Gun Test: Daystate Renegade

Heavenly Hybrid: The Daystate Renegade breaks with convention and features an electronic trigger married to a mechanical action. It’s certainly a rebel, but does it have a cause? Mike Morton finds out

The Renegade, as with all bullpups, is easier to handle than most standard rifles


Key Specs
Maker: Daystate, www.daystate.com
Model: Renegade
Price: £1,299
Type: PCP
Calibre: .177 (tested), .22 and .25
Magazine: Rotary, 10 shots; can be loaded from either side of rifle
Overall Length: 760mm
Barrel Length: 430mm
Weight: 3.4kg
Stock: Synthetic green or black
Length of Pull: 365mm
Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable
Trigger Weight: 1lb 1oz
Safety: Manual, resettable
Power: 11.37ft lb
Average Velocity: 765fps
Spread: 8fps


The butt pad is adjustable for height, and it can also be angled left or right, bringing the rear lens of the scope closer to or further away from your face as required.

Bullpup rifles offer the shooter a rifle-length barrel in an overall package that’s often shorter than a carbine, but one of the trade-offs is usually a less-than-crisp trigger. This is necessitated by the trigger blade being connected to a metal linkage, and that means a loss of feel and precision while shooting.

The Daystate Pulsar got round this problem by using an electronic trigger, and its younger brother the Renegade has followed suit. But while the two rifles may be siblings, they’re far from being identical twins. Whereas the Pulsar has both a fully electronic trigger and electronic action, the Renegade has a mechanical action combined with an electronic trigger that trips mechanical sears, making the rifle a slightly more affordable alternative to the Pulsar.

Bear the load

The butt pad is adjustable, which is a useful feature on any bullpup: it tends to be higher than usual due to the location of the magazine

The Renegade, as with all bullpups, is a platform that’s quicker and easier to handle than most standard rifles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s lighter. It weighs in at around 3.4kg unscoped, and is butt-heavy. While its centre of gravity can quite easily be made more neutral by fitting a larger telescopic sight, the fact that it’s heavier at the back can be an advantage once you’re in the aim, as the gun feels locked in place when it’s in your shoulder.

The rifle, which is supplied in a foam-lined hard plastic case, comes in a choice of black or green synthetic stocks. The stock material really is excellent quality: it’s completely rigid, even when the action’s been removed. The stock has a soft-touch feel, with hard plastic side panels, a rubber butt pad that’s adjustable for height and cast, and a drop-down pistol grip.

This Harris bipod is being fitted with the help of a quick-detach Rota-Pod adapter –
the system works well, but does add to the cost and weight of the overall unit

As with many AR-15-style grips of this type, the bottom of the grip hinges open to reveal a small stowage compartment, but the catch is hard to operate with just your fingers. Regardless of whether you make use of this feature, the grip offers plenty of control and makes the Renegade a fast-handling little rifle.

The ventilated forend is a separate part, but even this is made of a rigid plastic, and features a moulded Picatinny rail which can take a suitable bipod, laser or torch. Sling swivel fittings are available as an accessory, with the front being attached to the forward section of rail and the rear being fitted to a standard sling swivel stud that screws into a pre-drilled hole in the toe of the stock.The Renegade features a sidelever-operated action that’s located towards the rear of the rifle, while the action is fitted with a solid synthetic cheekpiece. Both the lever and cheekpiece can be swapped round, making the Renegade suitable for left- as well as right-handed shooters.

The Renegade is shrouded, but is quite snappy without any extra moderation, so a SAK was mounted to the test rifle using the standard 1/2in UNF thread

Gun fit can further be enhanced by adjusting the butt pad for height and cast. To alter the cast – angling the butt to the right or left to bring the scope either closer to your face or further away – you’ll need to remove the butt pad with a 5mm Allen key, after which you can loosen the two retaining screws with a 2.5mm Allen key and adjust accordingly. These adjustments do make a real difference to head and eye alignment.

