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Roe stalking in stunning
springtime woodland


WIN! How a direct approach
can get results


All the hottest new guns
SPORTER from the IWA show


FOX SHOOTING: The commercial value of trophies


A first look at neck sizing

MAY 2016 £4.25

Foxing Stalking Hunting Abroad Long Range


Editor-in-chief Dom Holtam
0118 974 2504
Content Editor Rebecca Green
0118 974 2508
Senior Sub-Editor Laura Paton
0118 974 2506
Staff Writer Emily Damment
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Rifle Shooter, Evolution House,
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Wokingham, Berkshire RG40 2EG
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Commercial Director (Specialist)
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Write to Rifle Shooter, Tower House, hat is it about roe deer? They aren’t the amount of kit on offer to us today. Whatever
Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, the hardest of deer to stalk. They your passion, whatever your budget, the shooting
Market Harborough, Leics LE16 9EF aren’t physically imposing beasts industry has just the thing. It’s amazing that they
PRINTING/DISTRIBUTION and their antlers aren’t very big. The find anything new to come up with, but they
News distribution Seymour, 86 Newman
meat is great, of course – but no better than always seem to.
Street, London W1T 3EX. muntjac or sika. Yet they fascinate stalkers to the And on the subject of which, Chris Parkin has
Tel 020 7396 8000 point of obsession. been checking out the latest rifles on show at IWA
Printed in England ISSN 1741-1939 They just have a certain indefinable something. – see what caught his eye on p10. Or try p71 to
Printing William Gibbons They are handsome animals and those antlers, read about the latest range-topping riflescope
though small, are capable of infinite variety – from from Swarovski. It’s never too early to start writing
EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS perfect symmetry to freakish one-offs. that Christmas list!
We welcome contributions from readers and
advertisers. Photos, stories and information They seem such a quintessential part of our
should be sent by email to dom.holtam@ countryside, too. With the roe buck season upon
By submitting unsolicited material, you us and the forest floor littered with bluebells,
agree that Archant may publish it without there is not much I’d prefer to be doing than
payment, in Sporting Shooter and elsewhere,
in its original or edited form, with or without having a mooch through our magnificent
crediting the source. woodlands with my rifle over my shoulder. And nor
would Owen Beardsmore (p17).
Pest controller, Ed Jones joins the Rifle Shooter
ranks and shares his foxing past with us. Of all
Published monthly © Archant Specialist 2013. the shooting sports, I think foxers have probably
Archant Specialist is part of Archant Ltd
benefited the most from technological advances.
But in truth, we are all spoiled for choice with DOM HOLTAM
First Words image: Dom Holtam
Cover image: mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo Editor-in-chief

03 First words
07 News
28 Readers’ letters
31 Next month

32 Ask the experts
75 Historic: Diggory is bowled over by an 1870s
doubler hammer rifle
78 Interview: Vintage gun collector and all-round
shooting enthusiast, Diggory Hadoke
93 NGO: The dos and don’ts of controlling corvids
100 Reloading: Neck sizing and tension
108 Find shooting
114 Wildcat column

10 IWA round-up: Chris Parkin takes us on a whistle-
stop tour of the highlights of this year’s show
17 Roe and muntjac: We join Owen Beardsmore and
his German client as they pick their way through
the bluebells in search of a buck or two
24 Foxing: Ed Jones recalls fond memories of his
humble beginnings as a foxer, and tells us which
high-tech bits of kit he now can’t do without

36 Culling fallow: Dom and Owen throw the rule book
out of the window when they have an unexpected
encounter with a herd of fallow
43 Seal hunting: In a breathtaking landscape of vast,
floating sheets of ice and deep blue seas is where

we find Ulf this month, on the hunt for grey seals
SUBSCRIBE TO 66 North of the border: Brent shares his love of
Scottish stalking with a Scandinavian friend, and

Save up to 60% and claim a gift! has time for a spot of sightseeing
85 Deer management: Do the aims of commercial
See page 48 for full details stalking always conflict with overall management?

