Britain's biggest-selling airgun magazine
Mat Manning puts the Reximex Pretensis through its paces, and finds it to be more than just a handsome PCP at a sensible price!
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As someone who has reviewed a heck of a lot of airguns over the years, I have learned to manage my expectations when testing kit with a lower than typical price tag – it’s only fair because a low-cost airgun is hardly going to compete with one costing several times as much. There are exceptions to the rule, though, and the subject of this review is one of them. In its walnut stock guise, the Reximex Pretensis from Range Right retails at £525, and although it would be ridiculous to suggest that it’s in quite the same league as a two-grand supergun, this Turkish PCP punches miles above its weight – not just in terms of performance, but it's a very handsome piece of kit, too. In fact, I might go as far as saying that I think it’s the nicest looking sub-£600 airgun on the market right now.
This variant of the Pretensis tips the scales at a modest 3.3kg without a scope fitted, overall length is 1020mm and length of pull is 353mm. Despite being comparatively light, those proportions make this quite a large airgun, so smaller shooters may find it a bit of a handful. Nonetheless, I found it very well suited to my frame, and with the point of balance falling about 10cm in front of the trigger blade once I’d mounted a scope, it was very comfortably balanced.
The sporter-styled Pretensis is available in a synthetic stock option, as well as some very nice laminates, but I think it looks terrific in walnut. All versions are ambidextrous, and thanks to some thoughtful design, right- and left-handers shouldn’t notice any obvious compromise in its fit. That said, left-hookers will be faced with the all-too-common frustration of not being able to swap the sidelever to the left side of the action.
Focusing on the design of the stock, I really like the fluted fore end – those wide, deep grooves really do make a great holding point for your leading hand. As a shooter who appreciates a steep pistol grip, I was very happy with the one on the Pretensis. The stock is scalloped behind it on both sides to create a nice cutaway that swallows up the base of your thumb. Both sides of the grip and the area behind it are adorned with some really neat stippling in an interesting circular design – apart from looking good, those stippled areas feel great and certainly improve grip. The same stippling is also present on both sides of the stock where more fluting has been cut out in front of the trigger. You’re unlikely to find yourself holding the gun there, but it enhances the overall aesthetic.
Another really nice feature of the stock is the adjustable cheekpiece. The two grub screws that hold it secure are elegantly covered by brass rings sunken into the left side of the stock. Slacken those screws off with the supplied Allen key and you can move the cheekpiece up and down until you achieve correct eye alignment with the scope. This feature brings a big boost to overall gun fit, and therefore the potential to shoot accurately.
The stock, which has a lovely matte finish and reasonable grain pattern, is capped with a fairly basic hard rubber butt pad and pre-fitted with front and rear QR studs – so you don’t have to take a drill to it to fit your own. You even get a removeable Picatinny accessory rail that attaches to the underside of the fore end via a bolt that threads into an elegant brass surround like the ones on the cheekpiece.
Moving on to the metalwork, I really like the black finish, which works nicely with the walnut woodwork. The standard of metalwork finish and engineering is beyond what I would expect at this price point. The Pretensis appears to be a solidly constructed airgun with the potential to give years of good service with a little care on its owner’s part.
The scope rail on the Pretensis is Picatinny-style, but you can also use the dovetail rail on the central section, as I did for much of my testing. The rail is in two sections, one on each side of the magazine, with about 90mm of clamping space behind it and 25mm in front. The front rail is pretty short, which could be restrictive, although I mounted up a pretty long Konus scope without any difficulties. Also, you need to be mindful of the fact that the magazine stands about 12mm proud of the rail – it’s not really a problem unless you want to use very low mounts, or an optic with a bulky saddle.
Barrel length is 570mm, and the front section is supported by a retainer at the front of the air cylinder. The Pretensis comes supplied with an air stripper, which attaches via a half-inch UNF thread. That means you could swap if for a silencer if you wish, and as a hunter, I would be inclined to do just that, because the muzzle report has quite a bark without one.
The review gun is .177 calibre and comes supplied with two 14-shot magazines and a single-shot tray. The Pretensis is also available in .22 calibre and that version runs a 12-shot magazine.