Despite the Picatinny rail that’s underneath the forend, scope mounting is taken care of via a regular dovetail rail that’s firmly secured to the action at the rear; it ‘floats’ over the shrouded barrel at the front, ensuring no undue downward pressure is put upon the barrel itself. The rail has 175mm of usable clamping area, making it easy to fit the scope of your choice. While

I would naturally choose to fit a smaller scope, the test rifle came supplied with MTC’s relatively new Viper Pro Tactical 3-18×50, which was secured to the rail with Blueprint mounts. These mounts, which are available in silver or black, are made for Daystate by Sportsmatch.

A bubble level is built into the scope rail, letting you know at a glance whether or not you’re canting the rifle

The dovetail clamp screws are domed for a smoother look, while all the screws are coated with Nitrotec, which means they won’t corrode. Fitting and adjusting a scope is made easy, thanks to the bubble level that’s built into the scope rail. This is an invaluable aid when shooting the Renegade as well, as it ensures you keep the rifle upright instead of canted to one side.

I found it easy enough to look down at the level with my shooting eye when in the aim, but this can vary from shooter to shooter. But as you use it more and more, you’ll end up needing it less and less as you instinctively start to level the rifle without help.

Double century

The cocking lever is located near your cheek and can be operated when the rifle’s in the aim. Make sure the butt is firmly in your shoulder

The Renegade can be filled up to 230 bar, but a data disc inset into the breech area of the action block will tell you the optimum fill pressure for each individual rifle, which in this case was 210 bar. The test rifle was in .177, and the Renegade can deliver up to 200 shots in this calibre, although mine produced a more conservative 185 consistent shots, no doubt due to the lower starting pressure.

If in doubt, it’s always preferable to under-fill a PCP rather than over-fill. You won’t get any additional shots, you’ll be putting unnecessary strain on the seals and ultimately you’ll just be wasting air. The Foster coupling is protected by a screw-on cap, which is easy to remove and refit with one hand without the risk of crossing threads.

The fill port cover screws off to reveal a male Foster fitting –this is a direct fit to a standard quick-change adapter on an air hose

The Renegade takes Daystate’s current-generation 10-shot rotary magazine, but a single-shot tray can be used. Daystate’s standard tray can be a little fiddly; if you don’t get on with it, Rowan Engineering makes an aftermarket single-shot adapter that’s easier to use and would be great for HFT. The supplied magazine (two would have been nice) loads from the left by default, and snaps into place with the help of a small magnet.

By swapping the position of this magnet and a locator pin, the mag can be loaded from the right. The mechanical action is controlled by what Daystate calls the HTU (Hybrid Trigger Unit) which is powered by a regular 9-volt battery and is said to be good for up to 17,000 shots. Suffice to say I didn’t have time to put 17,000 pellets through this rifle to put that claim to the test! When the time eventually comes, you’ll need to take the action out of its stock to swap batteries, but to do this you only need to remove one screw with a 5mm Allen key.

The safety catch is located on the trigger guard rather than within it – the standard trigger blade works well, but an optional adjustable blade is available for £70

The Renegade takes Daystate’s current-generation 10-shot rotary magazine, but a single-shot tray can be used. Daystate’s standard tray can be a little fiddly; if you don’t get on with it, Rowan Engineering makes an aftermarket single-shot adapter that’s easier to use and would be great for HFT. The supplied magazine (two would have been nice) loads from the left by default, and snaps into place with the help of a small magnet.

By swapping the position of this magnet and a locator pin, the mag can be loaded from the right. The mechanical action is controlled by what Daystate calls the HTU (Hybrid Trigger Unit) which is powered by a regular 9-volt battery and is said to be good for up to 17,000 shots. Suffice to say I didn’t have time to put 17,000 pellets through this rifle to put that claim to the test! When the time eventually comes, you’ll need to take the action out of its stock to swap batteries, but to do this you only need to remove one screw with a 5mm Allen key.

