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S400 parts bin special - the redundant rifle reborn

Discussion in 'Gun Gallery' started by cloverleaf, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    A while ago I posted about the S400 that I had no use for..

    To recap the gun was a .22 Classic action (after I'd sold the crap CS stock), fitted with a refinished left-handed Air Arms Thumbhole stock and Rowan setback trigger. Being in the knuckle dragger's calibre I had no use for the gun, despite the fact that it was very nice to use.

    I could have rebarrelled it to .177 but the breech block would still have stated .22 (suitable breech blocks aren't available new) and I couldn't have that :p

    Fortunately the MPR still uses the old style block - it's secured with 4xM3 bolts from above and 2xM4 from underneath, however the counterbores are still present and the tapped holes allow the M3 bolts to pass through; so the block fits my (earlier, all-bolts-facing-in-the-right-direction, pre-AT) action.

    Suitable bits were ordered and after some faffing, delivered and assembled. The loading bolt has been polished and is an excellent fit in the breech block - with a bit of moly it offers a well-damped, sliding fit.

    The gun is only lashed together to check it would fit; I want to put some washers on the action block bolts and still need to source an O-ring for the barrel band. In any case the gun will have to come to bits sometime soon for a (hopefully upgraded) exhaust valve as it's suffering from the usual extrusion problem..

    I've not fired the rifle yet but so far am well pleased - it looks so much better than it did with the old skinny barrel and the fatter tube has added a significant amount of forward weight. The gun balances beautifully, sits well in the hand and feels well-damped on target. The ergonomics of the thumbhole stock are fantastic; aided by the adjustable butt pad and low 'scope mounting height. I can't wait to get it sorted and on the range to see how it performs from a standing position :cool:

    I'm not overly sold on the silver barrel band (might look at custom options) and am undecided as to how to finish the muzzle - the MPR brake's out as its only function is window dressing. I'd quite like a mod but I suspect this might spoil the looks and am dubious of the adaptors for the larger barrel.

    Anyway, some pics!

    SMALL_IMG_5338a.jpg

    SMALL_IMG_5339a.jpg

    SMALL_IMG_5340a.jpg

    [​IMG]

    SMALL_IMG_5348a.jpg

    SMALL_IMG_5352a.jpg

    :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    Scott, talent, Wofty and 3 others like this.
  2. Geordie

    Geordie Donator

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    Stunning as per usual!
    Your pics are bloody marvelous mate:eek::thumb:
     
  3. Soximus

    Soximus Busy Member

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    Behind you! Mwhahahahah Just kidding. Christchurch
    Yes. I was going to ask about the pics. What do you use to take them and what is the backdrop....been wondering how you get them so good for a while now..;)
     
  4. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks both :)

    In short the magic ingredients for the photos are: a decent dslr, bounce flash with orange gel, white card background, photoshop and the ability to pilot it all to an arguably acceptable standard :p

    I've been asked a few times to do a guide.. perhaps I'll get round to it one day!
     
    Scott likes this.
  5. Tripleteer

    Tripleteer Donator

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    Lovely looking gun with pictures to match nice chequering too! Atb Paul.
     
  6. 1961nuffield

    1961nuffield Honorary Member

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    Interesting rifle, a suitable mod would set it off just right!

    John
     
  7. Quentyn

    Quentyn Engaging Member

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    looks lovely,

    I put a rowan black barrel band and a rowan stripper ( in black / black cone) on mine, finished off the end perfectly
     
  8. stevemandm

    stevemandm Honorary Member

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    in a distant galaxy, far far away ....... actually
    v v nice mate, a uk neil adjustable airstripper would finish it off nice
     
  9. andy draper

    andy draper Posting Addict

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    Exceptional work mate.You are right about the barrel band too,It looks out of context with the rest of the gun.
    andy.
     
