Derek has a lifelong love of all things airgun, but isn’t one to follow trends and is as likely to shoot .22 as well as .177 nowadays.
How long have you been shooting and how did you get into it?
I started as a teenager when I was about 16 years old. My parents’ house had a large garden, about 30 yards long. That was 50 years ago and my first gun was a Diana Mod 22 .177 made in Great Britain with open sights, no scope rail. I still have the gun, but sadly it’s in poor condition as I shot thousands and thousands of rounds through it and wore it out.
What type of shooting do you enjoy?
At the moment I enjoy shooting prone. Shooting longer range at 50m or more, prone gives me great stability. In the past, many years ago, I shot Field Target, which I enjoyed greatly, but I have never shot anything live, it’s only paper or steel for me.
Where do you shoot?
I have two places where I shoot. There’s a farm which I have permission on – that’s great in the summer, but in the winter it’s a sea of mud and exposed to the elements – which is not much fun in cold and rain. The second place is my local rifle club which has hard standing sheltered 50m and 100m. It’s very popular and a controlled environment, and you do get to meet lots of other shooters, which is a bonus if you enjoy being involved in the shooting community.
What guns do you own now/used to own/want to own?
My Diana Mod 22 was the first one I owned, followed by an Original Mod 35, HW77 and HW80. Also, an Air Arms Shamal was my first PCP and the first PCP from Air Arms, probably the most accurate rifle I have owned, from the eighties. Why did I sell it??? At present I have HW100s in .177, an Air Arms S410 in .22, an R-10 .22 and an HW95 in .177. For the future I have my eye on FX, maybe a Dreamline or Crown.
Has much changed over the years?
The rise of the PCP and the demise of springers is the biggest change I have seen, which is a great shame, as springers are harder to shoot, but still a lot of fun and great for new shooters. Also, scopes have improved greatly, as have the quality of pellets over the years. The old ones I remember were different weights and sizes all in one tin, not so good.
And in your case – why did you make the move from .177 to .22?
I have not exclusively moved to .22. My HW100 is .177, but I enjoy shooting .22 because it has its own challenges – lower velocity and a more curved trajectory. It’s more efficient and is not affected by the wind as much. I also like using a heavier pellet for more knockdown power.
What advice do you have for newcomers to the sport?
The most important thing for a new shooter is to be safe and legal. This means you need somewhere to shoot safely, on private land or a club. A club would advise you what equipment you would need and may be able to lend you a gun to try.