The Powerful Condor by Tom Gaylord
What's the deal with the world's most powerful smallbore air rifle?
The Condor was introduced in January of 2004, and by the end of March, they were in dealers' hands. It is the world's most powerful smallbore air rifle, but what is it, really?
Of course the Crosman Premier is traveling too fast for its best accuracy at the Condor's top power level. It's simply used to give shooters a point of reference. Shooters will either want to use heavier pellets that slow the rifle down to less than 1,000 f.p.s., or they will dial the power way down to use the Premiers. To go faster than the speed of sound with some pellets can cause inaccuracy.
WHICH PELLETS TO USE?
When you want all the power the rifle can offer, EunJin pellets from Korea are a good bet. They will produce over 60 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle on the highest power setting. Even with a heavy 30-grain pellet, you will still be shooting at about 1,000 f.p.s. on full power.
Where the Condor starts to shine is at ranges beyond 50 yards. It is so powerful that shooters can keep right on shooting to 70, 80 and even 100 yards and the gun will still group well. While most powerful air rifles are limited to about 50 yards for their best accuracy, the Condor offers a significant long-range advantage.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUTThe Condor valve mechanism is adjusted at the factory. The only thing you need to do is fill the tank with air and set the power wheel. The Condor is accurate at all power levels, as long as you don't push the pellets too far past 1,000 f.p.s.
The Condor gets a great deal of its power from its 24-inch barrel. Even a Talon SS that normally gets 23-25 foot-pounds from its 12-inch barrel in .22-caliber will increase to over 40 foot-pounds, just by adding the optional 24-inch barrel. When the Hi Flo valve is combined with the Condor’s powerplant, however, another 20+ foot-pounds become available.
UPGRADE TO A CONDOR?It is possible for the AirForce factory to upgrade the power of either a Talon or Talon SS to Condor power. We recommend upgrading the Talon SS over the regular Talon, because the 24-inch barrel looks better on the Talon SS long frame. Only the guns with a power adjustment wheel on the left side of the frame can be modified with the upgrade kit. Some very early guns may require additional parts that must also be installed by AirForce.
HOW ABOUT .177?What about the Condor in .177? It is available in .177, but unless you plan to shoot heavy lead bullets that you cast yourself, or until .177 pellets of at least 20 grains weight become available, the Condor just is too powerful for this caliber. In AirForce testing, a .177 Condor pushed lightweight pellets faster than 1,450 f.p.s.
The power range of a .22 Condor is between 19 and 65 foot-pounds. This gives the rifle a wide range of applications. There is no sound suppression on a Condor, and the noise of a high power shot is similar to the sound made by a .22 rimfire rifle.
THE NEED FOR CLEANThe Condor's design, where the air tank can be so easily removed, makes cleaning from the breech a snap. Do not use gun solvents to clean, but you may use a little gun oil on patches. You don't need to clean the barrel often, but this is how to do it. And don't forget to protect the muzzle crown when you clean, because it is very important to accuracy.
Other than infrequent barrel cleaning there are no special maintenance requirements. There are also no lubrication needs, as the Condor is lubricated at the factory. Putting oil on any parts of the gun other than the barrel will slow the firing mechanism and lower performance. You may lubricate the pellets lightly, but if they are pure lead, like Beeman Kodiaks for example, they don’t need it.
The Condor air rifle is a purpose-built hunting air rifle that turned out to be more flexible than anticipated. Is it the right airgun for you? The best way to find out is to get one and see for yourself.