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Daystate Huntsman Mk2 FTR - do I want..?

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by cloverleaf, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Seen a nice example for sale in a pleasant-looking adjustable LH Walnut stock; for apparently decent money..

    Having owned numerous in the past I'd never consider a Daystate as my "primary" rifle as I think AA and HW do most things better and have a deep mistrust of the later/current offerings which are nowhere near as reliable, well built or finished IMO.

    I'm quite drawn to this model though as I have a soft spot for PCPs from the '90s (when I first started shooting and "golden era" for such rifles IMO)


    Pros

    - Last Daystate with a proper blued finish
    - Steel breech block and generally bomb-proof construction that will last forever
    - Typically very good fit and finish
    - Collectable version of a collectable gun
    - Would make a nice project to attempt to (reversibly) bring close to modern standards of firing behaviour
    - Nice LH stock
    - .177


    Cons

    -
    Oversize and agricultural components - unrefined shot cycle
    - Loading bolt is still on the wrong side
    - Pronounced energy curve and poor shot count by modern standards
    - Basic trigger
    - I have far too many guns already and no real use for this one
    - Some elements of design not too clever / not a whole lot of fun to work on



    So, should I buy it..? :confused: :)
     
  2. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    I suspect that you've already made up your mind to buy it. Presumably there's a better than even chance of getting your money back if you later decide to move it on sp what's the harm?
     
  3. stryder5

    stryder5 Donator

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    If it's the one I think in Bromsgrove......buy it. Will outlast many current rifles.

    I have similar Daystate Huntsman Mk II FTR in RH, absolutely fabulous, as accurate as any of today's PCP's.

    When I stripped mine it took me 15 minutes total to have all components on bench, really easy to work on, all 'O' rings available from "Bearing Man" for pennies.

    Shot cycle easily refined, shorten lock time and increase hammer spring with top hat bush, mines 11.6 ftlbs using 8.44 grns and halved lock time.

    Charge to 160 bar, then about 50 shots on nice sweet spot.

    Spend an hour on the trigger, that is two stage, as good as any current Daystate mech trigger.

    You can never have too many guns.

    Replace cocking lever with knob, just get used to turning the correct direction.

    You won't regret this purchase.

    atb

    Gary
     
  4. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Ta - your suspicions might be correct; the only potential stumbling block being that the gunshop's "mint" might not be the same as my definition of the word. If I knew everything was spot on I think I'd definitely have it. Not 100% sold, but might get on the blower and bother them later :p


    It is indeed - thanks for taking the time to furnish me with your thoughts.

    Similarly I was considering short-stroking to reduce the lock time (which can't be great as the striker is huge) and a smaller transfer port to pull up the ideal fill. While I know the triggers can feel decent, as you're probably aware they're only really single-stage units - something I'd like to change.

    Like the idea of the knob too - would make operation much easier :)


    Anyway, not totally decided but might make a phone call in a bit!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  5. stryder5

    stryder5 Donator

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    I am shooting at Furnace Mill in Bewdley tomorrow, near enough for me to pop in and give you my view on condition if you would like me to. I don't really need an excuse to go to a gunshop anyway.:rolleyes: Give me a call on 07977968*** if you want me to view and give you my opinion.

    There were 2 different trigger blocks fitted to the Mk II, and although even now the definition of two stage is debateable, the FTR version has the better trigger.

    If you need a RH stock I have two that may be prised from my grasp. Not FT tho'
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2015
  6. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks - that's very good of you and I really appreciate the offer :)

    If you're going in there anyway I'd certainly appreciate an opinion; don't go out of your way on my behalf though.

    I'm sure you know what you're looking for more than I do, but I'm most interested in cosmetic damage to the action - chewed edges around the action block bolts, scratches, stains, corrosion, worn edges etc. I'd rather there were no dents in the stock but it's not a show-stopper if they're shallow enough to be steamed out.

