Russel Webb enjoys a factory visit with his brother
One of the great pleasures of shooting sports is being able to share my interest with other like-minded people, and this is one of the many good reasons that I always recommend joining a shooting club, such as the MidShires Marksmen, of which I’m a member. (www.midshiresmarksmen.co.uk) Belonging to a club gives the opportunity for banter, to gain advice or to share ideas with your fellow members. I was therefore very pleased when my brother, Kevin, told me he had recently bought himself an air rifle. I thought it was about time. I was also very surprised because previously his interest in shooting had been limited to breaking clay pigeons with a 12-bore shotgun. When Kevin told me he had bought a Daystate Huntsman Regal from a work colleague, my surprise turned to a little bit of jealousy. I have always admired the Regal and its predecessor, the Huntsman, for their sleek good looks and when my finances allowed promised myself that I would invest in one. So it was with mixed feelings that I congratulated Kevin on his excellent choice of air rifle.
The Huntsman was a classic air rifle and it would have been very challenging for Daystate to upgrade it, so the Regal is more of a natural progression rather than a radical update. The Regal has the same sporting lines as the Huntsman, the main difference being the extension to the air reservoir, which gives an increased shot count. Kevin has the .177 version of the Regal and this should give around 80 shots per charge, which is more than enough for any hunting session. One very definite advantage the Regal has over
“previously his interest in shooting had been limited to breaking clay pigeons with a 12 bore shotgun”
the Huntsman is the wrap-around chequering on the stock. Minnelli, the Italian stockmaker, has developed a laser that was used for the wraparound chequering, and also the ‘ R’ on the grip. I did try to persuade my brother that the ‘ R’ stood for ‘ Russel’, but unfortunately, I could not convince him. The Regal version of the Harper Slingshot micro valve is made from titanium, and combined with a number of other enhancements this gives the valve a quicker and more consistent cycle. This allows the valve to open and close faster, with reduced loss of air between shots.
As Kevin was completely new to the world of PCP air rifles, I did wonder if he would find it difficult to load the magazine. His experience had been limited to loading cartridges into the breech of a shotgun, and I know from personal experience that some PCP magazines can be very fiddly to load and need to have the pellets seated properly. However, he has loaded the Daystate magazine numerous times without a hitch, which I think says a great deal about the magazine’s ease of use. One of the features on the Daystate magazine I particularly like is the small cut-away that helps pellet insertion; this makes loading the magazine very easy, a bonus in the cold weather of the British winter when your fingers have no feeling. Kevin said he found the Regal very easy to fill due to the standard, snapfit filling system concealed behind a pull- off protective cover. After trying several different brands of pellet, Kevin is currently getting very good results by using the Daystate Sovereign Rangemasters.
The Regal had a set of sling swivels already fitted when Kevin bought it, and the best advice I could give him was to buy a sling with some padding on it. Although a padded rifle sling may cost a little bit more, the extra padding makes carrying the rifle a lot easier to carry. There is a very good range of padded rifle slings available to buy on the Deben website. www. deben.com I use the Raptor sling APG on my rifle because the non-slip shoulder pad distributes the weight evenly, which helps to reduce fatigue on an all- day hunting session.
At this year’s Tackle and Gun show, I discussed my brother’s Regal with Tony Belas, the head man at Daystate. Tony suggested that as it was about
three years old it, the rifle would benefit from a service, and he invited me to the Daystate factory to watch the work being done. Getting your rifle professionally serviced regularly is a good investment. Having every part of the rifle checked and correctly lubed improves reliability and avoids excessive wear. Most modern PCPs cost at least £ 600, so this has to be seen as a wise investment. Daystate have their UK manufacturing base in the Midlands, just north of Stoke, so several weeks later I made the journey north with my brother’s Regal locked safely in the car boot.
Daystate are world renowned for their innovative and cutting- edge air rifles, such as the Wolverine and the new Pulsar, and I was very excited at the prospect of spending a day with Tony Belas to get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the factory. I had seen Tony on the Internet on numerous occasions talking about the Daystate range of air rifles, but as an air rifle shooter, I was keen to find out just what it takes to be the boss of one of the UK’s premier air rifle manufacturers. Tony explained that his interest in shooting started at the age of 12 with an Original 22 and continued during the 22 years he served in the British Army. Whilst in the army, Tony shot a variety of powder- burning rifles, but enjoyed shooting air rifles as a hobby away from the very formal atmosphere of military shooting. After leaving the army, he had a very successful business career before joining Daystate in the year 2000. Daystate began manufacturing PCP air rifles back in the 1970s. The company originally made tranquiliser guns using BRNO rimfire rifles, but when 42 barrels were left over from the manufacture of a batch of tranquiliser guns, the company made 42 airguns. One of the original Daystate air rifles, gun number 10, made in 1978, is on display in Daystate’s head office alongside the revolutionary new Pulsar, which has been described as the world’s most advanced airgun.
I have to confess that when I first saw the Pulsar being used on the range at my club I was not overly impressed by it. I’m a traditionalist and I like a rifle with a nice wooden stock, preferably one made out of walnut, so the bullpup design of the Pulsar with a laminate stock and a pistol-type did not initially appeal to me, but then I shot a Pulsar and all my prejudices went straight out of the window. I had imagined that the absence of a wooden stock with a raised cheek piece would somehow make the rifle very uncomfortable to use, but I could not have been more wrong. I was very pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the rifle was to shoot, and of course, like all Daystates, it was incredibly accurate. During my visit to the Daystate factory, I watched these incredible new air rifles being manufactured, but I will tell you more about that next time.
“as it was about three years old it, the rifle would benefit from a service and invited me to the Daystate factory to watch the work being done”
Above: My brother appreciated the simple connector
Left: The Daystate mag’ is easy to load
Below: The Huntsman is a sweet rifle and one I’d like to own
Above: I was hoping this gun could be mine, but my brother isn’t that silly
Above: Tony was a great host and i’m grateful to him
Left: The workshop was buzzing as we visited