Gadgets and Gizmos
Russ Douglas shares some handy, cheap accessories which have helped his shooting
Russ Douglas shares some of the great little bargains he’s discovered
Airgun shooting is one of the most affordable branches of our wonderful sport, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t save a few quid where we can. Over the last couple of years, I’ve discovered some great little gadgets and gear that help me keep costs down, and performance up - and here is a selection for your consideration.
PERFECT FOR PISTOLS
I like to keep an eye on my local Lidl because the hardware section sometimes has some gems. My eyes lit up recently when I saw a lockable, slim, alloy briefcase – think pistol storage – originally intended as a coin collector’s case. The lid was already lined with plain foam, and I lined the bottom with some eggshell foam I had saved. The case can fit up to four compact pistols, or two larger-framed pistols (e.g. Crosman 1322s or HW75s). I was going to bin the four partitioned coin trays, until I realised that they were perfect for keeping components tidy when servicing guns, or even for segregation during pellet weighing sessions.
I’m sure you’ll know that coated lead BBs are safest for use with CO2 BB pistols, removing the risk of dangerous ricochets, but for those still using steel BBs, aside from the essential safety eyewear there’s the additional
inconvenience of finding the little blighters all over the place. Thankfully, our loft bedroom has short-pile carpet. I was in my local general housekeeping-cum-ironmongery store, when I spotted a solution. The telescopic magnetic grabber has a rubberised grip, and even a light within the tip to help spot errant steel shot – job done!
PELLET QUALITY CONTROL
Back when I had ‘attempting HFT’ in mind, I wanted to trial which pellet brand/size/weight produces the best groups. For the latter, I got myself some handy pellet scales from Amazon, which come with their own 50g calibration weight and display in g, oz, ozt, ct, dwt and of course, grains. Some cheap illuminated tweezers from the hardware store are perfect for pellet selection and discarding the deformed, too.
SCOPE ALIGNMENT CHEAT
Handily, when I ordered my Wildcat (specifying Picatinny/Weaver mounting rail) I found to my delight that the box included the alternative 11mm dovetail rail – normally £69 extra. So swapping rails and mounted scopes
is relatively easy by loosening two Allen bolts, plus a gentle tap from a gunsmith’s rubber mallet.
I swapped the rail over, trialling the wide-angle MTC Viper-X Connect, because I found my Hawke Vantage 3-12 x 50 too narrow a view in the HFT woods at 10 x mag. To speed up scope alignment and reticle verticality, I slipped a slim Post-It-style pad between the flat scope saddle underside and the mount, adjusting the number of notes until the fit was snug – job done, and easily repeatable.
CAMOUFLAGED, AND QUIET TOO
I recently got some new crutches, powdercoated here in Aberdeenshire, which was cheaper and more convenient than sending the outer tubes down to Manchester for anodising. Either way, the inconvenience is still drilling out the rivets beforehand, and re-rivetting them upon receipt. Once done, I repurposed my now scratched, everyday crutches with two rolls of self-sticking cammo tape. They’re now camouflaged and quiet, and the tape provides both a warmer ‘soft-touch’ and soft matte, padded surface finish. Dedicated Pest Control Permission crutches = result!
TRIGGER STICKS UPGRADED
Following on from my new permission/back garden stakeout article in this issue (see page 50), I realised that my Trigger Sticks would benefit from going stealthy too. Cue using a third roll of cammo tape to camouflage and silence the hollow, noisy tubes. The upper legs can’t be taped due to the telescopic design, but this should all help to keep me stealthy as I try to move the sticks back and forth quietly, within my portable hide on rabbit stakeouts.
Hope these tips are of use to some of you, and as always – enjoy your shooting.I
ABOVE: … ideal with the scales. INSET: … or £5 with illumination?
Repurposed ‘coin case’.
Result – but only with steel BBs.
Post-It notes to align scope and mount = genius!
Old crutches, before and after stealthing.
Even the Trigger Sticks got the camo treatment.
Who knew B&Q would have affordable gunsmith’s mallets!