Christmas Stocking Fillers for the Keen Shooter.
There's still time to buy that special Christmas something for a loved one, a friend or the person you've been nominated for secret Santa this year.
Those of you who are struggling for ideas, here's my top ten shooting related gifts for you to consider.
Airgun Pellets or BBs
I know I can never get enough ammunition to feed my airguns, and it's nice to be gifted a tin or two every now and then. If you're thinking of buying some pellets, here are my top three recommendations.
In at number 3, the trusty RWS brand of pellets. The RWS history of manufacturing ammunition can be traced back to the 15th century. RWS offers more than just airgun pellets, the range includes and isn’t limited to shot cartridges, centerfire and rimfire rounds of many calibres, and RWS has an extensive range of airgun pellets.
The RWS pellet has been produced with decades of experience in manufacturing a product that’s both consistent and reliable. The RWS airgun pellet is available in many different calibres, shapes and sizes. Many top world-class athletes continue to use the vigorously and stringently tested RWS Match Kugel R10 pellets to keep them ahead of the competition.
At number 2 - and a very close second - is the Air Arms range of pellets. The AA pellets are produced using uniquely designed exclusive dies purchased by Air Arms. When Air Arms was asked about who makes its pellets Clare West, the Managing Director of Air Arms had this to say:
“Air Arms pellets are different to that of the JSB brand. Whilst JSB does produce them for us, Air Arms has its own dies (purchased by yours truly) which are totally exclusive to the brand. We’re aware that JSB simply rebrands their existing pellet, which a number of our competitors sell. However, this isn’t the case for the AA brand. Whilst it would appear similar, it’s not the same. Here in the UK our own branded pellet far outsells the JSB brand. Many target shooters will use nothing but the AA brand. We have 20 FT Team shooters and 18 of them use AA and we have 16 HFT shooters and 14 of them also use the AA brand.
Unfortunately, we’ve noticed of late, many European companies selling directly to the end user for silly money. In the short term, this is all well and good for them because to them, pellets are a mere commodity to make a quick buck. They’ve no interest in our sport or in our industry and are very much likely to damage ‘route to market’ sooner or later. It just so happens that I’m due to fly out to visit JSB next week and one of the points of our discussion will be pricing.” Comment and quotes are taken from Matt Dubber of Airgunnation.com.
This leads me onto my favourite and Number 1 pick the JSB pellet range, made in the same factory as the Air Arms pellets.
I've been using the JSB brand of pellets for many years and it's become my go-to brand when testing new airguns or pistols. The well-made pellets consistently outperform many other brands but don't just take my word for it, many world champions use the pellet to stay at the top of their game.
JSB from Bohumin of the Czech Republic has been producing airgun ammunition since 1991, Josef Schulz the founder of the JSB MATCH DIABOLO BOHUMIN, a former and active gun marksman and coach started the research and development in the field of air guns ammunition production paving the way for JSB, in creating some of the JSB range available today. The current JSB company transformed the airgun pellet market in 2008, whilst under new ownership, still employing methods and using many of Josef Schulz’s research and stamping machinery to continue to produce what is an affordable, reliable and consistently accurate world class pellet for target shooting and hunting. JSB pellets are available in many different calibres, sizes and shapes. Stick a tin in someone's stocking.
Scope Camera Mount
I'm always out alone in the field and have a good tale to tell when I get back to the hustle and bustle of city life. Just like some of my friends who enjoy a spot of fishing, I have many tales and some would say here he goes again with his tall tales of the one that got away or the huge rabbit or rat that was taken from 50 yards, that recount of the near-impossible shot.
Recently I've equipped my shooting rig with a scope cam mount allowing me to add a camera or a phone to record my hunting or target shooting expeditions, enabling me to provide my audience with a visual aid. This will give me something to talk about over Christmas dinner.
Scope cam mounts have flooded the market and with prices that start lower than a tin of pellets; why not stick one in someone's stocking.
If you're like me and you fancy yourself as an amateur photographer, consider adding an Action Camera to the Christmas shopping list. We’ll see things that we wish we’d photographed or filmed. Here we have a cheap yet functional Action Camera that’ll allow you to do just that.
GoCam or Action Cameras have hit the market and are a lower yet reasonable resolution alternative to the very expensive GoPro. This alternative solution can be bought on the high street and at the local supermarket for as little as £20 and they come complete with a 12-month manufacturer's warranty and a box full of accessories and mounts. They’re fully rechargeable and easy to use.
I've been testing one of the action cameras for the past few weeks, and can confirm the image quality is half of that achieved through a GoPro, however, the Action Cam I opted for offers 120 frames per second recording at 720p resolution and 60fps at 720p for slow motion recording.
