Jonathan Young gets his teeth into the Cobra Strike Magnum, which was once hailed in the adverts of the day as “Britain’s only .25 calibre air rifle”
Once there were no .25 airguns to be had unless you liked antiques, but slowly some .25 custom guns appeared. Cobra Strike International, with links to pellet-maker LJ Cammell, turned this situation on its head and instigated the first post-war UK factory-made .25: the Cobra Strike Magnum.
Based on the fantastic break-barrel BSA Mercury action, it came in a BSA box with BSA freebies such as a bottle of oil and targets, and used standard BSA open sights. But it was distinctively non-mainstream, and came fitted and tuned in .25 as a full-power, yet lightweight hunter. Even the special .25 barrel was different: although it had a counterbored muzzle, like most of the BSA barrels of the time, this went back several inches, allegedly providing a muffling effect to the muzzle blast.
LJ Cammell had been making specialist airgun pellets since before the war, and its line-up included the elusive .25 calibre. It was only a matter of time before someone took the next step: BSA was already providing .25 barrel blanks to custom tuners and there was a buzz in the air around the old calibre, with specialists making airguns or rebarreling them in .25.
The Cobra Strike upped the stakes – and did so very publicly. It caused a really big stir on release, then slowly slipped into airgun history. BSA later released its own .25 Mercury special, and the rest is history. Today we see .25 as just another calibre choice, but some thanks has to go to the Cobra Strike Magnum.