RANGE OF OPTIONS
I hope this email finds you and your team well. Over the past few months, I have read a lot of magazine articles and trawled through many well-known media and video sites. No doubt, my question has been asked many times: What do people class as a safe range to guarantee the kill with the first shot, for rabbits, rats, magpies, crows? People say a maximum of 35 yards, or 40 yards at a push.
I know many of your readers can shoot much further distances, and that’s only been achieved by hours upon hours, and in some cases years of practice. Practice makes perfect, so they say. Then I read about people shooting well over 65 yards with sub-12 ft. lbs. and achieving head shots every time. I would really like to challenge these statements. Are they genuine, or people just boasting? What happened to the art of the chase, camouflage and concealment, learning the habits of your quarry, ambushing and despatching with a first-time shot to prevent unnecessary suffering? Like I said earlier, no doubt there are air rifle shooters who can do this standing on one leg and blindfolded. I know this might open up a can of worms, but seriously, 65 yards and beyond, and head shots each time you squeeze the trigger? KEITH MICHAEL PINDER
Keith – responding comprehensively to your letter requires an entire article, rather than a reply on this page, but until that article is constructed, here are my thoughts in brief. In over 40 years of dedication to this sport, much of that time spent in the company of some of the finest marksmen on this planet, I have never met anyone who can hunt reliably and responsibly at 65 yards with a sub-12 ft.lbs. air rifle. I certainly can’t do it, and I’ve regularly offered those who claim they can the chance to show me how they do it. My absolute limit is 45 yards, and only then under perfect conditions, which are extremely rare in the hunting field, believe me. The vast majority of my hunting shots are taken at no further than 35 yards and usually below that. Basically, I stick to ranges and field conditions that allow me to group my shots consistently, inside an inch, and it’s this that should form the basis of your training to establish your own effective range. – Ed
I can’t hunt effectively and humanely at extreme ranges, but if you can, please get in touch and show us how you do it.