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Thread: AEA .22 cal. Challenger SL

  1. #1
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    AEA .22 cal. Challenger SL

    Finally bought my first pcp... an AEA challenger in .22 cal. This is an unregulated rifle that gets up to 70 fpe with some of the heavier 22 pellets and bullets!
    They have recently come out with a regulator for it that you can have added to a new rifle order, or buy as a kit to put it in yourself. Wood to metal finish on this rifle is flawless... you can hardly tell where the line between wood and metal is on mine.
    I bought one of the newer guns they recently got in and the only complaint I have is the bbl. shroud has some up down and a bit of side play in it. Bison airguns and Parts has a bbl. band for them after market, but for now I just folded a piece of elec. tape 3 times and placed between shroud and air tube.

    This rifle has given 3 to 5 shot groups(just checking potential accuracy) of 1/4” c/c to 1/2” outside to outside at 50 yds. with all the pellets and bullets I have on hand.
    That includes swaged, commercial, and cast from 14 gr. to 30 gr. Don’t have a link for them, but you can google aea airguns. net or “ the pellet shop” to give them a look.

    In unregulated form I get about 15(power shots) before it begins to fall off, but I bought this rifle for the power output for hunting, so i’m fine with that. If I decide I want more shots I can always buy a regulator for it.
    For $359.00 for a less than minute of angle rifle i’m well pleased with it!
    Hand pumping is doabl with this one as that’s all I have at this time, but is a workout.
    3600 psi is recommended max, but recently they have okayed them up to 4500 psi.
    I only go to 250 bar as anything over that over powers the spring and you get quite a few lower powered shots before the hammer spring can fully open the valve for full power.
    At 250 bar I get about 15 full power shots before it drops unregulated. I was told the regulator would give many more shots, but would drop the power, but I found a video on it and they were getting 73 ft. lbs. with the regulator with 33 gr. pellets.
    Anyway, all i’ve Gotten mine to is 64 1/2 ft. lbs. so far with my 30 gr. bbt cast bullets.... which I thought was pretty darn good!!

    BTW it has a high to low power dial on it as it is too fast for all but the heavier pellets at full power.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Hhhhhmmm how in the world did I get a double thread going? Did’nt notice it the other day when I first started the thread?
    Mods can remove one of them if they want since both threads are identical.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master
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    That is impressive and a heck of a deal. I bet you will be getting a pump or tank in the not too distant future. LOL

    Keep us posted. Would like to hear how it shoots after you get it broken in. It took about 200-250 pellets for my airguns to settle in but so far you are kicking my butt accuracy wise.
    Don Verna


  4. #4
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Thanks dverna!

    Lol, as far as accuracy with this rifle it’s heavy enough at right at 7 lbs. sans scope that it sits on the bags at the bench and does’nt move... it’s an easy one to shoot well.
    Of course you have to have a good bbl. to go with that and AEA seems to be putting out gun after gun with great bbls. seemingly on everything they make.
    Lots of good accuracy reports on them over on GTA.

    Mine is their cheapest “entry level” rifle , but it definitely can shoot and does’nt seem very picky about ammo so far. The power level for $359.00 @ up to 70ft. lbs in 22 cal. finally pulled me into the pcp world.
    The same rifle in 25 cal. hits 80 ft. lbs.
    in 30 cal. 100 ft. lbs
    and in 35 cal. up to I think 175 ft. lbs.
    All with 24” bbls.
    You can add about 50 more ft. lbs. to the 32” bbl. guns in 30 and 357 cal. for about another $100.00.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy chutesnreloads's Avatar
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    That's a keeper if it shoots such an assortment of pellets and slugs so well. Now I've had my 1st PCP around six months, finally got
    it shooting to my satisfaction, looking at buying the next one.
    Think what makes these things get so expensive isn't the price tag but that you can shoot them in the back yard so they get used a LOT.
    Do let us know how its working for you 1000 shots or so down the line.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Will do! There may not be much shooting till after July 15th though. I’m scheduled for cataract surgery on my shooting eye then. Had the other eye taken care of back in May. I can do fairly well for short shooting sessions now, but eye strain takes over pretty quickly.
    Lol, for all I know I could be zigging when I should be zagging and just getting lucky on the groups right now.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Ordered a bbl. band from Bison Airguns and Parts.
    That should take care of the bit of play on the shroud. Accuracy has been great as is, but the band will give a bit of peace of mind anyway!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Got the bbl. band today and sanded it to size. Went on tight without the plastic set screws he sends with it, but I snugged them down anyway.
    That took care of the play in the shroud unless I forcibly twist sideways against the bbl. I don’t believe it can move at all under normal use now unless the rifle were dropped on it’s side.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    While the bison bbl. band worked okay, a member on the GTA found one made by Hot Snot on eBay.
    It clamps on the underside with a metal screw and embedded nut.
    Ordered one and put it on…. absolutely will not move at all.
    Tried a few shots today and all my slugs had a horizontal spread of about an inch at 20 yds. benched, but my Noe 24 gr. pellets shot less than 1/4” c/c 5 shot groups with the largest group slightly over 1/4” outside to outside.
    Jsb 24.5 gr. pellets “Seemed” to do a bit better, but all pellet groups were so tight it was hard to tell lol. I’ll have to try the bbl. band in some different positions up and down the bbl. for slugs… I have it clamped down about 1” from the muzzle end of the air cylinder for now.
    Then again… it’s in a great spot for my cast pellets!

