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DYI BULL PUP!

DYI BULL PUP!

DYI BULL PUP! 

The Editor highlights an intriguing step-by-step conversion.

Witnessed а two-ooy conversion, recently First, with по intervention from me, and using only hex wrenches and а spanner, а sausage­ fingered, technically bereft friend of mine actually turned his HWlOO into а fully-functioning bullpup Then, another friend, whose Іoathing of the bullpu р format has put him firmly in the 'doth protest too much' category, finally came out and admitted his Іiking for the current oove of foreshortened riftes, or this particular one at least. Іt was а satisfying thing to see and І аІmost resisted the urge to do the 'І told you so' thing, but sadly, having any class at аІІ has never been а strong point of mine.

ТНЕ ВАR 8ULLPUP CotNERSION КІТ

The product at the centre of these conversions is just that, а conversion kit. Іt costs f299, irs supplied exclusively in the UK by Blackpool Air Rifles, and it’s remarkable in its simplicity and effectiveness. A clever man in the Ukraine who goes by the name of Craftsman Vit is the producer and what his company makes can be used by pretty much anyone to turn a standard rifle into a bullpup in around 10 minutes, or very near offer. No fuss, no special tools, no drilling, and no modification of a single component. The fact is, if you can remove your rifle’s stock, you can do this BAR conversion. As this issue goes to press, there are conversion kits available for the Air Arms S510, Hatsan AT44-10 and BT65, Benjamin Marauder and Weihrauch HW100 and 100K. More kits are being discussed and the BAR website is the place to check for updates.

WHAT’S IN THE KIT

I’ve gone for an HW100 conversion for this test and, like the other versions, the kit comprises a walnut bullpup stock which incorporates a trigger guard, a replacement barrel clamp/ scope rail and stock screw, plus an extended trigger linkage. That’s it; just four main components, plus a shim, a washer and a nut.

At first glance, I thought the walnut stock was tipped in rosewood at the fore end and the base of the grip but that contrast is provided by an extremely durable staining process, rather than grafting on pieces of timber. The extensive grip panels are formed around an overlapping scale pattern, with wave forms at each end, and the drop-down pistol grip carries finger grooves on its front face. It’s a pleasing piece of furniture. Now let’s use the BAR conversion kit to turn a standard Weihrauch HW100 into a bullpup.

STEP-BY-STEP CONVERSION

  1. Begin by making sure the rifle is unloaded and Then remove the HW100’s scope and stock screw, then separate the action and stock. Also remove the rifle’s charging port plug and silencer.
  2. Slide the replacement barrel clamp/scope rail carefully over the rifle’s barrel and air reservoir, with the trigger linkage rearmost, until the forward clamp is over the raised section of the rifle’s air Line up the forward clamp perfectly with the raised section and lightly tighten the two hex-head grub screws on the replacement clamp.
  3. Take the metal shim provided and ease it into position between the rear clamp and the rifle’s air reservoir, before lightly tightening the grub
  4. Fit the threaded trigger fixture at the end of the extended trigger linkage over the trigger blade, place the supplied washer over the threads and screw on the nut, using finger pressure only at this
  5. Now place the action into the stock and check that the replacement scope rail is perfectly vertical and that the trigger blade is in the correct When you’re satisfied that all is aligned, lift the action carefully from the stock and fully tighten the grub screws and trigger fixture. Do not over-tighten these fittings.
  6. Finally, fit the bullpup stock using the extended screw provided, and replace the scope, silencer and charging inlet That’s it – your rifle is fully converted.

BEFORE YOU START SHOOTING

Depending on your personal dimensions and preferred stance, you may need to adjust the height of your scope. I went for an MTC Connect scope, which has virtually no

eye-relief, and this required a ‘reach-back’ mount, but I’ve tried standard scope in medium and high mounts and they fit me perfectly. The whole point of going for a bullpup is the change in ergonomics, balance and pointability, so don’t compromise everything by having your head out of position. Take your time and get everything feeling comfortable, strain-free and natural, OK? This is absolutely essential to get the most from any rifle, and that certainly includes a bullpup.

