Stoeger XM1 S4 Full Review/Hunt
Over the past few months I had received many request to review a few budget minded PCP’s so did a little research and found the Stoeger XM1 S4. I reached out directly to Stoeger through email and was eagerly sent one to put through a full field review. The XM1 is Stoegers first step into the PCP market and looked to be a great candidate towards an entry level rifle.
The new XM1 has a cutting-edge, distinct and streamlined design with multiple souls: sporty, elegant and innovative. The new XM1 muscular surfaces make the rifle appear strong and self-secure. All surfaces are designed with a clear attention to ergonomic and anatomic functionality. The innovative Italian design by Stoeger AIRGUNS can immediately be recognized at first glance. The extreme proportions and the unique line of its profile make the new XM1 a real multi-use rifle. All innovative XM1 features plus the new generation of integral silencer S4 cumulating baffles and compensators.
|Front Sight||Fiber Optic|
|Rear Sight||Open Adjustable|
|Trigger||Two-stage adjustable length|
|Suggested for||Small game hunting/Target|
(NOTE) The rifle tested came as a combo package that included two magazines, single shot tray, scope, fill probe, extra orings, two picatinny rails and manual.
With all the fires here in California we have been very limited to our filming locations but thankfully I was able to book a solid day on some private land. Marley and I arrived to our spot around 9:30am with the thoughts of spending the first part of the day filming the review of the XM1 followed by a short evening hunt. We first took a look at the XM1 S4’s camo thumbhole stock that had an excellent feel and look to it.
The 5.7 lb weight made the gun easy to carry and shoulder with the allowance of adding and removing the provided spacers in the butpad of the rifle. This is a somewhat unique adjustment as well as being able to change out the grip with a more robust one for those with larger hands. Out front of the XM1 S4 is an integrated moderator that quiets the report and adds to some rigidity to the barrel system.
Just on top of the shrouded barrel are the adjustable fiber optic sights, these are about the best I have encountered. They offered a precision sight picture and made quick target acquisitions possible, especially in low light.
Moving back we took a look at the breech that is of bolt action design and has 11mm dovetail for mounting optics.
The bolt handle has a knurled tab that makes cocking the bolt much easier and ergonomically appealing than a standard bolt handle.
The trigger on the XM1 S4 is two stage with adjustable length of pull for being able to customize the feel to each individual user. The basic crossbolt safety is both simple in design and easy to reach for quick on and off use.
The first stage is quite long with a very hair second stage at just over 1.5 lb break. I felt the trigger to be fairly smooth and predictable making it a good balance for both target and hunting situations. Moving forward we took a look at the 100cc air reservoir that fills to just 200 bar or 2900psi. This small cylinder and low fill pressure is a good design for those wanting to use a handpump as a fill source.
Just in front of the airtube is the pressure gauge that shows the user the amount of available air left in the rifle. Stoeger claims the rifle will get 50 shots per fill but I suspect this claim is far off and simply cannot reach that claim. The “fill port cover” is essentially a cosmetic feature and offers no protection to the fill port allowing debris to easy enter the rifle. This is a very poor design and am honestly confused as to what they were thinking with adding this? Moving on the XM1 S4 comes with a fill probe that has thankfully machined a male foster into it making it pair well to most standard fill whips.
Moving on we get to mounting the provided fixed power 4×32 scope that is sold as part of the combo package.
This scope is very basic and to be honest is not a great choice for an airgun as it lacks mil-dots to judge holdover or hold under. Beyond the scope being as basic as it was I found it impossible to mount on the rifle due to the rear sight not being able to remove.
I could have used some higher rings but only had what was provided and felt very frustrated with it by this point. Stoeger was nice enough to send this rifle to us for review but feel obligated to share my honest opinions. If I paid $250 for a combo that includes a scope I would expect to have something I can use. The value of having a scope that can’t be mounted correctly is completely gone in my opinion. My advice to them is to include a scope with mil-dots as well as making the rear sight removable without having to break it. By this time I decided my review would be concluded using open sights only. Using open sights I would be very limited to short range so I did some practice out to 45 yards. The XM1 S4 includes two Marauder style magazines and a single shot tray I found to be very useful for target shooting.
I mounted the wide angle Tactacam that I would use to capture some of the action and thought it would be a good time to check out the provided picatinny rails.
The left side rail can be used to hold the magazines but found they fit far to tight and were very difficult to get in and out, I decided to leave them off of the rifle. I would have rather seen a bottom rail added for mounting a bipod, although I can see drilling out the stock wouldn’t be to difficult. I loaded the XM1 S4’s magazine with some 18gr JSB brand pellets, the magazine holds 7 in .22 caliber.
I set up the chronograph to test the rifles full shot string starting at 200 bar. I was able to get 22 regulated shots that put out and average of just over 26fpe. This is considerably less than the 50 shots claimed but I felt as though the gun still made some good power and seemed pretty efficient with air from the small 100cc reservoir.
I was able to achieve a great 7 shot group at 45 yards, pretty good for having just open sights. This is nearing the maximum range I felt confident with as anything further would be completely covered by the open sights. With some more practice I made some minor adjustments to move my poi to the center to make the rifle suitable for hunting later on.
The overall solid feel of the stock was very impressive and near firearms quality, the camo definitely fit my style. After taking a break and doing some more target practice Marley and I were ready to head away from camp and do some late afternoon Cottontail hunting.
We set out slowly through the forest stopping frequently to glass the areas for movement. This particular area was very thick so I felt the best way to spot movement was to get up onto higher ground.
Marley and I spotted a good sized Jackrabbit moving up the hillside so we followed it hoping to make contact. The ridgeline made for a much better view of the area and had many prominent rabbit trails that looked to make the area very active.
We followed the trails as slowly as possible and I was soon able to spot a grazing Cottontail moving along the hillside below at just 35 yards.
Marley took off like a rocket and was able to recover the good sized Cottontail in just seconds. As hot as it was I was honestly very surprised to have such luck even spotting one. My shot made way right through it’s eye making a quick and ethical kill that’s not always easy, especially with open sights.
The Stoeger XM1 S4 is a fantastic rifle with open sights and more than capable of handling most short range hunting scenarios. The lightweight gun is easy to carry and maneuver through this thick brushy terrain, something that is sometimes difficult to find with many Airguns. After a short break we took some photographs and packed up the Cottontail to head back to camp.
Marley and I had a beautiful day out in the mountains and I was very pleased to have taken down a Cottontail to be able to take home for dinner. I want to thank Stoeger for allowing us the opportunity to review this rifle and will enclose my final honest thoughts on this rifle as well as the video. Appreciate all the support and look forward to getting out again as soon as we can!
- Great Fiber Optic Sights
- Ergonomic Stock
- Included Single Shot Tray
- Simple Magazine Design
- Good Trigger
- Unable To Use Scope+No Mil-Dots
- Pic Rail Magazine Holder Poor Fit
- Fill Port Dust Cover Does Nothing
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Mine came with the rear site not mounted. You have to pound it (gently) on so would have to pound it off as well. Is definitely removeable. Nice gun.
Nicely done. Cam didn’t do well with capturing the video of your shot though. Keep making field test videos. Range test videos are boring.