- Expensive - $79 for the gun; ~$8 for a 150 refill
- Heavy - Even without the added stock and barrel extension, it has an impressive heft to it
- Bolt Action - Trés cool!
- Triggerless - Not so cool. Even a false moulded one would look better.
- Flimsy Bipod - Great idea implemented atrociously. Consigned to the scrap bin within minutes.
On closer inspection:
The Fittings - As someone pointed out in their review, the buttstock has a tendency to dislodge easily. It's also shorter than I had expected; even my 11 year old son said it was too short. Fortunately the way it fits to the receiver will easily allow for a short length of PVC tube as an extension.
The barrel extension (on this particular one) fits well, and doesn't appear to be misaligned or poorly sealing. The "handles" that come off the top and bottom of the extension leave a lot to be desired, however. IMHO they spoil the barrel; cutting them away and streamlining things is also on the cards.
Loading - Definitely not for the impatient. Pre-soaking the ammo is not advised, instead loading the clip dry then soaking it as an assembly works well. Think of it as a kind of cap-and-ball blackpowder rifle instead of a modern cartridge gun, and you'll get an idea of the comparative loading times. It's also hard to tell exactly how many shots you have fired, leading to some very Dirty Harry-esque moments ("Did I fire 5 or 6? Feeling lucky, punk? etc etc).
Action - The pull back/release mechanism feels robust, and doesn't slap around. The standard spring requires a surprising amount of force at full compression, which can seriously throw off the aim of smaller shooters. The bolt feels a little flimsy, but cycles with a fairly satisfying "click".
Accuracy and Distance - 100' was a stretch, requiring a little elevation to make the distance. The effective range is more like 30-40', after that the pellets tend to curve off in random directions. The "scope" provided little more than a rough idea of likely impact but if used as a rear sight (in conjunction with the front post on the barrel extension) it proves serviceable.
I was able to consistently put all 8 shots onto a 12"x12" paving block target at approximately 30' with careful aim.
Power - This is a weapon to be taken seriously. A stray shot at close range might not knock an eye out, but you probably wouldn't be able to see out of it for a week. What little testing I did showed it penetrating A4 paper at 20'.
Cleaning - The barrel clogs up fast. I found that flushing it with water every 2-3 clips was necessary to stop it becoming an impediment to firing. And definitely make sure it's flushed out before being put away!
Overall - It's big, bulky and somewhat fiddly to operate. Suited to stationary shooting as the ammunition can't be readily loaded on the move. Splattered pellets are messy. It needs regular cleaning. The injury risk is a magnitude higher than a nerf dart. It's also great fun, and can be used as a good intro into proper gun safety.
Random note: Competitive target shooting with the Shadowhawk can be made easier to keep track of by having different colored water for each shooter (use food coloring) - instant pseudo-paintballs!
TL;DR - Do I recommend it? Wait for a pricedrop, then yes.
Would I buy another one? Hell yeah!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope it serves useful .