  10. The Robin

    The Robin Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Very nice and as always pics are great :up:
     
  11. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Cheers all :)

    Thanks for the suggestions as to what to put on the muzzle.. I did consider getting it threaded to take a 1/2" UNF mod, but don't want to irreversibly alter anything if I can help it. Another thought is a mod adaptor and modified HW mod to suit the inevitably larger diameter of the adaptor..

    I quite like the idea of a stripper (and the Rowan ones look good - just about as I'd design one myself :p) however I prefer a quiet rifle (especially compared to the 400's raspy, bouncy report) and am a little dubious as to their benefits (although open to persuasion). I do also quite like the idea of modifying a standard AA stripper with a proper adjustable cone and getting it refinished in black for a sort of OEM+ look :)

    Anyway, washers and O-ring should be here early next week; will get it properly put together and up the range. After that it'll get a new exhaust valve, then should be all good. It'd better bloody shoot well :D
     
  12. Soximus

    Soximus Busy Member

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    Behind you! Mwhahahahah Just kidding. Christchurch
    What camera make/model do you use???
     
  13. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    A Canon 40d - however as we all know with our shooting kit - gear does not maketh the man ;)

    I'll try and knock a guide out at some point..
     
    Scott likes this.
  14. RTX

    RTX Engaging Member

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    :up:
    despite the masses saying, "wow that's a good camera it must take really good photo's" :)

    great photo's that camera, sorry that man :D and a beautiful rifle too
     
    Scott likes this.
  15. themadspread

    themadspread Donator

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    you da man
     
  16. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Cheers guys :)

    So the rifle got a new barrel support O-ring and the washers arrived for the breech block bolts. They're a little large on the OD though so I still need to polish them down before fitting. I'm a bit concerned that the brass washers might make the gun look a bit like a tart's handbag, so may black them once they've been trial-fitted..

    With the new breech and barrel assy fitted the gun was only doing about 8ftlb over the chrono - a result no doubt of the lower efficiency of the smaller calibre and the fact that the gun still has its original (soft) exhaust valve - which I suspect is significantly strangling performance. After playing with the screw that shall not be named it's now producing around 11.8ftlb with heavies at around 120bar.

    The gun's been to the club a few times now. Rested groups at 20yds are certainly acceptable (5 shot cloverleafs with AA Express) however it's hard to ensure a mm-perfect POA since the 'scope is only 6 mag.. I'm looking forward to testing it at greater range when the weather / light improves.

    Freestanding the gun performs well; much as any other 400 series I've used with the exception that it's a bit more stable on target. The rake on the grip is a bit much to comfortably tuck one's elbow in for a "proper" target stance, but this isn't a huge issue and more than made up for by the excellent balance, stock fit and comfort :)

    The relatively slow shot development time makes itself known by punishing poor trigger control and snatched shots; I'd like to reduce it but the cocking effort is already reasonably high so short-stroking is probably out. I suspect to make it work I'd need some sort of valve mods to reduce the load on the valve and make it easier to open / keep open. Alternatively regging would serve this purpose (and I do have a Rob Lane reg kicking about) however I'm not overly keen on drilling the cylinder or on spending the time required to set it all up properly..

    In the short term I'll set it up with a new (hopefully improved) exhaust valve and see how it does then.

    Niggles aside I'm still really pleased with it - the stock, balance and 'scope all combine to make this a really nice gun to use :cool:
     
  17. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    So.. the rifle has progressed somewhat since my last update.

    The lovely-but-not-very-practical EB 6x44 was replaced with a Hawke Sidewinder 4.5-14x42; in the hope that the latter's adjustable PX, higher mag and finer ret would make it easier to determine what sort of groups the rifle was capable of.

    The gun acquitted itself well; printing a very nice 14mm c-c 10 shot group at 50m off the benchrest once the barrel band had been removed to allow the barrel to free-float. The rifle also managed to put (nearly) 20 shots into a group just over 2" c-c at 100yds on a separate occasion running the same barrel configuration - which I consider exceptional for a sub 12ftlb rifle.

