PRESTIGE KUB-RB Sporter
It always swells my heart when I hear of a new airgun company hitting the scene. It swells it even more when I hear it's a British company to boot! The company in question is the Prestige Airgun Company Ltd. A bit of a mouthful I concede but when you see their range of quality products on offer I'm sure you'll agree that their name rather suits them!
They have four guns in their range, ok, a small amount for a modern maker, but don't forget, this is a fledgling company and by concentrating all their efforts into a small amount of guns they can make sure every single gun is 100% a ok before they leave the company's factory. A practice a lot of other companies could do with taking on board I can tell you. All the models are very competitively priced but for this test I'll be concentrating on the model Kub-RB (rear bolt), no reason for picking it, I just think it looks rather fetching!
First impressions count a lot to me, a gun has to be desirable to be picked up. It wins in this department then. It is a real beaut! The woodwork is your traditional walnut, a bit light in colour for my liking but none the less a lovely shape. A nice high cheekpiece is shaped to accommodate most big scopes that we fit on our guns these days, but not too high as to look silly and spoil its graceful sporter lines. There are nice laser cut panels both on the pistol grips and forend to aid in your grip when conditions get slippery and very tastefully they are done if I say so myself! There is a hard rubber adjustable butt pad fitted as well to give an individual 'feel' to each gun. Itís not all rosy here though; I find the pistol grip rather too close to the rear of the trigger guard for me thus causing my middle finger to be squashed against it when I use my traditional grip. Now, I've got sausages for fingers and there is no such thing as an average gun stock I know, but I do feel that this pistol grip would benefit from a slight rearwards 'tilt' to make it more user friendly. Saying that, if this is all I've got to gripe about it aint too bad a bit of woodwork is it?
The metalwork is beautifully finished with no rough machine marks or scuffs to be seen anywhere. Blacking has always been a particular gripe of mine, you see a lovely looking gun on the shelf, you pick it up, it balances beautifully in your shoulder then you look at the metalwork and it looks like itís been finished with a can of Freds black cheapo spray paint. You certainly don't get that problem with the Kub! Its blacking has been painstakingly polished so that it gives a deep luster throughout. It reminds me of an old English shotgun finish, honest, it really is that good.
The action of the Kub is as solid as could be, Not over engineered as to make it cumbersome and heavy but with the clever use of alloys it still feels business like but without the burden of weight to upset the balance. If you wanted any idea of how good the engineering on his gun is, take a good look at the magazine. It's a blooming work of art. It has two spring-loaded chrome ball bearings, one on either side, to hold the magazine in. It mates into the breach block on yet another ball bearing which protrudes from the inside of the breech block to give perfect alignment from shot 1 to shot 10.
When the mag is pushed into the block it seats with a very reassuring 'clunk' ready for the bolt to be pushed forward. After firing, the bolt of the rifle is fully cocked backwards allowing the magazine to rotate in the usual way and indexing the mag for the next shot. Incidentally, you cannot load this rifle twice. Pull the bolt back and load a round into the breach, pull it back again, push it forward, then pull it back again. Nothing! Only the first round will fire, aim and fire the gun, cock the bolt again, and as you do the magazine will smoothly rotate to the next round. Blooming brilliant! No blocked barrels again! Two magazines are provided with the gun such is the thought of prestige. Nice one!
Accuracy? As good as you can achieve old son. Ragged one hole at thirty five yards is the norm without even really trying. Erm... Boring! Seriously, it is really good. Took it over to my local airgun club and tried it right out to fifty yards. Amazing! The old knock down rabbit had a blooming good pasting that day I can tell you. I ran Air Arms field through it but it didn't really have a preference, it shot most quality pellets with very good accuracy. At the muzzle there is a nice shroud, screw it off and underneath you'll find the universal 1/2" unf thread that fits most moderators on the market.
Of course a great contributor to accuracy is the trigger, bad trigger = large groups. The trigger on the Kub is fantastic for a sporter, in fact, I've tried many triggers on what manufacturers call match rifles that where nowhere near this good. It is simply stunning. A beautiful first stage, which can be adjusted for length of travel, accompanied by a sublime second stage that snaps like best cut glass. Ten out of ten. When I test a rifle, the first ten/ fifteen mins I spend adjusting the trigger to my preference, I am that fussy. The moment I took the Kub out of the box and cocked it and dry fired it to the ground to test the trigger it was perfectly set up for me. Coincidence? Don't believe in it mate, A good trigger is a good trigger and this one is sooo damn good.
The filling of the Kub is via a stainless steel probe. You turn the dust cover wheel just in front of the 'A' frame to expose a hole where the probe inserts. A recommended fill of 200bar will give you approx 90+ shots in .22 and 70+ shots in .177. All with very good consistency from start to finish. The Kub I tested gave me 85 shots over the chrono in .177 before I called it quits. That, from an unregged gun that hadn't really been run in is pretty impressive aint it?
A little clock on the bottom of the forend lets you know how much 'wind' is on board. It's just for reference and you should never rely on any 'on board' clock, use it for a rough guide and that is all. A well detailed instruction book accompanies each rifle. It is full of do's and doníts to make sure you get full use out of the gun. It is well illustrated and written in plain English so even newcomers to the world of pneumatics can easily understand it.
Prestige guns have a few models in their range, side bolt, side lever, and a couple of other competitively priced pneumatics that I shall test in the near future. They are a new company and if they can turn out such high quality products as this Kub I tested, then they truly deserve their illustrious name. I wish them the best of luck for the future but somehow I really don't think they'll need all that much luck, because as long as they repeat the quality that this little beauty has to offer, then they'll be here for a very long time to come.
For all specs and info go to www.prestigeairguns.co.uk.
By Tony wall.