Gary Chilling­worth takes us through all he has learned in his new world

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Gary Chilling­worth on his 12 months as a springer shooter.

Well, here we are. I’ve now had a full year with my trusty springer and I have learned so much. My Air Arms TX200 HC has been my faith­ful shoot­ing com­pan­ion and, to be hon­est, I could not have been hap­pier. This ri­fle has revitalised my love of air­guns, and turn­ing to the dark side was the best thing I have done in ages. This month, we are go­ing to have a brief look back at what I got right and what I got wrong, and also talk about what the next 12 months might have to of­fer.

The first thing that I learned when shoot­ing springers was that there is a won­der­ful ca­ma­raderie amongst the com­peti­tors. I have had so much help from ev­ery­one and with­out this there is no way I could have achieved the stan­dard that I reached so quickly. The other thing I learned – and this is one of the most im­por­tant things – is not to lis­ten to ev­ery­thing you are told.


As many of you know, I am a com­pe­ti­tion shooter at heart and my main love is HFT. In the past, I have shot well with a PCP and this is be­cause you can rest the butt of the ri­fle on the ground, but al­most ev­ery high­level, spring- gun guru told me that this was not ad­vis­able, and I should shoot the ri­fle from the shoul­der and let the gun re­coil. The thing is, though, this is not 100% true and there are cer­tain guns that can shoot from the deck, with a bit of mod­i­fi­ca­tion.

For a spring gun to shoot rested on the floor, you need ei­ther to re­duce or ab­sorb the re­coil, and the se­cret to this is lu­bri­ca­tion and weight. Now, some spring guns use su­per-light­weight pis­tons and this is some­thing that I am re­search­ing at the mo­ment, but un­til I have a better un­der­stand­ing of it, I’m hold­ing off on writ­ing that ar­ti­cle.

The way it was ex­plained to me is to imag­ine the pis­ton and spring fly­ing around the in­side of your ri­fle. This will make the gun want to jump about, and so cause in­ac­cu­racy. The anal­ogy was, ‘ Take a shoe box, place a cricket ball in­side it and swing the box about. The weight of the ball will make the box move in your hands. So, you now have two choices, re­duce the weight of the ball, or in­crease the weight of the box – or prefer­ably, do both. If you have a big heavy box (stock), the ball (pis­ton and spring), will have less ef­fect on it and if your box is stan­dard, make the ball as light as pos­si­ble.


One of the best things I did was to get a CS1000 cus­tom stock, which is per­fect for me. It’s heavy enough to help to ab­sorb the re­coil, and light enough to make it us­able on a daily ba­sis. The other thing

“there are cer­tain guns that can shoot from the deck, with a bit of mod­i­fi­ca­tion”

“I now have a de­ci­sion to make. Do I con­tinue with all things boinger or go back to the world of PCP?”

that helped me learn how to tame the re­coil of a springer was a laser pointer and a smart­phone.

For those of you who did not read that ar­ti­cle, I re­peat; sim­ply at­tach a laser pointer to the front of your ri­fle with some tape and set up a smart­phone or cam­corder that can film in slow mo­tion, to film a piece of card, with a back­stop, about 20 yards away. Shoot the card and when you watch the footage back, you will see the way the laser point moves on the card. I found that by adding a si­lencer and a few strips of self­ad­he­sive wheel weights to the front of my TX, I could re­duce the muz­zle flip by 70%.

The next thing that I learned was not to be afraid of the in­ter­nals of a spring gun. The TX200 is one of the sim­plest ri­fles out there to work on, and for those of you who are get­ting into the world of springers, it re­ally should be your first port of call. To take a TX apart is simplicity it­self. Take the stock off – four bolts – then re­move the sin­gle bolt that holds ev­ery­thing in place, and that is it.


I can strip my TX in three min­utes and it’s the per­fect ri­fle for a be­gin­ner. Once it’s apart, the thing to learn is ‘ less is more’. When you get a new TX, the in­ter­nals will be very well lubri­cated and there is nothing wrong with this. When a spring gun comes from the fac­tory, it is set up to keep the gun in tip-top con­di­tion, no mat­ter how it’s treated. Some spring guns will never be taken apart and will be left in a cup­board and only shot now and then, and for this, heavy amounts of lu­bri­ca­tion is per­fect, but if you want to start tun­ing the gun and get­ting the very best from it, there is a mul­ti­tude of prod­ucts on the mar­ket, from greases like Kry­tox, all the way to the old re­li­able Moly.

