The MRODAIR Airmax Precision Match PCP Pistol
The MRODAIR Airmax Precision Match PCP Pistol, manufactured by Snow Peak Air Guns is a new entry level air pistol that began hitting regional distributors in December 2015. In Europe it can be found branded as both the SPA PP700 and SMK PP700. In the USA, Mrod-Air is the exclusive dealer, branding it as the Air Max Precision Match PCP Pistol.
Fill Pressure: 200 BAR
Cylinder Size: 67.5cc with built in externally adjustable regulator
FPE: .177 – 8FPE / .22 – 12FPE
FPS: .177 – 700FPS / .22 – 600FPS
Weight: 2.4 lbs
Barrel Length: 9.25″
Total length: 14.5″
Prior to evaluating this PCP pistol, my experience with air pistols marketed as ‘target’ pistols was very limited. For that reason, any comparisons made to other PCP pistols in this article will be limited to my experience with the Benjamin Marauder Pistol (PRod) and the Hatsan ATP line of PCP pistols.
The first thing you note when picking up the .22 MRODAIR Airmax Precision Match PCP Pistol is how well constructed yet lightweight it is. At just under 2.5lbs without optics, the pistol seems a bit back heavy, however with optics mounted this balance issue is resolved. The quality of the machining and the finish is top rate. Having had trigger time on other Chinese made PCP and CO2 air guns (the BAM B50, QB78 and QB79), I was expecting more of a utilitarian pistol than a well machined and somewhat stylish looking PCP. The team behind the manufacture of this pistol are well regarded in the Airgunning community due to the success of the SPA P12 Bullpup. Having not had the opportunity as of yet to do evaluate a P12, I was both surprised and impressed by the overall fit and finish of this pistol. I know from talking to MRODAIR.com that they have invested a considerable amount of time and effort in working with the manufacturer in order to ensure that this pistol will defy people’s expectations. If my pre-production sample is any indicator, they nailed it.
After a quick inspection and cleaning, the first thing we did was fill the pistol to 200bar and see what kind of power, consistency and shot count we would get from this pistol. The first two shot strings were shot using basic .22 Crosman 14.3g Premiere Hollow Points from a 500 count tin. Standard CPHPs are not known for their consistency, and this proved to be problematic while trying to test this pistol due to the swinging breach design. A pellet seating tool is all but a requirement for properly loading and seating your pellet.
The first shot string from the Airmax Precision actually surprised me, in that it completely matched the manufacturer’s advertised FPS, FPE and shot count. I recorded 22 shots within a 6.7% Extreme Spread with an average speed of 612FPS and average energy level of 11.92FPE
Being in the dead of winter really limits the ability to get any good range time in this time of year in the upper Midwest, however I was able to setup an indoor 10 yard range in order to see what kind of accuracy and precision this pistol had straight out of the box. The Airmax Precision did not disappoint, achieving tight 5 shot groups repeatedly from a bench rest at 10 yards with JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo Heavy .22 Cal, 18.13 Grain pellets.
A Tuner’s Delight
The MRODAIR Airmax Precision Match PCP Pistol is one of the most versatile PCP airguns on the market. While other PCP airguns in the sub $500.ooUSD price range will include a relatively pain-free way to adjust the hammer strike (thus controlling how much force hits the pressure valve, providing a a tool to roughly adjust power levels) , the Airmax Precision goes beyond that, adding an externally adjustable pressure regulator as well as an externally adjustable transfer port limiter as standard features on this pistol. These features allow you to not only fine tune the power levels of your PCP pistol, but they also allow you to tune or setup your pistol to get as effective a shot count as possible at any power levels the pistol is capable of producing.
