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A look inside the Air Arms Galahad

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by cloverleaf, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    This post is brought to you in association with forum member RagnarHairybreeks (Simon) - whose Galahad has been in my possession for some time while some issues were addressed. Thanks to Simon for trusting we with his rifle and allowing me the opportunity to learn about something new :)

    This isn't intended to be a comprehensive review, more the usual rambling collection of thoughts and findings from my time working through the rifle, as well as lots of pics of what goes on inside since I've not seen any on the subject anywhere else.

    The Galahad was released maybe a couple of years ago and being a bullpup (or "sportpup" as Air Arms prefer to call it) has proven highly divisive ever since. The gun is available in two action lengths (standard and carbine), three stock options (black rubber coated, beech and walnut), both popular calibres as well as both regged and unregged formats.

    This particular example is a regged walnut carbine; as seen below - fitted with (I think) a modular Swift stumpy mod and sans-scope:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Galahad features a novel cocking lever near the forend that's horizontal / pointing backwards in the "loading bolt closed" position, being pushed down and forward (anticlockwise in this case) to open the bolt / cycle the mag / cock the rifle, before being returned to the horizontal position to close the bolt and ready the gun for firing. This lever can easily swapped from one side of the rifle to the other to accomadate shooter preference.

    The image below shows the lever in the "clear" position (bolt open, un-cocked), as well as one of the two front stock mounting bolts and the typically Air-Arms trigger with the (rightly much maligned) integral safety button:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    All guns (regardless of stock type) have a molded plastic cheekpiece, which is coated with a soft-touch black rubber finish:

    [​IMG]

    The work required would need the gun stripping down pretty comprehensively so I took my time, collecting images and making notes on the way. The first step was to remove the cheekpiece, courtesy of three countersink bolts - one on either side near the front and a third at the rear:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With the cheekpiece removed the breech block is revealed, giving the first real hint that the working parts of this rifle are based heavily around the company's popular S410 / S510 range of rifles. Note the familiar (if slimmed down) magazine lifter assy on the RHS of the block, as well as the utterly, utterly horrible transfer port shear bolt in the exhaust valve housing beneath, just above the line of the stock:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Typically for Air Arms parts in general the block has a pretty complex geometry, CNC-machined from a solid chunk of aluminium alloy. Note the familiar sprung mag retainer on the top of the block. This is lifted straight from the S410/510 - just like the mag itself:

    [​IMG]

    The action was separated from the stock through the removal of the two retaining bolts at the forend and one at the rear - within the void between the pistol grip and the butt - leaving us with the bare action. Again similarities with the 400/500 series can be seen in a number of areas, including the striker, exhaust valve and trigger housings:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The muzzle assembly showing the 1/2" female threaded bush for mod fitment, pressure gauge, sliding fill port cover and unfeasibly lanky barrel support:

    [​IMG]

    The next step was to unscrew the shroud. This is screwed to the main action's "cover" (as AA call it) and appears to have been fitted with locking compound (as is the norm on other shrouded models from the company) although this one came off without a whole lot of fuss.

    From the image below it can be seen that the shroud extends past the muzzle by a few inches and presumably contains some internal baffles... although as with all shrouds on AA guns its effectiveness is limited due to limited internal volume and hence a proper mod is required to really cut muzzle noise. Again, the barrel appears to be the same excellent unit used on the 400 and 500 series rifles.

    [​IMG]

    The cocking lever, cylinder and front of the cover, showing the threaded shroud support. Note the channel in its underside to allow the hollow cover to be lifted off over the barrel. The air cylinder is steel and of the same OD and ID as those used on the rest of the AA PCP range (with the exception of the ally items used on the S510TC), however the finish differs (being matt), while there are numerous other differences too, which will be covered later.

    [​IMG]

    With the shroud off the action's cover could be removed. I first took off the detachable, standard airgun size scope rail (I believe a Weaver rail is an option) to make sure I wasn't missing any additional cover fixings underneath. In typical Air Arms style good engineering practice has been applied as the rail has two steel dowels in its underside to ensure correct location and alignment with the cover.

