Friday, 2 December 2011

12 Days of Christmas Gift Giveaways

All these prizes can be won from Airgun Shooter Magazine
So, Christmas is a-coming... and it could be your stocking that's getting fat, thanks to the Airgun Shooter 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!

It's already started (sorry - I'm late on this one) - and with a total prize pot of over £595, it's well worth getting involved with. How? Simple - just make sure you've 'liked' Airgun Shooter's Facebook Page (click here to go to it)... and then your name automatically goes into the hat ready for the random prize draws taking place every day from 1st to 12th December 2011.

At the moment, the odds are looking good - with 16 prizes being shared among (at current count) 365 'likers'.

It doesn't cost anything to enter - just a click of that 'Like' button - and, as you can see from the image above, there's a wide range of cool airgun stuff up for grabs.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


I'm currently testing the brand new HW101 sidelever-operated PCP from German gunmaking maestros, Weihrauch. UK importers, Hull Cartridge Co., have sent me the first unit to arrive in the UK - and though I've got plenty more testing to do before I feel qualified enough to print a thorough report in Airgun Shooter magazine, my early impressions are most favourable.

The HW101 is the production version of the HW100X 'prototype' which I was first shown at this year's British Shooting Show; it was intended as a single-shot derivative of the 14-shot-magazine'd HW100. Thankfully, Weihrauch took on board my (and others') suggestion that 101 would be a more appropriate name - because although it's clearly a stablemate of the HW100, the HW101 is different enough to warrant a standalone moniker.

It's coming into the UK in only the one guise - 'KT' format, meaning Karbine (short barrel) and a thumbhole stock... which, in the case of the HW101, is in beech. I guess Weihrauch are trying to keep the pricepoint down, given the current flat-state of the more expensive precharged pneumatic market.

The HW101 is very compact rifle, with a barrel just 310mm long! It'll rival the BSA Ultra and I've already been in conversation with BSA's new MD, Martin Lowe, to set up a head-to-head in early 2012. It should be a good battle, because I already know the Ultra's no mean performer - and, as I alluded to earlier, the HW101 has got all the hallmarks that made the HW100 (Weihrauch's inaugural PCP model) such a success in the UK.

I suppose you have to ask the question 'why?' - because multi-shots are much more fun, right? Well, there's actually quite a following for single-shot pneumatics. Competition shooters prefer them, and many hunters prefer to 'feel in' each shot. I do, only running the magazines on my Daystate Air Wolf and Theoben Elan if I'm out lamping (where it does away with fumbling for pellets in the dark), or ratting (where a quick second shot is often needed).

And I've got to say that single-shot versions of PCPs designed as multi-shot guns are often just that little more accurate, by virtue of the fact that the pellet doesn't have to 'jump' between the magazine and the breech proper. 

In the HW101's case, my groups at 40 yards certainly appear to be holding tighter than those I shot with the HW100 FSB test model just over a year ago. This may just be because the barrel likes the ammo I'm using - Daystate RangeMaster Li - but, whatever, it's certainly confidence-inspiring. For such a little gun, it's capable of a really big performance.

Ahead of the comprehensive report I'll be filing in an imminent issue of Airgun Shooter magazine, here's a brief snap shot of Weihrauch's new sidelever from AirgunTV, with the emphasis on that all-new breech set-up:

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


You may remember that, last Christmas, I was able to give away Airgun Shooter mugs to readers of the magazine - and I'm feeling no less generous this year!

Airgun Shooter Xmas Edition - NOW ON SALE!
The Christmas Special edition of the UK's only award-winning airgun magazine is now on sale in newsagents (subscribe here, or get a virtual copy sent to your computer by searching 'Airgun Shooter' in either iTunes or here) - and there's lots of goodies up for grabs.

Two free-to-enter competitions to win over £1,100 worth of prizes - a pair of Stoeger rifle/scope combos with special silencers on, and a Daystate Huntsman PCP.

You can claim a free Airgun Shooter mug when you spend over £30 in the magazine's Media Store - where there's a great selection of airgun books and DVDs to tempt you in time for Christmas.

And many of the items in the Airgun Shooter Gift Guide Bonanza have been donated by the suppliers - and the mag can give them away in the run up to Christmas!

