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Airgun Review: The Artemis P15

Big Trouble From Little China - Artemis P15  

 

My son has been driving me up the wall over the past couple of months as he insists on going vermin hunting with the Bullpup rifles. The Daystate Pulsar is his weapon of choice, followed closely by the BSA Defiant - sadly he’s a .22 man. I’ve also failed to convert him from the .22 calibre and onto the proper .177. Whilst out with the airguns, he insists on complaining about the weight of each bullpup. At 15 years of age he’s quite a skinny little boy and has a lot of growing up to do, so I can appreciate how the bullpups can become quite cumbersome over long hunting or stalking periods for him.


Last weekend, however, I’d had enough of his winging and gave him the option of buying his own lightweight bullpup, this would also free up my more expensive airguns and remove them out of his clumsy, careless hands. I asked him to scroll through the airgun section of Gunstar.co.uk and find something he might be interested in for a budget of £500; call it a belated school leaving present I told him.


He shortlisted a few Bullpups, the first being the new GAMO Boxer. I must admit this was the one I was most keen on, it was a little over my budget but I was happy to consider it. The Spanish manufacturer GAMO has become a force to be reckoned with partnering with Birmingham Small Arms, our own UK based gun manufacturer. GAMO’s range of air rifles has developed quite considerably since I first got my hands on a GAMO IGT Hunter (Inert Gas Technology, which is a clever way of saying gas ram). The GAMO Boxer appears to be a budget version of the more detailed and thought out BSA Defiant at a recommended retail price of around £569.99.


GAMO Boxer

GAMO Boxer side view



The second rifle on his shortlist was the Kral MK2 Puncher Breaker. Having previously owned a Kral in the guise of an NP02, I was happy with his second choice, considering how impressed I was with the NP02 when I tested it a short time ago. I was certain if the NP02 was anything to go by, the Puncher Breaker which has a recommended retail price of £480.00, would also live up to our expectations.


Kral MK2


I was a little surprised with his third choice, the Artemis P15. This wasn’t the best-looking gun of the three and oddly enough had a higher (SMK) RRP than the other two at £599.99 (yet an internet search revealed the Artemis P15 can be bought at local gun shops new at just under £500.00). But I was ready to give it a go nevertheless. I’d already purchased, tested and reviewed the Chinese equivalent of this bullpup in the pistol variety, the Artemis PP700W and the Artemis PP700S-A, so I knew what we should be expecting from the Artemis P15 build quality.


Artemis P15


My son and I made the journey to the local gun shop hoping to catch a glimpse at the above-mentioned bullpups in the flesh and also try them out for size. When we arrived the kind assistant behind the counter pulled off the Artemis P15 from the rack, the only one of the three in stock at the time. My son tried it out for size, it handled and shouldered well, the grip felt comfortable and length of pull was just right. It was lightweight so that ticked the first box, but was it going to be the right rifle for him?


Whilst in the Gun Shop, I asked the assistant for the lead time on the GAMO Boxer. I was intrigued by this alternative BSA/GAMO bullpup and would at some point like to get my hands on it and put it to test, in an attempt to see how it fares against the premium BSA Defiant version. I guess the GUNSTAR readers will have to wait for this.


Upon arriving home, my son continued his search through the GUNSTAR.CO.UK airgun search pages, this time widening his search into the used section. Fortunately for him, he stumbled across a second hand Artemis P15 for almost half the price of a new one. The bullpup airgun was also advertised to come with extras: a nice gun bag, with a fitted AGS Cobalt 4-16x50 IRAO scope, an aftermarket 3D printed adjustable butt pad, an aftermarket 3D printed magazine and a 3D printed picatinny rail. I didn’t hold much faith in the 3D printed parts, I wasn’t convinced a 3D printed airgun part would be as durable as a piece of machined aluminium, steel or solid part machined from Delrin. 


