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Thread: Two of the rarest Field Target air rifles around

  1. #1
    Sharp Shooter
    The Professor

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    Default Two of the rarest Field Target air rifles around

    A few months ago I was introduced to Tom Walton, one of the early FT shooters in the UK who among a small group of others had a major input in the development of FT as we know it now. Tom was the first FT shooter to use a side focus scope, a 20x Leupold Ultra (Mk4) and developed the first large diameter side wheel.

    As I am collecting classic FT rifles Tom offered me his GC2FTX200S rifle, one of only two Airmasters FTX200S rifles that were ever built.





    Although two FTX200S rifle were built, the other was made for an Air Arms Shamal and there were subtle differences in the design of the stock which means that they are unique.

    The Shamal version unfortunately has been dramatically altered so no longer looks how it was originally built. Incidentally the Shamal was purchased by the late Mike Jose, founder member of my club Cornwall FTC, he sold the rifle to another friend of mine David Owen who cut off the 'foot' section. For a while the stock was in my possession, but I sold it, but I might try and get it back.

    Back to the GC2 version, this was originally fitted to GC2 Mk1 serial no. 44, although some people from that time (1988) though having a stock like this was cheating so Tom took it off the rifle and fitted a Custom Stocks CS1000 to No.44. This original GC2 action exploded during a refill, destroying it and the stock the Leupold Mk4 scope was damaged, but it was repaired FOC by Leupold and used successfully afterwards. The stainless steel GC2 action numbered 304, was built by John Ford of SportsMatch to replace Tom's lost action.

    While visiting Tom on Saturday to collect the GC2, he also offered me his one-off Ripley action that was specially built for him by Steve Wilkins of Ripley rifles with a stainless steel cylinder with a 60000psi burst pressure, the material for which was 'sourced' from Roll Royce :-)

    This Ripley is highly unusual in that the barrel and bolt housing are offset to the left to promote a more upright head position and is the only Ripley that has ever been built like this.





    The stock on this rifle has been drastically altered and needs major works.

    I will post more photos of the unique features of these rifle over the next few days.

    Dale
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  2. #2
    Marksman
    The Guru

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    wow!! beautiful!!

    although the top stock is completely impractical for anything but the seated FT position...
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  3. #3
    Sharp Shooter
    The Professor

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    Despite how it looks that FTX200S stock works well in all FT positions. It was designed and built by a company called Airmasters who specialised in the production of FT equipment.

    This FTX200S stock was one of the last items they made before some form of disagreement between the Welham brothers closed the business down.
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  4. #4
    Protea FT Team '08

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    Sorry to say I dont see the pix
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  5. #5
    Sharp Shooter

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    You sure you logged in? They're there after I've logged in... Not running some IP spoofer or something are u?
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  6. #6
    Protea FT Team '08

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    Ok now I can see them.Bit odd looking the top 1.The other could almost pass for a S400
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  7. #7
    Sharp Shooter
    The Professor

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    Over the Christmas break I had the opportunity to try out the new GC2, and I have to say it is a superb rifle to shoot.

    When the wind stopped blowing it would produce one hole groups at 35 yards, enlarging to 9mm clover leafs at 55 yards. Taking it round the course I only missed two sitting targets, the misses being down to guessing the dial settings as I have yet to get them fully sorted.

    I have now fitted my 35x Premier Reticles converted Leupold Mk4 and it complements the rifle very nicely.

    Deadlinks_imagefiles/100dspict0041_pict0041.jpg[/img]

    Deadlinks_imagefiles/100dspict0036_pict0036.jpg[/img]

    Allan, regarding the Ripley, it is very different from an S400. As I mentioned above it is a true one off, as it was built with an offset barrel arrangement. Now that I have had an opportunity to take some more pictures, here is what I am describing:

    Deadlinks_imagefiles/100dspict0047_pict0047.jpg[/img] Deadlinks_imagefiles/100dspict0044_pict0044.jpg[/img]

    The Ripley is also superbly accurate, although the temporary sporter stock I am using on it is not ideal, but it shouldn't be too long before I find an FT stock that suits me.
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  8. #8
    Sharp Shooter
    The Professor

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    After some searching, I have finally found a nice FT stock to complement my one-off stainless steel Ripley action. The stock was made by accomplished UK stock maker Gary Cane.

    Deadlinks_imagefiles/phoenix1.jpg[/img]

    Deadlinks_imagefiles/phoenix2.jpg[/img]
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  9. #9
    Inactive Member

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    WOW
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  10. #10
    Inactive Member

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    Hells bells!!!!
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  11. #11
    Inactive Member

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    Dale , that is not too unique an idea , off setting the barrel . Its been tried before in sniper rifles .

    Do you recall ever seeing the Lee Enfield .303 sniper rifle , with the scope sight sitting on the left ?? That was wierd , but it was as usual , a compromise , to allow the normal reloading and recharging of the magazine . There was also a huge distrust in the optics at that time , and it was also a method of retaining full use of the open / iron sights as well .

    That off set Ripley should and will in all probability function perfectly . The only down side will be getting used to looking at a "pi##ed" rifle barrel.

    There is merit in it though !
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  12. #12
    REP: The Airgun Shop

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    Awsome stuff!!!
    Damn.... you have all the nice toys don't you?
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  13. #13
    Sharp Shooter
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    Hi Gerry, I am familiar of the concept of the offset scope mount on the Lee Enfield (SMLE?), to the best of my knowledge the WW2 issue No4T feature quick detaching scope mounts attached to the left side of the action but with scope set directly over the barrel. I believe some WW1 vintage sniper variants of the P14/P17, featured offset sights.

    As you say it is a compromise, with a new set of problems occurring due the sight line and bore line not being in the same plane.

    The Ripley here is the only one ever built like this, where the scope still sits directly over the bore, the whole barrel / breech and hence scope assembly sitting over to the left, so you don't really notice anything being on the p**s as you put it :-)
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