So, Airgun Shooter's 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways starts on 1st December, and to be in with a chance of winning one of these donated gifts, simply visit the Airgun Shooter Facebook Page (here) and 'Like' it. 

All of those who have done will go into a random draw that takes place daily between the 1st and 12th of December - and more than a dozen lucky people will get a freebie Christmas gift courtesy of Airgun Shooter magazine and those advertisers who have filled the stocking.

Remember - you must like the Airgun Shooter Facebook Page to be eligible for the free draw. 

(And while you're about it, don't forget to follow the magazine on Twitter, too: @AirgunShooter)

Good luck...  


The new charity airgun hunting DVD - Rise of the Verminators
Si Pittaway - YouTube tag 'Zinaroon' - has told me that he's been able to release his charity airgun hunting DVD, Rise of the Verminators, ahead of schedule.

Available now, it's a riveting, 128-minute long hunting film that's been put together by Si and many of his hunting buddies who regularly post their airgun stuff onto YouTube - but the best news is that all the money goes to charity.

Si is a warrant officer currently serving in the British Forces, so it's no surprise that he's putting all the proceeds from his movie project into services-related charities - primarily Treats4BritishTroops and, also, the more well-known charity Help for Heroes.

I've put Si's Rise of the Verminators trailor up on AirgunTV some time ago, so if you haven't already seen it, go check it out; it gives you a good indication of its diversity of content.

If you'd like to buy this DVD and support a worthwhile cause, then send a minimum donation of £10.99 to his charity PayPal account - To pay by conventional means, contact Si directly via email here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Ultimate AirSoft Experience

Now, I've enjoyed plinking with 'soft' airguns since the early 1990s, but it's really only in recent years that I've become aware of the sport of airsoft - a version of paintballing where plastic BB-firing soft airguns are used instead of CO2-powered paintball chuckers. I say 'aware of' loosely, because I'd not really taken part in a fully-fledged airsoft event. Until last weekend, that is...

I went along to a local 'skirmish' run by Ultimate AirSoft - though it was more a recce trip for me, as I didn't want to take part, just have a look-see what it's all about. Personally, I struggle at pointing any guns in the direction of people - although airsoft guns are, effectively, very low-powered toys which shoot 6mm BBs weighing just 0.2grams, so they're quite harmless.

Run under the well-organised umbrella of UKARA - the United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers' Association - airsofting is a booming business in the UK, as it is in the rest of the world. The event I rolled up at was a regular one (at least twice a month) and was attended by over 120 re-enactors who are keen on the tactical side of the sport, not to mention its historic side. Some of the costume and weaponry was incredibly realistic, right down to the last detail.

I'm still not sure it's something I'd be so keen on taking part in, but I left the event in no doubt that the shooters who participate in games of this type are very serious about what they do - and if it's helping keep the gun industry going in these austere times, then it's certainly no bad thing.

Airsofting is a very well organised sport, and business - and if you've never done it before, or want to know more, the AirgunTV team took along a camera and dared to get right into the heart of the day-long sorties. You can watch it on AirgunTV's YouTube channel here:


Monday, 7 November 2011

Cammo... and the FULL MONTY!

The Jahti-Jakt Membrane Suit in Hardwood - blending in with autumn nicely
I've written about the latest camouflage clothing I've been testing this year in the December 2011 'Xmas Special' issue of Airgun Shooter magazine (virtual copies available here) - so I'm not going to go into too much detail in this Blog post. This is more an update on what I've written in the mag and, of course, there's the promised pic of me in ma undies...

The suit is by Jahti-Jakt, pronounced yark-tee-yart, and is distributed in the UK by Arctic Outdoor. It's a combination of Finnish and Swedish words for 'hunter' and the camouflage has been designed by the accomplished Finnish artist, Kimmo Takarautio, to match the patterns seen in European habitats. J-J call their pattern Hardwood (not to be confused with Realtree's Hardwoods - plural - which is a different pattern altogether).

