DAVE BARHAM

Dreams can come true!

Airgun World - - Contents -

Ever since I got back into my shoot­ing and hunt­ing a cou­ple of years ago, I’ve as­pired to own a multi-shot PCP car­bine sporter. In fact, I’ve had my sights set on a BSA R10 for well over a year, so I be­gan to squir­rel away £50 here, and £30 there into an old cof­fee jar as of­ten as I could get away with it. I checked said pot last week, and to my amaze­ment I’d man­aged to gather to­gether ex­actly a grand in 12 months!

A trip to my lo­cal gun dealer was most def­i­nitely in or­der, and as luck would have it he had a shiny new BSA R10SE Su­per Car­bine in stock with a beau­ti­ful wal­nut stock – my dream was about to come true.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

Do you be­lieve in love at first sight? I do now! As soon as I picked up the ri­fle I knew she would be mine. Ev­ery­thing just felt ‘right’, the bal­ance, the feel of the stock, the weight, ev­ery­thing.

The ri­fle was fit­ted with a BSA 3-9 x 50 scope al­ready for dis­play pur­poses, and with a touch of Barham bar­ter­ing, I man­aged to pick the com­plete out­fit up for a lit­tle over £800, in­clud­ing a good qual­ity BSA gun slip thrown in for good mea­sure. My friend at the shop also filled her up for me, to just un­der the rec­om­mended 232 bar.

I took her home in record time, ea­ger to zero the scope and play with my new toy. I was so ex­cited! I’d been wait­ing a whole 12 months for this mo­ment, and it had fi­nally come to fruition.

TO­TALLY BLOWN AWAY

I was rush­ing around my house like a man pos­sessed. I couldn’t for the life of me find my tar­gets, so I im­pro­vised with some white card­board and a black marker pen. I just had to get this baby ze­roed and then out into the field.

For the pur­pose of this first ze­ro­ing ses­sion, I set my pel­let-catch­ing tar­get at 25-yards, which is pretty much the length of my gar­den. I also opted to shoot this first ses­sion from my bench, with a large cush­ion as a rest, like I al­ways do when ze­ro­ing a ri­fle.

The way I see it, if I can get my ri­fle and scope per­form­ing in this sit­u­a­tion, then any­thing that goes amiss in the field is down to user er­ror – it’s best to have a good start­ing point, a ‘bench mark’ so to speak. What hap­pened next blew me away, and it’s a mo­ment that I shall never for­get.

BANG ON MONEY

The guys at the shop had told me that they had ‘near ze­roed’ the scope when they had put it all to­gether, so I shouldn’t have too much to do when I got her home – and they weren’t wrong.

As I set­tled down for my first shot, I hadn’t even re­moved the caps from the tur­rets on the scope, I just wanted to feel that trig­ger re­lease and send my first pel­let down the bar­rel.

The BSA let out a lit­tle ‘pffft’ and to my sur­prise the pel­let hit my makeshift tar­get just a few mil­lime­tres be­low left of the cross that I had drawn on the card. “Well that was pretty good,” I said to my­self. With that first glo­ri­ous shot out of my sys­tem, I got down to busi­ness and re­moved the caps from the scope and guessti­mated a few clicks right and a cou­ple more up.

My next shot was al­most per­fect on the hor­i­zon­tal plane, but just a few mil­lime­tres high, so an­other cou­ple of clicks were made and I was feel­ing pretty con­fi­dent that I was al­most there.

Well, the next four shots ended with me putting the ri­fle down on the bench and me jump­ing around the gar­den like a lit­tle kid!

You see, I like to shoot a ‘Heath Robin­son’ cross tar­get set-up when I don’t have ‘proper’ tar­gets (or I lose them), be­cause it al­lows me to aim for the four imag­i­nary boxes that the cross pro­duces. I like to try to shoot as close as I can in each quar­ter, then move on to the next one.

THE FA­BLED ONE-HOLER!

As I sent the first pel­let into the top right ‘box’ it hit ex­actly where I wanted it to. Rather than go for box two, to the left of it, I de­cided to put an­other shot into the same place, and then an­other and an­other. I placed three shots on top of each other, and as the fourth one hit the tar­get I couldn’t ac­tu­ally see where it had en­tered – it had gone into the empty space cut out by the pre­vi­ous three shots!

