Every time we read about a new rifle on the scene there is always some doubt because you really want to try it out before parting with your hard earned cash. They look nice and reports of everything they can do can sway you to go for it. If your like me you want to know deep down how well they will do in the field , how consistent it is and how many shots you can expect from a fill.
In my mini reviews that I do in the field I try to be as accurate and honest as I can get , the amount of words I have are limited so I can only go on how I found it personally in the short time I have the rifle.
The rifle that I have this month is a bit different because I owned one , it was formerly known as the Webley Sidewinder. It also had a couple more names as Webley were not the only ones to supply it and this did cause some confusion amongst the public. The Sidewinder I had was extremely accurate , it had a nice thumb hole stock and a pretty good shot count straight out of the box. It was a bit noisy when the vibration on the tube as it was fired gave of the dreaded `boing' noise that you get without a de-twanger and in the end I just stopped using it. It was a petty reason to sell it as it was nice to hold and shoot but I could not help myself.
Recently a good friend and a wizard with rifles Simon Atkins asked me if I would like to review the new look and re named rifle. I was a little apprehensive about it because I thought well how can it be different , it is still made in the same factory so what could I be excited about.
Well after a few chats with Simon I agreed to go over to his unit where he trades as the Airgun Doctor to see what all the hype was about.
Now normally I don't go into to much technical detail about the rifle as all I want to do is shoot it in the field but what I will do is tell you some of the answers I got from Simon on his grilling and show you some results I witnessed first hand when we did a shot count.
My first question was an obvious one and that was what it is now called.
“It is called the Evanix blizzard S10 .”
“So why would you want to supply a rifle that had mixed reviews when Webley showcased it some time back.”
“Having worked closely with Evanix whilst at Logun & Webley, I suppose it came as no surprise that we were the obvious choice to ‘spec’ the new arrivals when AC Guns became the official UK supplier for the Evanix product range, having worked with AC Guns in the past on the Sumatra rifles.”
“All well and good you have worked on these rifles before but tell me why I should part with my hard earned cash because of a few modifications.”“The rifles have seen many factory improvements since the old prestige, Webley and Armex models. The factory spec guns we were given to start with were much changed from the previous incarnations, using some parts from the unreleased Logun Black Widow. Although these guns may look similar to the above, they are most definitely not. In fact very few parts could be considered to be interchangeable, so what’s different thus far……”
I am still not convinced here.
“The number and position of sealing O rings has been changed, less O rings = less chance of any air loss. The magazine system is now completely different, it is now 13 shot in .177, or 11 in .22, completely self indexing and can be inserted from either side. The Breech block is now shorter and slimmer, valving, hammers etc are also altered. The guns were undoubtedly now much improved, however, we couldn’t resist making a few ‘modifications’ of our own!
Having been continuously ‘tinkering’ with my own Webley Venom Sidewinder for the last few years, that is, when I actually get the chance to work on my own guns! the results of these modifications and improvements are now the standard set up in the new Evanix models.”
“So you are going to test and make sure every rifle that is sold shoots exactly the way a factory rifle should. “
“Definitely , that is what I would want if I was the customer and to have my name linked to a rifle , I want to make sure it does exactly what I claim.”
After a look at the rifle I wanted to know about the consistency and shot count and a raised eye brow from simon had me waiting impatiently for his answer.
“Without giving too much away, we have managed to virtually double the original factory shot count, with most .177 rifles doing 170 shots, and the .22’s doing over 200, all this with no regulator!
We have made several alterations to the way air is metered to the firing valve, both in terms of flow rate, and capacity available to the valve for each shot, porting is now much more efficient throughout the charge range, the hammer spring rate and length has been modified, along with hammer length and weight too. This has seen some fantastic results such as the massive shot count per fill and very flat power curve. The guns are now considerably quieter too, also due to more efficient air use.”
Now a claim of 200 shots from a tubed rifle is going to be laughed at from some but I had only one thing on my mind and that was his chronograph sitting in the corner of the room.
To test this claim we shot one through the chrono and nine more into a safety tin just to quicken up the process and make it possible to photograph the results that were on the PC screen. A quick fill up to 200 bar from the diver bottle and after god knows how long we finally got a shot under 11ftlb.
Looking at the pc it showed nearly 180 shots in .177 over 11ftlb and the shot to shot consistency was brilliant. The only drop we had was the pellet I sneaked in that I squashed a little bit as Simon was getting rather cocky , The gauge was reading 100 bar at the end of the test so there is room for improvement I think, “only kidding Simon”.
