Monday, 23 January 2012

AIRGUN TV hits 1 million views

A great way to start the week - someone emailed me to say that my AirgunTV channel on YouTube has now clocked over the 1,000,000 views mark!

I'm very proud, and would like to send out a warm, personal 'thank you' to everyone who has supported the channel.

If you haven't yet subscribed, please do so. You'll find the channel here.  

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Derbyshire Police Statement on Airguns

It saddens me to read this on the website of the regional paper, the Burton Mail. For two reasons. 

One - that there are still a handful of mindless morons out there who tarnish the responsible reputation of the vast majority of airgunners with their utter disrespect of the law.

And two - that the ever-increasing number of laws this Government keeps introducing to impose further restrictions on young airgunners clearly isn't working. The 43 offences involving airguns - and we don't know, exactly, what those offences were, but that they involved 'air rifles and BB guns' - spiked between 15:00 and 18:00 which, the report suggests, implies a high proportion of young offenders.

When will they learn that the real issue is not about introducing a constant barrage of legislation, but effective education? Stopping youngsters being involved with airguns (in a responsible, controlled environment) is actually not conducive to teaching them the good rudiments of safe gun handling and a responsible attitude toward shooting? 

I was taught how to handle a gun at a very early age, and I can actually clearly remember reprimanding my peers when they ever contemplated misusing the airguns we had access to as teenagers! Many kids 'want a go' with an airgun; why on earth don't we give them that go... but with all the expert guidance that will ultimately stop them misusing airguns?

However, I was heartened to read the end paragraph: "Officers are now regularly visiting schools to educate youngsters about the risks, dangers and consequences of using air weapons." Bravo! That's exactly what's needed - and I don't mind betting that, this time next year, the number of offences involving airguns will, actually, have fallen in the Derbyshire area!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Electric Airguns - the way forward?

The heart of Daystate's electronic air rifles - this is an 'MCT' motherboard
It's always baffled me: how come we don't see more electrically-powered airguns? After all, in the world of airsofting, they're the bee's knees!

Of course, soft airguns are a totally different kettle of fish to airguns - but the question still stands. And I ask it as a long-standing user of Daystate's electronically-powered models. Since the launch of the MK3 at the very end of 2002, actually; after I'd finished testing that rifle, I ended up buying it, ultimately trading it in for an Air Wolf once I got my hands on that buddy-bottle model to do a review a few years later!

In the late 1980s, Feinwerkbau released a match-oriented air pistol - the Model 90 - which featured an electronic trigger, and Steve Harper (the airgun designer/engineer who's had a hand in the Daystate electrics) produced a pistol - also called the Wolf - which used a solenoid-operated trigger to release the shot. And back in the very early Nineties, Browning imported an electrically-cocked rifle made by the Belgian firm Rutten (The Air Star) which used a battery-powered gear system to wind back the piston. It was seen as a useful option for disabled shooters - although when I was invited over to their workshops to view its production for myself, I recall I was far more interested in what I saw when I was taken for a surprise visit to the nearby workshops of FN!

With the exception of the Daystate(s), all the aforementioned electric guns lasted but a short time. So why is it that the Daystate version - which is now seen on the MK4 derivatives and the Air Wolf - is still with us and pretty much seen as the ultimate air rifle to own by many an airgunner? Perhaps it's because it's not just the trigger that's electronic, but the entire action which uses an on-board computer system to regulate the valve opening and air release.

But as a long-time user of this highly innovative airgun system, I'm still baffled as to why it's only Daystate who market such a rifle. The fact that they continue to persevere with the system (though I'm not sure 'persevere' is the right word here), suggests to me that they're clearly on to a winner.

I recently compared the latest version of their Air Wolf - far more up-to-date than my own gun - with its conventional, mechanically-driven equivalent (the Air Ranger). You can read my in-depth review in the January 2012 edition of Airgun Shooter magazine - a digital copy of which is available from PocketMags - and watch a detailed video test on AirgunTV.

Make up your own minds: do electronic airguns have a future? (I certainly think they do...)  

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Hunting with David James

Well, with the rotten weather we're having here in the UK at the start of 2012, I'm glad I know this particular airgunner - David James of YouTube (HuntersVermin) and Airgun Shooter fame! 

Why? Well, while I'm couped-up inside, I've got plenty to do watching his brand new hunting DVD, "Corvid Chaos", and following his step-by-step film on how to make a cheap Ghillie Suit from nothing more than some old camouflage netting.

You can watch the Ghillie Suit film over on AirgunTV - and/or read about it in February's issue of Airgun Shooter magazine, which is in UK newsagents from 5th January and available as a digital edition for computers and mobile devices from PocketMags.

Meanwhile, his feature-length, double-disc Corvid Chaos hunting DVD is available for the special price of just £14.99 - and having watched it countless times over the festive holiday period, I can tell you its worth every single penny.

The film took David almost two years to put together the two, one-hour-long DVDs, but they're crammed with top-dog pest control footage of crows and magpies, including the crafty 'grey-back' crows native to his Northern Ireland hunting grounds.

But there are also scenes devoted to rabbit stalking, woody decoying and hide-building, all very professionally presented with on-gun film footage of the forays and accompanied by David's 'director's cut' narrative. (I just love his accent!) The hunts divulge numerous tips and advice from this very experienced hunter - and although he uses air rifles rated at 15ft/lb and above, the methods he uses rarely require long-range shots to be made, this making the twin-disc DVD set very valuable to any sub-12ft/lb hunter.

Actually, for the money, it's got to be the bargain of 2012. Get it here - or order by phone on 01926 339 808.