Information Centre

  • A Handy Guide to Gun Dogs

    When thinking of breeding from a current gundog that has been a faithful servant to you in the shooting field or looking online and asking fellow guns for recommendations for a new puppy, the job of selecting the future generations of the breed needs careful thought and consideration.

    Whether a stud dog from the litter your stud bitch has produced or something from a different bloodline you must consider the health and temperament you want. Therefore, steps to guide your choice may well follow some of those listed.

    Some of the things you need to look out for to produce a successful litter are:

    • Summary of health for sire and dam (hereditary history of previous generations)
    • Ensuring dogs have x-rays, for their hip scores checked and eyes tested at around a year of age.
    • DNA tests for retrievers and spaniels as this will show if the dogs are a carrier of PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), SD2 (Skeletal Dysplasia), EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse), CNM (Centronuclear Myopathy) and other general muscle weaknesses
    • A good temperament. Bold but not too over the top, not a nervous dog but a sensitive one would be easier to train. Active and athletic with a good nose, quiet and loves retrieving.

    Just putting two dogs of the same breed together to mate would not suffice. Breeding is about strengthening and improving the breedline. It is important to recognise the positives and negatives of the two dogs you wish to breed together. It is always good to breed a dog with natural ability who can use its nose and is somewhat a natural gamefinder. The perfect gun dogs need to be intelligent, work as part of a team and willing to please. Dogs that can work all day as well as be athletic enough to jump walls and swim and then be ready to go again the next day after a good night’s rest are advantageous.

    Bear in mind that the owner of the sire may charge £1000 or more especially if the dog you have in mind is a Field Trial Champion. Or, the owner may choose to have the pick of the litter rather than a stud fee in cash.

    Over the year’s dogs have been bred to create different gun dog breeds each with particular strengths. You’ll tend to see lots of Labrador retrievers and Springer Spaniels out in the fields with both breeds having various sub breeds such as golden retrievers or flatcoat retrievers along with cocker spaniels and clumber spaniels to name a few.

    Training

    The important question of training should also be considered as if you opt for a dog with high energy and drive you will need to be able to adjust your training to cater for a successful outcome as time and patience will likely be required.

    On the other hand, you may well opt for a calm steadier bitch that won’t tolerate the pressures of daily training sessions thus a slower pace and tempo may be required while her confidence grows over time.

    In either case you will want to ensure your basic training is covered diligently as having a dog that is under control at all times in the shooting field whether sat at the peg or walking to heel between drives is both safe and rewarding.

    As the dog learns to work at greater distances from you hunting on the wind for a tucked in bird or being handled across water to a retrieve across an obstacle being under control and on the whistle for each command will be crucial.

    All training of which will need to be considered when deciding on the temperament you are looking to breed from or select.

    Gundogs need both physical and mental exercise which should include being social with other dogs and play with the boss, a variety of exploring in different terrains to keep their interest and grooming should also be part of their routine. Gundogs have much more specialist requirements for basic training thus good quality equipment such as slip leads/Whistles/dummies, and more are needed for the best results. For the best collars and leads tap here.

    Gundog owner checklist, you’ll be the perfect owner if you:

    • Love exercise and the outdoors
    • Make plenty of time every day to exercise and train your dog
    • Enjoy being out in all weathers
    • Like your dog to affectionate and demonstrative
    • Don’t mind mess being brought into the house
    • Live in a rural location with a big garden and plenty of space for activities

    Pictured are working gundogs from the Pebbleridge Gundogs. Pictures provided courtesy of Mark Twiggs, owner of Pebbleridge Gundogs.

  • CZ 457 Long Range Precision Review

    CZ 457 Long Range Precision Review by Chris Parkin for Gunmart - March 2021

    CZ’s 457 LRP is a heavy fluted barrelled, target stocked variant of the core 457 multibarrel platform and although not facilitating fast changes, allows extra barrel kits. Here, the major exhibit is the stock, something a lot of designers get creative with but do not always do very well, other than just looks.