51 Shoot better: Which ballistic solutions do Team
WMS use and why? Andrew reveals all

59 Gun test: Sako A7 Roughtec Range in .308 Win
71 Optics: Swarovski’s new Z8i riflescope range
97 Mini test: GDK’s 2.5m Telescopic High Seat

28 Win a Harkila binocular strap

40 Win a Howa M-1500 Hogue Sporter
56 Win a Leica Magnus 1.8-12x50 riflescope 5
SHOOTING NEWS Deer stalking
Deer Stalking in England Ltd, a company

Prince William in support of providing stalking and hunting experiences

in East Anglia, is running an Introduction to
Deer Stalking course on 16 and 17 April.

commercial hunting Held at Hill Farm, Farnham, and taught

by members of staff at Deer Stalking in
England, the course is ideal for those new
Shooting organisations have expressed their to deer stalking or as a precursor to the
support of a statement made by HRH Prince DSC1, since it is split 50/50 between
William, which emphasises the important classroom and practical sessions.
conservation role of commercial hunting The theory side of the two-day course
(often referred to as trophy hunting). covers firearms safety and law, deer
The International Council for Game and ecology, species identification, deer
Wildlife Conservation (CIC) and The Federation damage to habitats, shot placement and
of Associations for Hunting and Conservation reaction, and gralloching/the deer larder.
of the EU (FACE) announced their support of The practical side includes range work, a
the Prince’s comments highlighting the cycle simulated safety stalk, and a woodland
effect of trophy hunting, whereby the money is visit to evaluate deer damage.
then put back into conserving the species. The course costs £150, which covers
Trophy hunting has brought the blesbok, in both days and a light lunch.
South Africa, back from the edge of extinction THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE POINTS For more details or to book, call 01728
with a population of 2,000 in the early
1900s, to over 250,000 today; the white
OUT THAT: 745066, or email
rhino tells a similar story, with sustainable 1. Well-managed and sustainable hunting
hunting bringing the meagre handful that was creates tangible benefits for people and
left in 1900, to more than 20,000 today. wildlife;
Initiatives to ban commercial hunting could
2. Sustainable hunting promotes
have detrimental effects on wildlife and local
conservation efforts for species and
communities, and lead to an increase in
habitats both inside and outside of
poaching. For wildlife to survive both inside
protected areas;
and outside of protected areas in Africa,
there must be a strong incentive for them to 3. Commercial hunting provides
be tolerated; hunting provides ‘conservation socio-economic incentives for communities
value’ to huge areas of land, far exceeding to coexist with wildlife.
the area covered by national parks.

DSC Level 1 at A fun-filled family day out

Sparsholt The East Anglian Game & Country Fair takes
place at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on
painting, and bungee trampolines. And in the
Countryside Arena, the Salmon & Trout
Sparsholt College in Hampshire is running a 23 and 24 April. Association will be demonstrating various
DSC Level 1 course from 4-7 July. Set in glorious parkland, the annual show casting techniques and sharing their expertise;
This entry-level deer stalking qualification offers something for the whole family (and the the beautiful Bernese mountain dogs will parade
delivers practical and theory sessions over dog!) to enjoy. On the shooting front, Regency their mini carts around; and the unmissable Kiwi
four days. The course includes deer Rifles will be running a ‘top 10’ target shepherd, Stuart Barnes, will perform his
identification, legislation, biology, disease, shooting competition following their success cracking dog, duck and sheep herding display.
ecology and habitats, stalking equipment last year, while former British team captain You’ll find full details of all the events and
and techniques, safety and practical and six-time world FITASC champion, John attractions on the website – www.ukgamefair.
shooting, and all DSC1 assessments. The Bidwell will be putting on an impressive – or, alternatively, telephone 01263
cost of the course is £290. display of trick shooting using a semi-auto and 735828 or email for
To apply, call 01962 797213. a pump-action shotgun. more information.
Among the 350 trade stands you can find a

wealth of shooting-related retail therapy, with

everything from gunmakers, clothing and
footwear, to 4x4 dealerships, decoying
equipment and game feed manufacturers.
Prepare to feel like you’ve died and gone to

shooting-consumerist-heaven (or hell,

depending on how tight the purse strings are).
There’s plenty on offer for mini shooters,
including archery, mountain biking, face » 7

Not long now!

