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SDB’s SPORT – An All-Weather Sporter

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prashantjha19
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:53 pm

SDB’s SPORT – An All-Weather Sporter

Postby prashantjha19 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:43 pm

Thanks to some of you here on this forum, I got myself a SDB Sport recently. This was after a fair bit of deliberation though.

Decently Accurate, Powerhouse of a shooter…..yet light to lug around!
A light one at 3.2kgs.jpg

Well, that’s what I was looking for… and that’s what it is!...., if you do not intend to go through the full text below! A reasonably priced gun, with traditional look and balance, shoots accurate, is really powerful (old habits die hard, you see!) and is so easy to carry around! Too-many-into-one…aren’t they? Honestly, I am only smiling away ….as I write this short review with the Sport by my side. And here’s why…
First shots straight from the factory-A powerhorse.jpg


At 3.2 kgs, it is a great all-day companion for a 50+ years lean frame fella that I am. And with a straight-out-of-box ME in the range of 11-12 fpe with varying pellets is more than what I had ordered for, or can handle with reasonable aplomb. As for accuracy, the photos below could speak for themselves. With my average grade shooting abilities, if I can manage those groups, a good shooter would definitely shrink these to hole-in-holes. In any case, my tuning and research preoccupations these past months hardly leave me enough time to work on and hone my shooting faculties.

Next day sighting in - Accurate shooter.jpg

Loose fit pellets are not for your Sport, at least when its new.jpg


Let’s check the gun out!

I believe it was their Apache model, designed and launched a couple years back, that marked a discernible shift in SDB’s outlook. And what quickly followed was the launch of a series of their new league guns –Gennex, Sport, Artemis, and now of course, the Magnum! Most have come to have good following, too. Curiously though, while they all have better cosmetic appeals and finish, they are mostly the same powerplants as the good old SDB guns of the yore. From the tuners’ perspective, that is THE most appealing facet of the SDB turnaround. That, to me, speaks of their “knack” of air rifles. They seem to have got it pretty good now…..and the best evidence of it is – if you can make an average shooter into a fine one, you sure know ARs! All of their new generation guns in their respective classes are much refined shooters than their past cousins.
Over a week later, more consistent, better power -with its preferred pellet.jpg


So, what would a Model 27 makeover be like!

What would you do if you were to be running an airgun brand…. and one of your models failed to see much sales despite it being nicely made and carrying decent specs (….well, what do you do when you have a market like ours …with mostly crazy-for-power folks around!!). So, what would you do?? Shelving models is the last thing that makers would opt for, because this is a big setback, commercially speaking. However modest, any new model before being commissioned into the regular production line, has usually sucked in a lot in terms of R&D, trials, casting moulds, et al.
The Sport and 27 - Can you spot the difference.jpg
Not surprising therefore, altering and/or tweaking the existing models is usually how it goes; and pretty often ends up delighting the sales counters. Examples are aplenty the world over … look at the turn arounds brought about by the late variants of some successful names -the TX Mk3, the HW77, 95, 97, the Walther LGV, Webley Vulcan, and the list goes on.
So, have the SDB folks joined this league, you would ask!

Well, I would pretty well like to think so! And to the best I can infer, the Sport may be a super-intelligently tweaked (not so much altered, mind you!) refinement of their Model 27! While some may term this more of a wishful inference, I would prefer to revel in this. After Precihole Sports, which indeed is a professionally set up group, if you can spot some of the local, traditional names like the SDBs picking their threads up to match growing demands for more refined air rifles, you would, as an AR enthusiast, like to take this as a welcome thing; won’t you!

I have in the past shared on forums how enormously pleasant a rifle the SDB Model 27 has been. It’s an old model of theirs –something in between the 25’s and the regular adult models like the 45’s. I have nothing that tells me the model sold well. However, having taken an instant liking for it, I have owned one for long, have set it up in varying states of tune, and have only marvelled at the way it behaved in most of these. From young adults to the older folks –all seem to take an instant liking for this low weight, mid-ME, and pleasantly low-recoil shooter. And just before you blink, for the past several months, it has been set up with a Sport’s piston and seal…and (with some of my other mods) has been at its best behaviour, consistency, energy efficiency and output.