    The action
    Twin extractor claws span CZ’s control feed bolt face with a mechanical ejector appearing below as the bolt is drawn fully rearward on its 42.5mm stroke. The rail is slotted and screwed over the machined in dovetails, so not only is it functional -allowing return to zero with barrel/scope swapsit helps stiffen the otherwise open-topped action supporting that 22mm diameter barrel. It’s cylindrical action profile blends towards parallel sides at the rear, with a long slot for bolt handle reciprocation. There is a single rear locking lug being the base of the handle itself. It can’t snag or stall on any surfaces, it never withdraws from the slot, enabling intrinsically smooth operation and minimal slop. The short shaft is 130mm long with a 33mm handle extending to support the 33mm spherical knob. It’s facetted like a giant gem and some say it looks too bulky, but this is the finest bolt action rimfire I have operated, regardless of price.

    Nice features
    A familiar-looking single column 5-round polymer magazine is supplied (10-round mag available) and the release catch sits at the front of the well. The rounds slide snag-free into the breech without damage or excess lubricant shedding and if you swap calibres, the feed ramp is part of the action insert. After fitting a different barrel, I can confirm everything worked perfectly in .17 HMR with ballistic tipped and hollow-point bullets.

    Swapsies
    The rifle is supplied with a radially ported ½” UNF muzzle brake wrapping the well-cut crown, to which I added a SAK sound moderator. The 20” barrel includes flutes along its profile, all the way back to the action. It shows a deep matt black/blue corrosion-resistant finish which has withstood extensive use in all sorts of rain, snow, ice and mud. The barrel swap involves removing the receiver from the stock with Twin T25 Torx action screws, slacken off two angled grub screws at the front of the action and the barrel will slide out. The small spacer within
    the action mates into a rebate of appropriate calibre, so if you change to say a .17 HMR, the
    job can be done in five minutes with basic tools. You do need the correct magazine for either .22/.17 cartridge length and a small spacer. Overall, its a good design.

    Furniture
    The purposeful stock is visually striking, featuring a height adjustable cheekpiece and
    recoil pad with angular float. Both need a T25 Torx to adjust and the cheekpiece may need
    removal to get the bolt out. Everything locks 100% solid and notably, the comfortable recoil
    pad fits nicely without slipping from your shoulder. Spacers allow the length of pull (LOP) to
    be adjusted from 351-382mm and the comb has a medium width of 47mm, maximising eye/
    scope alignment. I particularly like the lower scalloped sides to minimise lateral jawbone disruption, although they might just look like pretty curves, they are 100% functional.
    The beech structure shows a seamlessly machined compound material build including
    aluminium sections. All the timber is coated in a soft-touch finish which is easily cleaned. There is lateral stippling on the forend as well as the vertical pistol grip, which includes a delicate ambidextrous palm swell.

    Suitable Ammo
    I ran the gun in on all sorts of ammo but the main test was to use premium match ammo.
    Viking Arms supplied SK Standard, Match and Long Range variants for more detailed reviewing. All use a 40-grain round nose lead bullet with a delicate greasy feel but no excess wax. Average velocities in the CZ were 1071 FPS for Standard (extreme spread 10 FPS), 1079 for Match (ES 19 FPS), and 1127 for Long-Range (ES 14 FPS). The latter was clearly supersonic and although effective on targets at intermediate ranges, lost out to both subsonic examples at longer ranges beyond 200m. Although initially slower, these never suffered dropping back into the supersonic/transonic flight regions. It was also interesting to note that these bullets performed differently at the critically variable 0-5 °C temperature ranges through the test period, where the speed of sound is variable too. In the end, SK Match proved time after time to be the front
    runner over ELEY and RWS supersonic variants.

    Running the Rifle
    Bolt manipulation was light and fast with zero distraction from point of aim. The ability to reload quickly without disruption was appreciated, allowing shot strings to be performed more
    rapidly in consistent wind intervals. It was appreciably non-disruptive in awkward improvised shooting positions, where the slight rearward balance point left the gun pressed into the shoulder and feeling like it was 'part of you'. The inherent consistency of performance and the ability to spot and dial accurate corrections for downrange wind conditions at ranges out to
    305m allowed me to enjoy every aspect of shooting the rifle, with excellent head support.

