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Thoughts On The Air Arms S510r

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by cloverleaf, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    As much as this rifle intrigues me, unfortunately I've not yet been in the position to pull one apart so don't get too excited - this isn't a proper hands-on assessment.

    That said I noticed last night that Air Arms have now published the rifle's manual on their site; which includes an exploded diagram of the rifle. I've included some screen grabs of the most pertinent bits below, however if you want to see the whole lot you can view the manuals for the new S510R here and the unregged, original S510F here ;)


    In this thread I'd like to use the information presented in these manuals to highlight the differences between the S510F and regulated S510R, as well as attempting to draw some conclusions about the changes that have been made to regulate the popular S510.

    Below are exploded diagrams of the striker and exhaust valve assemblies of both rifles pulled from the AA website:

    S510F:
    [​IMG]


    S510R:
    [​IMG]


    Differences

    While both guns clearly share a very similar format, from the off we can see that the S510R has a lot more components and is significantly more complex as a result.

    I'm going to look at the the striker, exhaust valve and regulator assemblies; attempting to highlight the differences in components between the two guns. While the changes are not limited to the parts illustrated the diagrams include most of the differences and I'll attempt to cover any not shown.

    In an effort to make parts easier to identify I'll state their BoM (Bill of Materials) number as stated on the S510R diagram when referring to them.

    Striker Assembly
    The components of both sets of striker assemblies look very similar; however I believe that every part is actually different in some way.

    The striker guide rod of the S510R (28) is a smaller diameter (probably to free up more space in the exhaust valve body for the changes made in that area) and I'd guess is now maybe 6mm OD as opposed to the 8mm of the S510F. Unsurprisingly the striker bearings (46) that run on this rod have been changed to a smaller-bore alternative to suit.

    The R's striker (31) looks very similar to that of the F, however it has also been modified to take the smaller bearings; I'd also guess that its rear guide is a different diameter to suit the (presumably lower-rate) striker spring required to work with the regged gun's lower operating pressure.

    The spring (47) has a JT-prefix part number, so I reckon this has been pilfered from the parts bin of the 10 metre MPR rifles. Similarly the spring's rear seat (55) is different to that of the F, while a circular (rubber?) damper (121) has been added somewhere inside the assembly (although I'm unsure where, looking at the diagram) - presumably to reduce spring noise.

    The rear of the R's striker guide rod is no longer anchored to the striker housing (29) with an M6 caphead bolt as used in the F. Instead Air Arms have opted for a male thread on the rod secured with a nut (30) - the head of which is uniquely non-standard - presumably designed to take their own propitiatory four-pin anti-tamper removal tool.

    While the striker housing itself looks the same the part number is different - I'm guessing due to the small differences required to accommodate the new guide rod and its retention method.

    Exhaust Valve Assembly
    Now things start to get "interesting" with many significant changes and numerous new parts.

    The exhaust valve housing of the R (1) is significantly different to that of the F. In addition to the smallish changes required to accommodate the differences in the striker assembly (namely the reduced guide rod diameter) it's significantly longer and has a flat machined into its upper surface.

    In addition the transfer port appears to be larger; its bore size apparently being controlled by a separate bush (32) located in the top of the block. I'd guess this might be used to give different port sizes for different calibres and outputs.

    The port restrictor screw (42) has been increased in size from M3 to M4 (presumably to suit the larger porting; which I'd guess is now 4mm ID rather than 3mm) and AA have added a bonded seal (41) to the cover screw to prevent the possibility of leakage during firing.

    The fact that the R's diagram lists the cover screw as a standard part (unlike that for the F where it's not even illustrated) suggests to me that it's a standard bolt rather than the nasty AT shear bolt used on the F.

    Moving on the exhaust valve of the R (24) differs substantially to that on the F. The most obvious change is that its stem is slimmed down at the rear and threaded. The thread accepts a cylindrical "nut" (26) which apparently serves to retain the new smaller exhaust valve return spring (27); a component that has been moved from its position in front of the valve on the F to the rear of the valve on the R.

    The F's return spring sits on the pressurised side of the valve between the front of the valve's head and the "valve pot". On the R the spring is now found under the valve's "nut" within the rear of the striker housing. I assume this change is because there was no longer space on the regged setup to accommodate the return spring in front of the valve due to the reg placement.

