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- Last updated: 13/12/2016
I’m a patriotic sort of chap, and I often check labels to discover the origin of particular products. Yes I mourn the passing of Rover, (how dare you…of course I drive one!) but at least it’s not too difficult to still shoot an air-rifle made in the UK (certainly at the quality end of the market).
Sadly, it’s a somewhat different story with regards to accessories; and with more and more companies sourcing from the far east, finding something which hasn’t been ‘Made in China’, is a difficult task these days.
Given the current state of our economy and the return to rumblings of ‘Buy British’, it’s with impeccable timing that I’ve just received some goodies from a new kid on the block.
Rangesports - as the company is called - is slowly increasing its product line-up as demand dictates, tending to sell directly from its extensive website online.
This go ahead company supplies an array of products, all aimed at the shooting enthusiast who demands functional, well made, quality goods to do a job.
Based in Dorset, Rangesports is fast making a name for itself on the Hunter Field Target circuit amongst other places, and since the company is headed up by Dave Hutton, a man who seems to share my passion for supporting home-grown industry, their products are invariably… wait for it… made in Britain.
How refreshing! But far be it for me to promote gear JUST because it hails from these shores. Are they any good? Well thankfully, yes. They range from good, to down right superb, so let’s take a closer look at a few of these products;
Dave’s a keen airgun HFT competitor, and with his experience on the ground (well mud to be more precise), the end products are what you might call well tested, after many field trials.
Any outdoor airgun competition shooter knows only too well that those awful pellet tins - which use a thin strip of tape to stay closed (just how could something so naff become the industry standard?) are a disaster waiting to happen. Indeed few shoots go by without a tell-tale pile of pellets lying somewhere in the grass.
The PelletSafe is a simple idea, but highly effective. It’s a tin with a concave lid, and a series of sprung leaf edges, which just needs to be pushed in the centre of the lid to spring the lid open. To close, the side ‘leaves’ are just squeezed, and the lid snaps in and grips tightly shut. A raised resin ring on the lid softens the edges to make it easier on your pockets.
Decanting every freshly opened tin of pellets, straight into the PelletSafe, makes a lot of sense - and at just £3, it’s a steal.
OK; many airgun pellet pouches exist on the market, but the Rangesports version does actually show a well thought out design. Constructed of highly durable 1000denier nylon (cordura), they are fitted with a magnetic front fastener, meaning the pouch can be closed one-handed, which is more useful than you may think, especially in the heat of competition against the clock!
An adjustable neck cord is another great feature, allowing for the pouch to be kept clear of muddy terrain, when worn round the neck and shooting from the prone position - a problem I was seriously pondering in the bath the other day!
In addition, a two-way rubber fitting on the reverse allows for a strap to be fitted to allow rifle mounting, or the pouch to be run through a small belt - all very handy and adding to the versatility.
Rangesports can also personalize shooting gear with logos or even bespoke designs; and for an optional additional £4.95, your choice of design can adorn the front of the pouch. A worthwhile investment, and ideal for clubs etc
For the sport of Field Target shooting a bean bag (seat) really is a must. When I first began down the FT route many moons ago, a large piece of foam, stuffed into a sports bag sufficed, but once a proper beanie has been experienced, there’s just no alternative. The support derived from the polystyrene beans is significant, and obviously comfort plays its part too.
Whilst Hunter Field Target (HFT) doesn’t permit the sitting position, bean bags are still invaluable for a comfortable kneeling position - especially on hard ground, and few competitors venture out these days without one.
Rangesports produce their own high quality version of the classic ‘saddle-shaped’ bean bag, utilizing the same 1000denier waterproof nylon fabric, which they claim is heavy duty and extremely hard wearing. A carry handle is incorporated into the design, and a covered zip allows access to add more beans as required. Eight colours are available, including the popular DPM Camo design.
The beanbags aren’t cheap at £35, but I know from experience that cheap alternatives tend to fall apart after a very short while. My old bean bag, made from near identical material (and again British made), has served me for over twenty years, and is just beginning to fray!
One final feature here is that Rangesports will personalize the bean bag, for no extra charge; so clubs can have their logo emblazoned for all to see. Many have, and the company website shows what can be done.
I’ve saved the best until last, for Rangesports produce one of the very best shooting mats that I have come across.
As an avid participant in airgun HFT events, my reputation as a ‘Southern Softy’ was built on the fact that, unlike the hardened hunters on the circuit, throwing themselves fearlessly into the mud, I would lay down a rolled up yoga matt before taking aim.
Surprise, surprise, shooting mats are now a common sight, and this design from Rangesports is simply excellent. Measuring 6 foot x 30inch when extended, and 30”x18”x3” when folded up, its four part design is just spot-on. Take a look at the photograph, and appreciate that the amount of moving space hasn’t been exaggerated. This is a large matt with a professional feel.
Again, made in the UK, the mats are constructed from heavy duty waterproof cordura both sides, with extra strong nylon edging and 10mm closed cell foam padding.
Initially, the mat has been offered with a large zipped pocket, which is very handy. However, a ‘no pocket’ version will apparently follow.
Plenty of choice exists, with the same eight colours available, as per the pouches i.e. black, green, navy, red, cherry, orange, DPM camo, and grey.
With the mat in the closed position, central carry handles complete the great design, and with many shooting disciplines requiring the use of mats, this product deserves careful consideration. Simply top marks to this one!
Pellet Safe Tins - £3.00
Pellet Pouches - Plain £10.95 (+£2.50 p&p)
- Embroidered personal design £14.95 (+£2.50 p&p)
Shooting Beanbags - £35 inclusive of personalized design/logo (+£3.50 p&p)
Shooting Mats - £69 with pocket (+£7.50 shipping)
- Heavy duty carry strap £4.50 extra
- Camo patterns £4.00 extra
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