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Daystate Huntsman Revere Safari tested in the field

Phill Price gets to grips with the Daystate Huntsman Revere Safari, the latest version of one of his all-time favourite hunting rifles

Daystate Huntsman Revere Safari tested in the field

I’m often asked to give my recommendation for the best air rifle to people who are shopping for a hunting gun and I always tell them to buy a mid-weight, sporting pre-charged pneumatic (PCP). Why sporting? The answer is simple. They’re not perfect for any one thing, but they’re very good for everything. A well-designed sporter will do well standing, sitting, prone, kneeling and all those weird, contorted positions we end up assuming in the real world of hunting. Target guns can be adjusted to be perfect for one position, but are then terrible for everything else! Just such a gun is the Daystate Huntsman, a model that has been in production for decades and has been offered in many versions over the years, but at its heart has remained the same beast, with the latest being the Daystate Huntsman Revere Safari.

I have one that I shoot often, and always find it a pleasure to use. It’s a Huntsman Regal, which is a bolt-action rifle, so when I saw that the Revere model had sprouted a sidelever, I was curious as to why Daystate had made that change. I know they’re very fashionable, but I’m quite happy with my bolt. To find out for myself, I requested a test gun to get a proper look.

Opening the box I could immediately see that there were many changes to the Revere Safari. Of course, I knew the stock was all new, but I was surprised at how many mechanical changes there were. The obvious one is the sidelever that’s machined from steel, which surprised me. Aluminium would have been lighter, but as I cycled it, I felt and then saw the reason. As it closes, a small magnet grabs it and holds it in the block, preventing any rattles, which I think is neat and clever.


Daystate Huntsman Revere Safari – key specifications

Daystate Huntsman Revere Safari tested in the field

Manufacturer: Daystate Ltd (
Model: Huntsman Revere
Price: £1,220
Warranty: Three years
Type: Pre-charged pneumatic
Action: Sidelever, magazine-fed, regulated
Length: 928mm
Weight: 2.8kg
Fill pressure: 250 bar
Shots per fill: .177- 140, .22- 160
Magazine capacity: .177-13, .22-11
Accessories included: Single-shot tray


Action amendments

It has a long vertical extension in the biathlon rifle style, which works well. This is tucked in close enough to the stock to minimise the chance of catching on things, but far enough out to be easily grasped. It swings around 90 degrees before engaging the hammer spring, from where it’s only a short further pull to cock the action. 

The forward stroke pushes a pellet from the magazine into the barrel. For hunters, the good news is that it’s as close to silent as you could wish for. Smooth, slick and quiet – nice. It can also be reversed to suit left-handed shooters in just a few minutes, which ties in with the stock being ambidextrous too.

The action block is new as well. It’s wider than my old one, a change that was made to accommodate the sidelever and new magazine. The latter is a big change for those of us used to the old one. The new one is all metal, and has a faceplate that folds out to reveal the inner rotor, making loading pellets easier. It also occurred to me that cleaning the mag would be more convenient too. 

PhilI found that the pistol grip was actually a lot more comfortable than its looks would suggest

A small magnet holds the faceplate in place and another holds the mag in the action. It seems that magnets are a bit of a theme here. The new magazins also feature an increased capacity of 13 pellets in .177 and 11 in .22, which is a nice bonus.

One of the many reasons the new mag was developed was to improve the delivery of the pellets into the barrel. Subtle engineering tweaks make the alignment spot on every time, reducing the chance of any damage to our soft lead ammo which should ensure consistent accuracy.

Although the block is noticeably more chunky, some nice styling softens the appearance well. As ever, I was happy to see that it wears a traditional 11mm dovetail, which looks right on a sporter to me and works just as well as it ever did. There’s a cut-out to accept the magazine which sits proud of the action, a fact you must consider when choosing your scope and mounts. At the rear, the safety looks and works as before, but has been upgraded to metal from the old plastic unit.

In front of the action we find one of Daystate’s ART barrels, which stands for Accuracy Research Team, and this is an organisation that Daystate is very secretive about. I simply can’t get the details about it out of the company, but I can at least report that it works well. 

No silencer was supplied with my test gun, but I had an old one that fitted. It’s too noisy without one, in my opinion. That silencer is the reflex kind that fits back over the shroud, keeping the gun short, which is great for a hunting gun used in confined spaces like hides.

