What’s Going On?
The Editor takes us round the airgun exhibits at this year’s British Shooting Show
All the news from the British Shooting Show - full report from the editor
Here we go, then, and my first stop is the Air Arms stand, where MD Claire West is flashing her famous smile and checking last-minute details before the flood of show-goers hits her company’s superb display. While I ponce a coffee, this world’s greatest living airgunner, Nick Jenkinson, gives me a mini-tour of the
new, regulated, Ultimate Sporters. ‘Bit special, these, Terry,’ says Nick, smiling the smile of the satisfied genius, and he’s right. Initial reports are declaring single-figure variation in the latest rifles’ shot-to-shot output, plus a significant increase of ‘perfect’ shots per charge. Add the adjustable gun fit and the incredible control it brings, and it’s easy to see why even the unflappable Nick is visibly excited about this development.
My next stop was the huge BSA/Gamo exhibit and I went straight to the star of this particular stand, the new Defiant bullpup PCP. Three examples were on show and my eye was drawn to the laminated version, with its regulated, side-lever action, shrouded barrel with silencer, and a scope mount that seemed to straddle the rifle’s air reservoir. All three variations had ambidextrous stocks, adjustable butt pads and ‘soft touch’ cheek pieces, with the laminated version priced at £1099 and the walnut and Soft Touch models, £1049. A full test has been arranged, so look out for that.
WEBLEY AVENGER 12
We do love a versatile PCP pistol, these days, and Webley seem to have come up with something that will definitely appeal to this market. Their new Eclipse, with its removable, adjustable, ambi’ shoulder stock, 12-shot magazine in .22, 14-shot in .177, side-lever action and 5.5 ft.lbs. of muzzle energy, will retail for £449.99, and there will be no shortage of takers for this one.
TO HULL AND BACK
A short diversion to the Hull Cartridge Company stand earned me an audience with Hans Weihrauch, and he confirmed that
supplies of his company’s HW40 pistol were now coping with the UK demand for this remarkable PCP. As we spoke, my attention was captured by the latest incarnation of the permanently popular Weihrauch HW30, the junior break-barrel that seems to be the fun-gun of choice for so many fully-grown airgunners. Now available with an ambidextrous, synthetic stock, this mini supergun will appeal to even more of us, in the UK and far beyond.
DAYSTATE’S BIG GUNS
I tried several times to get a conversation going with Terence Hogan of Daystate, but he was permanently occupied with customers enquiring about the new Wolverine R and Red Wolf rifles, so I decided to head over to the ranges to watch members of the public shooting these Daystates, after which I vox-popped a few to see what they thought. Pat from Wigan told me, ‘That Wolverine is a machine! The instructor told me where to aim, but I was not only hitting the targets, I was hitting the same pellet marks!’ Another shooter, who had made the trip from Newcastle, said, ‘I could have stayed on that range all day! I can’t believe how well those Wolverines handle, too. If our lass reads this, she already knows what I want for my birthday!’
There’s always something of interest on the Ronnie Sunshine’s stand, and this time it was a wonderful gesture of support for our troops. A fully-customised, one-off BSA Scorpion has been fitted with a regulator, plus an extended air reservoir, and boasts a polished, engraved action, ambi’ laminated stock and custom silencer. The rifle comes fitted with a Hawke AirMax scope and Sportsmatch mounts, and it’s all presented in a padded hard case, but the best news is, every penny raised from its £20 a ticket raffle will go to the Royal British Legion, which works so hard to support our service personnel. I bought a ticket – I hope you will too. Contact the Ronnie Sunshine’s crew to do just that.
NEW JACK PYKE GEAR
Next stop was the Jack Pyke stand, where a chat with Glenn and Gavin revealed a whole range of new products, including their latest English Oak Evolution camouflage pattern. From what I saw at the show, the ongoing popularity of the Jack Pyke brand will be gathering pace, thanks to the company’s
response to the feedback it gets from its huge customer database, and consultants like our own Phil Hardman and Mick Garvey, plus more expert input from Air Gunner’s Eddie Jones, and the pigeonshooting maestro that is Andy Crow. I took away a couple of items for testing, so they’ll make an appearance very soon.
SOME SPECIAL FX
On to the A.S.I. stand, where pride of place was given to this month’s Editor’s Test subject, the FX Airgun’s Crown. You can read all about this truly groundbreaking rifle, starting on page 18 of this issue, but anyone who got to handle one at the show would have been as astounded as I was at how light and handy the Crown is. In this age of air-powered superguns, the Crown is pushing the features envelope ever further. There’s more to A.S.I. than meets the eye, and I’m working on a full, behind-the-scenes feature that will reveal just how well this company takes care of its customers.