Now comes the continuous nagging every father has probably experienced when a teenager finally puts their mind to something and decides they absolutely “need” it. Now my son is telling me he needs this Artemis P15, it’s a matter of life and death, and I have to sit there at the dining table through lunch, and then on the sofa during my afternoon NETFLIX movie “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” listening to him repeat the same thing over and over again. For most of the day I’m hearing this noise, as I do my best to drown him out with mundane tasks around the house, but he continues telling me about the great price, the extras the bullpup comes with and most importantly how we only have to drive 5 miles to purchase it.


I Give In

This boy has no off switch, his mind is made up! It was time for me to give in or there would be dire consequences for me. I logged into GUNSTAR.CO.UK on my phone's internet browser to find the advert, at the same time hoping the vendor hasn’t sold it already. The last thing I needed was my son to go on and on  about how I’d missed the bargain of the century. The website makes it easy to contact the seller via an email or secure a telephone number. I chose to use the email option. My tip here for our readers is to ask the seller if the airgun is still for sale requesting a text message back to your own private phone number to speed things up. Thirty minutes later my phone beeped as I received an email response from the seller notifying me the rifle was still for sale and Jonny the seller also sent me his contact number. I confirmed the details of the sale with Jonny, gun brand, calibre and listed all the extras to ensure there had been no mistake on the advert. Then I arranged to meet Jonny later on that very evening to view and test the Artemis P15.


My son and I drove out to the small town of Oswaldtwistle and met with the pleasant gentlemen selling the Artemis P15, and after a short conversation about shooting and picking up a new permission to shoot on, I looked over the rifle and checked to ensure all the extras were indeed included. I handed over the money and shook hands on a fantastic deal, courtesy of GUNSTAR.CO.UK.


The P15 with aftermarket scope


Out in The Field

There's something strange about children, and many other fathers who have experienced what I'm about to tell you will sympathise with me. The following day my son was glued to his gaming console, and every attempt I made to pull him away from it failed. The Artemis P15 hadn’t left the gun bag it had arrived in the night before, for some reason unknown to me the Artemis P15 had lost its lustre at least for the boy, so I took it upon myself to take it out for a shooting session.


I arrived at my usual hunting grounds, where I have spinners and targets already set up at varied distances. The first few shots were at paper targets set up at 20 yards, the rifle wasn’t quite zero but I managed to get it shooting how I wanted it within 10 shots. I moved the paper target out to 30 yards and re-zeroed 4 clicks to the right and 2 clicks down, there! It was bang on. Loading the magazine was getting to be a pain for me, I kept having to remind myself the first pellet must be inserted skirt first from the rear to lock the drum, after turning the transparent cover completely anti clockwise, then the remaining pellets can be loaded head first through the hole on the transparent cover side, inserting one pellet after another and rotating the cover back to the first loaded pellet. The magazine when inserted isn’t held in place by a retaining pin, it’s instead held in by a small magnet that aligns up with the magnet in the action block. I got used to it, then decided to give the 3D printed magazine a go. The 3D printed mag reminded me of an earlier Daystate version, with an outer casing holding the drum in place. The good thing about the 3D printed magazine is it’s spring loaded and self-actuating and all the pellets can be loaded from one side, whilst rotating the drum anticlockwise after inserting each pellet. The 3D printed magazine appeared to be sturdy and well made, and whilst I continued to use it throughout the morning, it didn’t fail on me at all.


P15 with additional parts


An hour or so into shooting the Artemis P15, I struggled to reduce my group sizes any further down from 1 inch at 35 yards. I was shooting the bullpup from a seated unrested position, and whilst exhausting the various test sample pellets I’d brought with me, I determined the most suitable pellet for this airgun was the H&N Sport .22 Baracuda Match. I also worked out the bullpup was very hold sensitive and any movement in my head or shoulder would be reflected in a larger group down range. I suspected this bullpup originally started off as a rifle or at least the action did and then some bright spark decided to nestle it into a bullpup stock. I did manage to give the standard and the aftermarket single shot loaders a go, both of which work very well, yet do little or nothing to reduce the 1-inch group at 35 yards.


