Mark Camoccio explores the SMK SPEC OPS Sniper MKII rifle package in this detailed gun test and review; an air rifle, a scope, mounts and a moderator for less than £270!

Sportsmarketing (SMK) have made quite a name for themselves over the last couple of decades, and with their proud boast of being the largest distributor of airguns in the UK, it’s hardly surprising.

Their operation is all about offering the consumer value for money, and on show here is a classic example – one of their own branded break-barrel, gas-ram models, the SMK SPEC OPS Sniper MKII .

credit: Archant

It’s a package deal for either a novice getting into the sport, or a shooter on a budget, and when you consider there’s a bipod, 3-9 x 40 SMK scope, mounts, and silencer, all included in the RRP,  currently around £269, it looks fair.

My test rifle came supplied in .22 calibre, but you can specify .177. Big, bold dimensions, and those militaristic looks, give the impression of a heavy tool, yet at 8.5lbs all in (scope silencer and bipod), it remains highly manageable.

So, let’s get it assembled and then see how it shapes up on the range.

credit: Archant

First up, the moderator, and this does feel a bit plasticky, yet it does the job and certainly looks the part. It’s a reflex design whereby it slides over the barrel, with the threaded connector a good few inches inside the tube. This means it loses nearly two-thirds of its length by the time it tightens in place so overall length isn’t excessive. 

Fitting the two-part bipod is easy because both legs feature a screw clamp that bolts straight onto the  accessory rails, fitted to the fore end. With the legs in position, pull the spring-loaded catch forward, and the leg can then be angled down and locked into place. Mind the fingers here as you set height, or pull the catch and angle the legs up to shoot without the bipod – the choice is yours. 

credit: Archant

The final add-on is the 3-9 x 40 SMK kit scope, and again, fitting is easy, courtesy of the high peep mounts supplied – just lock in place along the Picatinny rail. 

credit: Archant

With the scope position set for eye relief, I did find I could do with the cheek piece being a little higher, but handling overall feels pretty good. For the record, the SMK scope optics weren’t too impressive on test, and in bright sun, I was having trouble getting a crisp reticle and image at my 25-yard range, so I swapped out the scope initially for a tried and tested Hawke 3-9 x 40 that I had to hand. On re-checking everything on a cloudy day, the original kit scope seemed okay, so make of that what you will. 

To be honest, though, this gun deserves better glassware, so just treat the SMK optics as a starter and either way, you won’t 
be disappointed.

credit: Archant

Handling wise, the SPEC OPS Sniper MKII is so well proportioned that the combination of fairly long barrel and that fitted silencer results in plenty of leverage, and a reduced and smooth cocking stroke. I love break-barrels in general, and this SMK is undoubtedly fun to shoot. The trigger is above average, too, with a nicely shaped, broad flat blade and a fairly light release after a small amount of creep. Add in that soft rubber grip, and it’s a pleasant experience overall.  

Extensive use of synthetics/polymer helps to save weight with the stock, as well as allow for some dramatic styling, and whilst the bolt and magazine are ‘dummies’, just for detail, the soft rubber grip really enhances feel. 

credit: Archant

OK, we’ve got a bipod all bolted in place, so we really should see how the SPEC OPS shoots with this first. Groups around 1.25 inches at 25 yards aren’t a disgrace, and for informal plinking and fun shooting, that’s pretty effective.

However, just cocking the break-barrel action then getting back in position to take each shot can prove irritating and impractical. There is also the detail to consider of a recoiling gun, and shooting from a bipod on a firm surface, where the gun can bounce as it moves. Of course, the bipod does add an extra dimension, and is undeniably fun to use. What I’m saying here is, that in order to extract maximum accuracy from this rifle, adopting a cushioned stance is the key.

Shooting from my favoured over-arm FT sitting position, the SPEC OPS really showed its potential with impressive accuracy suddenly easy to come by. Standard 16 grain FX pellets produced sub-half-inch groups over my 25-yard range, and whilst that dummy mag’ was in the wrong place for that position, I was determined to work around it. On test, the gas-ram power plant made a surprising old clatter, with plenty of resonance as the shot released, yet it seemed a small price to pay given the ultra-smooth cocking stroke, and superb accuracy on show. 

Chrono’ readings were on the money, too, giving a total velocity spread with the FX ammo, of just 8fps over 10 shots and energy around 11.7 ft.lbs. 

credit: Archant

Overall then, this model showed real potential, and everything is included to get started from the off. 

Impressive performance figures always help, and if the military styling appeals, this SMK SPEC OPS Sniper MKII is a whole box of fun, as a budget hunting tool, or starter pack, that won’t break the bank. 

Model: SMK SPEC OPS Sniper MKII         
Manufacturer: Sportsmarketing                 
Type: Break-barrel, gas-ram powered        
Calibre: .177 available, .22 on test    
Weight: 8.5lbs with scope, silencer and bipod                
Length: 46.5”            
Barrel: 17.75”            
Stock: Synthetic thumbhole sporter            
Trigger: 2-stage adjustable                 
Velocity: Using FX pellets
                              High - 580fps             
                              Low - 572fps                
                              Ave - 575fps            
                              Spread - 8fps over 10-shot string          
Energy: 11.7 ft.lbs.                                          
RRP: £269.95 including bipod, 3-9 x 40 SMK scope, mounts, and moderator        
Contact: Sportsmarketing