Thursday, 21 January 2010

Not Just Hot Air – Air Rifle Hunting

A string of happy coincidences have occurred in the last few weeks:

I got that permission to hunt rabbits

I got some unexpected and well-paid work over the holidays

I got a small but timely windfall

I saw the brand and calibre I wanted, at about the right money, on British Blades

PCP – Pre-Charged Pneumatic

I know they have their fans but to me springers (AKA break-action air rifles) are yesterday’s technology. As soon as I understood that, unlike a powder burning rifle or PCP, with a springer the recoil is happening BEFORE the pellet leaves the barrel, I knew I wanted a PCP. I’m told my rifle holds enough air for eighty shots between refills and either needs to be filled at the diving shop or pumped with a special ‘dry air’ pump.

Air Arms

There are nicer looking rifles (to my eye), there are marginally more accurate rifles (supposedly) and there are defiantly more expensive rifles. But all-in-all Air Arms offerings look unbeatable for value, and I read a few forum posts where people who now own more expensive rifles said they’d still recommend Air Arms for the money.

S400 Carbine.

My Rabbit hunting guru James Marchington uses an Air Arms S400 in his excellent DVD ‘Rabbits’ I was planning to buy the bottom of the range S200 but when the S400 Carbine came up I went for it. I like idea of the carbine (short barrel) model, as anything to make sneaking up on the wabbits easier has got to be a good thing.


I wanted a rifle with as flatter trajectory as possible so I could have the best possible chance of putting the pellet where I aim it every time. The fabled extra oomph of the .22 sounds sweet, but where the pellet hits and what it does on arrival has to be more important than how much of it arrives there.

The three P’s of a clean kill - Placement, Placement, and Projectile.

Magazine [edited]

The rifles are shipped as single shot, a company called Rowan Engineering do an 8 shot conversion for which mine has.


With a huntable range of 35 yards, I didn’t need to sell a kidney for a Schmidt & Bender , and the rifle came with an AGS scope in 4-9X40 magnification.


Not usually a word that’s synonymous with your pal the Bushwacker. On TV they’re called silencers, under UK law they’re called moderators, either way they turn PHHSSST! Into phhssst, and my rifle came with one.

The other bit of good news is that I ran into R&E and E very generously put her vegetarianism to one side and gave me permission to hunt her land!

Yes! What amounts to my own private hunting preserve in the New Forest.

Pigeon, Squirrel and those pesky Wabbits!

Your Pal


PS: I’ll not be going shooting for a couple of weeks so there’s bound to be time for more of the hot air regular readers have come to expect. Phew!