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INSIDE JOB

Tim Finley meets a man whose vision has created the prototype of a brilliant built-in bit of kit for hassle-free lamping

Some ideas leave you wondering why nobody has thought of them before – but perhaps when they started to look into the practicality of the idea, a few brick walls loomed up, so the great idea was shelved.

SPIFFING IDEA

Antoni Pobiarzyn did not give up.

He had the idea of fitting the battery pack for his lamping kit inside his stock, which sounds like a spiffing idea, yes? Well, it is, but – one of many buts – the battery has to be small, and light enough, to fit inside the stock and still give enough power for a full nights hunting.

The first problem was finding a battery pack to mount inside a stock, with enough power to last a few hours.

It must also be easily accessible to charge and recharge, and so on, and so on.

You’d not guess it from his name, but Antoni is a clever Yorkshire lad with a great interest in air gun rifle hunting.

He had his initial idea a couple of years ago and from then on spent most of his spare time tracking down the bits of hardware to realise his brilliant plan.

It’s fair to say he had hell of a job. He tried many configurations of amperage and construction before arriving at the end result, with early prototypes slung or taped to the side of his stock, simply to prove their power and endurance.

In the end he contacted a specialised firm who made up a battery pack and fusing system to his own, unique, specification.

It’s a fully rechargeable system which, unlike normal batteries, gives the same power output for all of its operation time – and then goes flat. In other words, the brightness of the beam of light doesn’t generally die off, it works on full power until it’s empty.

CONTINUOUS BEAM

Depending upon the power of the bulb, the battery pack will last on continuous beam for two hours. I don’t know any lamper who walks around with the lamp on continuously – we dab the light on and off to pick out rabbits and when in position, turn it on again to take the shot – so, used this way, the battery will comfortably last for a full nights lamping session.

With the power-source sorted, Antoni began the task of a practical system to mount it inside the stock of his favoured Rapid 7. Not one to do things by halves, he had a few ambidextrous Rapid stocks made for him and got the back of the stocks drilled out to accept the battery pack – using a drill bit which alone cost him £100!

It’s not, as you’d have guessed, simply a question of banging the stock in a Workmate and going at it hammer and tongs with a 2-speed Black & Decker. It’s a delicate, precise job which if done incorrectly results in a load of firewood. At the same time, the hole for the switch and lamp lead socket is drilled – and the switch itself presented another hurdle.

After eventually finding one which was up to the job, he then had to wait for a batch to be made. From very early on he realised he would have to make a few of the stocks, thanks to the interest it was generating, just with his friends and via word of mouth to other shooters. Anyone who ever tried his modified gun wanted one.

DO THINGS RIGHT

The next problem lay in the access to the battery compartment. The hole is drilled in the rear of the stock behind the butt plate. He could have just glued in a screw-cut ferrule, with an allen screw to hold the butt plate on, but he likes to do things right. Being a practical shooter himself, he wanted a simple-to-use system with a twist and turning locking device to hold the butt pad firmly with one turn of a normal straight-bladed screwdriver.

Once again, after searching far and wide, he got what he needed. I spent a bit of time looking at this part of the design and had to conclude it was spot on and worked a treat every time. The proof of the pudding is in the eating they say, so we met up with a mutual friend and headed off into the cold night to see how it handled and how the lamp performed.

The battery pack itself adds only 7 ounces to the rear of the gun. On a Rapid that’s not a bad thing, I’ve always found them front heavy so it actually improved the balance for me. In fact I was more interested in the how it handled than shooting rabbits, and the rabbits had the same idea too.

Antoni headed out to a field where John, our kind host, had never failed to come back with a rabbit. It was the first night of frost after a five-day mild spell so Mr Rabbit was not playing ball. Rabbits are not daft and were quite content to stay indoors on that well-cold night. When he returned, empty-handed, John was so amazed he strode off for a good hour to try his luck. He too failed to come back with a rabbit, but still had a big grin on his face.

FREE AS A BIRD

‘I really enjoyed that, even though I drew a blank’, he told us, in fact it was like walking around in the daytime to him. The gun felt free as a bird with no trailing wires to belt or back pouches to hinder movement, he said it didn’t feel like he’d been lamping at all. Given my all too brief try with the gun, I can wholeheartedly agree.

Both he and I concluded we would even leave the battery in the stock during daylight shooting as well. John owns three Rapids so is well qualified to pass judgement – and he ordered a stock from Antoni there and then.

I was well impressed by the switch. I could dab the light on and off with slight pressure, then click into continuous beam with just a touch more pressure. Antoni has got the position of the switch exactly right, smack under the thumb. Production models will have a brass or blackened ring around the base of the switch – he’s had no trouble with water in the year or so he has been using the switch, but there’s no doubt it would just look better finished with one fitted.

The lamp socket is mounted on the rear top face of the stock, behind the action, and he can fit sockets for all the most popular types of lamp or convert your existing lamp to a more user-friendly socket if you desire. With Rapid MkI and II stocks already available from him, he’s planning on producing a BSA SuperTen version, if there’s enough interest for it.

The stocks not only look good but are very practical – and they really do make lamping safer and easier. If you are into lamping, especially on your own, then this is a mind blowing good bit of kit.

NO TRAILING WIRES OR BACK
PACKS TO HINDER MOVEMENT
IT’S NOT LIKE LAMPING AT ALL

Technical Specification

Stock mounted 6V rechargeable battery pack with integral pressure/on-off switch and lamp lead socket built onto the stock. Based on walnut ambidextrous Rapid 7 stock – MkI or MkII – or BSA SuperTen stock. Complete with a battery charger.

Prices around £200. Your existing lamp can be converted to this spec of lamp lead socket.

Magazine: Air Gun World, January 2002, page 40

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Happy Hunting From The Nite-Hunter