Gear of the Year: The best buys of 2020 (pt2)

Airgun shooters of all disciplines demand the same thing – guns and gear that perform really well, while representing great value for money. Here are a few of our top choices, suiting a wide range of budgets, that will help you fulfil your potential where it matters – on target.



For many airgun shooters, Kral’s NP-02 rifle can provide an affordable gateway to PCP ownership. Looking like an over-sized pistol, the sidelever cycles pellets from the 12- or 14-shot magazine without fuss.

Using the huge 530cc air bottle as a shoulder stock, the NP-02 is compact and distinctive to look at, capable of embarrassing more expensive rifles in accuracy at the full 12 ft-lb legal power limit.


With styling that bridges the gap between sporter and tactical, the Sentry is an affordable and solidly constructed multi-shot, making it a good choice for shooters who want to get into recoilless airgunning but don’t want to break the bank.

The bolt-action, magazine-fed cocking and loading system is reliable, and the trigger delivers predictable shot release. The Sentry comes with two magazines and a single-shot tray.


Webley’s Raider Classic is a multi-shot PCP that proves air rifles with traditional sporter stocks are very much alive and kicking. But while it has an old school walnut stock, it has a modern twist too, featuring a hybrid scope rail that will accept Picatinny mounts as well as conventional dovetail.

Purists and newcomers will find something to like in the Raider Classic – it handles nicely and is accurate enough for the field.


The HW110 was already an excellent airgun, but the addition of an elegant laminate stock has turned it into something really special. The blend of black and grey will turn heads on the range, but won’t be too conspicuous in the field.

This new handle has converted the HW110 into an airgun that will inspire real pride of ownership, offering all the reliability, build quality and precision of the standard HW110 in a very pretty package.



Air Arms Diabolo Field are regarded as a ‘go to’ pellet for many airgun shooters, and that’s with good reason. Part of the attraction is the fact that this ammo will at least be good in pretty much any gun that you try it with, and will truly excel in some others.

With a name like Diabolo Field, this pellet is clearly geared towards the airgun hunters among us, but our test results prove that it’s versatile enough to be taken to the range as well.


The Bisley Magnum is an airgun stalwart that’s been around for what seems like forever. But all the things that made this pellet so good back then – clean and consistent manufacture combined with its heavy-for-calibre hitting power and excellent long-range accuracy – are just as relevant today.

So if you’re a target shooter or hunter who’s looking for a reliable heavyweight pellet that remains accurate at distance, then it’s time to uncork the Magnum.


In some areas, the use of lead-free ammo is already a requirement, while airgun shooters in the UK are free to choose what type of pellet they shoot – at least for now. But it doesn’t hurt to test the lead-free options, and this particular ammo shoots to a brilliant level of accuracy.

Field Target Trophy Green are 100% lead-free pellets that won’t just be kind to the environment, they’ll be kind to your scorecard too.


US firm Predator International commissions some of its pellets from JSB, but Polymags are quite different to the Czech manufacturer’s regular airgun ammo, as these pellets combine a hollow head with a pointed polymer tip.

Polymag Shorts are designed for use in rotary magazines where the standard-length Polymags might be too long to let the mag cycle properly. They’re well-made and accurate, and are extremely effective against short- to medium-range quarry.


The Streamlined is a premium pellet offering premium performance, and finding the right match for your barrel has been made easier because QYS offers this ammo in a choice of two different weights and head sizes.

QYS came to the attention of airgun shooters in the UK thanks to the Domed, but the Streamlined is proof that QYS was more than a one-hit wonder as the Streamlined is an excellent pellet in its own right.


When asked what pellets people should try in their new gun, we have a few recommendations for them, and Rangemaster Sovereign is always on that list. 

They’re suitable for general shooting, field target and hunting, and while that might make them sound like a jack of all trades, they are definitely the masters of some.

And while they’re made by JSB for Daystate, it really doesn’t matter which brand of rifle you own – just shoot them.


Hunters are always looking out for a pellet with increased knockdown capabilities, and the Hades fits the bill perfectly. It’s an unusual projectile, because from some angles it looks like a regular domehead diabolo, but it also has a segmented pattern to aid head expansion on impact with the quarry.

