Fine Modern & Antique Arms - March 2023 : Sale A0323 Lot 18

Product Details

for 1988, with blued 29in. barrel including detachable sound moderator, cast and machined receiver with twist and pull brass handled bolt, the make and model detail inlaid in red paint, blued under-barrel air reservoir, custom walnut three-quarter thumbhole stock with adjustable heel-plate and chequered fore-end, tested, fitted with a Kassnar 6-18x40 telescopic sight in Sportsmatch mounts

After successfully operating in the air rifle market for several years, producing and developing side-lever spring air-rifles following the demise of the Sussex Armoury, Air Arms owner Bob Nicholls felt the time was right to launch a pre-charged pneumatic. There was a growing interest in PCP's at the time, but the offerings to date had been generally disappointing with only Daystate actually producing rifles in any number. Early in 1986, Bob and his works manager, Bill Sanders, decided that the next Air Arms project should be to design and manufacture an affordable pre-charged pneumatic rifle that was solid, reliable, full powered and able to compete at the top end of the market. General manager Colin King was tasked with designing the new rifle and by early 1987, prototypes were ready to be tested in the field by experts such as the successful field target shooter Mick Andrews. Throughout 1987 the prototypes stacked up a number of field target competition victories, including Nick Jenkinson's joint first place in the field target 'Showdown' final together with Micky's victory in the 1987 British Open and runner up placing in the American National Championships. In April 1987, Airgun World magazine reported that, "the new Air Arms pneumatic rifle" would be the top prize for the winner of that years field target showdown and that the first chance to see the rifle would be at the airgun fair on the 11th April. A month later, the magazine revealed the name of the new rifle as "The Shamal", which carried on the Air Arms tradition of naming rifles after the winds of the world - the Shamal being a wind that blows across the deserts of Iran. The Shamal was initially expected to be with retailers around August 1987. This was put back to the end of September but with vital suppliers experiencing manufacturing difficulties, the Shamal didn't actually hit the shops until February 1988. The shooting press were full of praise for the new rifle and it was well received by shooters. Field target shooters in particular loved the Shamal and it kick started the shift to PCP rifles in the sport, soon replacing the Weihrauch HW77 as the rifle of choice, and went on to claim many victories. Although the initial plan had been to recoup the development costs over a five year period, the success of the Shamal and the growth of the PCP market drove Air Arms to develop a new range of PCP rifles to cover all bases, the result being the launch of the 100 series late in 1989 (see Lot 8), with production of the Shamal then ceasing.
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Estimate £300-500