Airgun World - - Contents -

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.


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