I'm wearing the suit - jacket and trousers - on just about every hunting trip, and many other field outings to boot. Recent rains have made the ground particularly sodden and, therefore, muddy, but the Membrane Suit (as Arctic  Outdoor call it) has remained extremely water tight. I've sat and knelt in the water-laden long grass, and crawled over terrain that's so soft your elbow dig into the mud underneath, but I've emerged dry and clean... even if the outside of my suit hasn't.

From a practical perspective, both the jacket and trousers have got everything a fieldsman needs - see the printed review I referred to earlier for a more detailed lookaround - but now that a few weeks have passed since press day, I'd like to add how well the clothing is coping as colder spells arrive in the UK. We haven't yet had the 'Siberian winter' that's been forecast - and have had a lot more sunny days than we'd normally expect at this time of year - but I've been kept nice and warm on my outings so far, without getting either too cold or too hot. Mind you, I have been making full use of the underarm vents that easily unzip for extra ventilation.

What I'm particularly enjoying is that I can hunt so freely in the J-J Membrane Suit - its lightweight Air-Tex2 material is terrific at insulating you from the outside while letting the inside 'breathe' that you really don't need to 'bulk up' when you go out and about. Typically, I'm wearing a T-shirt and/or the J-J fleece (which comes as part of a special package deal when you buy the suit right now) - and when the thermometer really dips, or I'm out later in the day, I don the MicroDry underwear (that's also included in that deal).

I'll come clean and say that the underwear - which I can't for the life of me fathom out why is camouflaged, because you'd never go hunting in the nuddy! - is being worn on many occasions: going to the football, when I'm out walking with the kids/camera/wife and, more recently, on bonfire night. It's brilliant. It keeps me warm, dry and by transferring the humidity caused by perspiration to the outer side, smell-free - and its long cuffs and polo-style neck keep they heat in where you're most susceptible to the cold. It's worth every penny of the no-money-whatsoever it costs when you buy the Membrane Suit!
The full monty! Caught with his pants down and Hardwood (oo-er missus!)

And because this inner 'skin' is so lightweight and thin, I've been afforded a degree of mobility that doesn't hinder me at all when I'm out in the field. So clambering over stiles, gates and through narrow gaps in hedges really isn't a problem - and you can't often say that when you go out in your normal thermals and 10 layers of clothing.

As to the camouflage itself, I'm getting great results - even better now we're in to the autumn colours. Static hunting - a common tactic among airgunners - with the in-collar hood up (and a face net and gloves) works brilliantly, especially as the outfit keeps out the cold while you're waiting around for the action to begin.

If I'm totally honest, I'm not convinced that the ScenTech feature - which is supposed to mask the human scent - actually works (nor how it might work), but the cammo has proven itself on many an occasion. While I know many quarry species don't see colours in the same way as we humans do, there's something about J-J's Hardwood that's working - I guess when you look at it mono-chromatically, you can see that it breaks up the human outline extremely effectively. (Doesn't my FWB's barrel stick out like the proverbial sore thumb, though?) 
Looking at it mono-chromatically - perhaps through quarry eyes

I've also snagged the jacket and trousers on brambles and barbed wire a fair bit, but my outfit is still hanging up in my wardrobe devoid of any rips and tears. And, actually, there isn't even a pulled thread to be found - not that I should be surprised mind you. I got the Jahti-Jakt because I know the brand's become a firm favourite among many outdoor professionals - and there's one thing you can be assured of: professionals whose livelihoods depend on them being able to carry out their duties in the worst the weather can throw at them always choose stuff that works.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

AIRGUN CRIME - Down by 45% in Scotland

The latest official figures released by the Government show that the number of offences in Scotland involving airguns has dropped by 45 per cent - down from 427 offences in 2009/10 to 233 in 2010/11. And this following a strong downward trend over the past five years - the figures actually show a 66% fall since 2006/07.

This is further evidence to demonstrate recent postings I've made in this Blog - that the extensive legislative powers already available to the authorities are more than adequate; there is simply no need for any more rules and regulations, and to impose any more is simply unfair on the vast majority of law-abiding airgun shooters.

The news will come as a significant blow to the Scottish authorities who have such an inane appetite to treat airguns differently, despite offering poor reasoning as to why. Exactly two years ago, the Scottish Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill, tried to dismiss the then-dropping firearms crime figures by saying: "There is still more than one air weapon offence recorded each day... we are pressing the UK Government time and time again to let us take action on air weapons."

