Airgun answers

Our experts have your questions in their sights!

Struggling with a scope? Having hassles with your hunting? Well, don’t despair because you’ve arrived at the right place to discover remedies for your airgun anxieties!

Whether you’re looking for a quick fix to a nagging problem or simply want advice on your next piece of gear, email us at airgunshooter@futurenet.com or write to us at the address at the bottom of the page: one of our experts will soon get you on the right track!

Low on air

Q: I’ve been a springer shooter all my life, but have finally caved in and bought a PCP. However, I’m a bit concerned about knowing if I’m running out of air. How can I tell when I’m starting to get low?

Mike says: If you carry on shooting when your air pressure gets too low, accuracy may not be the only thing to suffer. I’ve known people who have not recognised the signs and have carried on shooting regardless, sometimes ending up with a line of pellets stacked up inside their barrel because they lacked the oomph to fly out!

When you take a shot, you should always be aware of where it’s gone, even if it’s a miss, and no shot appearing downrange is a sure sign that something’s not right.

Try to make a habit of checking your pressure gauge, although not all rifles have one. But perhaps the best way to manage your air supply is to fill the gun to a certain pressure before you start your shooting session. This can either be the manufacturer’s standard working pressure or a slightly lower starting pressure if you’ve identified a power curve.

Regularly check your pressure gauge to avoid the inconvenience – and embarrassment – of having to clear stuck pellets from your barre

After that, you just need to shoot at a target until you see accuracy start to degrade, counting the number of shots as you go. When you’ve reached that limit, take off five, just to be safe, then you’ve worked out your maximum safe shot count.

Please remember this method will only work if you start shooting from the same fill pressure every time – and you must also keep a count of the number of shots you take. One of my friends has a multi-shot rifle that delivers 60 good shots per fill.

He always lost count of how many pellets he’d fired (he really enjoys his shooting!), so he got round this by buying six 10-shot magazines. Now he knows that when he’s emptied all six magazines it’s time to stop. It’s an expensive way to keep track of his shots, but it works.

Glove

Q: I’m thinking of getting into HFT and notice a lot of people use a shooting glove. Is this really necessary?

Roger says: Shooting gloves are a ‘must have’ item for many HFT and FT shooters. If you arrive at a competition without your glove, then you’ve lost! So why are they so important?

I never used a glove for shooting regardless of rain or shine – or snow for that matter. I just did not see the point. I can hold a gun tight enough not to drop it even if it’s wet, so why would I need one? Well I changed my mind once I actually bit the bullet and bought one.

It took the pulse out of my hand – well, not take it out, but masked it – so when in a prone position shooting a target like a 15mm at 25 yards, any movement from the pulse in my hand could make me miss – and that I don’t want.

The next reason I love using a glove now is for standing shots. I rest the gun in the glove hand and it just sits there. I don’t have to hold the gun super tight because the glove is super grippy with the plastic and leather that the glove is made of.

It just sits there in a relaxed hand, not tense, so I can keep it on target longer without too much wobble (most of the time). Lately, I have been shooting lots of PRS with my .22 LR rimfire rifle in Hunter’s Challenge.

A glove aids grip and also minimises any movement caused by your pulse as blood flows through the arteries in your head

The glove helps when resting on a barricade, and gives better purchase so as to keep the gun far stiller whilst shooting. So if you buy one for your airgun, it can help you with other types of shooting too.

The more stability you can get while shooting will only aid your aim and therefore help you hit what you are shooting at. 

I have taken my glove hunting, and although it looks a bit silly – being bright red and blue – it has helped immensely when shooting. I changed my mind on the whole glove thing once I used one. I would say give it a try, you might just like it too.

Tools

Q: Could you explain what is so special about gunsmiths’ screwdrivers? They seem quite expensive compared to my household set.

Ray says: From the days of Archimedes, and possibly before, human beings have used an understanding of the helix form in many and diverse ways.

Engineers value the mechanical advantage gained by the helical pattern screw thread in the form of fasteners of one kind or another, and bolts, screws, nuts and the like are employed in all manner of machines and assemblies.

In the early days of gun-making, gunsmiths made fasteners, usually in the form of screws, to secure the various components of their work. Each gunsmith would make fasteners to suit his individual needs, and all would differ from one gunmaker to another.

Some standardisation of screw threads eventually came about in the mid-nineteenth century with the introduction of Whitworth patterns, and more recently with the near universal adoption of metric threads.

Notwithstanding this acceptance of standard screw threads, gunmakers continued to fabricate fasteners on an individual basis, at least with regard to the design of screw heads.

Although many modern gunmakers now use socket screws of the hex
drive or Torx drive type, an equal number still use screws with slotted heads of different shapes and sizes. It is this particular type of fastener which requires a screwdriver of the correct fit.

A normal carpenter’s screwdriver has a tapered blade, which is completely unsuitable for gun screws, as it will likely burr the screw slot and may also slip and damage adjacent parts of the gun.

Gunsmiths’ screwdrivers differ in that the blade tips are parallel, and if used correctly will not cause damage. At one time, gunsmiths would make their own screwdrivers in order to ensure a perfect match to the slot.

Today, it is possible to buy gunsmiths’ screwdrivers, usually in sets, with a range of bit sizes to suit the various slot widths and lengths of the screw head requiring torque.

I have an excellent set of screwdrivers which I bought many years ago from Brownells in the USA. Lyman, Wheeler, Grace, Pachmayr and others also make them.

Please send your questions to the follwing address if you wish to mail your letter in:

Airgun Shooter,
Future Publishing,
Units 1 & 2,

Sugarbrook Court,
Aston Road,
Bromsgrove
B60 3EX

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