I’ve decided to put a bit of a different spin on this year’s reporting on the BSS, with more pictures and less waffle. After all, I reckon what you really want to know is what’s current and new and if you’re interested then you can look deeper at the company’s websites. A bit like a big cork board for important messages, post cards and pictures. But first, the show has moved location from Stoneleigh Park to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC). I found it much easier to get to by road, with free parking and shuttle buses to the venue. All the exhibitors, regardless of what they specialised in were all in one huge hall but divided up by disciplines.
Raytrade UK; www.raytradeuk.co.uk
Since picking up the importation of Remington and Marlin, Raytrade UK has been working hard to re-establish these brands and showed a fine presence this year. Most notable was the news of the price drop on their Gen II 700 and their new tactical/chassis rifle at around £1500, both now being highly competitive. Also, they now distribute GPO of Germany and they have an interesting looking range of optics.
Hawke Sports Optics; www.uk.hawkeoptics.com
The main news with Hawke is the introduction of the first focal plane (FFP) models. Once seen as old hat, this system means that at whatever magnification you set your ballistic data to, correction values do not change, as it does on a second focal plane system. Both scopes are in their Sidewinder range and consist of the FFP 4-16x50 and FFP 6-24x56. Both have side focus, glass-etched reticles with red and green illumination, 5-level rheostat, 1⁄10 MRAD exposed and locking turrets and flip-up lens caps.
Viking Arms Ltd; www.vikingarms.com
Viking said they will soon be receiving new scopes from Leupold and the American Rimfire in a down-scaled Ruger Precision, fully-adjustable stock, pistol grip, M-Lok free-floated tube, heavy barrel and Picatinny rail. The Target has the same heavy tube and mounting base with a laminate stock. For fans of the Merkel Helix, there’s a new Speedster, with a new look synthetic/ adjustable stock.
John Rigby and Co Gunmakers Ltd; www.johnrigbyandco.com
I swung by Rigby’s stand, always a pleasure to see those lovely Mauser 98s including their new Highland Stalker, which I have on test this month.
Ruag Ammotec UK Ltd; www.ruag.co.uk
RUAG are now importing Norma reloading powders, these quality propellants offer the reloader yet another option, along with their latest loading manual for the recipes. Good news for Bergara fans with longer, 26” barreled version of the B14 HMR and BMP in some magnum calibres. And Kahles’ new and first laser rangefinder binocular, it looks good and is under £1400, so should prove popular.
Highland Outdoors; www.highlandoutdoors.co.uk
Along with the ArmSanmade version of the Russian Molot Vipr practical shotgun, Highland had their own gun, called the WebTac (Webley Tactical) it follows the Akdal 1919 AR15 build in a more modern form and is well priced and I believe it comes with 2 x 10-round mags. I got news also of the new GRS stock, the Bifrost, which is essentially an improved Berserk.
Edgar Brothers Ltd, www.shootingsports.edgarbrothers.com
Lot’s to see on Edgar’s stand, they’ve just picked up Form Rifle Stocks, Savage were showing a new stock design and several tactical-type guns. Hatsan have a semi-auto shotgun like the Benelli Vinci along with copies of the CZ452 rimfire; go figure! Hornady’s new ELD Match and X bullets and ammo is going down well with demand out stripping supply!
Schmidt & Bender; www.schmidtundbender.de
Schmidt & Bender had their usual stylish, black & white stand showing all their fine products, they’ll soon be sending us the Stratos 1-8x24, along with a PMII and Polar models for testing!
Blaser Sporting; www.blaser-sporting.com
The big news was the Mauser M18, even bigger was the price drop to £766, they were originally quoting £936. It’s a tough and practical rifle, pre-threaded (15x1mm) and available in popular calibres. Sauer has a new addition, the 100 Pantera has a fluted barrel; it’s like their Keeper with an adjustable, synthetic profile-type stock. Finally, first exposure in the UK for Blaser’s Artemis scope range.
Browning were showing their new B525 Liberty Light, aimed at ladies, youngsters and hunters who want something a bit lighter and shorter in the stock, it feels good. Also, on show, the composite (synthetic) Maral straight-pull packages and as always lots of X-Bolts, Kite optics and Nomad QD scope mounts.
GMK Ltd, www.gmk.co.uk
Finally got to see the new Tikka T3 Tactical chassis system rifle and I was impressed; I’m yet to go hands-on but I hope to remedy that soon!
Spartan Precision; www.javelinbipod.co.uk
Rob Gearing, Spartan’s MD, has more new stuff including the final version of their latest Sentinel tripod along with some new adaptors and ideas. The company is doing well world-wide, with many civilian and military customers queuing up. Rob Gearing of Spartan, the man with a plan!
Edgar Brothers Ltd, www.shootingsports.edgarbrothers.com
Edgar’s were showing a nice line-up air guns; Hatsan: Flash Bullpup PCP, Proxima multi-shot under-lever and Diana’s p1000 PCP and the Form stocks
Air Arms; www.air-arms.co.uk
Air Arms Ultimate Sporter is now available in a regulated version, making what is a great rifle even better!
Sterling Armaments Co; www.sterlingarmaments.com
Sterling is a new venture with new designs and retro models too; with Tony Belas onboard, you can be sure of some innovative products. To date they have the recoilless T16 gas ram, the Mk 2 military break-barrel and the H-18, a compact, lightweight electronically-controlled PCP.
BSA Guns; www.bsaguns.co.uk
Finally, a Bullpup from BSA, the Defiant; it seems to have hit the sweet spot, with everyone talking about it
Brocock have been doing a lot with their successful semi-Bullpup design, the latest incarnation is the Bantam, Sniper, HM with carbon fibre buddy bottle