    [​IMG]

    The cover itself is held on with six M3 button head bolts - two on either side at the front and two at the rear, into the breech block. Again this part is a masterpiece of CNC engineering with many curves and complex surfaces:

    [​IMG]

    Looking inside it can be seen that the cover is basically just a shell, with wall thicknesses as low as 1-1.5mm in places. A fine piece of machining no doubt, although I can't help but feel slightly perturbed that probably 90% of the billet this started life as ended up as swarf in the scrap bin. Air Arms excel at CNC machining and given the likely production numbers alternative production methods were probably deemed non-viable, however it does strike me as somewhat wasteful. It certainly gives some justification to the rifle's price tag!

    [​IMG]

    A closeup of the front underside of the cover, showing the barrel channel and shroud mount, as well as the generally complex geometry of the part:

    [​IMG]

    With the cover removed the guts of the action are really laid bare; showing the pretty inspired and complex cocking linkage arrangement:

    [​IMG]

    Here we see the cocking arrangement in both bolt open and closed positions - note the presence of the assistor spring on the linkage, which aids the lever during unlocking of the bolt; causing it to spring forward once the lever has travelled "over centre".

    Bolt open:

    [​IMG]

    Bolt closed:

    [​IMG]

    The assembly viewed from above - note the two "forks" on the linkage that run either side of the barrel; allowing its pivot points to effectively pass through the bore's principal axis:

    [​IMG]

    The "front chassis" that contains the cocking linkage, lever, trigger blade etc requires removal to allow access to the breech block. To achieve this it needs to be pulled forwards over the cylinder, however the presence of the barrel support prevented this from happening. Unlike other AA guns with screw-on fill valve covers the support isn't so straightforward to take off - requiring the removal of the port cover / shroud, which in turn is held on by the pressure gauge - so the whole thing required depressurising (well, it had to happen at some point anyway!).

    This was achieved by slackening off the gauge (using a specially-made socket) and allowing the air to drain out. The gauge, washer and cover could then be removed:

    [​IMG]

    Next the barrel support can be removed, once its retaining grub screws have been slackened off:

    [​IMG]

    With the barrel support off the front chassis can be removed. This part actually floats around the cylinder, being rigidly attached to the rest of the action only by the cover above and the rectangular-section bar that runs beneath the action between the sear housing at its rear and the trigger blade housing further forward.

    Due to the floating nature of this part it's free to move around and touch the cylinder while being worked upon. To reduce the chance of any damage during disassembly I made up a paper tube to slide over the cylinder, keeping the two parts separated. To allow the front chassis to be removed the cocking linkage needed to be detached at some point - achieved by removal of a cross-pin between the lever assy and the rear, linear part of the linkage:

    [​IMG]

    The side plates were removed from both the sear and trigger blade housings to allow the trigger transfer bar to be removed and stop if flopping about and damaging anything. The image below shows the sear arrangement - again illustrating many similarities and shared parts with the proven 400/500 series units:

    [​IMG]

    ...continued in the next post as I've hit the image limit :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  2. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Continued ;)


    All that was left was to remove one CSK bolt from the location bar and the front chassis assy was free. The bar is dowelled at both ends to keep everything square, stiff and in the right place. As is obviously par for the course on this rifle the front chassis is beautifully machined, if again perhaps somewhat wasteful with material. Not that it can be seen but the lever assy runs within brass / bronze bushes while the linkage sits within plain bearings for reduced friction, wear-resistance and longevity - again, proper engineering!

    What's not so hot is the use of rivets in some parts of the linkage; I'd guess most likely because of space constraints.

    [​IMG]

    The action with the front chassis removed:

    [​IMG]

    The breech block is retained in the same way as all current 400 and 500 series guns; six caphead bolts from underneath, two of which have the usual nasty steel caps pressed over them which require drilling and extracting before the bolts can be accessed and removed to allow the parts to be separated. The image below shows the striker and exhaust valve housings from above, once the block has been removed; all of which again look very similar to S510 parts.

    [​IMG]

    A shot of the top of the striker and exhaust valve housings - ignore the piece of masking tape or something trapped between the two - fap knows where it came from but it's not there any more! Note how much the transfer port restrictor screw is impinging into the already-small transfer port (the hole to the RHS of the image with the spot-face around it, for those who don't know) - the significance of which will be discussed later.

    [​IMG]

    The underside of the breech block, nicely illustrating the cocking rod assembly that transfers motion at the cocking lever to the loading bolt. Internally the block is basically like a high-rise S410 / S510 unit, jacked up to accomodate the linkages that sit beneath the bore / bolt axis. This has the unwanted side effect of significantly increasing transfer port length (and hence volume) which can't be good for efficiency.

