Airgun Shooter

19:10 THE SHOT IS ON

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MAT DOESN’T WANT to risk blowing his cover by reaching for the rangefinde­r again as he gets in really close. He has taken about a dozen cautious steps since confirming the distance to the feeding bunnies. Confident that he is now well within 30m from his quarry, he settles himself down for a kneeling shot.

With more than 30 years of shooting experience under his belt, Mat has shot thousands of rabbits but that doesn’t stop his adrenaline from pumping as he reaches the end of a challengin­g stalk. The excitement of creeping within close range of your quarry never wears off, so Mat takes a moment to allow his heart rate to settle before he mounts his rifle.

As his breathing steadies, Mat slowly draws the gun up into his shoulder, pushes off the safety catch and frames the closest rabbit in the sight picture. There is no need for any aim-off as the distance between Mat and his target is more or less bang on his zero range. He settles the crosshairs between the rabbit’s eye and ear and touches off the trigger.

The pellet strikes the unsuspecti­ng bunny’s skull with a crack, sending it into a cartwheel before it comes to rest with barely a twitch. The disturbanc­e is too much for the other two rabbits to tolerate and they scramble back into cover and down a burrow before Mat even has time to reload.

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