    While I don't want to read too much into this the head of the exhaust valve head in the R's diagram is white, while it's black in the diagram for the F - perhaps AA have finally switched to a more suitable valve head material to combat valve head extrusion and associated degradation of muzzle energy..?

    In another major shift from the setup in the F it appears that the R's exhaust valve no longer runs directly inside the valve housing - instead being encapsulated inside a separate brass bush (3) that also contains the valve seat and a portion of transfer port; being sealed against the valve housing with an O-ring (5). I'd guess that the relocated exhaust valve return spring bears on the rear of this bush and that the whole valve sub assy can be removes en-bloc from the front of the valve housing during disassembly.

    Finally the extra length of the exhaust valve housing appears to be for a couple of reasons. Just like the regulated Galahad the S510R has a revised air cylinder format which, instead of sealing against a single O-ring at a thin-walled section outboard of its threads (which are designed to "fail safe" if the gun is over-pressurised), uses a more complex setup with dual O-rings (22) and backup ring (23) inboard of the (finer pitch) cylinder threads.

    As postulated in the Galahad thread this setup presumably allows the regged guns to be filled to higher pressures while still retaining a fail-safe in the form of the thin-walled section on the exhaust and inlet housings behind the inboard O-ring; which will deform under excessive pressure and allow the contents of the cylinder to escape in a controlled manner through the vent holes in its OD.

    The other reason for the extra length of the valve housing is that it provides a certain amount of pre-valve plenum volume; in addition to the "regulator housing" will be discussed further in the next section.

    Regulator Assembly
    The previously mentioned "regulator housing" (8) effectively replaces the screw-in "valve pot" found on the F and locates into the front of the striker housing. From the description of the housing on the non-FAC version ("small") I'd guess that AA spec this part based on volume to suit different muzzle energy requirements; which is fair to a point although IME a larger plenum is always better from the perspective of efficiency.

    Finally we come to the reg itself (10), which appears to be a push-fit into the regulator housing and is sealed against it with two O-rings (9). The reg is secured by a retainer that's held by two caphead bolts (21) that pass through the retainer and reg housing; terminating in the striker housing to hold everything together.

    The reg appears to be a small diameter unit that's mounted eccentrically to the principal axis of the cylinder; just like the exhaust valve (although these two parts might not necessarily be concentric).

    I was initially unsure if the reg is vented to atmosphere, however from the two suspicious small diameter O-rings (6) and twin O-rings used between the regulator and its housing it appears that through a fairly innovative bit of designing-around-a-problem AA have vented the reg through its housing, into the striker body and out to the outside world.


    Thoughts
    That's the overview covered - if you're still awake it's time to move onto my interpretation of the changes and their significance, for what it's worth.

    Striker Assembly
    I was disappointed to see a lack of striker spring preload adjustment on this rifle. While it's arguably not hugely important on an unregulated gun since energy can be set on the transfer port, doing so on a regulated rifle is far less desirable since ideally you want the port as wide as possible to allow the lowest efficient operating pressure.

    The lack of external preload adjustment isn't really a huge surprise since it would have been hard to implement given the rifle's design, but it's definitely not ideal.

    Moving on to the things that differ from the F, the reduced diameter guide rod and associated changes are neither here nor there; with the exception of the anti-tamper nut on the rear that retains the striker housing.

    This is important for two reasons - firstly it potentially marks a decision on Air Arms' part to move away from single-use anti-tamper measures that require destroying and replacing with new items (or not!) when removed. This is obviously great news as it greatly minimises the risk of damaging a rifle during stripping as well as greatly reducing time spent removing the AT and cleaning up afterwards and minimising wastage.

    It would also mean that owner can make or commission an appropriate tool to strip their rifle; granting them access to its interior for work while allowing the gun to retain it's AT-status when assembled - thus removing the possibility for unscrupulous parties to cast doubt on an owner's intentions for being in possession of a rifle from which the AT has been removed.

    Another potential bonus is that it's possible the addition of this nut might preclude the need for the three nasty press-fit / drill out AT plugs in the underside of the gun - a very unwelcome blight since AT's inception and one that really spoils the guns IMO.

    From the diagram I can't tell whether the striker's stroke or mass have changed significantly, however I suspect that if not the rifle's lock time will have increased with the fitment of the lower-rate striker spring (not good).

