KralAv’s Model AI:002, a CFX copy in .22.
Today we are going to look at a product that is completely new to the market. While the manufacturer has been making shotguns and blank pistols for years, I believe they are new to the airgun market. Kral Av is based in Turkey and currently has two models of air rifles listed on their company site, www.kralav.com.
I’ve had just a little experience with Turkish airguns, i.e. the Daisy Powerline 1000SB, and I was very impressed. So when I saw this at Pyramyd’s table at the gun show, I was more than willing to pick one up with the hopes that it would perform. The retail cost for the model that I purchased was about $90. Seeing as it was on sale at the show, I paid at lot less for mine.
The KralAv model AI:002 is a copy of the very popular CFX rifle from Gamo. It comes in both .177 and .22. Listed velocity puts the .177 at about 900 FPS and the .22 at just over 700 FPS, assuming that my metric conversions are correct.
The KralAv AI:002 in composite with 3x9x32 Daisy PowerLinc Scope.
At first glance, the KralAv is a really nice looking and feeling rifle. I purchased the model with a composite stock and it feels and sounds solid. Some composite stocks will sound hollow when the gun is fired, but the AI-002 does not have this issue. The rifle feels well balanced and pulls nicely to the shoulder. As far as looks go, the AI-002 gets an A+ in my book.
The AI-002 has most of the standard features that you’ll find in a modern air rifle. Let’s go through them one at a time. The rifle has both front and rear fiber optic sights, with the rear sight having micro-click adjustments. I found them a little dim and hard to see versus other rifles with fiber optic sights. I think they need to be thicker to allow more light transfer. They are almost like colored pieces of plastic rather than true fiber optic inserts. I’m not sure how important this is as I’m planning to mount a scope and I guess most everyone else will, too.
Rear micro-click adjustable sight. The fiber inserts need to be bigger and brighter
Front sight assembly. This came off during testing. Gorilla glue got us up and running again.
The rifle has a grooved 11mm dovetail set to receive the scope of your choice, but an important piece is lacking. There is no scope stop to prevent scope creep. While the velocities seem moderate, this rifle produces a fair amount of recoil and buzz. I’m not sure if the scope will move or not, but I’d recommend installing a scope stop just to be safe. There are no holes in the top of the rifle for stop pins, so an after market scope stop is your only choice. For our tests, I mounted a Daisy PowerLine 3×9 air rifle scope. It should work well for our tests.
The rifle is grooved for a scope, but a scope stop is nowhere to be found. In their defense, I did not experience any scope creep during testing. So it may not be a big deal.
Moving on, the trigger is, again, what you would expect for a rifle in this price range. There is no adjustment that I can see and while it is a “two stage” trigger, the second stage is very hard with a long pull. It does break consistently, however. It will be difficult to get really accurate groups with a trigger that pulls this hard. You would figure that they should be able to put a decent trigger on even an inexpensive rifle these days. In any case, this is no target rifle and is not advertised or priced as one. So while it may not be my liking, the trigger is fine for the intended use of this airgun.
Standard two stage trigger. There is no visible adjustment and it has a fairly hard pull. Also, the safety is in front of the trigger and needs to be manually set and released.
What really caught my attention and the main reason that I picked it up, was the fact that it is an under lever cocking rifle. Cocking the rifle takes a moderate amount of effort, but nothing that would cause you to get tired even if you shot it all day. Having the fixed barrel should make this rifle fairly accurate, at least in concept. We’ll see how that turns out on the range.
The cocking lever is released by pulling back on the front tab. You can see the grooved indent for your fingers. This rifle cocks easily.
After the rifle is cocked and loaded, the cocking arm clicks back into place at the bottom of the front sight assembly.
The KralAV AI-002 uses a rotating loading breach, much like the Gamo CFX. This little “gem” takes some getting use to. You better hope that you won’t need a quick follow up shot as loading a pellet can be a challenge all in itself. Once you get the hang of it with one pellet, get ready to learn the process all over again because each pellet likes to go in its own way. I found rounded pellets to be the easiest to load. They seemed to slide down the loading “ramp” easier than others, and tended to not get hung up while trying to seat that last little bit. Others were almost impossible to get loaded. Fortunately the most accurate pellet for this gun happened also to be the easiest to load.
