Review: Daystate Huntsman Regal – A Royal Cheshire Afternoon
I got my hands on a Daystate Huntsman Regal HR and the new Revere version of the Regal mid 2020, soon after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted, and when the general public were allowed to meet up with other people outside of their own homes again. Stewart Jones invited me to a shoot in Cheshire, and when I arrived at his home, he swiftly ushered me into his kitchen/dining room, and handed me the new Regal HR. I was immediately impressed with the lighter weight of the rifle. Unlike some of its English cousins, the Daystate Huntsman Regal HR was definitely easy to hold and easier on the eye.
The stock is manageable and ergonomic and felt just right in my hands; the fancy huge ‘R’ laser etched into the pistol grip checkering, stood proud and majestic, but was this rifle going to be worthy of Royalty? Whilst Stewart began making me a brew, I took the opportunity to continue to survey the rifle, then began clearing some space on his countertop to take some photographs, but I soon changed my mind.
Instead I grabbed the tin of JSB Exact Diablo that Stewart had left precariously on the kitchen counter, and I proceeded to fill the Regal HR’s ten shot magazine that was also sat adjoining the tin of pellets. I was already familiar with the filling strategy, and was pleased to see the magazine remained unaltered, and there was no need to rotate the drum 480 degrees counter clockwise and then load one pellet backwards whilst standing on my head, before inserting the rest of the pellets in reverse. Pleasantly, the magazine is quickly loaded by inserting a pellet head first into the front of the magazine - the front of the magazine would be the end that faces the shooter when the magazine is inserted into the action. The drum is then rotated anticlockwise slowly and a securing click resonates into your fingers quietly suggesting the next pellet is ready for loading. The process is repeated until 10 pellets are inserted into the magazine. Due to not having held a Daystate magazine since using my own Daystate Pulsar, I couldn’t recall whether the blue dot indicating the last shot or empty was something new or previously existed, however it’s a nice touch.
Stewart handed me my brew and indicated the shooting table and shooting bags were all ready and set up in the garden in his cosy 35-yard garden range. Fenced in on both sides we were ready to enjoy a quiet afternoon’s shoot, so we got to it.
I made my way out to the table, brew in one hand, rifle in the other and sat down. With a quick sip of the coffee, I removed the magazine from my pocket and with a swift sharp pull of the rear bolt I inserted the magazine, which clicked into place as the magnets built into the loading port took hold, and I pushed the bolt home. Resting the gun on the shooting bag, I began shooting at a paper target at 35 yards, placing ten shots in a 1 inch group just ½ an inch up to the left from my point of aim. My point of impact was slightly off, Stewart smiled as I looked at him for his remarks, and then he said ‘here, try these’, whilst handing me a tin of QYS pellets.
The QYS performed just as good, again my point of impact was drifting upwards to the left, pellet after pellet rising a couple of mm with each shot. I began telling Stuart I thought the regulator was creeping upward in power with every shot and then Stuart seized the rifle from me, to show me how it’s done.
He proceeded to shoot pellet after pellet one on top of the other, forming an 8mm one-hole group with the QYS and another even tighter 6mm centre to centre hole with the JSB Diablo Exact 8.44 grain 4.52mm pellets.
Undeterred and certain the inaccuracy wasn’t me, I again took the rifle for my turn. I told Stewart, I couldn’t have him out shooting me, even if this was his rifle and I was at his house. I placed my first pellet again 1/2inch above to the left of my aim, and then shifted my position on the scope to create a deliberate parallax error so the cross hair fell centre on the hole I had just created. I repeated the firing cycle and the pellet struck over my previous hit. Great, the deliberate parallax error worked! But will it work again? I repeated the shot, time and time again, aiming first through the scope at my original aim point and then adjusting my head and eye position through the scope, until the cross hair fell over the previous pellet impact hole, sounds tricky, but easy for someone who understands parallax error. I sat back on the chair after hitting the target ten shots in a row, replicating a hole the same size of the one Stuart had produced whilst shooting the QYS before me.
