All airgun shooters need gear that works, is reliable, offers value for money and is a pleasure to use. Airguns and their associated products are designed to withstand the test of time, not bow to it. So here’s our top picks for your Christmas wish lists!
1. The All-round Scope: Hawke Airmax 30 SF 3-12×50 AMX IR
The Hawke Airmax 30 SF offers a useful blend of features, such as an illuminated reticle and side-focus control for parallax adjustment. While AO scopes work, it’s much easier to adjust parallax when the rifle’s in your shoulder. The scope has the Hawke AMX reticle, which is based on a 10x mil-dot spacing, offering numerous aim points whatever the trajectory of your rifle and pellet combo.
Of course, features and glass-etched reticles are meaningless without optical clarity, but luckily the Airmax has wonderfully clear lenses that help suck in the available light for true dawn-to-dusk shooting.
2. Scope Mount: Sportsmatch
Accurate shooting means the scope needs to be held to the rifle with good-quality mounts – and there are none better than Sportsmatch. There’s a huge range from which to choose, whether your scope tube is 1in or 30mm, whether you want one- or two-piece mounts, whether you need higher or lower mounts, or whether you have a dovetail or Weaver/Picatinny system.
Sportsmatch also has some specialist models available, such as a reach-forward design that will give you more eye relief if you run out of adjustment on your rail. Alternatively, you can flip it round the other way to reduce excess eye relief.
3. Moderator: Air Arms Q-Tec
A moderator won’t stop the noise of a pellet hitting your quarry, but it will muffle the sound at the muzzle, making it harder for other animals to work out where the shot came from. A super-quiet moddy like the Q-Tec is also an essential neighbour-friendly piece of kit for the garden range.
It’s calibre-specific, meaning less air will be exhausted around the side of the pellet. It doesn’t just fit Air Arms rifles: a standard 1/2in UNF option is available. While the full-length Q-Tec is the quietest, pick the Mini if you want to keep your rig as short as possible.
4. Torch: Fenix PD35 Tactical
If you need a multi-role torch, grab the Fenix PD35 Tactical, which offers a range of illumination from a blazing 1,000 lumens right down to a mere 8 lumens in economy mode, as well as a strobe function.
At full power, the beam distance is up to 200 metres, and it will operate for one hour and 10 minutes when used in five-minute bursts. Eco mode lets you run the torch for a massive 140 hours. So whether you’re gutting a rabbit at night, want some general illumination or need a strobe in a survival situation, the PD35 has you covered.
5. Gloves: MacWet
Shooters demand a lot from their gloves, with the perfect combination of features being grip, dexterity, protection and warmth. It’s rare to find a pair of gloves that fulfil all these criteria, but MacWet has managed it with its range of sports gloves, which are available with a long or short cuff. There’s also a mesh-backed pair for use in warmer weather.These gloves offer superb grip which, if anything, improves in the wet – and yes, we have put them to the test.
Some gloves offer a fold-back trigger finger, while with MacWets there’s no need – trigger control remains excellent with these full-fingered gloves.
6. Pellets: Air Arms Diabolo Field
Most airgun shooters know they need to match their barrel to a particular pellet to achieve optimum accuracy from their rifle. There are so many pellets it can be hard to know where to begin, but a good starting point for either .177 or .22 is the Diabolo Field.
This pellet is made for Air Arms by JSB in the Czech Republic, but head size seems more consistent than regular JSB Exacts due to the type of die being used. The Diabolo Field may or may not be the absolute best pellet for your particular barrel, but it should perform better than most.
7. Binoculars: Dorr Danubia WildView Green 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars
Any pair of field binoculars needs to be rugged enough to withstand outdoor use, and small enough to easily be carried and kept out of the way when not in use. But just like a telescopic sight, lens clarity and light transmission are paramount. These WildView binos from Dorr offer exactly that. The multi-coated prism promises bright, sharp images with a rich colour contrast, the optics are totally waterproof and fog-free from -25 to +40°C, while the body provides additional grip and protection from bumps.
8. Gun Care: Napier Power Pull-Through Kit
This airgun kit contains everything you need to effectively clean any type of air rifle, and is suitable for most calibres. The kit includes a pull-through and patches to keep your barrel in tip-top shape. The pull-through is made of a strong coated cable with a soft flexible loop, which is used to draw the pre-cut cleaning patches through the barrel. The kit includes a can of Power Air Gun Oil to help clean the barrel.
9. Targets: Nockover Targets
Whether you’re shooting serious outdoor competition, plinking at home or honing your marksmanship for your next hunt, you’ll be well catered for by the huge range of steel targets from Nockover. Those from Nockover’s Field Targets range will fall backwards when hit in the 40, 25 or 15mm killzones, and are reset by pulling on the supplied cord.
The Field Targets will fall when struck by a pellet with only 1ft lb of energy, so are suitable for air pistols as well as air rifles. Nockover’s Cordless Resetting range meanwhile, which includes spinners, sees the shot target fall when hit. It’s then reset by shooting another target.
10. Sling: Deben Padded Super-Sling APG
If you’re carrying your air rifle around for any length of time, you’ll appreciate the luxury of using a sling to transfer the weight from your arms to your back. A lot of thought has gone into the construction of the Deben Padded Super-Sling APG, which features a hand-crafted silicone-treated, non-slip shoulder pad.
Another great feature is the fact that it can be adjusted with one hand, but we particularly like the integral thumb loop, which helps reduce the arm and hand fatigue you can experience while gripping onto a bare sling. The Deben APG also comes with sling swivels, so if your rifle comes with sling swivel studs, you’re all set.
To see our full list of 2017’s gear of the year pick up the current issue of Airgun Shooter Magazine here!