Shooting is an absorbing sport, and brings a huge amount of pleasure to millions, who appreciate not only the challenge and skill involved in performing to a high standard, but also the sheer enjoyment and satisfaction that the target sports and shooting in general can bring, just by taking part. Whether competition shooter, regular hunter, or just back garden informal ‘plinker’, getting the best from our equipment can still make a big difference; and for many, a big part of that enjoyment is the chance to enhance and alter performance, with add-on accessories. Tweaks and modifications to hardware, are all part of that process, in a bid to improve down range performance. But whether competition shooter or general enthusiast, there’s a raft of after-market options to consider.
Here I put a handful of ideas under the spotlight for your consideration!
These devices are often sold as aftermarket add-ons, and have become increasingly popular among FT and HFT shooters; all keen to capitalise on theory that lays at the heart of the design. As the pellet exits the muzzle, it immediately enters a small cone, which strips away the turbulent air, leaving it to continue on its way. The cone here, from custom engineering company, Rowan Engineering, is adjustable, which means the gap between the muzzle and the cone can be changed. Groups can be seen to widen or close, as this gap is altered. That said, it is very easy to get right, adjusted via an Allen key, with a little trial and error. The muzzle brake vents spent air, so should help to counteract muzzle flip. The Stripper can be specified in natural aluminium or black anodised too, and everything is manufactured to Rowan’s usual standard, so will perfectly compliment the quality of a favourite gun. Rowan Air Strippers are available in a variety of styles, and can be specified to fit via a 1/2inch UNF, or slide-on design, fixed with grub screws.
Stock forend raiser -Palm rest kit -Air arms
My opinion on stock risers, or hamsters, has completely changed. No longer do I consider them a gimmick! Indeed, once you shoot through an HFT course, you’ll soon learn to appreciate their worth. For what a stock riser does is make a section of the forend much deeper, and for certain shots, this means the sightline can be significantly raised- getting over obstacles for example. The problem stems from the fact that in HFT, many shooters compete with guns which have slimmed down, sporter- style stocks. Of course, an increasing number of full blown match rifles are creeping onto the circuit, but for those who wish to avoid the expense of such machines, yet still be able to transform the handling of their existing ‘sporters’, the addition of a hamster can make all the difference. This kit from Air Arms is extremely well made, and a spacer kit is also available with additional spacer blocks, for even more versatility.
Precision welham regulators
Internal regulators are small precision instruments that finely meter air within the compression cylinder of a PCP. They can improve shot to shot consistency, but can also dramatically increase shot count, as efficiency is improved. Dave Brayford at Staffordshire Custom Rifles is a clever engineer in his own right, and carries out many modifications on airguns, but he also fits and sets up a precision regulator to several makes of pneumatic airgun. Dave fits the highly regarded regulators made and designed by Dave Welham, and there are ‘regs’ available for all the Air Arms range, given how popular they are, including the FTP900 and the now discontinued EV2. But regulators are also available to fit some other makes, so speak to Dave at SCR to discuss any special requirements and to confirm prices.
Sight raiser/Arrestor blocks
There’s a variety of reasons why the sight line of an airgun may need to be raised. Top British scope mount manufacturer, Sportsmatch, make several riser blocks to convert from 15mm rails to 9.5mm, or from 9.5mm to Weaver/Picatinny rails for example. On show here are the AB3 specified raiser blocks. These fit standard 9.5-11mm rails and maintain the same above; so, they just allow the height of the sight line to be increased. In addition, they are popular just to be used as arrestor blocks, when fitted to the rails of a spring piston airgun, normally just behind the front mount. This additional pressure stops scope shift, literally in its tracks. Either way, the blocks are precisely machined, and offer an inexpensive solution for many enthusiasts, wishing to make alterations to their set-up.
GRS sporter custom stock
Custom stocks are perhaps the ultimate add-on, and make sense if you really like the way your existing rifle shoots, but just feel its handling could be bettered. The Norwegian GRS Stocks are manufactured from birch laminate, which is ultra-strong and stable as a medium. GRS make a variety of styles for firearms, but now, the ‘Sporter’ is the sole design being imported for airguns. Available in a variety of colours; black/red, black/brown, green mountain camo, royal jacaranda (a mixture of tan, grey and burgundy), and blue, it will fit any of the highly popular Air Arms S400/ S410/ HFT500/ S510 derivative models, along with the older and now discontinued S300. GRS have chosen to market their stock for the Air Arms range due to the models being so popular and widely available, but may consider branching out with other makes catered for, possibly further down the line. ‘Speedlock’ press button adjusters on both the cheek piece assembly and butt sections, are superbly executed, with large spring-loaded discs that just need to be held in whilst the stock elements are extended up or down to suit. Perhaps the biggest draw though, with these stocks, is that eye catching off-set pistol grip, which just feels right. Not cheap, but high quality for sure.
