As we move into summer, Pete Wadeson looks at 10 accessories he reckons every airgun hunter should consider adding to their kit bag or wardrobe…
Following on from my previous article on seasonal hunting kit, as we step into summer, here are my chosen accessories I feel all airgun hunters should have or would benefit from having in their kit bag or wearing during the months ahead…
A lightweight high leg boot will offer the best of both worlds for stealth and comfort but also give protection from the undergrowth you're moving through. The Ridgeline Camlite Boot is the ideal choice due in part to the Buffalo Camo pattern that adorns the outer, but moreover the build allows them to flex allowing for an amazing level of unhindered movement.
Manufactured using a Thinsulate™ insulating lining plus a HydroGuard™ waterproof membrane, they also have a high abrasion rating for maximum wearer comfort plus a generous anti-scuff black rubber toe cap and a full heel cup. The company's own 'camoclad'
R-TEX™ membrane outer allows moisture to wick away and is also breathable. The synthetic outer sole is termed an 'Athletic Sole' and is a mixture of treads and lugs that are durable, flexible, oil-resistant, slipresistant and absorb' energy as you press down onto the ground. There's also a toe rise and front buffer integrated into the build. A sensible size rand offers further support while the sole also offers a generous size footprint for an assured grip on a wide variety of terrain. The speed lacing system consists of four pairs of metal-lined eyelets and three pairs of open hasp type lace retainers. This, combined with the large padded articulating tongue, wide throat and the large finger loop, means the boots are quick and easy to get in and out of.
Sizes 6 – 13UK
Contact: Highland Outdoors: highlandoutdoors.co.uk. ridglineclothing.co.uk
A gunbag that that offers a high level of protection plus handsfree carriage of your combo is a good option for the summer months when you're likely to be regularly on the move. In that respect, the Napier Razorback Stalker Rifle Carrier is ideal.
Measuring 133 x 28cm, it has a waterproof and abrasion resistant 'LAMTEC' canvas outer and incorporates '4 function layers,' including an extra waterproof membrane, high-density 10mm foam, EVA tough shell and a soft Syn-fleece lining.
Internally there's a butt-end 'protector/retainer' pouch and retainer strap for security in transit. The EVA lateral spine is the source of the gunbag's main strength while the outer panels of ARMOUR FLEX positioned at the front rear and middle areas give extra padding and scuff protection. The 'slot in' GRIP LOCK ABS carry handle is a secure design and the very heavy-duty non-slip adjustable shoulder straps boast a sliding rubber shoulder pad with waist strap.
The rubberised grip tag zip fasteners are all protected by Weather Shield Guard making them 'self-healing' therefore protected from the elements.
The generously sized outer pocket comes with a sachet of Napier VP90 corrosion inhibitor and the 'bag' is protected by a 5-year warranty.
Available in: Green, Grey or Terracotta
Contact: Napier UK: napieruk.com
Come summer, come rabbits aplenty and this is certainly a time to make serious inroads into their everburgeoning numbers. A strong field knife is always a kit bag essential and no more so than now, as it's invaluable for gutting scut tails in the field and, if you choose the right blade, skinning and preparing them when at home. This is one of the situations when a fixed blade knife is of use to the airgun hunter and one highly recommended is the Remington Sportsman Fixed Blade Knife (Small) in Realtree Edge® Camo. With an overall length of 7.45-inches and weighing a mere 2.9oz, this nicely sized blade is a joy to handle and use. It's very secure in the hold, thanks to the ergonomically contoured thermoplastic rubber handle, plus it also looks the part as the handle is covered in the latest Realtree Camo design.
This highly desirable clip point knife comes with a high-quality polypropylene sheath plus drain hole and carries a lifetime warranty.
Contact: Whitby & Co: whitbyandco.co.uk
Spotting targets out in the open grass fields is easy but not so when they're close to or part hidden by the flourishing undergrowth of the season. This is when an observation aid such as a monocular is a 'must have' item of kit.
The Konus 7–17x30 Zoom Monoc is ideal as its lightweight and very compact so you can slip it into any pocket for when you need make a quick scan of an area you're operating over. It's extremely easy to use due to its advanced dual focusing system that offers both a fast and a fine focusing option. Should you need to look more closely at a target then you can quickly zoom in using the magnification ring positioned at the rear and directly in front of the generously sized fast focus ocular adjuster – the main focus being at the front.
The toughened plastic body is rubber armoured at key points, covering the operational rings which are also ridged for a sure hold and ease of use.
The ocular is capable of a good range of adjustment for attaining a proper in-view image and aided by its multi-coated lenses offers a bright sight picture. It's also nitrogen purged to be fog-proof and shockproof. FOV @ 1000m is 80.5m on 7x magnification and 45.5m on its highest setting. It has a roll down eyecup, tripod attachment point and comes with a hand lanyard plus Nylon carry case.
Contact: Range Right: range-right.co.uk
5. Scope eye-piece shades
The term Sunshade in relation to a scope most often refers to a tubular extension that screws into the objective housing to add length and therefore shield the front lens from the sun. However, some shooters benefit from using rubber eye-piece extensions that fit onto the eye-bell which 'force'the eye to dilate to obtain the maximum amount of light coming back through the optic. This helps your eye adjust to make maximum use of the sight image viewed, very useful early dawn or come dusk in the later evening. Also, if you find yourself in a shooting position where the sun is shining across at an angle and interfering with your ability to get a clear sight picture at the eye-piece then a cover such as the Bisley Scope Maximiser or a Scope Eye- Piece Extension could solve the problem. Held onto the eye-bell by friction fit – when your eye is pressed flush up against them, they eliminate extraneous light that may interfere with the sight picture.