Phill feels that the new magazines are a big step up compared with the old ones, and admits to being just a little bit jealous


A new regulation

In another change compared with my own gun, this rifle uses a Huma regulator, which explains why there is a gauge on the end of the air reservoir and another in the belly of the stock. 

The gauges have pale grey faces, presumably to suit the stock colour. One tells reservoir pressure, and the other regulator pressure. It means that the Foster air filling connector has been changed to a probe and port-type filler. A rotating collar hides the port and keeps it clean, which is important for every PCP.

Daystate has long used the Slingshot hammer system that reduces unwanted bounce and air wastage, and now the regulator aids efficiency too. From the 250-bar fill we can expect 140 shots in .177 and 160 shots in .22. These are impressive figures, especially from a slender reservoir. Quite often, manufacturers resort to using a buddy bottle to gain high shot counts with the obvious looks and handling effects. 

Phill found the sidelever cocking to be smooth, slick and importantly, quiet

However, the star of the show on this Safari is clearly the unique stock. It’s made from beech, and wears a novel finish that reminds me of driftwood, with both colour and texture varying all around. The patches of stippling almost blend in, so varied is the finish. It’s grippy and pleasant to hold, and for a hardworking field gun I think it’s a bonus that dents and scratches won’t notice as they would on polished walnut.


Taking it out

On my own gun, I had an adjustable-height cheekpiece fitted because I consider it such an important improvement, so I was very happy to see the Safari comes with one as standard. It might seem like a small thing, but believe me, it makes a huge difference to handling, fit and consistency. The cheekpiece appears to be soft rubber over a hard core which is attached to two metal posts and a single bolt clamps them in place. Once you have it set, like me, you’ll probably forget all about it.

To get a feel for the new model, I went for a quiet walk around on the farm, combining some simulated hunting/plinking and a look for a bonus squirrel if one showed up. 

I like to do this with an important new rifle as it allows me to absorb the rifle’s qualities without having all my focus on hunting and the pressures that brings. I can walk around noisily and plink acorns and leaves from every position and distance to build up my mental picture of the gun’s performance.

I have to confess that I was a little disappointed in the choice of scope that was fitted. It’s a fine optic, but way too big and heavy for the Revere. When I asked why it was selected, I was told that it just happened to be on the test gun from being on display. Ideally, something much lighter than this would complement the natural fine handling of this excellent sporter. Heavy scopes in high mounts make guns like this feel top-heavy and unbalanced, which is a shame in my view.

Filling the air reservoir to 250 bar was as easy as you’d expect, so I turned my attention to filling the magazine. Because the front flips down, dropping pellets in is much easier than with the old mags and I appreciated the weighty feel. 

These mags feel really solid and durable. I like being able to have a good look around inside to see if any dirt has got in because the springs used in magazines are quite soft, being only strong enough to do the job without damaging the pellets. Therefore, a decent-sized bit of grit can jam them if we carelessly get them dirty. Let’s be honest, we’ve all done that, so being able to inspect and correct our faults is valuable to me.


Taking aim

Strolling around, I stopped and took shots that simulated typical hunting ones every few minutes. The first thing I noticed was that the stock’s overall shape fitted me well. The slim shape and balance allowed the Revere to come on aim very naturally, and having the cheekpiece set just for my eye meant that the rifle was aiming where I was looking with no reason to readjust. This saves time and movement when quarry presents, which can result in more in the bag. Having a gun that fits you well and is suited to your build is often overlooked in favour of whatever is new and cool. 

The safety lever tab is now made of metal instead of translucent plastic

Unsurprisingly, the Revere felt familiar, and I shot comfortably with it, so hitting even small targets felt natural and predictable, like meeting up with an old friend. In my view, this is exactly the kind of rifle that suits the majority of hunters and this one delivers top class accuracy and consistency effortlessly. Each of the upgrades may be small, but together they’ve made this classic rifle just that little bit better.

I enjoyed comparing the latest version to my old gun, and was left with a simple question. Do I Revere this rifle? The answer is yes, I do. 


Daystate has upgraded this well-known rifle in many areas, and the Safari stock is a pleasure to use as well as special to look at. This is a classic rifle brought right up to date with some well-chosen changes