Hi all. This post is a little tester of a feature I want to run next year. The plan is to do a kit check of various HFT competitors. From beginners to champions and everyone in-between.
The first post in this series will be my current HFT setup. Any suggestions about other things I can ask will be appreciated. Enjoy!
Hawke Vantage Max 4-12×40
Tell us about yourself
My name is Dan Gordon. I have been shooting HFT for just over a year and I mainly shoot in the Midlands. I shoot in the recoiling/oddball class and will continue to do so for next year as well. I have started taking the sport more seriously since entering the Daystate Midland Hunter Series (DMHS), and am determined to get some 1st place results next year.
Tell us about your gun
I am currently using a Air Arms TX200 in 0.177. I started with a full length TX200 mk3 which I sold to a friend to fund an Air Arms Prosport. Unfortunately the Prosport stock didn’t fit well with my technique. I came across the HC model second hand in a local shop and decided to give it a go. I used this until very recently (last week actually) but this week I have swapped in a new full length action.
Details and Modifications
This gun is a bit of a mongrel really. The beech stock was from my TX200HC, The full length action is new, and from a mk3 in walnut. And the internals are from my TX200 Mk1 (in 0.22). This has effectively short stroked the Mk3 from around 98mm to 84mm (although I haven’t measured precisely).
This also means I now have a Walnut HC and a Mk1 in pieces. Hopefully I will find another short stroke piston soon to re-build it properly.
I was using the Mk1 internals in the HC up until last week. It was much harder to cock (but I got used to it and it didn’t bother me too much). However the longer barrel on the full length is more efficient. Since swapping over, I have removed 2x pre-load washers, but kept the same muzzle energy. This means less spring energy and therefore less recoil.
One final addition is the cocking aid which I have borrowed off of the HC. Just to add a bit of weight to the end of the barrel, and give me something to grip when cocking. I will probably get a brass one to go with the trigger and trigger guard. A bit tarty for some, but I quite like it. There is also an O-ring on the end of the cocking lever. This gun still has it’s original rubber bumper but they typically don’t last very long.
The trigger sears have been polished, and I’ve re-profiled the lower sear. The long term plan is to re-profile all of the sears to my own design and run lighter trigger springs. This should give a trigger which feels a bit more like the 10m guns of yesteryear. In fact it should be similar to the ‘Rekord Match’ in the Weihrauch HW55. Not recommended for carrying round fields, but this is a target gun only.
The blade is an adjustable brass version from Rowan Engineering, and the guard is the matching part from the same company.
The trigger pull is set to a very light and quite long single stage. I have found this to me more consistent than a two-stage trigger (for my technique anyway).
On the whole, this is the standard beech stock from Air Arms. However I have added some weight. This was to try and emulate the old 10m match guns, where the extra weight helps with stability of standing shots.
To do this I simply made a lead spacer to sit between the butt pad and the stock. I cast this in my garage using some scrap MDF for the mould and pellets I had been collecting from my pellet catcher. A £10 propane torch to melt the lead, and pillar drill to make the screw holes.
Other stock modification are the sticky felt pads. These are the things you find in DIY shops, and stick underneath ornaments to protect wooden furniture. Except I use them to remind me where to put my fingers. Shooting springers well is all about consist hold so these little prompts keep me shooting as well as I can.
Total weight (including the scope) is about 5.5kg.
Pellets and Power
In the previous configuration (HC action and barrel) I was using JSB exact 8.44 grain. I hadn’t found the best die, but #16 seemed to be OK. With the new barrel I haven’t had a chance to test pellets much. At 20 yards, both the die #16 exacts, and die #46 Air Arms express seem to have potential. But the real test will be tomorrow at the Doncaster Indoor Range. Hopefully I’ll get to test a few, and find a good batch in time for Furnace Mill on Sunday. (No pressure then!)
I usually aim to set the power of my springers at around 10.5 ft-lb. With the die #16 JSB’s I get an average of 10.7 ft-lb (755 fps). With the die #46 express I get an average of 10.9 ft-lb (790 fps). This is with un-weighed pellets so won’t be too accurate, but is a good guide. The shot cycle seems about the same with both pellet weights so it will come down to the accuracy test.
For the last 6 months I have been eyeing up the fixed magnification 10×42 Hawke Sidewinder. It just seemed to be everything I needed in an HFT scope. I liked the reticle, I liked the sight picture, and I liked the construction and feel of it. I didn’t like the price as much, but this time last week I saw one in the Black Friday Sale, reduced to £175 and I had to have it.
Come Tuesday and I was like a giddy child when I got home from work and a parcel was waiting for me. Luckily Laura was at her work Christmas party so I had the house to myself. Out came the allen keys! Out with the old and in with the new as they say, and the new was looking very nice. Right up until the moment I laid down in the garden and started shooting. Pellets were going all over the place. I’m talking 2 inch groups at 20 yards. After half an hour of head scratching I worked out that the windage turret was just touching the peg. And when I fired, the recoil of the gun was causing it to knock into the peg enough to throw the shot off.
This was clearly an issue because I was replicating my HFT prone stance and it just wasn’t working. So for now the old scope has gone back on for Furnace Mill. The Sidewinder is back in it’s box for now.
The current scope is also a Hawke, but the lower priced Vantage Max 4-12×40 1/2 mil-dot on a single piece Hawke Match mount. To be fair there was nothing wrong with this scope, I actually really like it. I just got dazzled by the fancy Sidewinder. I’ll leave the scope situation TBC for now.
My scope settings are:
Parallax = 23 yards
Zero = 20 yards
Magnification = 10x
Any plans to change?
Apart from further modifications to the trigger, and maybe working out the Sidewinder scope, I’ve got no changes planned. The full length action is running very well with the Mk1 internals and I want to keep it that way. There are lots of tuning options for these guns, but that’s quite low down in my priorities. In my mind the two most important factors are consistency of hold, and consistency of trigger technique. The weak link is currently me, not the gun.
Best score with this setup?
I haven’t used this in a competition yet, so zero! However with the HC action my best score was a 53 at Kingsley (90%). Hopefully there will be more to come.