In May 1990, Air Arms sales and marketing manager Bill Sanders revealed to airgun world that over the previous few months a 10m version of the 100 series had been in development, with advice from top 10m shooters being sought at the design stage. Initial prototypes were looking very promising and Bill was confident that the final result would be a 10m rifle capable of competing with the best of the foreign guns available, particularly in the lucrative German market.
Colin King was in charge of the action design and Nick Jenkinson was responsible for the design of the stock.
The rifle was later named the RN10 – the “RN” in the name are Air Arms owner Robert (Bob) Nicholls’s initials and the 10 is due to the 10m nature of the rifle.
In 1991 the RN10 was on show at the 18th International Trade Fair for Hunting and Sporting Arms in Nuremburg. There was reportedly strong interest from German and Swiss buyers.
Airgun World June 1991
Around the end of 1991, possible early 1992, the RN10 was marketed in Europe in conjunction with RWS as the CA100.
Airgun Wolrld October 1992
In the UK the RN10 was available on a “made to order” basis. Sales in Europe and the UK were disappointing, leaving air arms with a substantial amount of rifles and parts on their hands.
Potential for field target use had already been identified by Nick jJenkinson, who had been successfully using his custom 12fpe version. With the assistance of Nick, prototypes were produced and passed to the likes of Terry Doe, Ken Turner and Richard North to provide feedback.
The stock design and general ergonomics were good for FT shooting and it was found to be relatively straight forward to increase the power. A slightly stronger stroke and higher regulator setting gave good results. The standard striker spring gave plenty of adjustment and the firing cycle was not compromised. A good shot count of 90 plus shots from a 200 bar fill was achievable.
As early as October 1993 Link Arms, Nick Jenkinson's company, was taking deposits for the soon to be released RN10.
The final stages of development and readiness for full production took significantly longer than expected and it was not until late 1994 that the FT version of thje RN10 was with retailers.
Advert Form November 1994
Reliability issues were identified with the early regulators, which were finally resolved with the introduction of the Mk3 regulator, which was designed by Joe Korick, who consulted other experts, such as Dave Welham.
Over time many of the early RN10’s/Pro-Targets were returned to Air Arms to have their regulators updated to the Mk3 version. This happened to such an extent that very few rifles can be found with Mk1 or 2 regulators still fitted.
Around the same time as the Mk3 regulator being introduced the name Pro-Target started to be used in favour of RN10 and the Pro-Target Tactical Hunter was launched.
Advert From 1998
Although the FT version had 3 distinctive versions over the years – Mk’s 1,2 & 3– the original 10m version only had minor cosmetic changes and a name change to “Pro-Target 10m”.
After a disappointing start in life as a 10m rifle, the RN10/Pro-Target FT was a huge success on the FT circuit and the major titles just kept coming. Air Ams celebrated the 1997 Grand Prix victory with a limited run of coloured stocks having a gold winners wreath pattern with gold wording on the cheek piece.
Advert From 1999
R10's/pro-Targets can still regularly be seen in action at FT & HFT shoots, giving testament to how ahead of its time the rifle was. This is also evident in the fact that much of the mechanics of the rifle were carried over to the EV2 and FTP900 rifles.
These specifications are based on what could be considered the “standard” for each mark but Air Arms were very flexible with customer requests and would do their best to meet these requests so no doubt there would have been plenty of variations.
Length: 1092mm (43in)
Weight: 5kg (11lb)
Maximum pressure: 200 bar
Minimum pressure: 110 bar
Reach to trigger: 330mm (13in)
Barrel: 22in, 12 grooved, specially commissioned Lothar Walther match barrel.
Shot count: approx. 90 per 200 bar fill
Cocking: slide action and fully ambidextrous
Loading: direct to breech
Trigger: multi adjustable curved match down to 80 grammes
Trigger weight: 1st stage – 4oz. 2nd stage – 8oz.
Stock: designed to conform with I.S.U.. 10m rules of the time. Wood laminate with adjustable cheek piece, fore-end accessory rail, adjustable butt pad with additional spacers available if required. Right hand or left hand orientated stocks offered.
Stamp: RN10. “Pro-Target 10m” on later 10m versions.
Cylinder: detachable 300mm cylinder with gauge on front plug
Regulator: smooth brass body covered with a black sticker giving fill details on RN10. Alloy with 7 grooved rings on "Pro-Target 10m" stamped rifles.
Barrel: – barrel was not blued, had a steel shroud/barrel sleeve that extended approx. 3.5 in beyond the muzzle and an a-clamp support. On early models the shroud was equipped with a dovetail for foresight mounting.
Later Mk1 models show both dovetail and muzzle brake slots on the shroud. This set up was promoted as offering “stil-air” air stripping dynamics.
RN10 Mk2/Pro-Target - Marbled Green Stock
RN10/Pro-Target Mk2 Tactical Hunter
Launch date: approx. June 1996 (TH - approx. August 1997).
RRP: basic - £660
hydrographics coloured stock (red, blue or green) - £760
tactical hunter – hydrographics black stock with bipod - £814
short action/coloured stock - £800
Length: 1040mm (41in)
Weight: 4.9kg (10.8lb)
Stamps: FT version - “RN10 mk2”/”RN10 Pro-Target mk2”/ “Pro-Target FT”. Some early actions just had “RN10” on the right hand side of the action and “mk2” printed behind the left hand side cocking release switch. Tactical Hunter – .22 - Pro-Target TH. .177 - Pro-Target TH/Pro-Target FT
Cylinder: fixed with snap connector and pull off filler cap. Cylinder end now had thicker part between the cylinder end and filler cap. 400mm or 300mm cylinder on ft version and 300mm only on tactical hunter.
Regulator: early versions – Mk2 with smooth alloy body with a black sticker with fill details. Later versions – Mk3 – alloy with 7 grooved rings.(late 1997)
Barrel: shorter 16in Lothar Walther match barrel. Muzzle brake/barrel weight removed. 3 slots at the muzzle end of the shroud. Tactical hunter had shorter shroud so it was flush with end of the shorter cylinder.
Shot count: approx. 80 per 200 bar fill
Venturi screw introduced to the left hand side of the block.
Pro-Target FT Mk3
Pro-Target Mk3 Tactical Hunter
Launch date: approx. December 1999
RRP: standard - £777
hydrographics coloured stock - £907 (black/silver or red blue)
tactical hunter with bipod - £907
Optional extras: multi adjustabe butt pad - £114
bipod - £35
silencer - £56 (standard on tactical hunter)
Length: 1016mm (40in)
Weight: 4.76kg (10.5lb)
Stamp: standard – Pro-Target FT
tactical hunter – .22 – Pro-Target TH
.177 – Pro-Target FT (Possibly Pro-Target TH as well but not confirmed)
Cylinder: fixed with snap connector and pull off filler cap. Cylinder end now had thicker part between the cylinder end and filler cap. 400mm cylinder on ft version and 300mm on tactical hunter.
Regulator: Mk3 - alloy with 7 grooved rings.
Barrel: blued barrel. No shroud and free floating with muzzle break or optional moderator. Short cone support at the breech. The a-clamp was removed and alloy stock in-fills used to fill the gaps in the stock.
Shot count: approx. 100 from 200 bar fill
Venturi screw now on right hand side of block.