Should I get my airgun custom dipped? Your questions answered!

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 or write to us at the address below: one of our experts will soon get you on the right track!

Airgun Shooter,
Future Publishing,
Quay House, The Ambury,

Your team of airgun advisors

Hydro dipping

Water transfer printing can be used to create stunning 3D works of art, such as this Day of the Dead-themed rifle stock

Question: I’m thinking of getting my old rifle stock custom dipped. Is this a good idea?

Lee Perryman says: Hydro dipping, also known as water transfer printing or immersion printing, is a technique used to apply a two-dimensional printed pattern or design over a three-dimensional surface. It can be applied to numerous materials, making it a useful technique for airgun parts such as barrel shrouds, scopes, mounts and stocks.

It’s a great way to freshen up an old stock that you may have grown tired of looking at, especially if it has an uninspiring grain, but you want to keep the stock because you love the profile and the way it handles. Similarly, if you’ve ever had to repair any damage to your stock and can still see the area you repaired, hydro dipping can cover it up and create a whole new look into the bargain.

Hydro dipping involves the design being floated in a tank of water,
and when the object is submerged the carrier film dissolves and the ink is then transferred onto it. It sounds relatively straightforward, but in fact on average there is a 10-step guide to achieve the perfect covering.

I’m familiar with the work from Andrew Baxter at J&B Hydro Dipping based in Stoke-on-Trent. He’s been creating hydro-dipped masterpieces for cars and boats for quite a while, and has now turned his attention to graphically enhanced custom rifle parts, giving stocks a fantastic, long-lasting and durable facelift.

So as a low-cost alternative to commissioning the manufacture of a brand new rifle stock, you could have that bespoke custom creation you have been longing for, or eradicate that nasty glued and sanded hairline crack.

Know the game

KTG Target Shooting Small-bore Rifles & Air Rifles by EP Publishing Ltd was produced in collaboration with the NSRA back in the early 1970s

Q: I recently saw advertised for sale a book called Know The Game – Target Shooting Small-bore Rifles & Air Rifles. Does anyone have any knowledge of this publication?

Ray Garner says: In the days before dedicated airgun magazines became available, it was considerably more difficult then than now to find publications which dealt with our particular sport.

The Know The Game (KTG) books proudly proclaim on the inside back cover: “Every major pastime and sport is covered in this well-known, best-selling series, with over 70 titles.

Each is fully illustrated with clear, concise explanations of the rules and the basic principles of the activity concerned. Prepared with the official Association, and regularly revised to incorporate rule changes.” The Target Shooting title, written by GC Farnell and M Farnell, was published in 1972 and cost 25p.

This 51/4”x 8” booklet embraces both smallbore (.22 rimfire) and air rifle target shooting, and deals with the many aspects of target shooting which are still relevant almost 50 years on.

Following an introduction to the various types of target shooting, are sections on Targets and Scoring, Safety, Shooting Technique, Three Position Shooting, Sights and Sighting, Breathing and Trigger Pressing, Cant and Follow Through, as well as guidance on shooting through the wind and care of the rifle.

The book’s 48 pages are packed with to-the-point text, drawings and photographs which will be of value to all with an interest in target shooting. The closing pages of the book contain a section on ‘The Rifleman and the Law’. As might be expected, this is now out of date. 

The lead author, Dr Geoffrey Carlton Farnell, was born in 1925. After graduating from Leeds University he worked for most of his life with Kodak Limited, leading research in photographic science. Geoffrey Farnell was a medal-winning target shooter. He died in 2009. The book was reprinted a number of times and copies can be found for sale.

Making them game for game

Q: I’ve recently started hunting with my air rifle and I’m beginning to have some success in bringing game home for the pot. The problem is that the rest of my family aren’t keen on trying it, so how can I encourage them to give it a go?

Phil Siddell says: This is a common quandary for those of us with families that are more familiar with pristinely processed supermarket meat. The pre-packaged meat products available to us on the high street have been specifically bred, selected and butchered with an eye to consistency, palatability and aesthetic appeal. It can be hard to compete. Fortunately, this is something I’ve been through, so I’ll offer you these tried and tested tips that have worked in my household:

  • Prepare it with care: One of the big differences between shop-bought meat and wild game is the way it looks. Nowadays we all understand meat as it is presented to as an increasingly small number of cuts. Wild game comes to us as a whole animal; learn to prepare it into recognisable cuts. To the untrained eye, well trimmed legs of rabbit, squirrel and pheasant appear similar to chicken legs. Batter and fry them. Few will know the difference. Mix it up: Just as my Mum used to hide cauliflower in the mashed potatoes, temper the stronger taste of game meat by mixing it with something recognisable. Purchase a hand-cranked meat grinder for as little as £25. This will allow you to make your own minced meat which can be added to chilli and bolognese sauce or made up into burgers. The key is to mix in a more familiar and fatty meat to homogenise the mince and give it a milder flavour (the fat helps to keep it tender too). Start with two parts game meat to one part pork and reduce the ratio as your family becomes more accustomed
  • Stick with favourites: It’s easy to think that game should be cooked using traditional recipes and methods associated with specific species. However, if you’re cooking an unusual meat in a way unfamiliar to your brood you’re just making the whole thing doubly difficult. If they love burgers on the BBQ, make burgers. If shepherd’s pie is a favourite, then throw in game instead of lamb. 
  • Make it a treat: Up your game in the kitchen and make your wild meat-centred meal special. Splash out on a decent cook book and good quality ingredients and seasonings. Try to get the kids involved so they can be excited about trying the fruits of their labour. If you’re not confident in the kitchen, find someone who is that you can trade some game with in return for some prepared dishes. Above all don’t make it a chore, make it an event.

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