While it’s all too easy to dwell on the negatives of 2020, the year saw the launch of some great new airguns and accessories. Mat Manning looks back and picks a few of his favourites.
Daystate leading the way
The Daystate Delta Wolf was without doubt the most significant airgun release of 2020. The ground-breaking airgun boasts a raft of innovative features, including never-before-seen electronic tuning that makes short work of optimising performance and improving accuracy.
But the Delta Wolf wasn’t the only new offering from the Daystate’s Staffordshire base. Their stablemate Brocock unveiled their XR series of airguns with a slick new sidelever cocking mechanism at the start of the year and the neat feature was soon added to the famous Daystate Huntsman, along with a new and improved magazine, in the shape of the upgraded Revere model.
In addition, MTC Optics continued their trend for short eye relief scopes with the SWAT Prismatic 10×30 “Atom” which boasts a remarkably wide field of view despite its powerful magnification.
Scopes made by Hawke Optics have an extremely loyal following among airgun shooters, and rightly so; you’ll struggle to find the same quality anywhere else at such competitive prices. Never ones to rest on their laurels, Hawke raised the bar even higher in 2020 with the launch of their revamped Sidewinder.
Available in first and second focal plane versions, the new Sidewinders feature side parallax adjustment and illuminated reticles. Updated features include improved turrets with witness window and an optional zoom lever for even slicker magnification control.
Add that to Hawke’s reliably good build quality and optical performance and you’ve got another range of winning scopes that will do just about everything that any airgun shooter could ask of them.
FX in their element
FX Airguns are renowned for their innovative bullpups, and the Swedish gunmaker revealed the super-stubby Compact version of their Impact Mk2 at the beginning of 2020.
More new hardware followed in the shape of the new and improved Crown MKII later in the year and, in December, the all-new FX Maverick was unveiled to the world.
The Maverick looks similar to the Impact but is more affordable and boasts a very clever twin regulator system which delivers blistering shot to shot consistency.
If all that isn’t enough, FX is also one of the key players behind Element Optics; a new range of high-quality rifle scopes that have received rave reviews since their launch just a few months ago.
Luxurious Weihrauch Laminates
Weihrauch’s famous PCP the HW110 and acclaimed HW98 break-barrel springer need no introduction as they’ve been big players on the airgun scene for years.
But that didn’t stop the German gunmaker from making them even better guns in 2020 by adorning them with grey laminate stocks. The classy new handle has really boosted the aesthetics of the HW110, and has transformed the HW98 from a classy break-barrel into one of the most desirable spring-powered airguns on the market.
Nothing sluggish for Wildman
Last year saw a phenomenal growth in the popularity of slug ammunition, with countless high-power airgunners switching over to these heavyweight rounds.
Despite their remarkable potential for long-range precision and energy transfer, slugs can be very fickle; most airguns need to be tuned to get the best from them but high-quality production is also a crucial part in the precision puzzle.
When it comes to attention to detail in the swaging process, British slug manufacturer Wildman is hard to beat. This new brand exploded onto the scene in 2020 and has quickly established itself as one of the leading lights in airgun slugs, thanks in no small part to owner Liam Craven’s meticulous attention to detail.
Pard approval unlocks the night
Although they had already been around for a little while, 2020 was a huge year for Pard’s NV007 and NV008 night vision units as the sights were granted official approval for sale in the UK.
Despite being more affordable than some of their peers, these digital optics are loaded with features, easy to use and boast exceptional image quality.
I have used the NV008 LRF model, which has an integral rangefinder, on several of my recent ratting sessions and have been extremely impressed by how well it has performed.
These day and night optics are opening up night vision pest control to countless shooters who had previously been put off by high prices and complicated operation.
Affordable performance from Ridgeline
Airgun hunters demand a lot from their clothing but they can also be very reluctant to fork out big money for jackets. Luckily for them, the new Ridgeline Grizzly III, unveiled at the start of the year, crams a heck of a lot into an extremely affordable package.
The Grizzly III retails at just £129.99 and, having used and abused one for the past few months, I can honestly say that it is head and shoulders above anything else at its price point.
Water resistant, warm and windproof, this jacket is equipped with a decent-sized hood and plenty of pockets to stash pellets and accessories.
Available in sizes from XS to a mighty 5XL, it comes in Olive Green or Ridgeline’s Dirt Camo which is brilliantly suited to the British landscape.
Hill pumps up the pressure
Hill has been a big name in airgun pumps for some time. This year, the trusted brand added an electric compressor to its line-up to take the strain out of home-filling PCPs.
More and more airgun shooters have been investing in their own compressors while others have been discouraged by high prices, fiddly operation and dubious quality.
The Hill EC-3000 Electric Air Compressor Pump solves all of those problems, enabling shooters to free themselves from the burden of having to find someone to fill their airguns or diving bottles with clean, dry air or do it by hand with a pump. It fills quickly and quietly to the users selected pressure up to 300bar.
More from Mat Manning
- Winter airgun shooting kit – top picks by Mat Manning
- Mat Manning’s thoughts on the rise of airgun slugs
- Best bullpup airguns – selected by Mat Manning
- Best thermal imagers for airgun hunters
- Behind the scenes at The Airgun Show