Daystate’s current-generation magazines slot into the action with the help of a magnet and feature a colour-coded last shot indicator – the blue dot means .177

The trigger blade activates a solenoid, but is still adjustable for weight and length of first stage. Despite its electronic operation, it still feels like a “real” trigger, and one welcome feature is the ability to partially open and close the sidelever without actually cocking the rifle. This resets the trigger so you can practise dry-firing the rifle. That might sound like something only target shooters do, but it’s really useful training for hunters too. The blade is perfectly usable out the box, but Daystate does produce an alternative that can be angled and adjusted for height to match the pad of your trigger finger.

Sidelever operation is not quite as slick as on the Pulsar, but that’s because it has more work to do. The all-electronic Pulsar only requires the magazine to be indexed and a pellet seated with each return throw of the lever, while on the Renegade the lever has to cock the mechanical action as well. Even so, it’s easy to do when shooting the rifle off a bag or bipod, and is even easier again if you’re shooting it offhand, with the butt firmly braced, which is exactly the type of shooting environment where bullpups like the Renegade truly shine. Another welcome feature on the Renegade is the fact that the action won’t let you double-load a pellet – something that’s important in a hunting rifle, where an ethical one-shot kill is paramount.

While the Pulsar is electronically regulated, the Renegade has no corresponding mechanical regulator; but it does make use of the Slingshot Hammer system, which prevents the hammer from bouncing against the piston and wasting air whenever a shot is taken. This does a great job of flattening the power curve.

Testing, testing

A Picatinny rail has been moulded into the very solid synthetic stock. You’ll either need a dedicated Picatinny bipod, such as the Adras, or an adapter to fit a regular ’pod.

When it came time to zero the rifle and carry out some accuracy testing, I shot the Renegade using a Harris bipod fitted with a Picatinny adapter up front and a shooting bag under the butt. I own a Pulsar, and predicted the Renegade would shoot fairly well with the same pellets. This guesstimate proved to be correct, but results like this are not guaranteed, and it’s often necessary to shoot many different types to work out a rifle’s preferred diet, as explained in our main feature this issue. In this case, JSB Exact Premium proved to be the perfect, but pricey, pellet for the Renegade.

Initial accuracy testing was carried out at my standard zero range of 30 yards, after which the rifle was shot rested at 40 yards. During testing I realised that although the barrel is shrouded, it’s snappier than I care for and I wanted additional sound reduction, so I fitted a stumpy SAK moderator using the standard 1/2in UNF male thread at the end of the barrel shroud. This added to the length, but also, in my opinion, added to the purposeful looks of the Renegade. More on this later. With everything hushed down, the rifle testing could continue as planned.

Once you know what a rifle is capable of doing, the rest is up to you, so I proceeded to put this pup through its paces, shooting it offhand with both paper targets and spinners being hit with relative ease. As mentioned earlier, this rifle is heavier than it looks, but it’s easy to shoulder – and once in place, it tends to stay there. I also shot the Renegade off shooting sticks, with the overall length being compact, but still long enough to let the forend rest on the V-yoke on my sticks.

While we may profess to be hard-nosed enough to put accuracy above everything else, deep down we are often swayed by how a rifle looks. Like it or not, aesthetics are important. But if you’re already in the pro-bullpup camp, it’s hard to see how the Renegade could prove a disappointment.

Costing £1,299, it’d be a matter for you and your accountant to decide whether this hybrid hero offers enough, or whether you’d prefer to go fully electronic and pay at least an extra £300 (depending on the stock choice) for the Pulsar.


Verdict? 88/100

Look & Feel: 9
Stock: 8
Build Quality: 9
Sights: 9
Cocking: 7
Loading: 9
Trigger: 9
Handling: 9
Accuracy: 10
Value: 9

“The Renegade is a competent, accurate and fast-handling rifle – whether or not you want one will most likely come down to its looks rather than its build quality and performance.”


This article originally appeared in the issue 104 of Airgun Shooter magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online storewww.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk

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Posted in Air Pistols, Air Rifles, CO2, CO2, Gas-Ram, PCP, PCP, Springer, Springer, Tests

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