We both got up and made our way over to the rear of the garden to take a look at how we had performed. Stewart wasn’t the least bit surprised when I told him, he was shooting with a parallax error he wasn’t aware of, and when I had adjusted to shoot with a deliberate parallax error, my group immediately tightened.
We made our way back to our seats, and discussed the perils of parallax error, and further discussions around eliminating the error with proper scope mounting and correct adjustments for eye relief and alignment. We chatted into the afternoon, until our brews became too cold to drink, before Stewart went and retrieved the Revere, but that’s another story. Tune in next week for the Daystate Huntsman Regal Revere experience.
The Daystate Huntsman Regal HR action is clunk free, with its silky smooth rearward pulling of the bolt, the rifle is cocked effortlessly. The bolt itself is a teardrop design; finished in a mirror polished chrome. Cocking the rifle also indexes the magazine. The indexing mechanism can be seen operating flawlessly whilst the magazine is removed. The action block also offers a large 11mm dovetail mounting grove, allowing for ample space to mount varying scopes and mounts. The block is finished in a rich satin black, with the Daystate emblem and various other markings laser etched in white upon it. My only snag here is the fill pressure label is a glued-on plastic sticker, where previously I’ve seen the working pressure of the gun etched into the block as per the other emblems. I wonder what the sticker is hiding...
One noticeable point Daystate has made is to place the breech seal ‘O’ ring directly on the pellet probe and not in the barrel itself, this will make replacing the breech seal ‘O’ ring a doddle for those of us who blow a gasket every now and then.
The highly customisable two stage adjustable trigger, makes shooting the Daystate Huntsman Regal HR an absolute pleasure, with a small gentle backward first stage travel, followed by a crisp second stage break. Using the trigger requires more pressing than pulling. The Huntsman Regal HR we’d been using this afternoon, did previously have its trigger adjusted, Stewart informed me he was the second owner of the rifle, and had left the trigger as it was when he purchased it from its former owner. The trigger blade itself feels soft and comfortable as it nestles in the trigger finger. I’m not one for chrome bits on a rifle and the trigger does stand out a bit - but a little bling never hurt anyone!
The trigger guard itself makes me wonder why a rifle that has a recommended retail price of £999.99 comes with a plastic trigger guard, surely a rifle of this value and one with 30 years of heritage should have an all metal trigger guard. Fear not, if like me you aren’t happy with this, the trigger guard can easily be replaced with a Weihrauch steel one, a quick google search will tell you which Weihrauch trigger guard will fit the Daystate Huntsman Regal HR.
The safety on the rifle is located to the rear of the action block, and is the Daystate standard we’re all too familiar with. The safety can be rotated using the thumb of your shooting hand, rotating it upwards so the red lever of the safety switch lines up with the red dot on the silver end of the action block, putting the rifle into firing mode. Sliding the safety catch down puts the rifle into a safe shooting mode, hence renders the rifle inoperable. Purposeful and effective, so ‘if it’s not broken then why fix it’ comes to mind.
Forward to the action is the match grade Lothar Walthar barrel, which as its predecessors is covered with a satin black flawlessly finished barrel shroud, leading to a screw-off end cap. The end cap isn’t a standard ½ inch UNF, but instead when screwed off reveals the barrel end and larger female threaded shroud end for an aftermarket adaptor to be screwed into. This can also be purchased from Daysate here. The shroud is held in place at the end of the action block by a few small grub screws, and is also positioned and fixed loosely in place at the end of the air reservoir via a barrel/reservoir band. The barrel itself is free floating inside the shroud allowing for further accuracy.
Under the barrel is the highly polished air reservoir that holds 132cc of air in the standard rifle length configuration. Allowing for what the Daystate fact sheet says is 140 good regulated shots with a fill of 232 BAR, or 3335 PSI, depending on what your measuring method is.
Below is a short recorded shot string, taken through the new FX Chrono, details of the Chrono can be found here. I was a little dejected learning the shot power was low and there was no way to adjust the power manually; the rifle had to be returned to Daystate for service and power adjustment.
