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  • MattSkelhon1Matt Skelhon shot to fame when he grabbed gold at the Bejiing Paralympic Games and proved it was no fluke by claiming silver and bronze at London 2012.

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  • scoutwithprosthesis1This young Scout was born without a left hand.  When he took an interest in shooting, which is very popular in the Scout movement, Hampshire Scouts helped his local club to find a solution. 
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  • Di CoatesDeanna (Di) Coates lives in Hampshire, shoots air rifle from a wheelchair, and is one of our most successful disabled international athletes. 
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  • peterbreheny1Peter Breheny from Derbyshire shoots benchrest rifle.  He has Kennedy's Disease, a progressive wasting condition that has weakened his limbs. 
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  • stewartnangle1Stewart Nangle, a Lancastrian, is pictured shooting .22 pistol.  What the photograph does not show is that at the time one of his legs was fitted with a metal frame that was bolted into the bones. 
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  • vicmorris1Vic Morris lives in south Wales and is paralysed from the neck down as the result of an accident.  With the aid of an 'equaliser' device invented by his coach, John Kelman, Vic shoots pistol and rifle. 
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  • michaelwhapples1Michael Whapples from Leicestershire is blind and shoots air rifle.  In 2011 he was the first British shooter ever to compete at the Open European Shooting Championships for the Vision Impaired, held at Nitra, Slovakia. 

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By Dave Holah, Shelford Rifle Club

My son Tom is 22 years old, has mild cerebral palsy and learning difficulties.  He has been a member of Shelford Rifle Club for five years.  Tom shoots benchrest at 15 yards with a .177 air rifle. 

Last autumn we bought an Air Arms S400 MPR (with telescopic sights) to help Tom progress with his benchrest shooting.  Up to this point he had used a Feinwerkbau 601 with iron sights.  Moving from the FWB 601 to a compressed air rifle has been a real benefit to Tom.  Whilst he was enjoying success with the FWB in competitions the effort to reload for each shot was tiring.  Also, as every shot required a new setting up of his hold of the rifle in the shoulder and on the rest, errors crept in. 

Tom Holah W

We asked Bert Bertoloni to help Tom with a Scatt training session with his FWB.  We were not sure at first how much benefit would be seen in the Scatt, but even shooting from the bench the effects of trigger control, timing and general aiming position were clear.  Whilst Tom may not have understood the technicalities, having the facility to playback the shot was very good visual learning.

Also with the FWB there were no options to mount a ‘scope, so in an Any Sights league the competition was tough because the iron sights shooter is disadvantaged.   We have not had sufficient iron sights entries in the Cambridgeshire League (www.cambridgeshireshooting.com) to run a separate competition.

The S400 has been a real benefit for Tom.  Loading is obviously easier and the shooting position is maintained as there is no need to drop the butt from the shoulder.  Tom can concentrate more on the aiming mark.  With a ‘scope there’s a tendency to assume all is OK because the crosshairs are over the spot but it’s still too easy to force the aim.  Given that the margin of error is so small between a bull and a 9 (even on the 15-yard card with a .177 pellet), it’s easy to call a shot as a bull when the gauge tells a different story.  Also the shot is scored with a.22 gauge because these are .22 targets, so what looks like a bull can soon drop to a 9.  

One simple test for the zero point is to load the pellet then hold a card over the ‘scope and allow Tom to settle into the aiming position.  Then remove the card and see where the aim is.  This gives a real test of the zero point and indicates whether adjustment is needed - simple but effective.

The air pressure in the S400 is not regulated, so the pressure behind the pellet does vary as the cylinder pressure drops.  This has an influence on the accuracy, even at 15 yards!  The trick has been to find the “sweet spot” – a pressure range that gives consistency.  We’re still learning, and perhaps a session with a chronograph would help, but around 150-160 BAR is good; beware below 100!

Tom Holah 2 W We are a .22 rimfire club, so much more used to discussing ammo types, how often to clean the barrel (and how severely) and all the other patter on the range to account for good and bad shots.  Consequently we are on a learning curve with respect to air shooting with this type of equipment.  Talking to field target shooters is very helpful.  Another good spin off from these discussions has been pellet choice.  Presently a dome pellet such as Air Arms Diablo Field is preferred over the standard wadcutter type pellet used for 10-metre airgun.

Why pool and Kit Kats? The ethic of our club is based on good shooting and an enjoyable evening.  The pool table gives a break from shooting and the Kit Kat is the incentive for the winner – either on the pool table or the best score of the night!

Tom’s verdict: “TheS400 is easy to load and has telescopic sights. These are easier to get on with than iron sights.  I like getting a big score and beating Dad.  I like playing pool, socialising and helping the Club Captain Roger setting up at the start of the evening. “.

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