I had learned (on this forum, too!) that the Sport weighed 3.2 kgs. Well, my 27 weighs at 3.16 kg, has the same bore, is the same length. No wonder, when I opted for the SDB Sport, I was expecting a gun that was essentially a Mod 27 …but with a longer stroke! I had even opined this on some by-invitation-only forums, too.
Similar powerplants and strokes.jpg

Overall feel and behaviour

I was so squarely wrong though! It came as an in-your-face shock to me! How did these guys manage to go from 7 fpe (my 27 currently shoots at 8.5 though) to in the range of 12fpe that this diminutive looking Sport shoots at!! That’s where I see that the SDB folks may have come of age…in terms of the sheer knack of making fine-shooting air rifles.

I am told most people get cheesed off by technical tuning stuffs, and so I will refrain from going into the specific alterations /tweaking (many times very simple in design and slight in scale) that seem to have worked to make these guns into sweet yet powerful shooters; and would rather restrict myself to just the basics in this post. I believe a smart altering of the compression ratio coupled with a slightly higher rate spring is what did the trick for Sport! The stroke of the Sport works out just one milimeter more than my tuned 27 just nudging the swept volume from the latter’s 38.29 to 38.78cc. Too insignificant a change to account for such huge difference in ME! The spring room, too, is barely 05mm more. So, if you could sense by now, it’s essentially a short-to-mid stroke gun with a pretty high peak pressure. See the photo of the seal post some 200 shots. What does it tell you?

preload at disassembly- A precious lot that.jpg

What does it say of the peak pressure and temp.jpg

Just a wipe and you have a sparkling finish compression chamber.jpg

The one in middle is learnt to come as standard on the Sport.jpg


Fit and finish

The other no less critical factors that, to my mind, work to make the Sport into a fine shooter are the finely worked out tolerances inside the powerplant, as well as a visibly improved material grade and workmanship. Just look at the quality of the material and finish of the end block, the exact fit of the spring inside the piston, as some examples. Look at the shining finish inside the wiped compression chamber in the photo. The material, finish and steel temper of the piston is in stark contrast to those used on all the famous old ARs of SDB.
I was further impressed by how its designers would have worked on the weights of each of these individual components (they all weigh and size up differently than their predecessors!...so no easy swapping!) to make the overall balance and weight of the gun so hands-on in the shooter’s hands! You will also not miss to notice the neoprene seals (piston and breech), the star washers in the stock screws….as some welcome yet standard features.

With that kind of a fit, you would likely have a straight shooting behaviour.jpg[/attachment]
My spare piston (with the top guide) could give one mm more of stroke.jpg

Non-latex nitriles are good when working with chemicals.jpg

Pretty evenly worked out CB for a 130mm spring room.jpg


Where are the nicks?

1. The spring first! I learn that the new lot Sport is going to carry a newly developed spring (I could get one as a spare to try myself….the one you see on the left of the scale in the photo). My gun though came fitted with a previous spec spring (the one on the right side!). My tests confirm a much better modulus of rigidity in the new spring. What you see in the photo is a fully set free length as I have already set it up for deployment, and am raring to try it out once my gun settles down fully.

2. The drenching lube inside the action: Just see some of the photos of the stock gun being disassembled …and if you were the production in-charge, you will have fired your floor manager on charges of wastefulness. [Too much of lube can also significantly hasten damage to seals, by the way!] I mean who needs that much of precious moly embedded lube? You heard it right. The lube inside the action is not 40Wgrade oil, but a good quality CV grease with Molybdenum Disulphide; not sure of the Mo2S percentage though.
Piston dripping wet as it comes out of action.jpg


3. A top guide: What’s so averse about a simple top guide?...and it takes so little to install one! Wonder what’s stopping them from installing a top hat. I turn my own in various material, and none of my guns run without one. The little thing can be so handy to manage piston weights, some preload, ..of course besides keeping the spring straight and helping easier torque. [A little innovative application with DIY tools is good help in turning tophats, seals, etc.]
A little innovative application with DIY tools is good help in turning tophats, seals.jpg


4. A better crowned muzzle would make it look real savvy!: Just take a look at the brief crowning I did at home on my 27. It does give the gun a better look…besides ensuring better protection for the rifling, of course. The crown I did on my 27 looks far suave than the Sport's bland pout.jpg[/attachment]

