like. It’s an unusual feeling, but it certainly works and demonstrates that this rifle is most certainly adaptable. 

All these extras are fascinating and enjoyable, but if the basics are not there then they mean nothing. I’d already established that the power was at the right level and consistent, so accuracy testing was next. To be honest, I nearly didn’t bother. 

I’ve tested so many Air Arms PCPs that I was 100% sure it would be good, but as your loyal tester, I felt obliged to do my job. I’m sure you will be as unsurprised as I was that the accuracy was exemplary. At 30 yards, a one-hole, ragged edge group appeared in the scope time and time again that could be covered by a 5p coin all day long. There: I did my job…

There’s no escaping the fact that this rifle is not cheap, but I believe that it does represent good value. The base rifle is totally proven and the accessory parts are first class. Then there is a lot of very expensive machining required to marry the two, and remember, this is a gun made right here in England, a fact that I really respect and enjoy.

I’ll confess that at first I was surprised at the looks of such a radical image, but I’m not one bit surprised at how good the rifle is. Sure, it’s not for everybody, but for those looking for something different that handles really well and has the power and accuracy to back that up, then I can see this being yet another winner for AA. 


Dramatic good looks are allied to a time-proven action to offer yet another top-class rifle from this well respected English gunmaker