    Conclusion
    In my opinion, CZ has demonstrated superb execution. Although perhaps not the rifle
    for everyone, it is a perfect example of a focussed design that meets or exceeds every one
    of its marketing parameters. It has actually introduced me to a whole new world of technical
    shooting challenges which I intend to continue pursuing. One of my all-time favourites for nearly every reason.

    PLEASE NOTE: This is not the full review. The full review can be found HERE.

     

  • FX Impact and PARD NV008P LRF - A Review

    Controlling pests on more than a thousand acres across the south of England means Alpha Militaria’s Rich Saunders is no stranger to shooting in the dark, in fact he finds it the best time of the day to tackle rabbits and rats.

    He’s been using ATN X-Sights for almost as long as he can remember, usually on Daystate rifles. In fact, his current set up is a .25 calibre FAC-rated Red Wolf on which he uses an X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20x most of the time.

    However, having recently gained another permission, he needed a more compact and lighter set up. The farm grows strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, as well as plants and shrubs for the garden industry. Covering some 300 acres, rabbits are a constant problem, causing thousands of pounds of damage each year by eating the crop and chewing through irrigation pipes.

    “They just can’t help themselves,” he says. “The problem is that breaks in the pipes cause water pressure drop and potentially crops to be ruined.”

    With such a vast area to deal with, covering the ground on foot isn’t an option so instead, Rich drives around in his truck, spotting rabbits with a thermal monocular and shooting them through the open window. It helps that the rabbits are used to farm vehicles and don’t pay them much attention.

    The only snag with the plan is that whilst his Red Wolf / ATN X-Sight 4K Pro combination is great for stalking and ambush tactics, it is too big in the confines of a truck. His solution has been to use an FX Impact mk2 and a PARD NV008P LRF. And because he is restricted to driving the lanes that criss-cross the farm, shots often present themselves at distances too far for 12 ft. lbs. legal limit rifles. To overcome that hurdle, his .30 calibre FX Impact has been tuned to deliver 95 ft. lbs.

    “People ask why I don’t use a .22 LR or .17 HMR,” says Rich. “The truth is I like airguns and the combination is easily capable of taking rabbits cleanly at 60 or even 70 metres. Although it’s a big area, there’s always the chance of a ricochet with a .22 LR and there are several cottages on the farm I have to be mindful of which puts me off using a .17 HMR.”

    With 44.75 grain pellets, the FX Impact hits extremely hard and is better able to withstand the effects of any breeze, although Rich is experimenting with a second rifle, an FAC-rated Daystate Delta Wolf, which he has set up to shoot slugs.

    However, regardless of the capabilities of his rifle, he finds that the limiting factor at night is the ability to see small quarry such as rabbits clearly. He finds the PARD NV008 LRF the ideal tool. Weighing only 450g and measuring just 162mm long, it’s the ideal partner for the compact and light FX Impact and Delta Wolf.

    The tiny onboard infrared (IR) illuminator has three brightness settings and is more than capable of lighting up targets at the range Rich shoots over. And despite sometimes spending all night shooting, the rechargeable 18650 battery usually provides enough power, although he always has a spare to hand just in case.

    As anyone who has shot at night knows, judging distance is extremely difficult, especially if shooting over open land. Having opted for the LRF version of the NV008, Rich is able to accurately measure ranges at the press of a button and adjust his aim point accordingly.

    As a writer for Airgun Shooter magazine and presenter on The Airgun Show, he also finds the Pard’s ability to record HD video and take photos invaluable.

    Visit Alpha Militaria for a full review of the PARD NV008P LRF and a run down on the FX range.

