Andy McLachlan can’t resist the lure of a lovely rifle and gives in to temptation yet again, this time for a Walther LG400.
Well, I don’t know how you have been getting on with your shooting recently. Unless you have suitable garden facilities, I suspect that you have had to suffer like a lot of us and spend time polishing guns, weighing pellets or getting around to finally completing those stock or action modifications you had been putting off for ages.
The lockdown period has reminded us all of what really matters in our lives. For some people, it has meant that personal issues have taken on even more importance than they did before, with families separated from each other and not being able to offer physical support when required.
It has been rather hard to remain motivated for many, including me, during the past couple of months. As mentioned previously, I decided to brush up my pistol shooting skills with a couple of spring-powered air pistols.
- Pistol shooting in the garden with Andy McLachlan – read the full story here
It did not take me long to remember that shooting a pistol to a reasonable standard is more difficult than with a rifle. In addition, I soon got bored with blatting away at close-range targets when all was clear on the neighbour front, and soon started to miss the long-range target shooting that has gripped a few of my friends and I over the past few months.
I sold both my Steyr and Anschutz target rifles, and have been concentrating upon my Rapid Air Weapons HM 1000 for target purposes. Considering that the action on the multi-shot HM is similar, with the same trigger unit as the target-orientated TM, the gun has performed well at distances of 50 yards plus.
However, it is not a full-blown target rifle with a genuine match-grade trigger unit which can and does make so much of a difference to carefully considered and managed shot release. With the boredom of lockdown and no restraint, I decided to purchase yet another gun.
The rifle in question is a Walther LG400 target rifle. This German feat of precision engineering was devised and introduced just prior to the Olympics occurring in London in 2012, but appeared in a 10 Metre-only configuration for precision shooting.
This meant that the gun was not suitable for outdoor target shooting, either FT or HFT, at launch, although some well-established airgun tuners both in the UK and beyond did modify the gun to do so.
Looking around various outdoor airgun shooting competitions over the past few years, it became obvious that only a few of the guns were in use by serious competitors.
This is hardly surprising when you consider the additional expense required to modify an individual gun to perform with our required power levels. In saying that though, guns like the Anschutz 9015 do appear frequently despite the need to have them modified from new. Maybe the people who know about these things just preferred to work on the Anschutz action, who knows?
If we look around the firing line of most top-line outdoor competitions these days, the one gun that appears to dominate is the Steyr. These particular target rifles are available to buy over the counter with the power at the required levels from standard and obviously do not require additional modification to perform at the top.
Other manufacturers also offer guns whose power and shooting ability meet the criteria of the serious target shooter, but it appears that Steyr still rule the roost, at least in my own opinion anyway.
So what would a Walther LG400 offer a target shooter? Well, importantly, Walther have started selling the gun with the full 12 foot pound/16 joules power levels required for UK competition purposes. This obviously negates the need to seek the assistance of those who can modify power levels from 10 Metre levels.
What Walther have done apparently is to fit the regulator from the previous LG300 Field model to the 400. With one or two other minor modifications, Walther now have a gun that is up to outdoor and long-range (50-yard) shooting.
Prior to purchasing this gun, I spent a considerable amount of time researching its performance online. There are a few specialists who are particularly well versed in modifying the LG400 action, usually involving the fitment of the LG300 regulator, just as Walther have done!
Of course, there are a couple of other items that will have required careful consideration by the Walther product development team and engineers, but essentially the gun I have just bought is an LG400 action with an LG300 regulator.
There are some internal differences between the 300 and 400 models of course, with the 400 apparently possessing a lighter hammer spring assembly and a shorter distance for the high-pressure air to travel within the action following shot release.
The German product testers responsible for field testing the LG400 decided that the Equalizer magnetic shot absorption system basically had little effect upon the totally dead shot cycle and decided to omit it from the Field Target 12 foot pound version that is now available.
So what is it like to shoot? Well, the gun has an exceptionally smooth action and a trigger at least as good as that of the Anschutz 9015, which was the best trigger I have used to date. I have left this unit set up just as the factory originally adjusted it and it breaks absolutely like glass. Perfect!
Not being able to afford the version with the mega-adjustable aluminium stock, I decided upon the version with the wooden handle, and genuinely nice it is too! It is a very modern-looking design and provides a good hold, what with its matt finish and shoulder-gripping adjustable butt pad.
The only retrograde feature of this new target rifle is that it does not come ready fitted with a quick-fill cylinder. Not that that is a problem really, as the steel cylinder on this model quickly unwinds from the action prior to a fill of up to 300 bar, although I tend to fill mine to 200.
I would like to tell you all how amazingly accurate the gun is shooting at present. The only problem is that my only opportunity to use the gun has occurred at my club’s outdoor range which I think has been used by British Aerospace for wind tunnel engineering purposes.
Therefore, I will have to reserve judgement on just how accurate the gun is until I can get back to some serious 53-yard accuracy testing. What I can tell you is that using die 46 JSB Exact pellets, the gun has been surprisingly good at handling outdoor twitchy wind scenarios and has produced groups I was pleased with.
The gun has thus far performed as well as I imagined it would. The trigger is amazing and would allow a good shooter to put in some excellent scores. I will keep you all informed once this is all over and we are able to get back to some form of normality. Wish me luck!
More from Andy McLachlan
- Return to outdoor target shooting with Andy McLachlan
- Benchrest shooting at long range w/ Andy McLachlan
- Outdoor shooting: Andy McLachlan explains the attraction
- Andy McLachlan on benchrests
- Andy McLachlan on barrel cleaning