By The Ole Hedge Creeper
Right let’s get one thing straight before I go any further with this article, I do not write technical articles, it’s not the fact that I cannot write them, it’s quite simply it bores the living backside off of me, for some that's what they love to write and for some of you the readers that’s what you love to read, but that’s just not for me, so if you want a technical article stop reading now and bugger off and read some other muckers well written piece on the subject.
Nothing makes me think of how my journey into rifle shooting started more than 30 years ago than the mighty little .22 rim-fire rifle, over the years I have hunted or shot targets all over the world with some if not all the calibre’s there are right up to 50 cal, but nothing makes me smile more and gives me more pleasure to shoot than the mighty little .22 rim-fire, for it was with this little rifle I shot my first rabbit on my rifle shooting journey some 35 years ago now, that distinct thumb when the little bullet made contact on target as the rabbit jumped in the air then lay stone dead on the floor 40 yards away as my Pappy/Dad and uncle Dave looked on.
I still smile with pride now at just that memory with my mentors looking on at me as I took the rabbit open sighted with Uncle Dave's rifle with the Martini Action on his own farm, the farm was where they all taught me how to shoot everything from air rifle and air pistol to shot gun and back in those days live shot pistols too, this was where my Uncle Dave taught me how to shoot open sighted with everything from .22 rim-fire right up to the 303 Lee Enfield, Uncle Dave’s farm was a paradise for a country boy like me to grow up on, with mentors that many can only dream of.
I wrote an article called Sweet 17 all about the 17hmr another nice calibre but most certainly not my favourite calibre nor does it hold such a fond memory or do I have the same passion for it as I have for the .22 rim-fire, others may disagree and although I shoot very well with the 17hmr for me it’s still a very expensive and obtrusive crack from the muzzle report of that calibre, I will say though as part of my professional pest control business both rifles get used an awful lot as I consider them both to have the quality needed for each individual job I ask to do, or as my Pappy would say use the right size hammer to hit the nail in the whole, I will tell you of this a little further on in this article.
My Pappy always said you are only as good as your last job and he was right to the wise old goat that he was god rest his soul, so I treat every job and client with the same high standards no matter weather a lord or a small holding and that is why some of the huge clients I do I have had on the books for over 20 years.
I was taught by the masters my mentors and they taught me to use the best tools you can afford for the job in hand, this is something I pride myself in buy once cry once, I have used all sorts of .22 rim-fire ammo over the last 25 years but finally settled for the Winchester 40grn sub Sonic's, that was until they changed them and my rifles hated the new ones so a search was made for a replacement, I have now settled for the Fiocchi subs I get from www.reallywildadventures.co.uk they are deadly accurate pack an almighty punch and do what they say on the tin, normal service has been resumed.
I will take you along for a hunt with me, I am called out by a frantic golf course owner, a friend of another client of mine, the poor fellow sounded like he was at his whit’s end he really did not know what to do with himself, I went along in daylight to view the problem site and to hear his tale of woe.
I like to view every job in daylight not only to see the damage but track and build up a picture of what’s safe to shoot and what’s not etc, I also use infa red glow sticks with the night vision to mark off safety zones or no shoot zones, I could see what the poor fellow was talking about as I drove up the beautiful drive up to the club house, rabbits were all over the place I could of shot a dozen on my way up, but until my contract is signed and all the paper work done, I will never take a gun from its slip, what’s the point in having the insurance etc if you don’t cross the Ts and dot the I,s, also this covers your back side if the police are called etc in the early hours or late at night whilst you are there on vermin control duty, you will be surprised how often the police do get called after some old lady takes one look at you as you take a gun from the truck as they are walking their dog or something.
All the paper work signed I met the green keeping team and advised them of what they could do to help etc, I also got asked to deal with the ever growing mole problem too but we will get to that in another article.
I remember starting off on the driving range this particular evening, I set up the .22 rim-fire on the NiteSite Viper and put the NiteSite Wolf on my 17hmr this was because some of the rabbits would be further than 100 yards, how did I know this? because the kindly golf course owner had range markers clearly displaying the ranges with windage flags attached to each one.
I thought to myself how kind of him to set me up a functioning rifle range, I still say to this day a golf course is a wilful miss use of a perfectly good rifle range, so with the flags and markers I can tell exactly how far these rabbits are and tell the windage etc, this was like the Rolls Royce of rabbit control for this rough ole country boy.
Just picture this I am sat there under the nice roof cover of the driving range, all set up both rifle with a NiteSite system on them on a sturdy table with sand bags on and my ole Dad armed with the NiteSite spotter calling the targets for me as they enter the arena for the games to begin, this really was a palace for a rabbit shooter like me, that and with a fresh supply of hot tea or coffee too, Boys I telle it just don’t get any better than this.
Dad spots the first rabbit coming in from the hedgerow to the right he stopped between the 50 and 60 yard marker, I estimated about 56 yards cranked up the .22 rim-fir and NiteSite Viper and well the rest was as easy as pie as I let him have it, the rabbit jumped in the air and dropped stone dead to the perfect head shot, I made the gun safe and went back to drinking my tea sat on my comfy chair inside stand number 1 of the driving range building, I thought blimey I could get used to this if the shooting went on like that, for an hour or so the rabbits started to come out at 100 yards+ so the 17hmr came out to play and did very well too, I switched between each gun as the rabbits came out at their respective ranges for the next hour or so, by the time we had finished we had a pile of empty bullet cases on the floor and a large pile of very dead rabbits to pick up.
Although the 17 hmr played a part here it was the .22 that filled the bag cost a lot less in ammo and I enjoyed the most, I know some of you reading this will say I am not going back to a .22 and then there are those who love nothing more than their .22 like me.
I even love .22 in my air rifles as below bagging bunnies on the golf course with the awesome NiteSite System.
I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed writing it, please keep your letters and emails coming in and we will do our very best to get back to you, but some do get through the net just like a rabbit slipping out of a purse net, until my next article come find me on face book on The Old Hedge Creepers page or on The Countryman's Diary.
By The Ole Hedge Creeper