CZ HMR 452 Varmint long range rabbit sniping

April 15, 2019 at 3:55 pm

My chance to return to a farm, where rabbits were busy creating a new warren, came after a week of rain, although clear blue skies brought a chilling wind from the Baltic. It was already late afternoon and the shadows were extending, as I unpacked the CZ HMR Varmint from the van.

The previous visit had been a quick walk round with my Magtech .22 semi auto rimfire, where I had been lucky to bag a couple of buck rabbits, while others had been well out of range of the .22, but now that I had the HMR with me, I set out across the fields toward the warren.

White tails were bobbing long before I reached the fence line, settling down to wait with the rifle rested on a horizontal section of woodwork. I had been watching a pair of buzzards circling high above the trees and looked back across the field to see the outline of a rabbit sitting out close to the far fence, a good 150 yards away. On a still day this would have been a certain shot, but with a steady east wind blowing at an angle into my face, I had to allow for drift of the tiny .17 inch bullet. Aiming high at the nose, I expected the hit to carry right and down into the head, but the crack from the silencer saw the rabbit duck down. I had missed, passing over the top. The rabbit was still there as I quickly chambered another round, this time aiming dead on for the head. Crack, boof! A body shot lifted the rabbit and it lay still.

Beyond the far fence I could see more rabbits moving about, and after 15 minutes without any shows my side, crossed into the field to collect my rabbit, turning it over to see that the HMR body shot had destroyed the meat. I left it for the buzzards.

Over the fence, rabbits were everywhere, running in all directions, many young kitts along with a few adults, gone in seconds. Ahead was the old warren that I had harvested the year before, now showing signs of fresh burrowing among the new growth of stinging nettles. An hour of hide and seek resulted in two more young kitts, before I gave up chasing shadows, as they darted amongst the greenery.

Turning back to the farm I could see several rabbits close to the willows and followed a hollow in the field, keeping low, until I was within 120 yards of the group, pushing the rifle to the crest, before taking up position behind the telescopic sight for a solid bipod mounted shot. The wind had now dropped and spoilt for choice, I took on the nearest adult, dropping it immediately. Scattering in confusion, the rabbits cleared the area, but one stopped at the edge of the trees long enough for a second shot. Two in twenty seconds.

The HMR had proved its worth yet again, the heavy steel 16 inch barrel ensuring repeatable accuracy over long range, while the .17 inch, 17 grain V-Max bullet travelling at over 2,500 feet per second delivers over a 100 ft/lbs of energy at a 100 yards.

Looking back across to the warren, rabbits like prairie dogs, were sitting up at their burrows in the evening sun, unaware of my plans for the coming season.

 

Bread punch finds quality roach and rudd at Braybrooke

April 2, 2019 at 3:45 pm

Despite bright sunshine, a bitterly cold east wind was sweeping across my local pond at Braybrooke Park, when I arrived before noon for a few hour’s fishing this week, hoping that a recent warm spell had brought a better stamp of roach and rudd on the feed. I walked round to get the wind at my back, pulling my hood up over my cap to keep out the the worst of the chill, while I set up a short pole.

Plumbing the depth I found there was a narrow shelf of about four feet wide by four feet deep, that then dropped off a cliff into six feet, or more. In the lee of the bank, with only the top two sections of the pole, I followed a small ball of liquidised bread with the antenna float and waited for a bite. After a couple of minutes the first tell tale rings radiated out from the float as a fish showed interest, the float slowly sinking below the surface. A firm lift and the elastic came out in response to a fighting roach.

This was a good start, the 5 mm bread pellet on a size 18 barbless hook finding a better roach first cast. Dropping the rig back in saw a carbon copy bite, this time an even bigger roach, that stayed down, before making a run for the deeper water, testing the elastic on the short pole.

Several more decent roach followed, before I ventured in another ball of feed, following the cloud down with the float, that just slid away as a rudd took the bread.

Not a monster, but a hard fighter on the light tackle all the same. Next cast was different, the thudding fight of a much larger rudd taking elastic from the pole tip, as I followed its every move. My net had been out for every fish so far this afternoon and I was careful to get this one in.

The rudd had moved in on the bread, another decent one coming next cast, that fought as hard as the last.

Again the elastic was out as an even larger rudd was flashing beneath the green tinted surface, running along the shelf beneath my feet. It went under my keep net and transferred the hook near the bottom of it. There was nothing for it, but to lift out the net and retrieve the hook. Putting the net back in scared off the shoal of rudd, my next cast seeing the float sit motionless. Time for tea and a sandwich. I dropped in another ball on the shelf and another over into the depths. Adding another joint to the pole up to 3 metres, I increased the float depth by 18 inches and swung it out over the deeper water. Immediately it slid under, but instead of the expected clonker, the line jiggled as a tiny rudd was swung to hand.

Tiny rudd followed tiny rudd, each one returned, probably to swim back for another go. I got out a fresh bag of crumb and squeezed up a couple of tight balls, again dropping them over the edge of the shelf, then threw out a couple of loose balls further out. The tight balls were for the larger fish in close, the others for cloud and the tiny rudd. That was the theory and it seemed to work as the bait fished deep soon had a steady sinking bite and another proper roach came to the net.

There was no doubt that the distraction had worked, when my next bite put a bend in the pole as the elastic was dragged beneath the surface, when the best fish yet fought for freedom.

I took my time before breaking the pole back down to two metres for the landing net, this beautiful roach in perfect condition, determined to escape. The occasional very small rudd and roach still made it through to the hook, but the edge of the drop off continued to bring 3 to 4 oz fish each cast, topped off by another big rudd, that fought like a fish twice as large.

The wind had now dropped and I was feeling overdressed in the sun. I had proved to myself that there were now plenty of bonus fish to be had on the bread punch, although a tench or a crucian carp would have been the icing on the cake. Setting my finishing time at 3 pm, I was rewarded with one last quality roach from the top of the shelf, the fish below being it.

At the end of the three hour session on this council owned pond, there were some good fish in my net.