First adjustment attempt: Better shot count at 12FPE
In the course of researching this pistol prior to arrival, I was able to find out that one of the most repected regulator manufacturers in the world, Huma-Air.com (distributed in the USA by Air Superiority Products), had also done some evaluating and testing on an this pistol. After talking to them, I knew that the pistol would benefit from some TLC. A simple tune involving adjusting the hammer pre-load should resulted in a dramatically increased shot count, without sacrificing either accuracy or power. At this point, I was running low on JSBs, so I switched to standard Crosman .22 14.3 grain Premiere Hollow Point Pellets while I fine tuned the adjustment settings. One and one half turns to loosen the hammer pre load adjustment screw proved to be the ‘sweet spot’, resulting in 32-25 shots per 300psi fill with an average 2.76% extreme spread at an average 11.35FPE. From previous testing, I know that with a heavier and more consistent pellet, such as the JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo Heavy , I’d see closer to 12 FPE and potentially get a few more shots per fill due to better shot to shot efficiency. That said, I was floored by the results. Accuracy did not change at all from my previous 5 shot groups, however I was able to not only increase shot count by nearly 50%, I was also able to lower my FPS extreme spread from 43FPS to under 17FPS.
Final adjustment attempt: 8FPE Goal Achieved!
In talking to a few of the regulars on the AirgunsARP.com Facebook group about how excited I was to be able to review this pistol, one common request I received was to test whether or not this pistol would make a viable sub 8FPE indoor target pistol. My final goal was set. At this point I had no doubt that I could I de-tune the Airmax Precision Match aka SPA PP700 pistol down to sub 8FPE. This time around, I wanted to really challenge this PCP pistol, and see if I could meet this 8FPE goal by only adjusting the Transfer Port. Much to my surprise, four and one half turns of the transfer port adjustment screw (and maybe 400 shots later), I had tamed this little beast of a pistol. 8FPE was achieved. Accuracy and precision were maintained. There was one thing that did change drastically however… the shot count. I had DOUBLED my shot count, and was now getting between 65 and 70 shots per fill! This shot string was so long that it managed to ‘break’ my spreadsheet, as you can see some cells are not correctly color coded. To say I was impressed is a massive understatement!
Time for some fun. 5yard and 10yard offhand groups, and a surprise.
Let me preface this by saying I am far below average when it comes to shooting offhand rifle. Pistol is even worse, due in large part to a pair of titanium screws keeping my right elbow together, not a good ting when you are a right hand shooter. For this reason, I enlisted the help of a couple friends, and took a trip out to the Wisconsin Airgun Club in Sparta, WI in order to have a friendly little shoot-off with some fellow airgun enthusiasts.
After a few practice rounds of trying to shoot left handed at 5 yards, we moved back to 10 yards for the inaugural match at the club. For the most part, I did not stand a chance, however I did have one fairly good round. The Airmax Precision Match PCP Pistol however proved to be a very capable indoor target pistol and then some.
Summing things up
If by now you can’t tell, I was very impressed with this pistol. The MRODAIR Airmax Precision Match PCP pistol was one of those rare gems that exceeds your expectations. It was not only a very accurate and consistent pistol, it also provided near limited flexibility in terms of being able to the tune or de-tune it to the velocity and efficiency desired by the shooter. I’m tempted myself to build a carbine stock for this little wonder of an airgun, then see how much power I can squeeze out of it in the hopes of setting it up for hiking in the woods and small game hunting.
This is a picky pistol when it comes to pellets, due largely in part to the swinging breech design. A pellet seater, pellet pen or highly dexterous fingers are almost a necessity when it comes to loading this PCP pistol as proper pellet seating is a must.
The external hammer really sets this pistol apart from anything else currently available in it’s price range. It is a fun pistol to shoot, and has a small enough air cylinder to keep those who rely on using pumps to fill their PCPs happy. The built in shroud on this pistol works well enough at 8-12FPE, however my guess is that it may be a bit on the loud side at higher power levels. In a future post and video I may attempt to modify the shroud to help with this, but to be perfectly honest I am having way to much right now just punching holes in paper right now to take the time to do so.
The Airmax Precision Match PCP Pistol is currently available in the USA through MRODAIR.com. As on January 2016, the pistol is listed at a full retail price of $399.00 USD, however if you act quickly you may be able to take advantage of special launch pricing.
Special thanks go out to Huub from Huma-Air.com for sharing some of his pictures as well as his expertise as it related to the SPA PP700