Career 707 .22 PCP air rifle garden visit

September 11, 2019 at 9:10 am

An evening distress call from my brother in law Neale, saw me drive the mile to his house with my Career 707 .22 air rifle, after he had seen a couple of rabbits munching through his recently planted lettuce plants. He had scared them off, but now they were back again.

Whispering, Neale pointed to the area beyond his green house, where a small lawn stretches back to the wood behind, saying that just before I arrived, he had seen three from the bedroom window overlooking the garden. Operating the under lever trigger mechanism to cock and load the Career, I crept forward using the greenhouse as cover. I still had not seen them, but with the rifle raised, moved forward again around the side. There they were 15 yards away, feeding on the lawn. The largest had its back to me and I fired down into the upper chest, watching it jump forward and then roll over.

Before I could take another shot, the others had bolted behind the lower shed into the wood. My Career 707 .22 is powered up to FAC spec at 28 ftlb and firing H&N Barracuda Hunter Extreme 19 grain pellets, is as effective as a rimfire rifle out to 40 yards, while being safe to shoot within the confines of a garden.

Neale took me down to the scene of the crime, a veggie plot boxed in with orange plastic, showing me a hole that had been gnawed through. This had been to keep the local cats out, but these rabbits had no respect for cats, or human fences. After his spring planting, rabbits had got under the side fence and demolished his crop. We saw a pair of rabbits and I shot them, then reinforced the fence, problem solved.

He had only just planted out his winter lettuce plants at the weekend, only to see them gone the next day. “How did they know they were there?” I suggested that they had probably been coming in every day to eat the apples, or the lawn, but the lettuces were too good to miss. Droppings everywhere backed this up.

Refugees from a new housing complex along the street, that had replaced a small holding, the rabbits had now made their home in the wood at the bottom of the garden, and had scraped out a channel under the fence. Blocking this off will only be a temporary measure, I think the rabbits are there to stay and will soon forget the loss of their kin. The answer is a fine wire fence around the veggie plot, or more visits with the Career 707.

 

CZ 452 Varmint .17 HMR rifle at the old rectory

September 7, 2019 at 2:51 pm

A few miles from home is one of my earliest permissions, an old rectory owned by a Knight of the Realm, who originally was plagued by rabbits laying waste to his sprawling flower garden. A concentrated effort by myself had reduced the rabbit population ten fold, but with the garden backing onto the adjoining parkland, new recruits were never far away. A two inch wire mesh fence, dug in a foot below the surface across the hundred yard gap did the trick, although it didn’t keep the deer out, but that’s another story.

The park is wide open with just a few trees and hedges and was full of rabbits, until I bought the CZ 452 HMR. Again a wire fence was the answer, bordering a half mile stretch of farmland, but time and rust have rendered it ineffective and a phone call confirmed that the rabbit numbers had increased since my last visit a year ago. By the sound of it, my next visit was long overdue, but with only time for a reconnoitre this week, I took along my CZ 452 HMR, just in case of a shot.

Climbing the gate, the field ahead had once provided a dozen targets, before moving out into the main area, but today it was clear and I worked along the right hand side looking for signs of scrapes and droppings, but there was nothing new. Movement a hundred yards ahead made me stop. A large rabbit, the size of a small dog was loping across the open ground. Following it with the scope, I realised that it was a hare, the black tips of its wide ears clearly visible. A hare in this area is a rare sight, more suited to wide open farmland. I don’t shoot hares and wished it on its way.

Turning right down a slope, a few rabbits were out close to a bramble hedge two hundred yards away, but with no cover, they had slowly melted away back into the briars, as I closed the distance down. I have been harvesting these rabbits for years and they have a built in fear of camo clad humans carrying rifles.

All along this edge were droppings and runs, the area around a small pond showing fresh scrapes into burrows. Circuiting the perimeter, evidence of recent rabbit activity was everywhere and I felt guilty that I had been complacent, lean pickings over the years convincing me, that the numbers would not return. A mild winter and wet spring had obviously been good for reproduction, undisturbed by pest controllers.