5. Please use Low torque spanners to fix the barrel pivot screw: And may be also a couple of barrel washers on either would be a useful addition, and lessen wear on the base block sides and the action fork insides. [If you are ham fisted, you would likely end up defacing the screw head in your attempt to open it. Using proper solvents is advised.]
Opening the barrel screw needed special solvents.jpg


Parting words…

Most of us, including those on this forum, are basically just shooters /plinkers; A handful, at best, can be called fitters (what you commonly, and erroneously if you like, call ‘tuners’)…and may be just a couple would be into tuning air rifles. So, for all you shooters and power buffs…those photos of the gun’s groupings and the ME figures improving by the day as it is settling down should be more than any number of words in favour of the gun. You can pick it up and do three things –shoot, shoot and shoot. That incidentally is a great way to burn all the extra lube…shooting /plinking pleasure comes as a bonus here! Just a couple words here:

• I believe that in its current state the gun would do best with tight fit, higher start pressure pellets. Mine shoots best with Precipell 8.7 and 9.6.
• Resting the gun muzzle-down should be a useful practice.
• Keep an open eye for changes in smoke, shift in POI and ME, say every 200 shots or so. Should tell you when your gun is settled.

For the rest of us, open the gun (because you will keep itching until you did that!)….just wipe clean, reassemble and shoot. Instead of a thousand shots, you will, like me, have a settled one by 50 to 100 shots. Also, if you were me, put a top guide with no more than 10 mm of lead-in for the spring. In all, adding it increased the gun’s original preload by just 3mm to 75mm.

Here's a note for all (just in case you overlooked): Notice how the gun, as it's settling down, is not only spewing less and less of smoke...but more imp, is improving its consistency (low ES) and increasing muzzle energy!! I take that as an attribute of a fine shooter settling-down (breaking-in or bedding-in, if you like please!).

I will try to keep updating on the gun as I shoot more, and try out alternative states of tune.

Best regards,
Prashant
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Last edited by prashantjha19 on Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:33 am, edited 4 times in total.



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Rudransh
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: SDB’s SPORT – An All-Weather Sporter

Postby Rudransh » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:41 pm

Dear Prashant hi
I think it's most detailed review or write up I have seen in so many years of airguniing.A real world gun with real world pellet giving astonishing fpe and the price of sdb are unbeatable.
Recently I too found that internals are polished in my magnums.so it's a good sign but due to over lubing man I always had to open it and wipe out extra lube so u too confirm my experience of over lubing.God give them some sense of lubing.
In addition I had to put sleeve into my magnum to tame it's recoil at that power level and yes it's full 14 plusfpe giving first Indian made airrifle.

I think Prechihole should come with some decently powerful airrifles soon as we know our legal limit now. Which 20 joules otherwise soon sdb will shift position in ranking.
We are lucky to see and feel this evolution of airrifles.
Regards
Veerbhadra



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Basu
Posts: 1234
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:14 pm
Location: Salt Lake Kolkata

Re: SDB’s SPORT – An All-Weather Sporter

Postby Basu » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:09 pm

Dear Prashant ,
This is a very comprehensive Airgun review in recent time.
You have expressed maximum , the words could reach.
I am deeply irritated having seen the colour of stock seal.It is simply lack of of minimum understanding of airgunning.The excessive use Moly & dieseling killed the seal before setting.
It is clear that SDB loves to stay in 50s not 2018.
The unique feature of Sport is it's convertiblity.
One can use it as target rifle & also as sport rifle by varying the preload.
I have been rating this gun high always as value for money.
I am little surprised to see that your gun weighs 200 gms more than my Sport.
It is nice to note that as compare to 5 years back , today customer has more options to choose.
Waiting for another critical review once gun is settled.

Basu


Not all those wander , are lost...............

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Gunner_dh
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:52 pm
Location: Kolkata

Re: SDB’s SPORT – An All-Weather Sporter

Postby Gunner_dh » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:50 am

Now, that we call a review. Basu da I believe is more than delighted :D
I have been also thinking on adding this beauty to my stock, hopefully will get it in recently.

Just one question though, rather two. :?:

What is FPE of Sports with the new Spring?
Is SDB still not installing the new spring in their Sports?

