Turn About

Si and Davy take turns to shoot or drive, but there’s only one per­son on gate duty!

Airgun World - - Contents -

Afew weeks ago, Davy and I met up at his house and then trav­elled 40 min­utes north-east to one of his rab­bit per­mis­sions in East Han­ney. I’d shot this per­mis­sion a cou­ple of times and it’s one that I re­ally en­joy be­cause if you have a 4 x 4 you can drive around it, in­stead of walk­ing.

On ar­rival, Davy in­formed the farmer and his wife that we were on site and that we would be con­duct­ing ver­min con­trol for them un­til the dark hours and we were given a gate key to get into the cat­tle-graz­ing fields. We then set about ze­ro­ing my wife’s Rat Works Reaper .177, cus­tom BSA Ul­tra SE that we were in­tend­ing to use and share for the night. En­sur­ing that we had a solid back­stop, we used a white-lighted torch and lased out 41 me­tres (45 yards) us­ing my Hawke laser rangefinder 400 (LRF), be­fore plac­ing Davy’s metal tar­get holder and tar­get card against it.

Ly­ing on a shoot­ing mat, with the ri­fle rested on a shoot­ing cush­ion and the scope set on x 10 mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, Davy en­sured that he could put a .177 JSB Heavy pel­let into the cen­tre of an 8mm bulls­eye, by giv­ing 1.5 mil-dots of holdover. By do­ing it this way, we were 100% sure that our left and right windage ad­just­ment would be smack, bang-on for the longer range shots, and due to our ex­ten­sive near and far cal­i­bra­tion tech­nique, we knew that at 30 me­tres (33 yards) the ri­fle would be shoot­ing true to the scope’s cross hair.

Once the ri­fle was ze­roed, I set about fit­ting a NiteSite Wolf RTEK unit to the Reaper as well as a small night-vision LRF for which I’d made a new mount­ing bracket. Af­ter fit­ting ev­ery­thing and lev­el­ling up the scope’s cross hairs in the NiteSite’s screen, we turned on the laser. We tested them to­gether by look­ing again at our zero card, to en­sure that the dis­tance dis­played on the small LRF was the same as the one we’d re­ceived from the Hawke LRF ear­lier. True to the qual­ity of the equip­ment we were us­ing, the NiteSite’s pic­ture was crisp and bright and the range to the tar­get was show­ing as 41 me­tres – job’s a good’un!

HIND­SIGHT

To start off, Davy sug­gested that I should shoot first whilst he drove his 4 x 4, then later we would swap around. At first, I thought that Davy was just be­ing kind by host­ing me on his per­mis­sion, but in hind­sight, I now re­alise that he’d been pretty crafty be­cause I ended up get­ting out each time a gate needed open­ing and clos­ing.

Af­ter clos­ing the first gate and get­ting back in the ve­hi­cle, I pointed the Reaper/NiteSite combo out of the pas­sen­ger win­dow, then cocked and ap­plied the safety catch. We hadn’t gone more than 30 me­tres into the first field when I turned on the NV unit and LRF, and rab­bit eyes lit up

along a bound­ary of bram­ble bushes be­tween two of the farmer’s fields.

With just 17 me­tres (18 yards) show­ing on the LRF, it was sim­ply a case of plac­ing the cross hair on the first rab­bit’s brain and re­leas­ing the trig­ger’s sec­ond stage. It rolled over on its side, dead, from an ac­cu­rate, hu­mane shot.

I picked up the rab­bit and we moved off again as I turned on the units and spot­ted a close-range rab­bit in the longer grass. I didn’t use the laser be­cause I knew from ex­pe­ri­ence that it was re­ally close, so I placed the cross hair on the rab­bit’s head. All four mil-dots were within the sight pic­ture so I knew that this would be a very clean kill as I squeezed the Reaper’s trig­ger. The rab­bit went over, again with a well-placed shot, and as I paced the rab­bit back to the car, Davy es­ti­mated that it had been no more than 15 yards away.

My fi­nal shot of the night was at a rab­bit sit­ting next to some long weeds. The laser showed 30 me­tres (33 yards), so I knew that this rab­bit was on my pri­mary zero and I only re­quired my cross hair again as my aim point. I re­leased the trig­ger, we heard the sound of lead on skull, and watched the rab­bit roll over, per­fectly dis­patched.

PRE­CI­SION

It was time for the change around, and I be­came the driver. I talked Davy through the aim points and set off look­ing for his first shot of the night. Af­ter about five min­utes of me driv­ing, and stalling Davy’s wagon twice due to its sen­si­tive clutch, we stopped as he spot­ted his first tar­get at 28 me­tres (30 yards). Davy stead­ied his shot as I watched it in the NiteSite’s screen, and then he sent the JSB mis­sile wing­ing to­ward the rab­bit’s brain, knock­ing it over with to­tal pre­ci­sion.

Af­ter pick­ing up the rab­bit and scan­ning the field, Davy spot­ted a sec­ond rab­bit at a lased 24 me­tres. Track­ing the rab­bit in the scope as it hopped right to left, Davy waited for his shot and then re­leased the Reaper’s ex­cel­lent trig­ger. Over went his quarry an­other one in the bag.

We fol­lowed on for the next hour, and af­ter a 10-minute cho­co­late, Mon­ster drink, and Face­book up­date break, Davy man­aged to shoot an­other three rab­bits cleanly, be­tween 15 and 36 yards, whilst I drove. Yes, you guessed it cor­rectly, Davy de­cided that he wanted to drive out of the field and home, and so I was put back on gate du­ties again.

Happy hunt­ing!

Above: For any hunt­ing to work, you need to­tal faith in your hard­ware.

Above: The Beeza was soon ze­roed to the lads' sat­is­fac­tion - and the ac­tion could be­gin.

Above: 'Open gates? Not me, mate!'

Above: Not a bad haul for a drive-along night-hunt­ing ses­sion.

Above: Per­fectly placed and dropped with hardly a twitch.

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