Junior Shooters review of the AirForce Talon
By Terry Bowers | View source
I have come to the conclusion that I need to expand my vocabulary as well as that of all my shooting buddies who have seen the AirForce Talon SS for the first time. You see, my goal is simple — have others help me write this article by seeing and shooting this marvelous new rifle. But all I can get out of them is "Wow!" And, after they shoot all of my pellets, again, "Wow!" is all I get. You’d think their vocabulary didn’t include any other words beyond "Wow!"
The AirForce Talon SS has to be the best concept in compressed air rifles to come along in some time. It incorporates some very innovative ideas. Available in .177 or .22 caliber, it is really an eye-catcher. With its high-capacity air tank with a fill pressure of 3,000 psi and a fill capacity of 490 cubic centimeters, it has a variable velocity capability from 400 to 1,000 feet per second depending on caliber and pellet weight. It also comes with a choice of two barrel lengths.
The adjustment for velocity is a thumbwheel that is recessed into the barrel above the forend. It is easy to adjust and has a sliding scale on the left side of the rifle.
First let's look at the air tank. The ingenious rear stock, air-tank design has a rubber coating that has a comfortable and durable feel. It threads into the frame of the rifle easily and smoothly. Once in place, the butt plate can be tightened to the correct orientation with the Allen screw that holds it in place. I found that once I had the butt plate where I wanted it, I didn't have to readjust it, meaning that the tank threaded into the same point each time. I liked this for all of the obvious reasons. And of course, this shows the quality of the parts. The tank is easy to fill with the K-valve and a standard SCUBA tank. Follow all of the rules of safe gun handling and high pressure fill tank usage at all times. The owner's manual is a great reference.
The heart of any firearm is the action. I found the Talon's top center, cocking knob handle very accessible and smooth. No sharp or out-of-place edges. Opened, the action gives good space to place the pellet into the chamber. Once in place, closing the breech was also a snap. Simply pull back on the cocking knob. The automatic safety engages every time the bolt is pushed forward to the locked position. This surprised me at first, but I found I really like this feature. The safety is a small lever in front of the trigger, yet inside the trigger guard. It has good resistance to forward pressure and a very distinct "click" when disengaged.
One noticeable feature of the Talon is the built-in scope mount rail. Although I don’t think it was designed to be a carry handle, I found it a convenient one-hand carry point. It isn’t perfectly balanced carrying that way, but it is very easy to manage safely.
Discussing the barrel is, of course, a must. Looking at the outside, you will see a top and bottom rail system. These rails can accommodate fixed or laser sights on the top and a bi-pod on the bottom. My Talon came with a bi-pod, and I found myself using it regularly when varmint hunting. However, the real innovation is the muzzle cap. The design reduces sound and air turbulence. This probably increases accuracy, particularly in a crosswind. Although accuracy wasn’t a problem for this rifle, good groups were achieved every time. However, as with any compressed air system, consistency will be affected by pressure. Tank pressure below 2,000 psi can cause widely varying velocities. That is the only thing I wish this rifle had—a way to see the remaining air pressure in the tank. So air up before you go to the field or take the optional hand pump with you.
I like the scope. It was easy to adjust power and focus. It had good light transfer and the eye relief works well for me, standing or prone. After sighting in the 3-9x AirForce scope at Snake River Sportsmen’s, Vale, Oregon, range, my first target came into view just 24 yards away—a furry and very destructive ground squirrel who had been destroying the area around our pistol pits. One well-placed shot, and problem solved.
In my view, the Talon is as at home on the range or in the field. Although the AirForce target scope we received for testing had target turrets with crisp ¼-minute adjustment and adjustable objective, my time shooting squirrels and helping my friend eliminate the pigeon problem in her hay barn proved to me that this combination was accurate and deadly. I also found this aspect of the Talon good for some point and snap shoot training with the scope on low power.
I have used this rifle around my place for pest control, in the field, for hunting, and for target practice. I think it's at home wherever you choose to put it to the test.
Also watch the video that comes with the Talon. Like most of us, you might be more inclined to watch a video than read the manual, but don't overlook the video as merely promotional. It isn't. It will take you through all of the basics about this rifle, and if you’re like me, you'll learn something new at the same time. But fair warning: Your vocabulary, too, may be reduced to a one-syllable exclamation—"Wow!"