Pete Wadeson offers up his Top 10 accessories for the airgun hunter, who feels it high time they ‘put the pep’ back into their springer…
Shooting a spring-powered air rifle (springer) is more difficult than a PCP, due to its less forgiving nature and the effects of recoil. So, it follows you need pay more attention to gun handling when shooting a mechanical action rifle, as this ultimately influences how accurate your aim is and level of in-field performance. The good news, is that this can be aided by certain accessories and retrofit parts.
Also, like all mechanical devices, a springer is prone to wear ‘n’ tear, depending on how much it’s used and often unwittingly abused. Incidentally, I’m assuming a sling will be fitted and for this you’ll need the appropriate fittings (sling studs, barrel bands etc) available from John Rothery Wholesale, Highland Outdoors and until recently Deben, but they can be found in most good gunshops.
So, with that said, here are my Top 10 recommended accessories for enhancing performance, ease of usage and the overall operation.
The Dampa-Mount is specifically designed to hold and ‘cushion’ scopes from the harsh recoil a spring powered (or gas ram) rifle can inflict on a scope, as it goes through the firing cycle. Granted, today’s guns don’t impart the stresses on an optic they once did, but when required its good practice to use such a mount, especially if you have an ‘older model’ in your armoury. CNC machined and manufactured from aircraft grade aluminium, this one-piece mount has a reversible side clamp, so is compatible for rifles with 11 to 13mm dovetails, and affixes securely via the base clamp’s three large hex head bolts - Allen key supplied. The ‘secret’ to its effectiveness at preventing scope creep and therefore a loss of zero, is that the unit has a rubber ‘buffer’ between the base and the upper, which holds the rings. This combats the ‘shock’ of the piston slamming into the end of the cylinder when released upon taking a shot.
The mount is available for scopes with 25mm or 30mm body tubes.
SRP: £59.95 25mm £78.95 30mm
ADJUSTABLE BUTT PAD
Correct head-eye-scope alignment is one of the most important factors of gun handling, so anything that can help you with better shoulder fit is a bonus. For those who use small and/or large optics on the same rifle then a height-adjustable butt pad is the ideal accessory. The Bisley Adjustable Recoil Pad comes in kit form and includes a backing plate with adjustment slot, sliding screw plus rubber pad with retaining nut. Fitting requires cutting the backing plate down to size around its profile, so it sits neat and flush to the rear of the butt. The chunky pad and its integral alloy plate are then attached to the sliding, yet captive threaded spigot/ sliding screw held in the base plate (now secured on the rifle) by the dome-headed retaining nut. This allows you to adjust height and angle, which gives you a much more positive and correct shoulder fit, position and hold.
SPIRIT LEVEL KIT
An accessory that helps you shoot with more accuracy is helpful in any hunting situation and something often overlooked for the shooter mainly taking freehand shots, is a spirit level. While many use ‘bridgeover’ types for shooting off a bipod to prevent ‘cant’ (rifle leaning off to the left or right) there are other options. The Sportsmatch SP3 suits freehand shooting, as it can be set flush to the rifle when not required, thus not being in danger of snagging on anything as you move. However, once deployed, it can easily be seen in your peripheral vision. It attaches through the top scope mount cradle ‘raised-up’- via a spacer barrel, so it can be articulated whichever way suits. An extra-long scope mount screw (supplied) attaches it to any Sportsmatch base. This configuration allows the spirit level to be ‘swung-out’ into position when needed and tucked away when not.
OIL & LUBE
Due to spring rifles having many moving parts that entail regular inspection and lubrication, such as pivot pins, breech jaws etc, it’s wise to have the basic potions to ensure it runs at its best. For many years, Napier supplied Air Arms with the lubes and greases used in their ‘Master Kits’, so the following recommended lubes are certainly time tested and certainly trusted. Napier Airgun Oil is available in a 200ml aerosol Pump with a directable applicator nozzle. An effective lubricant that contains their acclaimed VP90 vapour phase protection for the ultimate in corrosion control. Applied sparingly, it stays on as a protective film, leaving the metalwork fully protected from rust and finger marks. Its unique properties ensuring proper cleaning and lubrication of the action and barrel bore, without the risk of damage to seals or O-rings. Napier Airgun Grease is available in a ‘toothpastestyle’ 25ml tube container. It’s designed to take care of the breech jaws, the mainspring and any other areas ‘grease is the word’ for lubrication, especially load bearing surfaces. Obviously, Napier keeps some of the ingredients secret but needless to say it’s mainly based on Moly grease, the chemical name Molybdenum Disulphide.
