The editor embraces change and applauds a remarkable man
As I write, the long, hot days of our remarkable summer have finally given way to early autumn. Mornings are decidedly damp and misty, and there’s definitely a nip in the air for those of us who are up and about at first light. My boots land more softly now, as I stalk around my shoots, and the heady scent of the fields and woods has become richer. I’ll soon be out at night, still mainly with the lamp, but the creeping tide of technology has carried away most of my shooting mates, and they’re now committed night-vision and thermal hardware users. I’ll have to make the move, soon, no doubt about it.
Progress and change is one of the aspects of our sport, and of life itself, we just have to accept, even when we’d rather things remained comfortably familiar, but as you’ll see in this issue, I’m at last coming to terms with that, and so can my fellow time-warp airgunners.
ALMOST EVERYTHING CHANGES
During my half-century or so of ‘serious’ airgun use, I’ve seen so many changes and so much progress, at least in terms of hardware quality and performance. Airguns, and their users, can now actually do most of the things some of the ‘less realistic’ shooters of yesteryear claimed they could. Neither can reliably fulfil the claims still so unwisely made by certain people, mainly on the Internet it has to be said, but as far as technology goes, we’ve never had it so good.
BUT SOME THINGS DON’T
One aspect of our sport that remains a greater challenge than it’s ever been, is finding permission to hunt, and if ever inspiration were needed, last month’s magazine had pages of it. I’m talking about disabled shooter, Russ Douglas, and his remarkable hunting exploits.
Russ is a young man who has more than his share of challenges, just to do what most of us take for granted, but he never allows his disability to stop him. Russ is a modest, determined, hardworking person, who puts a great deal of thought, planning and energy into his airgunning, and it’s that combination, plus his amiable nature and willingness to give anything a go, that gets him where he is.
Russ would be the first to tell you, ‘if I can do it, so can you.’ He’s right, and I applaud him for his ‘can-do’ attitude. Well done, Russ, you’re an example to us all, mate.
YET MORE CHANGES
Back to things that have changed, and something personal for me. I used to actively dislike the so-called ‘tactical’ rifles, and now I genuinely do not. They’ll never be ‘old Betsy’, because they are products of practicality, with minimal concessions to sporting style, but there’s no denying how effective these rifles can be. I’ve tested enough of them now to truthfully change my stance on them, and not before time, actually.
Yes, looks and the moveable feast that is style will always be vital components of our sport, but function is absolutely key, and many of these tactical rifles perform to a remarkable standard. Long may our airgun varieties continue to spice up our sporting lives!
All the best.
My animosity toward tactical rifles has finally ended – and not before time.
Russ Douglas is a total inspiration.
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