Pest Control. Magtech .22 semi-auto makes up for lost time.

June 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

The mild wet winter had two effects this year, I was not out shooting adult rabbits and the does were on their second broods by the time I was prepared to venture out. That mild winter also allowed the hay to grow rapidly and now many of the rabbits are safe in the tall grass, but a call from my lady with the cottage garden, spoke of rabbits everywhere, despite a couple of visits, that had already reduced the numbers by a dozen.

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Once again I took my Magtech .22 semi-automatic rifle to the immaculate garden, where the lawn was being dug up and the tender plants eaten by the furry scavengers.  Leaving the van in the drive, I peered round the front of the house to see my first target munching roots only 30 yards away. Cross hairs on and pop, it fell over. Sticking my head further round the corner, a brown blob was beside a flower bed ten yards on. Another rabbit toppled. The .22 silencer is very effective firing subsonic rounds and with the Magtech zeroed out to 60 yards, it is deadly with chest shots, ideal in this situation. I walked back round to the drive, with a view down the garden, seeing movement among the bushes at the rear. This was a good 60 yards and got down prone to rest the rifle on my gun bag, waiting for a static shot among the shadows. Two rabbits appeared and the larger of the pair jumped up with the impact of the 40 grain bullet, the other trotted forward and began feeding in a dip, only it’s ears visible. A few clicks of my tongue and a squeak sucking in air between my lips, brought the desired response of a raised head, this shot flipping the rabbit over.

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With nothing else visible, I drove down to the small farm at the end of the lane, where two more rabbits were feeding on the small hill at the entrance; parking up behind a shed, giving cover, as I loaded a fresh clip into the magazine. A waste bin on the corner gave a positive rest, as I got a bead on the first, which was in silhouette with the evening sun behind. It tumbled down the slope, followed by the other, which stopped running at the fence and sat up twenty yards away. The image in the scope was now blurred and refocused the ring down to the minimum 3 magnification, then squeezed off another shot with the expected result. Some shooters disregard the semi auto, but with no need to work a bolt to feed the next shot, this type of rifle is ideal for close range pest control, where the delay and visible action of the bolt action can be enough to scare off a rabbit.

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I made my way along the path towards the barn, looking over the fence into a disused paddock. When I first visited this farm, there was only grubbed up soil here, now long grass swayed in the breeze, although in the far corner, much shorter grass was evidence that rabbits had returned. At this point there was movement in the long grass, and a rabbit broke cover back to the corner, only to get half way before being nailed by the second shot, as I rested on the fence. The next 50 yards saw an Annie Oakley replay, as bunny bashing commenced, a pair of grazers, pop, pop, then three runners getting two. These were all this year’s brood, out in the sunlight, the adults missing, hopefully shot earlier in the year. As I walked, more heads popped out of the grass and I fitted my spare magazine, ending up at the barn with a final sitter.

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I lost count of the final tally, as I was not shooting for meat, but including the garden, at least fifteen young rabbits would not grow to reproduce. More visits are needed to keep the landowners happy, but may wait for the hay to be cut first.