Hades pellets pass our standard five pence piece group-sized accuracy test with ease, proving domeheads don’t all need to be smooth to display ballistic brilliance.


The RWS Super Field has been a firm favourite for plenty of top-flight Field Target and HFT shooters over the years, and if the Airgun Hall of Fame actually existed, then this pellet would have deservedly earned itself a place in its hallowed halls.

Super Fields may have an unconventional head design, appearing as slightly squashed, but when you shoot them through the right barrel, they truly live up to their ‘super’ monniker.



FX Hybrid Slugs are quite a bit different to a standard air rifle slug. While they have similar external dimensions to a slug with a high ballistic coefficient of a much heavier weight, they also have a completely hollow core and a deep recessed base, making them lighter.

The Hybrids are designed to deliver a flatter trajectory with less wind drift, while benefiting from more retained energy and greater long-range accuracy than a regular pellet.


Pro Hunter slugs are impeccably produced, retain energy and minimise barrel fouling. They’re hand-swaged and come supplied in a little jewellery bag that has been placed inside a tin. This attention to detail is more than aesthetic, as it ensures the slugs arrive in perfect condition.

Another thing we like is the inclusion of a slip of paper that informs the shooter that the slugs have been pre-washed and benefit from a coating of lube.


A real heavyweight has joined Daystate’s line of airgun ammunition – the Rangemaster Juggernaut, in both .22 and .25 calibres. This hollowpoint solid-body projectile has been performance-tested both on the range and in the field.

It’s been shot by Daystate’s Accuracy Research Team in both high-power Daystate and Brocock rifles, with ART members reporting superior levels of accuracy  out to 100 metres and beyond.


We’ve been testing Wildman slugs in a Daystate Red Wolf  in .22 and FX Impact in .25 to great effect. There are a number of different weights available in each calibre, and Wildman is developing .177 and .30 variants as well.

Thse slugs are  made with meticulous attention to detail and have achieved remarkable results at ranges up to 200m and beyond. They’re certainly worth a look if you have an FAC airgun.

Night shooting

ATN X-SIGHT 4K PRO 3-14×50

ATN’s X-Sight 4K Pro gets as close as a day/night scope can to being the best of both worlds without being a compromise on either. In daylight, the colour image is crisp and clear. In night mode, and with the IR torch switched on, it’s so good it’s almost cheating.

While the X-Sight has been around for several years, this current version is a significant leap forward in terms of features, function and usability.


The ShadowMaster headlamp is a great choice for hunting as it features a powerful main beam as well as a red floodlight. The red light, when put on its lowest setting of five lumens, is particularly useful for protecting your night vision and is less likely to spook quarry than white light.

It has a rechargeable battery, is resistant to being dropped from two metres, is dustproof and waterproof to two metres for 30 minutes.


Pard may be relatively new, but the NV008P has quickly established itself with airgun shooters. It’s a zero eye relief day/night digital scope that attaches to a Picatinny rail.

It weighs 450g, including the integrated laser rangefinder, and measures 162mm long. And with all the features of more expensive units, especially the ones you want, wrapped up in that compact form factor, the Pard NV008P LRF is a compelling proposition.


The Digisight Ultra LRF 450 is designed primarily for use at night. However, even though it’s limited to a black and white picture, it also offers a daytime image that is crystal clear, making it a scope you can use around the clock.

The image quality in day and night is of the highest standard and the addition of a laser rangefinder makes the already excellent Digisight Ultra 450 even more appealing to airgun hunters.


This thermal imaging optic opens a whole new world to the air rifle hunter. Its ability to see heat makes it great for after-dark pest control, but the IRay Saim SCL35 can also be used by day.

Even at maximum magnification the image is clear enough to be able to identify quarry and shoot with precision. It’s easy to use and delivers good, reliable performance. One to consider if you can justify the outlay.


While there are plenty of nocturnal airgun hunters who relish the relative simplicity of an old school lamping session, plenty more have embraced technology and employ night vision gear – and the LumenMAX 900 IR offers something to both groups.

The main lighting module features an LED made by US firm Cree that produces standard white light, and there’s a separate module to convert the lamp into an IR illuminator for night vision users.