Excitement is mounting in anticipation of the
newest event in the UK shooting calendar

he organisers are putting the final touches area, to put their optics to the true test. The companies that will be in attendance and you’ve got
to the inaugural Northern Shooting Show, non-live target zone allows you to see just how a great day out for all the family! Great food will be
which is taking place on 7 and 8 May at the bright and accurate their optics really are. And you available, so there’s no need to go hungry; why not
Great Yorkshire Showground, near can ‘try before you buy’ from one of many of their try some Yapas (Yorkshire Tapas!). All manner of
Harrogate in Yorkshire; this fantastic venue is preferred dealers. demonstrations will be taking place throughout the
situated within a gently sloping, grassed This is just a selection of companies who will be day, so there will be plenty to see and do, even
showground and has two main, purpose-built halls, in attendance and there really is something for when taking a break from the main halls.
housing firearms and shotguns in Hall 1 and everyone. (See the website for the full exhibitor
Airguns in Hall 2. It’s not just these two halls listing: Book your early bird ticket now for just £9,
however, as there are a host of activities happening Associations, such as The Deer Society, BASC, including free priority parking and fast track show
around the ground, such as in the dedicated Airsoft CPSA, NGO, SACS and the Institute of Clayshooting entry. To book, and for more information, visit
Experience and Bushcraft areas. Instructors, will also be in attendance to give advice
and guidance to shooters. The Rifle Shooter and
*810$.(56+$// Sporting Shooter teams will be there, so you can Take a break from
The ‘FMJ Zone’ in Hall 1 will be full of specialist pick up the latest issues and take out a money- the main halls and
companies, so there will be something for all saving subscription. head over to the light
and airy cafe to enjoy
showgoers; shooters of ‘tactical’ style rifles, deer some great food
stalkers, vermin controllers and game shooters are The ‘clubhouse’ is a dedicated meeting point set and drink
all well catered for. Gilsan Sports will have a great aside for club, forum and society members to meet
selection of new and second-hand shotguns, rifles up with friends, making for a very sociable day out.
and airguns. Blaser and Mauser will have their The Gamekeeping and Gundog Hall, Bushcraft
latest innovative shotguns and rifles, including the area and the dedicated Airsoft Experience area are
F16 shotgun – with its extremely low-profile just a few of the other attractions that showgoers
semi-round action – and the very popular R8 rifle. will be able to visit. Add to that all the accessory,
Viking Arms will have the Ruger Precision Rifle, one clothing and general shooting equipment


of the company’s most innovative new full-bore
rifles on display, and you’ll be able to see why this
rifle is so sought after. Those who admire the
classic English shotgun can see high-end yet
affordable examples on the Longthorne Gunmakers’
stand. Caledonian Classic Arms will have their
range of UK specification ‘Manually Actuated
Release System’ rifles, K22 LBRs and also the new
VZ61 rifles. Parabellum Consulting import HERA
straight-pull AR15-style rifles, as well as a range of
accessories to ‘trick up’ standard rifles. Westlake
Engineering produce state-of-the-art nitro
conversions of black powder revolvers, as well as
the multi-calibre Matchmaster target pistol. For
those who prefer a more traditional approach, Bolt
Open Classics will have a range of collectable,
firearms, shotguns, guns in obsolete calibres, as
well as a full range of accessories.
If night shooting is your thing, companies such
as Clulite, Nitesite, Nightvision Gear, Scott Country
and Thomas Jacks will have the gear for you. Never
been done at a shooting show before, Zeiss UK will
have an elevated platform overlooking a target zone