Well, this newest Government data shows that crimes involving airguns in Scotland are now significantly less than one a day - and, once again, the findings add further weight to the argument that the power to outlaw airguns should most certainly not be devolved to the Scottish Parliament (currently proposed as part of the Scotland Bill).

There is clearly no need whatsoever for Scotland to deal with airguns any differently from the rest of the UK - the Firearms Acts (and the many other statutes which indirectly impinge on airgun ownership and use) are more than enough to ensure the police and courts can deal adequately with the tiny minority of airgunners who choose to break the law.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Airgun Shooter Awards 2011

Got a favourite air rifle or pistol? Whether it be an old-timer or new-release, why not nominate it for an honour in the inaugural Airgun Shooter Awards?

Run in conjunction with the UK's best airgun magazine, Airgun Shooter (itself an award-winner!), everyone is eligible to vote in these awards, which include no fewer than 10 categories, from sub-£300 springers to CO2 rifles... to your ultimate No. 1 gun of 2011.

Full details and a guide to help you cast your votes are in the November 2011 edition of the magazine (available at thousands of UK newsagents from 13 October, and online at YUDUfree) - or you can shoot straight to the polling station by clicking here!

Voting closes on 14 December 2011

Monday, 10 October 2011

OFFICIAL: Government has no plans to licence, nor ban, airguns in the UK

Prompted by the tragic events last year in Cumbria, the Home Affairs Committee (HAC) of the House of Commons announced its intention to hold an inquiry into controls on firearms. 

Their ultimate aim was to examine whether there was a need to change any parts of the current shooting legislation as a means of preventing gun violence and protecting public safety. And even though a whole raft of new laws - the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 and Crime and Security Act 2010 - have indirectly imposed new measures on the control of airguns, they were still to be included in the inquiry.

The HAC inquiry was submitted to the Government in December 2010, and I've now got hold of their responses to the recommendations proposed therein. 

I’m pleased to report that the Government considers the misuse of airguns to be by a minority, and that the aforementioned Acts have made in-roads into reducing the airgun problems they perceived were there. (Note my use of the word 'perceived'!)

I’m even more pleased that they have finally put into writing that they have no plans to ban, nor licence airguns. In short, they accept that there is enough existing legislation to combat any problem.

However, we airgunners must not let that be an excuse to become lax – we must all still act with the utmost responsibility when we're undertaking our favourite pastime, and consider shooting airguns as a privilege, not a right. 

As you can see from the following key elements of the Government’s response to the question whether low-powered airguns should be incorporated into the firearms licensing regime, we must never take our airgunning for granted in this day and age.

The Government has no plans to ban or licence air weapons, the vast majority of which are used safely and responsibly, and prefers to tackle the minority who misuse air weapons. The Government agrees that enforcement of the wide range of existing controls referred to in the Committee’s report and which appear to have secured significant reductions in air weapon misuse since 2003-4, might usefully form part of police activity to deal with anti-social behaviour.

The Government will continue to monitor the misuse of air weapons and will not hesitate to take further action should this prove necessary.”

Friday, 7 October 2011


Yes! You read the header correctly - the BBC (regional Midlands channel) has aired a two-and-a-half-minute segment on their prime-time news show about airgunning... and it makes for an incredibly good piece of TV viewing.

It centres around Bell Target Shooting - the historic airgun sport that's been practised in the Midlands area of the UK for over 100 years (and which was once more popular than football).

I must tip my shooting hat to The Walton Lions Bell Target Shooting Club who invited the news channel to their excellently-run annual open evening. Their persistent attempts to get media coverage really paid off - because the news bulletin painted airguns more positively than I can ever recall the BBC doing in the past 30 years. No sensationalism, no digs, no criticisms (even though Bell Target's practised within pubs!) - just good, honest reporting to show how enjoyable air rifle shooting really is.

Well done the BBC - and The Walton Lions. Have a gander...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Well... this has to be the ultimate possession for the airgunner who has everything. Everything, that is, except the most over-engineered, beautifully finished, luxurious pellet tin! And if you think I'm being a bit sarcastic, you're wrong - I think this is an absolute must-have...