    Written by Richard Saunders of Alpha Militaria

    Both day and night, the FX Impact mk2 and PARD NV008P LRF make a potent hunting and pest control combination, and are perfect for enclosed spaces like vehicles and hides
    The PARD NV008P LRF’s light weight and compact dimensions make it ideal for use on tactical bullpups like the FX Impact mk2 and can be used day and night

    With day and night settings, complete with an integrated IR illuminator and laser range finder, the PARD NV008P LRF will not only help you convert opportunities but film them as well

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Six of the Best - National Tactical Officers Association of America Awards recommendations to Six new products from Primary Arms

    The National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) has awarded Primary Arms Optics with six new ratings.   NTOA evaluate products based on their performance in tactical law enforcement applications. Ratings cover many of the 2020 Primary Arms releases, including the SLx® 3x Gen III Prism, the SLx 5x Gen III Prism, the SLx MD-25 Red Dot Sight, the GLx® 2x Prism, the GLx 2.5-10x44 FFP Rifle Scope, and GLx 30mm Rifle Scope Mount. “We’re proud to see that this year’s new products performed well with the National Tactical Officers Association,” says Terry Mears, Primary Arms’ Director of Product Marketing.

    The evaluations by NTOA test draws from real-world performance as well as the products build quality, ease of use, design features and their practicality for law enforcement operations. After weeks of analysis on said products and trial through usage the grading success of these pieces had to come through at least 6 of 13 major evaluating criteria. In order for a product to pass it must average a 3 or higher across all criteria with special recognition granted to products that perform remarkably well earning them a ‘Silver’ (4-4.49 average) or a ‘Gold’ (4.5+) rating.

    Each of Primary Arms six newly submitted products for 2020 achieved a positive recommendation by their NTOA assessors which comes on the back of last year’s five successful ratings – three of which earned silver ratings in addition to two accomplishing the full gold rating. Mears added, “Law Enforcement is one of our highest priorities in developing new products that exceed expectations. The NTOA’s ratings confirm that we’re bringing professional-grade quality and technology at consumer-friendly pricing.”

    2020’s first positive recommendation arose from the SLx 3x Gen III Prism with ACSS CQB-M2 5.56 Reticle with the  SLx 5x Gen III Prism with ACSS Aurora® M 5.56 Reticle also going on to receive gold-medal recognition with an average score of 4.52 out of 5. The 5x Prism’s durability and image quality, which is supplemented by a versatile magnification and intuitive reticle design was noted by evaluating officers.  Further  recognition came for the SLx MD-25, GLx 2x Prism with ACSS CQB-M5 5.56/.308/5.45 Reticle, GLx 2.5-10x44mm FFP Rifle Scope with ACSS® Raptor M2 Reticle, and GLx 30mm 0 MOA Rifle Scope Mount as their exceptional performance saw them awarded with silver medal acknowledgment.

  • Steyr Challenge 2020

    This year Steyr’s challenge can’t see them look for the toughest hunters in the Alps so they’re looking for the fittest hunters in the world instead.

    They’ll be doing this by holding a 2020 Virtual Challenge which will be determined by uniting you with hunters from around the globe in the second week of October.

    Wherever in the world you are you fight in teams of four where you will run and you shoot all whilst finishing as a team.

     

    So how does it work I hear you ask?

    You have a week to complete the two tasks of the 202 Virtual Challenge.

    1. You run either in a team or individually a distance of 10km and track your time using a mobile phone, stop watch or sports watch (garmin, runtatsic, etc) and record the result with a screenshot.
    2. You print out the target four times and drive to the firing range you use or trust. Each team member will fire three shots at their target from a distance of 100 metres.

    (Remember to take a photo of each team member taking their shots as well as each of the four targets shot at with the penalty seconds achieved)

    1. You have until Monday 19th October at 9:00am C.E.T. to upload.

    Uploads must contain:

    • A team photo
    • The four running times
    • The four photos of the team members shooting
    • The four shooting results
    1. The results will be evaluated and published after the event.

     

    The Winner

    The first three teams will win an exclusive goody bag as well as a fixed starting place in the next STEYR CHALLENGE at the Seetaler Alpe – hopefully in 2021!

