Theoben air rifles

Theoben air rifles DEFAULT

Theoben Sirocco gas-ram rifles

With break barrels undoubtedly still the most popular type of air-rifle available, an abundance of models exist to cater for the demand. But whilst manufacturers jostle for position, and a slice of the cake where sales are concerned, many offerings are fairly crude, aimed purely at the entry level shooter.Representing something of a top end product where break-barrels are concerned, Theoben’s position in the market place has never been in question; and with their highly innovative gas-ram concept, they offer a serious alternative to those who favour this style of rifle.

What we have here is the latest spec of their own break-barrel design, that sees that much vaunted replacement power plant pushed to it’s limit. If you‘ve never encountered these rifles, then let me bring you up to speed, for it was Theoben that originated the design, having now been copied or adopted by various other manufacturers with varying degrees of success. Inspiration for the gas-ram design apparently came from the pneumatically dampened forks on a motorbike, which led to this Cambridgeshire based company patenting their ground breaking work back in 1982.

Internal Workings

By replacing the steel mainspring in the compression cylinder, with a sealed chamber full of air (originally gas), the characteristics of the rifle could be altered, and a more maintenance free rifle developed. Basically, as the barrel is broken and the rifle is cocked in the conventional manner, the air (permanently contained) behind the piston, is compressed. Once the rifle is fired, this contained air expands - powering the piston, which in turn, compresses the free air in front of it, thus propelling the pellet in the normal way.This literally all happens in milliseconds, and the result is a super-fast lock time - the time taken from pulling the trigger, to the pellet exiting the barrel - in theory aiding accuracy. As one of the first customers to snap up a custom stocked version of the Sirocco (the original version of this rifle) way back in the early eighties – sporting a mouth watering piece of English Walnut, I still understandably harbour something of a soft spot for the brand. This latest spec model takes the concept to new levels though, and whilst my original timber, with its quite exceptional figuring, is rarely equalled, there’s no doubting the subtle improvements in configuration, handling and overall performance, now on offer.

Thumb Up or Thumb Through

Picking up the Evolution is an instant reminder as to just how far Theoben have come with these rifles, with the level of sophistication and standard of finish, aimed fairly and squarely at the discerning shooter.

The walnut thumbhole sporter stock includes a well defined and pronounced cheek piece, bringing the eye perfectly in line for scope use, and includes the roll-over style with a right hand bias. An ambidextrous beech stock may still be available, however, which would bring added versatility and flexibility if necessary.The thumbhole allows for a ‘thumb through’ grip, but you can also go the ‘thumb up’ route as the Evolution stock has a thumb shelf.  In my book a thumb shelf makes such a difference, and this stock is perfectly shaped in this regard, with a generous central groove scalloped out on the reverse of the pistol grip. This allows for the classic ‘thumb up’ hand position, which can really make a difference where trigger control is concerned. Laser-cut chequering covers both the grip and that tastefully angular and stylish fore-end, improving both handling and aesthetic appeal.

With all the woodwork (manufactured by Custom Stock in Sheffield incidentally), treated to a pleasant matt oil finish, nicely enhancing the grain in the process, the overall appearance and finish is excellent.

Bigger Barrel and a Choice of Moderator

With Theoben rightly renowned for their high quality chemical bluing, in addition to their engineering prowess, it comes as no surprise that the overall impression of my test rifle is highly favourable. ‘Top class’ best describes the externals then, but of course these gas-ram models keep their technical advantage discreetly hidden on the inside. For the record, the test rifle came fitted with a 16inch barrel in place of the usual 10.5inch tube, and the factory will be supplying these as a standard fitting from now on. My rifle also came fitted with an Evolution silencer, although the Vortex model is available on request.

Theoben have really developed their range of rifles over the past few years, and several options exist where the Evolution is concerned; such as an ultra carbine model with an extremely short barrel. Whilst I appreciate there’s a market for this stuff, I wouldn’t personally recommend it, since for sheer handling, this full length barrelled Thumbhole spec. is clearly the way to go.Original Theobens were fitted with integral scope mounts, which could prove somewhat inflexible, being set in their position on the rifle’s receiver. Trying to fit an unusually long scope for example, could highlight the problem, so Theoben have abandoned this approach, and now offer conventional, machined dovetails. With over eight inches of rail available, these rifles should now accommodate most scopes comfortably.

