CZ452 HMR proves it’s worth at long range on the Warren

March 31, 2022 at 12:49 pm

A brief spell of warm weather saw me back at the warren for an evening visit, armed with my CZ452 HMR in place of the Magtech 7002 semi auto .22, which had been giving good service taking close range rabbits around the burrows during daylight hours. Many of the burrows were now abandoned and the rabbits had migrated to the outer reaches of the field, where the banks of a dried up stream have provided a safer home. With the farmer ready to put her young Angus bullocks out to grass after Easter, it has been important to keep up the pressure to render the field free of burrows and safe for the cattle.

At the far end of the warren there were still a few active burrows and I got comfortable lying down with the HMR on the bipod, giving a clear view of the area a hundred yards away. The evening sun was bright beneath the clouds and after weeks of cold and rain it was a pleasure to be feeling the warmth on my face. My attention had been diverted to a group of roe deer the other side of the stream, trying to count them among the bankside foliage, when I looked back to see a pair of dark brown blobs close to the burrows. Through the scope, the blobs were transformed into a pair of  fat rabbits. I worked the rifle bolt to feed a bullet into the chamber, centred the crosshairs, breathed out and squeezed the trigger, in that instant watching the rabbit slump forward. Ten yards away, the second rabbit was undisturbed, still munching the lush grass, head down with it’s back to me. I had to wait for it to raise it’s head, or move, ideally side ways on. This was not a shooting gallery, this rabbit could decide to run off at any moment. There was tension, while I waited.

Another rabbit came out further down and began feeding. About a hundred and twenty yards away, it was still in range and facing forward at an angle. There was no wind, it was a better shot. The bullet had already been chambered and was on its way. The rabbit rolled over. The remaining rabbit did not give me a third shot, the crack from the supersonic HMR bullet passing by got it’s attention and it disappeared in a flash. I waited for twenty minutes and nothing more emerged, so walked down to pick up the harvested rabbits.

From this end of the warren, I had a clear view down to the dried up stream, but there were no signs of movement. The sun had dropped behind the trees and a cool breeze had started up. I decided to spend the time cleaning the two rabbits, while keeping an eye on the field. Rabbits can appear almost out of thin air and I looked up to see one sixty yards away close to the stream. The breeze was from the east blowing into my face at an angle to the rabbit, which should not affect the 17 grain bullet, but playing safe aimed for the chest area. Boof! The rabbit jumped clear of the ground and lay still.

Three shots and three rabbits for the freezer. A rewarding two hours spent in the fresh air, not in front of the TV. Walking back the light was fading fast and clumps of grass were imitating rabbits, one actually was one, but was gone before I could unsling the rifle.