    End of the day I'm a perfectionist and and am really only interested in this rifle as a collectable object of nostalgia :p

    Thanks for the pointers on the trigger (didn't know they were different - the only ones I've seen have had the same block but straight blade as opposed to the curved item on the sporter) and for the offer of a stock - I'm left handed though so that's all good!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2015
  7. stryder5

    stryder5 Donator

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  8. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Looks like a very tidy example, that - thanks again for taking a look at the other one for me :)



    So, after Gary (above) very kindly dropped by the shop and gave me an opinion on the rifle, it sounded worth a look so I collected it yesterday.

    I was very impressed by the service in the shop (which I won't name for now, for fear of complicating future proceedings :rolleyes:) and am generally pleased with the condition of the rifle - it's not mint (what ever is?) but is very presentable for a gun approaching 20yrs old. Irritatingly the filler cap is off a later model (which I'd already twigged from the image in the ad) and the trigger was very poorly adjusted, but the gun's solid, original and unmolested.

    The woodwork is apparently a Custom Stocks effort (judging by the cheek piece) as many were on production guns in the 90s. The stock is very comfortable and stable on target - the only small issue is the palm-swell which is a bit pronounced for my tastes. The cheek piece is just the right height, as is the deepened forend where it meets the trigger guard.

    Below are a few pics I took last night:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I took the opportunity to chrono the gun earlier; which is when things started to get a bit squiffy :(

    Filled to 170bar the rifle was producing around 8.5ftlb and rising (which is fine as they usually like a low fill pressure and have a pretty pronounced energy curve) however the consistency was terrible - with 30ft/s variation between some shots. My first thought was that the striker stroke adjustment bolt was loose, so out came the allen keys.

    The bolt turned out to be fine but the surface of the striker and housing were covered in a thick, sticky residue - perhaps something applied at the factory that had deteriorated over time (as happens on old Weihrauch guns) or some WD40 or similar applied by an uneducated owner in the past.. This was cleaned off with oil and the gun reassembled.

    Once back together the gun's velocity had jumped by 40ft/s and it was generally more consistant; although it was still dropping 10-20ft/s on the occasional shot. I'm now thinking about attacking the striker etc with degreaser and perhaps stripping / cleaning / polishing the exhaust valve assy at the next opportunity. As testing continued the velocity gradually rose until it was comfortably past 12ftlb at 115bar; so it's now in kit forum until the stroke can be wound in a bit :rolleyes:

    To be fair I don't blame the shop for this as it's highly likely it was comfortably under the limit throughout the sting with all the sticky Censored on the striker. That said I'd have hoped they might have picked up on / investigated the poor consistency when / if the gun was chrono'd..

    In other news I tried to remove the barrel band but the grub screws are seized in the band and thanks to the laughably tiny grub screws Daystate insist on using for the job, the allen key is just spinning in the stripped sockets :mad:

    The screws will probably have to be drilled out - unfortunately only to be replaced with more of the same woefully inadequate size. Years ago on my old Harrier I tapped the holes in the band out to M4 which worked beautifully - it completely escapes me what DS couldn't just switch to this size from the factory; in my experience most of these grub screws on DS guns round off upon attempted removal..

    The upshot is now that I'm remembering why I've told myself several times that I'd never buy another Daystate. The plan is get the gun legal, investigate (and hopefully sort) the consistency issues and accuracy test the gun. If it won't group that will be the final straw and I'll be seeking a refund :rolleyes:

    I'd like to make it clear that I'm still very grateful to Gary for looking at the rifle for me and that the faults I've found since would have been nigh on impossible to spot without putting the gun over the chrony or seriously tinkering. Obviously if I'd have spotted them myself when I looked at it I'd have thought twice!
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  9. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    It looks nice enough in the photos but it's always going to be a problem knowing what condition the internals are likely to be in after 20 years. Some people polish the outside and others take them apart on a weekly basis and there's alwasy a few who do nothing at all. Hopefully cleaning and degreasing will solve all the problems.
     
  10. stryder5

    stryder5 Donator

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    Great photo's, you should take this up full time :).

    I had the same issues with grub screws, Plus Gas + hair dryer then small screw extractor, out they come (well they did for me):rolleyes:. I re threaded to M4.

    Things I found to effect consistency alignment of transfer port transfer port "O" rings Pellet probe "O" ring short stroke hammer shim hammer spring.

    You probably know all of the above, but worked on three of my "old" Daystate's
     
  11. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks - I really don't mind a bit of work / cleaning up and certainly don't mind putting in a bit of work to make a viable rifle good again; what I don't want to end up with is a hateful shed that's going to sap my time and money for sod all reward.

    I probably need to strip, clean and (might as well) re-seal the rifle to see if it's worth keeping - that will be a good few hours and a few quid wasted if I end up seeking a refund - I'll basically have paid £40 in petrol for the privelege of rebuilding the sodding thing for the gunshop :mad:

    My vitriol is largely displaced by the good service I had in the shop, although I find myself growing increasingly resentful that they apparently checked / sorted b****r all before it was sold. The consistency issue was evidently ignored / missed and I suspect they'd have found the energy to be over the top had the tested with the correct pellets at the correct fill pressure - I find energy curves are something precious few gunshops understand or take account of (I know even some manufacturers struggle :rolleyes:).

    I'd be happy with a few quid off to reflect this, but I suspect that would be like getting blood out of a stone and it's not worth my fuel to take the gun back for an unknown quantity to work in it on my behalf..

    I didn't buy the rifle as a practical daily; however it's not much use to me if it doesn't work properly!

    I think I've been spoilt by working on Pre-AT Air Arms guns - everything is just so much better by design on these guns and you don't find yourself brimming with hatred for the bloke who designed it :p


    Cheers - if I could make a living photographing people's rifles I'd be a very happy chappy :p

    Ta for the pointers - I think the issue with the screws is a problem that everyone whose worked on a Daystate must have experienced in the past. As I'm sure you know the sodding stupid things are used all over the place (rear action plug, bolt detente ball, trigger assy, moderator) however the worst IMO are on the barrel brace as they require the most torque.

    I'd tried stud extractors (these usually work IME) however they've just stripped the heads out even more. I'll try soaking them in oil and perhaps a little heat when I get the opportunity. I suspect they were put in dry from the factory and the two dissimilar metals have corroded over time.

    It's stuff like this that makes me hate Daystate - this problem has been around as long as the guns, but nobody has lifted a finger to do anything about it and these nasty, inadequate little fixings are still dotted all over their current offerings :rolleyes:

    Once I've got the brace off I might as well do the port O-rings; the breech seal looks fairly good although there is a slight leak so that might get done too. I might as well pull the exhaust valve assy too; providing I can unscrew the inlet valve easily assy for access.

    Now you mention the striker - that's another thing! It's the older style one (with a bolt and lock nut to adjust the stroke rather than the externally-accessible grub screw and locking grub screw) not good for ease of adjustment (the gun needs to come to bits to alter the muzzle energy) however from a performance perspective this striker should be better as it weighs 92g in total in comparison to the whopping 144g of the lardy later assy (complete with sprung weight). Hopefully this will make it a bit more forgiving / refined to shoot than the newer ones.

    Forgot to mention earlier but upon disassembly I found the striker spring to have been crudely lopped off and unfinished too (I think it was like this from the factory) so that was ground, heated, squashed (the guide on the striker was very useful for this :)), reground and cleaned. Despite losing maybe 3mm in length the velocity was still up by 40ft/s (as mentioned in the previous post) once the sticky oil residue had gone.

    All in all, sadly this rifle typifies everything I hate about the airgun industry - it's a flawed design, built with little apparent care and supplied by a shop who either didn't have the knowledge or botheration to check / sort the gun properly. Once again the customer is the mug who has to waste their time and money trying to get the situation right. This is why truely-sorted guns are worth hanging onto like grim death - sadly IME there are very few about that actually work properly :(

    I'll soldier on when I get the chance; the energy can be sorted, I'm hopeful that the consistency can be too and I just hope it groups. If not I'll definitely be cutting my losses, taking it back for a refund and taking this as the absolute, final and definitive nail in the coffin of my chequered relationship with Daystate :down:
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  12. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    Have you contacted the shop to explain what you've found? As there are clearly some problems which they didn't identify that would be my first step, either to negotiate a partial refund or a return at no cost to you.
    For the screws which are firmly stuck you could try some impact, a suitably sized punch to fit into the head (or over the full width) and a couple of taps with a 8/12 ounce hammer may be enough to break any corrosion type seal.
    I suspect that the makers and retailers of air rifles/pistols would much rather deal with the uninformed general public who will just load and shoot their guns without any concern or appreciation of the benefits of something which is actually assembled as it should be, blueprinted if you like. If Joe Public can hit a can he's probably happy and there's many more like him than people like us who expect things to be right.
    Good luck with the project, hopefully it will shoot as well as it looks.
     
  13. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    I'm tempted to have a word with the shop, but tbh they've got me over a barrel to an extent as they know I'm about 50 miles from them and will probably want to see the gun to satisfy themselves that there are problems before offering any remedial action or partial refunds. Tbh the cost of half a day off work and 100 miles worth of fuel would buy a lot of O-rings and grub screws :p

    I think the only circumstances under which I'd take it back would be if I was after a full refund; although that said I could courier it back for less than the cost of fuel.

    Thanks for the thoughts about the grub screws - I've used this method with success in the past, however the sodding things are too small to use a punch of any size and I've already bent the smallest of my lovely Starrett punches attempting similar in the past :(

    I totally agree about the retail side of things - I suspect life would be a lot easier for shops if everyone had really low expectations :rolleyes:
     
  14. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    An update for anyone interested in my latest folly.. :rolleyes:

    Since the weekend the rifle has been (almost) completely stripped.

    Firstly I had to remove the sh*thouse 4BA grub screws in the barrel band; being seized in place and having stripped heads. Following Terry's suggestion I gave them a bit of a beating with an old knackered 1/4" hex drive bit. The bottom one then came out obligingly; the other two were not as straightforward - requiring drilling as deep as a dared to allow the tapered reverse-thread stud extractor to get a decent purchase. After half an hour of sweat and anxiety they both came out; showing signs of corrosion and thankfully with no damage to any surrounding components.

    One of the offending grub screws:

    [​IMG]

    Barring fouling on a few raised witness marks on the inlet valve housing, the barrel brace came off without much fuss - allowing the breech block to be removed and (most of) the rest of the gun to be stripped.

    The transfer port came out with a bit of persuasion and measured around 2.7mm in internal diameter - far too large for this application (and why the muzzle energy is peaking so low at around 115bar). I've been told that the standard size for a .177 Huntsman is 2.0mm, so assuming this information is correct (I know DS change things fairly regularly) it looks like someone's been playing :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]


    Next, off came the QF fitting and out came the inlet valve assy; which bore witness marks from having been to bits numerous times in the past. Thankfully this meant that it hadn't had a gorilla hanging off it when last assembled (as most end plugs seem to be from the factory) and it came apart easily courtesy of a couple of plain drill-bit shanks held in a padded vice. Inside I found lashings of sludgy-black filth and red rubber grease, two convincingly workable O-rings in grooves in the body and one suspiciously-squashed and chewed effort sandwiched between the flange of the housing and the cylinder's end. Not sure if this should have been there or not.. can any Hunstman afficianados shed any light please?

    The inlet valve assy was stripped and cleaned:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I don't quite understand how anyone with more than 3 brain cells could manage to get such a random distribution of grub screw marks around the circumference of the inlet housing (where the barrel band fits) but there we go - they can't be seen when the gun's together and could have been worse..


    Next the trigger was stripped (a thankfully easy task, compared to many other jobs on DS rifles). This appears to have the same guts that DS have fitted to their guns from the early '90s right up until the present day, with the exception that the blade is a cut-down standard unit with a straight blade lashed on to bring it's position forward and suit the different stock of the FTR. It's not a great setup tbh and the placement of the blade with respect to it's pivot somewhat compromises the operation of the trigger unit:

    [​IMG]


    The cylinder back block was then removed, allowing the striker and spring to come out now that the trigger sear was no longer in place. As previously mentioned, the striker is the earlier, lighter, single-piece item that requires removal to adjust its stroke (and the gun's muzzle energy). While more hassle to adjust than the later one, at least it doesn't weigh as much as a London bus:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The end of the striker spring; refinished after I found it to be just a crudely-lopped-off open coil:

    [​IMG]


    The plan was to remove the exhaust valve housing, clean and inspect it all, replace the seals and polish the valve stem. Sadly no amount of violence or coarse language could get the little b*stard to shift. I suspect this is either because a) it's got damp (as attested to by its dowel and some of the fixings) and is seized inside the cylinder, or b) the stupid screwed-in seal retainer in the end of the valve assy has been overtightened and the O-ring is causing the whole assy to stick.

    Either way, a pain in the arse. I've tried heat to no avail; it's now soaking in CLP Breakfree to see if that does owt.

    Anyway, a few pics of the action - almost completely disassembled, with the exception of the exhaust valve assy, some fixings and O-rings:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The plan is now to give it a day to see if the CLP shifts anything. If not I might try and construct a tool to remove the seal retainer / end cap on the exhaust valve; failing that it'll have to go back together as is.

    In other news I inspected the muzzle earlier - the bore has a shallow taper cut into it for maybe the last 2-3mm; causing it bore to open up like a mini-blunderbuss :rolleyes: It all looks like it should be like this from the factory, although I don't see this doing much for accuracy. The priority now is to get the thing back together so that it can be accuracy tested - if it doesn't cut the mustard then it will definitely be going back for a refund before I waste any more time on it...
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
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  15. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Another update; since this thread has proven so popular :rolleyes::p

    I tried to get a photo of the rifling (or lack therof) and very shallow tapered "crown" at the muzzle, however didn't have much luck. The issue can be illustrated by placing a pellet in the muzzle though - as we all know the very last portion of the muzzle should, by traditional wisdom, be the tightest point in the whole barrel. Pushing a pellet into the muzzle should require reasonable effort to get it started into the rifling...

    In the case of this Daystate this is what happened when I dropped an Exact into the muzzle head first (note no force other than gravity was required):

    [​IMG]

    :down:


    Anyway, in preparation for some testing the striker stroke was wound down by about 1mm which brought the gun comfortably within the legal energy limit. Also, the barrel was pulled through multiple times - the first patch being absolutely filthy.

    My best efforts to set the trigger up resulted in it varying from "dangerous" to "reasonably squishy and heavy" with not a lot in between. I dislike Daystate sporter triggers at the best of times; on account of their pseudo-2-stage design which means they run very little sear engagement if you want a crisp trigger and are hence potentially dangerous if knocked / dropped. This "target" type unit it even worse in terms of feel and performance; probably on account of the placement of its blade with respect to its pivot point. Next time I have it to bits I might inspect the sears to make sure they're not damaged, though.


    After the adjustments I took the gun up the club to see how it grouped - expecting it to be absolutely terrible. As it happened, ultimately it was maybe just "pretty crap" as opposed to the "absolutely p*ss poor" I was expecting :rolleyes:


    At 35yds with Exacts it averaged around 17.5mm c-c over 4x10-shot strings - could do better with a springer tbh. I did notice that the groups were shifting a little, so I removed the barrel band, refilled the rifle and repeated the test - this time getting an average of around 12.5mm c-c under the same conditions. I refilled again and tried some groups with AA Express; with similar results.

