BSA Ultra PCP Air Rifle
Introduction to the BSA Ultra PCP Air Rifle
BSA’s Ultra series is based on a proven platform that has been around for several years and comprises three different models. Each is defined by their light weight and compact proportions, making them ideal hunting rifles, especially as they feature the company’s cold-hammer forged barrels. The bolt action, 10-shot magazine system is consistent with other rifles in the BSA range is extremely reliable. The ambidextrous stock is available in three different finishes in .177, .22 and .25 calibres.
BSA, or Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited to give the company its full name is one of the oldest and most respected brands, dating back to 1861. It comprised a diverse group of companies that made motorcycles, bicycles, cars, buses and tools in addition to military and sporting guns. Spanish company Gamo acquired the air rifle business in 1985 but kept the prestigious BSA brand which now comprises a range of pre-charged, spring and gas-ram air rifles.
“Light weight and compact proportions.”
”Bolt action and 10-shot magazine…extremely reliable.”
“Ideal hunting rifles.”
BSA Ultra Review
With its compact proportions and light weight, the BSA Ultra range has been developed with the hunter in mind. The exception is the Ultra JSR – an even more compact version designed specifically for juniors – JSR standing for ‘Junior Stock Rifle’. All models feature an air cylinder which results in a low shot count compared to many other rifles, but is more than adequate for hunters. Although BSA describes the valve as ‘self regulating’, the Ultra is not regulated in the way that the BSA R-10 is for example. The 10-shot magazine system is very reliable and operates with a well-engineered bolt system, and the trigger is a fully adjustable two-stage unit.
BSA Ultra Product Range
BSA Ultra SE
The Ultra SE weighs just 2.6 kgs, making it one of the lightest traditionally styled sporting rifles available, not to mention one of the shortest at just 820mm long. As with all BSA rifles, the 300mm barrel is the company’s own cold hammer design. Available in .177, ,22 and .25 calibre, the Ultra SE uses a bolt-action to cock the action and cycle pellets in the magazine, which takes 10 shots in .177 and .22 and eight in .25. A single shot model is also provided. Given the Ultra SE’s dimension, it’s not surprising that shot count is a relatively low at 50 shots in .22 and .25 and 40 in .177 from the non-regulated action, which takes a 232 bar fill via a port that is revealed by removing a cap at the front of the cylinder. Stocks are ambidextrous and available in Beech as well as Tactical Black and Olive synthetic and incorporate a pressure gauge under the forend. The forend on the synthetic stock is slightly longer and is fitted with sling swivels. The Ultra SE comes with a muzzle break which, once removed, reveals a ½ inch UNF thread to accept a silencer.
BSA Ultra XL
With its distinctive thumbhole wooden stock, forend chequering and adjustable cheek piece, the Ultra XL offers slightly higher shot count of 60 shots in .177 and 80 in .22 thanks to a larger air cylinder which is filled to 232 bar via a probe inserted into a port that’s accessed by unscrewing a cap at the top of the cylinder. Consequently, the Ultra XL is slightly heavier than other Ultra models at 3.3 kilos, and longer at 900 mm with a 385mm cold hammer forged barrel that’s finished with a muzzle break that can be removed to accept a silencer. The Ultra XL shares the same non-regulated action and 10-shot bolt operated magazine system as the Ultra SE but has a single stage adjustable trigger. High power versions are available, although a .25 calibre option is not.
BSA Ultra JSR
BSA is to be commended by investing in what it says is the only dedicated pre-charged pneumatic air rifle designed for juniors. And other than a reduced power output of six ft. lbs., the Ultra JSR is a fully-featured and functioning rifle, complete with BSA’s cold hammer forged barrel, two-stage adjustable trigger and bolt operated 10-shot magazine action. Available in .177 and .22, the Ultra JSR weighs just 2.5 kilos and measures 690mm long with a 300mm barrel that has a ½ inch UNF thread for a silencer. Shot count in both calibres is a healthy 120 from a 232 bar fill. Thinking ahead, BSA has designed the Ultra JSR to accept a full size Ultra synthetic stock to accommodate junior shooters as they grow.
Is the BSA Ultra right for me?
The BSA Ultra range has a rifle for just about everyone, including junior shooters. They are light, compact and reliable. Although affordably priced, they are well engineered with an excellent barrel and trigger. Shot count is on the low side and the action is unregulated, not that hunters will be bothered as the Ultra is capable of superb accuracy.
Best suited to?
The Ultra JSR is a specialist rifle designed for younger shooters and at six ft. lbs. Is suitable only for use on the range and plinking. The Ultra SE and Ultra XL are superb hunting rifles with the latter also capable as a target rifle thanks to its adjustable stock.
Pros and Cons
Ultra rifles are superbly light and transportable rifles and thanks to BSA’s cold hammer forged barrels, they are capable of accuracy that would embarrass many more expensive alternatives. The lack of a regulator is a mark against the Ultra, and some would consider shot count an issue too, epecially in the Ultra SE, though in reality, as a hunting rifle, it is more than adequate.
BSA Ultra Specifications
|Specifications||BSA Ultra SE||BSA Ultra XL||BSA Ultra JSR|
|Stock options||Beech, Tactical Black, Olive||Beech||Beech|
|Trigger||Two stage adjustable||Single stage adjustable||Two stage adjustable|
|Calibres||.177, .22 and .25||.177 and ,22||.177 and .22|
|Magazine .177 / .22||10 / 10||10 / 10||10 / 10|
|Power options ft. lbs.||12||12||6|
|Shot count (12 ft. lbs) .177/.22/.25||40/50/50||60/80||120/120|
|Fill pressure||232 bar||232||232|
|Safety catch||Manual resettable||Manual resettable||Manual resettable|
|Moderator||UNF thread||UNF thread||UNF thread|
Comparison with the BSA Ultra range
BSA Ultra SE vs BSA Ultra XL
Although the two rifles are very similar – they both have a cold forged barrel and share the same unregulated, bolt-operated 10 shot magazine action, they are different in a couple of key areas. The Ultra SE Is lighter and shorter but delivers fewer shots, whereas the Ultra XL is heavier, longer and has a more adjustable stock. The Ultra SE offers a .25 calibre option but the Ultra XL is available in power levels higher than 12 ft. lbs.
Other Air Rifles to Consider
There is little to compare the Ultra JSR with as a rifle suitable for juniors other than the SMK Victory and the Weihrauch HW 30 springer. Those considering the Ultra SE and Ultra XL may want to consider other light weight bolt action sporting rifles like the Air Arms S410 and Daystate Huntsman Regal.
BSA Ultra Disassembly
Here you will find dissassembly diagrams for the BSA Ultra taken from https://www.gunspares.co.uk/images/categories/24855.gif. All credit for these images goes to TW Chambers & Co.