BROTH­ERLY LOVE

Rus­sel Webb en­joys a fac­tory visit with his brother

Air Gunner - - Hunting -

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.

Hunts­man

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.

Ready fit­ted

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.

Cut­ting edge

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.

Tra­di­tion­al­ist

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

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