When people review the Ruger Air Magnum Combo air rifle, they almost inevitably compare it to the RWS 350 that it is a clone of. Stop that, immediately. The RWS is a better gun and worth the extra money. But any specific comparisons really are off base except in the broadest sense. There isn’t really a “best” here in terms of what they actually do. That being said, the Ruger is a good gun, and one that you might be happy with. But let’s take a look before you decide.
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Weight and Power
These two factors are ones that you’re going to have to keep in constant mind while you’re dealing with this gun. I don’t think I have ever run into a gun where the weight of the pellet is so damn important to how it shoots. Let me explain.
So, this gun can fire a pellet at up to 1500 fps, which is pretty amazing in and of itself. Once that pellet hits something, you know you’re going to get a seriously solid score, which is great for humane hunting. However, in order to get these incredible speeds, you have to use incredibly light pellets, somewhere in the 3 to 4 gr range.
These types of pellets can literally go supersonic when fired, and create one hell of a noise. They also go wildly off target because the recoil kicks in before they have a chance to exit the barrel, even at that speed, and such small projectiles can’t get a good spin on them to remain straight.
So, instead you can get yourself some more expensive pellets in the 9 gr range, and they’re going to be much more accurate, but you’re losing speed. Now, I consider it a worthwhile trade off because you’re still shooting in the 900 to 1000 fps range and it cuts down on the noise significantly. But some people are looking for something that plinks through cinder blocks or can rip the innards out of a coyote or something. Either way, the point is that you really are going to be making these trade offs with this gun until you find the combination of weight and power that’s good for you.
The design on this gun is good, but not great. I like the look and feel of it, especially the weight, and I enjoy the pull on the trigger which is just right for me, at least. Where the design falls apart, though, is that it only gives the illusion of being solid and secure. Going back to the power thing, if you do use the lighter pellets for more fps, the gun is going to start shaking itself apart. You can adjust the gun fairly easily with simple tools, but it’s annoying and you’re going to end up going through a number of scopes that are thrown horribly off calibration because of it.
As for cocking, you’re looking at about 50 pounds of resistance in order to get it set up, which is to be expected. But that is more than the 30 pounds you get on most other guns.
It’s a powerful weapon, without a doubt, and you can probably do some real damage to birds and many small animals with this much force. The design is nice in that it’s simple and functional and the trigger pull is just about right, though that could be personal preference.
Ruger Blackhawk Combo air rifle
This gun wants to be let off the leash, and when you do, it may do something you don’t like. The only way to get the advertised FPS is to buy pellets that are too light to fly straight and are deafening when they fire. Heavier pellets lower the speed which is one of the main selling points, other than price, to get this instead of the gun it’s attempting to clone.
The Bottom Line
This is a gun where the attraction is that it is so finicky that you can find the exact combination of ammo and action to suit your needs. Many of you will no doubt find that a nice benefit. Don’t think this review is saying it’s a bad gun. It’s not. It’s not a “great” gun with a capital “G”, but it is a solid performer worthy of your hard earned dollars.