An interesting article on alternatives to lead shot from our good friends at Hunting & Safari Magazine.
An interesting article on alternatives to lead shot from our good friends at Hunting & Safari Magazine.
A guest article written for us by Joshua Hicks from the United States. Thank you to Joshua for taking the time to write this interesting and informative article. I’m sure we can all pick up hand tips and tricks from it.
Joshua is 28 years old. A Firearms Instructor, Range Safety Officer, and Writer from the mountains of North Carolina. He is passionate about teaching firearms safety and fundamentals.
Breath control, and trigger pull are two shooting fundamentals that directly impact your accuracy. With rifles and shotguns the two stances in which these fundamentals can make the most difference is standing and kneeling. If the gun is resting on a branch or rest than the rest negates the purpose of breath control however, proper trigger pull is always useful.
What is the purpose of breath control? Have you ever noticed when you’re aiming your rifle or shotgun that the front sight moves ever so slightly up and down? This is a result of your breathing. Now, some people can hold their breath longer than others. That being said everyone at some point or another while holding their breath and a rifle will begin to quiver. This negates the purpose of breath control, which is to steady the rifle. Test yourself to find you threshold. I for example only have about 10-20 seconds of usable time with one breath. Now should you practice breath control with every shot? I wouldn’t recommend it as you will eventually will grow light headed from holding your breath. The time this technique really comes in handy is when you’re shooting a 20mm spread at 100 meters, but you really want to shoot a 12mm spread.
Trigger pull, this technique is unique to each shooter. An exercise I recommend is to take your dominant hand and place it behind your back. Then with your index finger and thumb at a 90 degree angle draw the two together until they touch. Where your thumb touches your index finger is where your trigger should be for a natural pull. If the trigger is placed anywhere else on the index finger, the shooter may be tempted to pull left or right. This can greatly impact your marksmanship. Now that you’ve figured out where your trigger should go lets discuss trigger pull. When pulling the trigger, the shooter should utilize a single fluid motion. Knowing your rifle plays a big part in this. You need to memorize the trigger, at what pressure does it begin to move? When does it release the action? And when does it reset? Over anticipating the release of the action and subsequent shot can cause the shooter to jerk the trigger. It is important to know at exactly which stage of the trigger pull the gun will go off. Effective trigger pull can only be mastered through practice. If you’re afraid of dry firing your rifle or shotgun, I recommend investing in some snap caps or “Dummy Rounds” which in most cases are colored to distinguish them from live rounds. They also come equipped with silicone primers which won’t damage firing pins and hammers, whether on the range or using dummy rounds practice finger placement, and learning the stages of your trigger. Another nifty trick is to balance a dime or ten pence coin on the end of your barrel, and then pull the trigger, if you’re pulling left, right, or jerking the coin will fall off.
Shooters planning to travel with the Finnair airline may wish to reconsider after reading yesterdays article on the Manchester Evening News website where the unfortunate customer completed his outbound journey to be informed his rifle bolt and a quantity of ammunition had gone missing, to make matters worse his hunting partners suffered damaged property on the return leg. Considering the security precautions and vetting that licensed firearms owners have to go through in the UK the least we can expect is that when we travel our firearms will be stored safely, securely and returned to us as expected. The fact that firearm components and ammunition can simply “go missing” frankly is quite outrageous.
We would like to introduce you all to a fabulous resource, of particular interest to the deer stalkers amongst you, the County Deer Stalking online magazine.
The magazine is very well put together and is full of information to the benefit of novice and seasoned stalker alike. Within the online pages you will find rifle reviews, in-depth discussions on the best calibre for deer stalking and information on UK law as it relates to deer stalking.
In addition to their website County Deer Stalking also have a Facebook page and are on Twitter. Please do us a favor and give their page a ‘Like’, it deserves many more likes than it currently has we are sure you’ll agree.
We would like to draw everyone’s attention to this event where a charity gets the chance to win £1,000. As you will see the League against Cruel sports currently have a high percentage of the votes. We would like to encourage all our followers to vote in favour of the British Legion, not only are members of our team ex forces but this is a charity that is close to all our hearts as many of our family members have served in the forces. We feel that this is also a worthy cause to devote our efforts towards to ensure that the LACS do not get the money which they will use to further harass and lobby against law abiding hunters, pest controllers, and others involved in shooting.
It will be much better for the money to go to an important international charity or to help servicemen/women and their families rather than funding an organisation hell bent on disrupting legal past times and harassing innocent people; including children.
It is with mixed emotions that we share some news regarding the Greenland White-Fronted Goose. On the one hand the voluntary moratorium enacted over forty years ago by Welsh wildfowlers has been a resounding example of real world conservation, on the other hand due to habitat loss in their native Greenland the global population of the species is still in decline.
We therefore ask for your help in supporting an independent scientific study dedicated to the geese, which have now launched their own Facebook page. For most of you, all we ask is that you ‘Like’ their Facebook page and spread the word about the conservation efforts on the Dyfi estuary.
If you happen to live in the region or know people who do we would also ask that you report any sightings of the geese either directly to BASC or to the study, which can be done via their Facebook page.
