THE EDITOR SAYS...
It’s been a month of learning and teaching for me, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of both. I’m always happiest when passing on the tips, techniques and training fixes that have worked for me over the years, and a major opportunity to do just that presented itself purely by chance a few weeks back.
INTERESTING ENCOUNTER I was walking from my car to the wooded area where I’ve been carrying out many of my recent tests, the BSA R10 SE Super Carbine you’ll see in this month’s follow-up test in its case on my shoulder, whilst carrying a chronograph, targets and various bits in a holdall. I met a chap of around my age near the perimeter fence and we struck up a conversation as I unlocked the gate. He was obviously a ‘country type’ – battered posh wellies, ancient waxproof coat and trout flies in his tweed hat – and he asked me what I was intending to shoot in the woods.
A MATTER OF TECHNIQUE I told him I was testing an air rifle and once I was on the ‘right’ side of the gate, I slipped the BSA from its case and showed it to him. He recognised the famous BSA name and recalled the BSA Mercury he’d owned when he was a young man. Having specialised solely in shotguns for the past half-century, he’d never tried a pre-charged pneumatic, so I offered him a go with the R10. Frankly, his technique was a disaster, with ‘built-in’ recoil, a brutal rip of the trigger, and absolutely no follow-through of any kind. Consequently, he missed every target and looked a bit bewildered. Time for a bit of diplomacy.
TACTFUL TEACHING Rather than show him how it should be done, I reloaded the magazine, set the rifle properly into his shoulder, got him to relax, and encouraged him to control the movement of the R10 through steady breathing. Next came some advice on trigger technique and the need for proper follow-through, and within five shots he was making chestnut husks fly from the woodland path, as pellet after pellet found its mark. The fact was, this man could shoot; all he needed was a little guidance and a bit of practical explanation.
OLD DOGS … NEW TRICKS After that first impromptu shooting session, which my new-found chum said he really enjoyed, I’ve shown him a couple of other rifles and he now wants a PCP of his own. He said himself that it’s never too late to teach an old dog some new tricks and I found that out for myself when I took Tom to my club at Bisley for his very first airgun shooting session. You can see what Tom taught me on page 98 of this issue, and I think there’s a valuable lesson for us all there. It’s a wonderful fact of our airgunning lives that we’ll never stop learning, and I believe we should never stop trying to pass on what we learn. What a superb sport this is – no matter how long you’ve been doing it! Have a wonderful month, everyone. I
Tom was the pupil, but he taught me a vital lesson.