At your service

Mike Morton goes on a servicing and repair course to find out how the engineers who work on your PCPs get trained

Any airgun shooters of a practical nature will be able to tear apart a springer themselves, but the PCP is a different beast altogether, with that on-board reservoir of high-pressure air presenting not just a technical challenge, but a safety one too.

That’s why this type of work is best left in the hands of qualified repairers who’ve been certified to work on your particular rifle. I attended a recent course run by Tony Belas and Simon Cockayne of Brocock and Daystate to see how today’s highly specialised airgun technicians are trained.

The two-day course began with a tour round the Brocock/Daystate factory in Eccleshall, Staffordshire, where we were shown the numerous checks that are carried out on a new rifle before it heads off to the retailer, such as accuracy, chronograph and pressure testing.

We then relocated to a dedicated training centre nearby. With the safety aspect involving high-pressure air always paramount, we were instructed in the breakdown, service, troubleshooting and repair of every rifle in the two companies’ current inventory.

That meant plenty of hands-on training too. Get it right, and we ended up with a reliable and finely tuned precision instrument. Get it wrong, and we were left with nothing more than a box of bits!

It was a very intensive two days to say the least, and covered highly technical aspects such as the computer mapping of electronic rifles such as the Red Wolf, to basic but often overlooked tasks such as stock removal, where the safety catch on some models must be applied before they can be physically lifted out of their stocks.

Not all the people on my course worked for gun shops. There were rangers from the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project and the Staffordshire Squirrel Project, as well as a member of the Daystate Accuracy Research Team.

Why were they there? For the same reason as me: their utter fascination with these modern works of engineering art, and a desire to learn more about how they’re made and how they function.

Brocock and Daystate are thinking of opening up this course to the general public. Would you be interested in attending? If so, visit www.daystate.com/contact-us and let them know.

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