No mat­ter what you use, I have found that less is al­ways better than more. If you have a new gun, take it apart – there are some great videos on how to do this on YouTube – give the in­ter­nals a good clean and de-grease, then re-lu­bri­cate with the prod­uct of your choice. If you are un­sure how to do this, speak to a qual­i­fied gun­smith.

The main ad­van­tage of re­duc­ing the amount of in­ter­nal lu­bri­ca­tion is con­sis­tency. I have found that if a ri­fle is heav­ily lubri­cated, this can af­fect power, de­pend­ing on tem­per­a­ture. As we all know, in cold weather lu­bri­cants thicken and

when they are hot they thin out. If you re­duce the amount of lu­bri­ca­tion you have, it will have less ef­fect on the ri­fle’s power, but re­mem­ber, if you re­duce the lube, you will need to re-ap­ply it more of­ten and if you don’t keep on top of it, you could dam­age your ri­fle.


For me, lu­bri­ca­tion has been the hard­est thing to get right. I moved away from Moly grease and moved over to Kry­tox and it has been a rev­e­la­tion. Ear­lier in the year, I sung its praises and I am still a fan, but I did make a few mis­takes.

Moly will last a long time and it seems to re­main slip­pery no mat­ter how many times you use your ri­fle, but Kry­tox seems to have a def­i­nite shelf life in the gun, and this is be­tween 500 and 1000 shots. I have found that af­ter this, the power starts to go up and down a lit­tle, and the gun feels harsh and will jump about.

The main thing was to learn how to shoot a springer and this was the largest learn­ing curve. Many peo­ple have told me that new shoot­ers should start with a springer be­cause it teaches good tech­nique, and I can see where they are com­ing from, but I dis­agree. I have jumped into the spring- gun world and from day one I have been able to com­pete with the big boys. Shoot­ers like Perry Broad, Nigel Wood and Rex Ben­net are at the top of the heap and I have stayed with them be­cause I learned on a PCP. I learned my craft with an easy gun and now that I am us­ing some­thing that is much harder to shoot, it’s eas­ier for me to mod­ify my style than it would be for a new shooter to pick up a springer and com­pete.


Ba­si­cally, I have loved my year of shoot­ing springers and I now have a de­ci­sion to make; do I con­tinue with all things boinger or go back to the world of PCP? Well, I think we all know the an­swer to that. For many years, I said that springers were evil and the spawn of Satan, but I have been cap­ti­vated. I prob­a­bly know 10% of what there is to learn, and it’s go­ing to take me an­other 10 years to learn half of the next 90%, but as I do, and with the help of you, the read­ers, I will pass on the in­for­ma­tion.

I am go­ing to give the spring gun ar­ti­cles a rest for a bit, though. As I said, my knowl­edge is in its in­fancy and I need to study be­fore writ­ing about the next stage, so for 2018 I shall go back to a se­ries that I started in 2014 – ‘ Be­gin­ners to Win­ners’, which looked at ev­ery­thing a new shooter would need to do and prac­tise to im­prove their knowl­edge and skills. Ev­ery year in the UK, the air­gun fam­ily gets big­ger and big­ger and there are peo­ple read­ing this magazine who had never even looked at an air­gun in 2014. Also, I have learned so much since then, and I think it’s time to take a sec­ond look. So, just like Brideshead, it’s go­ing to be ‘re­vis­ited’.

Winner at the Es­sex Open

The per­fect 60 with my TX, I never did it with a PCP

Me and my AA TX: a win­ning com­bi­na­tion

Kry­tox has worked for me, it’s con­sis­tent, but use spar­ingly Springers can be very ac­cu­rate Two of the best lu­bri­cants for spring guns

A good gun is im­por­tant; learn­ing how to hold it is es­sen­tial

A cam­era set up to record the laser point

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