FT Blog Next Years Must have
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- Last updated: 22/01/2018
I am not one for fashion. That may come as a surprise, given my extensive wardrobe of clothing, mostly Air Arms FT Team kit! However, it seems that in the last year or so, there has been a fashionable gun, or to be more precise; that year’s must have rifle! The process seems to go like this; it starts with a high-end AA grade shooter popping up with said new fashion gun, and uttering words similar to ‘this is the best gun I have shot’, although that statement can be very short lived.
A couple of years ago it was Steyr that suddenly everyone seemed to be using. Last year, it was the Feinwerkbau P800, and this year it has been the Anschutz 9015. All £2000+ guns that need expert setting up and tuning to get them working well 100% of the time- if you’re lucky! However, the jury is out on the 9015! Yes, it has had some good results in the summer, but previous Anschutz owners have always seemed to suffer in the colder winter season. It will be interesting to see the results come in and then see how many 9015 are for sale early 2018!
Still, the fact remains that someone who hits a lot of targets over, and then says this is the new best thing, does seem to tempt many other shooters into buying the same, usually those looking for extra targets to get them up a grade or three! There is usually no magic increased hit rate however, but not to worry, you can always sell it on and buy the next big thing? Research across the equipment-driven sports – shooting, motorcycling etc. indicates the same fad-following behaviour. In truth, and providing the equipment is working properly, it’s the user that makes it happen and not the tool, with the obvious caveat that you need to have the required skills to make this happen!
So, what will we see in 2018? Walther seems to have fallen well out of the fashion stakes! Prices on LG300 have fallen steeply from a couple of years ago but it is still a great rifle, but no real sign of the LG500 storming FT any time soon! So, what about Air Arms? The FTP 900 has been out about three years now.
Well again, it’s a rifle that is regularly tweaked and worked on, but look how Doz Falconer took his ‘Zenith’ FTP (work by Nick Murphy) to runner up spot in the Worlds, and it’s a great advert, whichever way you look at it.
Another great looking advert is the new Lightweight FTP now being used by Justin Wood. John Ostler has worked his magic on it, with some weight saving changes from standard. The Steel air cylinder has been ditched in favour of a lightweight aluminium one. This saves about the same as eight AA batteries or around 160 grams depending on spec. That may not sound a lot but feels very different and is superbly balanced for Standing shots. That said, clever Mr Woods came up with the idea of a variable weight system for the front end (if required) and Ostler designed and built said system into the end of the cylinder, nicely covered by the flush mounted end cap. Matching barrel sleeve and of course an Ostler Air Stripper make it look like the next big thing in its simply stunning Kawasaki Green stock.
However, the furniture is a fairly standard design with the addition of an inset thumb groove for Mr. Wood’s odd shaped E.T. fingered hands! The standard hamster has been ditched and tends to vary between an HFT 500 one and a Tec HRO Lift 2.
So, will Air Arms be taking note? I expect so, especially as in its first outing, it only missed one target on the 40-shot course, and that was due to the March scope under ranging! Whether or not the next incarnation of the FTP makes it to 2018 and how much influence this will have is still to be seen, but I am sure there are some exciting changes coming up for the FTP900!
Perhaps the new kid on the block is not one of the usual suspects, but a littleknown wannabe! LT Airguns had a few examples of their MRFT gun on show at the recent World Championship with some reasonable results. Jack Harris was flown out to Argentina where the guns are made in March and gave his nod of approval for this model, indeed there was talk of a J.H Special! So, could there be a new kid on the block? Well hopefully if there is, the price will be a little more manageable for those in the early stages of Field Target. It’s by far the most off-putting thing for new comers, the price tags on some of the top end kit. Thing is, with his EV2, World Champion, Jack Harris, keeps proving you can put the top scores in with kit of any age. Long live the EV2, the best gun of 2018!
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