To remove the magazine, you pull the sidelever all the way back and push the mag’ from the left and pull from the right. To load it, you then rotate the clear plate clockwise until it stops, and then drop a pellet in to hold the inner drum under spring tension. You then rotate the plate back, dropping a pellet into each bay until it’s fully loaded. The full magazine then pushes back in from the right until it comes to a stop. Snap the sidelever back into its forward position and the gun is cocked, loaded and ready for action.
Sidelever actions have become very popular over the past few years, and I really like the one on the Pretensis. It’s smooth, positive action cocks the gun, indexes the magazine and probes home a pellet with minimal fuss. It made for some impressive speed-shooting on my backyard plinking range, and hunters will really appreciate having quick follow-up shots to hand.
Guns in this price bracket don’t always have the best of triggers, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Pretensis actually has a very good one. It has a really nice curved, match-type blade which can be adjusted for height and angle. The unit has a two-stage action and it can be adjusted, although you need to remove the gun from the stock to do that. If all airguns in the Pretensis family leave the factory set up as well as the one on the review gun, you won’t need to mess about with it. Straight from the box, the trigger had a short, light first stage which came to a very obvious stop before a predictable, creep-free let-off.
There is a crossbolt-type manual safety catch nicely positioned just above the trigger blade. You push it from the left to make the gun safe, then push it back from the right – your trigger hand side for right-handers – to take it off when you’re ready to shoot.
The .177 calibre test gun was churning out a muzzle energy of 11.1 ft.lbs. with a variation of 9fps over a string of ten shots. Typical of airguns at this price point, it doesn’t have a regulator, so you will notice a power curve as you shoot through the charge. Maximum fill pressure is 250 bar, and that elegant cylinder holds enough air to return about 150 shots in .177 and 180 in .22, which means you should be able to find a substantial sweet spot with optimum consistency somewhere around the mid-point of the charge.
There is a clearly-marked pressure gauge just in front of the power adjuster, and the Pretensis also has a power adjuster switch in front of the magazine housing, enabling muzzle energy to be set as low as 5 ft.lbs. Filling is via an inlet accessed by removing the snap-fit cap at the front of the cylinder – it’s a Foster fitting and the necessary adaptor is supplied.
I found the Reximex Pretensis an absolute pleasure to shoot, both on the range and in the field. It is nicely balanced, has a great cocking action and a crisp, predictable trigger. Best of all, it is capable of an impressive level of accuracy. The design of its stock, and the ability to adjust the cheekpiece up and down, make it comfortable to shoot from virtually all stances, from prone to standing.
Of course, shooting from the support of a bench irons out the worst of the inevitable human wobbles, and that was when the Pretensis showed its true potential. I ran a variety of pellets through the test gun, and it shot pretty well with all, but showed a slight preference for Air Arms Diabolo Field. Shooting with these in windless conditions, ragged single-hole groups soon became an expectation at 30m. Even at 40m, groups were still generally loose one-holers – even with the occasional stray pellet, most could still be covered by a 2p coin. This airgun certainly has the power and accuracy to tackle small pests over sensible sub-12 ranges.
The Reximex Pretensis has managed to impress me from the outset. As already explained, I wanted to manage my expectations when I saw its retail price, but I was immediately taken with its handsome looks, which will certainly add to the pride of ownership felt by anyone who chooses to buy one. Most importantly, though, its looks are more than matched by its features and performance, which certainly exceed its asking price.
Manufacturer: Reximex, Turkey
Model: Pretensis (walnut)
Type: Multi-shot PCP
Stock type: Walnut sporter
Cocking: Sidelever action
Safety: Manual crossbolt
Calibres: .177 (tested) and .22
Overall length: 1020mm (40in)
Barrel length: 570mm (22in)
Weight: 3.3kg (7.3lbs) without scope
Fill pressure: 250 bar
Shots per fill: Circa 150
Energy of test rifle: Avg 11.1 ft.lbs. over 10 shots
Variation (10 shots): 9fps
RRP: £525 for model tested
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