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
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