Pete Wadeson offers up his Top 10 accessories for the airgun hunter
Shooting a springer is more difficult than a PCP due to recoil. So, it follows you need to pay more attention to gun handling when shooting a mechanical action air rifle as this ultimately influences how accurate your aim is and the 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 is used and often unwittingly abused. Incidentally, I’m assuming a sling will be fitted and for this, you’ll need the appropriate fittings, like a sling stud or barrel band, which are available from John Rothery Wholesale and Highland Outdoors. They can be usually be sourced in most good gun shops.
So, with that said, here are my Top 10 recommended accessories for enhancing performance, ease of usage and the overall operation of your springer.
1. DAMPA MOUNT
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 springers don’t impart the stresses on an optic they once did, but when required it’s good practice to use such a mount, especially if you have an older airgun in your armoury.
CNC machined from aircraft-grade aluminium, this one-piece mount has a reversible side clamp, so it's compatible with 11-13mm dovetails. It affixes securely to the rifle’s dovetails via the base clamps three large hex head bolts (Allen key supplied). The ‘secret’ to its effectiveness at preventing scope creep and therefore a loss of scope zero, is that the unit has a rubber ‘buffer’ between the base and the upper, which holds the scope rings. This combats the shock of the piston slamming into the end of the cylinder during the firing cycle. The mount is available for scopes with 25mm or 30mm body tubes.
Contact: Sportsmatch UK -www.sportsmatch-uk.com
Price: £59.95 (25mm) £78.95 (30mm)
2. 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 a 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 an adjustment slot, sliding screw, plus a rubber butt pad with a 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 stock. The chunky butt 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 head retaining nut. This allows you to adjust the height and angle of the pad, which gives you a much more positive shoulder fit, position and hold.
Contact: Bisley Wholesale - www.bisley-uk.com
3. SPIRIT LEVEL KIT
An accessory that helps you shoot with more accuracy is helpful in any hunting situation and something often overlooked for a shooter mainly taking freehand shots, is a spirit level. While many use ‘bridge-over’ types for shooting off a bipod to prevent ‘cant’ (a term that refers to the rifle leaning off to the left or right thus affecting your aim) there are others.
The Sportsmatch SP3 suits freehand shooting as it can be set flush to the rifle when not required so that it does not snag 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 and is ‘raised-up’ via a spacer barrel so it can be articulated whichever way suits. An extralong scope mount screw (supplied) attaches it to any Sportsmatch base mount. This configuration allows the spirit level to be ‘swung-out’ into position when needed and tucked away when not.
Contact: Sportsmatch UK - www.sportsmatch-uk.com
4. RETROFIT TRIGGER BLADE
Good trigger control is vital to accuracy, particularly when using a recoiling mechanical action airgun, and it’s amazing the difference a well-designed trigger blade is at helping shot release. Rowan Engineering has many styles to suit a wide range of popular rifles. The three shown are straight replacement blades for the Rekord 2-stage, the adjustable unit 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 the blade position in relation to the grip. From left to right, these are denoted as 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 a very precise contact when fitted to the unit. This means trigger performance is maintained because even though your finger controls the pull on the trigger, the blade ultimately is the part in direct contact with the mechanism that releases the shot.
Contact: Rowan Engineering - www.rowanengineering.com
Price: from £38.95 - £42.95
5. SLIP ON SILENCER ADAPTOR
Many mechanical action air rifles, especially older models, don’t have either a standard screw cut muzzle or an integral sound moderator fitted. In this case, if you don’t want the hassle of having the muzzle screw cut by a gunsmith, then the simplest way to fit a moderator is to use a Slip-On Silencer Adaptor, such as the ones available from Best Fittings.
The device measures approximately 55mm in length including the standard ½” UNF male thread and the name clearly implies, it simply slips over the end of the barrel. It's held in position by two grub screws and only adds 15mm to the overall length of the barrel. It comes supplied with a thread protector cap plus Allen key and is offered with either a satin black anodised or natural aluminium finish.
Contact: Best Fittings - www.bestfittings.co.uk
6. SCOPE MOUNT ADAPTORS
If you want to fit an NV scope that comes with an integral Picatinny mount to an airgun with dovetails, then you may well need some Dovetail to Weaver/Picatinny Adaptor Mounts.
BKL Technologies have a good selection, which are 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 is Weaver/Picatinny 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.
All use BKL’s unique auto centring technology, which solves the problems created by varying mount rail width and the unique design of the ‘clamping legs’ ensures they are perfectly centred onto the dovetails.
Contact: Optics Warehouse - www.opticswarehouse.co.uk
7. OIL AND LUBE
Spring and gas ram airguns have a lot of moving parts that require regular inspection and lubrication, such as pivot pins and breech jaws etc. So, it’s wise to have the basic potions to ensure your airgun 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 trusted.
Napier Airgun Oil is available in a 200ml aerosol can with a directable applicator nozzle. An effective lubricant that contains the manufacturer’s 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 toothpaste-style 25ml container. It’s designed to take care of the breech jaws, mainspring and other load-bearing surfaces. Obviously, Napier keeps some of the ingredients secret but needless to say it’s mainly based on Moly grease.
Contact: Napier UK - www.napieruk.com
8. SEE THRU MOUNTS
Open sights on an airgun can be very useful for close range work, however, after scoping up using conventional mounts they obviously become obsolete. The solution is to fit what are known as ‘See Thru’ mounts, then you have the best of both worlds.
Manufactured from aircraft-grade aluminium, the HST46C 2-Piece Mounts from Sportsmatch have an elongated section machined out of both mount 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.
Contact: Sportsmatch UK - www.sportsmatch-uk.com
9. COCKING AID
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 and Walther LGU Master Pro. They are CNC machined using single billets of the metal or alloy they’re manufactured from and are designed to offer a better grip area when operating the lever.
They’re purchased 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 has a bi-directional, multi-start helical groove machined across its length. This gives a non-slip characteristic to the lever. It’s secured into position with three recessed Allen head grub screws. Options include black anodised aluminium, natural aluminium or brass.
Contact: Rowan Engineering - www.rowanengineering.com
10. TUNING KITS
Eventually, due to many years of use, your springer will need the mainspring and piston replaced. At this point, it is worth considering fitting an ‘off the shelf’ tuning kit such as those available from V-Mach.
The two most popular are the V-Mach Standard and V-Glide Kit. 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.
The end result is a completely new set of redesigned and lightened internals, fitted with synthetic rings and studs, affording a far higher component fit, resulting in what many consider to be the finest ‘tune up’ for a springer. Incidentally, if you only require a V-Mach spring and/or associated spring guide set, then these can be bought separately.
Contact: V-Mach - www.air-rifle-tuning.com