Lock-Up

Not having shot one of these gas-ram Theobens for a while, I was itching to get started on the test range, and experience once again, the unique firing characteristics of these technical masterpieces. Solid engineering, is as stated, a feature of the brand, and the breech design is a classic example. The barrel lock-up on the Evolution is simply superb, with a chunky adjustable twin bolt arrangement and sprung détente.

Cocking the rifle just requires a firm jolt to release the barrel, and this in itself requires much less effort than many rivals. The actual cocking stroke is fairly easy, once a continuous sweeping motion is adopted. The stroke is incredibly smooth, being completely devoid of any internal noise. With no spring to spoil the experience, all twang and ‘graunchiness‘ normally associated with manually cocked rifles is removed. ‘HE’ on the spec sheet, stands for High Efficiency, and that nicely sums up these latest gas-ram models. The cleverly designed system incorporates a modified dummy inertia piston (which helps to counteract piston bounce at the end of the stroke), and Zephyr grooves which are now cut into the cylinder wall, as opposed to the piston head. These grooves supposedly help channel air through the transfer port at the end of the stroke, to again, minimize bounce. All this is in a bid to eliminate felt recoil at the end of the day.

Whilst the manufacturer claims ‘almost no recoil‘, I couldn’t go that far, yet the firing cycle is fairly unique. An extremely quick snap, sums up the experience, which feels both slick and efficient, although movement is still felt at the shoulder, requiring all-important follow-through and technique.

Range Time

In the aim, the stock feels spot-on, and as a sporter design, is extremely supportive. Just having the choice of ‘thumb up’ or ‘thumb through’ grip, gives real versatility, and this Evolution gives a good account of itself as a result. The two stage trigger is pretty good, although that first stage is still a tad over sprung and just a little heavy overall.  Reducing this could only help the overall release, and improve performance still further. That said, it breaks cleanly and is wholly predictable. An automatic safety catch is situated just in front of the blade, and can be easily nudged off with the front of the trigger finger, prior to taking the shot. It should also be noted that these rifles can be de-cocked, whereby the action is opened and the barrel is gripped firmly with one hand whilst the trigger is pulled and – under control of the hand - the barrel is slowly allowed to return to its un-cocked position.

Over 30yds, using Air Arms Diabolo Field pellets, this .22 calibre Evolution tore superb 1/4inch clusters on a regular basis, and half inch groups at 40yds were easy to come by. I shot the rifle from the over-arm, sitting FT stance, and in short, when care is taken, it’s an extremely accurate piece of kit.Chronograph testing revealed good consistency too, with the same pellets producing a highly impressive 14fps variation over a 10-shot string. For the record, this kind of gas-ram rifle is classed as ‘recoiling’ for the purposes of competition use - namely Hunter Field Target, but as stated, the firing cycle is wholly different and indeed superior to that of most comparable conventional spring powered models.

At around the £530-£550 mark, including silencer, these rifles now represent fair value for money, occupying as they do, a fairly unique position in the market place. Admittedly there are several rifles out there which are easily as accurate as this model from Theoben, yet what they don’t all share is the sheer class that oozes from this level of build quality and finish. Add to that the laser fast snap of the action, and maintenance free design, and the immense appeal of these intriguing rifles begins to make sense.


Technical Specification:

•Model: Evolution Thumbhole
•Manufacturer: Theoben Engineering Ltd
•Country of Origin:UK
•Type:Gas-ram break barrel
•Calibre: .22 on test/.177 also available
•Weight: 7.6lbs unscoped
•Overall length:44inches
•Barrel Length: 16inches
•Stock: ThumbholeWalnut sporter
•Trigger:2-stage adjustable
•Average Velocity: 552fps using Air Arms Diabolo Field pellets
•Average Spread:14fps
•Average Energy:10.8ft/lbs
•RRP:Thumbhole stock with Evolution silencer £534; Thumbhole stock with Vortex silencer £550.25
•Contact:Theoben Engineering Tel 01353 777861

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Sours: https://www.gunmart.net/gun-reviews/airguns/air-rifles/theoben-sirocco-gas-ram-rifles

The brand has a strong following.