    Actually I need to cast some slugs from pure lead before fooling with the band as the ones I’m shooting now are cast from mixed pellet alloy… could make a difference.
    The pellets are shooting great with the mixed alloy though.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy chutesnreloads's Avatar
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    That's great with your cast pellets. I've just stuck with the store bought offerings. Not sure I even shoot enough to try casting pellets.
    The slugs on the other hand..... if you get them shooting well, they're remarkably flatter shooting with their higher BCs.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chutesnreloads View Post
    That's great with your cast pellets. I've just stuck with the store bought offerings. Not sure I even shoot enough to try casting pellets.
    The slugs on the other hand..... if you get them shooting well, they're remarkably flatter shooting with their higher BCs.
    Yeah, I had high hopes for slugs in this one and at one point I had a couple of different ones shooting well without a bbl. band. The problem with that though was if the bbl. was bumped it would change poi.
    Should have cast them in pure lead and I’ll try that next with the slugs.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy chutesnreloads's Avatar
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    Yeah,.... been down that road. The barrel band helps but you just have to be really careful not to bump the barrel at all. Not really compatible
    to field use. Kinda doubt the pure lead will change the POI shifts but it certainly could shoot better over all.
    Hope the day never comes I have to resort to air power only to hunt

  13. #13
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Okay, looks like I may have found a slug to shoot with the new bbl. band on.
    I cast some bbt, and 25 gr. Noe slugs with my mixed pellet alloy which drops at .220” from the mold.
    Shot them unsized and the deep hollow point in the 25 gr. Slug shot pretty well at 20 yds. benched.
    I’ll try them at 50 yds. along with the pellets tommorrow if it does’nt rain me out!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Got out Sunday afternoon for a little range time with the challenger. Weather was perfect for testing a rifle under different circumstances as all I had to do was wait a few minutes and circumstances would change lol.
    Mostly sunny, but with a few rain clouds drifting over and up to about a 10 mph head wind with side winds coming from left to right at times.
    I set up at 50 yds. and shot my Noe 24 gr. pellets first.
    The first 6 shots went into a .481” group, then a small rain cloud covered the sun and I shot 2 shots cutting each other close to a half inch under my group…. Waited for the sun to come back out and put 3 more right back inside the original group. It was good to see not much change in poi between sun and cloudy conditions.
    Then I waited for a side wind and shot 2 cutting each other about a half inch to the right of my original group. I thought it would drift them more, but they’re avg. between 1050 and 1100 fps.
    Yeah, I know… too fast for pellets, but my rifle has’nt got the memo on that one evidentaly.

    I gave it a fresh fill and put 6 Noe 25 gr. Hp slugs into a bit over an inch and quit shooting them. No point to as the pellets were far more accurate. I’ll try the slugs again when I get some pure lead to cast them with.
    Next up I put 6 jsb 25.3 gr. pellets into a bit over a .6” group and again stopped as I don’t have many of them left and want to try them against my Noe pellets at 75 and a 100 yds. next time.

    Have’nt found the magic slug yet, but very happy with the Noe pellets. All together 9 shots in the original group and I’m quite sure the other 2 shots I took with cloud cover would have been in that group too.
    As I said it was a good day to play a bit with different conditions. This rifle has had well over 500 shots put through it and I feel it’s broken in now.
    If I fill to 245 or 250 bar, I’ll get 4 to 5 lower power shots… enough to cause vertical stringing up to about an inch until it hits about 240 bar.
    If I just fill to 240 bar I get a little over 20 shots with no vertical stringing at a little over 60 ft. lbs.
    Just about right for an all day small game hunt and well within a squirrels head at 50 yds. whether it’s sunny or cloudy.
    Not too heavy for all day carry on a hunt and enough weight to steady in the hands for off hand shooting at small targets. Lol, yeah I like it!

    Btw, poi at 50 yds. seemed to be the same as my sight in at 20 yds.
    Last edited by 35 shooter; 07-25-2022 at 11:17 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check