Friday, 25 September 2009

Smash and Grab woody!

MTC 10x44 Viper on Daystate Air Wolf
A double whammy this afternoon - two of the most amazing things that rank amongst the best experiences I've ever had when out hunting. It's things like this which, for me, make being out and about with my airgun such a wonderful way to spend life.

I'd taken the afternoon off to zero up my Air Wolf which has a new, fixed-power MTC (10 x 44 Viper) on board. I needed it for tomorrow night's long-range rat shooting session with a mate. The zeroing went well, with one-hole groups at 30 metres and a bit of 'plinking' out to 40m just to re-aquaint myself with its SCB reticle.

Afterwards, I popped up to the farmer's father's place, where my Mum is house-sitting. A large stubble field borders it and whilst we were in the garden, there was enough crow and pigeon activity to tempt me into getting the gun out of the boot!

I was able to sneak around the garden unseen, and had the added advantage of being able to rest the Daystate on one of the bars of the wooden boundary fencing.

Nothing was within range; the closest woody (a solitary one) was a good 60 metres away from me. However, it was feeding with its head towards me, and with the ground rising slightly in front of me, its head was just about all I could see. The gun was very steady on the fence and I spent a while watching the bird and assessing the range. Even as its head bobbed up and down, I felt I could land a shot. There was no wind to speak of and the target presented a clean-hit or clean-miss opportunity.

Calculating the range at 60 metres with the scope's sidewheel P/A system, I 'guesstimated' that I'd need to use 3.5 lines down on the ladder cross-hair, took aim... and slipped away the shot.

MTC SCB (Small Calibre Ballistic) Reticle
The Air Wolf's electronic action barely moved and, through the crystal clear optics of the MTC, I saw a couple of feathers puff up and then watched the woody simply roll forward. Its wing momentarily caught what little breeze there was, and then dropped back down. I'd delivered one of the longest-range shots of my life!

Because of the Wolf's integral silencer, none of the surrounding birds lifted. I scanned the ground and noticed a couple more birds, about 15 metres beyond, which were feeding in a similar way. I was hopeful they might work their way toward me, at least to the distance I'd just scored at.
Two or three minutes went by, and the birds didn't play ball. Out of boredom more than anything, I swung the scope back onto the shot bird to admire my handiwork.

Then, while I was looking at it, my scope was suddenly filled with the brown and beige flash of a buzzard as it swooped down to scoop up the dead pigeon in its out-stretched talons!

At 10x power, it looked like an eagle and in a split second it had its head down into the grey feathers. I suppose I should have stayed put and watched it devour its free dinner, but I was very proud of that shot and wanted to have it for my supper!

I jumped up from behind the fence, shouting at the top of my voice. "Oyyyy!!!!!" The entire field took off, and the buzzard - its huge wings outspread as it dropped the pigeon back onto the stubble - rose with that elegance all birds of prey have. Fantastic!

With my cover blown, I retrieved my pigeon, setting up a twig where it had fallen. Then, when I got back to my firing point, I used my laser range-finder to zap the twig. It was 64 metres (which equates to 70 yards!). Even starting out at just 11 ft. lbs. muzzle energy, the 8.3-grain Air Arms Field had still had plenty of punch to despatch the bird humanely at that phenomenal distance.

Quite an eventful late afternoon's impromptu hunt - and one I certainly have pleasure recounting on this blog. I didn't have a camera with me, but these pictures were taken as soon as I got home... just to record the bird for posterity, you understand!

Nigel's 70-yard woody... although he nearly lost it to a hungry buzzard!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nigel,

    Great story! And good shooting.
    I have that exact scope on my FAC .22 cal Benjamin Discovery (VIPER 10X). I have a few questions: How do I use those numbers on the windage/elevation knobs ? And what is a P/A system? How would I use it to calculate the distance of my target?

    Thanks in advance!

    Ontario, Canada