Around thirty years ago, Theoben airguns were a popular and sought-after brand in the UK.

Yet in October 2012 Theoben went into receivership in the UK and Managing Director Martin Rutterford set the Theoben name up in the USA under the banner of Rapid Air Weapons (RAW). UK fans of the Theoben name mourned the passing of a strong, successful British airgun company.

Now, after nearly a decade off the shelves in the UK, Theoben is coming back. Elite Optical has now been appointed as the exclusive UK distributor for RAW as well as Airforce airguns (formerly Gunpower).  This partnership will mark the increased availability of both AirForce Airguns and RAW products in the UK.

RAW owns all of the Theoben designs and will be re-releasing some of the most popular Theoben PCP models models in the near future.

Established in 1998, AirForce Airguns was the first company to mass-produce high-quality PCP air rifles in the United States. In 2018 AirForce acquired RAW Airguns from previous owner, Martin Rutterford, creating a direct lineage to Theoben engineering.

Teen fan

Shooting Times air rifle contributor Mat Manning recalls: “Theoben was an iconic brand in the 1990s. Their gas-ram airguns were something very special but their pre-charged Rapid 7 took things to the next level, certainly in terms of recoilless hunting guns. It set the standard for a very long time and was the airgun that everyone wanted when I was in my teens.

“It is great to hear that Elite Optical will be bringing the new breed of RAW Theobens into the UK. I am sure that lots of shooters will be very excited by the prospect of getting their hands on these remarkable guns.”

Bluewood--HMX-1000

Bluewood–HMX-1000

Flagship model

The HMX1000 from RAW is the flagship model and this will be available in the UK in a few weeks.

Stuart Grant, Sales Director at Elite Optical says: “Airforce and RAW offer an exciting range of exceptionally well made and highly accurate airguns that share their heritage with the world famous Theoben Brand. We are very thrilled to be offering these to UK shooters in both the sub 12 ftlb and FAC versions.”

Airforce Airguns Director of Marketing, Cameron Brinkerhoff says: “We have had a strong working relationship with the team at Elite Optical as for some time as they are the main importer of our BKL Technologies scope rings and mounts for the U.K. As we were looking to expand our market in the U.K., partnering with Elite Optical to import AirForce and R.A.W. Airguns products was an easy choice.”

Sours: https://www.shootinguk.co.uk/news/theoben-airguns-available-again-to-uk-shooters-119936
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Theoben Air Rifles for sale

  • Theoben .20 Evolution

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    Theoben .20 Evolution

    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

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    10 SHOT STRING ON THE CHRONO

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  • Theoben .22 s type

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    Pre-charged Pneumatic Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

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    The Gun Room offers you the opportunity to purchase a second hand Theoben S Type FAC. Perfect section one air rifle.

    For more information, please e mail or call the shop on 01430 861065 . Please quote reference number H1-1346

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  • Theoben .22 Rapid 12 F.A.C Firearm

    £550US$752/€648

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    £625US$855/€737

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    Cornwall

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    Excellent original condition, no scratches, splits or dings. Beautiful Shedua stock. A fast appreciating classic. Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 AO also unmarked. Really struggling to bring myself to sell this, so with respect, no offers. Any questions…

  • Theoben .22 Rapid 12

    £650US$889/€766

    Theoben .22 Rapid 12

    Pre-charged Pneumatic Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

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    This is a second hand Theoben Rapid 12 .22 FAC rated air rifle coming complete with a Theoben silencer finished and a Hawke Reflex 3-10x44 scope - a gun that would be perfect for taking longer range rabbits (60-70 yards+ shots are possible) …

  • Theoben .22 Evolution K

    £500US$684/€589

    Theoben .22 Evolution K

    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (Ambidextrous) - S/H

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    S/H

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    Theoben Evolution Carbine .22 with Fitted Evolution moderator, walnut ambidextrous stock. The total length of the barrel including the moderator is 14 inches.
    The safety catch does not work, but this has no affect on the trigger itself…