Weighing little more than a regular scope at just over a kilo, the Wraith is 270mm long, including the eye cup, but still manages to deliver a wide 4-32x mag range via a combination of digital and optical magnification.

Competitively priced, the Wraith will surely be a big hit with airgun hunters, providing a colour image in daylight that’s only a slight compromise on glass, and very clear at night at low to medium settings.


You may not need a torch like the Streamlight Macrostream every day, but you’ll be glad it’s close to hand when the need arises. It fits in the palm of your hand, and with a setting of 500 lumens, it provides a huge performance for its size.

With an abrasion-resistant mil-spec black-anodised finish and a lens of polycarbonate, it’s tough as well.


The A67iC Night Hunting Gun Light Kit from Wicked Lights offers hunters old school lamping, but with a modern twist thanks to its Picatinny release mount.

It provides illumination in red, white and green light, and these colours can be changed on the fly by rotating a selector dial on the lamp. There’s no messing about swapping coloured filters and no risk of the beam pointing in a different direction.

Reactive targets


Air Targets produces unique, challenging targets.

The Original Series has fun, colourful targets, while the Air Neon Series has designs printed on fluorescent card to make them stand out. Then there are the Air Wrap stick-on targets, followed by the challenging Professional Series.


Custom Targets offers a huge range of fun targets, and shooters can take on the company’s latest design, the Covid-themed Avenger.

The Avenger is made of laser-cut 3mm hardboard containing multiple shoot-away zones shaped like the spikes that adorn the surface of the virus.


The Pocket Zero is a portable holder for targets that lets you check zero anywhere there’s a safe backstop. Made from 1.5mm stainless steel, it won’t rust, and folds flat.

It can be placed freestanding on hard surfaces, or unfolded to reveal spikes that push into the ground.


KWC M1911 A1 TAC

Colt’s iconic M1911 has been around for well over a century, and while plenty of firms around the world are making powder-burning versions of this American classic, KWC’s M1911 A1 Tac brings the design bang up to date when it comes to CO2-powered BB-firing blowbacks.

The A1 Tac is a full metal design with an aggressive grip pattern that’s been made out of ABS. It also has an under rail system for lasers and torches.


SIG Sauer’s P365 is a CO2-powered BB-firing blowback that’s based on the company’s 9mm powder-burner. It’s truly tiny, with an overall length of just 146mm (5.75”), but somehow still manages to pack in a detachable 12-round magazine.

Being such a small gun for a blowback action it’s certainly quite spirited in the hand, but its feisty nature just adds to the experience, making this a little gun that’s capable of creating a big grin.


Part of the enjoyment in shooting a handgun is the accuracy, but a big
part of shooting a blowback is the tactile sensation of having the gun jump in your hand as if it’s alive, and the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 M2.0 from Umarex is no exception.

Target shooters wanting a gun for action pistol-type disciplines will love its performance, and it’ll put a huge smile on the face of garden plinkers too.

Custom products


A&M’s huge portfolio includes custom stocks, anodising and barrel work, and the firm also has a line of moderators of varying sizes and materials offering function as well as form.

The original Twink, Marksman and Titch perform well, and as with other products in the A&M range, there’s a purposeful simplicity in their design. They’ve been joined by the Twink C, Nelix and the new Xtreme, meaning there really is something for everyone.


Precision Rifle Systems, better known as PRS, works with some of the leading airgun manufacturers to develop high quality, CNC-machined rifle parts, such as adjustable butt hooks.

PRS teamed up with Daystate to produce accessories for the Delta Wolf, including a forend accessory extension, butt hook designs and a cheekpiece riser, but the company produces plenty of accessories for other rifles too, including the Daystate Red Wolf and FX Impact.


Rowan offers a massive range of aftermarket parts to enhance the function and form of numerous airguns, including trigger guards and set back trigger blades for Weihrauch rifles for smaller shooters who find the length of pull to be too long.

The mid-point is 4.5mm further back than the Rekord original. This may not sound like much, but that small difference feels big when the rifle is in your shoulder, and can really bolster gun fit.

