A Shooting Times reader was curious as to why airgunners use single-shot trays instead of the magazine. Airgun expert, Mat Manning, had the answer.

A reader asked: I’ve noticed that some shooters use a single-shot tray with their FAC-rated airguns, even if they are shooting with a multi-shot model. Why don’t they use the magazine and take advantage of always having a rapid follow-up shot at the ready?

Airgunner and journalist from the West Country said: I am one of those shooters, and the decision is based on accuracy. Most of the FAC-rated airguns that I’ve used — and I’ve used quite a few — have tended to produce tighter groups when using a single-shot tray. The difference is usually only minor but it is noticeable, and I think it suggests that magazines cause a tiny blemish to the pellet as it is fed through.

My guess is that the slight damage isn’t enough to compromise accuracy at legal-limit power levels but is sufficient to destabilise pellets when they’re travelling at higher speed. Though the decision not to use a magazine does mean that it takes a second or two longer to load-up for follow-up shots, I like the reassurance of knowing that my first shot should always be right on target.