85 Mark Cam­ma­cio gives an over­view on how to choose a hunt­ing ri­fle

Mark Camoc­cio is help­ing us to choose the right hunt­ing ri­fle – part one

Air Gunner - - Contents -

L ast month we looked at choos­ing the right airgun for ju­niors. Now it’s time to look at the op­tions avail­able if the main aim is hunt­ing. It’s a far thornier is­sue and one not to be rushed into so be­fore I run through the op­tions kit-wise, I think the sub­ject de­mands a con­sid­ered over­view since it has such a huge bear­ing on any fi­nal de­ci­sion made.

RE­SPECT

Choice of airgun will be dic­tated by our de­ci­sion to shoot live quarry be­cause the level of per­for­mance ba­si­cally needs to be up to the job, and that ap­plies equally to us as well as the gun! Hunt­ing can be a highly sat­is­fy­ing ac­tiv­ity. Just be­ing out in a pleas­ant coun­try lo­ca­tion, can some­times be re­ward enough; and that’s an aspect maybe lost on the unini­ti­ated.

Just ob­serv­ing and be­ing at one with Mother Na­ture, can be an up­lift­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in it­self with sim­ple pleasures, such as the warmth of the evening sun, just adding to the whole oc­ca­sion. In this sce­nario, any sub­se­quent suc­cess­ful hunt could well be con­sid­ered a bonus, but let’s face it, hunt­ing might not be for ev­ery­one. Whilst con­trol­ling ver­min is un­doubt­edly a nec­es­sary re­quire­ment in many sce­nar­ios, tak­ing the life of a liv­ing crea­ture can still di­vide opin­ion. For in­stance, many shoot­ers thor­oughly en­joy inan­i­mate tar­get or com­pe­ti­tion shoot­ing, yet the idea of shoot­ing any­thing live, sim­ply does not ap­peal.

SQUEAMISH

Leav­ing aside the is­sue of ethics, many shoot­ers might just con­sider the prepa­ra­tion of game, with all the as­so­ci­ated messi­ness in­volved, just a step too far, and give up on hunt­ing for this rea­son alone. If that aspect doesn’t prove off-putting, then in­vest­ment in a suit­able hunt­ing knife and a ro­bust pair of kitchen scis­sors is a good place to start for swift and ef­fec­tive game pro­cess­ing.

For those of us so in­clined, where ver­min con­trol is jus­ti­fied, despatch­ing all the air­gun­ner’s favourite quarry such as rab­bit, crow, rook, squir­rel etc., can lead to ex­cit­ing for­ays. As re­spon­si­ble airgun shoot­ers, though, it falls upon us to pro­mote the sport in the best way pos­si­ble, by striv­ing to im­prove our shoot­ing, and re­spect our quarry at all times. Of course, many of us feel the adrenalin rush when in hot pur­suit of some wily prey; and the sat­is­fac­tion gleaned from suc­cess­fully ap­plied fieldcraft takes some beat­ing, and yet it’s fair to say that the whole ex­er­cise shouldn’t be en­tered into lightly.

CLEAN KILL

A mis­placed shot on a steel or pa­per tar­get is nei­ther here nor there, but where live quarry is con­cerned, a badly taken shot can end in mis­ery. Clean kills are what it all comes down to, and that re­quires

I happy just be­ing out hunt­ing whether I bag some quarry or not

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