That’s when I felt an im­mense surge of adrenalin cours­ing through my veins. My heart felt like it was go­ing to thump out of my chest and I was sit­ting there with big­gest grin you’ve ever seen stretch­ing across my face.

I had to put the ri­fle down again and just sit there to take it all in. This ri­fle is by far the most ac­cu­rate that I have ever shot, and she is mine! Never have I felt so at one with an air­gun, not in this way - it re­ally felt like it was meant to be.

CONKERS BONKERS

Once I had calmed down and stopped shak­ing, I de­cided to take my newly-beloved BSA over to a friend’s field to see if there were any rab­bits about. Of course there weren’t, it was 2pm on a warm sum­mer’s day. That didn’t mat­ter though, I was out in the field with my new girl, and just be­ing there and go­ing through the mo­tions was enough, for now.

Ob­vi­ously, I had to make a few shots, just for fun, and those few turned into 50 or more. I spot­ted a huge tree full of conkers at the bot­tom end of the field, and oh what fun I had blat­ting them out of the sky.

In my mind, each and ev­ery one of them was a pi­geon, and time af­ter time I made head­shot af­ter head­shot. It was one of the most fun ‘plink­ing’ ses­sions I think I’ve ever had. It didn’t mat­ter that there were no rab­bits, be­cause I was nail­ing those conkers like there was no to­mor­row.

CON­FI­DENCE IS KING

Be­ing con­fi­dent in your abil­i­ties and ‘tools’ is 90 per cent of what makes you a good shooter

in my opin­ion. It’s the same with fish­ing.

It’s hard to ex­plain, but I feel so con­fi­dent when shoot­ing the R10 al­ready; I know that the ri­fle is the best I have ever owned, and now it’s just down to my stalk­ing and wait­ing abil­i­ties to be­gin fill­ing my freezer with free-range food again.

TWO TIMES LUCKY!

As luck would have it, I re­ceived a phone call from my ex-land­lord. Martin, whilst I was sit­ting in the field. He’d shot a deer a cou­ple of nights pre­vi­ous and he had called to see if I wanted some.

We’ve stayed in touch since I moved out of his old house, and ev­ery now and then we meet up and ex­change veni­son for tur­bot I’d caught over a pint or two.

I rushed home and se­cured my new ri­fle away. The thought of a fresh veni­son loin siz­zling in but­ter that evening over­took my conker-blat­ting hys­te­ria, but only just.

I met Martin for our usual ex­change of goods and a cou­ple of pints, and dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion he told me about a new per­mis­sion he had ac­quired via his girl­friend’s sis­ter. He had been asked to deal with a munt­jac deer prob­lem in their ‘gar­den’, which turned out to be quite a few acres.

ALL COM­ING TO­GETHER

As we be­gan chat­ting, I told him about my new ri­fle and how im­pressed I am with it. He then told me that there was a se­ri­ous rab­bit prob­lem at this per­mis­sion, too, and that he re­ally didn’t have time to deal with it.

“Are you free to­mor­row night, Dave? I’ll take you over there and in­tro­duce you,” he said, be­fore tak­ing an­other sip of beer.

That was mu­sic to my ears, and I’m sit­ting here writ­ing this piece with just a few hours to go un­til Martin picks me up and takes me rab­bit­ing. I can’t wait, and if I play my cards right I may well have just stum­bled on to a per­mis­sion that I have so longed for since I moved here.

At last, it all seems like it’s com­ing to­gether for me, and now I can start bring­ing you some proper hunt­ing fea­tures, with prom­ises of even more per­mis­sions on the cards. Wish me luck!

Dave has fallen in love with his new BSA R10se Su­per Car­bine ri­fle – and if you’ve ever shot one you’ll un­der­stand why.

There were no rab­bits in the field, but an old wa­ter butt took a few shots.

Off huntin’ conkers …

This lit­tle switch helps to lock and se­cure the mag­a­zine in place. This trig­ger set-up is very im­pres­sive, and in­fin­itely ad­justable.

With the bolt and lock­ing switch open, the 10-shot mag­a­zine is eas­ily re­moved. The quick-fill port and gauge are well sit­u­ated, too.

The bolt is very easy to use, with a pos­i­tive yet quiet ‘click’. The pos­i­tive safety switch is well placed.

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