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Airgunning is for everyone

PUBLISHED: 12:26 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:26 04 October 2017

I can see from this that my seated stance wasn't relaxed enough; room for improvement again.

I can see from this that my seated stance wasn't relaxed enough; room for improvement again.

Archant

Disabled shooter, Russ Douglas, revisits the benefits of the Primos Shooting Sticks

You find me happy from last night’s shoot at GARC’s Denwood range, but sore because I probably overdid it, yet again. I know I’ll be back on the paracetamol and Ibuprofen for the next few days and it serves me right for throwing my sensible hat away once I’m in the zone enjoying my shooting. What follows is last night’s result, warts and all, fresh from sleeping before any of it fades.

After hastily reviewing the Primos Trigger Sticks for last month’s article, it was no surprise when I decided to buy a set for myself, to help me long-term. I chose the Tripod Trigger Sticks because they offer the most stability, can still be used as a monopod or bipod – depending on how you place the legs – and they can double up as a stable camera tripod.

Re that last item: I’d wondered how the label described the thread as 3/8” and 1/4”, and yet I couldn’t see how the visible 3/8” thread detached, or was reversible. Closer inspection showed that the 3/8” threaded screw was hollow. You press down on it and, lo and behold, it sinks down into the trigger grip under spring pressure, and you have a standard (1/4” Whitworth) thread for camera mounting. I can see myself using that in future when out and about. Lloyd at BAR was chuffed when I messaged him about that feature, of which he wasn’t yet aware.

Shooting off-hand, even at 25m a shotgun-scatter resulted! Shooting off-hand, even at 25m a shotgun-scatter resulted!

Sight picture

My goal last night was simply to have a good shoot, especially using the Trigger Sticks more, and also reacquainting myself with the awesome FX Wildcat, but more on that another time. Of course, I’ve now got articles for Airgun World on my mind too, so took my camera along, and a BAR chrono’, just in case. Sure enough, the first phase was spent helping fellow shooters out by lending them the chrono’ and converting their ten-shot average FPS results into FPE muzzle energy, so that they knew how their guns were performing.

Then it was down to ‘business’ – enjoying a relaxing, but testing, bench rest shoot, using the trusty adjustable 9”-13” Deben bipod. I settled into the sight picture, watched the cross hairs dance across the steel vermin targets, and the tank, and as I relaxed, my pulse settled. Despite being reasonably fit – resting heartrate is 48bpm – I have a strong pulse and the cross hairs can really ‘bounce’ once I settle into my shooting position. This effect can be reduced by finding a stable stance, the weight of the rifle taken more through bones and less through muscles, which naturally tire with use.

Not obvious here, but by the end my legs were further apart and locked - much more stable, as the results show Not obvious here, but by the end my legs were further apart and locked - much more stable, as the results show

HFT Potential

I’m hoping to try HFT sometime, or my own version of it, if my body prevents me shooting unaided, so I gave the Trigger Sticks and my dysfunctional body a proper test by comparing stable, bench-rest accuracy with my worst position – standing.

I shot an eight-shot group (12mm centre-to-centre) off the bipod at 25 metres, and I know that the Wildcat and I can do so much better than that, but I had an eye on the time, there were targets to change, and I was eager to see how I could perform with the sticks. Also, I decided there was no point in using the range’s full 50m capacity, because otherwise when standing, I’d probably need a tent-sized target.

Off a bipod, tight (12mm) group ignoring the flier - which was the first shot fired in weeks. Off a bipod, tight (12mm) group ignoring the flier - which was the first shot fired in weeks.

Shotgun pattern

Next, I dialled down the zoom to reduce the anticipated offputting movement, and then stood and shot another group offhand. This was a hell of a test, and the crosshairs were dancing all over the shop. It was more of a case of partly taking up the trigger pressure and then timing when to snatch a shot, rather than doing things very slowly and precisely off the bench. The resulting group was 97mm C-C, sadly more of a shotgun pattern than an aimed group, but the first standing group I’ve shot in many years, so it was to be expected.

Next I changed mag’s to shoot what I expected would be a much improved group, using the Wildcat’s fore end cradled in the Sticks’ rubberised V-notch. I zoomed the scope part-way back toward the maximum mag’ I’d used off the bench, assuming that the stability would be massively better– WRONG! This eight-shot group (54mm C-C) wasn’t much of an improvement over the initial one shot freehand. Hmm … need to think/work harder here.

Off-hand, as predicted, all over the shop (97mm group). Off-hand, as predicted, all over the shop (97mm group).

Different stance

I reloaded, and this time tried a different stance; feet further apart and legs locked, to try to eliminate the wobble caused by relying upon my muscles to hold myself stable.

That’s more like it! You’ll see from the target cards that the group came down appreciably, to 24mm C-C.

I’m sure all the above groups will improve with time and practice, as my body becomes re-used to the demands I’m making of it. How much they’ll improve is another question because it’s whether I’ll be of any use at HFT – time will tell.

Trigger sticks, but relying on tensed leg muscles (54mm group) Trigger sticks, but relying on tensed leg muscles (54mm group)

Get in touch

Thanks for reading, and I hope all this is useful to you. Enjoy your shooting and feel free to drop me a line with feedback, and especially with article suggestions (RussDouglasAGW@gmail.com). I’d especially love to hear from fellow disabled airgunners with any suggestions/requests for future articles.

Much better - 24mm group with feet spread slightly and legs locked. Much better - 24mm group with feet spread slightly and legs locked.

Credits

Thanks to Bri and Nick for kindly taking the enclosed photos, and to Nick for changing the target cards in my TargetAir target holder/pellet catcher. He admitted that he was partly doing me a favour, but also speeding up the process to reduce the range’s ‘cease fire’ time, which I already felt guilty about because I was disrupting everybody else’s steel vermin-bashing fun when hobbling downrange. I’ve got plans afoot for a multiple-target holder – watch this space.

Find Primos Trigger Sticks Blackpool Air Rifles (BAR) on the Airgun Buyer website.

Further info:

For my new Flickr albums search under people for RussDouglasAGW. These galleries hold higher-res versions of the photos included in each of these articles, including images there wasn’t room to print. I prep’ and caption the galleries beforehand, and then make the images ‘public’ once each article goes to print in our monthly mag’.

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