Regards (y)
dh



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ashwin1627
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:33 pm

Re: SDB’s SPORT – An All-Weather Sporter

Postby ashwin1627 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:48 pm

Dear Prashanth,

On word for your article "MIGHTY".
It's been a pleasure to read such a illustrative aritcle about the SDB sport.
Thanks for this great piece of information.

Regards
Ashwin.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk



prashantjha19
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:53 pm

Re: SDB’s SPORT – An All-Weather Sporter

Postby prashantjha19 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:24 pm

Rudransh wrote:Dear Prashant hi
I think it's most detailed review or write up I have seen in so many years of airguniing.A real world gun with real world pellet giving astonishing fpe and the price of sdb are unbeatable.
Recently I too found that internals are polished in my magnums.so it's a good sign but due to over lubing man I always had to open it and wipe out extra lube so u too confirm my experience of over lubing.God give them some sense of lubing.
In addition I had to put sleeve into my magnum to tame it's recoil at that power level and yes it's full 14 plusfpe giving first Indian made airrifle.

I think Prechihole should come with some decently powerful airrifles soon as we know our legal limit now. Which 20 joules otherwise soon sdb will shift position in ranking.
We are lucky to see and feel this evolution of airrifles.
Regards
Veerbhadra


Dear Veer,Thanks for your kind words indeed...glad you liked the post!

I did try a sleeve in the Sport during reassembly. Obviously it had to be very thin given the already snug fitting spring. I felt tentative pushing the spring in with the sleeve....and soon decided to take it out for the time being lest it impedes spring energy more than just a bit, which would otherwise be acceptable. But that surely is a worthy suggestion for all.

I feel you should also share about how the "legal power limit" evolved to 20J for us here in India....for the benefit of the forum members.
As for the competition catching up, sooner our Precihole folks come up with a 20J air rifle, the better for all of us! That I learn is gonna be a longer stroke gun (I personally prefer longer stroke ones and have a personal taste for their easy firing cycles).

And last but not the least, when are we seeing a review of the SDB Magnum please??
Regards,
Prashant

Added in 31 minutes 29 seconds:
Basu wrote:Dear Prashant ,
This is a very comprehensive Airgun review in recent time.
You have expressed maximum , the words could reach.
I am deeply irritated having seen the colour of stock seal.It is simply lack of of minimum understanding of airgunning.The excessive use Moly & dieseling killed the seal before setting.
It is clear that SDB loves to stay in 50s not 2018.
The unique feature of Sport is it's convertiblity.
One can use it as target rifle & also as sport rifle by varying the preload.
I have been rating this gun high always as value for money.
I am little surprised to see that your gun weighs 200 gms more than my Sport.
It is nice to note that as compare to 5 years back , today customer has more options to choose.
Waiting for another critical review once gun is settled.

Basu


Dear Basu Da,
So much value the word of encouragement from you! Thanks so much.
Here's a secret: It was actually your opinion and feeds on this gun that got me in....I always felt reassured going for it.

And you are right about the over-lubing issue. It ought to be addressed forthwith by SDB. A simple comparison with my current spec Model 27 (which is almost the same stroke as the Sport) tells you that they have shot the SCR up by 50%. That's a huge change....especially also when you factor in the higher rate spring used in the Sport. In all, a perfect recipe for a high peak pressure and temp. And if anything, it only calls for doing everything possible to avoid dieseling in the action.
The SDB folks, on the contrary, provided for more than enough of it with that generous lubing though! I find it hard to believe that they would be ignorant of such a simple and obvious thing as this. If anything, I think their production floor guys are just simply oblivious, or are careless.

By the way, I have kind of tried to file the original seal somewhat even and restore it. Pretty battered it is, but seems to somewhat retain some of its character. If I ever need to check performance with a loose fit seal, I will give this one a chance and check.

And yes, there is loads of other info on its design and behaviour that we will get to see in the coming posts ...and as the gun settles. I avoided over-loading the first post with these pieces of info lest it became content heavy.
Regards,
Prashant.

Added in 24 minutes 49 seconds:
Gunner_dh wrote:Now, that we call a review. Basu da I believe is more than delighted :D
I have been also thinking on adding this beauty to my stock, hopefully will get it in recently.