    The groups can be seen in the image below:

    [​IMG]


    So it appears that as usual with Daystate products, a major and enduring design flaw (this time in the shape of the barrel band) is ruining the accuracy of this rifle. I'd like to see it do better than the 1/2" at 35yds it manages without the band, although I suppose this could be classed as "acceptable".

    I'm now a little unsure as to what to do with it tbh; three options spring to mind:

    Refit the barrel band and return the gun to the shop - since 17mm c-c at 35yds is abysmal for a PCP tbh. Problem with this is it requires half a day off work, £20 worth of petrol and probably a fair amount of arguing.

    Leave the barrel floating and accept the gun as it is - I bought it less to use and more for nostalgia value, although it would be nice if it shot straight and there's not a lot of point owning it if I'm not going to use it at all. I'm toying with the idea of getting a copy of the original band made with a clearance hole around the barrel to allow it to float while keeping the setup looking original.

    Get the "blunderbuss" section removed from the barrel and have it re-crowned - Evidently I'm not having a lot of luck with barrels at the moment and this would give the moderator less meat to attach to; so I'm a little dubious of this course of action and certainly not likely to go down this path at the moment; given all the other basket cases I have to contend with first :rolleyes:


    So, what say the people? Should a bite the bullet and wash my hands of the thing, or should I persevere and put of with the gun's shortcomings? On the up side I love the ergonomics, solidness, simplicity of build and nostalgic appeal.. on the downside it's proven to be a fine embodiment of everything I hate about Daystate - being riddled with long-standing design faults, poor attention to detail, shonky QC and resulting poor performance :(


    One thing's for certain - if I ever, ever, even suggest the idea of spending money on another Daystate, I'd very much appreciate it if the forum could send someone round ASAP to smash my knackers between two house bricks. If nothing else this escapade has taught me that I'm evidently a creature incapable of learning from it's previous mistakes :eek:
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  16. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    To be fair the better groups you were getting are probably better than a lot of people could manage with a perfect rifle so I'm sure that you could sell it with a clear conscience if you wanted to. I'd be inclined to go with the modified barrel band to give you free floating while retaining the appearance, it can always be returned to original at any time.
    The oversize bore at the muzzle is a bit strange, presumably it doesn't go too far into the barrel so it might be possible to bore it well oversize to a depth of a few mm and then form a recessed crown which would leave you with a full length barrel and silencer fitment.
    You've come a long way with this so it would be a shame to give up now. I don't have any bricks lying around but I do have some block paving left over from my driveway if they would be any good, just have to remember to be careful because it does hurt (a lot) if you catch your thumb between the bricks.
     
  17. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks Terry - appreciate your thoughts. Looks like this rifle will get consigned to the pile of guns that "need a bit doing to them that I can never quite get around to sorting" (a pile that includes pretty much every rifle I own.. :rolleyes:)

    Likewise I'll add the barrel band to the growing list of bits I need making. Will draw one up at some point; problem is getting the time (and justifying the cost of getting it made).

    I didn't think about getting the crown recessed; although tbh I'd be worried about getting a decent finish on the crown were it set back from the end of the barrel, so I'll probably just leave it for now. Given the "just about acceptable" grouping and crap trigger, I think this rifle will be looked at more than used in any case..

    Thanks for the encouragement - tbh I'll probably hang onto the rifle as the market's dead at the moment (and the gun's left-handed) plus hopefully this (IMO least-worst example of the marque) will stave off any craving for any other old Daystates that might catch my eye.

    Keep those block paving slabs handy though - however hopefully I've finally learned my lesson this time :p


    Edit: So in summary, the painfully inevitable answer to the original question of "Daystate Mk2 FTR - Do I want?" was a resounding "Most definitely do not want". It turned out to be riddled with faults and design flaws (like many examples of the marque I've owned before) and has now found a new owner. Never again. Ever.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  18. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Photos sorted, so this monumental error of judgement on my part can once again be viewed in sharp focus..
     

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