For the past few weeks, I've been field testing an incredible little carbine from a new airgun outfit called Prestige Airguns - and I'm very sad now that I've had to return it! You'll be able to read my full, five-page feature test in July's issue of the new-look Air Gunner magazine (out the first Thursday of June), but for now, here's a sneak preview...
The rifle's called the Kub - and it's available in three versions: the Kub-SB, Kub-RB and Kub-SL. The suffixes relate to differences in the cocking system - side-bolt, rear-bolt and side-lever. I've played with all three and, essentially, they're the same gun. My favourite (and, therefore, my test reports) are of the side-bolt which has got to be one of the most beautiful looking bolt-action combos on the airgun market today.
The Kub comes in delightful thumbhole or sporter woodwork (both walnut and both ambi) and its all-up weight - unscoped - is just 6.5 lbs. (3.1 kg). With my Hawk 3-12 x 44 AirMax on-board, I got a couple of ounces change out of 8 lbs. - and as well as the Kub-SB being a nice field weight, it's also beautifully balanced in your shoulder
As you can see from these scoop photos - a few more of which are on the Prestige Airguns website, along with detailed specs - the Kub is a very streamlined rifle. There's elegant chequer panels on the grip and fore-stock and despite the rifle's compact weights and measures, it's laden with lots of great features.
The firing valve has a special secondary air chamber which controls air-output in a pseudo-regulator way, and my .22 test sample actually gave me 120 usable shots per charge. In my case, a charge was 180 BAR down to 80, although Prestige quote 200 BAR as the maximum fill pressure.
I was well impressed with the Kub's two-stage trigger and its down-range accuracy was enough to tempt me into reaching for my wallet! With features like quick-fill charging (rotary cover), on-board manometer, 11/22mm scope grooves and adjustable butt, it's easily worth the money Prestige are asking for it. Prices range from £549 (for the Kub-RB Sporter) to £639 (for the flagship Kub-SB Thumbhole shown here).
Kubs are scheduled to arrive in gun shops around mid-May 2009 and I'm hoping to have another sample soon on which to undertake further field tests. When I do, you can be sure I'll be blogging about my hunting trips with the Kub... but for the meantime, remember to get your copy of July's Air Gunner for the exclusive first airing of this cracking little carbine.