AirForce Airguns TalonSS Review
SpotterUP.com takes a closer look at the TalonSS
by Ben Johnson | SpotterUp.com | January 6, 2018
I was a little unsure how to begin this review. Pre-Charged Pneumatic pellet guns are something I have no previous experience with, so while I was entering with an open mind, I also had no relevant air rifles to compare it with. I, like so many others, grew up with BB and pellet guns, and still have two break-barrel .177 pellet guns that I occasionally use in the backyard. They may have heavy triggers, and the spring system of a break barrel still throws my aim, but not all of us have the land for our own personal range.
I had been casually researching PCP guns for a few weeks, but being short of any disposable income it had become little more than interesting research. When Mike asked for volunteers to test some rifles I was the online equivalent of an elementary grade child straining with their hand raised to be chosen. Since the Airforce Airguns TalonSS arrived I have felt that same childlike excitement every time I get the chance to shoot. The pure joy and just plain fun this rifle creates extends to every person I’ve had try it out. There has not been a single person that got a chance to shoot it that didn’t smile and ask for the chance to shoot a few more pellets.
Before I get too involved with my experience with the rifles performance here are some quick specs from the website on the Airforce Airguns TalonSS.
If you don’t want to spend the time reading about how much I enjoyed the TalonSS I will save you the trouble and mention any issues I had first. The sticker on the tank pump was pretty beaten up when I pulled it from the box, and there were some white smudges on the pump handle from the Styrofoam. Those two miniscule, meaningless issues were my only problems with this rifle. If you want to save yourself time and don’t want to read my review, just read this. This rifle is incredible, if you’re on the fence jump off and go buy one. I wish I could afford one, I’m still trying to think of a way to finance this one so I don’t have to send it back.
PCP guns are so different from what I was used to I was glad that the rifle also comes with an informative disc and manuals. I had used CO2 tanks playing paintball, but that was a decade ago and there were vast differences here. The compressed air tanks can be filled with two different methods. There is an attachment to allow you to hook your smaller tank to a scuba tank, or there is a specialized hand pump to fill the tank manually. I received both for my testing, but opted to use the hand pump to avoid making repeated trips to the scuba tank. They advise that the hand pump does take some considerable effort to fill the tank with, which actually made it a little more appealing.
While the pumping effort was a surprise, it was no comparison to the surprise from finally shooting the rifle. My worry throughout the process had been that it would resemble a rifle shot far too closely and I would be forced to use it only on a public range, rather than in my backyard. I needn’t have worried, the TalonSS utilizes Airforce Airguns Sound-Loc technology to reduce the sound of the shot to a tiny metallic ‘ping’. I don’t have a decibel meter to give the exact decibel rating, the closest I could compare it to is a suppressed .22LR. The type of quiet that just makes your inner child smile and make you want to shoot it more. The trigger was also extremely light, there was some noticeable take up before a firm wall. Not having a trigger gauge I cannot state what the adjustable two stage trigger broke at, but I can say that it is a light and crisp break.
There is such an incredible list of features to this rifle that I could easily write a small booklet, rather than keep this to a simple review. Instead of repeating any features with this rifle that you can easily find through Airforce Airguns website I’d like to simply share some of my experiences with this rifle. The rifle is rated to shoot 1” groups at 50-70 yards, to give myself the best chance of doing this I affixed a Vortex Diamondback HP 4-16x and ordered a variety of 14.3gr .22 pellets from Crosman and JSD Diabolo.
I already mentioned how quiet this rifle was, and what an asset this was for enabling me to shoot in my neighborhood backyard. What it also allowed me to do was rotate shooting with my wife from our back deck, while our six-month old son slept just inside the door to the house. This was never possible with any of the break barrels because they create far too loud of a crack for him to sleep through. Fatherhood has been the greatest experience of my life, while also reducing the amount available time I have for shooting. I could never say that I am sacrificing the range time because I truly treasure time with my son, but having the ability to shoot again with him so close was an incredible gift. I wished for the first time that he was older so that he could shoot with us.
I next took the air rifle to the mountains of northern PA to my brother-in-law’s cabin. He owns 10 acres of land there, used mostly for hunting, and I thought it would be the perfect family trip to further test the rifle. The power is adjusted on the left side of the rifle with a simple dial system. Dialing up in the higher numbers is recommended for hunting with the 12” barrel, 2-4 for target shooting. Unfortunately, our family trip coincided with the first week of rifle season for white-tail. Not wanting to ruin the hunt for those pursuing deer I did not test the rifle on any local squirrels in the nearby hunting land.
My father-in-law and I did set up a small 50-yard range to further test the rifle’s capabilities. I had borrowed a chronograph to find the right velocity for our simple shooting. The dial numbers do not correspond with a gradual rise or drop in velocity, there are sweet spots in the numbers that are much easier to find with a chronograph measuring your velocity. I had initially been shooting at the number 4 on the dial, but with the chronograph I dropped that number to 2 with only a 10fps difference in velocity. Even with the temperature in the upper 30’s and a constant stiff wind we easily kept the shots within 1” groups from our picnic table turned bench rest. Velocity fluctuated a mere 20fps throughout the use of all ammo used, from 780-800fps.
The crowning achievement with this rifle occurred in a not so measurable way. We often look at the specifics of a gun and hold its worth in specific set standards, i.e. how far it can shoot accurately, how fast it can be fired, or what kind of game it can bring down. This rifle allowed me to see that there is more to a rifle than just being rich with quality features.
My mother-in-law had never fired a gun in her life. She is not anti-gun, there are quite a few rifles in her home and my father-in-law hunts throughout every year. Either through disinterest or even a little intimidation with tools that are foreign to so many, she had never taken the time to shoot, until this trip. Seeing the complete lack of recoil and the quiet report put her at ease enough to safely give one shot a try. And then another, and then a third shot, and possibly would have shot more if we had not run out of time. I’m sure most readers can list at least half a dozen people they know that have never interacted with firearms just from the noise intimidation. This rifle removes that factor and makes shooting such a simple process that, as long as you cover proper safety and fundamentals, newcomers are bound to be hooked.
While I grew up learning to shoot and safely handle cheap pellet guns, they were largely ignored once I moved on to bolt .22’s, AR’s and the other firearms we all cherish. This experience with Airforce Airguns has changed my view in that regard, at least when it comes to quality tools like the TalonSS. I am not saying that I’m willing to trade in my .22LR’s for an air rifle, but I have learned that they do have their place, and someday I’ll have the money for a TalonSS of my own.