Over the chrono the regulated action worked a treat. The .22 returned 80 good shots before I began noticing the power drop off. Below is the 80 shot chrono string using .22 (5.5mm) Baracuda Match 21.14gr pellets.


shot power graph


The Bullpup Tear Down

Starting from the rear and working my way forwards, the Artemis P15 comes with a very basic rubber recoil pad. The pad is unvented and just as hard as you can imagine a solid piece of rubber to be. I don’t think the rubber recoil pad is supposed to be functional; the rifle doesn’t have a recoil so the pad has little or nothing to absorb. It’s a nice touch however as it’ll help protect the bullpups hardwood stock if it’s stood butt down anywhere.


Butt Pad         Butt Pad with SMK logo


Speaking of stocks, the bullpup comes with a lightly stained hardwood one and I wouldn’t be in a hurry to write home about it. If I was to hazard a guess, I’d say the stock is made from Beech wood. The stock is a basic shaped plank of wood and if it wasn’t for the wider shaped top section that holds the regulator body and air cylinder, I’d be assuming it was being made on a homemade woodworking bench in someone's back garden. Okay so it's not the most exciting thing about the airgun, but then what is. The stock is simple, ergonomic thumbhole, it fits well, offers a comfortable length of pull but the lack of skip checkering or stippling lets it down. One other thing I’e begun noticing about bullpup stocks in general is the non-existent thumb up hold position a lot of target shooters are comfortable with. Having taken part in various target shooting activities recently, I found my right-hand thumb would naturally climb up searching to rest in the thumb up position, and then return back around the comfortable pistol grip. It’s not a problem because the Artemis P15 isn’t a target rifle.


Nestled in the stock to the rear is a small yet sturdy black powder coated action block, with the usual printed on SMK and union jack markings, I don’t know, maybe someone’s trying to convince me this airgun is made in the UK and not Shaoxing, China? The precarious location of the magazine loading port troubled me at first but I soon decided it was safe enough in an experienced shooters hand. The magazine and action block press right into my right cheek when I shoulder the rifle, the small dainty non-adjustable plastic cheek rest works because I wasn’t pressing my face against hard sharp steel, and just like many other bullpups on the market today the side lever cocking mechanism isn’t ambidextrous and is situated on the right hand side, yet operates and functions effortlessly. The action block is 4 ½ inches long (114.3mm) and protrudes out of the stock at 1 ¾ of an inch (44.45mm). The forward section of the action block holds the barrel breach. There doesn’t appear to be any visible grub screws holding the barrel into the action block, so I can only assume the barrel is held into place from underneath.


Artemis branding on the P15


The factory deep blued barrel itself is partially shrouded, and after removing the shroud I can confirm the shroud has a number of aluminium baffles inside, that do reduce the report of the Artemis P15 quite considerably. In fact, the shroud in my opinion doubles up as an effective moderator/silencer. Interestingly enough, when I first fired the Artemis P15 I noticed a small gust of air force its way out of the shroud, when I looked at the shroud in detail I noticed small breath of vent holes at the rear, so not only does the shroud act as an effective moderator/silencer, it doubles up as an air stripper - quite impressive. The black powder coated shroud can easily be removed and stripped down for maintenance and cleaning. Another point I’d like to make here is the barrel is 16 inches in length and is screw cut to take a ½ inch UNF threaded silencer, the length of the barrel also reinforces my original thoughts, is this a rifle nestled into an afterthought bullpup stock?


the rifled barrel


Below the barrel nestled comfortably into the stock is the ample sized black powder coated titanium air reservoir or tube with the regulator body (and internal regulator), and a pressure gauge/manometer at the business end. The pressure gauge has a spring-loaded cover, that can be slid forward to reveal the conveniently placed fill port, quite ingenious.