Immediately in front of the air reservoir is the fill port, this isn’t like some other Daystate rifles or as per the previous still in production standard Huntsman Regal. Daystate have opted for a filler valve configuration rather than the quick snap-on connector they’ve fitted to many of their other range of rifles. The quick fill valve port can be revealed by either pulling off the matte black fill valve cover, or by rotating the filler cap to reveal the port in which the valve is to be inserted. The filler valve end is capped off with the manometer - a way to keep an eye on the pressure in your rifle. The gauge is highlighted using a traffic light system. Red meaning the power is too low and the Huma Regulator would then fail to work correctly. The amber and green section indicates there is adequate air pressure in the reservoir. Interestingly enough, the rifle has a sticker on the action block that states 250 SWP (standard working pressure) and the gauge at the end of the air reservoir also indicates a safe fill pressure of 250 BAR, so why does the Daystate fact sheet (here) state otherwise?
All of this metalwork nestles neatly into the standard Italian Minelli manufactured walnut stock. The letter ‘M’ that’s also etched into the grip of the stock clearly signifies this, and those of our readers who have other rifles with stocks made from Minelli will find this reassuring quality familiar. The sophisticatedly styled stock comes with either a dedicated left or right handed Monte Carlo roll over cheek piece and vented rubber butt pad. The butt pad is vented to absorb recoil which is a nice touch, but clearly has no purpose on a recoilless rifle. The stock is also laser engraved with skip checkering on both the pistol grip and the lengthy forend, finding a comfortable hold position is easy, and you won’t be losing a grip any time soon.
On the underside of the stock, where previously the fill pressure port and fill pressure gauge is located, you can now find the Huma Regulator and gauge. Reading the regulator pressure is a doddle, and there’s no need to strip the rifle to get to this, and no need for extra bits and bobs or aftermarket cumbersome regulator testers. Over the past three decades the interest in regulators has grown and so too has the need for manufacturers to introduce them as standard in their air rifle offerings. Regulators are designed to remove the power curve, and provide further shot per shot consistency. Manufacturers have found it’s now easier to regulate the pressure entering the flow valve, rather than refine or build transfer valves that do the same. The name HUMA is now famous, if not synonymous with the word regulator, but does this mean Daystate partnered with HUMA because its engineers are incapable of making good regulators?
Daystate isn’t new to regulators and has previously installed regulators in some of its older air rifles. I’ve also read that Daystate moved away from regulators to concentrate on simplifying airgun design for durability and efficiency, but I may be wrong. Daystate improved its valve design and incorporated the Harper Hammer Slingshot System, designed by Steve Harper to reduce hammer bounce and prevent loss of air. The Slingshot Hammer System also increases shot per shot consistency. However, the jury is still out on whether combining the HUMA regulator with the Slingshot Hammer has made for a more consistent rifle.
The Regal gets top marks from me for accuracy and looks, and it did, in the short time I used the rifle prove itself as a target rifle, and would most definitely be a good traditional lightweight hunting rifle. Stylish, with its flawless operating mechanics, it’s definitely a feat of engineering. It comes without all the bells and whistles, no adjustable cheek pieces, under stock adjustable hamsters or rabbits. It simply is purposeful and no doubt will out shoot the person behind it.
Is the Daystate Huntsman Regal HR a gun fit for a King? Not in my opinion, more suited to a prince or a princess I would suggest. It’s more of a step to something greater, a token if you will, to imply the crown is waiting somewhere else in the Daystate line up.
I’ve owned rifles that cost a fraction of the price the Huntsman Regal HR does, and rifles that are more attractive and shoot the same. So does £999.99 (RRP) buy you opulence, or does owning this rifle provide you with delusions of grandeur. The answer for me is no, it doesn’t, it just buys you another air rifle. Under all the refinement, lacquer and powder coated finish, the rifle does just as much as any straight shooting air rifle out there. Or am I just too doubtful in my maturity and don’t see airguns the way I should anymore? I’ll let you decide.
I hope you enjoyed this review, be sure to look out for Part 2, when I review the Huntsman Regal Revere. As always, shoot straight, shoot safe - Ray Hussain.