The pre-show gossip flowed, as it always does, and plenty of it was focused on what the Sterling Arms Company would bring to the table. Well, Sterling didn’t disappoint, with not one, but three new rifles, and the Sterling hat-trick was just about as diverse as it could be. We were shown a sporting PCP rifle with an electronic action, a ‘tribute’ to the vintage Webley MKII, and a side-lever cocking, twin gas-ram piston, recoilless rifle. Yes, you read that last bit correctly, and as soon as any of those rifles are available, we’ll be testing them for you.
The Umarex stand was vast and unmissable, with rack upon rack of worldwide best-sellers on display, but my interest centred immediately on the new, CO2-powered, RP5 pistol. Paddy Egan and his UBC chums wangled the first range test of the pumpaction, 5-shot RP5, and their findings can be found on page 47. I had a play with the new pistol, and with its shoulder stock accessory I found it rock-solid on aim. There are some
interesting plans for the RP5, and if Umarex can bring it in for anything close to the planned £250, it has to be a winner.
The Highland Outdoors stand was comprehensively kitted out, as it always is, but the permanent queue at the Sig Sauer demonstration lane diverted me immediately. Here I found, and shot, the new ASP 20 gas-ram break-barrel, and it’s an impressive rifle, indeed. I spoke to Sig Sauer’s airguns Project Manager, Dani Navickas, after my demo and she provided a slideshow of the rifle’s technical functions, including the Sig’s seriously trick trigger arrangement. This combines total safety with precision in a way I’ve never seen before, plus indisputable proof that the ASP 20 is a rifle that has been developed up to a standard, rather than down to a price point. Yet another airgun I can’t wait to try.
HAWKES ARE FLYING
All of this top air rifle tech needs direction, of course, and that’s where scope specialists, Hawke, come in. The Hawke of today really does have a sight for pretty much everything you can do with an airgun, and the latest range of Sidewinder FFP - First Focal Plane - scopes has, literally, added a new dimension to the company’s product line-up. I’m a big fan of FFP scopes, where everything in the field of view stays relative throughout the scope’s magnification range, and a box of these Sidewinders has just arrived in the office, so we’ll be studying those in the very near future.
Within our industry, no company exudes more energy and enthusiasm than Scott Country. There’s always something going on in and around their mobile exhibit, and if I could have made it through the crowd, I’m sure I could list the new products. The fact is, this stand attracts so much interest that every time I got there it was packed with punters. I know Scott Country had an incredibly successful show, as did everyone I spoke to, and like me, they are all looking forward to next year’s event.
AND FINALLY …
To everyone who came to the Airgun World / Air Gunner stand to see us, thank you so much for the kind words and constructive criticism; I promise we’ll consider them all. We’ve already decided to commission a series on what to look for in a second-hand purchase, plus more types of DIY fixes that any airgunner can do. Please keep that input coming, it’s absolutely priceless.
My final thoughts on the British Shooting Show 2018 are as simple as I am. As I said at the start, our sport needs this event to become a permanent fixture, and from what I’ve seen so far, it has every chance of becoming just that. Well done, everyone – and roll on next year!
A.S.I. had this month’s cover star on display, and it amazed all who handled it.
Plenty of new gear on approach from Jack Pyke - and we already have some, so keep ‘em peeled for reviews.
What a fantastic gesture from the Ronnie Sunshine’s crew.
Sterling Armaments gave us not one, but three new rifles, plus a reminder of their HR81 of yesteryear.
Webley has its finger on the pistol pulse, courtesy of the new Eclipse.
Here’s where the magic happens. I watched a chap hitting target after target with the new Daystate Wolverine R.
Weihrauch will broaden the already wide appeal of its HW30, with the introduction of a synthetic, ambi’ stock.
Hans Weihrauch (right) and Thilo Shallenkammer flew over from HW headquarters to check out the show, and liked what they saw.
The Air Arms Ultimate Sporter has become even more ‘ultimate’ with the inclusion of a regulator. Rolling development keeps on rolling.
There was immense interest in the Defiant, BSA’s first bullpup and a genuine candidate for the company’s ‘flagship’ status.
Pistol potential. This Umarex RP5 is already attracting tremendous interest. Find out more on page 47.
A & M were besieged by potential customers throughout the show.
Scott Country’s Paul Stewart does his famous Elvis impression to entertain the crowds.
Sig Sauer s airguns Project Manager, Dani Navickas, knows the company’s ASP 20 inside-out.
Hawke’s Sidewinder FFP scopes drew intense interest, and I can literally see why.