    The loading bolt has a captive ball detente to aid positivity of operation; snapping it into both closed and open positions at the end of its stroke.

    [​IMG]

    The mag indexing plate removed - again, internal parts are shared with the S410/S510, however the housing is slimmed down to give it a lower profile beneath the gun's cheekpiece:

    [​IMG]

    With the breech block out of the way the striker housing could be removed, revealing a familiar looking striker / spring / rail setup; much like that used on the older S510 (they appear to have moved away from the original rotationally-constrained design with the bolt in the top to the freely-rotating item of the S410). The striker looks very similar, weighs about as much and apparently has the same stroke at around 8.8mm give or take...

    [​IMG]

    ...however I think might be a little different to that used on the S510 in the past to accomodate the lower-rate striker spring required on the regulated variant:

    [​IMG]

    The exhaust valve housing was unscrewed from the cylinder; revealing a lack of S400/500esq plenum (unsurprising as the gun is regged) and a novel method of valve assy retention. Note also that the thread into the cylinder is a lot finer that that found on any of the other AA PCPs, while the seal arrangement is also different (this is true of both the inlet and exhaust valve assemblies).

    The 400 and 500 series guns have a single seal outboard of the cylinder thread with an intentionally thin wall at the end of the cylinder where the seal is located. The reasoning is that if the cylinder is over-pressurised the load exerted on the cylinder wall by the seal causes it to deform outwards; allowing the seal to escape and release the air in a reasonably controlled manner.

    The setup on the Galahad is completely different. There are two smaller, harder O-rings inboard of the thread, which seal against the cylinder's ID. Between these seals is a groove, whose location corresponds with a vent hole in the cylinder. I suspect the idea is that in the event of over-pressurisation the inner-most seal deforms the lip between it and the groove outboard of it, eventually forcing the seal past the vent hole and allowing the cylinder's contents to escape.

    In addition any air that leaks past the inboard seal (because the seal has failed naturally) will escape through the vent hole and hence aid leak diagnosis. It's possible that this could be the only reason for this setup, however I can't see that Air Arms would drop the over-pressure safety feature all together, plus if this were the only reason for this format there would be no point in having the groove between the two seals... regardless, I don't think Simon would welcome me banging 300 bar into his rifle to test the theory!

    Anyway, here's the exhaust valve housing assy - see what you think..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The exhaust valve assembly stripped - the valve and (I think) return spring are standard S400/500:

    [​IMG]

    Somewhat disappointingly the regulator is located inside the cylinder and sealed radially against its walls with O-rings - in just the same manner as the many aftermarket regulators available for the 400/500 series guns. Following the aftermarket reg format, the reg is separated from the valve asembly by a cylindrical ally standoff that serves to create a plenum between the reg and valve.

    While an arguably acceptable and workable solution in a retro-fit application, IMO this approach is more than a bit shonky in an original design and I'd have much preferred to have seen an proper standalone, external reg fitted to this rifle - especially considering the price.

    Thankfully the cylinder incorporates a breather hole for the reg towards its rear, as well as two others (one at each end) to serve the revised seal formats as the inlet and exhaust valve housings as already discussed.

    [​IMG]

    With the gun disassembled to the extent required to carry out the necessary work, the inlet valve assembly was removed just to take a look. Externally it breaks from the usual "T-bar" filler found on the 400/500 series, following the probe and port format of the FTP900 - complete with a tidy sliding cover. Internally its layout echoes that of the exhaust valve - with a fine thread inboard two sealing O-rings. Interestingly the fill port orientation in the gun is dead-vertical, suggesting that the parts are somehow indexed to ensure this orientation, rather than simply screwed together and left in any orientation.

    [​IMG]

    That's as far as disassembly went. The necessary work was carried out and the gun reassembled - which thankfully took a lot less time than stripping it. Simon was kind enough to insist that I took the rifle to the range and of course I obliged as it's always interesting to try out new kit.

    Now that we've become acquainted with what goes on inside the Galahad, the rest of this increasingly unfeasibly long thread will cover (for what they're worth) my thoughts on the gun's design as well as my experiences of using it on the range.