    While the sidewinder certainly isn't the worst 'scope in the world it's damned heavy - ruining the handling of the rifle somewhat. Fortune saw me taking possession of a very nice used Sightron SIII 10x42, so this went on in place of the Hawke. While similar dimensionally to the Sidewinder the SIII is considerably lighter at 550g versus the Hawke's portly 780g.

    I really like the SIII. Size notwithstanding the 'scope is subtle, minimal and understated; the clean lines and lack of frilly bits giving it a somewhat plain look (compared to more airgun-specific optics) that somewhat belies its price tag. The overwhelming feel of the 'scope is one of basic spec coupled with excellent design and build quality.

    The most standout feature for me is the adjustment turrets; which move with the most well-weighted, positive, crisp and clean "click" increments of any 'scope I've used. Accuracy and repeatability of adjustment seem excellent. There is no IR and PX is adjusted at the rear of the unit, where the zoom ring would usually be found on variable 'scopes. Eye relief is somewhat long; as you'd expect on a 'scope arguably more at home on a .338 or similar.

    The 'scope has the (presumably etched) "MMD" (Modified Mil-Dot) ret; consisting of a traditional MD setup with hash / lines every 1/2MD. The crosshairs are clean, fine and extremely precise. When bench resting I usually shoot at 1/4" dots at 35yds - many other 'scopes require aiming slightly off as the hairs obscure the dot - the SIII allows me to aim straight at its centre.

    All in all I'm very impressed with this glass!


    Although the lack of barrel band on the rifle much improved accuracy, it looked a bit crap. Somewhat surprisingly Air Arms evidently still had stock of barrel bands for the old S410 Export - which ran a 16mm OD shroud and corresponding band. One was duly ordered and fitted; allowing the barrel to free-float with a 1mm air gap around its circumference, while still affording some insurance should the barrel get knocked.

    I'm still awaiting an appropriate O-ring to finish it off but so far I'm pleased with the setup - it looks almost standard (OEM+, for the vehicle modders amongst us :D) and is far more subtle than the original silver offering.

    Anyway, for anyone still awake some pics of the rifle as it stands:

    SMALL_IMG_6627a.jpg

    SMALL_IMG_6640a.jpg

    SMALL_IMG_6630a.jpg

    SMALL_IMG_6633a.jpg


    At the club last night the rifle produced this 7mm c-c 10-shot group at 35yds off the rest, with AA Express:

    SMALL_IMG_6637a.jpg


    While I managed this 10-shot group freestanding at 20yds - I think my poor (but consistent :D) trigger control is pushing the groups a little high-right.

    SMALL_IMG_6636a.jpg


    So there we go.. certainly my favourite rifle at the moment. Ideally I'd still like to hang a mod off the end as well as doing something about the trigger pull; which is now heavier thanks to the less-than ideal geometry of the setback trigger (a necessity IMO due to the stock shape). I'd also like to reduce the lock time; although the route I can currently see is by fitting a reg - which I'm still not sure I can be arsed with. Time will tell :p
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    Scott likes this.
  18. dave goodall

    dave goodall Donator

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    As you will prob know mate dont think u have to drill the cylinder to fit the rob lane reg your advised too if you leave it in but i had one off dr bob in a cylinder he used at bench rest at his club for quite a whie but he never drilled tne cylinder so it could be restored to original if he felt the need atvb dave
     
  19. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Donator

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    That looks like what the next version of the S410 should be, and that scope looks great.
     
  20. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks - tbh it's not the drilling of the cylinder that worries me (I know it's not "essential" but I wouldn't want to run a reg without an atmospheric reference) - what concerns me more is the required setup time and probable need for a new striker to short stroke the setup.. throw in the greater potential for stuff to go wrong and I think I'd rather leave it as is :p


    Cheers - I agree but for some reason best known to them, AA still insist on using the skinny barrels and clamps :rolleyes:
     

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