    The addition of a spring damper is a welcome upgrade as sometimes these rifles can twang which makes the feel very unrefined.

    Exhaust Valve Assembly
    Lots to talk about here! This assembly has doubtless gained a lot of complexity, which brings with it a greater cost and chance of failure.. although I can't see any glaringly obvious flaws in the design FWIW.

    I'm very pleased to see that Air Arms seem to have finally recognised the need for larger, decent-sized porting in their regged guns as this was a significant flaw in the Galahad.

    While when regging the largest porting possible is always desirable the rifle's calibre always dictates the max port diameter so the interchangeable bushes and new R-specific breech seal carriers should help accommodate these needs throughout the rest of the porting

    I'm also pleased to see the apparent removal of the nasty shear bolt on the transfer port adjustor; which (along with the potential implications of the new method of retaining the striker housing on the guide rod) I'm hoping might mean the end of the horrible AT measures that require butchery to remove - at least on this model and hopefully others in future..

    The separate brass bush for the valve potentially brings benefits too; this material should provide a better bearing surface for the valve stem than the anodized ally finish of the F's striker housing - reducing friction and improving consistency, although the standard guns have never had issues from this perspective. In addition separating the valve stem's bore and the valve seat from the striker housing into a separate component means that in the event of valve bore wear (unlikely) or seat damage this small part can be replaced rather than junking the whole valve housing; which has to be a good thing.

    I'm not hugely sold on the relocation of the exhaust valve spring as this will probably have added mass to the already heavy valve, while it looks like it might make removal of the valve from its housing a pain - depending on how the nut is attached (I'm guessing lots of threadlock). Unfortunately though this change appears to be pretty much a necessity given the layout of the reg assembly.

    Finally I'm cautiously optimistic about the potential change in valve head material - perhaps like the mag indexing arm revision AA might have finally done something about one of the enduring flaws on all their rifles; which would possibly have positive implications for owners of other AA PCPs.

    Regulator Assembly
    So, onto arguably the most important bit and it could go either way tbh. While there appear to be no massive issues, a couple of things potentially concern me about the regulator setup in the S510R:

    The first is plenum volume. A larger plenum is desirable as it suffers a lesser pressure drop when the rifle is fired; maintaining a higher mean pressure and making the firing cycle more air-efficient, favouring a lower reg pressure and potentially minimising the effects of reg cycling during the firing event.

    The plenum volume of the S510R doesn't seem particularly large; however given the modular nature of gun it's possible that the reg housing could be replaced with a larger volume item if necessary (perhaps from an FAC rifle). Of course this might turn out to be a non-issue.

    The second possible downer is the added complexity and amount of extra seals (and potential points of failure) the addition of the reg bring to the design. By way of comparison the standard unregged S510 contains seven permanently-sealing O-rings; the failure of any of which would cause an air leak. By contrast I count fourteen on the S510R; a design within which pinning down and sorting a leak could also prove difficult.

    To be fair to it though a regged gun is always going to have more to go wrong. By way of a more fair comparison the HW100 (which I guess now is direct competition, despite being some £300 cheaper) has ten such O-rings as far as I can remember. Fewer to fail and also apparently a much more user-friendly design when it comes to fault-finding and repair from what I can see. This is hardly surprising since the 100 was built to accommodate a regulator from the off.


    Conclusions
    So, what's my overall impression of the S510R from taking a look at its construction?

    It's a bit of a mixed bag.

    I'm not hugely impressed by the (necessary) additional complexity of the design nor lack of striker spring preload adjustment; both of which will doubtless make setup all the more time-consuming, laborious and expensive for those paying for it to be done properly when necessary. I also fear that the gun has the capacity to be less reliable on account of the large amount of additional O-rings present.

    The potential changes to the AT are very welcome as the nasty invasive implementation on previous rifles has been one of the reasons I'd never buy any of the company's current offerings. However, how much (if any) of the original AT format still exists remains to be seen so we're not out of the woods yet!

    The likely lazier lock time courtesy of the lower-rate striker spring is also a bit of a turn-off, although a relatively minimal concern and something that could potentially be resolved with a shorter stroke and shorter, stiffer spring.


