Richard Leonard

Air Arms Ambassador


How did you get into air rifle shooting?

I got into air rifle hunting quite a few years back, a friend introduced me to the sport and I fell in love with it instantly.

What do you enjoy most about airgun hunting?

For me, air rifle hunting is the ultimate past time; you get to be out in the wild and especially here in South Africa, you have the opportunity to hunt a lot more animals in one day. Not only are you helping out farmers with their pest problems, air rifle hunting is also a lot of fun.

How does it feel to become an Air Arms ambassador?

I’ve been using Air Arms rifles since I started air gun hunting. I just love the precision craftsmanship and reliability of the rifles. To be an Air Arms ambassador is not only an honour, but also a great privilege.

What is the most challenging part of airgun hunting?

I’d have to say the radical pellet drop and sensitivity to wind over short distances. This combined with a very small and often-unpredictable target makes for some very difficult shooting. You really have very little room for error. To constantly make 70–100 yard shots, often off the shoulder is quite difficult. But, this is one of the reasons why I love the sport.

How do you prepare for each outing?

I ask the farmer LOTS of questions before arriving on the property, making sure to take note of every detail that might help me on the hunt. The day before leaving I prepare my gear including my camera equipment and air rifle. I also take some 25–50 yard shots in the backyard, so as to get that muscle memory activated again.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into airgun hunting?

  • Don’t hesitate; this has to be one of the best sports out there.
  • Bad equipment often can lead to a bad experience. Save up and get yourself a decent air rifle and gear.
  • Speak to the pros, watch their videos, read their articles and be like a sponge. Absorb as much practical knowledge as possible and then, very importantly, head out as soon as possible into the field and practice this advice so it all sinks in and becomes your own.
  • To be good at air rifle shooting go out to the range and shoot. Shoot some more and just when you think you cant shoot any more, shoot some more.
  • To be a successful air rifle hunter is not the same as being good at air rifle target shooting. Yes, this helps, but I’ve hunted with many crack shots on the range that freak out on live targets and just can’t make the shot when it counts. To be a good air rifle hunter you have to hunt as much as possible so you can understand your quarry, how to out whit them and very importantly, focus on all the critical techniques that will help you make the shot under pressure. Breathe in, breathe out, pause, squeeze the trigger (don’t pull the trigger) and try to watch where the pellet flies through the scope. If you do this you’ll make a lot more shots under pressure.