Mike Morton tests the Davros Head from Spartan Precision – a device that holds your rifle super-stable so you can take super-accurate shots.
As any air rifle hunter well knows, the most accurate shot will always be made from the most stable shooting position available, and in the field that often means shooting off a set of sticks.
Most shooting sticks work by providing a simple support for the forend of the rifle, but while sticks offer far more control than simply shooting offhand, the gun can move around in an open fixture like a typical V-yoke.
Spartan Precision Equipment has recognised this age-old problem and come up with a space-age solution called the Davros Head. The device, which looks something like the domed head and mechanical eyestalk of a Dalek, creates a secure anchor point between the rifle and the sticks, and offers a large range of articulation from its friction-adjustable ball joint, making it suitable for shooting over uneven ground.
Davros Head: key specification
Manufacturer: Spartan Precision Equipment (www.javelinbipod.co.uk)
Model: Davros Head
Also required: Universal Rifle Adapter or Universal Picatinny Adapter (both £40 each)
Sussex-based Spartan is best known for its range of Javelin bipods that can be attached to a rifle with a magnetic coupling, and with the Davros, shooters have the ability to use the same magnetic quick attach/detach system for their sticks or tripods.
Spartan makes its own high-end set of sticks called the Sentinel, which come already equipped with a Davros Head, but offering the Head on its own makes good cost-effective sense for shooters who already have their own set of sticks.
In order to use this system with your airgun you’ll need three elements – shooting sticks with a suitable threaded attachment point, the Davros Head and a dedicated Spartan adapter that sits on your rifle. Because the rifle will effectively be locked into place on your sticks, the Davros is only suitable for use with non-recoiling rifles, so no springers or gas-rams.
Attaching the Davros
Fitting the Davros is pretty straightforward as it’s a retro-fit to the existing ½” UNC or ¼” threads that are found on the majority of tripod stick systems. The Primos Trigger Stick that I used for this test has a ¼” fitting, for example, but if you’re not sure what type of fixture you have, contact the team at Spartan and get their advice.
Spartan products can be a little pricey, and the Davros Heads retails for £74.99, but you do get what you pay for as the quality is top-notch. The Davros Head is CNC-machined using high-grade aluminium and is available in two finishes – hard-anodised black overall, as seen here, or a black body with an orange magnetic attachment spigot – the part I like to call the ‘Dalek eyestalk’.
Both the machining and finish of the Davros really are flawless, and as we’ll see, so is its function. Once attached to your sticks it will work with the full range of Spartan rifle adapters, although you will need to pick up one of these separately.
Two types are best suited for air rifle use: the Universal Picatinny Adapter screws directly to a Picatinny rail underneath the forend, while you’ll need the Universal Rifle Adapter if your rifle has a sling swivel stud. A bare forend can be drilled to accept this type of adapter as well.
The Davros’s friction-adjustable ball joint can be left free to articulate, or tightened with a lock ring to hold it more securely. With the lock ring left loose, the ball joint offers a wide range of elevation and depression, and you can level the rifle to conquer cant if you’ve set up on uneven terrain.
With the ball joint still free to move, the Davros also offers 360 degrees of rotation, not that many airgun shooters will need to put that to the test. If you are going for pure precision, however, you’ll want to get on target then tighten the lock ring to minimise any further movement of the rifle.
Using this device does take some experimentation, especially if you’ve not used sticks before, but when you’ve perfected your various stances you’ll appreciate just how much extra support the Davros delivers.
When taking standing shots, I prefer to lock both my legs to maximise skeletal support and minimise muscular effort, gripping the pistol grip on the sticks with my leading hand and gently leaning into the butt of the rifle.
Neither the shooting sticks nor the Davros Head will magically provide you with benchrest levels of support when you’re shooting from a standing position, but they will certainly help, and at 30 yards I was able to reliably hit the 25mm counterweight on my pigeon’s head spinner as long as I was concentrating.
When taking sitting shots, I was able to hit a 15mm spinner every
time at the same distance, this time simply adopting a different hand position. Because I couldn’t lean into the rifle as effectively when sitting, I used my leading hand to grip the bottom of the butt, much as I would
be doing when shooting prone off a bipod.
You may well adopt various standing and sitting stances that are quite a bit different to mine, but finding out what works best for you is one of the joys of shooting.
Do note that you should always keep hold of your rifle whenever it’s attached to the Davros Head – the Davros is not designed to hold the rifle on its own while you take even one step away to grab a drink or sandwich from your pack.
But you should be able to support the weight of the gun in your shoulder, with your hands just there for extra support when you’re not actually taking a shot.
The Davros Head works superbly as long as you take your time and find and fit the correct type of adapter for your rifle. With this accomplished, it’s a real case of magnetic attraction.
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