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A detailed review of the SMK Synergy Supergrade B19-36 - a great little break-barrel that is ideal for starters or budget hunting with an RRP under £180!
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Sportsmarketing's burgeoning product list is truly impressive, and as the biggest importer and distributor of airguns in the UK, it's fair to say that they have all bases covered. Several brands are included under the company's main umbrella, with such famous names as Milbro and Beeman all taking their place in the line-up. CO2-powered models sit alongside PCPs, and several quirky designs; largely aimed at the budget end of the market. However, with the time-honoured, spring-piston airgun still accounting for more sales than any other system, it's little wonder that the Sportsmatrketing (SMK) operation has such a stack of these, too.
On test here is one of their latest designs – the SMK Synergy Supergrade B19-36 – and whilst it follows the traditional break-barrel format, as can be seen, it definitely gets a modern take on the theme. Undoubtedly, this Synergy qualifies as a budget sporter, but 'Supergrade' in the name denotes the fact that this model is one of those that gets a more refined finish applied to the metalwork along the way. That means the time consuming process of polishing the components, cylinder, barrel etc, before the chemical bluing is applied, takes place at the production stage.
We also get fully-adjustable, fibre-optic open sights, that elongated fore sight assembly/cocking aid, a two-stage trigger, in-guard manual safety catch, pre-drilled scope rails, and an articulated cocking linkage. What really sets this model apart, though, is that eye-catching, moulded polymer stock, which although a bit lairy for some, certainly adds a modern feel to the proceedings.
Open sights can be highly rewarding, and I would definitely recommend getting familiar with them here because the sight picture afforded by the fibre-optics is pretty impressive. They've gone to the trouble of including a fully-adjustable rear sight with finger-friendly wheels, too, so it seems rude not to even have a dabble. Indeed, it means this Synergy model is effectively usable straight from the box.
Of course, if you want to fit a scope or sight of some sort, then with some seven inches of dovetail rail to play with, it's easy. Where springers are concerned, it pays to take recoil seriously, and taking preventative measures to hold the scope firmly in place is time well spent. Again, we are well catered for here with the SMK because there's a hole for an arrestor stud or pin, machined into the cylinder. A one-piece mount is probably the way to go for peace of mind, but if the extra weight is deemed an irritation, then ring mounts with an arrestor stud would be fine. Alternatively, try using a small arrestor block – Sportsmatch make really neat devices – best positioned just behind the front mount, but either will suffice.
Cocking the action takes only modest effort, helped by the leverage from the 18-inch barrel, and whilst it is advisable to keep clear of that vulnerable fore sight bead up front, when breaking the barrel, there is plenty of room to grip the muzzle assembly just behind it. Butt safely in the groin is best practice, then keep a grip of the barrel whilst chambering the pellet. As mentioned, there is a manual safety catch forward of the trigger, but an internal bear-trap system prevents the action from being fired until the barrel is locked back up.
I really like the styling and feel of that polymer stock, and the pin-perfect chequering, angular fore end and that punchy red stock panel all come together nicely. Visuals aside, the slimmed down pistol grip feels great in the aim, and whilst admittedly, I have large hands, I just found this Synergy felt natural in the aim. OK, the pseudo two-stage trigger is pretty basic, unsurprisingly, but that broad-ribbed surface saves the day. Gently squeeze through the creep as the sears work apart, and the final release is then reasonable and acceptable.
On test, the action was slick with what felt like a fast lock-time, fairly free from spring resonance, and just a slight metallic ring. All very satisfying, in fact, and the relative sophistication of the shot release suggests at the very least, a well thought out internal set-up, with recoil-calming measures and some appropriate lubrication.
Over the chronograph, the Synergy Supergrade posted fairly textbook energy around the 11 ft.lbs. mark, with a variety of pellets. Air Arms Diabolo Fields just edged accuracy, with half-inch clusters at 30 yards, matched with impressive 15fps total spread over a 10-shot string.
With an RRP of sub-£180, this flashy Synergy Supergrade has to be classed as a budget sporter, yet on test, it proved not only pleasant to shoot, but also capable of very creditable performance. I liked that eye-catching profile from the start, and just warmed to it even more as the test went on. So yes, this one comes highly recommended as a general purpose starter gun, or budget hunter, fit for purpose.
Thanks to Range & Country Shooting Supplies in Sleaford, Lincs., for the kind loan of this rifle for test. Range & Country can be found at www.rangeandcountry.co.uk
Model: SMK Synergy Supergrade B19-36
Type: Break-barrel, spring-powered
Calibre: .177 on test, .22 available
Stock: Synthetic profile sporter
Trigger: 2-stage adjustable
Velocity: Using BSA Goldstar pellets:
Ave 751fps Spread 15fps over 10-shot string
Energy: 10.8 ft.lbs.
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