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Air Arms S400 "Ultimate Lashup" - the surprise LSR rifle..

Discussion in 'Gun Gallery' started by cloverleaf, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    I'll try and keep this one short..

    I recently acquired a RH Beech 2006 AA S400 that I'd initially planned to move on, but got on well with and decided to keep for shooting LSR competitions from the right shoulder (I'm left-handed, as are most of my guns).

    Irritatingly the gun's "semi-AT", meaning it has the provisions in place for anti-tamper, but never had it fitted. It's in reasonable nick, having had a new barrel and cylinder recently and having seen a bit of polishing and tweaking in the past courtesy of yours truly :p

    As received:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Inevitably it didn't last long before the "spare" S510 Ultimate Sporter stock I've had hanging around, waiting for a project found its way onto the gun:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    It makes a cracking LSR rifle and so far I'm very pleased with it.. although I'll never be 100% happy due to the AT thing and the fact that as a result some of the breech block bolts are facing the wrong direction..


    For now though it's serving me well, having managed a PB on my latest set of comp cards. I'm not sure what direction it'll take in the future - I had intended to use this stock on a pre-AT MPR-based rifle, however I'm yet to find a suitable donor rifle and might struggle with the rifle weight regs. Also, I like the quietness of the Q-tec, which would be a pain to fit to the fatter MPR barrel and again might cause weight issues.

    The scope does the job well enough but ideally I'd prefer something with better glass and a bit more mag, so might move it on in favour of an Airmax (although I hate the Hawke text at the top of the image!) or Panorama..

    Time will tell!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  2. Paddler

    Paddler Donator

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    The lash up turned out quite nice! I'm thinking along these line for my next club day rifle, the 400 is such a good platform. A chap at my club had one in the 510 US stock.. It really does it justice.

    It'd be nice around the farm too..little Rowen multi unit in it... Mmmm tasty food for thought.

    Thanks for sharing ;)
     
  3. milek

    milek Honorary Member

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    That stock transforms the rifle. People should scour the for sale threads to find one for their Air Arms :)
     
  4. ajs193

    ajs193 Donator

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    That's what my S410 looks like now :)
     
  5. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks - tbh though if wanting a multishot for ratting you might as well just go the whole hog and get an S510 US IMO!


    Indeed.. tbh I was quite tempted to hoover up your stock and build another :p

    Also tempted just to buy an HFT 500 since I'll be using it from the right shoulder, although the AT and inability to fit a mod put me off..


    Good work - really transforms the rifle, does it not..?

    I think the rifle looks really nicely visually balanced when the US stock's fitted to a moderated full-length action, too!
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  6. banksy

    banksy Busy Member

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    Why is the missing AT such a deal breaker?
     
  7. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Because I'm hopelessly OCD and like things to be "proper"..

    The 400 series have their bolt housing / breech blocks attached to the rest of the gun with six bolts - two at the rear into the striker housing and four at the front into the exhaust valve housing.

    On original pre-AT guns all six of these bolts were M3 and fitted from the top of the breech block down into the striker and valve housings.

    When AT was on the cards (2006) AA started fitting the blocks with four M3 bolts from the top of the housing and two M4 bolts from underneath, so that steel caps could be pressed over the heads of the inverted M4 bolts in the underside of the gun to prevent it being stripped. If you look at the closeup pics of the LHS of the block above, you'll see the heads of the two M3 breech block bolts visible in the counterbores at the front and rear of the block, but absent from the one in the middle (beneath the loading port).

    In principal this is a horrible, lash-up of an idea that really makes a mess of an otherwise competently executed design and doesn't look very pleasant, while from a practical perspective it makes stripping a little more awkward, but that's no big deal.

    While this gun was made before AT was rolled out (made in 2006, AT came in during 2007) the foundations had already been laid for AT, resulting in the format described above. While AT was never fitted the butchery executed to allow it to be fitted is present on this gun, which really doesn't sit well with me.