  • Theoben .22 Sirroco (Grand Prix)

    £400US$547/€471

    Theoben .22 Sirroco (Grand Prix)

    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    6 images(6)

    S/H

    Dumfries and Galloway

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    Excellent example of this FAC version rifle. Factory fitted silencer, scope mounts and swivels. Genuine Theoben leather sling, still like new. Scope included, Optima Moonlighter 3.9 x 45 unfortunately missing a lens cap.Genuinely fired under…

  • Theoben .22 Eliminator

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  • Theoben .22 Fenman

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    Theoben Fenman in .22 beech stock In mint condition metal work in good condition no scratches or nocks. If need any more information or pictures just message.

  • Theoben .22 Evolution K

    £450US$616/€530

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    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (Ambidextrous) - S/H

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    Theoben evolution in .22 beech stock this gun has marks on the stock nothing bad just where the varnish has came of 3 light marks on near all work studs have been fitted any more information needed just message me.

  • Theoben .22 Sirroco

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    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

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    Theoben sirocco in walnut stock .22 condition is good no marks on stock metal is in good condition studs have been fitted and 1” rings if need any more information about the gun just message me.

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    30 FTLBS JSB 16 GRN

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    fitted with a carbon 500cc bottle, quick fill and two new carm/darko magazines, which are the best available.
    totally original internally, totally un messed with, condition…

  • Theoben .25 Eliminator

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  • Theoben .22 Rapid 7

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    SH-6C84A Rapid 7.22 FAC Air Rifle (35ft/lb) with Scope Silencer and Bag

  • No Image for Theoben .22 Rapid MKII

    £840US$1,149/€990

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  • No Image for Theoben .22

    £poa

    Theoben .22

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  • Theoben .20 Rapid 7

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    Theoben .20 Rapid 7

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  • Theoben .22 Rapid 7

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    Theoben .22 Rapid 7

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    Worcestershire

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    IN EXCELLENT CONDITION
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    COME COMPLETE WITH
    SIMMONS WHITETAIL CLASSIC 3.5-10X50 WA SCOPE
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    1x 12 SHOT MAGAZINE

    PART EXCHANGE WELCOME

  • Theoben .22 Rapid 7

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    INCLUDING SCOPE AND UNKNOWN SOUND MODERATOR .22 NVSN

  • Theoben .22 Eliminator

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    Theoben .22 Eliminator

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    North Wales

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    26FT LBS
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    £795US$1,087/€937

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  • Theoben .22 Eliminator HE

    £495US$677/€583

    Theoben .22 Eliminator HE

    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    5 images(5)

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    Nottinghamshire

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    gun is in fair condition for age
    few age related marks.

  • Theoben .20 Rapid MKII

    £625US$855/€737

    Theoben .20 Rapid MKII

    Pre-charged Pneumatic Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    4 images(4)

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    Wiltshire

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    Beautifully looked after Rapid MKII FAC version comes with 280cc fitted bottle, 2 magazines, moderator.

  • Theoben .22 Rapid 7

    £650US$889/€766

    Theoben .22 Rapid 7

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    6 images(6)

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    Gwynedd

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    FAC air rifle in good condition fitted with an Optisan vipper scope
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  • Theoben .20 Rapid 7

    £550US$752/€648

    Theoben .20 Rapid 7

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  • Theoben .22 Rapid 12

    £595US$814/€701

    Theoben .22 Rapid 12

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  • Theoben .22 Evolution

    £495US$677/€583

    Theoben .22 Evolution

    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (Ambidextrous) - S/H

    5 images(5)

    S/H

    Northamptonshire

    Trade Seller

    Nice tidy rifle which has just benefited from a service costing £195 (Receipt present)
    Ambi stock and evo vortex mod , bluing is good apart from a couple of spots on the moderator.

    Any gun can be transferred to your local Rfd (Ask their…

  • Theoben .22 Rapid MKI

    £495US$677/€583

    Theoben .22 Rapid MKI

    Pre-charged Pneumatic Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    6 images(6)

    S/H

    Hertfordshire

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    An FAC Rated Air Rifle in excellent condition throughout. Complete with sound moderator, two magazines and a Viper 4-16x50 Side Focus Illuminated Reticle 'scope.

