ACCURACY MATTERS

Us­ing a Stock Raiser (Hamster) Part1 ‘El­e­vate to Ac­cu­mu­late’

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Mark Camoccio ex­plains the func­tion and ad­van­tages of a hamster

Whilst the air­gun mar­ket is now awash with elab­o­rately styled ri­fles, bristling with fea­tures and ac­ces­sories, sup­pos­edly to en­hance our shoot­ing, there is some­thing to be said for a slim­line, no- non­sense ri­fle that’s rel­a­tively light­weight and just does what you want it to, with­out com­pli­ca­tion.

MAIN AIM

A simple ap­proach, with cor­re­spond­ingly stream­lined kit can be re­fresh­ing, and I took this route for a while, us­ing an Air Arms S400, in the fac­tory wal­nut stock, us­ing it for just about ev­ery­thing, but there’s no doubt that for cer­tain ap­pli­ca­tions, ded­i­cated fea­tures have a part to play. De­cid­ing upon the gun’s pri­mary du­ties is per­haps the start­ing point, but if a de­mand­ing dis­ci­pline such as Hunter Field Tar­get shoot­ing ( HFT) is to be tack­led, then some ad­di­tions can be a big help.

HFT is a clas­sic ex­am­ple, and I’ve been tak­ing part for some years now, but I don’t mind ad­mit­ting that in the early stages, I con­sid­ered the ad­di­tion of a stock raiser or hamster, at the fore end, to be some­thing of a gim­mick, and not worth the has­sle. Yet, after nav­i­gat­ing ever more chal­leng­ing HFT tar­get cour­ses, I soon be­gan to see that my blink­ered sim­plis­tic ap­proach was hold­ing me back.

BENEFITS

Firstly, why the silly name ‘hamster’? This orig­i­nated from field tar­get; in the early days, some cus­tom stocks were sup­plied with a de­tach­able raiser block which sat just for­ward of the trig­ger. This de­vice, nor­mally made from wal­nut, would of­ten be kept in the shoot­ers pocket, and

brought out mainly for the stand­ing shots, snapped into place, the shot taken, and then it would be squeezed back into the pocket. The jokey name stuck, and the value of a raised, deeper fore end has grown ever since.

They’re far more likely to stay fixed to the gun th­ese days, too, be­cause the ben­e­fit of a much deeper sec­tion of fore end stock has been ap­pre­ci­ated by shoot­ers across the board. A trend for FT shoot­ers to set an ex­tremely high sight line and cheek piece ne­ces­si­tates a deep stock in gen­eral, and many top ex­po­nents have cus­tom stocks built that have an ul­tra- deep fore end as part of the over­all de­sign from the out­set. A deep stock and high sight line means that the shooter can be far less strained and crouched when in the aim, which all aids a more re­laxed ap­proach. The high sight line is of­ten tied in with the tra­jec­tory, but that’s an ar­ti­cle in it­self!

In the HFT world, whilst many match ri­fles are in use, there are far more slim- line sport­ing guns on the course, and here, the ad­di­tion of a stock raiser of some sort can pay div­i­dends. Rules stip­u­late that the deep­est sec­tion of the fore end must not ex­ceed 150mm, but that is quite ac­com­mo­dat­ing. What it re­ally comes down to is the fact that we need ex­tra height just for­ward of the trig­ger, so that when we en­counter el­e­vated targets, high up a tree for ex­am­ple, we have the sup­port where we need it. An overly shal­low stock makes that prospect a real strain, and yet take the same shot with a prop­erly deep stock or hamster fit­ted, and the dice rolls back in our favour.

CUS­TOM WORK

Some shoot­ers are more gifted than the rest of us, and are clever enough to be able to make their own cus­tom wood­work, and can in­cor­po­rate the↘

The Rise of the Hamster! Mark Camoccio looks at the benefits of this cu­ri­ously named ac­ces­sory

spe­cial, deep fore end sec­tion that is needed. Other in­di­vid­u­als on the FT scene have de­vised their own ad­justable mech­a­nisms, but again, HFT rules dic­tate that we aren’t al­lowed to ad­just any part of the gun for the du­ra­tion of a tour­na­ment. Spe­cial­ist com­pa­nies such as Rowan Engi­neer­ing, make a fully ad­justable mech­a­nism that can be sup­plied with or with­out the hamster block, but whilst this is per­fect for FT, it could be overkill for HFT, given the rule re­stric­tions as men­tioned. How­ever, it is a mar­vel of engi­neer­ing and still one to con­sider for those pre­pared to set it up, then leave it alone.

A sim­pler, yet equally well- made add- on comes from Air Arms, in the form of their ‘Palm Shelf Kit’ sold sim­ply to bolt straight onto the ac­ces­sory rail of their HFT500, as well as any other gun that has a stan­dard rail. This ac­ces­sory can be ef­fec­tively height ad­justed us­ing a se­ries of small blocks, and again, of­fers a pro­fes­sional look and feel.

Next month, I’ll look at some rel­a­tively simple DIY to make your own stock raiser, for those pre­pared to take a drill to their prized ri­fle, that is! ■

“Other in­di­vid­u­als on the FT scene have de­vised their own ad­justable mech­a­nisms”

ABOVE: One of my Air Arms hy­brids with a cus­tom-made hamster

LEFT: For those skilled enough, a cus­tom stock is the an­swer

ABOVE INSET: A cus­tom stock can be just how you want it to be

ABOVE: The Palm Shelf Kit from Air Arms – an off- the- shelf solution

ABOVE: HFT shooter has min­imised weight with a hol­lowed hamster sec­tion

BELOW: Some clever FT shoot­ers have built their own ad­justable stock mech­a­nisms

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