    General Mechanical Design Quality

    Many core components have been robbed from the Air Arms parts bin and as such are either shared with, or very similar to existing parts found in the S400/500 series of guns. From design and production perspectives this is a rational approach for the company as it both saves on R&D costs and reduces inventory.

    Of course this means that many attributes are carried over from these "original" guns - some good, some not. On the plus side the trigger assy on the 400/500 series is very good and lives on in an altered format in the Galahad. Unfortunately the nasty blade-mounted safety remains, while some refinement is lost due to the inevitable, additional complexity and friction that comes with relocating the trigger blade and operating the sears remotely - the effects of which will be covered later.

    Unfortunately from here it's mostly downhill IMO. The exhaust valve setup is not one of the 400/500 series' strong points and has been used pretty-much unchanged in the Galahad. The valve itself is fairly large, heavy and prone to extrusion as I've covered at length in the past. There's no reason to expect it to behave any differently in this application, although hopefully the lower operating pressure of the regulated version of the Galahad will slow (or maybe even avoid) the degradation process. In addition packaging issues dictate that there's a fair amount of lost volume between the valve seat and transfer port, which will harm efficiency (as much as I love them the AA guns are pretty poor on air compared to many of their competitors).

    Porting is the standard 3mm diameter affair with restrictor screw which works well on the 400 series, once the absolute b*stard of a shear bolt is removed from the port to allow adjustment as necessary. Unfortunately due to the higer bore line / taller breech block the transfer port is significantly longer than in the 400/500 series; which will probably bring some additional inefficiency to an already air-hungry format.

    The striker assembly appears (in the unregged rifle at least) to be lifted pretty much straight from the 500 series. The striker runs on a rod courtesy of PTFE-impregnated bearings so offers low friction and excellent consistency - especially if the rod is polished which is a straightforward task if the gun's in bits. Stroke is around 8.8mm which gives a middling and certainly acceptable lock time. Unfortunately the striker spring has a lot of pre-load, which isn’t great for efficiency and gives a more pronounced velocity curve.

    The mag setup again comes unchanged from the 410/510 and is generally reliable - its only Achilles' heel being the somewhat crude and flimsy lifter, which sometimes requires "adjustment" (bending) to attain reliable operation. Once this has been achieved they rarely give issues until they finally break - although this is usually after many thousands of operations and isn't the end of the world since they're cheap and easy to replace.

    The shrouded barrel is a similar format to that on the standard S510 series rifles in that the shroud extends past the muzzle by a fair way and terminates at a threaded bush for a moderator. I'm not a huge fan of this setup as it sacrifices barrel length (and hence efficiency) for a setup that doesn't reduce muzzle noise by a whole lot and is open to alignment problems if a mod is fitted.

    Moving away from shared parts the Galahad uses a totally new cocking setup, emplying a fairly complex arrangement of levers and rods to transfer rotation of an external lever to a linear motion that actuates the loading bolt and mag system. The design appears, innovative, well thought-out and nicely executed with no obvious flaws. Bearings in many places and a ball detente on the loading bolt illustrate the manufacturer's attention to detail and adherence to good engineering practice; the only smallish complaint being the use of rivets in one location.

    The inlet valve assy uses the same guts as the rest of the AA rifles which are proven and reliable, while the filler itself moves away from the current "T-bar" setup on the current 400/500 series guns, instead opting for the same probe setup as found on the FTP900. While these had some initial issues with sharp edges and O-ring damage, I think they're all sorted now and should be as reliable as anything else on the market.

    In summary all parts are either already proven or appear sufficiently well designed to last, with nothing that suggests a liklihood of premature failure. On the down side many of the proven parts are old and inefficient; Air Arms arguably missing an opportunity to make improvements in these areas - although I can appreciate their (no doubt cost-driven) reasoning for sticking to existing designs.


    Regulator Implementation

    Since the 400 & 500 series have never offered a reg the Galahad breaks new ground in regulating this platform. I'll lay my cards on the table from the off and state that unfortunately I think the reg implementation is poor. For a start there's the location of the reg inside the cylinder (a' la retro-fit offerings for the 400/500) - OK as a workable, cost-effective solution to regulating an otherwise un-regged gun, not great in a high-end rifle that's regged from the off. I dislike this approach as it adds more complexity, doesn't make great use of space (often resulting in a small, inefficient plenum volume - as in this case), is arguably less reliable (more seals / places to leak) and makes the rifle more difficult and time consuming to work on.