    A licence is required to purchase this rifle.

  • Theoben .22 Rapid 7

    £495US$677/€583

    Theoben .22 Rapid 7

    Pre-charged Pneumatic Air Rifle (Ambidextrous) - S/H

    5 images(5)

    S/H

    Worcestershire

    Trade Seller

    VERY GOOD CONDITION
    POPULAR FAC RATED
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    CHRONO READS 28 FT LBS
    COMPLETE WITH CARBON
    AMBIDEXTROUS STOCK
    QUICK FILL CONVERSION KIT
    PRESSURE FILL GAUGE
    PART EXCHANGE WELCOME

  • Theoben .22 Rapid 7

    £395US$540/€466

    Theoben .22 Rapid 7

    Pre-charged Pneumatic Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    2 images(2)

    S/H

    Suffolk

    Trade Seller

    This FAC Rapid 7 is in great condition and pushing around 28ftlb. As with any un regulated air gun it does have a power cure but shots very well.

    New Lother Walther barrel with Carbon shroud.

    Also comes with moderator and magazine

  • Theoben .22 Rapid 12 (CUSTOM)

    £995US$1,361/€1,173

    Theoben .22 Rapid 12 (CUSTOM)

    Pre-charged Pneumatic Air Rifle (L/H) - S/H

    4 images(4)

    S/H

    West Sussex

    Trade Seller

    FAC rated at 28 ft/lbs LEFT HANDED Theoben Rapid 12 Custom air rifle with Stunning `Gary Cane` Exhibition grade thumbhole walnut stock,Evolution Vortex silencer and Tasco TS 8-32x44 scope.

  • Theoben .22 Mk I (FAC version)

    £495US$677/€583

    Theoben .22 Mk I (FAC version)

    Pre-charged Pneumatic Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    3 images(3)

    S/H

    Essex

    Trade Seller

    Includes 3-9 x 50 scope
    Approx 30 Ft/Lb Power.

  • Theoben .22 Evolution-Realtree dipped

    £499US$683/€588

    Theoben .22 Evolution-Realtree dipped

    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    1 images(1)

    S/H

    Buckinghamshire

    Trade Seller

    A hard to find Real Tree dipped Evolution complete with a Hawke 3-12x50 Nite Eye scope. Theoben silencer. A current firearms certificate with authority to purchase an FAC air rifle is required to purchase this rifle.

    Finance Now available…

  • Theoben .22 Eliminator-Outfit

    £399US$546/€470

    Theoben .22 Eliminator-Outfit

    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    2 images(2)

    S/H

    Buckinghamshire

    Trade Seller

    Very nice outfit with an output of 26 Ft Lbs., Theoben silencer . All in good condition. Please note a current Firearms certificate with authority to purchase is required to acquire this gun.

    N.B The scope pictured is not included

    Finance…

  • No Image for Theoben .22 Eliminator

    £395US$540/€466

    Theoben .22 Eliminator

    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    No images

    S/H

    Shropshire

    Trade Seller

    A Firearms certificate is required to purchase this 28ft lbs air rifle.

  • No Image for Theoben .22

    £325US$445/€383

    Theoben .22

    Break Barrel - Gas Ram Air Rifle (R/H) - S/H

    No images

    S/H

    Hampshire

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    Firearms License Required

  • Sours: https://www.guntrader.uk/guns/air-rifles/theoben
    The Classic Airgun Show Ep7 - Theoben Sirocco

    The Theoben Evolution Air Rifle

    By Brad Troyer


    Custom Airgun Tunes, Repairs  and Accessories


    When a lot of guys catch the airgun bug they tend to fall into the deep morass of tuning and customizing their airguns. A good tune is probably the most common upgrade performed on a piston gun. Nearly all benefit from a spring kit or a full out tune to reduce the vibration and recoil while increasing the power and lock time. I have owned and shot a lot of untuned piston guns over the years and nearly every one of them suffered from spring twang and added vibration because of the loose manufacturing tolerance required for mass production. That changed recently when I had my first chance to shoot a Theoben Evolution.

