The rabbits on your permission will have already bred more than once, and in some instances the does will be ready again to begin the cycle that will produce their third litter. Ambushing them as they emerge from established warrens, or while using known feeding areas, can reap rich rewards if you’re using the appropriate equipment. Here are items of kit that I highly recommend for airgun hunters. I haven’t forgotten silencers; it’s just that there are so many that I’ll leave that down to you! I have highlighted individual brands I like, but the choice out there is massive, so you pick!
Your pack needs to be big enough to carry your gear and also your quarry back home and the Advantage Timber finish, Napier Ranger 5 is a very good option. Manufactured from a soft, silent and tough material called HUSHTEX™, it has a 40.5 litre capacity and features the moulded rubber base. The internal area also has a draw cord waterproof liner; externally, there’s one medium-sized cargo pocket on the front, and one on each side. They all fasten with ABS snap clip buckles and over-flaps, as does the top. The adjustable shoulder straps are well-padded and comfortable and there’s a grab handle too. The Ranger 5 has all the advantages of a traditional style pack, with easy access top loading, while the outer pockets provide useful extra stowage. SRP: £85.50 in Advantage Timber www.napieruk.com
An LRF is the hunter’s friend, especially with the looped trajectory of your average 12 ft/lb rifle and in low light conditions! MTC’s Rapier 2 OLED 1000 excels, because when taking a range reading, the aiming reticle lights up red, allowing it to be easily seen. The rubber-armoured casing measures 110 X 75 X 40mm and weighs 162grams. Two rubberised switches, ON/SEND and MODE, are positioned on top. Powered by a CR2032 3V Lithium battery, it has a fast-focus ocular. Unlike traditional rangefinders, the Rapier 2 uses an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) high visibility display screen, which gives a brighter image with more resolution. It’s accurate to +/- 1m @ 100m and can be set for yards or meters. The Mode button allows you to access single or multiple readings (scan) and there’s an auto shut after 8-seconds to conserve battery life. SRP: £199 plus Nylon carry pouch with belt loop, neck lanyard and lens cloth www.mtcoptics.com
When shooting from the prone position, a bipod is invaluable to steady your aim. Available in two sizes, of 6 – 9” or 9 – 13”, Webley Pro-Tilt pods follow the original, Harris BRS design. It offers a cant-adjustable (side-to-side roll) base with variable tension screw and adjustable leg sections with rubber feet. Legs fold up for stowage and are externally sprung, they have rubber boots that reduces spring nose on deployment and stop build up of debris too. Attachment is by a scissors clamp that engages with a QD sling stud in the rifle’s forend (you’ll need to sort that yourself) and is tensioned by a thumb screw in the underside of the base. The cant facility allows you to instantly compensate for uneven ground and the ability to tighten or loosen the pressure makes for a steady firing platform when required. The legs are infinitely adjustable along their length of travel, due to ‘Multi-Position Locks’ found just below the push-in, release catches. The shorter 6-9” models seems to be the best bet! SRP: £51.99 (6 – 9”), £61.49 (9 – 13”) www.highlandoutdoors.co.uk
Due to rabbits having a very acute sense of smell, if there’s any breeze, it pays to regularly check its direction, as you don’t want to be ‘scented’ by unwittingly being upwind from the targeted area. Also, when lying prone, wind strength and direction can be quite difficult to judge by conventional methods, so anything that can help you assess the situation is beneficial. Although originally intended for deer, elk, bear and moose hunting, the Primos Wind Checker is equally useful for any form of airgun hunting that requires you prevent being scented by your quarry. A simple ‘squeeze’ of the lightweight compact bottle will discharge a small amount of a special odourless fine white powder into the atmosphere, clearly visible with the naked eye to indicate the direction of even the slightest breeze. SRP: £5.99 www.bushwear.co.uk
For hunting, such as this, a good quality all-round, Diablo-shaped pellet is the optimum choice and one that’s proved itself time and again is the RWS Superdome. The round-head pellet, with the so called ‘English Bulldog’ shape has a distinctive ribbed skirt. Its shape allows for a predictable trajectory, good terminal performance on target with decent penetration. A very accurate ‘slug’, its suitable for springers and most brands of PCP and it’s earned its place to be considered by any airgun hunter looking for a ‘mid-weight’ hunting pellet that’s accurate and delivers a good deal of clout when it reaches the target. Available in .177 (8.3-grain) .22 (14.5-grain) and even a bruising weighted 31-grains .25 cal is now offered. Both popular calibres are available in tins of 500, while the large .25s come in 200s. SRP: £9 .177, £11.50, .22, £7.80 .25 www.ruag.co.uk
For this type of shooting, a higher magnification and illuminated reticle is the best option. Measuring 358.5mm long and weighing 670grms, the Nikko Stirling 6 – 18 x 50AO IR Panamax scope uses a 1” body tube, with a 50mm adjustable objective (AO) marked in yards. The chunky eyebell has a fast focus ocular and a uniquely configured zoom ring, with its raised hub with a deep groove milled into it that acts as a pointer to the numbers on the eye-piece. Also, there are half values marked between the main magnification points. The low profile, ¼ MOA cover capped turret adjusters are finger friendly and the 5-position dual (red and green) colour rheostat is on the left of the saddle. Grip is provided by a square cut surface, so easy to operate. Nikko has also used this finish on the turret caps and AO ring too. In use, these are very grippy and as practical as they are cosmetically pleasing. The glass-etched half Mil-Dot reticle is set in the 2nd focal plane so can be used to bracket a target to help with range estimation and gives a multitude of aim points for when you need to allow for holdunder or holdover. With a field of view stated as being 20% greater than a standard similar specification 1” tubed optic, the multicoated lenses give an extremely bright sight picture and high colour contrast, even in low light conditions. SRP: £245.99 www.highlandoutdoors.co.uk