In an attempt to make amends, I took cover behind a tree overlooking the brambles and waited, the tree giving a view over a hundred yards in either direction, well within range of the HMR firing the 17 grain x .17 inch diameter plastic tipped expanding copper bullet.

Scanning left, then right, there was nothing out, then as if a silent buzzer had sounded, there was one near the pond and two in front of the brambles. Bringing the rifle round on its bipod to bear on the closer single rabbit, at x 12 magnification it was a safe target, the crack from the supersonic bullet, breaking the evening silence. The “boof” of a body shot echoing back, a slight side wind drifting the bullet away from the head.

Swinging round to the right, there were now three at the brambles, the biggest giving a side on view and aiming dead on for the snout, due to the wind, watched the rabbit jump up running on all fours to collapse back down motionless. In a well practiced routine, I chambered another round and found the next target sitting up. Ready to fire, it turned and trotted back to the brambles, I switched my attention to the other rabbit too late, as it also had gone from view.

After an unproductive wait, I got up and walked toward the pond for my first rabbit, only for another to appear in front of me, spin round and disappear again. The body shot rabbit was not a pretty sight, not suitable for meat and I threw it into the long grass. Leaving the muzzle at over 2,500 feet per second, the tiny bullet has an explosive effect on the soft tissue of a rabbit, requiring head shots only, if shooting for the pot.

Walking back to collect the second rabbit, the light was already going and I had to circle round before I found it.

Being close to home, a couple of hours a week, should make a difference on this permission.

 

Magtech 7002 .22 semi auto rimfire back on the farm

September 6, 2019 at 5:49 pm

With word that the hay had been gathered and bailed at one of my farm permissions, I paid a late afternoon visit, it being months, since the spring grass had rapidly grown and was keen to get down for a look. Being invited in for a cup of tea to discuss a rat problem around the chicken sheds, I had to get a move on, after promising to sort out the rats another day. This farmer shuts his gates for security reasons at 6 pm and I was now left with only an hour to find something for the pot. I took my Magtech 7002 semi auto .22, as it is very light weight, ideal for a brisk walkabout, although it is limited to about 60 yards for an accurate shot.

I saw that a big oak had fallen across one of the more populated warrens, its branches covering the ground and blocking out any chance of a shot, so I moved on to the next field, which backs onto the warren, searching along the hedge line for signs of rabbits. Plenty of sign, but no rabbits.

Further along toward the corner, I spotted a rabbit close to the edge, seconds before it bounded back into the long grass. Circling wide, I settled down with the Magtech rested on my gun bag and waited for something to happen, about 40 yards out from the edge. Behind the right hand corner is a dry ditch, that is pock marked with burrows and lying prone I did not have long to wait for a pair of rabbits to trot out from the undergrowth to feed on the fresh grass. My bullet of choice is the Winchester 42 grain hollow point subsonic, faster than most others, carrying more punch and better knock down power, while being reliably accurate in the Magtech 7002.

The rabbits were both masked by the grass, but one eased into my sights and I took a steady shot, that flipped the rabbit over. The other continued feeding, but was facing away from me and I waited for it to turn for a side on shot. It never happened, another rabbit appearing that ran though the scope window, which my rabbit, frustratingly for me, ran after, chasing back to the corner. I could have sprayed bullets after them, but would have been lucky to have hit a vital area.

After 20 minutes with no more shows, I paunched this rabbit and bagged it up, then began the walk back, spotting another close to the fence near the downed oak about 80 yards away. Although I was in the middle of the field, the rabbit seemed unworried as I closed the gap, sitting up then going back to feed, when I got down to crawl another 10 yards. It was now aware of me and I rested the rifle on my bag for a shot as it moved a yard into longer grass. Now, or never, I aimed above its chest and missed. Too much hold over, or not enough? The Magtech is zeroed for 30 yards and at 50 yards plus had to allow for bullet drop. Next time I’ll take the HMR.

The farmer was waiting by the gate to lock up when I got back, raising his eyebrows with a silent question. “Only one, but I’ll be back.”