A COUPLE OF ESSENTIAL EXTRAS

BAR supply two optional extras for their bullpup conversion kits, and one of these is not an option at all, it’s essential. If you’re going to invest in a kit, then stump up the extra £9.95 and get the synthetic cheekpiece.

This simple add-on – or rather slide-on – component transforms the connection between the stock and the face. It utilises the HW110’s existing scope mounting rails and is secured by a pair of grub screws. Get one – I promise you’ll be glad you did.

The second extra is that biathlon cocking handle. These are 3D printed for BAR, they cost £24.95, and they’re worth every penny, mainly because the vertical handle ‘finds’ your fingers as your hand is swept back to re-cock the rifle. Again, it’s a simple

grub-screw fitting that takes seconds and earns its keep for years.

TALKING TRIGGER FUNCTION

Electronic mechanisms apart, bullpup trigger systems have always been a major challenge, due to their ‘remote’ nature, where the trigger blade has to activate the trigger proper via a link. If the link isn’t well designed and perfectly articulated there’s a real possibility that the trigger feel can lapse into anything from ‘notchy’, through ‘spongy’, all the way to flat-out ‘harsh’. Any variation on these themes is a disaster as far as optimum accuracy is concerned, so I always pay special attention to the trigger performance of any bullpup that comes within my orbit.

A must-have option. The slide-on cheek piece insulates you from the cold metal action.

TRIGGER PERFORMANCE

Truth to tell, when I saw the extended linkage used in the BAR conversion kit, I had my doubts. I was wrong. The boys at BAR know what shooters want and they test everything to their own exacting standards, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when the HW100 bullpup’s trigger displayed all of the two-stage precision of the standard rifle, and I’m talking no loss in sensitivity, feel or control of any kind. I could detect a tiny degree of resonance from the extended linkage on firing, but even that was sorted by a micro-dab of grease at the union of the replacement trigger and the extended link. Of course, the HW100 trigger retains all of its adjustment options, post-conversion, so if you need to tweak it, drop the bullpup stock and the mechanism is there for you.

ON THE RANGE

Unusually for a rifle test, the rifle itself is not on trial here. We all know what a Weihrauch HW100 can do in terms of accuracy and consistency, so all attention must be diverted to the new handling dynamic of the BAR bullpup.

Once fitted, the optional cheek piece transforms the bullpup’s face contact.

Well, it’s a bullpup, and a proper one, too. It doesn’t handle like something that has been converted; it comes to the shoulder like a rifle designed at the factory to perform like this.

The point of balance is just behind the trigger and with an all-up weight of 9.9lbs and an overall length of 31 inches including silencer, it’s simplicity itself to bring to the aim and to keep it there for the few seconds required to make effective use of that excellent trigger.

The geometry of most bullpups makes them feel lighter in the shoulder than they do in the hands, and this one makes a nonsense of the best part of 10lbs. The bonus of this is the shooter gets the on-aim stability from a 9-plus pound rifle, without paying a fatigue penalty. As I say, the addition of the biathlon cocking handle is a triumph and I’d urge all HW100 owners, bullpup-converted or not, to fit one.

VERDICT

Basically, if you’re a bullpup kind of shooter, you’ll be seriously impressed with this rifle. You’ll appreciate its stability, its compact size and how easy it is to convert; plus it’s a good-looking rifle, and that counts more than most of us will admit. I’d also appreciate an adjustable butt pad and if that BAR 3D printer has any spare capacity, I think it should be allocated in that direction, but as far as the pure ‘mechanics’ of handling and shooting go, this conversion is a full-on winner.

Only you can decide if converting to the bullpup faith is worth 299 of your hard-earned pounds, but if you already have a suitable action, it’s way cheaper than buying a top- performing bullpup from new. I’ve done the conversion and I’ve tested the result, and it’s obvious to me why Blackpool Air Rifles can’t keep up with the demand for these conversion kits. If you’re thinking of jumping on the bullpup bandwagon, give the boys at BAR a call – and they’ll convert you.


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