SRP: £8.23 and £6.40 respectively
RETROFIT TRIGGER BLADE
Good trigger control is vital to accuracy, particularly when using a spring gun, and it’s amazing the difference a well-designed trigger blade is at helping shot release. Rowan Engineering have many styles to suit a wide-range of popular rifles. The three shown are straight replacement blades for the Rekord 2-stage, adjustable unit, as fitted to virtually all Weihrauch springers. These are different configurations of what is known as a set-back blade, all having slightly different profiles, but they change its position in relation to the grip. From L-R we have; Straight Set-Back, Curved Set-Back and Extra-Set Back. Available in brass, natural aluminium and black anodised, all are CNC-machined from brass or aluminium and have a 6mm wide front face. The ‘top position’ steel rollers are hardened and precision ground to tight tolerances, ensuring precise contact when fitted to the unit. This means trigger performance is maintained, because even though your finger controls the pull, the blade ultimately is the part in direct contact with the mechanism that releases the shot.
SRP: from £33.95 - £35.95
SLIP-ON SILENCER ADAPTOR
Many older model springers don’t have either a standard screw cut muzzle, or an integral sound moderator fitted. In this case, and if you don’t want the hassle in having the muzzle screw cut by a gunsmith, then the simplest and best way to be enable the fitting of a moderator of choice is to use a ‘Slip On’ Silencer Adaptor, such as the ones available from Best Fittings. Measuring approximately 55mm in length including the standard ½” UNF male thread, as the name clearly implies, they simply slip/sleeve back over the end of the barrel to be retained by 2x grub screws. Once in place, they only add 15mm to the overall length of the barrel and come supplied with a thread protector cap plus Allen key. Offered in satin black anodised and natural aluminium finish.
SRP: from £20
Eventually, due to many years of use, your springer will need the main spring and piston replaced. So, why not fit a tuning kit, such those available ‘off the shelf’ from selected retailers or direct from V-Mach themselves. The two which most popular are the V-Mach Standard and V-Glide kits. Both contain a V-Mach F1 spring, V-Mach C-Form seal, two custom made spring guides (main guide and secondary) top hat, piston seal/sleeve, power adjustment washers and spacer plus grease, oil and instructions. The spring is pre-sprayed with a unique dampener to reduce resonance. You get a completely new set of redesigned and lightened internals, fitted with synthetic rings and studs. So, affording a far higher component fit, resulting in what many consider to be the finest ‘tune up’ for a springer. If you only require a V-Mach spring and/ or associated spring guide set - these can be bought separately.
SRP: £84 V-Mach Standard Tuning Kit. £180 - £230 V-Glide Kit depending on model of rifle - based on an exchange basis for the original piston and compression chamber
SEE THRU MOUNTS
If your air rifle has open sights, which are handy for close range work, once scoped up using conventional mounts they obviously become obsolete. However, if you use what are known as ‘See Thru’ mounts then you have the best of both worlds. Manufactured from aircraft grade aluminium, the HST46C 2-Piece set from the UK specialists have an elongated section machined out of both bases, so that you can look under the scope and clearly sight in on the target using the rifle’s ‘irons.’ However, they only cater for scopes with 40mm objective lens housings, as anything larger will obscure your view.
Another accessory some will benefit from, is the Rowan Cocking Lever Grip, which fits many popular models of under-lever such as the Weihrauch HW77/97K, Air Arms TX200, Walther LGU Master Pro etc. and offers a better grip area when operating the lever. They’re offered with different inner diameters, so they snugly fit over the end of the under-lever. Also, one side of all the cocking aid’s 21mm O/D is machined with a radius to give clearance to moderators when the lever is closed. Measuring 90mm long including the rear tapered section, 75mm of the outer surface has a diamond pattern cut into it that offers a secure grip. It’s secured into position with three, recessed Allen headed grub screws and is CNC-machined using single billets of the metal or alloy. Available in black anodised aluminium, natural aluminium or brass.
SRP: from £23.95
SCOPE MOUNT ADAPTORS
Although most Digital NV Riflescopes have standard dovetail base mount fittings, many analogue devices however have an integral Weaver base. Therefore, you’ll need what are known as dovetail to Weaver/Picatinny adaptor mounts to secure them to an air rifle’s dovetails. BKL Technologies have a good selection all manufactured to the highest of tolerances, using aircraft grade aluminium. They solve the problem because they effectively sit between NV scope and air rifle as the top face of the adaptor being Weaver-compatible, while the underside base section is machined to secure onto dovetails. There are various types of design to suit the configuration of your rifle, however for a springer you’re not having to ‘bridge over’ a magazine housing. All use BKL’s unique auto centring technology that solves problems created by varying mount rail widths and the unique design of the ‘clamping legs’ ensures that they are perfectly centred onto the dovetails
SRP: from £31.99
There are of course other accessories you can add/purchase, such as a laser (to help assess range), a comb raiser kit, even a handmade custom stock, or have the standard furniture dipped in a camo pattern of choice. However, of the ten accessories here featured, adding any will certainly help you and your spring-powered air rifle perform to the optimum level of ability as you pursue your quarry.
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