there have been many professional writeup's done on the Airforce series of PCP rifles, to say the least, but where i'm coming, as a non-professional, is from my little corner of that Airforce world and how i see it.
the first thing that hits the airgunners eye is the rather unconventional appearance of the Airforce rifle. it does not resemble most of what we recognize as being an air rifle...more like a military m-16/m-4 knock off of some sort. but once past the intital assessment, it's not too bad, after all. it has to be gotten used to by the likes of me. after all, i am of the M-1 Garand generation of soldiers. many, if not most, of todays airgunners are of the AR/M16 generation and have no idea what it's like to have used an M-1 Garand...but i do know what it's like to use and handle the AR of today. i also plan on having an AR when time and situation will allow it.
that being said...looking it over was a delight to the eye.
the design is simple and functional and lends itself to 'hot rodding', 'modding', 'building' or whatever you wish to call it IF you wish to take it farther, the potiential is there and unlimited. the basic Airforce platform is without doubt the 'custom' builders dream.
you have to admit, installing a barrel into a piece of precision cast and machined tubing with bushings and set screws is rather unique and functional.
the quality and workmanship are very well executed when examined in detail and one can change and modify the basics to fit his likes if he chooses to do so; such as the trigger guard. it's held on by set screws and is made from a piece of flat, bent stock that can be replaced/worked/changed very simply right in your own DIY workshoppe with a torch and drill press without having to resort to sophiscated, often complicated, heat treating processes or operations. oh...you may if you wish to...but hey...why? that's a big advantage of these Airforce rifles...unlimited opportunities to 'build'.
one notices immediately, too, that there's not one, but two, built on, 3/8"-11mm, accessory rails...top and bottom. you may install numerous Airforce accessories or other aftermarket as well...you can have your rifle looking like something from a sci-fi Star Wars episode if you wish. now you can mount your favorite piece of glass and laser/flashlite at the same time with no hassle or adapters.
the REAL beauty of these rifles comes when you go to work on them for whatever the reason(s) simply remove the air source tank, place on your bench and do what you wish with a selection of common, available tools...not like working on an old british motorcyle...you know...wentworth threads and odd shaped bolts and socket heads...these rifles are made with commonly available threads and common material that are easy to work with.
one thing that strikes me as odd, though, and this may sound like i'm getting politcal, and i guess i am in a way, but i prefer to think of it as being 'cynical'...is that the way the Airforce is constructed, a barrel mounted in a tube, lends itself VERY WELL to being 'silenced' and we all know how paranoid our stone age legislators are when it comes to 'silenced' arms of ANY sort...even airguns. so i'm surprised there hasn't been legislation of some sort to limit, or even prohibit, such a design. to me, the design is brilliant!
the performance is another arena we get into when we deal with the Airforce rifles.
right "out of the box" with the power wheel setting on nearly it's lowest setting and my limited selection of .22 cal pellets i set out to "zero" the scope. i was astounded to find that it took me only three shots to get there! that, my friends, is where, i believe, the built on, precision cut accessory rails shine! they are so closely cut and the barrel is so well mounted in their alignment system design, it needed little adjustment to hit bullseyes no matter the pellet or power setting used. again; brilliant! now, if you want to shoot "one holers" you'll have to refine the process but my particular Airforce was "hunt ready" after that inital session. all i had to do to undergo making some fur-bearing varmints day a bad day, was to adjust the power setting, power may be simply dialed up*, adjust the scope accordingly and have at it.
i also chose to purchase the Airforce open sights and have found them to operate very well and do offer decent accuracy. one must "get down" on the stock tightly with the cheekweld in order to get a good sight picture, though, and it is uncomfortable at times due to the shape of the "stock"...the air bottle that is the air storage/power supply. but through manipulation of ones head/cheek position, it is acceptable for the biggest part. the 'buttplate' may be repositioned, in a limited fashion, to better suit one as well and, in fact, many custom build their own butt plate in order to get good head/eye alignment in sighting. most choose to employ telescopic sighting devices nowdays so accuracy is not the focus here. (no pun intended)
filling of the PCP air source is not difficult as one would think, or has read horror stories on internet forums about, or had an, unknowing, buddy talk about, perhaps time consuming with the standard Airfoce handpump, but still very effective. the DVD provide by Airforce is very informative and instructional and one would do well to watch and learn from it.
i chose to purchase a fill yoke and a 80 cuft SCUBA tank as my primary source and the handpump as a back-up. not cheap, but in my opinion, necessary. you may be very precise in filling with either system. i try not to let my bottle get below 1800 PSI and i can get many medium powered shots before any noticable drop in velocity.
the baked on epoxy finish is very durable and protective. and may be added to, taken off, at will, by the user for their own purposes...to decorate, camo or whatever. you have a selection of color...as long as it's black (in the case of the regular series rifles goes; the target series offer several color options)
the rifle is made of aluminum and polymers so it's nearly impossible for weather to alter it or affect it in operation...barring extremes either directions, of course. you know...trying to use in 125 degree heat of Death Valley or -70 degree blizzard in alaska. those conditions strain ANY equipment of ANY kind.
overall...i believe an airgunner cannot go wrong by selection of the Airforce rifle; it's a "good deal" in my opinion...