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- Last updated: 23/11/2016
Shooting accessories certainly seems to be a growth market these days, and when a company like Airmasters announce some new goodies on the horizon, you just know some serious engineering will be in the offing. Under review here is their brand new Universal Hamster, which is designed to fit onto most guns requiring just basic tools and a basic skill level.
Hamsters (silly name I know) are designed to add depth to the section of stock just forward of the trigger, and the improvement in performance that comes from this change to the profile, can be dramatic. By adding that depth, the supporting arm can settle in a more relaxed, natural position, which in turn allows for a more head-up stress free stance. A natural, relaxed shooting position is the name of the game and whilst competition shooters appreciate the advantages to be had, anyone can genuinely benefit from the application of a Hamster;- whether in a hunting scenario, HFT or FT.
STATE OF THE ART
Airmasters’ take on the theme is finely engineered on state of the art CNC machinery, and the process required to machine all those curves, and hollow out the inside of the body, is a technical and time consuming process. The result, is a Hamster which is not only aesthetically a thing of beauty, but fully adjustable, reversible, and highly functional. Three options are available too, with these elegant works of art supplied in either black aluminium, polished aluminium, or machined black plastic.
On test here is the lower version of the Hamster, featuring 24mm high pillars, and an overall height that all importantly complies with HFT rulings. Another version will also be available (with 38mm pillars and 16mm of adjustment possible) to cater for Field Target shooting primarily.
FITTING THE UNIVERSAL HAMSTER
The kit includes the Hamster body, two pillars with screws, two pillar sleeves, two Allen screws, and instructions- and the fitting procedure is as follows:
First take the two sleeves and push them into their respective positions within the main body, making sure they stay perfectly upright, at 90° to the body.
Push the two pillar/screws into the sleeves but do not tighten at this stage.With the stock padded and held firmly (a vice is strongly recommended), mark a centre line using the existing bolt holes.
Offer up the Hamster and use the two screw points to carefully mark the proposed holes on the woodwork, once the final position has been decided upon.
Use a dot punch to indent the guides for the drill holes
Drill the holes carefully so they are exactly vertical to the required depth of the screws, using a 3.8mm drill bit.
Pull the screws/ pillars from the sleeves of the Hamster, and screwinto place. Tighten the pillars with an 11mm spanner, gently nipping up and adjusting near the end of thread, ensuring that the flat sides of the pillar are facing to the side.
Lastly, push the Hamster into place, by pushing the sleeves over the pillars.
8mm of height adjustment is possible at each end, and importantly, one end can be higher than the other. In addition, the main body can be reversed, so the deep curved bowl can be either at the back or front. With everything finely adjusted, tighten the Allen screws in the body, along with the small grub screws securing the pillars - taking care not to over tighten!
Overall, fitting this Universal Hamster is very straight forward, and those comprehensive instructions guide you every step of the way. However, if you just don’t feel confident, then any competent gunsmith should be happy to carry out the operation. Alternatively, Airmasters themselves can offer a fitting service.
Airmasters of course made their name in the ‘80’s, when they all but dominated the world of Field Target with their supremely accurate, custom-tuned spring rifles. Clever adaptation has seen them respond to a changing market place over the years, and the latest range of top class, meticulously designed accessories looks set to keep them in the spotlight for the foreseeable future
A useful accessory made even more so as you can fit it yourself
Not a lot but requires a modicum of skill to fit
Well made, easy enough to fit and it can improve your shooting