Andy McLachlan’s spent a small fortune on new guns, but he goes for even more retail therapy when he sees some tasty high-end accessories.
Like most of us, I enjoy the occasion of buying a new gun. Following a lot of research, preferably trying an example of the prospective purchase for myself and reading the various reviews or watching many of the now excellent video reviews helps us all to make those all-important purchasing decisions.
Regular readers followed my affliction over the years as many guns have come and gone to be replaced by newer models which always initially hold out great promise.
That doesn’t mean that the guns I have sold on don’t cut the mustard, just that my eyes forever wander as the industry brings out more and more fodder for an airgunner who can’t keep his wallet in his pocket.
I suppose it is shooters just like me that the industry needs if their super-duper new releases are to appeal to many of us as we consider yet another expensive purchase.
Over the past few months I have purchased two quality spring-powered pistols and a couple of high-end pre-charged pneumatic air rifles. I don’t really want to think about how much they have cost as it would make my eyes water, but I have to say that I have been more than impressed with them all. I try to justify my purchases by the amount of time I spend using them, and I can safely say, at least with the rifles, that I have spent literally hundreds of hours enjoying myself when using them.
Anybody who has experienced a sudden health shock will be aware of just how important the things we like to do are within our everyday lives. We all have to do those family-orientated things that help bind us all together and give us a reason for being. Time spent with those we care about is so very important in order to maintain any semblance of normality in these trying times.
As I now live on my own, this means that quality time is even more important than it used to be, either with family or with close friends who I enjoy spending time with.
The fact that much of the time I spend shooting is in the company of fellow airgun enthusiasts is something that, like everybody else, has been missed tremendously during our various lockdowns, and I can only hope that we are all heading for a time when previous normality is once again a possibility.
The two rifles I most recently purchased have helped me to thoroughly enjoy my time spent at the either indoor or outdoor ranges. The Walther LG400 is very much a target rifle which does all that it is supposed to do to a remarkably high standard. It shoots beautifully and even looks great to a saddo like me.
The only problem with it is that it is purely a tool for the job, an expensive and nice looking one, but a tool nevertheless. In looking for an ideal long-range target rifle (50 yards plus), I have been vindicated in my choice as the gun is far more capable than I am of producing genuinely stunning levels of accuracy. The gun has been designed to do just that and is a credit to the design team at Walther that came up with it.
My best purchase in terms of enjoyment, however, has not come from using the clinical Walther. Having owned one of the first FX Impact models a few years ago, I started taking a closer look at the MkII version as word of its arrival drifted out.
This latest gun looks pretty much the same as its older cousin, but contains a few modifications that further improve the gun’s ability to deliver. In the .177 version, it also possesses a 38-round magazine which, as anybody who knows me will tell you, I enjoy using on a regular basis for fast-fire fun. For me, this is what this particular gun is all about, and I eventually took the plunge and purchased one.
The FX Impact is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of most serious airgunners. It is a highly versatile platform which has really been designed for those shooters able to adjust the onboard power levels to suit their own requirements, either for FAC-holders here in the UK or even for particular types of ammunition including slugs overseas.
Here in Blighty we are still able to carry out minimal adjustments while remaining within our legal power levels. I have already carried out a full review of the MkII Impact in a previous issue of our magazine so won’t keep going on about model specifics. Suffice to say, for me the gun represents a truly innovative design that has led to many lookalikes appearing recently, and it remains to be seen if the “copies” are able to match the original format as devised by FX.
I used my new Impact an awful lot prior to lockdown putting the brakes on everything, and must have fired well over 6,000 rounds through it up to now. Like all things though, if we are being hypercritical, there are a couple of areas that might be improved upon, even with a gun as well designed as the Impact.
There are several companies out there that specialise in providing keen shooters with add-on goodies designed to make an individual gun’s performance even more agreeable to the shooter. One of the companies making such add-ons that will further improve the FX Impact’s performance or adjustability is Saber Tactical, based in the USA.
This relatively new company produces many accessories for FX-manufactured guns, with a particularly strong line for the Impact being available.
With me enjoying the new Impact as much as I have, it was only a matter of time before I found myself perusing the individual accessories available via UK retailers such as Airgun 101 (firstname.lastname@example.org) who stocked the various items that would lead to much improved gun fit that is so important to ultimate accuracy.
To allow the fitment of a bipod further forward than the standard Impact Picatinny rail that sits just forward of the trigger guard, I initially purchased the Saber bottle clamp. Being well impressed with the engineering and standard of finish, I then succumbed to the not cheap, but fully adjustable butt plate, which works as well, if not better, than I imagined it would.
This was followed swiftly by the cheek riser and bag rider that certainly help with both head positioning and support during benchrest shooting.
Since I was so impressed with the quality and finish of each of the Saber Tactical products which had definitely improved my enjoyment of the Impact further, I then went the whole hog and bought the Arca Swiss 2 front rail to allow various mounting options for bipod mounting support. This item is impressively tough and does not possess the rigidity of a stick of liquorice as some cheaper items display.
To summarise, I would have to say that the purchase of all the additional accessories has made what is already a genuinely fantastic gun even better for me. It cost a fair bit, but in my opinion the additional expense in this case has been genuinely worth it.
More from Andy McLachlan
- Return to outdoor target shooting with Andy McLachlan
- Pistol shooting in the garden with Andy McLachlan
- Shooting and well-being with Andy McLachlan
- Benchrest shooting at long range w/ Andy McLachlan
- Andy McLachlan asks why we shoot