    A good number of airgunners are familiar with the fine airgun line produced by Theoben. Their piston guns use a patented High Efficiency (HE) gas ram system that replaces the metal spring with an air spring. The overall affect is that all spring vibration, twang, and torque are removed from the shooting cycle. On top of this a patented inertia weight is used inside the piston. It slides with the piston and helps to eliminate piston bounce. All this translates into quicker lock time and a shorter recoil period. The new HE gas ram is reported to improve consistency and reliability over previous gas rams. This was accomplished by improving the seal material, moving the seal placement, and modifying the cone angles of the inertia weight to produce a smoother movement.

    The origin of the gas ram idea reportedly came to Ben Taylor one day when he was rebuilding a spring gun that he and co-founder David Theobald had built. While in the process of working on the rifle Ben noticed that the forks on a Suzuki GS1000 motorcycle were air assisted. The wheels began to turn in Ben's head and the idea for an air piston was born. He made a rough prototype for his spring gun to see if the idea would even work. It did and after a few years of tests and prototypes he patented the original gas spring. It took a couple of more years before Ben and David officially formed Theoben on July 4th 1982.

    Theoben started in the corner of a factory owned by Anglia Circuits Engineering in St. Ives Cambridge. The made their first gas spring rifle, the Sirocco, at this facility. They made about 400 Siroccos the first year and it was during this time that they employed an apprentice named Martin Rutterford. After about 18 months the company moved to a new facility on Stevenson Road and quickly grew to include some office space next door. While in this facility Theoben produced a variety of gas piston rifles including Eliminator/Crow Magnum, Sirocco Grand Prix, Sirocco FT, Sirocco Countryman, SLR 88, HW90, Fenman, and Taunus. They also produced gas ram conversion kits for a number of spring guns that were popular at the time.

    In 1995 they move to a larger facility in Somersham, which is just outside of St. Ives, where they are located today. It was at this facility that the Olympus, Fenman Profile, Sirocco 2000, Dual Magnum, SLR98, Crusader, and Evolution were and are produced. Theoben also makes the fine Rapid series precharge air rifles that spans a good bit of this history. In 2001, the one time apprentice and then general manager Martin Rutterford became a junior partner. Then in 2003, when Ben and David decided to sell the company, Martin and Jonathan Radford purchased the company and are continuing the great Theoben tradition.

    The Evolution was first introduced in 2002 and was designed to be an entry level gas ram rifle that was built to the high quality standards of Theoben. From what I saw on the test rifle, they certainly accomplished their goals. The Evolution is a commercially produced air rifle that is actually hand built. The parts for all the Theoben rifles are machined on CNC machines but the final assembly and fitting are done by hand. The bluing on the test rifle was flawless and everything fit very precisely. I am an engineer by trade so I could really appreciate that!



    Evolution in Walnut (top) and Beech (bottom).

    The Evolution is available with several stock options, the standard beech, left or right hand walnut, and a recently announced thumbhole sporter. The standard beech stock is a bit less ornate than the walnut design but it offers both right and left handed shooting from a single design. The walnut stock is a much more custom looking design that is bought for either a left or right handed shooter. I had a walnut stock on the test rifle and it was beautiful. I thought the stock design was ideal. When I pulled it into the shoulder if fit right and felt good. The forearm flared out to be a bit thicker than the breech area. It filled the hand comfortably and the laser engraved checkering was positioned so that the hand could grip it in most normal shooting positions. Since the gun doesn't have any iron sights, the cheek piece was set a bit higher than most rifles to accommodate the use of a scope. The pistol grip had a nice steep curve to it and more laser engraved checkering. The grips spacing back from the trigger was just right so that my hands could hold the pistol grip and still reach the trigger comfortably.

    The rifle uses the Theoben trigger unit by the same name, the Evolution trigger. It is a two stage trigger unit that is adjustable for second stage travel and weight. The weight can be adjusted down to just 1 ½ lbs. The rifle I tested was given to me by David Slade of Theoben USA. David had adjusted the trigger unit perfectly so I didn't mess with any of the settings myself. For a sporter rifle, the Evolution trigger works great. It was adjusted to a safe weight for hunting or plinking purposes yet had a very predictable, crisp let-off. I didn't detect any creep in the second stage. The trigger on the test rifle was top notch.