    Many wouldn't mind, however I like things perfect and hate everything that AT stands for, so I'd much rather have a pre-2006 gun with all the bolts the right way up!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  8. meerkat1

    meerkat1 Keyboard Hero

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    the US stocks are pretty nice and the S400 in that`s a good combination :up: :)
     
  9. arthur john smithsplease

    arthur john smithsplease Busy Member

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    Cloverleaf, I hope you don't mind me asking a question that isn't really related to this thread.

    If, like me, you happened not to like the appearance of the skinny barrel on the S400, would you:

    Put a 14 or 15mm carbon fibre or alloy shroud on it and buy a bigger diameter Rowan Engineering figure of eight clamp,

    OR

    Re-barrel it with a MPR FT barrel or similar. and new figure of eight?

    Or do you think, given the tricky business of barrel harmonics, and the fact that AA have kept the thin barrel despite years of criticism from buyers, that they know what they are doing, and that it is best left alone?

    I ask because you are something of an AA expert, and I am a novice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  10. sithe79

    sithe79 Donator

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    Very nice. The US stock really finishes it off nicely!
    Atb,
    Simon
     
  11. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks - it's all good - the skinny barrel has really been p*ssing me off tonight as it happens, so I've been mulling over similar questions..

    Earlier I fitted a spare MPR barrel band (14mm ID) which should allow the 12mm barrel on the standard gun to float, while affording some protection should the moderator get twatted.

    Typically the barrel sat low in the band (most 400 series guns seem to have some downward bias on the barrels at the muzzle for some reason), but there was still an air gap between the two. Upon getting the gun to the club the gap had mysteriously disappeared, which was odd.

    It eventually transpired that the relatively heavy (192g) Q-tec mod was pulling the barrel down into contact with the band - upon the suggestion of Jamie (loki_79) who was shooting next to me, the barrel was found to sit almost perfectly central inside the band if the gun's turned upside-down :rolleyes:

    The gun did group noticeably better with the barrel floated though, so I'd like to run it in this format if possible.. which brings me around to the question of shrouds..


    Fitting a shroud seems like a decent enough idea, although in practice it becomes somewhat complicated on account of how to fix it.

    Ideally the barrel wants to be held in tension against the shroud - however due to the lack of thread at the muzzle end of the barrel plus the fact that the barrel is clamped by grub screws in the block (not a particularly strong method) this is easier said than done (I'm yet to come up with a satisfactory solution).

    It's possible that you could fit a shroud that has front and rear bosses that closely fit to the OD of the barrel (at its rear just in front of the block and at its front where the mod would usually fit at the muzzle (you could even include a 1/2" UNF adaptor on the end for a mod), however if it was only restrained in one place it could cause issues with harmonics (although I'm still somewhat skeptical that these affect airgun barrels) and wouldn't be as stiff as something rigidly attached.

    You could also bond a CFRP tube to the OD of the barrel, but this is pretty serious and obviously irreverisble.


    I wouldn't try re-barreling the gun with an MPR item since it's larger OD and the breech block is correspondlingly different - MPR barrels are generally excellent quality and it'd be a shame IMO to butcher one to fit a standard S400 - far better to replace the barrel and bolt housing en bloc with MPR bits - as I did on my parts bin gun ;) Of course this wouldn't work if you wanted a multishot and you're still talking about a couple of hundred quid in bits, so it might work better to buy an MPR with a dodgy stock and stick a sporter item on it, if that's your bag.


    Finally, don't get me started on AA and free floating barrels. I certainly consider AA at the top of the tree when it comes to British manufacturers, however they insist on using these bloody skinny barrels. While there's arguably a "weight over accuracy" argument on hunting guns, they even anchor the barrels on most of their target guns (Pro-Target Mk3 and HFT500 notwithstanding) when most top FT shots float their barrels as a matter of course.. some simple range time should be enough to convince them that floating is the way to go, but apparently their R&D doesn't extend to this luxury :rolleyes:


    So there we go, no easy answers but hopefully some stuff to think about :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  12. arthur john smithsplease

    arthur john smithsplease Busy Member

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    Thanks very much for taking the time to share your observations.:)
     
  13. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    No problem :)
     
  14. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Pics sorted :)
     

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