Airgun Shooter

INSIGHTS FROM A TRUE AIRGUN INSIDER

Mat Manning talks innovation, electronic­s and future developmen­ts with airgun aficionado Tony Belas of Daystate, Brocock and MTC Optics

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Tony Belas knows a lot about airguns. Not only has he worked for British gunmaker Daystate for more than two decades, he has also been a very keen shooter since he was just 12 years old. From humble beginnings with an Original Model 22, Tony joined the Royal British Legion shooting team where he specialise­d in .22 LR and went on to become an under-15 champion. In 1972 he joined the British Army for a 22-year career in the Queen’s Regiment and continued his shooting passion, eventually becoming a coach on his regimental shooting team. In 1986 Tony embraced the rapidly growing air rifle Field Target shooting scene, which gave him his introducti­on to Daystate pre-charged air rifles. He went on to shoot as a member of the Daystate FT team and eventually joined the business in 2000.

In the 20 years following his appointmen­t, Tony has had numerous roles at Daystate, which now also encompasse­s Brocock airguns and MTC Optics. He currently heads up media and marketing, with a focus on social media for the three companies.

Daystate has a global reputation for pushing the boundaries of airgun design, initially with the introducti­on of electronic internals and most recently with the launch of its groundbrea­king Delta Wolf, and Tony has been very closely involved with these remarkable projects. With all that in mind, I decided to pick his brains about the modern airgun scene and where it might be going.

MAT: Which airgun in the Daystate or Brocock line-up are you most proud of and why?

TONY: I think the Red Wolf. I was closely involved with electronic developmen­t back in its early days and the latest Red Wolf Heritage really is the apex of that developmen­t. As for Brocock, I love the Safari XR as the semi-bullpup idea was the end design from the mid-90s bullpup SR92 rifle, yet the final semi-bullpup version did not make it to market. The fact that the concept was picked up and developed years later by the current team and has done so magnificen­tly is immensely satisfying and makes me want to go back to the 1995 team and say: “See – we were on the right track after all!”

TONY HAS BEEN VERY CLOSELY INVOLVED WITH THESE REMARKABLE PROJECTS

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