Clothing and accessories


Nothing beats Wellington boots when it comes to shooting in wet weather, but that doesn’t have to mean cold feet. The Parcours 2 ISO from Aigle has a 4.5mm neoprene lining for improved insulation and a shock absorption system in the sole for comfort and stability.

These boots may be lightweight and flexible, but are also surprisingly tough. They’re available in a wide variety of sizes and colours, and feature an adjustable calf strap.


One of Casström’s most versatile knives is the No.10 Swedish Forest Knife, and this one comes with a black Micarta handle, stainless steel blade and leather sheath.

This full-tang knife is great for bushcraft tasks, but dextrous enough for paunching, jointing, or breasting. The blade is 10cm long and made from 3.8mm thick Swedish knife steel, treated for hardness.


The Omega TrailCharger compressor is a highly portable machine that runs
off a 12 volt car battery, but can be run on mains electricity as well.

It’s water cooled, rather than solely air cooled, which contributes to a substantially longer service life. Filling a rifle or pistol directly is hassle-free, especially as there’s an auto shut-off system, which you set at your desired pressure. It can also top up air cylinders of up to three litres.


Most airgun shooters want a warm, waterproof and stealthy winter jacket, and the Grizzly III is hard to beat for the money. Nicely fitted with a long cut and plenty of movement around the shoulders, this jacket has a long cut and double-lined hood.

Features include adjustable cuffs, double main zip, two handwarmer pockets and large zipped chest pockets. Apart from being warm, it is also very quiet, which should go down well with hunters.


With the Pro-Lite, Jack Pyke has managed to create a jacket that is not only weatherproof, but manages to be breathable and lightweight too, making it a great choice for a roving hunt when it’s all too easy to work up a sweat, even in cold or wet conditions, when you’ve gone mobile.

The Pro-Lite Hunters Jacket also offers two zippered lower pockets and two zippered internal pockets which are handy for storing small items.


The Power Pull Through Kit includes everything you need to clean any air rifle barrel to ensure your gun keeps shooting accurately.

The kit includes a strong coated cable with a soft flexible loop, which is passed down the barrel. You attach two or three pre-cut cleaning patches and draw them through the barrel, repeating the process until all traces of fouling are removed. It’s easy and it works.


A cushion may not sound like an essential accessory, but it’s one of the most useful items an airgun shooter will ever own, as this beanbag provides a comfy seat and a stable shooting position.

Filled with squashy polystyrene, the Shooter’s Cushion provides insulation when sitting on frozen ground. Made from a tough outer shell, it features a carry handle and zip-up pocket.


Some bipods can be fiddly to attach or detach, especially when you’re wearing gloves, but Spartan Precision Equipment has got round this problem with the Javelin Lite, where an adapter stays on the rifle all the time, while the bipod is carried in a pocket until required, then snapped in place using a magnet.

This airgun-friendly bipod is made from high-quality carbon-fibre and CNC-machined aluminium. Three leg lengths are available – Mini, Standard or Long.

Memberships and ranges


Being a member of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation means being part of the largest shooting organisation in the United Kingdom, looking after the interests of over 155,000 shooting enthusiasts.

BASC has special membership categories for airgun shooters, and the UK’s only full-time firearms team, offering help and advice to members on all aspects of firearms law, working to protect our lawful right to use airguns.


Crackshot, near Newton Abbot in Devon, has three indoor shooting ranges. There’s a 20-metre air rifle range with a choice of targets. There’s also a rapid-fire pistol range that’s ideal for all types of BB guns.

Then there’s the SimWay shooting simulator that lets you practise a vast array of shooting scenarios, including clay pigeon, wild boar, bears, practical, grouse, duck, pheasant and a target range to hone your skills.


Rifleman Firearms is located on the Somerset Levels and is home to a 90-yard air rifle range and a new 100-yard fullbore range.

The air rifle range includes late-night shooting and has targets from 15 yards out to the full 90, with two 60-yard wind-free lanes, perfect for zeroing.


Airgun Shooter is a true companion, championing our sport and the people who make it what it is – and what better time of year to take out a subscription?

Airgun Shooter will help you get the best out of yourself and your guns – while enjoying every minute of it. Whatever your passion, we’ve got you covered.

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