After fitting an airgun aftermarket stock, Mike Morton goes further down the customisation rabbit hole and tests a Huggett Shroud.
Create a product such as a car, a motorcycle, a guitar – or an airgun – and it won’t be long before aftermarket parts start appearing, allowing the owner to customise that product in a manner that either makes it function better, simply look better, or both. One product that fits this description perfectly is the Huggett Shroud.
Some people may well wonder why products like the Huggett Shroud and other aftermarket airgun accessories are necessary – surely the manufacturer should have made their guns that way in the first place?
Well maybe, maybe not, because these pieces are custom parts – letting the owner tweak or modify their gun to make it fit, function or feel better, or just make sure it looks a little different to the rest.
Manufacturer: Huggett Moderators (www.huggettmoderators.com)
Model: BSA Shroud
Price: From £174.99
• R-10 Mk2
• R-10 Mk2 Carbine
• Gold Star
• Scorpion SE
• Ultra SE
• Air Wolf
• Huntsman Regal
• Red Wolf
• Impact 500mm
• Impact 600mm
• Wildcat 500mm
• Wildcat 600mm
• Royale 400
• Royale 500
• HW 100
• HW 100K
One custom part that can affect both the function and form of an airgun is a sound moderator, or in the case of the BSA R-10 SE that we’re using as our Guinea pig here, a full shroud and moderator combo. Huggett Moderators produces a series of bespoke shrouds for a number of rifles from Daystate, FX, Weihrauch and of course BSA.
Look at the Key Specs table and you’ll see just how comprehensive a range Huggett Moderators has on offer. For some of the donor guns, the shroud is an additional part going over a bare barrel, while for others, like the R-10, the Huggett Shroud is a direct replacement for the original shroud.
This was an interesting product to fit and test, because the BSA shroud and moderator already work extremely well and I felt the Huggett would really have its work cut out if it was to beat the original on performance.
The Huggett Shroud that I ordered for my .22 R-10 SE with a standard length barrel consisted of three components: the shroud itself, a Huggett Snipe moderator that screws into the shroud, and an adaptor, which helps keep everything concentric to the barrel.
The shroud features swirled exhaust vents, backed with metal mesh, which is something of a Huggett staple, while the moderator up front features straight fluting and more of those mesh-backed vents. Both components have a black anodised finish with a slight sheen, closely matching that of the buddy bottle on the rifle.
Huggett products don’t come cheap – the various shrouds come in at around £175 – but the fit and finish were absolutely flawless. However, before I could actually start to fit the new shroud, I wanted to establish a baseline in terms of sound suppression and needed to hear what the standard BSA parts could produce.
I don’t have my own sound meter and have not had much luck with a meter that I borrowed from a friend. Nor have I had a great deal of success with the various sound meter apps that are available for my phone.
In the past I’ve taken a shot, got a reading, then taken another shot only for that second reading to be many decibels higher or lower than the first, even though both shots sounded exactly the same to me.
Perhaps I’ve been using the apps incorrectly, but for this test I decided to just rely on my ear, enlisting the help of my shooting buddy’s as well, dry-firing the rifle and making a mental note of what we both heard, then repeating the process once the Huggett had been fitted.
It was now finally time to fit the shroud, which meant removing the BSA original. In order to do this I had to take off my scope, giving me easy access to the three grub screws that hold on the shroud at the breech end.
The BSA parts are similar to the Hugget replacements, comprising a shroud, moderator and adaptor. If you find you can’t remove yours as one unit, it may be helpful to first take off the moderator, unscrew the adaptor and then slide off the shroud.
The Huggett parts can then be fitted, taking care to orientate the cut-out in the base of the shroud so it clears the magazine retention catch on the left-hand side of the action.
With the shroud in place you can then screw on the silver Huggett adaptor, then fit the Snipe. Before doing this I coated the O-ring on the adaptor with a thin smear of silicone grease and added some moly grease to the threads of the Snipe to ensure the parts don’t bind up over time.
With the Huggett Shroud fitted, I dry-fired the rifle and listened to the muzzle report, which was a soft ‘thwack’ sound. Using our unscientific ‘ear only’ test, my buddy and I both agreed the Huggett might be marginally quieter than the BSA, but not by much, testament to the quality of the BSA components. But there was another thing we both agreed on: the Huggett Shroud just looks super cool.
Airgun purists may well scoff at this, but I firmly believe anything that elevates a rifle in your eyes – even if it’s just a placebo effect – will make you shoot it better, or at the very least will make you want to shoot it more often, and that’s always a good thing.
Owner, engineer and designer Andrew Huggett works to three principles: the finished product will be perfect with no blemishes or marks so as to enhance your rifle; the tolerances he works to are higher than anything else he views in the industry to ensure a high quality product every time; and the design will be both functional and beautiful.
The finished product was indeed perfect in every way, with absolutely no imperfections in terms of tooling marks or anodised finish. I can’t say whether the tolerances truly are higher than anything else in the industry, but I can say everything fitted perfectly and was an absolute pleasure to work with.
Is the design functional? Yes, absolutely, although my rather basic hearing test delivered a relatively small boost in sound reduction. Is it beautiful? Beauty, as the saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder. And this particular beholder found it beautiful indeed.
The BSA R-10 SE is an absolutely excellent rifle, of that there is no doubt. But with the addition of first a laminate Cromwell stock from Form Rifle Stocks and now the Huggett Shroud, I’ve personalised this gun so “an excellent rifle” has truly become “my excellent rifle”.
The Airgun Shooter verdict
Build quality: 19
Ease of use: 18
Overall score: 92
“If you’re the type of airgun shooter who loves to tweak, tinker, modify or otherwise enhance your rifle then you should take a look at the Huggett Shroud. Pricey? Maybe. Gorgeous? Definitely!”