As we move into Summer, Pete Wadeson looks at 10 accessories he feels every airgun hunter should consider adding to their gear
Following on from my previous article on seasonal hunting kit, as we step into summer with longer days and (hopefully) better weather, 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…
Prices: £129.99 Sizes 6 – 13UK
Contact: www.highlandoutdoors.co.uk www.ridglineclothing.co.uk
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 is the ideal choice, due, in part, to the Buffalo Camo pattern that adorns the outer, but moreover the build allows them to flex, so offering 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 ‘camo-clad’ 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 and slip resistant, that 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 shows a generously 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 sets if upper speed hooks. This, combined with the large padded articulating tongue, wide throat and the large finger loop, means that the boots are quick and easy to get in and out of.
Prices: £187.76 Available in Green, Grey or Terracotta
Contact: Napier of London; www.napieruk.com
A gunbag that that offers a high level of protection plus hands-free 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 28 cm, it has a waterproof and abrasion-resistant ‘LAMTEC’ canvas outer and incorporates four 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 gun bag’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 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.
Prices: £69 (Available in green or grey)
Spotting targets out in the open grass fields is easy, but not so when they’re close to or part hidden by undergrowth. A pair of binoculars are a ‘must have’ item of kit and the Hawke Vantage 10 X 25 Compacts are spot on. The lightweight (295 gram) durable, rubber-coated chassis features fully multi-coated optics aided by the addition of high resolution, BAK-4 roof prisms that give maximum light transmission, resulting in excellent clarity in even low light conditions. With an overall length of 105 mm, these10x magnification ‘scanners’ give a FOV of 101m @ 1000m yet focus down to 6m, plus are Nitrogen-purged, so they’re water and fog-proof. Twist up eye-cups (with position stops) give optimum wearer comfort and eye-relief plus an ocular adjustment ‘facility’ is positioned at the base of the right eyecup. The compact, openhinge design easily fits in the hand and, when not in use, they’re easy to transport. Also, the focus dial being positioned towards the rear and centre of the rubber armour casing makes them user-friendly.
Prices: SRP: £94.95
Contact: Whitby & Co; www.whitbyandco.co.uk
A folding lock knife is a field necessity, but for that touch more versatility, a multi-tool is very handy, but when keeping your kit light in summer, I favour a model that holds the bare bones basics.
The all-aluminium and stainless-steel Leatherman Skeletool weighs 5oz and measures 4 1/8” long in the closed position. When opened, you have access to needle-nose and regular pliers, wire cutters and hard wire cutters. In the open position, one side of the handle curves away, affording a comfortable hold. On the lower part of this area is a carabiner clip; when pushed open, it reveals a bottle opener. There’s also a removable pocket/ belt clip and a bit driver holding a double-sided, two size cross head driver. A second one is held in the frame of the unit. The one-handed opening 420HC 2½” stainless steel, fine edge knife blade uses a lock liner mech for securing in the deployed position.
Prices: SRP: £33.95
Contact: Sportsmatch UK; www.sportsmatch-uk.com
When taking a shot, if you tilt (or ‘cant’ as it’s known) your rifle from the vertical, your shot will veer off to one side or the other from where you are aiming. 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 can 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 8-grams, it screws into the side of any of the company’s scope mount bases with M5 (large) screw threads and is unobtrusive.
Prices: SRP: £109.99
Contact: John Rothery Wholesale Ltd; www.bisley-uk.com
As undergrowth and crops grow higher, shooting at a downward angle can help you target pests that are obscured if you were to use a prone or kneeling position. Accessories that aid accuracy in a situation such as this are a huge asset as effectively, you’re taking a ‘rested’ shot. Step forward the Primos Trigger Gen 2 Tripod Shooting Stick. Designed so that you can quickly, easily and quietly adjust the height one-handed, the telescopic legs are manufactured from strong and light 7075 aluminium making this, tripod system easy to carry. 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 the rifle is rested in the yoke. It operates smoothly and, once the trigger is released the sticks once again, lock solid at the desired height. To prevent accidental ‘shift’, there’s also a locking lever integrated into the build. The rubberised and ridged inner V-shape profile yoke is also able to rotate a full 360º 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.
Prices: SRP: £49.95 Small & Medium Utility Pouch £8.95 & £14.95 respectively
Contact: Contact; www.viperkit.co.uk
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. This forms a platform that accepts compatible utility pouches or equipment, so a fully personalised set-up can be created. The 35Litre Viper Lazer Recon model measures 45 x 25 x 33 cms 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 2 x large clip opening/fasten ABS V-Locks and a lower D-Lock plus there’s a large Velcro ID panel. All packs and utility pouches are available in V-Cam, Coyote, Green or Black.