FEATURE IWA with Chris Parkin

I WA’ THERE! Parkin managed to (just about!) keep his head amid all the brand-new, shiny
shooting gear at IWA; discover which new products, rifles and brands to
watch out for in the coming months

arch 2016 saw my fourth annual pilgrimage to .222 and .223 on offer. Mark my words, this gun is going to
Nuremberg for the IWA show. Even now, it still make waves.
takes me an hour to acclimatise to the amount Considering the fact that Sauer will give Tikka’s T3 a hard
of kit on display. If you think a gun shop you push, the T3 itself has seen some updates, transforming it
once visited was stuffed with kit, IWA is like a whole into the T3X. The stock has seen the most alteration, with RIGHT: Yet more
different universe. Various press releases precede the replaceable grip components, chequering patterns, fore-end options from Bergara
event, tempting some of the 40,000 trade visitors to components, and sound-deadening features. The ejection – Chris is desperate
for them to make
specific exhibitors, nestled among the 1,450 stands from port has been re-profiled, along with the action’s dovetails, a .223!
which to choose. You can wander around for hours, seeing to facilitate different scope mounting set-ups. One thing I did
everything yet taking in nothing if you aren’t careful, but my like was the upgrade to a steel recoil lug; the older
first focal point was the new Sauer 100. aluminium ones did tend to get ‘bitten into’ in the long term
After seeing countless American budget rifles and fearing where they mated with the steel action underside. This is
the worst, the Sauer was actually pretty tricky to notice as, perhaps the benchmark rifle on the UK scene, so to see the
visually, it is virtually indistinguishable from the 101. Finns listening to shooters and not resting on their laurels
Destined to retail for significantly less than £1,000, careful shows great promise and, with their one MOA accuracy
inspection shows the internals to have changed slightly: guarantee, they are still going to take some beating.
BELOW: The Steyr
three rather than six bolt lugs, a simplified safety catch to I’m quite a fan of Mauser and knew they had mainly made HS50 was never
the right of the bolt rather than inlaid into the bolt shroud upgrades to the M12. The initially UK-specific Impact model alone in a photo
(which I always found a tad fiddly anyway) yet retaining all
the Sauer history, romance and handling characteristics with
just as much likelihood of producing the same results, both
on paper and on game. Copying the 101’s downward-sloping INTEREST, WITH MANY CUSTOMERS
cheekpiece, it is a subtle joy in use with bigger calibres, and
now we also see the introduction of a mini action spec, with WANTING TO POSE WITH THE BIG 50”


seemed to be taking on a more international jaunt, with significant

amounts of film on show from WMS Firearms in Wales, where it was
shown shooting at 1,000m – a factor the predominantly German
onlookers seemed quite mystified by. Could a .308 with a 600mm
barrel really do the business at 1,000m? Was it even possible to
shoot at 1,000m with anything other than artillery? Of specific
interest to me was the new De-Cocker for the standard rifle. This is
fitted to all new guns and can apparently be retro-fitted to older ones.
The three-position wing safety is replaced with a lever; when drawn
rearward it totally releases spring pressure from the firing pin, yet
still allows instant silent re-cocking by pushing forward (as of old) into
the fire position. There is an intermediate stage, unlocking the bolt to
allow safe un/reloading, although I did find that a little bit fiddly to
‘find’ between the two primary positions. Mauser also showed a
laminated thumbhole stock; in fact, it was one of the few on show