    A far preferable approach IMO would have been a separate screw-in external reg between the valve body and cylinder; either with the plenum integral to the reg body or by using a separate double-male-threaded reg that sits between the main cylinder and another, shorter cylindrical section that attaches to the valve assy and serves as a plenum.

    In this instance I had no reason to remove the regulator from the cylinder so didn't get the opportunity to inspect / strip it or test it for any input pressure effect. As such I can't comment on the unit itself - suffice to say that Air Arms regs of past have a mixed reputation - I don't think it's unfair to call them generally competent with some niggling issues such as the creep issue on the units used on the Pro-Target and EV2.

    Moving away from the reg itself, thankfully Air Arms seem to have made a few concessions to accomodate its presence (that's one up on the regged Brocock Compatto, then!). The striker spring has a lower rate to better suit the lower operating pressures the gun will be running at, while striker stroke remains the same - meaning an unwelcome increase in lock time.

    Most designers and tuners will agree that in a regulated gun porting should be as large as possible to allow the lowest possible operating pressures. Unfortunately in this case the already relatively small 3mm diameter ports in this gun showed significant additional strangulation from the restrictor screw (see pic earlier in post) - its setting apparently cutting the flow area of the bare port in half (give or take) and its position looking broadly no different to how it would in a standard unregged S400/500. This suggests that the gun most likely wants to operate at a much higher pressure than the reg has been set to - meaning poor air efficiency.

    The natural solution is to run the port wide open, set the muzzle energy on the striker off-reg and set the reg to whatever pressure the muzzle energy peaks at. Unfortunately due to the very minimal adjustment available on the striker spring (possible only by adding and removing preload washers or replacing the spring - no continuous, easily-accessible adjustment is available), plus the considerable amount of disassembly required to access and adjust both the striker and the reg, this is neither a quick nor straightforward prospect.

    So in summary IMO the reg implementation's disappointingly sub-par, can possibly be made better if you put a fair bit of time in, but will never be great.


    Build, Fit and Finish

    On a much more positive note the build quality lives up to the excellent standard that most owners of Air Arms products have come to expect. most parts are machined from solid ally and finished in a high-quality, slightly matt anodised black. The barrel is the usual Walther item (which usually offer excellent quality and accuracy) and is polished externally, the air cylinder being matt finished and both are very well blued. The walnut stock is finished in oil to the usual attractive, minimal-if-adiquate standard. There are apparently no light alloy castings and very little plastic present in the gun, unlike so many others on the market.

    In this particular rifle I did find the trigger transfer bar to be bent (probably something that happened during heat treatment) but that's as bad as the mechanical issues got. On the whole materials choice, parts quality, fit and finish are generally excellent throughout with the odd little niggling cosmetic issue here and there but no show-stoppers.

    The only part I have my resevations about in regard to quality is the rubber-coated cheekpiece, which on this example was already showing some signs of the finish scratching off in places, while I do feel that the decision to machine most parts from the solid results in a lot of wastage - however I can appreciate the reasons for taking this route.


    Aesthetics

    I'm not going to linger on this as it's a hugely subjective area and it's up to the beholder to assess the rifle's aesthetic merits and shortcomings. Suffice to say that I'm sure most will agree it squat, dumpy lines are not going to win any beauty contests. FWIW I personally think it'd look a lot better sans-pointless barrel band or with a deep rectangular shround that extends from the cover to the muzzle; filling the gap between the cylinder and barrel.


    Ergonomics and Handling

    Perhaps the one area where the Bullpup format takes the most flak, and rightly so. Like most bullpups the rifle appears much smaller in images than it actually is in real life - it's actual size potentially coming as quite a shock when the box is opened for the first time!

    As with many of this format the rifle is short and fairly heavy - as such feeling very dense. Unlike most traditional rifles which have their centre of mass at some point well-forward of the trigger, the Galahad's COM feels somewhere high above its pistol grip - making it feel top-heavy and quite unwieldy during general handling. Note that this particular example was fitted with a fairly large and heavy Airmax 30 scope, however this served to exacerbate existing traits rather than alter the rifle's character completely.

    Shouldering the rifle is a mixed bag. The pistol grip is comfortable in the hand, the reach to trigger putting the blade right where it needs to be for my small to medium paws. Trigger hand position is much lower with respect to the rest of the rifle (eye line, butt height), however this doesn't feel unduly odd or uncomfortable. Likewise the butt is comfortable enough in the shoulder, aided by the inclusion of a nicely adjustable butt pad.