    Cocking the Evolution is akin to starting a finely made automobile. A gentle slap released the barrel from the barrel latch. The cocking stroke was smooth and precise with a satisfying click at the end of the stroke indicated that the rifle was cocked and ready for action. The whole cocking action made me feel like I had a thoroughbred in my hands. Once the rifle was fired, it pretty evident that the gas ram system has a shorter shooting cycle. I didn't have a way to really measure the lock time but it seemed like the shot occurred quicker with the gas ram than in a spring gun like my R9. It may be that the air under pressure in the gas ram may have a faster expansion coefficient than a metal spring. I do know that the recoil period stopped much quicker than a conventional spring gun. After releasing the shot, the image of the target came back into focus faster than with a conventional spring gun.

    Like any piston airgun, the Evolution has a piston that moves forward to compress the air behind the pellet. However, unlike other spring power plants, the gas ram doesn't have a spring that torques the rifle and vibrates as it expands. This gives the gas ram an advantage over the spring and makes the Evolution a bit easier to shoot consistently. One thing I noticed though is that the recoil, while quicker, is also sharper. The recoil hit faster and harder than a comparable spring gun but it didn't hurt accuracy or rifle control. After shooting the Evolution for a while I felt that the overall shooting cycle was superior to a typical spring powered rifle.

    Well, all of this is fine but it isn't worth a hoot if the rifle doesn't shoot. Well, don't worry about that, the Evolution is plenty accurate. It came to me with a 5x scope mounted on top. From a bench I was able to shoot 5/8" groups on average at 35 yards. The tightest group I shot was ½" and the biggest was 7/8". These are pretty good groups for a 5x scope and I bet I could have shot tighter groups if I had used a higher mag scope. Either way, the rifle can shoot. I shot the majority of my test groups with the Crosman Premier .22 pellets but also tried JSB Jumbos, Daisy Pointed, and Crosman Pointed pellets and all shot well. The Crosman Pointed pellets performed comparably to the Premiers which surprised me. The others were a bit less accurate but all shot under an inch at 35 yards.

    Part of the accuracy is due to the consistency of the power plant. The test rifle averaged 650 fps with the 14.3 grain Premiers for an average 13.4 fpe. The highest velocity was 657 fps and the lowest was 643 fps with an overall standard deviation of 3.60. That is pretty darn good for a piston gun, I don't care who you are!

    Shooting the Evolution for an extended plinking session was very enjoyable. The cocking effort of 21 lbs. was low enough so as not to tire quickly from repeated cocking. The rifle weights in a typical 7.5 lbs. so holding and carrying the rifle for an extended time was no problem. The Evolution uses a 10.5" barrel that reduces the overall length to just 38 1/2". It was pretty apparent that the rifle was shorter since the overall balance was excellent. It didn't feel nose heavy at all and pointed very well. Theoben uses Anschutz barrels for the .177 and .22 calibers and a Walther barrel is used for the .20 caliber.

    I spent some time shooting the Evolution both in the back yard and back woods. It handles extremely well and feels good when it is pulled into the shoulder. It took a little time to get used to the firing cycle since it is different from a conventional spring gun. I really liked the quicker lock time and shorter recoil. In most cases when I did my part on the shooting discipline, the recoil calmed down quickly enough for me to see the reaction of the target when the pellet hit it. The trigger was not set to match grade levels but it was very smooth and predictable. That enabled me to hit what I was aiming at the greater majority of the time and usually when I missed I did something wrong.

    The Evolution is a commercially produced custom airgun that is ready to shoot right out of the box. The shooter doesn't have to tear into it to install a tune kit or send it to an airgunsmith for a makeover. It is ready to go as is and will shoot for years with little maintenance. This test has made me seriously consider a gas ram for my next purchase, perhaps in a field target configuration. The Evolution is a top notch airgun that some may wonder if the quality is worth the money spent but won't regret buying one after many years of proud ownership.



    Quality Airguns and Accessories


    Theoben Evolution Specs

     

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