The Action Camera is also equipped with a fisheye lens providing a 170-degree field of view. Other features include a still camera image option and Bluetooth/WIFI connectivity to your smartphone, enabling the streaming of a recording from the camera directly to the phone - most impressive. Go on, stick an Action Cam in that Christmas stocking and start a YouTube channel.
Shooting or Fishing Gloves and Socks.
Ooh, it's so cold out! We’ve all struggled with frozen fingers now and then, are you finding it difficult to load that fiddly pellet? There's nothing worse than sitting in the cold grass or up against a tree waiting for your prey only to be constantly reminded of the cold from your fingertips or toes. Here's a great gift idea, fishing gloves and thermal socks.
The fishing gloves come complete with a retractable or folding thumb and fingertips, when pinned back this allows the shooter to comfortably grip a pellet and place it into the magazine or airgun. The socks keep your feet warm and dry and can be worn inside shoes or wellington boots.
Don’t get caught in the chill this winter! Go on, spoil someone, combine the two and make the whole shooting experience all the more enjoyable this festive season.
Warm Winter Shooting Hat
With the continuous rainfall and the imminent snow, I for one don't look forward to a wet and cold head when I'm out, and as I'm getting older, the natural protection that's afforded to me is slowly diminishing. Taking an umbrella on a stalking trip is just impractical, I could start wearing a toupee but I think a shooting cap or hat would be more suitable. So, top off the stocking with one of these caps, and keep someone's head warm this winter.
No one likes stalking encumbered by heavy equipment and clothing, and nothing’s worse than trying to keep the tin of pellets from rattling around in your pocket or bag. I'm not saying I have the perfect solution, but it's one I've used now for years, treat someone to a pellet pouch - it's an accessory every shooter should have.
There are many shooting pellet pouches on the market and one is as good as the other. I have a personal preference I’ve been using for some time, the Bisley Pellet Pouch. The leather material helps reduce pellet rattle and the large flap helps me get my big clumsy fingers and thumb nicely inside to locate a pellet without damaging the skirting. The added lanyard allows a shooter to suspend the pouch around their shoulders and neck, or fasten it to the waistline and look stylish this Christmas. Here’s an idea, stick a tin of pellets in the pouch then stick the pouch into the Christmas stocking, happy days.
Hunting and Game Bag
There's nothing worse than going out shooting and having to put everything in the small pockets of the gun bag. What if you get a couple of rabbits, how do you carry them without getting yourself and your equipment messy? Here's a festive solution that doesn’t cost more than a tin of good pellets, a PVC lined stylish game bag. With many different types available on the market, you’ll be spoilt for choice. I’d look out for one with additional pockets to store ammunition and other equipment in.
Targets & Target Holders
I can never get enough targets and seem to shoot my way through them as quick as I shoot through my pellets. There are many different types of targets available, ranging from paper targets, explosive targets and steel silhouettes, not forgetting the target holders.
I particularly enjoy the varied reactive targets that move, these have begun appearing on the market over recent years and have been well received by the plinkers amongst us. Many are designed to stand up against live firing ammunition. If in doubt, please check the suitability of the target with the manufacturer before purchasing. Go on, treat someone special to a reactive target this Christmas.
Help someone prepare for the zombie apocalypse with the Bisley Knock Down Targets, there are also other alternatives to choose from. My kids love these, the zombie targets remind them of the Call of Duty video games, and I'm not complaining, it helps me get them out of the house, into the great outdoors.
If you prefer something a little more traditional then take a look at the well-made steel silhouette targets that are available. I've been shooting at mine for years, and thousands of pellets later, I spray paint them once in a while and they look like new again. These targets are simple to use and come complete with a ground spike. There's no added complicated string as used on FT targets, you simply shoot the bottom disc to reset the centre disc. These targets are good to set out at different ranges and can be bought with optional reducers to enhance your shooting experience, as you go from a complete novice to a world-class shooter like me. Okay so I'm still a novice, but I'm having lots of fun and my stocking is almost full.
Gun Cleaning Kit
Gun cleaning shouldn’t be a chore, but we all dread coming back after a hunting or shooting trip and then having to spend countless hours doing the laborious process of cleaning and storing our equipment. Gamo has made this easy with their cheap and cheerful gun cleaning set, the best thing about this is, when you're finished with it, it easily and quickly breaks down into a handy carry case, helping with storage as well. There are many alternatives on the market, help someone clean up this festive season with a gun cleaning kit, and they might help you clear the table after Christmas dinner, maybe.
Go All Out for That Special Someone
Finally, why not introduce someone to the shooting sport, buy them an airgun. There's plenty to browse through on Gunstar.co.uk.
If anyone wants to buy me a gift this Christmas, I’ll have what Ralphie Parker got. As always shoot straight and shoot safe.