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Night vision rabbit hunt!

Use the cover of darkness to boost your bag of bunnies • ATN X-Sight II HD long-term review



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SCOPE secrets ■ How to choose a telescopic sight ■ How to get the best out of your optic ■ Find the features you really need


ZBROIA HORTITSIA Straight shooting with a straight-pull sporter SUPERTEST

THERMAL IMAGERS The heat is on as four devices go head to head

Issue 107


• Choose a scope for springer HFT • Tune a springer for competition • Field Target rangefinding skills

Editor’s letter

ISSUE 107 May 2018 Meet the TEAM Editor-At-Large MAT MANNING An author, journalist and countryman with over 30 years’ shooting experience, Mat is a world-leading authority on hunting.

Contributor Chris Wheeler


Chris has been into airguns for more than 40 years, and in recent years hunting with PCPs has become a passion.

Are there any types of shots you really dislike taking? For many people, me included, the unsupported standing shot is usually top of the list. The only time my standard of shooting was even vaguely acceptable in terms of standers was when I used to shoot Light Sporting Rifle and practised on a regular basis. Those days are long behind me now, but every now and then I get possessed by some mad urge to test myself with what for me is this most tricky of shots. I recently set up a spinner on one of my permissions, accompanied by two shooting buddies, with all of us sharing a gas-ram. Of the three of us, I have the most shooting experience by far and managed six hits out of 10 – a score I was pleased with considering my fear of standers. The next of us to shoot managed two hits, while the person with the least amount of experience got an incredible nine out of 10! Not only that, but his shooting stance was ‘wrong’, with his body facing the target instead of being turned to the side and him using a double-handed

CONTRIBUTOR Richard Saunders RICHARD is a journalist , author and airgun hunter who’s been creeping about the undergrowth with his rifle for more than 30 years.

Contributor Jonathan young Jonathan has a lifelong interest in shooting and weapons history, and loves collecting airguns as well as shooting them.

Contributor Andy McLachlan ANDY is the man to help you get a competitive edge. While he’s happiest shooting HFT, he has been known to dabble in FT too.

pistol grip on the sporter stock instead of holding it like a rifle. But what did that matter? It was a phenomenal feat of shooting, and proved to me that while there may be several established methods of achieving an objective, the only ‘right’ way is the one that works for you. I hope he reads this and smiles knowingly. That wasn’t the end of it, though. I’ve seen the same friend pick up that rifle on other occasions (but not often!) and get some amazing results with it, looking relaxed, completely unhurried and totally at ease. While many of us have to work hard to perfect our technique, he’s a natural. As for the rest of us? Well, I know it’s time for me to get back out there and practise!

Mike Morton,Editor-in-Chief

Two airgun specials When

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Editor-at-Large Mat Manning Art Editor Steve Mumby Operations Editor Richard Hill Senior Art Editor Stephen Williams Contributors Simon Everett, Andy McGarty, Andy McLachlan, Richard Saunders, Chris Wheeler, Jonathan Young Photography Olly Curtis, James Sheppard All copyrights and trademarks are recognised and respected Advertising Media packs are available on request Commercial Director Clare Dove Senior Advertising Manager Toni Cole 01225 687394 Account Manager Callum Madden 01225 687436 Account Manager Chetna Shukla 01225 687429 International Airgun Shooter is available for licensing. Contact the International department to discuss partnership opportunities International Licensing Director Matt Ellis Subscriptions Email enquiries UK orderline & enquiries 0344 848 2852 Overseas order line and enquiries +44 (0)344 848 2852 Online orders & enquiries Head of subscriptions Sharon Todd Circulation Head of Newstrade Tim Mathers Production Head of Production Mark Constance Production Project Manager Clare Scott Advertising Production Manager Joanne Crosby Digital Editions Controller Jason Hudson Production Controller Nola Cokely Management Managing Director Aaron Asadi Commercial Finance Director Dan Jotcham Editorial Director Paul Newman Head of Art & Design Greg Whittaker Printed by William Gibbons & Sons Ltd Distributed by Marketforce, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HU Tel: 0203 787 9060 ISSN 2042664 We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. The manufacturing paper mill holds full FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification and accreditation


A telescopic sight has a simple job to do, but the terminology can be a bit daunting. Explore the basic features as we simplify scope selection

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Scope secrets

Every month…

8 Zeroing In

Adopt a disguise with a ghillie suit, explore an underground shooting club and discover the latest airgun releases, hot from the British Shooting Show.