Just one question though, rather two. :?:

What is FPE of Sports with the new Spring?
Is SDB still not installing the new spring in their Sports?

Regards (y)
dh


Hi DH,
Glad you found the post of interest!
You any way know enough about the gun for me to be speaking in its favour. As I said in the original post, it serves its name rather well -SPORT! I personally felt it feels and behaves like a handy sporter.

I am yet to test the new spring so no confirmation on the fpe. I should wait for the internals to have a good run-in before trying it out. However, going by my calculations, the new spring's stiffness is some 22% lower than my stock spring, ...but it would offer some 7% more of natural preload. So, some tweaking with the preload may finally help even out the spring energy. Much also depends on how the spring behaves in a certain preload and stroke set up -in all, a combination of the wire alloy, quality of tempering, tensile evenness, and so on. The new spring definitely looks and behaves much-much consistent than the older one so far in my fiddling with it. No wonder, SDB have opted for it.

I think SDB folks could sound us out when they commission the new spring in the gun.
Regards,
Prashant

Added in 11 minutes 13 seconds:
ashwin1627 wrote:Dear Prashanth,

On word for your article "MIGHTY".
It's been a pleasure to read such a illustrative aritcle about the SDB sport.
Thanks for this great piece of information.

Regards
Ashwin.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk


Hi Ashwin,
Trust you have a taste for journalistic accounts (as against point-to-point ones) ...reason why the post pleased you. Much delighted it was of interest, and the fact that you cared to revert. Appreciate it!
Do also share about what fascinates you more wrt air rifles?? so more people can chip in to keep folks like you delighted and interested here please!
Take good care.
Regards,
Prashant



User avatar
Maroon_d3vil
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:00 pm

Re: SDB’s SPORT – An All-Weather Sporter

Postby Maroon_d3vil » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:19 am

Master stroke by prashant ji! Such a pleasure reading a detailed and well illustrated review after a long time.With your awesome tuning skills, you will definitely bring the most out of this AR.
And yes, congrats for the new beauty prashant ji! :cheers:

Regards,
Maroon_d3vil



prashantjha19
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:53 pm

Re: SDB’s SPORT – An All-Weather Sporter

Postby prashantjha19 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:52 am

Maroon_d3vil wrote:Master stroke by prashant ji! Such a pleasure reading a detailed and well illustrated review after a long time.With your awesome tuning skills, you will definitely bring the most out of this AR.
And yes, congrats for the new beauty prashant ji! :cheers:

Regards,
Maroon_d3vil


Long time, dear Maroon_D3vil! Hope your Precihole guns are doing great! Do tell us how the new NX has been doing.

As for tuning the Sport, ...well, that should be part of the game, you are right. And for the benefit of all others who may be contemplating getting this gun, here are a few top-of-the-mind hunches I feel like sharing (more like prelim alerts!!...not confirmed facts yet!):
1. I have not seen its .22 cousin. However, from some of what I could gather from writings of members here and elsewhere, I feel that we should NOT expect the current .177 version to be as smooth a shooter as its .22 counterpart; especially if you insist on keeping it at or around 12fpe power. The reasons are far too obvious: You will need a far heavier piston assembly and a much stiffer spring in a .177 set up to match the .22 ME figures. And when you do this, the shot cycle feel ought to be quicker, snappier, and unfortunately also, harsher.
That is much like how the gun is shooting currently.
Do I like the feel?? I am beginning to have second thoughts actually.
My gut is, the .177 Sport should shoot smooth at around 10fpe, give or take half fpe. That would suit its caliber,weight and profile most snugly, I feel.....and also ensure better life for the seals, spring, etc. [I have noted the very high compression ratio and its tell-tale effect on the seal in the original post.] I am also noticing that the breech seal may already be giving in.
The current spring surely looks like an overkill. Add to it a high sectional density piston weighing 240gms against a cross sectional dia of just 25mm.....You really have very high momentum going, dont you!
No wonder SDB is said to be replacing the spring already.

More on these later.... Thanks to Maroon-d3vil who pricked me to share some of my topline hunches on what to realistically expect from this gun, and where may be some prospects for tuning, etc.

Will love to hear your thoughts please!
Best regards,
Prashant




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