It's called the Pellcan - and it holds your ammo in such style that you'll be the envy of all your shooting mates... who will probably end up buying one anyway!

Machined from high-quality aluminium, the Pellcan is available in various anodised finishes and features a screw-top lid that's sealed against the elements with an internal O-ring - though there are two external O-rings fitted, purely for decorative purposes.

It comes in two sizes - 2.9in or 3.9in diameters. The latter's best for holding .22 ammo - but so you know exactly what's inside, the Pellcan features a neat magnetic 'medallion' roundel on which is engraved the shape and calibre of a pellet to signify the contents.

Two are supplied - .177 and .22 - with a roundhead inscribed on one face, and a flat-head on the other. (Bit tricky if you shoot points or hollow-points in .20 calibre, I know - but hey, even the ultimate pellet tin can't have everything!)

Price? Well... let's just say it ain't cheap, so I'll let you go and look it up. Go on, you know you want to...

For the record: Pellcan's US website is here - while you can obtain them in the UK from Intershoot, tel. +44 (0) 8443 180000.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Me on the Airgun Gear Show

I was recently invited onto Giles Barry's Airgun Gear show - and I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

A nice easy-going interview with the big man himself, followed by a bit of a surprise; I was collared into taking the Airgun Gear Balloon Shoot Challenge - and you can see how I did in the video below (courtesy of AirgunTV).

By the way, I think Giles' show is the best airgun entertainment on the web! If you want to watch the whole of Episode 5, you can do so here.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


As many of you will know, I'm a big fan of Daystate's PCP air rifles - and even use their computerised AirWolf as my main hunting tool when I'm not testing. 

So, you'll understand whey I'm about to highly recommend the special VIP Day they've got on offer in conjunction with this year's Midland Game Fair at Weston Park, Shropshire - an airgunning Mecca which takes place on the weekend of 17/18 September 2011.

You can get yourself on Daystate's VIP Day for just £60 (£30 for under-14s accompanied by an adult) - and that's even refundable if you buy one of their rifles from the Fair! Even if you don't, it's great value - here's what you get:

  • A guided tour of their Staffordshire airgun factory (fascinating - I've been there many a time)
  • Free entry to the Game Fair
  • A courtesy coach from factory to Fair (fast-track entry), and then back again
  • Lunch at Weston Park
  • Daystate Seminar, including demonstrations
  • A chance to shoot Daystate's current range of PCPs (including a preview of a new one!)
  • One-to-one coaching by airgun experts
Interested? Then ensure your ticket from either Daystate's website here, or call Hannah on +44 (0)1782 791755. 

The VIP day commences at 09:00 on Saturday, 17 September (at the Daystate factory), after which you'll get the red carpet treatment all day until Daystate drop you back at the factory for 18:00.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Heads up on a new night sight

The infra-red sight picture as seen through the 3-inch monitor of the NiteSite
Every now and then, something comes along in the airgun world that makes you sit up and think 'wow - what a great idea'! Well, the latest gadget I've had on top of my rifle is just that - the new NS50 night-hunting device from NiteSite.

I'll be filing my full report in the September 2011 issue of Airgun Shooter magazine, but I'm impressed enough with its performance to give you a sneak preview. In fact, because the NS50 comes with a video-out socket, I hope to post some night-action recordings of rat and rabbit hunts pretty soon. Meantime, though, you can watch the manufacturer's sneak preview trailer that they've put together prior to their unveiling of it at this year's CLA Game Fair on AirgunTV, here.

The NiteSite ingeniously bridges the gap between conventional lamping and night vision (NV) - and it allows you to shoot after hours with your daytime combo. It takes just seconds to change over to NS-vision... so you can shoot in the day, twilight and after sundown without any hassle whatsoever.
Heads-up: using the NS50 NiteSite on a Daystate AirWolf
How? Open up the NS50's custom case, push the camera module onto the eye-piece of your scope and mount the TV monitor (which incorporates a variable infra-red illuminator) above it... and with the cables all pushed in to place, you're ready to see in the dark without the aid of any white light at all.