24 Letters

The value of sorting your pellets and a clever glove option





You could win a LaserBallistics 1000 rangefinder, courtesy of ATN

Get two bumper airgun specials when you subscribe today!

67 Airgun Answers

Our expert panel solves your shooting problems, including: the secrets of anti-cant devices; how to find your dominant eye for shooting; taking control of point of impact; and the hazards of belt buckles. Plus legal advice from the BASC Airgun Team

87 Reader ads

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90 The Gun Room

Take a trip back in time as we revisit a classic British sidelever springer from Webley

Issue 107 May 2018

Especially For HFT


Your all-new guide to HFT and everything target-related!

54 Fundamentals A group of seasoned HFT shooters get to grips with Field Target competition – and discover more than they’d bargained for


57 Springers into action

The Countryman

Commissioning a tune-up for a springer rifle pays dividends

Mat Manning gears up with night vision to take on a rabbit infestation

60 Close-up on scopes

Andy McLachlan turns to Hawke as he searches for a smaller, lighter scope for this season’s spring-powered competition rifle


New airguns for 2018 The hottest new airgun releases for the coming 12 months, direct from the British Shooting Show

TEsting Station 100% independent reviews

72 Zbroia Hortitsia

Mike Morton gets his hands on an Eastern European sporter that swaps the regular turnbolt or sidelever action in favour of a fast-firing straight-pull action – and discovers a rifle that that handles well, is easy to shoot and delivers good accuracy with the right pellets

78 ATN X-Sight II HD

This digital night vision optic goes under a long-term test

Test: Thermal imagers 82 Group

Four convenient devices that help you locate your quarry by day or night that are more affordable than you might think


ATN X-Sight II HD Mat Manning has been using this NV optic for two years – that’s what we call a thorough test


Zeroing In KIT / News / People / events / insight


ALL GHILLIED UP Looking to stay away from the prying eyes of wary quarry? Mike Morton reckons you’ll want to try this ghillie suit from In Your Sights on for size


ne of the key factors that can give away a hunter’s position is his or her shape. Anything that does not blend in with the natural surroundings may set alarm bells ringing in your quarry – and that can make all the difference between bagging one for the cooking pot or going home empty-handed. So how can you best break up the human outline? Natural concealment is one way, while bringing and wearing your own is another – one example of which is the ghillie suit. The idea here is to break up your outline using physical threedimensional materials rather than relying on regular camouflage patterned clothing. A ghillie suit will also sway in the wind in the same way as the surrounding foliage, further assisting concealment. ‘Ghillie’ is a derivation of a Scottish Gaelic term for a ‘servant’ or ‘lad’ – in this case meaning a traditional Scottish gamekeeper who would take people out deerstalking. It wasn’t long before the Army recognised the importance of the ghillie suit, with the Lovat Scouts using them in the Boer War; today the ghillie suit is usually associated with the military sniper rather than the civilian hunter.


So should the airgun hunter wear one? Yes, why not? The purpose of a ghillie suit in an airgun hunting environment remains the same – to conceal the shooter from his quarry, not turn them into some sort of wannabe military sniper. How about this suit from In Your Sights? It offers a jacket, trousers and head cover with integrated face veil. It also provides some wrapping material for your rifle – something that can be a massive giveaway, even when the shooter is wellconcealed themselves. It’s a one-sizefits-all affair that is intended to be worn over regular clothing, and the looser the fit, the more natural it looks. It’s comfortable to wear and it’s easy enough to look through a scope while peering through the face veil material. A ghillie suit will most naturally be used by a prone shooter, presenting his front towards the quarry. The suit does a good job of covering this area, but if I had to nitpick, I’d like to have seen a bit more foliage material over the shoulders and upper back. The trousers, in contrast, offer fuller foliage. If you’re finding it hard to keep your quarry in your sights, a ghillie suit may help give you the edge. Just remember to take it off when you pop in for petrol on the way home!


New airguns for 2018 revealed at the British Shooting Show


We’re going underground in one of the UK’s most unusual clubs


Meet the airgun addict who’s been shooting for 50 years

KEY Specs Manufacturer: In Your Sights (www. Model: Chameleon Hides Winter & Autumn Camouflage Ghillie Suit Price: £30 Contents: Jacket, trousers, hood with face veil, rifle wrap, carry bag Size: One size, equivalent to UK XL Back length: 82cm Chest width: 81cm

Cuff: 9cm Sleeve length: 99cm Front Length: 70cm Half waist: 36cm Inside length: 83cm Outside length: 119cm Leg width: 15cm Crotch back rise: 47cm Crotch front rise: 39cm

Bottom jacket width: 70cm

One thing even this ghillie suit can’t do is offer complete coverage of your footwear – especially the soles of your boots

Don’t forget to wear a pair of gloves, otherwise all that careful concealment could go to waste

It would have been nice to have seen a bit more coverage over the shoulders and upper back, but the suit does a good job of concealment from the front, which is the most important area



New Airguns At The British Shooting Show February’s British Shooting Show served as a prime platform for new airguns. Mat Manning was there to see what’s coming up in 2018



Edgar Brothers was showing off the handsome Diana P1000 Evo II Luxus. The second generation of this high-end sporter combines classic lines with modern technology, and showgoers seemed very pleased with the result. Equipped with a 14-shot magazine, match-grade two-stage trigger, tapered moderator, adjustable butt pad and adjustable cheekpiece, the pre-charged rifle features anti-glare matt finish metalwork. Stock options include high-grade walnut, beech and matt black.

ith a new venue and numerous new exhibitors, this year’s British Shooting Show promised to be bigger and better than ever, and it more than delivered. There was a real buzz around the NEC in Birmingham as crowds swarmed to see and try the latest airgun launches. Manufacturers didn’t disappoint, unveiling a raft of new and unusual hardware – including a few real surprises. Here’s a round-up of some of the airgun highlights showcased during the three-day show – releases that are probably set to make a serious impression on the airgun scene over the coming year.


Historic gunmaker Sterling Armament Company wowed the crowds with four very different airguns. Overseen by airgun industry stalwart Tony Belas, with assistance from Boxall & Edmiston, the range includes a recoilless gas-ram, a modern take on the legendary Webley MkII, a super-high-power takedown air rifle and an electronic PCP. The H-18 is a lightweight, electronically controlled PCP sporter with a 10-shot magazine. Available in .177 or .22 calibre, and tipping the scales at just over 2.5kg, it boasts an elegant walnut handle made by Form Rifle Stocks.



Lovers of classic replicas were queuing up to see the Lee-Enfield SMLE on the Shooting Party stand. Made to the same dimensions as the original Short Magazine Lee-Enfield used by British forces from 1895 to 1957, the gun weighs a reassuringly hefty 3.7kg. Powered by a 12g CO2 capsule, the SMLE fires steels BBs at a muzzle velocity of around 600 feet per second. The rifle, which can be field-stripped, has been made using 3D printing and CAD design technology, and is equipped with fully adjustable open sights.


The new ‘R’ series Ultimate Sporter from Air Arms features a regulator for a greater shot count and even better shot-to-shot consistency. Thanks to the upgrade, and a redesigned valving system, the 12ft-lb carbine model is now capable of around 120 shots per fill, and the FAC-rated XS model can smash out an impressive 45 shots at 44ft-lb. The ‘R’ series also comes with new stock options including walnut and black soft-touch, plus the familiar laminate. Other features include sidelever cocking, 10-shot magazine, two-stage match trigger, fully-adjustable cheekpiece and butt pad, shrouded Lothar Walther barrel, front accessory rail and sling mounts.