I was also impressed with the solid steel sturdy low mounting picatinny scope rail, the base of which is attached to the air tube and supports the barrel. The 8 inch scope rail allows for various scope mounting positions and the medium mounts on the AGS Cobalt that came with the bullpup work a treat with scope and eye alignment. Hidden inside the stock is the trigger unit and linkages. The trigger is fully adjustable, I did however have to remove the stock to take a look at it. I’ll likely adjust it to my sons liking when he finally takes it out himself. The black steel curved trigger blade is comfortable and the silver safety button operated through the trigger is well placed. Operating the safety however takes some getting used to.


 


Artemis P15 – Pros


  • Lightweight rifle weighing in at 4.4lbs (1.99kg)

  • Comfortable ergonomic ambidextrous stock, with a dedicated right-hand action. 

  • Adjustable single stage trigger.

  • Effective air stripping and silencing shroud (easily serviceable and customizable).

  • Comes with 2 magazines and a single shot tray. 

  • Good accuracy.

  • Highly customisable and tuneable.

  • 3D printed aftermarket parts can be bought on a well-known auction site, these include:

    • Magazines

    • Multi Adjustable Recoil Pads

    • 3d Printed Shrouds & Silencers

    • Accessory Rails

    • Raised cheek pieces


Artemis P15 – Cons


  • Lack of stock adjustability.

  • A hardwood plank for a stock.


Artemis P15 Technical Specifications

Model & Manufacturer

Snow Peak (Shaoxing, China) Distributed by Sportsmarketing UK

Air Gun Type

Side Lever Action

Available Calibre Variants

.177, .22 and .25

Weight (Unscoped)

4.4lbs (1.99kg)

Length 

685.8mm (27 Inches)

Barrel Type

Rifled (Generic)

Available (Stock Options)

Beech

Trigger Type

Single Stage (adjustable)

Power Plant

Pre-Charged Pneumatic (25MPa)

Maximum Fill Pressure

190bar

Shot Count .25 (As Stated by Manufacturer)

110

Shot Count .22 (As Stated by Manufacturer)

100

Shot Count .177 (As Stated by Manufacturer)

90 

Accuracy (Variation in Ft/sec over 40 shots)

6ft/sec

Average Muzzle Energy On Test

11.8ft/lbs 

Recommended Retail Price

SMK - £599.00 

RFD price – Under £500.00

Manufacturers Website

http://www.artemis-airgun.com/#flash

Distributors Website

http://www.sportsmk.co.uk



My Final Thoughts


The Artemis P15 is a great bull bullpup rifle and proved to have form and function on test. I did purchase the Artemis Bullpup second hand, it was however as new hardly used, it was obvious when I took a look at the rifle, it didn’t have a single mark on it, nor had it any signs of use. The seller informed me he’d simply zeroed the rifle and intended to use it as a backup airgun.

The Artemis performed as expected for a mid-range priced bullpup, the lightweight yet sturdy design holds true to its handling. I was particularly impressed with the shroud, silencer and air stripper combination; it worked perfectly. The finish of the Artemis is also flawless, Snow Peak and or SMK are doing a great job presenting the Artemis range in the UK, and SMK offerings just get better and better.


The lightweight compact nature of the Artemis takes some getting used to, yet the 1inch accuracy achieved shooting the bullpup unrested is testament to its performance and reliability. The plain plank of a stock takes some getting used to and I’ve occasionally stood over the rifle admiring its simplistic form; its growing on me.


If my son hadn’t stumbled across a second hand option, I’d definitely have bought the Artemis new from an RFD as it’s reasonably priced at just under £500, I mean if I hadn't, I wouldn’t have heard the end of it. It just so happened we got lucky with a nice new one in the used section of the sales site. Now all I have to do is get the boy to shoot it.


I hope you enjoyed reading my review of the Artemis P15, as much as I enjoyed writing it, and as always shoot straight and shoot safe. ATB Ray Hussain

 
Ray Hussain
Airgun Expert and Enthusiast
Published on 2019-07-26