    Unfortunately the ergonomics start to come unstuck around the cheekpiece. For a start the comb is high and fat, with its "straight down the middle" ambidextrous lines offering no offset to either side to promote correct eye alignment as would be found in dedicated LH/RH rifles of a more traditional format. Despite relatively high mounts employed to fit the scope I found eye alignment difficult; requiring my face to be forced into the cheekpiece (both inward and downward) in an effort to get a clear sight picture.. which was not at all comfortable. Arguably worse was the presence of the mag assy - from the right shoulder the mag itself projected noticeably into my face, while from the left shoulder the slimmed-down lifter housing was less obtrusive but could still be felt.

    On a positive note the deep forend directly in front of the trigger provides an excellent, stable platform for the leading hand, making it easy to triangulate one's stance and lock everything into place without the need for additional palm rests or freakishly bendy fingers. In the shoulder the rifle feels heavy but very neutrally balanced - critically not as unstable on aim as I've have expected, although this might have been partially due to the rifle's significant mass.

    Air Arms deserve recognition for their innovative cocking lever setup; which is definitely a step up from the "sod it, that'll do" of lesser manufacturers who leave the loading bolt / sidelever at the rear of the gun; effectively leaving the action largely unchanged from whichever standard-format rifle it was lifted from. In use the lever feels smooth, tight and positive, with every operation in the cocking / loading process identifiable with plenty of mechanical advantage to make the process very controllable. Inserting a mag right at the rear of the action feels a little weird but presents no issues - partially thanks to the ball-detente employed on the loading bolt to keep it in the rearward position and prevent it sliding forward as it can on the 400/500 series if the bolt or lever isn't sufficiently restrained.

    It's not all roses with the cocking lever though - it's placement causing some issues during use that make operation somewhat unintuitive and clumsy. For right-handers the lever is supplied on the RHS; suggesting that it should be operated with the right / trigger hand - as would a bolt or sidelever on a traditional rifle. I found that attempting to keep the left / leading hand in position right in front of the trigger while operating the cocking lever with the right / trigger hand made the rifle feel extremely unstable in the shoulder, while moving the left / leading further forward on the forend to aid stability often meant it got in the way of cycling the lever.

    FWIW I actually found that the RH-mounted cocking lever worked best when the rifle was fired from the left shoulder; the gun's central balance allowing it to be supported fairly easily with the left / trigger hand while the right / supporting hand cycled the lever. Of course the ability of the lever to be easily swapped from one side to the other will help owners explore which setup best suits them.

    As mentioned the rifle feels pretty stable on aim; thanks I think to it's not inconsiderable mass (book figure is 3.6kg compared to around 2.9kg for a walnut S510 according to the AA website) and deep forend. The trigger lacks the refinement of the 400/500 series - while it retains positive operation with clearly defined stages it also exhibits an amount of drag and additional pull weight throughout its travel.

    On the range I managed to drop 10 shots ast 20yd into maybe 3/4" from the left shoudler and maybe 1" from the right - respectively worse and about the same as I'd expect to achieve with a traditional rifle. I did notice the gun was perhaps a bit less forgiving of sloppy trigger control - most likely due to its slower lock time and very neutral balance making it easier to pull off target.


    Performance

    I didn't linger on group tests as I really couldn't be arsed and given the barrel's excellent provenance and proven action, expected its absolute performance to be broadly similar to that of a S410 / S510. I did note that the pressure gauge fell from 200bar to around 140bar over 50 shots - suggesting a pressure drop of around 1.2bar / shot and suggesting that to get the 120 shots per 210bar charge stated on AA's website the gun would have to operate down to around 65bar. This is certainly far lower than I'd expect the system to like based on its porting, so if the reg's set this low the gun won't be operating very efficiently.


    Conclusion

    Congratulations for making it this far :p

    In summary I found the Galahad to be a rifle of extremes, both good and bad. Component quality, fit and finish are generally excellent while mechanically it's a mixture of existing parts and designs robbed from the AA parts bin (which are competent and perfectly acceptable at best, inefficient and outdated at worst) coupled with very complex, beautifully executed new components to blend them into the bullpup format. The cynic might suggest that this is an aging platform tarted up into a new and fashionable format, which IMO isn't too far from the truth.