BSA Guns has joined the bullpup pack, and it’s done it in style with the eye-catching Defiant. The super-compact PCP premiers the Birmingham gunmaker’s slick new sidelever cocking system and also features BSA’s acclaimed Enhanced Cold Hammer Forged barrel with an integrated shroud and moderator. The Defiant’s elegantly sculpted thumbhole stock is available in walnut, black soft-touch and black pepper laminate, and incorporates a heightadjustable butt pad and soft-touch cheekpiece for comfortable shooting. Despite the Defiant’s diminutive size, its regulated firing cycle gives 120 shots per fill in .22 and 110 in .177. Features include two-stage match trigger, pressure gauge and 10-shot magazine.



ASI was delighted to be able to show off the eagerly-awaited FX Crown, a high-end PCP that features an ingenious barrelchange system to switch between twist rates and calibres. Combined with a power adjuster and an adjustable regulator, the system provides unrivalled versatility. Available in stock options including walnut and black pepper, forest green and blue laminates, it’s equipped with a carbon-fibre bottle with the capacity to deliver as many as 500 shots per fill – the 45ft-lb .25 model turns out 125, and the mighty 70ft-lb .30 can do 40. Other features include a built-in silencer, a sidelever action, an adjustable match trigger and an adjustable butt pad.

Daystate used the show to unveil the new regulated HR version of the Huntsman Regal. The proven PCP is now equipped with a regulator developed in conjunction with Dutch pneumatic specialist Huma. Recognisable by its twin gauge design, the gun’s main manometer is located at the front of the cylinder, with the regulator pressure gauge in the belly of the forestock. The new addition to the Huntsman’s specs brings a lot more than an extra dial. The regulated HR churns out 160 super-consistent shots at 12ft-lb while still retaining its compact 132cc cylinder.


It wasn’t just the Huntsman HR turning heads on the Daystate stand: showgoers couldn’t help but notice the dazzling high-gloss red and grey adjustable laminate handle on the limited-edition Red Wolf Serie Rosso. Based on the electronic action developed for the flagship Pulsar, the Rosso is limited to just 200 rifles worldwide – and just 100 in the UK. For those who find the Rosso stock a little too bling for the field, the Red Wolf is also available in a walnut handle. Available in .177, .22, .25 and .303 calibres with power levels from 12 to 70ft-lb, features include carbon and steel bottle options and sidelever cocking.



The popularity of air pistols continues to go from strength to strength, and the Umarex RP5 looks set to keep that bandwagon rolling. The tactically styled pistol runs two CO2 capsules and turns out around 60 shots with a muzzle energy just shy of 6ft-lb. Features include a rifled barrel and adjustable open sights for precision plinking, a neat pump-action cocking mechanism and a five-shot magazine. John Rothery Wholesale is also planning a package with scope and moderator.


There was a long queue of people waiting to try this 12ft-lb version of the ASP-20 on the Highland Outdoors range. Available in a beech or synthetic stock, the gas-ram break-barrel is smooth to cock and very slick to shoot. Accuracy comes courtesy of an extremely secure barrel lockup and the Match-Lite trigger, which has been designed to offer easy adjustment for second-stage weight and length of pull. Equipped with a rock-solid Picatinny scope rail, the Sig Sauer ASP-12 also boasts an anti-glare, corrosion-resistant ‘Nitron’ finish on the barrel, moderator and cylinder.


Shooters who use night vision gear for after-dark pest control can enjoy even more stealth with NiteSite’s Dark Ops series. Based on the proven NiteSite day scope converter system, the range uses enhanced 940nm infrared with virtually no visible glow from the illuminator. Combined with a rear screen dimmer, the new technology gives a massive boost to concealment. The Dark Ops system is now available with the acclaimed Viper, Wolf and Eagle units, giving detection ranges out to 500m. All popular NiteSite features, including R-TEK one-touch recording and long-life rechargeable battery, have been incorporated into the new line.


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Airgun Shooter 107 (Sampler)  
Airgun Shooter 107 (Sampler)  

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