Three rather than six

lugs on the Sauer –
still as quick, just a
little heavier to lift 11

that wasn’t a GRS unit. Mauser’s offering did seem a little
lacklustre, if I’m totally honest, and I suspect it was a bit of
a late addition to the show. The shape and profile steers
very close to the Blaser R8 Professional Success unit, and
was lovely to handle with great ergonomics, so it is one to
look forward to and is a particular delight when paired with
the Mauser ‘solid’ barrel.
Blaser were making a big show of the F16 shotgun on
their stand and, other than that, the rifles seemed to be
further variations on the theme with varying finishing and
stock options. It’s a smart plan because the fundamental
design of the action attracts those wanting a basic synthetic
workman’s rifle, all the way to the most highly decorated
custom option at 10 times the price; plus it seems all
Blasers are great shooters, regardless of added bling.
Browning showed the latest X-Bolt SF Europe variant,
which sports an oil-finished American walnut stock and a ABOVE: Barrett MRAD rifles, something their laws won’t currently allow as it is
longer 14.75" length of pull, to suit our somewhat more seen as a military calibre, even when assured for export
angular prone-shooting preferences compared to that of the only. This is a shame as the company have hit the ground
Americans, or so it seems – they rarely venture beyond running in terms of design and manufacturing quality. They
13½". Browning rifles are great shooters but we just don’t showed other prototypes, laminate stock variants and, like
see many around and, I must admit, I really want to get so many others, a full metal chassis ‘tactical’ rifle that,
hold of one of these X-Bolts on test. The whole range is one thankfully, seemed to have taken the ‘less is more’ route to
that offers some striking design characteristics, but I remain svelte and actually man-portable.
wonder if it suffers from too little advertising and positive PR Merkel and Haenel were present and, although the
in the fickle shooting community? Considering that the former is well known in the UK, its lesser-known Haenel
name (and man) ‘Browning’ is iconic, why are Mauser so cousin is an emerging brand with all the German
much more successful? engineering qualities one might presume, yet a more
Bergara’s B14 impressed me a lot, and IWA welcomed modest price point. I have one inbound for test soon in a
me further into the stable with the BX11 switch-barrel rifle, sporting specification – the Jaeger 10 – but my heart longs
and BA13 single-shot takedown gun. I was assured the to try out the RS9. This is the big .338 brother to the .308
company are continuing their efforts with the Spanish BELOW: Allen key RS8 I shot a few years ago and, in hindsight, really regret
government to allow them to produce .223 variants of their OCD! parting with!



One of the more different guns that caught my eye, hiding around
the back in a quieter hall, was the Strasser straight-pull design. I got
a full demonstration of the guns and their unique operating system.
Some guns seem to just desire to be different, and seem to reject
reliable functionality for individuality, but the Strasser was very
likeable and I aim to get one in on test. The design and engineering
on show were delightful, and its intricacy reminded me of the .22 LR
Target and Biathlon rifles, which I love seeing for their all-consuming
desire for infinite adjustability and disgraceful engineering
complexity… almost eccentricity, which I adore.
I’m not sure where ‘rifles’ end and ‘accessories’ begin, but in the
aftermarket stock realm the composites seem to be taking a back
seat. Although manufacturers like Sauer, with the 404, are showing
full-carbon factory rifle stocks, the GRS laminate is everywhere, and
now they have the new Berserk unit that is set to appear a couple of
hundred pounds cheaper. It retains the GRS’s ergonomics and
styling cues for the prone shooter, with adjustable length of pull and
cheekpiece height, but saves quite a bit of weight over the brightly
coloured Birch laminates and is available in multiple action inlets.
I’m told it also machines very nicely, a fact that will no doubt attract
custom builders wanting to add 10-shot magazine capability to
Remington and Tikka models! 13