    Regulator implementation is disappointing to say the least - appearing under-developed, ill-thought-out and poorly set up.. so I certainly wouldn't pay the extra for this feature (although if you're brave and have a lot of spare time I suspect it could be tweaked to exceed the AA factory figures).

    In use the rifle acquitted itself perhaps a little better than I expected and negotiated well some of the traditional shortcomings of the bullpup format (such as the cocking system - using a clean-sheet design that embodies Air Arms' typical "outside the box" innovation), which has to be commended. Unfortunately in other areas the gun doesn't fare too well - most obviously in the pretty horrible ergonomics surrounding the gun's cheekpiece and cumbersome, ungainly handling when not in the shoulder, considerable mass and sometimes awkward cocking.

    In its favour the gun is shorter & easier to manouver in confined spaces, very well made & finished, innovative and unique. It should be reliable, prove just as accurate from a rest as the 400/500 series and offers balance that some find more accomodating in standing shots. On the flipside the gun is ergonomically very compromised in areas, bulky, awkward to handle, poorly regged, inefficient, somewhat time-consuming to work on and let's face it, pretty damned ugly (although of course this is subjective and I must admit it's grown on me a little).

    So, would I buy one? I think most can already guess the answer to that. Given the choice I'd take an S410 any day of the week as it's far nicer to handle, lighter, so much more comfortable, has better balance (subjective I know), a nicer trigger, is easier to work on, looks so much better (again subjective) and costs about 2/3rds the price. If I was forced to spend Galahad money, it'd go straight on an S510 Ultimate Sporter.


    So there we go. I think the Galahad is a pretty valiant stab at producing a rifle to a fairly radical and flawed (bullpup) format by an otherwise fairly traditional and reserved company (who probably didn't even really want to be in this market). The Galahad has many flaws - some inescapable in the breed, some all of its own.

    Unless you're being forced to operate inside a shoebox I see little practical appeal to this rifle, although of course many will buy them for emotive rather than practical reasons. I'm sure it'll appeal to the individualist / shooter who appreciates the unusual or quirky, while I don't think they've sold in massive numbers so perhaps they're a future collectable in the making.

    If nothing else the rifle continues to be emotive, divisive, somewhat intriguing and never unable to elicit a strong response one way or another from any shooter you might ask :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  3. PumpnGun

    PumpnGun Donator

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    Well written, well photographed, well done, Thanks Mike I enjoyed that :cool:
     
  4. PeteJ

    PeteJ Engaging Member

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    Wow, thanks for the commitment to producing something so comprehensive.
    My personal deliberation between the Ultimate Sporter and the Galahad is beginning to resolve itself.
    Many thanks for the review and for Simon's patience.
     
  5. The Robin

    The Robin Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Mega detailed thread with great pics, as always. Very interesting reading on the Galahad and well worth the time doing so :up:
     
    goafdoc likes this.
  6. oedbachgen

    oedbachgen Top Poster

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    Very interesting and informative read with photos on the Galahad cloverleaf:up:
     
  7. Paddler

    Paddler Donator

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    Good comprehensive report Mr Leaf.

    An observation of an unregulated Galahad in .177, due to low power issues a freind removed the dreaded ** **** and adjusted it accordingly. He wound it a bit to far and it yielded 900+ fps! And there was still some to go!! What a waste of air! We wondered if it was a 'one fits all' job for the sub 12lb and FAC versions :/

    ps I now believe I know how AA remove the AT. Done with a tube slid down over a centre drill and sat on the cone of the sheared head preventing the centre drill from going off centre. ...or something like that ;)
     
  8. rabbitwrecker

    rabbitwrecker Socially Distant...

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    Excellent post, Clover - I see you found the mainspring...:thumb:
     
  9. jesim1

    jesim1 Kit bitch to the Stars

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    Well documented, way beyond my capabilities in mechanics, photograph and writing itself - this is a great deal of effort, well done.

    James
     
  10. monsta41

    monsta41 Donator

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    excellent write up mike :up:
     
  11. Citizen K

    Citizen K Well-Known Member

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    In that case they had better increase the image and character limit for when you do write such :eek:

    Finally, a proper shakedown of this airgun without the usual reviewer/manufacturer reach around, thank you.
     