This photo shows the breach open. There is a “ramp” that is supposed to guide the pellet into the breach. This seemed to get easier the more I did it.
Well, that covers the cosmetics and function of the gun. So how does it shoot? Let’s just say that this rifle is a prime example of how persistence pays off, if you are willing to take the time to really figure it out. I nearly dismissed this after several days of working with it, but purchase price aside, I wanted to give it just as much opportunity to come around as I would a more expensive item.
When I got home from the Airgun Expo there was still a little light left, so I grabbed the airguns that I had purchased at the show and headed to the back porch. The Kralav rifle was one of the first that I tried and while shooting through my chronograph I was totally surprised to see this .22 rifle produce over 1000 FPS! Then the second shot dieseled loudly and was 500 FPS. This really did not make sense to me, and is where the real work started.
This trend continued pellet after pellet. One would be screaming and the other would be loud and slow. I tried every pellet at my disposal and it was better with some and worse with others but I just couldn’t get this rifle to settle down. Then more problems, the front sight assembly just twisted in my hand. There was a set screw (see photo of the front sight above) but it felt as though it was stripped out. I removed the screw and pulled off the front site. There was no bushing for the set screw. Just a channel of plastic that had stripped out. There were very fine “teeth” on the barrel that I guess were meant to hold the sight in place, but the plastic had given out. Gorilla glue to the rescue. Now that the sight is back on the gun, I could get back to my shooting tests.
I spent about 10 afternoons working with this rifle, trying to get any sort of group. Crosman Premiers produced this “wonderful” group at 15 yards, this is not even “tin can” accurate, and I was still having issues with dieseling and velocity. Then, finally, persistence and patience paid off.
This was a typical group before we found the right pellet. This is only from 15 yards. You can imagine my frustration after having just reviewing the Mendoza RM-200.
I had picked up some JSB pellets while at the Expo at the direction of Tom Gaylord. One of the tins were JSB Exact Diablo Jumbo pellets. Not only did the dieseling stop, but the velocity calmed down, and better yet, I actually shot a decent group! Just to make sure it was not a fluke, I shot three more groups with equal results. I’ve posted a couple of them below.
Here is what the chronograph registered:
JSB Diablo Exact Jumbo .22 15.8 gn
High – 639, Low – 631, Average – 634, Difference – 8 FPS
This was my best group from 15 yards. After what I was getting above, I about did a jig!
Typical 5 sthot group with JBS pellets at 15 yards.
Wow, a rifle that literally could not hit the broad side of a barn was now holding 1.5” groups at 15 yards. Now while 1.5” groups are not what I would call “accurate,” they are a whole lot better than the 6” groups I had been getting! I can live with 1.5” groups from an inexpensive sporting rifle. It is very possible that you could get this rifle with a decent scope for less than $100, possibly making it worth picking up.
So, if I had to summarize my thoughts on the KralAv AI-002 rifle, they would go like this. At $90, I would pass on this rifle. At a lower price point of say, $60 or $65, it may be worth having around just to plink with. The real bummer will come when you try to get pellets for it. JBS pellets are getting more and more scarce. I was recently told to “find a new favorite pellet” from a major US vendor. That is not good news. I’m working to find a replacement but nothing else comes close, other than the RWS Meisterkugeln pellets and they don’t stop the dieseling completely. Bottom line is that while this is an interesting rifle, it needs more work. I’ve been corresponding with the manufacture about my findings and I hope they do some upgrades and provide us with some more samples in the future. If they can work out the accuracy issues, improve the fiber optics, and front sight assembly, while keeping the price low, we could have a real winner on our hands.
Coming up. I’m still working on the pellet article and the Beeman and the Walther rifles. Plus… We just got a new Mendoza rifle in yesterday. I’m really excited to have all these product to review. Check back often!