 

Magtech 7002 .22 semi auto rabbit stopper

August 6, 2019 at 11:00 am

I arrived at one of my shooting permissions on a warm evening to find that the hay had been cut, but not gathered in this week and opted for a walk round with my Magtech 7002 semi auto .22. The paddocks were still waist high with grass and cow parsley, as I walked along the farm lane toward the open fields, with little chance of spotting a wayward rabbit.

Approaching the old shed, a pair of rabbits crossed the path from the paddock and ducked down beneath the building, leaving me only enough time to raise the rifle before they were gone. I was aware now of another rabbit in the long grass beside the shed, again too late as it turned and hopped to safety. The gravel under foot probably sounds like thunder through bunny ears. They knew I was coming well in advance and I was not ready, thinking only of the area beyond. I reproached myself for my lack of fieldcraft, a stealthy creep along the edge, would have accounted for at least one of these big rabbits, I told myself.

On my last visit, the farmer’s son had filled in the burrows around the shed, but now they were scraped out again, evidence of a very active warren and as I rounded the building, rifle raised, I caught sight of brown fur disappearing round the back, with no sign when I reached the point. Hide and Seek.

Continuing along the path, through the gate, a rabbit pushed noisily through long grass into the safety of a patch of brambles, without offering a shot. I reached the cut field and waited by the next gate, where I had a clear view along the edge. Three rabbits were out between eighty and a hundred yards away, well out of range of the Magtech, with no cover in between. I decided to go back to the van for the HMR, but to stop first at the gatepost, where a bush gave cover back to the shed thirty yards away. The evening sun was still hot and the shed offered shade and green grass. Ten minutes into my wait, a rabbit appeared like magic beside the shed and hopped into the open. Resting the rifle on the gatepost, the muted pop from the silencer toppled the rabbit, the Winchester 42 grain subsonic bullet hitting home with a loud thud, that flushed out another feeding in the shade on my side of the path. It ran out, then back into the cover of the paddock, before I could get a bead on it.

 

A pair of rabbits appeared at the far end of the shed and chased in circles, not offering a shot, but keeping me busy with anticipation, spraying bullets at them may have struck lucky, but experience said not and I watched them eventually skip off in the opposite direction into another paddock.

Some minutes later the flushed out rabbit ventured back out and began feeding a yard away from the first. A dead rabbit does not seem to phase them. In the past I have picked off three, or four rabbits at long range with the HMR, continuing to feed, until they too were shot. At thirty yards this was a gift, the scope zeroed to this range giving a clear head shot.

The sun had now gone behind the trees and the area was in deep shadow. After 15 minutes there were no more offers and went forward and picked up these two big adults destined for more bunny burgers and pasties.

 

 

CZ452 Varmint .17 HMR pylon dusk stakeout

August 1, 2019 at 12:58 pm

A warm dry evening saw me back at the pylon warren, that I visited a few weeks ago. Haymaking has still not begun on this field and the previously cut grass has grown another inch or two following recent heavy rain. I was a little late, due to getting stuck in theme park traffic and the sun was already behind the trees.

Driving past the pylon I could see no rabbits out, but was prepared to wait, positioning myself about 60 yards from the warren with the HMR raised up a couple of inches on the bipod in an attempt to see over the grass.

The light was already fading, but I could see a set of ears twitching beyond a clump of grass another ten yards on. Too ill defined, the shot was not on. It obliged and trotted off, white tail bobbing, but stopped in even deeper grass. As I scanned the area, the brown shape of a closer rabbit passed across the scope and I followed it, only again to stop in deep grass, the tips of its ears twitching as it munched away. I clicked my tongue a couple of times and it looked up. I took the shot. Missed it. Turning back to the pylon, the rabbit stopped short, head and ears visible. I fired as it jumped forward again. Missed it!

Ten minutes later another rabbit hopped into the clearing and stopped. I didn’t miss this one. The light was now going fast as a dark shape crept round my side of the pylon. Masked by the greenery, it was barely visible and I waited for a better shot, which never happened, the rabbit slinking back to where it came from. This was frustrating, but was rewarded minutes later, when another bound into view from the blind side of the pylon, knocking it down with a snap shot. I had been on station for an hour, seen five and shot only two, it was now 8:15 pm and raised myself to go, however, from this higher position I could now see another feeding rabbit. Keeping my eye on the shape, I dropped down again, aligning the cross hairs below the just visible ears, the impact of the .17 bullet flipping the rabbit over.

