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The Hunter's Chronicles - Friday 18th May 2012

It was time. And for this outing, there were two. We left with the words of my beloved ringing in our ears "bring us back a nice big rabbit!". Yes M'aam!.

My buddy, Mawders, being without his Superten, had brought with him a borrowed S410 carbine. It was woefully off zero (stubbornly shooting to the left despite numerous turns of the turret) and I was left underwhelmed by not only its performance but, strangely, the depth of the carving allowed for the palm in the stock. So shallow did it feel that for an instant I thought it to be a lefty stock. Forgivable after being used to the deep moulded feel of the TX200's woodwork.
Here was an occasion for a true PCP hunting carbine to step up to the mark. The deservedly renowned and much lauded S200. I left Mawders to get himself familiarised as I returned to camp to pick up the TX200 and return the disgraced S410. Upon my return,he told me of his positive first impression and awe at it's consistency and accuracy at 30 yards.

As we embarked on our 'mooch' pattern, a duvet of cloud rolled over the sky and soon a haze of 'dusty' rain was falling. Thankfully this did not persist, though at times it did sporadically return, keeping the ground moist enough to soak through the clothes should you crawl or lie prone upon it.

This outing kicked off much earlier than our two previous trips and was the better for it I feel. We settled on a spot where rabbits had been consistently seen and lay in wait.

Our position lay in a thistle ridden and shallow dip. Despite the odd 'tickle' in the nether regions which promoted alertness, the site afforded us good cover and soon the Mawders/S200 combination was presented with a challenge.

Both rose admirably to the occasion. As the large doe hopped from her hiding place in the hedge row, I barely had time to mutter "30 yards, dead on" before a 'phut - SMACK' was heard. She pulled off a flip of which any gymnast would be proud, only to land it, legs stiff and twitching towards the sky. There was no doubt in my mind that she was dead upon the pellets impact. We left her undisturbed for a time, keen not to dissuade any other candidates from exiting the safety of their hedgebank. Eventually, I handed Mawders the knife and he collected his prize.

The .22 had not been kind. It had ploughed through skin, bone, brain, then further on to bone and skin as it exited the other side, leaving a very bloody kill in its wake and irony to the expression 'a clean kill'
She lay in a surprisingly large pool of her own blood.
When Mawders opened her up, there were four large developed fetus, bonus! Or as Mawders rightly put it: "One pellet, five rabbits!"

Disemboweled, she was offered as a teaser to the Crows, but there were no takers from the corvid kingdom and as the temperature dropped and the limbs started to seize we moved on to see what other opportunities were aboard.

The usual suspects were in the usual places, and once again evaded execution. We repeated the mooching pattern and returned to our favoured position as the light was fading.

Having got soaked through crawling with admirable dedication towards a group of rabbits earlier, neither Mawders nor myself fancied lying once more upon the soaking earth. We elected instead to park our bums in the hedgebank on gunslips.

50-60 yards away a large rabbit leapt out and loped along towards our position. He was front on and presented a narrow target, but I was confident where I placed the crosshairs. I fired. Miss. The pellet slapped into the ground, I think in front of him leading me to question whether the scope was still zeroed. He must've moved to within 40 yards! Poor shooting then.

A short while later other rabbits appeared but were either too nervous to allow stalking and/or far out of range to not bother to attempt.

Light was dwindling along with my hopes. I strained my eyes to make out shapes through the Simmons 50mm lens...Ahaha! The unmistakable shape of a rabbit manifested in my sight picture, it seemed ready to pounce into the nettle patch, but I took my time. Guesstimating the range to be in the high 40's low 50's (yards) I adjusted the scope to 9x mag and lifted the crosshairs to the top of his cranium. I held my position, took up first pressure, fired and followed through.

The shot struck just in and below the eye. Instant death. Range turned out to be 47 yards. The TX200 proved itself to be equal to its PCP stable mate despite the smaller calibre.

The Brothers in Air Arms...

The trips bounty.

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