Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Airgunner Features

I have been asked by some overseas readers how i get on shooting these days. As i am writing for Airgunner i use most trips out for them so i wont use them here straight away but I will however put previous features on here as they have been out for a while now and hopefully other days out  will be added so i can get the blog going as i started. If you would like to order issues of Airgunner  for overseas readers you can go here ,http://www.airgunshooting.co.uk/magazine-details.aspx?id=136 you can also get a digital copy every month so no loosing magazines in the post.

This feature was a job clearing squirrels at a freinds house with my dad. It started off slow but the end results was more than what we hoped for.

As I have been looking through the forums lately I have noticed quite a few posts regarding shotguns. There has been a few arguments saying shot gunners have it easy,just point and shoot and its a kill every time. Now I am sure there is some truth in that as long as your George Digweed or Richard Faulds , but I am sure they will admit they do miss a few. I also get the feeling that Air rifle shooters would not think for one minute that they would benefit from going out shooting with someone with a shotgun, they do not realise how good an opportunity this could be to bag a few pests.
I got out quite often with my Dad if he is spending a day decoying, if there is a good sitty tree or a bit of wood near where he is shooting I will often stake out these places. I have always had a good day when I do this as quite often pigeons who are not committed to coming into his decoy pattern will often perch up close and watch for a while.This will give me a chance to take a shot and add to the bag.
This week my Dad was out shooting some woods for a farmers friend who had a few squirrels chewing the bark his new plantings. He has 7 acres of conifers in his back garden and these are the perfect breeding grounds for the grey squirrel. The owner has already had problems in the past as some of the squirrels had chewed through his roof and taken up residence in his loft. Now the plantings are getting chewed he his not a happy bunny and the call to cull a few was made.
It was around midday so i decided to give Dad a call and see how he was doing. He had been there for a couple of hours and had nothing, he had seen a few but once they had run to the tops of the trees even he could not get them with a shotgun as he could not see them. They had also been running him round the trees until he was getting dizzy so not wasting an opportunity I loaded the Rapid 7 in the car and off I went.
When I pulled up to the house I could see why the owner was a little upset about his house being invaded. It was a lovely stone and brick house set in a beautiful location, I would have given my left foot to live here its a shooters dream home. I met up with my Dad just behind the back garden and he explained what had happened again and we set out along the path to the far end of the wood.
We had got about 100 yards away when I noticed a squirrel hopping along the floor, before we even stopped it was off like a rocket all the way to the top of a tree, quickly I set to the tree and looked up to find it. This is when I could see the problems dad was having, even with the shotgun there was no way he could have shot the squirrel, there was so much cover at the top of the tree I do not think the shot would have got through.
As the trees were not planted so close to each other it gives you a chance to walk back and see the tops of the tree through the scope. I scanned the tree looking for the tell tale grey fur on the thin trunk but nothing could be seen, I then got my dad to walk away a bit more so he was opposite to me and there he came , I could see the squirrel come round my side of the tree while he was closely watching dad. I had a nice rest on the tree next to me and the .177 Webley Mozzie hit the squirrel full on and he tumbled to the ground stone dead. My Dad was happy now ,we had something to show the home owner at least but Dad knew there was more so off we went to look.
We had walked the wood up and down for about an hour and nothing had showed, it was not surprising as dad had scared a few earlier so we decided to go and have a walk around dads permission and see if any pigeons were about on the newly planted fields. As usual there were a few rooks pecking away at the soil but no pigeons. Walking back to the car Dad noticed a squirrel under an old oak tree, we were about forty yards away from it so I slowly edged myself along the tree line to see if I could get a little closer. If this had been a rabbit I would have felt confident of killing it at the distance we spotted it, but as a squirrel has a much smaller kill zone I felt I had to get as close as possible to insure a clean kill. I had managed to get within thirty yards without being seen and luckily for me I had a little log in front of me that I could kneel down in front and rest the rifle for a much more steadier shot. As I got the squirrel in the scope I could not believe how fat it was, it was the most scruffiest squirrel I had seen as well. I scoped the squirrel up nice and steady and squeezed the trigger, The pellet hitting bone made a loud crack and the squirrel curled itself up, a perfect clean kill again. As the pellet struck the squirrel two pigeons took flight out of the oak tree and headed straight for Dad, as I looked back Dad shouldered the shotgun and a left and right met the load of two 32grm no6 cartridges. Head swelling and a grin off he went to pick up his pigeons and me my squirrel.
That made me feel a little better , Dad had got a couple of quick shots off for all his efforts that morning and squirrel number two had been shot.
We decided to have a tea break then go for another walk through the wood, you never know there maybe something come back out now its quiet. As we were having a drink Dad noticed a squirrel playing with another about sixty yards into the wood, there was a nice green bush about half way to the tree the squirrels were in so of I went. I moved slowly into the wood but as I was walking I tried to keep a tree in front of me and the squirrels so my outline was covered, the squirrels were happily chasing each other and never even stopped to look around so that made it a lot easier to stalk them. The bush that I was aiming for soon came in front of me so I gently eased myself through the edge of the bush trying to keep my shape out of sight from the squirrels, the last thing I wanted was them to see me after what seemed an age getting to them. I got to the front of the bush and one of the squirrels was sitting on a branch, it was in clear view so I lifted the Rapid 7 slowly and got the cross hairs nicely on its head. A gentle squeeze of the trigger and squirrel number three died instantly. As I shot the squirrel its partner ran to the top of the tree, again out of sight.
Dad had made it over in quick time as we did not want to loose any today ,this could be the last squirrel of the day and to add it to the total would be even better for the land owner. I walked back as I had done before and and looked through the scope, I had a nice view through the branches and soon spotted it lying flat along a branch. I rested on a tree again for maximum steadiness and shot the squirrel stone dead.
Feeling pleased with myself we walked back to the house to see the home owner, through the corner of my eye I noticed a rabbit hopping through the bracken, I stopped Dad and looked through the scope. I could see a nice clear rabbits head looking straight at me no more than twenty five yards away, as usual I gently took the first stage of the trigger then the worst thing I could do happened. I thought to myself this is dead ,its the worst thing in my mind you can do before a shot, I take these shot for breakfast normally but when you say your dead the usual happens, "YES" you guessed it I missed, the easiest shot for a long time and I fluffed it. The rabbit gave me a quick look then hopped off down a hole.
We decided it was time to go and see the landowner and show him the bag, before we got to him we found a nice spot to take some pictures of what had been shot, as we were ready to take the pictures we heard the landowners wife shouting at us to "SHOOT IT" looking puzzled I looked up to what she was pointing at and noticed a magpie heading our way, Dad loaded quickly and lifted the shotgun to his shoulder and took the magpie cleanly over the top of the conifers.
Pictures now taken including the magpie we met with the landowners wife I and asked her what was wrong with the magpie, she informed me that it was trying to take the young blue tits out of a nest boxe and she had scared it off, luckily it came our way and it will not be doing that again. Dad had already seen this earlier and had waited for it to come back and had no joy, i would not have shot it myself just because someone shouted shoot it but he knew why and took the shot.
We showed the landowner the squirrels we had shot and his smile said it all, I am sure we got the nod to go again and he has mentioned some rabbits that need sorting on some other ground he has.
Now for anyone who gets the chance to do some shooting with a shot gunner, don't pass on it as you will never know what you have missed out on.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


