Jonathan Young offers his check list of essentials and prepping tips, tricks and techniques to set you up for a successful day of shooting and help make your day out more productive and enjoyable.
1. Check your pellets
Examine your pellets before any serious use. Pellet manufacture is a rapid industrial process, and lead is fragile. Tipping out the tin into an old sieve then shaking them onto an old kitchen towel will make pre-sorting easy. Look for swarf – small lead fragments. Next, check the skirt of each pellet, which is the most fragile area and prone to damage.
2. Pack a shower cap!
Keep a shower cap in your pocket – one of those elasticated disposable types. It can be stretched over your scope or valuable NV kit if you’re ever caught out in the rain.
3. Have tools ready
Keep a small screwdriver and some specific Allen keys in the appropriate sizes for your silencer and scope mounts within easy reach when you’re out shooting. You just never know when you’ll need to tighten something up.
4. Pack a pellet-sizer
Use a pellet-sizer to form damaged pellet skirts back into shape. Most pellet-sizers are for a particular calibre, but some are variable, and you can use these to reset the outer width of the skirt to a different diameter. Ingenious!
5. Watch out for the wet
Rainwater gets everywhere, and a quick exterior wipe is not always enough. Once in a while, remove your airgun’s stock from its action, then clean down and lightly wipe the steel with an oily rag.
6. Find the best pellets for your gun
Your gun may perform OK with most pellets, very badly with some and brilliantly with one or two. Whether target shooting or hunting, test your gun with different pellets. For hunting, concentrate on dome-headed types first. Buy a selection and select a handful of undamaged pellets from each tin. Use a target card and change it for each type of pellet tested. You will quickly see the pellet that works best in your gun. It’s so simple.
7. Try a rifle sling
Rifle slings free up your hands. Some guns are pre-fitted with sling studs, but if none are present and if, like me, you cannot draw a straight line on paper, ask your club or shop gunsmith to fit them for you.
8. Chrono your airguns
Buy a chronograph and a digital pellet scale, and learn how to chrono your airguns. Apart from being responsible for the legality of your guns’ power output, it’s fun to use these to compare pellets.
9. Measure up
On a new permission, go for a recce beforehand. See where pigeons land in the vicinity and pace out distances from your shooting points to various branches and perches. Make a sketch showing lines of fire and the distances.
10. Stock some seed
Try drawing out your quarry with some scattered seed. Scatter it under tree perches or on rabbit runs to draw your quarry nearer and within range of your shooting spot. If you’ve already measured the distance, you’ll be ready for action.
This article originally appeared in the issue 96 of Airgun Shooter magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk