In­side Story

The edi­tor re­turns from SIG SAUER head­quar­ters in a pos­i­tive frame of mind

Airgun World - - Contents -

Terry Doe finds his pas­sion for all things air­gun echoed at SIG Air head­quar­ters

On page 30 of this is­sue, you’ll see an ex­cel­lent ar­ti­cle from our US cor­re­spon­dent, Stephen Archer, de­tail­ing the pro­duc­tion and fea­tures of the SIG Air ASP20 break-bar­rel ri­fle. Stephen and I were part of a group of air­gun jour­nal­ists in­vited to SIG SAUER head­quar­ters in New Hamp­shire, and what a fas­ci­nat­ing ex­pe­di­tion it was. It was also an ex­tremely pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, for sev­eral rea­sons, and de­spite the jet lag, I re­turned re­freshed.

As you’ll see from Stephen’s fea­ture, SIG Air is to­tally com­mit­ted to pro­duc­ing a sport­ing air­gun with top per­for­mance as stan­dard. That com­mit­ment is backed by gen­uine pas­sion, within the SIG Air divi­sion and all the way to the top of the par­ent com­pany. I know pas­sion when I see it. It’s a de­fin­able, tan­gi­ble, of­ten in­con­ve­nient, qual­ity that drives peo­ple to achieve what oth­ers can’t, and it can push a person way be­yond what most would con­sider rea­son­able.

BLESS­ING … OR AF­FLIC­TION

I’m blessed, some would say af­flicted, with an un­quench­able pas­sion for this sport of ours, and it’s al­ways in­cred­i­bly sat­is­fy­ing when I see that same un­rea­son­able de­sire in those who have an im­por­tant role in the fu­ture of air­gun­ning. Our sport is for­tu­nate, in­deed, to har­bour these un­rea­son­ably pas­sion­ate peo­ple, and I’m pleased to say we have plenty of them, at home and abroad. See­ing so many of them in one place at SIG SAUER head­quar­ters ac­tu­ally put a smile on my face for the du­ra­tion of that trip. That smile wasn’t gen­er­ated by sim­ple contentment, though. There was an en­tirely prac­ti­cal rea­son for it, and I’m now go­ing to try to pass my smile on to you.

VALU­ABLE AL­LIES

First, the fact that a com­pany the size and im­por­tance of SIG SAUER has in­vested so heav­ily in our sport, can only be a good thing. What you care about, you’ll de­fend, and the UK agent for SIG Air, High­land Out­doors, is in the charge of some­one I know to be fully ded­i­cated to pro­tect­ing and pro­mot­ing air­gun shoot­ing, and all shoot­ing sports. John Bright is the main man at High­land and I’ve known him for years. He’s been a shoot­ing en­thu­si­ast all of his life and he al­ways an­swers the call when ac­tion is re­quired. High­land Out­doors also owns Webley & Scott, so its air­gun pedi­gree is well es­tab­lished.

At SIG Air, I met Joe Hus­ton, the Gen­eral Man­ager of all things air­gun, and his for­mi­da­ble team of Dani Nav­ickas, Ed Shultz and Stephanie Kee, all of whom as af­flicted as I am by that strange pas­sion for air­guns. These are driven peo­ple, and they work un­der the care and con­trol of SIG SAUER Pres­i­dent and CEO, Ron Co­hen, who shares and fully sup­ports their pas­sion and en­thu­si­asm. SIG Air rep­re­sents a huge in­vest­ment in tech­nol­ogy, per­son­nel and pro­duc­tion time, and hav­ing seen, and shot, the re­sult of that in­vest­ment, I’m con­vinced the goals of the SIG Air team will be re­alised, and sur­passed. In short, it’s a great com­fort to have this com­pany and its peo­ple in­volved in our sport.

THE SIG AIR ASP20

Now for a change of tack, and an up­date on the Sig Air ASP20 ri­fle. Back on page 30, Stephen Archer sup­plies the tech­ni­cal back­ground, so to com­ple­ment that piece, here’s my take on how it han­dles and shoots.

Re­mem­ber, the .22 and .177 test ri­fles we had at our dis­posal at SIG Air were of US spec­i­fi­ca­tion, hi-power for­mat, but the sub-12 ft.lbs. ver­sion should be ready for test­ing in around six months, and after what I saw in New Hamp­shire, I’ll be all over that one. Un­til then, here are my im­pres­sions of what turned out to be a quite re­mark­able gas-ram air ri­fle.

ZON­ING IN

It’s not of­ten I get to test a 20 ft.lb., .177 that isn’t a PCP, so I gave the 23 ft.lb. .22 a quick, in­tense run-out, then set­tled for a longer haul be­hind the smaller cal­i­bre ri­fle and did my best to zone in to the ASP20. By ‘zone in’, I mean de­velop a feel for the man­ner in which it re­leased each shot, how its trig­ger

per­formed, how best to cre­ate and man­age an un­in­ter­rupted, straight-line re­coil, and ex­actly how much con­tact to ap­ply to the stock with my hands and face.

To my sur­prise, this process was all but com­plete in­side ten min­utes. Re­fine­ment would come in time, and the ad­di­tion of a shoot­ing jacket and a tar­get glove on my lead­ing hand would have fine-tuned things con­sid­er­ably, but I felt I was ready to pro­duce some cred­i­ble groups.

WHEN IT’S RIGHT, IT’S RIGHT

Per­haps the stars aligned, or maybe I was just in that zone in record time, but with Ed Shultz as my spot­ter and two types of pel­let on the bench be­side me, I be­gan to put to­gether some im­pres­sive clus­ters at 50 yards. The two types of pel­let cre­ated their sep­a­rate groups, but the po­ten­tial of the SIG Air ASP20 was there for all to see. My best ef­fort was 19mm cen­tre-to-cen­tre, and this group was pho­tographed, then cut out of the tar­get. I didn’t know it, but I’d be see­ing that group again, when it was shown to Ron Co­hen at din­ner that evening. His ex­cite­ment, and that of his team, at what the ASP20 could do was an­other great mo­ment of that up­lift­ing visit.

IM­PRES­SIONS

Even in its FAC spec’, the SIG Air ASP20 is a fully man­age­able ri­fle. It’s com­fort­able to cock, the re­coil is fast, but it doesn’t feel harsh, and I could see each pel­let splash as it ap­peared on the tar­get. Con­sid­er­ing the load it has to deal with, the SIG’s patented trig­ger sys­tem is pre­cise, crisp and en­tirely pre­dictable, and the whole ri­fle was build­ing con­fi­dence with ev­ery shot. I could have hon­estly stayed on that range for hours, and as stated, I can’t wait for the UK spec­i­fi­ca­tion ver­sion to hit these shores.

I’LL BE BACK

Should the op­por­tu­nity arise, I wouldn’t hes­i­tate to go back to SIG Air head­quar­ters and spend some se­ri­ous time on those test ranges. This is an ex­cit­ing com­pany to be around, and the peo­ple in charge of it can only strengthen our sport. Thanks, SIG Air – you made an un­rea­son­ably pas­sion­ate air­gun­ner an un­fairly happy man.

Dani Nav­ickas and John Bright dis­cuss ... well ev­ery­thing, re­ally.

Ready for the match drill process.

In the zone with the ASP20. Bring on the sub-12 ver­sion!

Trig­ger cas­sette and anti-bear trap mech­a­nism fit­ted - now for the gas-ram unit.

The won­ders of CNC tech­nol­ogy still amaze me.

The ASP20’s in­ge­nious cock­ing shoe.

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