RRP: £14.99. Scope Maximiser: £8.99. 60mm & 90mm Eye-Piece Extensions: £11.99
Contact: Bisley UK: bisley-uk.com
Airgunners employing any hunting tactic to nab some pests in warm weather will welcome a refreshing cool drink – not forgetting it's all too easy to become dehydrated which can affect judgement so it's a necessity. Available in two sizes (532ml and 800ml) The Klean Kanteen Reflect is the first of its kind as it's crafted using just sustainably harvested bamboo, food-grade silicone and stainless steel. This BPA free non-insulated container features the company's unique 'Stainless Unibody Bamboo Cap'. Fashioned from a single piece of stainless steel, the cap is strong and durable while the stainless-steel bail is firmly attached, providing a handy attachment point.
The combination of materials used in construction, delivers unparalleled strength and durability. Even the logo is laser etched onto the bottle so there's no use of paint. The Reflect is available in two finishes, traditional Brushed Stainless and Mirror.
RRP: 532ml: £22.95; 800ml £25.95
Contact: Whitby & Co: whitbyandco.co.uk
7. Spirit Level
When taking a shot, if you tilt (or 'cant' as it's known) your rifle from being truly vertical, your shot will veer off to one side or the other from where you are aiming the scope crosshairs. When shooting at any angle 'cant'can cause the vital error in precise pellet placement to miss or worst still only injure your quarry.
Thankfully, Sportsmatch UK have a choice of 'Spirit Levels' that at a glance remedy this problem. The SP4 is a popular choice for offhand shooting because not only can it be seen in your peripheral vision, while sighting through the scope but easily and quickly removed when not required or placing your rifle back into a slip.
Weighing a mere 8g, it screws into the side of any of the company's scope mount bases with M5 (large) screw threads and is very unobtrusive.
Contact: Sportmatch UK: sportsmatch-uk.com
In warmer weather heavy clothing can be replaced for lighter wear, but if you require camo (which you often will) then the Lightweight Mesh Suit from Jack Pyke is ideal. There are two camo patterns to choose from those being English Woodland and English Oak – obviously due to the season Woodland is just the right design for blending in and when operating amongst the increasingly lush greenery.
The suit is comprised of a pair of pull on over trousers and a smock design jacket.
The trousers are elasticated at the waist and ankle with a drawcord at the waist for extra support. Similarly, the smock has elasticated cuffs and waistband while there is a drawcord that surrounds the outer rim of the hood. For carrying very small accessories it also has a two-through sided lower pouch pocket.
Thankfully, the garments don't rustle when moving, so are ideal for stealthy stalking.
To complement the suit, you can also purchase the mesh balaclava (with see through face-veil) which also has as rear toggle adjust drawcord.
Sizes: M/L & XL/2XL
Contact: Jack Pyke: jackpyke.co.uk
9. Shooting Sticks
As undergrowth and crops grow higher, shooting at a downward angle can help you target pests that are obscured if you were to shoot from a prone or kneeling position. Also, any accessory that aids accuracy in a situation such as this is a huge asset as effectively, you're taking a 'rested' shot.
The Primos Trigger Gen 2 Tripod Shooting Stick is designed so you can quickly, easily and quietly adjust the height of the telescopic legs one-handed and is largely manufactured from strong, lightweight 7075 aluminium.
The ergonomic ABS and rubberised handle directly below the detachable yoke features a trigger (opposite a useful wrist lanyard) which when pulled frees the hold it has on the legs below so you can simply raise or lower the height to quickly compensate for individual angle shots while still resting your rifle upon them.
The rubberised 'ridged inner' 'V' shape profile yoke is also able to rotate a full 360-degrees and can be removed when required to fit 1/4"-20 & 3/8"-16 threaded fixtures for securing optical gear such as cameras, spotting scopes, binoculars, etc.
Also, it has what are termed 'extreme angle legs' which allows them to be splayed out wide enough for you to take shots while sitting on the floor.
Contact: Bisley UK: bisley-uk.com
A suitable backpack for ancillary kit is a necessity and even more useful when it can be tailored to suit your requirements. Viper's new range of packs under the 'Lazer'designation are based on strong 600D Cordura material cut out using Lazer flatbed machines then re-enforced with lightweight webbing sown on the reverse to form a 'platform' that accepts compatible utility pouches or equipment so a fully personalised set-up can be created.
The 35-Litre Viper Lazer Recon Pack measures 45 x 25 x 33cm and features a rear main compartment with an internal mesh hydration sleeve and zip close pocket. The middle compartment has a selection of mesh pockets to keep items separate and there are two outer pockets – laid out in a small over larger pocket configuration. Multiple compression straps enable you to adjust to the amount you are carrying, and the adjustable padded shoulder straps also hold a captive ABS D-Ring apiece plus there's an adjustable QR fastening waist strap and grab handle.
All compartments are lined to prevent water ingress, plus padded Ventex system back panels afford 'ventilation' and comfort. The outer also has 2x large clip opening/fasten ABS V-Locks and a lower D-Lock plus there's a large Velcro ID panel. Available in V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black or Titanium.
RRP: £49.95. Small & Medium Utility Pouch £8.95 and £14.95 respectively
Contact: Viper Kit: viperkit.co.uk