Extremes of weather, too hot, then too wet, had kept me away from this productive warren and all the time the grass grows longer.

 

CZ452 Varmint .17 HMR searches out hide and seek rabbits

July 12, 2019 at 1:26 pm

A brief evening visit to one of my permissions gave me a frustrating hour, as rabbits darted in and out of the long grass alongside a warren hidden beneath a pylon this week.

The farmer had cut a strip of grass for animal feed, but already it is growing back, giving cover for an active warren, several rabbits being visible as I drove past it along the lane. Once in the field, I approach slowly, until I was spotted, getting down to crawl a further twenty yards. Although I could still see rabbits going about their business, once down behind the scope all I could see was grass. Extending the bipod legs on the CZ452 by three inches helped, clearing the grass in front of me, but apart from a few sets of ears twitching, a shot was awkward as I had to rest on one elbow to raise my body for the scope.

A jogger trotting down the lane helped, scattering the rabbits back to safety beneath the pylon. This gave me the chance to crawl another twenty yards over the curve of the field. They began to come out again. I was able to lower the legs a couple of inches for a more comfortable view and had a perfect bead on a sitting rabbit, when the brown shape of another crossed my line of sight. The first one chased after it up the field. I followed them until they disappeared into longer grass. One of them bounded away, appearing briefly then hidden again. It stopped and sat up, head and ears barely visible. Adjusting the scope parallax beyond a hundred yards gave a clearer picture. I fired, it arched up clear and was gone in the grass.

The other rabbit now sat up, only its ears visible. Aiming between them and lower, I fired again. It vanished from sight.  Much closer, near the pylon, a rabbit ran into the cropped grass and I snapped off another shot. Missed it? It ran back to cover as another previously unseen to the left, got up and made toward the pylon, passing into the scope view. This shot made no mistake and the rabbit lay still. Four shots and three rabbits an a matter of seconds?

The sound of a car in the lane to my left cause me to look round. It was a police motorway traffic car, the lane serving the M25 as access for authorised vehicles. An officer was looking out at me. I gave him a thumbs up and he waved back, continuing slowly down the lane. He probably saw the action unfold. I am known to the police as having permission to shoot in the area and was thankful, that he had not decided to check my documents.

I waited another ten minutes and got up, walking toward the pylon. The third rabbit had been a yard from safety. Thirty yards on I found the second rabbit with a wound exiting the back of its neck. It had been flipped over backwards. A good shot at that range. The search now began for the first rabbit. I knew that it was over to the left and further still. The grass here was taller and thicker and I quartered the area up and down, but could not find it, despite it being the largest of the three. Once hit by the expanding Hornady 17 HMR bullet they rarely go far, but eventually I had to give up. It was a waste of a life and of good meat.

In the spring the pylon area had provided many meals, the grass was short and a hollow had provided cover for eighty yard shots, but now repopulated, only one side is accessable until haymaking takes place.

Riddled with burrows, a few more visits will be needed before the numbers are reduced, although the currently unshootable grass covered field beyond, is home to the largest warren I have ever seen, which is full of willing replacements.

Magtech 7002 semi auto .22 gets lucky waiting for hay making

July 4, 2019 at 10:54 pm

A wet spring followed by sunshine and heavy showers, caused a growing spurt on the grasses around my local farms this year, closing the brief window available early on for shooting rabbits. After a frustrating evening with rabbits playing hide and seek among the nettles and thick grass on a large warren, I had decided to wait for haymaking to take place before venturing out again.

Assured that the contractor would soon be arriving to begin cutting and baling, I took a walk around to get the lie of the land, looking for latrine areas and feeding spots on another hot afternoon, while taking the opportunity to talk with the farmers, about their intentions once the grass was cut. Finding out when and where cattle will be put out to graze will also help, when planning a visit. An area already partly cut was pointed out, which had a couple of rabbits in full view, but they were too far off for the Magtech, although an easy shot for the CZ 452 HMR locked in the gun cabinet at home. Noting this for an evening visit next week.