Metallic chassis systems can be very bulky, but the MDT

range seems to remain quite graceful and relatively light in
weight, yet fully functional and accepting of multiple Picatinny
mounting points for any accessory you can imagine. Chassis
always seem like a good idea, but I don’t always see them THE GRS LAMINATE IS EVERYWHERE”
realistically as very ‘tacticool’ when they are so heavy; you
reach the firing position with a hernia and then take 20 thing is for sure: their HS50 rifle and professional RIGHT FROM
minutes to unfold them and position all the bipod and photographer got a lot of interest, with many customers TOP TO BOTTOM:
A nice target variant
monopod feet. MDT’s HS3 systems cut a nice compromise. wanting to pose with the big 50. The big US names didn’t of the 557 at CZ;
I’ve tried to stick to brands we know, or at least see in the seem to really have anything new to tempt me and, although Savage are
UK, but that is probably only 40% of what you see at IWA. the customs like Kelbly’s were wonderful, the dollar innovative but their
Clothing, footwear and optics are massive, with huge stands exchange rate and import-export problems the US seem to sporting rifles seem
to remain a little
allowing every product to be displayed in detail. CZ always insist on keeps the prices too high for the quality on offer. aesthetically
show a nice spread, but it is interesting to see the models Will the Savage in .17 WSM ever appear here? I’m really not lacklustre and are
and design variants we don’t see (or, in fact, need) in the sure the market is looking ripe for it, and the rifle itself feels not getting any
cheaper for it; the
UK – it is a forerunner to seeing what the designers have on very cheap and not as cheerful as others, such as new Sauer 100
their minds, and the capabilities new materials or Mossberg’s. Mossberg are very much trying to break the
engineering processes may direct towards our market needs trend of cheap US Walmart guns, and I quite like their desire
in the future. High-capacity magazine .22 rimfire is ever- to match market trends, offering stock options and calibres
popular, but CZ also seem to be catching on to 557 target with magazine feeds for the range shooter as well as the
variants that will suit the more traditional rifle owner desiring hunters. Their lightweight varminter, in an MDT Chassis, is
classical walnut furniture but acceptable pricing, and a one of a growing trend of guns that I personally think shows BELOW: The
magazine feed for a day’s shooting on the range. great vision and gets us all away from horrible, flexible, ultra-lightweight
Sauer 404 – Chris
Steyr had a big stand, but one downside of a huge cheap, plastic rifle stocks; a trend this year’s IWA was gladly still thinks the trigger
product portfolio is getting a little lost in the options. One veering away from. feel is a little weak

FEATURE Roe and muntjac with Owen Beardsmore


Owen Beardsmore guides a German blue blood through the English bluebell
woods in pursuit of early roe bucks and a bonus muntjac

pring is well and truly here, the snowdrops are long We have now reached the end of my ‘season’ for paying
gone and the primroses are fading. My woodlands the muntjac bucks any attention, and they are due to cast
are now alive with the sounds and smells of a new anytime. Their antlers are a white, polished trophy that
season in full bloom in early May. almost resembles ivory and, for me, they are at their most
The fields are full of the sunshine yellow of oilseed rape pleasing. The roe bucks have been clean for a month or so
flowers and many of my woods are carpeted in bluebells. and have a reasonable colour on their antlers. They are on

This is one of my favourite times of the year to hunt, and their territories and are more reliable to stalk in the same
ABOVE: Swathes of
during this period I am able to offer my clients the violet-blue carpet the locations than in the summer rut-time, which can be exciting
opportunity to stalk roe bucks and muntjac together. woodland floor but unreliable for locating specific bucks in a certain area. » 17

A key indicator for ancient woodlands, the distinctive carpet of blue flowers
probably indicates that the wood dates back to 1600. These flowers have to reach
maturity in early spring, before the summer canopy of the deciduous woods stops
sunlight from reaching the woodland floor. With a thick canopy suppressing
the chances of other ground cover, you often get that characteristic ‘carpet’ of
bluebells from late April onwards.