Because you can't rest your head on the stock with the NS50 in place, I was initially sceptical, but I've been out with it a few times now, and it's really not a problem. You simply rest the rifle and look 'at' the monitor, rather than 'through' your scope. It takes all of five minutes for getting used to, after which the sheer brilliance of the NS system shines through.

My pre-production prototype sees much further than the 50 yards the NS50 is meant to - and the NS200 (which is good for 200 yards) would be fantastic for fox shooters, especially if they shoot from a vehicle.

A big round of applause to the English inventors, NiteSite.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


If you're thinking about going to this year's CLA Game Fair - the world's leading country sports event - why not have a go at winning some tickets... gratis

Airgun Shooter magazine has got five pairs of adult tickets up for grabs in a free-to-enter competition - and you can find out how to enter (via email) on their Facebook page, here.

Besides all the usual attractions, the Fair plays host to the Airgun Experience - an extravaganza of all things airgunning and a kind of 'Airgunmakers' Row'. There's more details on the Game Fair's website.

I'll be there with some of the award-winning Airgun Shooter team, too - come along to the Blaze Publishing stand (no. R1128) on the world famous Gunmakers' Row for a chat or to ask any questions. 

We've got a few 'show deals' on the go - so check them out, too.

So... see you at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire sometime between 22 and 24 July. Oh, and good luck with that ticket draw on the magazine's Facebook Page!

Friday, 1 July 2011


Since Theoben has let its patent for the gas-ram powerplant lapse, there have been plenty of big name gunmakers who've jumped on the bandwagon of manufacturing air rifles that dispense with a conventional mainspring in lieu of a 'strut' of pre-compressed air.

The latest is IGT - Inert Gas Technology - from Spanish gunmakers, Gamo. The gas is, actually, Nitrogen - and I've had the supposedly full-powered Hunter IGT model on test for the past couple of weeks... which was earmarked for publication (once my comprehensive tests were completed) in Airgun Shooter.

Now, you may have been astute enough to have spotted words like 'supposedly' and 'was earmarked for publication' - you see, the Airgun Shooter test team highlighted a problem on the test sample BSA sent us that, as it turns out, is a problem right across the board. All the IGT models in the UK at the time of this post are underperforming in terms of power.

The Airgun Shooter test rifle produced a power in the region of 8 to 8.5ft/lb - well below what we'd been told to expect. Following our findings, we asked BSA to randomly test some more samples from their stock... and they found those rifles to massively vary "between 9 and 14 Joules" (6.6 and 10.3ft/lb).

Power stats from the Gamo Hunter IGT tested by Airgun Shooter

As a result, Gamo's UK distributor has been forced to recall all those models already sent to gun shops - and, obviously, it would be wrong of me to now file my test report in a magazine as authoritative as Airgun Shooter. All the same, well done to BSA for reacting so promptly to the fault.

And as BSA were able to highlight this problem quite early in the rifle's release, only a few of the rogue guns have found their way into consumer hands - but if you have bought one with the intention of using it for pest control, I would strongly recommend you consult your gun shop. Air rifles under 10ft/lb are rarely suitable for hunting humanely.

BSA are hopeful that the Hunter and Shadow IGT models will soon be back on sale, at their correct power level.

You see, power issues aside, I can confirm that I found the Hunter IGT one of the sweetest break-barrels I've ever shot. Beautifully engineered and finished, it let go with a very fast firing cycle with no vibration through the chequered beech stock whatsoever. It came with fibre-optic Tru-Glo adjustable sights and a rise-and-fall cheek that was perfect for use with a scope - and although its trigger was slightly below what I expected in a £259 air rifle, everything else was well on the money. Possibly the best sub-£400 gas-ram around.

But it's just you won't be able to read a full report about it for a while.  


Now, if you live in Britain and are reading this Blog post, you're going to be disappointed - because UK gun laws don't allow the guns I'm about to tell you about. But in many other parts of the world, you can own them - and I think you'll want to! I'm talking about the new Giant and Speed PCP air rifles from the famous South Korean gunmaker, Evanix.