Moving on to the next farm down the lane, two rabbits were lying out in the shade as I drove slowly into the yard, but as I watched, they got up and melted back into the undergrowth. Picking up the Magtech and loading a full ten shot magazine, I moved a few steps at a time listening for movement.

At the gate I stopped and waited, to my left was good view into the empty barn and a grassy area beyond, while ahead the track was bordered by long grass, a clear rabbit run passing down into a green depression in the ground, that sloped up to the wall of the barn, the grass cropped short by nibbling teeth. At the gate I had clear site of the area 25 yards away, with several runs giving access from a bed of brambles. The ideal place for an ambush.

A rustle through the grass to my right on the other side of the fence, was probably one of the rabbits disturbed earlier, passing unseen along the rabbit highway, watching with the rifle poised as the grasses parted past me. Now on my side of the fence, I glimpsed its raised ears. It knew my intentions and flat to the ground it crossed the track into more long grass. Through the scope I could just make out the brown fur of its body. It came out of cover and dropped down into the depression, as I squeezed the trigger, hitting it in the body, bowling it over, but not out, as it scrabbled for one of the bramble exit holes. Crack, the sound of bullet on bone stopped it dead with a clean head shot.

 Walking to the next gate, I disturbed another rabbit, that picked its way through the brambles only yards away, but out of sight. A shot, or two, blind into the brambles may have hit it, but there it would have stayed, a waste of meat.

I walked back to the farmhouse to show off my prize, being assured that the grass would soon be cut, the concern being that the feed quality of the hay would be reduced with each dry day. I look forward to the days of no hiding place again.

 

Magtech 7002 semi auto .22 rimfire spring rabbit watch

May 6, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Once a regular on my list of permissions, the equestrian centre has been reduced to just the occasional visit these days, due to lack of rabbits on this once prolific 80 acre site. Bounded by a large housing estate on three sides, it is possible that poaching, or myxomatosis has decimated the numbers, but a call to the owners had a positive report of more rabbits seen around the grounds.

Arriving on a bright spring afternoon there was little evidence of a rabbit revival, the long driveway, once offering a shot, or two, still devoid of rabbits. Parking up in the yard, I was met by the lady owner, who told me that they had seen rabbits around the feed storage sheds recently, but walking out that way with the Magtech failed to show any sign of rabbits, even recent droppings and I carried on out toward the wood.

Bluebells were already covering the ground, being early this year. Birds were singing, making this a very pleasant country walk, but there were still no signs of rabbits, despite frequent stops to wait and watch for movement. A muntjac deer burst from cover, making me start, the young doe trotting on to the next clump of fresh green foliage, being the only thing of interest apart from squirrels.

The nature walk continued, passing through the wood I could see from the higher ground two boundaries with no sign of bunnies, where once there would have been small groups every hundred yards. Turning back I took the path parallel to the wood, there was still time to drive on to another permission, where I was bound to have more success. Picking up my pace to climb the rise, I stopped and ducked down. A big rabbit was feeding in the enclosure next to the path ahead about 70 yards away.

Keeping down, I slowly moved forward, getting down to crawl to the top of the rise. It was still there, sitting up facing back to the path. Resting the rifle on my bag, I got ready for the shot, just as it moved back to the path. The rabbit stopped at the fence post, it’s head clearly visible. This was my only chance. I squeezed the trigger and it sprang forward, lying motionless.

The rabbit was only yards from a fresh burrow, a delay on my part would have seen it lost. I was pleased with the shot, at 45 yards just behind the eye, a testament to the accuracy and hitting power of the 42 grain Winchester subsonic rounds.

After cleaning out the rabbit I moved on, this action had reduced my future chances here once more, but as they say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I did see a pair of rabbits along a far hedge line as I walked back to the stables, but nothing else and had removed the magazine ready to return to the van, when a rabbit ran across the path toward the sheds. Stopping to refit the magazine and cock the action, I stepped round the fence into the alleyway to see the rabbit against a shed twenty yards away. It froze and I fired. Two others now appeared from nowhere down by a wood pile and I hit one of them, firing again to make sure. Short and sweet.