    It seems that in the S510R AA have improved on the reg implementation in the Galahad - which was a bit of a nightmare with its tiny porting and after-market-esq push fit, in-cylinder regs. However, while apparently a lot better executed the end result does still look suspiciously like an unregged platform that's somewhat unwillingly had a reg forced upon it.

    While thankfully from the exploded diagrams it appears that the S510R has no insurmountable flaws I can only learn so much from these drawings, and ultimately the proof of how well the rifle actually performs remains to be qualified through some hands-on experience - both on the range and in the workshop if I ever get the opportunity!

    In summary it appears that AA have done a decent job in regging the S510 given what they had to work with, but I can't help but think the venerable S310/410/510 platform is due to be retired in favour of a clean-sheet, reg-friendly design since regs increasingly appear to be "the new normal" and if AA don't adapt I can see them getting left behind in the long term.

     
  2. Lon'gun

    Lon'gun An analogue man in a digital world

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    Good read as usual Mike.:up:
    Would a Huma reg fitted to the standard 510 be a better option?
    I can honestly say though, it has never crossed my mind to reg my 510 US as it shoots pretty consistently as is.
     
  3. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks - despite giving it a good trim pre-publishing I can't help but think it's still used too many of the words!

    Nah, tbh I don't rate regging any of the AA Sporters - as you suggest I'd just leave them as intended :)
     
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  4. Lon'gun

    Lon'gun An analogue man in a digital world

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    Don't sweat it mate, I found it easy to read and I'm not the brightest spanner in the box.
     
  5. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    lol - ta! I think I'll try and trim it down a bit more when I can bare to look at it again, though!
     
  6. BigAndy

    BigAndy Engaging Member

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    Interesting read as ever. I do hope you don't stop doing these, they are fascinating.
     
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  7. critter

    critter Donator

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    Excellent write up as always, I will be sticking with the unregulated 510 and think that AA will still carry on with production of them. I'm sure they will sell a few of the new R version but when you know the standard one is just as accurate why bother unless you need/want a higher shot count. Will be interesting to see how they fair over the next 12months to see if any teething problems, I'm sure you will get a chance to open one up and see for yourself.
     
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  8. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill co2 Firearm Enthusiast & FX Wildcat owner.

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    Yes I agree. This ^^^
     
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  9. MartinJGUK

    MartinJGUK Keyboard Hero

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    873E3DAF-AC3A-482F-9D72-7E7BC00CA016.jpeg
    Very interesting write up by @cloverleaf. I bought the regged version because it was only about £90 more than the standard version, and with it having a three year warranty now that goes a long way to giving piece of mind for that regulator. The transfer port screw is a shear bolt as it was before but located slightly higher and not at an angle like the non regged model. Pic above of the transfer port AT. I’ll report back how the ownership goes both good and bad
     
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  10. Lon'gun

    Lon'gun An analogue man in a digital world

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    In my view pcps' have become unecessarily complicated. As highlighted by Mike, the number of potential failure points due to the use of seals in my view is quite ridiculous. Not mentioning of course the expertise required to replace them and set up the gun again.

    My recently acquired Leshiy has a total of seven, yes seven seals, four of which are found in the Huma regulator, one breech seal, fill valve seal and guage seal.
    They can all be changed in less than half an hour without any special tools, except maybe a digital caliper to reset the reg pressure screw if you don't have a reg pressure tester.

    This was one of the reasons I was drawn to EDguns' "little devil", its simplicity, and as I have mentioned on another thread, It's the pcp equivalent of a TX200 for ease of maintenance.
    It's my contention that some of these designers need to change their thinking for future products if they are to stay relevant.
    It was EDgun that started the craze for 'pups I believe, and look what a hash some of the "competitors" made of their efforts to copy someone elses innovation without truly understanding the ethos behind it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  11. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks - glad it was appreciated :)

    They're usually rewarding to write, although they invariably takes bloody ages (this one swallowed my afternoon) and of course relies on access to source material; which sadly is in short supply at the moment.

    Thanks and ta for the pic - kills my hopes that they'd sacked off all the crappy shear bolts though :(

    Interesting how the manual shows the screw in the in the valve body yet yours in in the block - I wonder why that changed..? On the one hand a more expensive bit to wreck if you screw up its removal, on the other it should be easier to get out by putting a dremel cut across it (with a suitable plate around it to protect the block in case of a slip!).