I've been to the factory and am in no doubt as to their ability to manufacture top-quality air rifles - but their latest incarnations are a clear sign as to how how much of a world power Evanix is actually becoming. 

This video from AirgunTV shows their new Giant, (a twin, carbon-fibre buddy-bottle fed PCP) and Speed (a conventional cylinder PCP) - both of which are capable of firing pellets in full-auto mode at an incredible 10 shots per second! Yes, TEN shots a second!

Thursday, 16 June 2011


A very high percentage of the viewers of this Blog and the AirgunTV Channel are located outside of the UK - and many have commented that it's a shame they can't so easily get a copy of Britain's award-winning Airgun Shooter magazine.

But, thanks to the internet, you can!

Individual copies - along with discounted annual subscriptions - are available from the virtual publishing store, YuDuFree. 

So if you want to read the UK's No.1 airgun magazine - voted Best New Magazine of 2010 in the ACE Print Media Awards - simply click here.

And don't forget that you can also follow Airgun Shooter magazine on Facebook and Twitter.

Airgun Shooter - now available virtually across the globe!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


The Association of Circulation Executives (ACE) has voted Airgun Shooter Best Magazine Launch, 2010 - and also placed it third, behind the new 'I' newspaper and the Daily Mail in the Overall Launch category!

The ACE awards are effectively the Oscars of the media industry, and recognise the contribution to the newstrade made by publishers on many aspects, such as sales, circulation and sector value. 

While the achievement in itself is particularly outstanding on the part of everyone involved with the magazine, for an airgun publication to take gold and bronze awards in these categories - particularly given the stiff competition - is testimony to just how big an impact the title's launch has had to both the shooting industry and the general newstrade.

As its launch editor, I am of course very proud - but this magazine has been a team effort. So, on behalf of the whole Airgun Shooter crew at Blaze Publishing, I must pass on a heartfelt 'thank you' to all those readers who have supported us. These awards are a true reflection of just how much we've raised the bar in terms of airgun journalism.

While the year's first 13 issues have clearly made an impact, the magazine continues to go from strength to strength and, as I write this, I'm only a few days away from passing issue no. 17 for press... and can tell you that not only are there some tremendous scoops lined up in that, but there are a fair few more to come from issue no. 18 onwards!

You can subscribe to the award-winning airgun magazine here...

Airgun Shooter wins top awards from the Association of Circulation Executives

Friday, 4 March 2011

NEW DAYSTATE PELLET (and a free tin!)

If you're fed up with your pellets' consistency altering from one batch to the next, then you'd do well to try out Daystate's new American-made RangeMaster Li (standing for Lightweight).

I've only shot a couple of tins' worth in my .177 Air Wolf and .22 Theoben Elan... but I can tell you that I've already decided to switch to them; they definitely perform better than the Air Arms Field I've been shooting for the past few years.

I got news of them via the high-precision sport of Field Target. FT competitors don't suffer poor pellets gladly... and they were saying very nice things about the RangeMasters.

Actually, I cheated a bit. Knowing I wouldn't be able to find the time to undertake tests for myself until spring, I commissioned one of Airgun Shooter's writers - professional pest controller, Pete Meek - to try the .22s. His results, which are printed in the April 2011 edition of the magazine, were conclusive proof that Daystate's new ammo is a bit special.

Because they're made from a single die, the pellets are remarkably consistent - and they're so smoothly finished, they appear to possess better ballistic coefficients (for their weight). This means they not only shoot more accurately, but they also have a slightly flatter trajectory. In the case of Pete's test, the 14.3-grain Li dropped around an inch less at 50m (from a 30m zero) compared with the similar Crosman Premier roundhead.

As Pete's .22 results impressed me so much, I cheated again - and commissioned twice-world champion Stuart Hancox for his verdict on the 7.9-grain .177 version. I didn't have long to wait for his verdict - he'd already ditched his JSB-made ammo in favour of them for his competition work!

So, with their verdicts - along with the buzz the RangeMasters are creating around the UK - I've collared Daystate into giving away a free tin. Collect eight 'Star' tokens from Daystate products, stick them onto the collecting card we've supplied with April's Airgun Shooter... and you've got yourself 500 shots for nowt. (And I've even printed a token inside the mag to start you off...)