     

    To secure your place click the link below to register.

    https://www.steyr-arms.com/steyr-challenge/?fbclid=IwAR3_H9XPa-EJ64o0ITj_esrrtZsENdIB4I5-k1OhdJbBp0VFvYXmgYuOids

  • The New Sole UK Distributor of CZ Firearms

    In case you missed the initial announcement, Sportsman Gun Centre is proudly the new and sole UK importer and distributor of prestigious firearm manufacturer CZ (Česká zbrojovka).

    CZ Production

     

    CZ has been manufacturing firearms for over 80 years and boast an impressive range of centrefire hunting & rimfire rifles, sport & competition firearms and an expansive military and law enforcement range. Manufactured in the Czech Republic, CZ produces an average of 1577 firearms a day to meet an ever-growing global demand for premium quality firearms at an affordable price.

    The SGC feels both privileged and proud to have been invited into partnership with such a prestigious manufacturer to bring the full and complete range the UK.

    SGC MD Gary Lamburn said “We as a business believe in investing in stock and CZ is no different. We will look to increase stock holding to benefit the availability of firearms to the UK gun trade.”

    Both the SGC and CZ believe that this partnership will have a profound effect on the UK shooting industry, bringing world-leading firearms to a much wider audience.

    CZ 457

    All CZ Rifles can be found on the SGC website, notably featuring the new CZ 457 Synthetic, Long Range Precision (LRP) and Thumbhole rimfire rifles.

    Combined with the increased stock availability, the SGC believe that we will soon see far more shooters in the UK with CZ firearms.

    For more information, contact the Sportsman Gun Centre Ltd.

  • The Basics of Reloading

    Reloading Introduction

    RELOADING IS AN ENJOYABLE HOBBY, saves you money — and no manufacturer saves you more than Lee Precision, Inc. Their mission is simple: produce the best value American made reloading tools.

    Great prices come from patented, innovative designs. The company are proud to say that Lee Precision products are cast, machined and assembled in the USA. A reloading press and a set of Lee Dies are all you need to start reloading. Lee Dies come complete with powder dipper, shell holder and instructions, along with comprehensive load data that tells you how much and what type of powder to use.

    Dies and presses last a lifetime, so buying what your budget allows makes the most sense. For those with a workbench, consider the Lee Bench Plate for the ultimate convenience in mounting your presses. If you don’t have a workbench, consider the Lee Reloading Stand, compact and very sturdy.

    The Basics of Reloading

    To the uninitiated reloading can seem quite a minefield... The truth is it can be broken down into 6 simple steps.

    1. Decap and Size - If you are using previously fired brass you will need to remove the old primers and size it back to factory specifications, or for advanced users, you can simply resize the neck.
    2. Trim - When brass has been fired and resized it can stretch. So it is advised that you measure and trim your brass back to factory specifications.
    3. Prime - This is the part where you replace the primer in the brass, making it ready to accept the charge.
    4. Expand & Charge / Charge, at this stage, you add the powder to your cartridges.
    5. Seating - Add your desired bullet head to the brass ready for the final stage.
    6. Crimping - To ensure uniform pressure and reliability crimp your head into the cartridge. Now your newly made ammunition is ready to shoot.

    As with all firearm based activities. It is essential that anyone new to reloading takes advice from a professional and that the individual does their research before they start.

  • FX Airguns announce new sole UK distributor

    The Sportsman Gun Centre Ltd is proud to announce that in February 2020, they will be the sole UK importer/distributor of the world-famous premium Swedish Air Gun brand FX Airguns.

     

    Founded in 1999, FX Airguns is fast becoming “THE” favourite among British airgun enthusiasts, so much so that historically demand has outstripped supply. It is clear to see why, as each airgun is manufactured to an exacting standard by the FX team. Led by Fredrik Axelsson, FX Airguns are, as both manufacturers and innovators, constantly pushing for new world innovation and incorporation of the newest manufacturing techniques.

    The SGC has always committed to holding a significant amount of stock for the brands they distribute and are looking to continue to increase the availability of the incredible FX range in the UK.  They are excited to offer greatly reduced lead times and improved stock availability to both retail and trade clients.