It has been a busy couple of months for me lately. It is no excuse for neglecting my blog as you the readers have kept me going for a long time. The magazine features has taken alot of my time up as you can never get thing right the first time so you are trying to go out and have a half decent day just to give readers something worth spending their hard earned cash at the newsagents. Although i have been writing for Airgunner i have also been testing a new pattern from Jack Pyke. It is called English Woodland and now it has been released i can give you a preview .. On first ispection when it arrived it was like the incredible hulk was stashed in the box. I thought crikey this is green and it took me a while to really get my head around it. Well that weekend i had to go and give it a propper try , there is no use in buying something or reviewing it unless it has had plenty of time in the field so i might aswell start now i thought.
Well three months on i am using it regular as the leaves are still on alot of trees so i am blending well. I have stalked a few more rabbits wearing it  than i used to and have also scared a couple but i have tried it against other top brands of clothing and there is no way they can beat this for concealment.I have had my best summer on pigeons without building hides all the time , lying out in open fields with a pod has been like taking candy from a baby where rabbits are concearned.
I would say this is more a spring summer pattern because of the total green colour but i think for night time shooting this is also spot on as it gives no light spots and you blend in with the night perfectly.

If you want a more suitable pattern for autumn , winter it will be hard to find a pattern that works as good as the Jack Pyke English Oak. And the prices that they sell for i really dont think it can be beat.


You can see a full review in the january edition of AirGunner.