All the fun of this year’s Game Fair at Ragley Hall! Highlights and products.
Over the last weekend of July, The Game Fair was held at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire and I think it’s fair to say that the weather defined the show. Friday was stinking hot, with only the slightest breeze to offer relief now and again, except perhaps a pint of cider or two. Saturday was much cooler with cloud offering protection from the sun’s burning rays and a powerful wind whipped up sending clouds of dust and dead grass into the air. Sunday completed the set of ‘every possible weather’ with pouring rain and much lower temperatures. It was almost four seasons in one weekend.
In the Airgun Zone I visited our friends at Air Arms who had two very interesting new models on display. The first was the S510 Ultimate Sporter now with a regulator, that I hope to have on test very soon in its high- power version. The sign read that the medium length version will deliver 32 ft.lbs. in .22, which is just how I like my high- power rifles. I asked if I could have the walnut stock with the soft- touch cheek piece because I haven’t tried one in that configuration before. I was told we can expect these stunning rifles to be in the shops in the early autumn.
They also had an innovative variant of their superb S400 MPR target rifle, specially developed for use in the Target Sprint competition that Air Arms has been supporting. The new cocking and loading system has broad levers on both sides of the action that you press with your thumb to cock the hammer spring and withdraw the loading probe. A pellet is quickly dropped into the loading channel and the levers returned to the original position. In competition, this system has been shown to be five vital seconds faster than the conventional bolt- action, which could well be the difference between winning and losing. I thought it was quite superb and it set my mind wondering if perhaps they might apply it to other models in the S400/500 family.
“I thought it was superb and it set my mind wondering if perhaps they might apply it to other models”
Across the aisle, Hull Cartridge had all the Weihrauch models on display and a new addition for us to enjoy. The ultra- successful HW110 now has a carbine version. As with previous Weihrauch PCPs, the HW110 carbine is a shortened version that keeps all the features of the full- length model, but reduces length and weight. That being said, it still had a good heft in the hands and that traditional German solidity about its build.
The ever- excited chaps at Scott Country gave me my first viewing of the FLIR Scout TK thermal- imaging monocular, which I’d been looking forward to handling. This tiny device comes from a highly respected brand, yet is on offer for just £ 559.00! I can’t believe that thermal- imaging scopes have come down so far in price, making them affordable for so many more people. I truly believe that thermal- imaging devices are the future of hunting sports and this is a huge step into the future for many, many people.
One of the joys of game fairs is to see all sorts of people enjoying their time on the airgun ranges close to the manufacturer displays. There was a huge choice of guns on offer, all with superb coaches on hand to help show- goers get the very best from their experience. There was also a long- range competition to win a Daystate Huntsman Regal, but with the wind blowing so hard and so erratically on Saturday, I didn’t fancy my chances, so I chickened out.
LOUD, PROUD AND EXOTIC
Alongside all the airgun fun, the game fair is a celebration of things in the British countryside and some rather exotic ones too. As I walked toward the fly-fishing demonstrations, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a chap on … a camel! Just what that had to do with the game fair I’ll never know. In the same area, my eyes were dazzled with a wide selection of the loudest trousers I think I’ve ever seen. The story was that a posh London club had recently banned its members from wearing red trousers, so lovers of bold- coloured trousers had got together to be loud and proud in an environment where everybody is welcomed and accepted – the game fair.
One final piece of British countryside fun warmed my heart and made me smile. In the main arena they held a Shetland pony Grand National, where tiny young girls and boys raced their ponies over little jumps and the crowd simply loved it. The horsemanship shown was quite extraordinary, with confidence and skill hugely beyond their years. Once the flag dropped, they were determined and gave no quarter even at speed. The crowd applauded every effort, and I can’t think of an event that I’ve seen give so much pleasure to so many people.
The new S510 Ultimate Sporter with a regulator will soon be in your local gun shop
Chris from Hull Cartridge loves the new HW100 carbine
The new Air Arms cocking systems is brilliantly efficient
I’ve never seen a sporting event raise so many smiles
The airgun ranges gave hundreds of people the chance to have fun
Everybody is welcome at the Game Fair, no matter how bright your trousers are!
Thermal-imaging spotters have just become so much more affordable