MIND OVER MATTER
In the early 1980s, very few people owned or had access to chronoscopes, and the first thing airgun-owning friends wanted to do when arriving at my house was check the muzzle velocity of their guns on my Skan Mk.1 chronoscope. Two such visitors, one a gamekeeper, the other a farmer with a thriving side line in pest control, each shot hundreds of rabbits every week, and in both cases, their rifles tested in the range of 8 ft.lbs. to 9 ft.lbs., and their response was identical: “I can’t shoot rabbits with …” their voices tailing off as they realised shooting rabbits was exactly what they HAD been doing.
My two visitors were mature, rational, and experienced airgun hunters, and they had proven beyond all doubt that their under-achieving airguns were fully capable of cleanly dispatching rabbits at the sort of ranges at which we could achieve the necessary accuracy using 1980s airguns and pellets, but neither of them had the confidence to carry on using them as they were. One drove straight to the company that had tuned his rifle to have the performance restored, the other sent his (FAC) rifle away to the manufacturer to be sorted.
These days, PCPs, and spring airguns with modern pellets, have improved accuracy and allowed us to extend maximum range to the point at which a change in muzzle energy of any significance will be very apparent as a drop in pellet point of impact (POI) at longer range, so checks on the chonoscope should not reveal surprise falls in muzzle velocity of the magnitude (100+fps) that so alarmed my visitors all those years ago, though there’s plenty apart from ‘power’ to spook the mind.
MISS AND MISGIVINGS
Although I don’t shoot HFT, I love helping to set out courses, and often check the scores on individual targets to try to analyse what it was about the shot that caused people to miss, so we can do it again. One thing that’s become very apparent is that a fair number of score cards from those scoring in the 30s and low 40s feature series of ‘dinks’ (hits to the faceplate rather than the paddle). On occasion, the run of dinks can be attributed to the run of targets all being subject to the same strong wind, but more frequently, I