We did do more tests on the rifle shooting 5 magazines continuous through the chrono and the results were just the same. The side cocking lever and new type magazine also cycled faultlessly through out the test but I need space to write about how I got on hunting so I will stop the technical stuff now.
I had been playing with the Blizzard for a couple of weeks now so I decided it was time for the big test. I had planned for an early morning assault on some rabbits and then try my hand at a few magpies that I had noticed knocking around the fields.
I had arrived at my local shoot about 6am , the sun was already shining and pretty warm. I had thought about getting up earlier but a late night put any dent on that and I needed some sleep.
I knew on this ground where most of the rabbits are and I have shot many a rabbit here so creeping up on them should be a breeze. I started off at the bottom end of the ground, this gave me the very slight breeze in my face and also I can creep up right to them as most of the gaps in the fence are on my left side. This lets me get close to the ground and look around corners better without being seen before I slide the rifle into place for the shot if one presents itself, if I was working around the opposite direction shooting to my right I would have to show more of myself to get a shot as I lined the scope up to my eye.
Well this plan went on for about an hour and although I did see the odd rabbit nothing was in the gaps I was looking through so I moved onto a more productive spot.
My first rabbit was a bit of a surprise . I had just climbed over a gate and was starting my stalk down the side of a small bank. I had spooked a rabbit in the long grass and as it ran through it it must have startled another. I fell flat on my face as fast as possible as I know the second rabbit had not been spooked by me so on the off chance of it stopping I needed to get ready as soon as possible. The rabbit had run to my left over to a small bump with a hawthorn bush right in the middle of it, it was only 25 yards away so the shot was not going to be hard. The nice kind rabbit stopped near the trunk of the hawthorn in the shade , it was very alert and I knew it was looking in my direction. The sun was shining on the rifle and the monster scope that Simon had graced the rifle with was sticking out like a sore thumb , I was praying it would give me a few more seconds to line it up in the cross hairs and oblige it did. I had gently squeezed the blizzards trigger and sent the pellet on its way , the millisecond of silence that seemed to have passed was broken with a loud thump and the rabbit rolled on its side.
The first hit with the rifle was pleasing to say the least but now I needed more. I had walked over to where I was planning my magpie stint when through the branches of a hawthorn I noticed a couple of rabbits feeding about 30 yards out into the field, I was surprised to see them feeding so far out here as they normally sit pretty close to the hedge line here. My challenge now was to get under the tree and through the bracken to be able to get a clear shot. I slowly pushed myself through the grass stopping every few seconds to see if I had alerted them , to my surprise they were oblivious to my presence and once through I even managed to get into a kneeling position.
I lined up on the closest rabbit and wasted no time pulling the trigger , the rabbit lay kicking with its legs outstretched while the second rabbit sat alert but knew nothing of what had happened to its friend. I quickly cycled another pellet into the rifles breech and lay the other rabbit on its side within a foot of the other.
I was so impressed with the slick side lever and the new magazine , it was very quiet and I was able to keep the rifle more or less on the rabbit as I loaded it again, I was even more impressed as there was no boing from the tube.
As I was at the magpie ambush point I decided to set out my decoy over a gutted rabbit. Unfortunately I have ran out of space to go into to much detail but after a good long hour I finally got a magpie in my sights . It had come straight in to the decoy and was giving it some right grief. I could hear others calling from behind , I did not want to miss this opportunity and with a nice head shot I lay the magpie to rest.It did not take long for a few more to come in going crazy at the sight of one of their family sprawled out in the field and in a matter of minutes I had managed to get 3 more.
Its always the same with magpies , you wait for ages for them to arrive and within a few seconds you have shot the family and so protecting so many songbirds in the process, its so satisfying .
I did manage to get a wood pigeon and another rabbit from the hide to finish off a very productive morning and it was a nice reunion with a much improved rifle from the past.
Now the verdict.
Would I buy one? .
If I had no other rifle and this was going to be my main one then yes, the loading cycle is very smooth and the shot count is way too impressive not to consider it. I would definitely put a smaller scope on it as well. Its build quality is really nice with a nice bluing to finish it off. I would though consider a stock upgrade from the ambi sporter only because it felt better on the old rifle I had.
Well I hope you have got something to consider now as I know Simon will make this one very special rifle fer everyone who buys one or he will eat his hat.
Rifles can be purchased from Airgun Doctor AGD Ltd Tel ...01543 876800 & 07970 770604
or AC Guns LTD Tel 01424 752261 http://www.acguns.co.uk
prices start from £560