Airgun Workshop –shooting positions
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- Last updated: 19/12/2016
Pre-charged pneumatics (PCPs) as I’ve previously mentioned in this series are far easier to shoot than a comparable spring-powered airgun; to the point that they effectively gift shooters with average ability, several targets on a Field Target course for example. They’re ultra forgiving due to their recoil free mechanism!
Spring power’ demands application and technique from the shooter, but the rewards for all that hard work are indeed great. For there’s nothing more satisfying than putting into practise all the carefully learnt pointers and techniques required to master the springer and see everything come together perfectly as that long target collapses in the tree. It’s what we work towards, but selecting the right kit is important, to maximize the enjoyment.
The rise and popularity of PCP’s has given today’s airgunners a fabulous choice of hardware However I’m really pleased that it clearly hasn’t come at the expense of traditional spring- powered kit. For the choice available today is wider than ever! So where do you start? How do you decide what is the best model for you? Well several basic factors govern that one. Firstly, it’s a question of how large is the budget? If it’s the sub £200 bracket, then there’s still an impressive array of half decent models from which to choose.
Weight is another key factor, and if you want something super light and easy to manage, then a break-barrel has to be best. Under-levers have the perceived advantage of a fixed barrel, but are invariably heavier; courtesy of that separate cocking lever, that normally runs underneath the forend. Handling rifles directly has to be the best way to get a feel for suitability, so I’d advise taking a trip to your local dealer or club. I’ve listed here my personal favourites. All are full power models, but bear in mind that many other alternatives exist, along with a good selection of dedicated Junior models.
When I began shooting in the late ‘70’s, the old adage of sticking to British pellets for British makes and continental ammo for their makes made some sense, where BSA and Webley, the two household names at the time, used slightly larger bores than their rivals. 5.6mm against 5.5mm in .22 calibre for example. Eley Wasps were a firm favourite at the time, due to them being a perfect fit in the oversized British bore. Now of course, with most higher grade airguns adopting Lothar Walther barrels, a more standardized size has come about!
When deciding on appropriate ammo the question soon becomes one of budget again and here many shooters just enjoying informal plinking sessions for example may wish to avoid the expense of the top brands of pellet. In this scenario, sticking with general purpose ammo may well suffice. My only caveat would be that once you decide to shoot at live quarry, you really need to be as accurate as possible and that means using quality pellets, made to consistent standards. The bottom line is if you can group well with a chosen brand and it does what you need it to, so be it.
If a high standard of repeatable accuracy is required, then stick to a much shorter list of recognised makes. Here’s my shortlist of favourite quality ammo that warrants a look: Defiant, H& N Field Target Trophy, Crosman Premier, Webley Accupel, JSB Exact, Air Arms Diabolo Field, Daystate Sovereign, Bisley LRG, RWS Superfield, RWS Superdome. Again, there’s a huge range of pellets on the market and many others that are well made, but the above or similar, will deliver, if they suit your barrel.
On that score, conducting your own pellet trials is always a good idea. A company called Pellet Perfect can supply trial packs, including small numbers of several different makes, enabling the shooter to test a variety of ammo, for a fraction of the price. Check them out at www.pelletperfect.co.uk
Remington Express hit the shops, it was difficult to ignore the high standard of finish, and tasteful woodwork; all for an amazingly competitive asking price. There’s now a raft of variations on offer, but the original wooden stocked version is still my favourite. Sportsmarketing, 01206 795333
This full sized model, formerly known as the Valuemax, has a synthetic sporter stock and open sights as standard. They handle really well, and represent great value for money. Highland Outdoors, 08450990252
BSA’s famous old Meteor lives on and this latest model now offers full power and attractive woodwork. BSA Guns www.bsaguns.co.uk
These Turkish-made guns really handle well and are fairly light, courtesy of their synthetic stocks. Open sights are always welcome and with some fair accuracy potential, the Striker is another bargain rifle with great appeal. www.edgarbrothers.com
This delightful rifle is super compact, beautifully finished, and extremely accurate. Edgar Brothers Ltd, 01625 613177
Relatively new to the market, this scaled down rifle sports a super slim cylinder and unusually narrow sporter stock. Build quality and performance, are however spot-on. Unbelievable value for the money! Armex UK, 0121 6434900
One of the nicest rifles in Webley’s current line-up. Similarly styled to their famous Vulcan from the ‘70’s, this model offers good performance and a particularly nice walnut stock. Highland Outdoors, 08450990252
The HW95 is the mid range model from Weihrauch, offering full power, and top accuracy, in a very manageable format. Hull Cartridge, 01482 342571
My favourite gun from this Spanish brand, although there can be variation between examples of the same rifle in terms of barrel quality. Attractively styled, and pleasant to shoot. John Rothery Wholesale Ltd www.bisley-uk.com
Walther set out to design and build the best spring-powered break barrel on the market, incorporating as it does a host of recoil dampening devices in a bid to maximize performance. Expensive when first introduced, a huge price drop now makes the LGV great value, but be warned- it’s a relative heavyweight, for adults only. Armex UK, 0121 6434900
This model sports a beefy oversized cylinder, designed with one eye on the FAC market. It’s still a class act, but with stiff competition from all sides, the ‘80 no longer looks the trail-blazer it once was, several decades ago! Hull Cartridge, 01482 342571
I’ve always had a soft spot for this model, and its semi target configuration gives it an unusual specification, largely unmatched elsewhere. Large stippled panels feature on the grip and forend and with a super heavy bull barrel, and adjustable butt pad, the HW98 is surely one for the target-minded connoisseur! Hull Cartridge, 01482 342571 BREAK-BARRELS £500-£600
Gas-rams shoot in a similar way to a spring piston design; hence the inclusion of the RM100. Based around the best gas-ram design of all- the original from Theoben, the subtlety and civilized nature of the firing cycle, with its characteristic lack of resonance, should come as no surprise. High quality all round, with excellent build quality, and a mouth-watering standard of finish. Impact Airguns, 01353 775353
Kral are a budget brand, but this functional model works well. Range Right, 01423 881919
This is basically an under-lever version of the LGV, featuring most of the same sophisticated internals. A super smooth, resonance-free firing cycle is the result, all at an astonishingly competitive RRP! Armex UK, 0121 6434900
Based around the HW77, one of the most influential airguns of modern times, you’d expect it to be good and it is! Fixed barrel accuracy wit and Weihrauch’s respected quality makes for a potent combination. Hull Cartridge, 01482 342571
This British made rifle was Air Arms’ answer to the all-conquering ‘77, and it has become a classic in its own right. Originally designed by Ken Turner, it runs a piston on synthetic bearings, which reduces wear and friction. This latest MKIII features an even easier stroke and distinctive woodwork; in either beech or walnut. www.bisley-uk.com (distributor)
Largely the same action as the TX200, but with the under-lever hidden under the forend. In short, a properly made BSA Airsporter, with much of the same aesthetic appeal. www.bisley-uk.com (distributor)
This German heavyweight is actually a side-lever design, and whilst maybe a little clumsy compared to some alternatives but still has much to recommend it, including an excellent trigger. Edgar Brothers Ltd, 01625 613177