    Both the SGC and FX believe that this partnership will have a profound effect on the UK airgun industry, bringing world-leading airguns to a much wider audience.

    For more information, contact the Sportsman Gun Centre Ltd.

  • The perfect hunting companion Zeiss

    Thoughts on what makes the perfect scope

    The most important factors when choosing your scope are your particular hunting preferences and the conditions in which you hunt. All-rounder or specialist – this crucial decision will depend not only on what scopes you already have, but also on what, where and how you will want to hunt in future.

     

    • If you will be hunting in daylight, what you need most is flexibility when it comes to magnification. The key aspects to consider are the terrain (flat country, mountains) and the type of hunting (hide, stalking).
    • Riflescopes with excellent optical performance are the number one choice if you will be hunting at twilight or by moonlight.
    • Reliable aiming, fast reactions and short distances: when on driven hunts, sights with a large field of view and low magnification allow you to aim with both eyes, thus increasing the reliability of your shot.
    • Various types of game and hunting, different times of day or environments: all-rounders with excellent optical clarity and a wide zoom range really come into their own here.
    • For high-precision shots over long distances, long-range scopes with extreme magnification and pinpoint ballistic settings are what you need.
    • If you are hunting in the mountains, it is important to have the flexibility to take long-distance shots, as well as to adjust your ballistic settings to suit the game. A product such as the ZEISS Victory Rangefinder System can be a great help here too.

    Finding the perfect binoculars


    For the most part, hunting is not about the hunt itself; it is about being able to experience nature and, in particular, to view the game.

    What constitutes the right binoculars will depend on the type of hunt, time of day and, last but not least, the hunter and their requirements. When hunting on the move, factors such as size, weight and ease of use are really important, on top of the optical considerations.

    • If you are hunting game that is on the move, you often have to act fast. Compact, lightweight binoculars that are really easy to use would be ideal here.
    • During the day, what hunters need most is to have a good overview through a wide field of view, along with good magnification, so they can aim at game properly.
    • In poor light, when hunting at night or at twilight, a good pair of binoculars with large lenses and good light transmission will allow hunters to get the most out of their hunt.
    • In order to measure distances accurately for an exact shot, the binoculars will need to offer enhanced technological features that are easy to use, on top of the optics themselves.
    • A built-in image stabilisation function will enable you to see clearly over extremely long distances – even without a tripod.

    The perfect spotting scope

    Whether used to view game or simply see nature in a different way: spotting scopes give hunters and nature-lovers a unique perspective and enable them to take precise aim. Spotting scopes are usually needed to take accurate images over long distances, but sometimes they serve to pick up details on smaller animals that are already visible to the naked eye. So why do I need a spotting scope?

    When deciding whether you need a spotting scope, as well as the performance data of the optics in question, such as maximum magnification, zoom range or field of view, it is recommended that you consider other factors too: for example, weight, dimensions, setting options, handling or ability to extend the product with corresponding accessories.

    • If used for aiming at game, the mobility of the spotting scope is important, as well as its optical performance: it should be lightweight, compact, robust and with no bells or whistles.
    • If used for viewing game, simple handling and maximum optical performance are the order of the day.
    • If used for identifying animals, when it is all about extreme magnification, a wide field of view and true-colour reproduction, every tiny detail counts.
    • Whether it will be connected to a camera or used for digiscoping – with the right spotting scope, you can record your sightings as photographs or moving images.
  • ATA Arms SP Super Sport

    ATA SP SUPERSPORT

    The SP SUPERSPORT is Turkish gunmaker, ATA Arms’ newest addition to its SP range of shotguns.

    With its matte black action, matte barrels, red accents and a high-grade Turkish Walnut stock, the SUPERSPORT certainly looks the part. But with the inclusion of extended chokes, vented barrels and an optional adjustable stock, it lives up to its name.

    This beautiful 12G over-under shotgun is available with both 30 and 32 inch barrels, a 12mm rib, comes with a full set of chokes and offers anything the sporting shooter would need from a shotgun.

    ATA SP SUPERSPORT - RRP From: £799.99

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