We support the decision of Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources who after a public consultation decided to support the conservation efforts provided by the local wildfowlers and extend their voluntary action against targeting the threatened species. It was the wildfowlers who first began the conservation efforts to help save the species and it is important they remain involved and connected to the conservation efforts they have lead and developed over the past four decades.
To identify the Greenland White-Fronted goose look for a white flash on the birds forehead, dark stripes on its belly and its orange legs, the Greenland variety also has orange bills.
Thank you for your continued support and assistance on this matter.
You may recall that we raised concerns about Scottish General Licences back in August and unfortunately it now seems that our fears have been realized after a last minute change by SNH to their General Licence which are to take effect from 1st January 2014.
Specifically we are concerned that the changes to the licence to include “an enabling paragraph” will be granting civil servants legal powers without evidence of a criminal offence, an approach which is too easily open to abuse.
We are in agreement with BASC regarding the consultation which as with the recent airgun consultation shows that the Scottish Government is more concerned with ticking the consultation box rather than actually going through the process in a manner that would meet even their own documented standards; by allow a minimum of 12 weeks for responses instead of only 6.
We will keep you informed of any developments, for further information please see this update from BASC.
We are delighted that we have been given permission to cross-post this wonderful article on Wildfowling for you from the Hunt & Gather UK blog, if you enjoy Wildfowling already, have thought about having a go, or have never heard of it and would like to know what it’s all about, give it a read and let us know what you think. If you like what you read, go over to their blog and give it a follow.
Anyone who knows me, will know that I have a passion for wildfowling. To me this is truly wild shooting, that requires fieldcraft. Every bird on the ground is hard earned.I’ve have done plenty of formal driven shooting in my time, but these days it bores me. Dropped at a peg in a 4WD it just feels false, standing there waiting for the birds to come over in approximately the same direction. The wildfowler has to endure hardships, be a better shot, as the birds can come at any angle and speed, often with poor light and terrible weather.
A Wildfowler has to be a trained ornithologist, get to know the habitats of the quarry. The effect of the weather, the tides and the moon on the way the quarry behave. There is something truly magical about waiting for the sun to rise or set, with the noise of the many waders coming from every direction. The excitement and anticipation of the flight that may or may not happen, is like no other feeling for me.
We are very often on our own with our dogs, with not a soul around. I personally love that feeling of isolation, on the very remote and wild British foreshore. I feel utterly removed from the world of modern living, every worry and stress dissolves.
Ducks and geese often flight right on the edge of dusk or dawn, as a hunter we need every sense and instinct available to pick up the birds against the dark sky. The bags are normally small and very hard earned. This combined with the wild nature of the marsh or foreshore is like no other form of shooting to me. We know every sound that our quarry makes and hearing them brings all of our senses alive and our hearts fill with excitement and anticipation.
Bad weather and strong winds tend to make the birds fly lower, trying to escape the wind. This brings them into the range of our guns. Fog or snow makes them follow the contours of the land. You have to learn how the quarry behaves to be successful. The tides will push more birds off of the mud and the moon can make them flight later.
Birds will often follow rivers or drainage ditches. Taking the shortest route across promontories. Like I said every bird is hard earned and deserved. This is proper hunting in my opinion.
I always use a semi automatic 12 bore, with a synthetic stock and barrel that isn’t blued. The salt can soon destroy an unsuitable gun. The advantage of a semi auto, is that I can use heavy loads, without increasing the recoil. The third shot always comes in handy as well. There has been many occasions when I have killed with the 3rd shot. You will need hides, face masks and keep bone still, or the birds will very often see you and veer away at the last minute.
I don’t use Steel, as I personally find that it kills less effectively. The low density of steel 7.8g/cm3 leaks energy more quickly and limits the range of steel. Range is important when wildfowling on occasions. I am happy to use bismuth, tungsten matrix or Hevi-shot that have densities if 9.6g/cm3, 10.8 g/cm3 and 12.0g/cm3 respectively. Lead had a density of 11.0g/cm3 for comparison. I used to carry duck and goose cartridges and switch between them. But this proved to be very difficult on occasions. Last season I shot 42g No.3 Tungsten Matrix at everything and didn’t find this a problem, even shooting teal.
Foreshore, tide, splash (flooded fields), evening, morning and moon flighting all have there difference and appeal to me. On the roosting or feeding grounds look for signs of recent activity, like fresh feathers or droppings, by day. Using decoys and learning to call the ducks and geese, will all increase your chances. I’ve seen birds turned from 100s if yards away, to come over us on many occasions, using a call. Always use a dog or go with someone who has a dog. To me it’s a hunting crime to lose a bird in the water or reeds. On top of this wildfowling is relatively cheap and accessible.
I personally love wildfowling and I suggest that if you haven’t tried it, give it a go. But please don’t be put off, by lack of success at first, like any good hunting discipline, it takes time to develop the skills to become a good Wildfowler.
My Wildfowling club Gloucestshire Wildfowlers
Back in July we provided you with an introduction to D.Camo Designs, a company who provides custom spraying of camouflage for air rifles and other equipment. Well, they now have their own website, so please take a look and see what you think.