When shooting off a bipod, you’d think that your aim is solid, however, if the rifle is even slightly canted (tilted to the left or right) your aim won’t be true. This is when a piece of kit you can attach to your rifle that holds a spirit level can be invaluable for keeping you properly upright! For helping in situations such as this, the Sportsmatch SP1 is ideal, as it bridges over the top of a scope mount and attaches to the lower mount cradle with extra-long grub screws that come supplied. When on aim, a glance over the top of the scope will show if you’re exactly on the level and with the minimum of movement you can sight in through the scope and take the shot. SRP: £31.95 www.sportsmatch-uk.com
A strong lock knife is always a hunter-essential and the Buck ‘small folding’ Selkirk fits the bill perfectly. Measuring 10.7cm closed and weighing 127.5grm, it holds an 8.2cm drop point 420HC stainless steel blade. The overall build is a mix of blue anodised aluminium, plus stainless steel handle frame plus lock liner. This very useful and distinctive folder is good looking, due to the brown and black CNC contoured ‘Micarta Wood’ handles that are strengthened and highlighted by generously sized, stainless steel bolsters. The blade has thumb ridging (jimping) on the spine, to give further security in use and the ergonomic handles help it feel solid and firm in the hold. There’s also a removable and reversible stainless steel pocket clip. SRP: £49.95 www.whitbyandco.co.uk
Shoot into dusk and you’ll soon find darkness descends more quickly than expected, so a headlamp is an essential for gutting your quarry and allowing you to walk safely in the dark. The Fenix HP25R Rechargeable Headlamp comes supplied with an 18650-battery housed in the rear and a micro USB charging cable but can also be powered using 2 x CR123A non-rechargeable cells. It’s highly versatile, having both a neutral white floodlight and far-reaching spot beam. The spotlight features a Cree XM-L2 U2 LED, 4 brightness settings with the highest intensity delivering an impressive 1000Lumens output, when its crisp powerful beam can reach out to more than 185m. The broad, 90° floodlight beam features a Cree XP-G2 R5 LED and offers 4 brightness settings up to 350Lumens, perfect for close up tasks. Individual switches control each beam (beams cannot be combined). A red LED built into the unit offers added appeal when you need to protect your night vision. Waterproof to IPX-6, the HP25R is prepared for the challenge of all-weather use, while the aluminium alloy body also enables longer operation at high power levels, plus the built-in mode memory circuit remembers your last used lighting level for each lamp unit. A battery level indicator is also an integral and useful feature. SRP: £72.95 www.myfenix.co.uk
In most cases, when employing the ambush hunting technique for rabbits, you can construct a hidden shooting position or use natural cover to help conceal your presence. However, there are times you might need to use a more specialised type of concealment, such as a Ghillie suit. At this time of year, my preference is for the LLCS ‘Suit System’ from Jack Pyke in their English Woodland pattern. This ‘Loose-Leaf Camo System’ - clothing is based around a two-piece-mesh Ghillie Suit – but you can build up a matching wardrobe that includes hat, balaclava and gloves. All the garments are manufactured using lightweight mesh and precision-cut nylon leaves, which are integrated into the garments in such a way that they hang (and move) very realistically. The suit comprises of over-trousers with an elastic waist and ankles (enough to easily pull over boots), with a front zippered smock sporting a hood and elasticated cuffs. They’re generously cut, so that you can easily don them over your outer clothes – and if its total concealment you’re after, you can even buy an LLCS rucksack cover and packs of ‘leaf strips’ to conceal your rifle. SRP: £129.95 (Ghillie Suit) sizes XL - XXL £14.50 (Baseball Hat) £14.95 (Boonie Hat) £19.95 (Balaclava) £19.95 (Gloves) – All one size fits all £5.50 (Pack of 5 X Leaf Strips £35 (Rucksack Cover) www.jackpyke.co.uk
The manufacturers of quality airgun pellets ensure that the ammo reaches the shops, and in turn you, as it left the dies they were formed in. As this seemingly humble lead slug is the physical interface between you and the quarry, it’s only sensible you protect it from damage when you take it into the field. Therefore, a tough, hard-wearing, well-padded pellet pouch is a must to keep your ammo as it is intended to be and therefore as accurate as possible. Measuring 106 x 121mm when empty (or flat), the Bisley Pellet Pouch is made from a very hard-wearing green nylon, with a black trim. The design is such that only 50mm of the front bottom section holds the pellets, which is lined with a smooth, waterproof inner. When the Velcro fastened down front section is opened, the sides articulate outwards to reveal a spacious ‘holding area’, with a ‘curved profile’ at the bottom. At the very top, it folds back over on itself, to form a generously-sized belt loop. SRP: £6.99 www.bisley-uk.com
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