As the owner had said, they WERE around the feed sheds, a stake out may have saved a walk, but its not all about putting food on the table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Career 707 .22 PCP Carbine rabbit stopper

April 22, 2019 at 10:47 am

Like myself, Neale my brother-inlaw is a keen gardener, who has been busy raising seedlings in his greenhouse ready to plant out. Last week we visited Neale and he took us down the garden to show us that something had eaten his recently planted lettuces. Protected against wood pigeons with netting and old CDs dangling from strings, he could not figure out what had cropped to the ground the fresh young plants. “Rabbits” I said, pointing to fresh, round shiny droppings on the grass next to the veggie patch.

Having lived in the same house for over 40 years, apart from rats, which were dealt with by my .177 Relum springer air rifle, Neale had never had rabbit trouble before, even with a large wood that his 100 yard garden backs onto and wondered where they had appeared from. Further along the road there had been a single bungalow in an acre of land, the smallholding having been sold to property developers, who had now just completed a dozen houses on the site. I guessed that the rabbits had been occupying the plot, until pushed out by the builders, going into the wood, or migrating through the other gardens over the winter to now home in on Neale’s tender lettuces.

That evening while shutting up the greenhouse, he saw them, two rabbits coming out from under a hedge, watching as they scouted round the sheds and a rough patch of uncultivated ground. Fascinated at first Neale watched them, until they made their way up toward the now empty lettuce bed. He had stepped out into their path and seen them dive back under the hedge. Later looking out from the kitchen, there they were again, bold as brass sitting munching on the back lawn. A chain link fence finishes at the hedge and next day Neale cut up some old steel fencing to fill the gap underneath the hedge. They were back on the lawn that evening. A rabbit can easily pass through a four inch square mesh fence and they had.

My suggestion that I bring an air rifle round the following evening was accepted and I arrived early to survey the scene looking for a vantage point. Neale had already surrounded the veggie patch with netting, having planted out more young lettuces.

Both of the shed doors faced in the wrong directions, while shooting from the kitchen to the lawn had the greenhouse in the background, which was bound to result in a broken pane of glass, if trying to hit a running rabbit. I had brought a camo net and strung it across between the greenhouse and the chain link fence, placing a comfy garden chair behind it. The net has a pair of windows at seat height, a relic of a previous hide and ideal for shooting from a chair. After a cup of tea and putting on a thick jumper under my camo jacket, I was ready to pull down my balaclava ski mask and fitted a camo cap over the top to hide my white face. This my wife and brother in-law thought was hilarious, taking a snap on his phone, before I made my way back down the garden.

From Neale’s description they were large rabbits and I had brought my Career 707 .22 FAC rated carbine to deal with them. The .22 Magtech rimfire would have been dangerous in the confines of this narrow garden, but with 28 ft/lbs firing a 19 grain Baracuda Hunter Extreme, the Career is the safe, but deadly option.

Sitting back in the chair looking through the net window, my concentration had waned after 30 minutes, jerking alert at the sight of a big rabbit, ears folded back, forcing through the square mesh under the hedge. Aiming through the net window, I was tempted to take a shot at this defenseless animal twenty yards away, but held the rifle to my eye waiting for its mate to follow seconds later, this time the muted report from the silencer was drowned out by the thud of the pellet finding the target. The first rabbit, now on the grass, sat up and bolted to the corner by the gate, trying to get down the gap between it and the hedge. I stood up, in seconds working the Winchester style trigger under lever action to cock the rifle and load another pellet, which hit in the upper body, flipping the rabbit over and leaving it motionless. It had been an execution, all over in seconds.

I laid them out on the lawn. My wife said “Poor rabbits.” Neale looked shocked, “It was so quick.” They had been watching from the kitchen, but had missed the final few seconds of the stakeout. He refused the offer of the rabbits, preferring prepacked, supermarket factory farmed chicken. The doe was in kit, so it was just as well that they were stopped. Neale has made a better job of the fence, using two inch square heavy mesh, while the veggies are in an enclosure resembling Fort Knox. I’m not sure that he will tell me of rabbit trouble in the future, but the Career will be ready if he does..

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.