    Also interesting that it only cost £90 more than the unregged alternative - from what I've seen today I'd expect it to cost a fair bit more proportionally to produce - I wonder if they're artificially manipulating the prices to push people towards the regged version..?

    Will be interested to hear how you get on, and also to see pics of the underside of the action should you feel the need to take it out of the stock ;)

    I'd agree to a point - I have no issue with complication (to a point) if it's justified by performance. IMO the issue with this rifle is that it's had to become a fair bit more complicated to achieve the reggyness on account of the hurdles presented by the original design.

    That's good going from the Leshiy; guessing that's aided by the linear setup; got to love a gun that's straightforward to work on.

    I'd agree about Edgun starting the modern bullpup craze, and yes, a lot of the alternatives that have come to the market in an attempt to capitalise on this are pretty nasty. tbh I think the appetite for such guns is very much running out of steam now anyway..
     
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  12. Mr wolf

    Mr wolf Sad times

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    Great info chief
     
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  13. MartinJGUK

    MartinJGUK Keyboard Hero

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    I’ll take it out of the stock tomorrow and take a few photos for you :thumb:
     
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  14. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Nice one thanks - that would be very much appreciated :)
     
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  15. pjgtech

    pjgtech Never let an Idiot drag you down to their level

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    Thanx, good read, I always learn something from these posts, keep em coming... :thumb:
     
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  16. MartinJGUK

    MartinJGUK Keyboard Hero

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    59A324B1-AFB0-4F97-B4A2-F639BFEC1F46.jpeg 2B20E3AA-2C15-4A07-950B-4B7DE100C60D.jpeg D2314E40-2086-469A-9054-5632A4D3DE15.jpeg C8F4B9D2-9810-47EE-AD2E-98183095B405.jpeg Here we go @cloverleaf some bedtime reading. Let me know if you need any other angles
     
  17. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Excellent, thanks and my my, that is interesting!

    Difficult to be 100% sure from the pics but it looks like they have indeed dispensed with the two pressed-in AT plugs over the block fixings in the striker and valve housings :)

    While these were arguably the easiest to get out I won't mourn their loss and that only leaves two thatll require brutalising to remove - the nasty shear bolt on the block and the plug in the underside of the gauge.. while the one in the rear of the striker should come out (and go back in again) with and appropriate tool..

    Also interesting to see the M4 caphead into the port in the valve housing; so it was there, just lower down than anticipated. This does beg the question though, why this is M4 yet the one in the block is apparently still M3? Does this have implications for the block porting? If you feel like taking the block off.... joking of course :p

    Thanks again for the pics - I've definitely learnt something tonight :)
     
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  18. Bezzer

    Bezzer Posting Addict

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    Good write up Mike. As you say the plenum seems small, that's probably the main reason the reg is set way high at 130 bar to overcome it and get decent legal limit power. Overall a poor over complicated set up if they are only getting their claimed 90ish shots in .177 from 250 bar fill.
     
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  19. keithy

    keithy Posting Addict

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    As above the claimed shot count doesnt seem to be any better than the standard s510? I had an s510.177 should never have sold it. I got around 110 shots per fill and the much quoted power curve didnt seem to make any difference to accuracy on mine.
     
  20. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks and could well be - that's a shockingly high reg pressure IMO, even for such a short barrel and suggests that the porting might not be too large either. By way of comparison my old .177 R10 with its 395mm barrel (same as the S510) and 3.4mm porting used to like about 90bar IIRC and would give just under 200 shots per charge from 230bar down to 90 from its 200cm^3 cylinder.

    My 177 Ultra (310mm barrel, 3.4mm porting) likes a reg pressure of a shade over 100bar. Looking at the plenum volume in the Ultra's Huma reg I'd reckon it has to be ballpark double that of the S510.

    I wonder what the cylinder capacity is..? A standard S510 US is about 155cm^3, however the valve bodies are longer on the regged guns and of course the reg takes up a bit of room.. 140cm^3 perhaps..? Can't be arsed to run the numbers but it's not looking too favourable for the S510.

    That said none of AA's sporting PCPs have ever been to hot on air usage - great in many other ways; just not efficiency - striker bounce and lost volume being two biggest culprits IMO so we can't blame it all on the reg!
     

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