Airgun Shooter - the UK's leading airgun magazine

The Mindless Minority

So... over the past couple of weeks, we've had an idiot popping off soft airgun BBs at school kits, a psycho murdering Somerset swans with an airgun and pathetic Ashley Cole having an accident with a loaded pellet gun. Isn't it funny that all this happens when the latest shooting legislation - see details here - is announced by the government. Maybe I'm getting a bit old, but it does make you wonder whether the anti-shooting brigade have had a hand in at least two of these three stories...

Buth, I'm surprised at how lightly the press has let us off; I was expecting a real hatchet job on airguns, yet even the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 gave, I felt, a good case 'for' our side.

The truth is, the laws in the country are already so incredibly strict that incidents such as these only serve to show how pointless all this 'tacked-on' legislation - for the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, 2003; Violent Crime Reduction Act, 2007; Crime & Security Bill, 2010 are not part of the 1968 Firearms Act per se - actually is. No government can ever legislate for the madman - as was so well put by the current Prime Minister in his response to last summer's shooting incidents (by madmen).

The facts are, all these cases are breaking laws which were around with the original Firearms Act - and my hope is that the full force of the law is brought to bear on the culprits. We've got the laws - let's apply them.

The Scottish sniper is a moron... though, again, conspiracy theorists among us would wonder whether he was a plant by the anti-shooting lobby. After all, plastic BBs shot from what is a toy isn't really life-threatening, but perfect fodder for the sensationalistic media.

The Somerset swan killer will, I hope, be found and publicly hanged (metaphorically speaking). Armed trespass and numerous breaches of the Wildlife & Countryside Act should ensure he gets his just deserts.

And the old King Cole? Well, as would appear to be the case, it's the celebrity under the spotlight rather than the airgun. Let's hope his time has come and this is the final straw in what has, of course, been a pretty negative couple of years as far as PR is concerned for him. If he'd been the victim of the shot, I'm sure the media would have made much more of how 'dangerous' airguns are - so it may even be a mixed blessing that he was the jerk who jerked the trigger. But I sincerely hope he doesn't just get let off with a slap of the wrists; he's a role model for many and should be well and truly admonished for his misdemeanour, in my opinion.

Monday, 7 February 2011


When the Crime & Security Act received Royal Assent in 2010, one element relating to airguns – Section 46 - was held in abeyance, awaiting ‘activation’. By way of a Commencement Order, the government has now activated it – so from 10 February, it is now a legal requirement of all airgun owners to take ‘reasonable precautions’ to prevent unauthorised access to their airgun by anyone under 18 years old.

First and foremost, an in anticipation of the incorrect reporting we're going to see and hear in the UK's anti-shooting media, let me emphasise one thing.

This new legislative requirement DOES NOT MEAN you need to store your airguns in a Level 1 gun safe!

Actually, while this is 'yet another law' levied indirectly on the airgun shooting community (by way of a 'catch-all' statute), it's not really that restrictive - and my guess is that most airgunners already comply with the new requirements. This new law relating to the storage of airguns is, in effect, just common sense.

In most cases, the law is going to apply to airgunners who have people under the age of 18 either in their household, or as visitors – but all that’s required to comply with the new provisions is a simple measure to prevent those minors from gaining ‘unauthorised’ access to the air rifles or pistols. It does not mean that you have to invest in a high level home security system, like a police-approved gun safe and/or household alarm system.

Simply storing your airgun in a lockable cupboard, where the keys are kept securely in the presence of adults will suffice – although this should be in the main property, rather than in a shed or out-house. 

Alternatively, you could fit some form of lock – like a trigger lock – or security cord (anchored to a solid wall) which stops anyone from operating the gun. It goes without saying that the guns should be stored in an unloaded state and pellets should be kept separately, preferably also under lock and key.

And when you're out and about with your airgun, if you ever have to put it down when there are minors nearby, you must remember to take steps to prevent unauthorised access by them. (For instance, you may need to padlock the rifle case, or lock it in the boot of your car.)

But, like I said, It’s basic common sense – except that if you ignore these new requirements, you now face a fine of £1,000.