Daystate alpha bipod
Bipods have been around for a long time, and can transform our shooting, as they offer an ultra-steady platform. The new Alpha Bi-Pod from Daystate, is a really slick piece of design and very similar to the Atlas Bipod, though thankfully not as expensive! It clamps to any standard 20mm Picatinny-style accessory rail. Made from high quality aluminium, the design allows for the leg base to swivel on its axis, or be tightened in position, and the angle of each leg can also be altered via sturdy, spring-loaded side buttons. Leg height can be altered between 4.75 to 9”, via spring-loaded pull rings. In addition, a small adaptor block is included, which allows the bipod to be fitted using a QD sling swivel stud, which is a neat idea. Overall then, a great design, with a level of rigidity and sturdiness that can’t fail to impress.
Dipping and coating
What if your existing production stock, does the job perfectly well, but it could be decorated out of all recognitionretaining all its function, yet transforming an otherwise standard gun in the process? Hydrographics, based near York, saw just such a gap in the market, and now offer some eye-popping options for stock patterns and designs, using a high-tech dipping/coating process, that leaves the gun dramatically re-finished. Best described as being like a transfer. Various patterns and illustrations are available, and come on a thin role. The artwork is floated in a special tank, the background ‘carrier’ dissolves in the water, then the object is dipped, and the picture sticks to the job. Ingenious stuff, and the results speak for themselves. Choose from a carbon fibre, cammo designs, or striking stylish bright colour options. Customers can have their entire rifle dipped, scope or stock only, or just the moderator, so check out the website for full details.
System gemini custom butt hook
Butt hooks have become extremely popular on the outdoor airgun competition circuits, in both FT and HFT, and the idea is that they allow the shooter to shape and adjust the fit of the rifle at the shoulder, for personal feel, and all importantly, repeatable, ultraconsistent gun mounting. System Gemini versions are a top quality British designed and made option, precision engineered to exacting standards. Three main designs are available- the Standard Butt Plate assembly, AKTIV Free Rifle Butt Plate, and the AKTIV Match Rifle Butt Plate, shown here. The full Match spec is based on the highly successful Free Rifle design, but also includes a heel plate at the bottom, instead of a hook assembly. Made from high quality aluminium alloy, all components can be supplied hard anodised in a variety of colours. An astonishing level of adjustment is possible with this butt hook system, and it comes as no surprise that the company counts Olympic shooters among its ever growing fanbase.
Form Riflestocks are made in Britain, from laminate, and are currently available in six colours- red & black, ebony classic, camo, royal jacaranda, artic blue & black and walnut classic. The model on show here is called the Ranger, and is designed to fit any of the Air Arms S400/S410/S510 models. It’s an attractive thumb hole configuration complete with finger grooves in the pistol grip, and a super stylish extended forend. An ultra-high cheek piece is another great feature, meaning eye/scope alignment is enhanced and all importantly, repeatable. Limbsaver recoil pads are fitted as standard, and if you’ve not encountered the name, think ultra grippy and soft to the touch. Just the job then, and the perfect complement to high class woodwork. Fitting really is simplicity itself, and just requires the original single stock bolt on the rifle to be removed, the action pulled clear, and then pushed snugly into the new woodwork. Replace the bolt and you’re ready for action. More stocks are planned, possibly with adjustable elements for different models too, so watch this space.
Clulite pro1 pro spotter gunlight
Gone are the days when we need a friend to follow us around, carrying a car battery sized power pack, to support the lamping operation! Indeed, today’s level of super reliable, highly versatile, ever more effective lamps are a world away from the bad old days. Gun-mounted lamping kits have become very popular over the last couple of decades, thanks of course to the technology of rechargeable CREE LED lighting. The Pro1 Pro Spotter Gunlight from top manufacturer, Clulite, is a great example of just how far we’ve come, and what’s available to today’s serious hunting enthusiast. A powerful main beam is of course a prerequisite, along with reasonable compactness, and the Pro1 Pro Spotter comes up trumps in every department. The beam is realistically effective at 250 metres, offers a 3 hour run time on high beam and 20 hours on low beam! It’s lightweight, and boasts a rapid recharge time of 4 hours, which does sound impressive. Clulite offer several models, but the Pro1 takes some beating for all round versatility.