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 keen 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 with 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. Somewhere 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 the rifle 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 arest 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 outthe 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. The one 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 now and 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 afew 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 on with 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 inthe gun which is half the battle of good shooting.
Another rabbit 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 and Ben 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 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 andnever knew what hit it. Ben’s first rabbit in the bag.
I wondered how he would be about it I cried when I shot my 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 whistling round their ears. But I now know 16 clicks up should put on the money at 70yards but some more shots on paper will be needed before shots are taken atlive 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 out with friends and a new shooter had agood day too. He was very keen to come again as soon as possible.
Christmas brought Ben some bits for his Crossman, Chris did some research on other forums and off he went to a chap in Lancashire who manufactures upgraded parts for Crossman’s. He returned home with a bag of bits and I went over to help out refitting the rifle. Utube was fantastic, we watched the video’s and pretty soon had fitted a new barrel longer than the original, a longer steel breech the original being plastic, a gas adjuster, alonger bolt and bigger spring. These parts are fantastic beautifully craftsman made parts. The original scope was changed for a Nikko 4x40, giving far better clarity and bigger field of vision, a bipod completed the job once a stud was fitted, the original silencer was refitted to the new barrel.
Once we had finished we gave it a single shot down the garden at the old shed, there is a good back stop behind it. There was a resounding thwak much better than the previous tap we had before.
Feeling very pleaded Chris hid it away and we settled into a brew and lovely bacon and brie begets straight from the oven.
Next day I got a text, the pellet went through the front of the shed. Next day I got another “been down the garden for the football it came out the back too.” Hells bells we have built a monster. We need to get on a chrono and see some figures and may be make some adjustment on the gas screw and fix it in place.
But as assembled it actually proved too much as the gas cartridge was jammed in and when removed by drilling the empty cylinder andinserting a self tapper to pull on there was damage so a new bit was purchased and the old spring and bolt refitted for the moment.
Basically the Ratter has become a Rabbiter.
Yesterday we planned a trip lamping but I got held up at hospital and the weather was bad so we moved it to tonight.
We met up at the ground at 6pm, the same place as mentioned above and the set up was the same. Chris had a new lamp £8 from B&M Bargains. I saw these the other week and passed them by, well I am having one next time I see one made by Ever Ready and use 4 AA batteries,pistol grip and really adequate for the ranges we use at night and very light.
I got set up and the scope light needed new batteries which had gone missing from my bag somehow but no worries as I was using the bipod I could use the spotting light in my left hand and use it for spotting and shooting.
It was over cast and the wind was not too bad if variable. I snuggled down on the spoil heap and swept the field with the lamp, grand term for a Cree 2 AA torch but well up to the job, it probably reaches further than the small Debden on the scope.
There were a couple of rabbits to the left and the rest of the field was empty. I moved the rifle round settled the bipod and opened the scope covers. Slipped the mag in and chambered a round. I was using Eley sub sonics and my CZ with the SAC moderator.
I held the torch as planned flicked it back on and picked up the eye shine and could clearly see the rabbit close to the bottom of some broken wall I watched a second longer and fired it went over kicking.
I re-lamped and found the second had moved further up and into the next field the back stop was good lamp off. Rifle moved again and lamp on, sight on and down went this one. Then it went quiet. Nothing was stirring so I had a walk out and picked up the two in the bag.
I text a mate who had asked if I could get him a rabbit as he wanted to make a proper pie soon the reply arrived and I would drop them off for him later.
I saw the others sweeping the field ahead of them from time to time and after a while the soft sound of a shot. I saw the light moveout of the wood so I knew Ben had got one. I was cuffed to bits for him.
Everything settled down again. It started to rain gently.I swept the field, nothing. After a while a rabbit appeared running in from the top of the field it stopped 70 yards out, I adjusted the rifle and took another look face on, I lifted the cross hairs to the top of its head and missed.
Nothing else appeared so I had a walk to the others. A rabbit was next to Ben so he had got his first lamped rabbit. He was delighted.He was so pleased with his ramped up rifle. Next we would try some different ammunition I have some H & N Hornet and some RWS Super Field these are around 16g and should have a bit more energy transfer and stopping power.
We gave it another half hour as it was a school night but there was no more shooting.
We started to make our way back to the cars and I put my right foot into space and fell heavily. I had put my foot into a rabbit hole my foot was jammed so tight I had to take my boot off to get it out. Luckily I wasn’t hurt. I guess the rabbits have a way of getting some of their own back.While I was messing around Chris was telling Ben this is why horse owners do not like rabbits, I had a bit of an opinion too.