CHAR­LIE PORTLOCK

Pay at­ten­tion to your wood­land, says Char­lie. Mast is the key to where the squir­rels are feed­ing

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Air­guns have been steadily gain­ing a fol­low­ing in the USA over the last few years, es­pe­cially for small-game hunt­ing. There are prac­ti­cal rea­sons; lower power and a low sound sig­na­ture makes them ideal for hunt­ing in more built-up ar­eas, not to men­tion the low cost and avail­abil­ity of ammo. How­ever, an­other mo­ti­va­tion is less tan­gi­ble; air­guns are more chal­leng­ing, more fun, and push you to be a bet­ter hunter, but there is a bar­rier for many new shoot­ers in North Amer­ica, the costs as­so­ci­ated with the sport. As with al­most any av­o­ca­tion, the en­thu­si­ast is of­ten will­ing to pay a premium to out­fit them­selves well, but for some­one who wants to test the wa­ters, sticker shock can hit hard. We can buy a .22 rim­fire ri­fle for about a third of the cost of most de­cent qual­ity air­guns and they are more ac­ces­si­ble for many. So, we are not forced into air­guns and have more op­tions avail­able than are found in other coun­tries where air­gun­ning is pop­u­lar.

Yet, as I talk to those from the main­stream hunt­ing com­mu­nity, I in­vari­ably hear these folks say­ing they’d like to have a go with an air ri­fle, and the more air­gun hunters we have, the more our fish and game ser­vices will cater to this seg­ment of the hunt­ing fra­ter­nity, per­haps even­tu­ally giv­ing us our own sea­sons, much like bowhunters. Even though I have some 40-50 air ri­fles in my col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing some very high- end mod­els, when I heard about the Diana Storm­rider I was very in­ter­ested. First, I’ve had good ex­pe­ri­ence with the brand and own a cou­ple Diana springers that are great ri­fles, and se­condly, be­cause the spec­i­fi­ca­tions and po­si­tion­ing of this ri­fle will help to make PCPs ac­ces­si­ble.

GET­TING FA­MIL­IAR

My in­tent is not to pro­vide an in- depth re­view, but I spent a cou­ple of range ses­sions sight­ing in and fa­mil­iaris­ing my­self with the ri­fle be­fore tak­ing it hunt­ing. The Storm­rider is a sleek, light­weight (ap­prox. 6lb) ri­fle, dressed in a nice- qual­ity hard­wood stock with sharp ma­chine- cut chec­quer­ing. The bolt ac­tion is easy to cy­cle with a fairly good tac­tile re­sponse – a bit stiff, al­though it seems to be light­en­ing up as I shoot it. The ri­fle ships with both a sin­gle-shot tray and a sev­en­shot magazine, in the .22 ver­sion I was sent. The small­ish di­am­e­ter air reser­voir

The con­trols for this ri­fle are er­gonom­i­cally po­si­tioned

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