A Few Rabbiting Hours.
It started with a text from a good mate at work, “are you free on Sunday”.
We met up at 10 along with Ben his son who is now 11 and very keen on shooting he has a .22 co2 powered rifle. I had a text from the farmer saying we were fine to go on.
I had been having some zero problems with my Anschutz 525 and every time I seemed to be getting somewhere with it things changed again so I was also hoping to sort it out today.
We walked onto the first field and immediately saw acouple of rabbits hopping smartly off but these were not the fields we were to shoot. We crossed the field and through a gate on a footpath and branched off to the right where there were some old lead mine workings spoil heaps from a couple of hundred years ago. As a caver I knew where there is spoil there are shafts, many 100 feet deep, so I had previously found one shaft with a good metal grating on it but this was a small shaft not much over shoulder width so this would be the climbing shaft where miners climbed down to work and up to go home. Some where would be a bigger shaft where the ore came up or even an engine shaft where a steam engine may have pumped out the mine and hauled ore up. I didn’t think there was an engine shaft as there was not much spoil on the surface. There were always two shafts for ventilation. I did think of asking the farmer if at some future date we could lift the cap and have a look round underground.
I pointed this out to Chris and Ben and also that “t’owdman” often planted a tree in the top of a shaft when they closed it so care needed to be taken.
To start off as I knew the rifle was ok with no mod on I loaded the mag with some Remington subs and loaded up pulled out the bipod and settled on the top of a spoil heap Chris had my binoculars and after a short while spotted two rabbits straight ahead at 50 yards. I put the cross hairs on it and fired, “high 2 inches” said Chris. It had stayed put so I lowered two and a half inches and fired again. Thwak and it rolled over kicking. “Second one to the right a yard” came from over my shoulder. Thwak down went the second one. Its good having a spotter.
Last time out shooting paper with the DPT mod on the rifle had been inaccurate so to see if it was the mod or the thread on therifle I put my old tried and tested SAC on.
In front of the rabbit warren that riddled the hilly field ahead were fans of soft earth so I picked a lump of soil and fired the bullet struck high but dead on the centre line, I fired again with exactly the same result, so the thread is ok. I replaced the SAC with the DPT, moment of truth, I reloaded the mag and took careful aim and fired again high two inches but straight as a die two more confirmed it so I turned the turret down 16 clicks and put 3 more straight into the clump of earth. Now we were ready for more rabbits. The DPT mod was fine as was the rifle, whatever had been going on a few days before was in the past done and dusted.
Chris and Ben went off with his rifle to cover some closer by rabbit holes from a little wood with a wall for concealment and a rest for the rifle. A good spot for Ben.
I ducked below the crest of the spoil heap and waited for more rabbits to emerge. Behind me the sun was shining and hundreds of gossamer threads of spiders web were strung out in long lines twinkling in the sun light all through the branches of the Hawthorne tree, beyond the field was strung out the same. Hawthorne? that’s a good tree to plant on an old shaft top.
I sneaked a look over the top again and two rabbits were out on opposite sides of the field both fifty or so yards out, the one on the right was in the clear while the left one was in some long stems of old thistles. I took the one on the right aiming right on and hit it cleanly. Theone on the left was still sitting I looked at it carefully taking as much time and care as I would a deer. It was squatting, I turned up the magnification for a closer look, there we are but no shot in among the thistle, I heard a shot from the right and saw a rabbit siting out completely undisturbed.
I looked back at my rabbit and it had moved game on nowand down it went twitching.
Chris and Ben arrived behind me. Chris said” there is a man with a dog”. I looked over and saw a terrier sniffing where the rabbit hadbeen. There is no foot path there but a few not that far away, the dog was called away. We decided to have a pick up while things were disturbed and a bit later we saw the chap back on the path.
We took up our positions.I reloaded a mixed mag of Eley, Winchester and CCI picked a clump of soil and they all hit well. I refilled the mag with CCI. I decided when I had a few moments I would take off the fore sight and give it a better look.
I had a look round with the bino’s and a move to the right where I could see up the neighbouring fields and there were a couple of rabbits under the hedge but there seemed more going on in the field I was shooting so I made my way back and settled down on the spoil heap.
The sun was warm and on my back unusual for a November morning in north Derbyshire. I was a bit warm with my winter shooting jacket onwith fleece and Gortex liner something lighter would have been much better.
A rabbit was moving in the centre of the field I wriggled up the mound a bit and pulled the rifle round and took a look through the scope,there we are thwak and another twitcher in the grass. I was really pleased with the rifle and very relieved it was now shooting well. I felt quite confident in the gun which is half the battle of good shooting.
Another moved near by the last one and another CCI took care of it very cleanly indeed. I looked over the bank in front of Chris andBen and there was a rabbit sat out on top of the warren. I gave a low whistle and gestured to Chris he looked about but was not getting the message. I kept pointing and eventually decided they must not be able to see it from where they were but I could not understand why not. I could safely shoot it from my position but that seemed to be unsporting like shooting a bird over the other chaps peg so I decided to leave it and see if they got a look and a shot. After a while Chris wandered over, they had not seen the rabbit at all. I showed him where it had been in case it made a reappearance.
A rabbit appeared at the top of the field running in towards me. I waited letting it come as it headed towards the central burrows.I called as it approached them and it stopped meeting 40 gr of hollow point at the same instant. I smiled at the rifle, we were getting on great now.
When I bought the 525 it had the cheap Chinese scope which I changed for a Bushnell 3-9 x 40 a very kind birthday gift from a friend and the mounts changed for double screwed match mounts that were very secure, it had had a clean and some shooting in rounds through it and now it was a good tool for the job.
Looking left the rabbit was out, I whistled and saw them looking and then Ben moving right to get a look. He raised the rifle and rested easy on the wall, he was taking his time and I put the bino’s on the rabbit it was about 15 yards from where they were shooting from. It was quite safe so I swapped for the rifle scope and was prepared to shoot if Ben fired and it looked like getting away wounded, if he missed I would leave it. I heard the rifle fire and saw the rabbit go down, I waited as did they, it was dead and never knew what hit it. Ben’s first rabbit in the bag.
I wondered how he would be about it I cried when I shotmy first quarry, a sparrow about fifty years ago at a similar age.
All in all I hit eight out of ten fired at. The others dropped into their holes before I lowered the 16 clicks with lead whistlinground their ears. But I now know 16 clicks up should put on the money at 70 yards but some more shots on paper will be needed before shots are taken at live quarry at 70 yards.
We picked up, Ben was fine and decided Chris should take the bag as he had some friends that would like a rabbit.
Another good day outwith friends and a new shooter had a good day too. He was very keen to come again as soon as possible.