  12. That hurts

    That hurts Barely Active

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    Excellent Mike and this ought to be 'stickied' :up:
     
  13. Bozz

    Bozz Busy Member

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    Excellent Mr Cloverleaf what an In depth strip to tease, I think this must go into sticky's for all to view, the pictures are so clear and the write up so informative.
    All the best Graham.
     
  14. Shooter22

    Shooter22 Donator

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    Thank you Cloverleaf for taking the time to review the Galahad, it is a bullpup rifle i would like to try and am sure it will be a winner for Air Arms given their engineering excellence and the fact bullpups are the future ;). I will look forward to reading your review again this evening in a more relaxed mood with a small brandy and some peace and quiet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  15. Shoto1

    Shoto1 Donator

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    You have, (yet again), excelled Mike ~ another first class piece of work with the usual high quality images.
    Thank you for your efforts. :up:

    I shall be shipping you my FX Wildcat and Impact for similar analysis; I’m determined to convert you to being a bullpup / semi bullpup fanboy :p

    All the best :)
     
  16. neildarlow

    neildarlow Busy Member

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    I suspect, at heart, you are a traditional rifle man, Mike.

    I have a friend who has taken to the bullpup format (owning a Bantam, Compatto, Galahad and Pulsar) all of which I have shot but I can't see a compelling reason to buy any of them.

    I can see the merit in having a compact rifle but none (yet) seem to have got the ergonomics on a par with a traditional rifle.

    Perhaps I'm becoming set in my ways.

    An excellent write-up and beautiful photographs. I see a new career beckoning for you in this direction.

    Sent from my F3211 using Tapatalk
     
  17. Seamaster

    Seamaster Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Superb write up and pictures Mike. Thankyou for taking the time and effort.
    I feel even happier about my recent Ultimate Sporter purchase too.

    Chris
     
  18. smudgerii

    smudgerii Busy Member

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    Great work. Have a reg’d carbine and love it.
     
  19. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks guys - I'm glad some of you found it of interest and very much appreciate the encouragement :)

    I'd hate to think how many hours it's taken me to write this (a lot more than I'd anticipated, as usual), however since I'd never played with one before (and I know a lot of people on AGF haven't either) it would have been a shame to have missed the opportunity.

    Thanks again to Simon for allowing me to document his rifle and for giving me his blessing to speak my mind without sugar-coating anything!


    The restriction at the port itself shouldn't cause much inefficiency on an unregged gun on its own, although due to the lost volume behind the valve this might be more of a problem on these guns. In the regged gun the efficiency issue stems more from the possibility that the reg is set at a far lower pressure than the rest of the system wants to work at, meaning it's always operating at a lower than ideal pressure. There are other differences between the standard and FAC versions, so it's not all just throttled down on the port ;)

    I have it on good authority that Air Arms just use a pistol drill freehand, however they have the luxury of a big bin of parts if / when it all goes wrong!


    Thanks and yup - does this mean you want one? :p


    Thanks - as usual I didn't intend it to be this large, but that's how it came out. Had a few issues with formatting and hope it doesn't come across as too rambling or repetitive!

    Your reply reminds me of a response I read to a post on another forum some time ago from one of the admin staff - "just popping down the shop to get some more letters" - which cracked me up :p

    I'd be quite happy writing more reviews of this nature if they paid - sadly, as I'm sure you're well aware the airgun industry is barren at the best of times and of course no manufacturer is going to give you a gun to test unless they know they're going to get the standard, magazine-grade sugar-coated turd of a "review" :rolleyes:


    Thanks :)

    I'd be quite happy to work through either of yours in a similar way, although only in the event of them needing work as this epic tested my resolve and I certainly don't have the drive to strip one just for the sake of it :p


    I am, completely. I totally agree with your standpoint - happy to assess things on their merits, however so far I've found this format to have many (mostly ergonomic) drawbacks while offering few if any compelling reasons to adopt it. Of course everyone's requirements and tastes are different but I'm yet to find a bullpup that rouses any real interest - with the possible exception of a Kalibrgun Colibri if they did them in true semi-auto!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  20. Sky

    Sky Top Poster

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    Outstanding work Mike - very informative, well written and also an entertaining read. :hail2:
    I don't like the look of Bullpups either (can't quite see the point), but I've never handled one so I don't know whether I'd like the handling or not. :shrug:

    Well done. :thumb:
     

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