» Mid April to early June is the prime time for my roe buck
stalking, both professionally and recreationally. June to early
July is my quiet time, and I manage to get a few weeks in
the Cervus-UK office before the roe rut begins and it gets
very busy.
In early April I start my reconnaissance by putting out trail
cameras in areas where we have seen bucks over the
winter, or where potential mature bucks have been seen
during the previous years. One of the pleasures of my job is
seeing trophies grow over the years and harvested as old/
mature beasts on many occasions.
The bluebell flowers stay in bloom for about a month, with
a fortnight of spectacular colour where it carpets large areas
of my woods. It is a special time, especially after a spring
shower when the flowers become almost fluorescent.
Last year, in early May, I had the pleasure of guiding the
German count, Bertram Von Quadt – an experienced hunter ABOVE: Trail cams Oxfordshire woods. This pays dividends in the fact that bucks
who for many years has visited the UK to hunt roe bucks in are a great tool for produce excellent quality and we manage to take several
locating cull animals
the Cotswolds. He has shot many roe bucks but only one and assessing medal-class each year. My client Bertram had expressed an
muntjac buck prior to this visit. trophies interest in doubling his muntjac trophy total, so on this
One of the estates I manage sits on the rolling North particular morning, I was after an old buck that I had
Downs of Hampshire. The blocks of woodland are typical of previously seen with the hope that we would take him at first
the area and contain mixed hardwoods of various ages. In light (the ‘muntjac hour’) then continue to stalk for a roe buck,
the spring they are stunning, with huge areas covered in as the warm sun touched the field edges a few hours later.
bluebells – and this was the case for Bertram’s hunt. The So there we sat, up a high seat, looking down a particular
weather was cold at first light, but warmed with the glorious ride that had dense bramble on the left and an open expanse
sunshine, when it finally poked its head out. The deer of mature beech to the right. Under the beech there was a
activity was frustratingly minimal, with only the pheasants swathe of bluebells, so not the worst view you could have
and squirrels out of bed early. from a lofty perch. Birdsong filled the air, a cuckoo called and
On this estate in particular, we have a thriving population of squirrels busied themselves in search of food, but nothing in
roe deer, with a few nomadic fallow deer making an unreliable BELOW: First light is
the ‘deer department’ was moving. The sun was now up, and
appearance now and again. Muntjac are there in reasonable usually the best time after an hour and a half I suggested we stretch our legs and
numbers, but certainly not in the same density as that of my for spotting muntjac stalk a few blocks (I’m not the most patient high-seat sitter). 19

Owen, like many deer managers, utilises trail cameras to assist
with his reconnaissance. It allows him to cover a much wider
area than he possibly could himself and is a great tool for both
locating suitable cull animals and assessing trophy quality on
mature bucks.
Trail cameras have become much more affordable and deliver
far better images and video than they did even a few years
back. However, for the beginner, there are a few things to bear
in mind. You need to get your camera in the right place and at
the right height to secure decent images and practice definitely
helps to get good results.
You also need to consider security. While Owen has access
to many thousands of acres of private land, often with no
footpaths to worry about, many of us make do with smaller
permissions criss-crossed by public access. A trail camera

can make a very attractive offering for ne’er-do-wells. Good

camouflage is the best way to avoid thefts (and will increase
efficacy, too) but some manufacturers offer lockable metal
security housings to dissuade the casual kleptomaniac.
Alternatively, you could consider a device with a sim card that
texts you the images once it has been triggered.




We slipped from the seat and stalked the woodlands,
glassing every spot we thought a deer would be. Nothing. I
was getting ‘stalker’s fatigue’ with so much effort spent
concentrating, silently picking through the woodland,
searching constantly, with all my senses on maximum alert. HEAD DOWN, FOLLOWING HIS NOSE”
I could understand that the roe does would be couched up,
with fawns imminently due, but where were my roe bucks and behind our log-pile low seat – exploded, as a muntjac
patrolling their territory? We reached the end of the piece of buck erupted from cover only 15m from us. By the time I
woodland, and stopped by a huge log pile. Bertram had reached into my pocket to find my Buttolo call, Bertram
suggested he took a quick ‘fag break’ to check wind had slipped in another round, closed his weapon, and had
direction, and we relaxed for a moment, admiring the carpet taken his aim, freehand. The buck left cover and crossed a
of blue that stood before us. path now about 50m away, but his tail wasn’t up (as one
We were leaning on the log pile, reflecting on our lack of would expect) so he obviously wasn’t too bothered. I
success, when Bertram froze and nodded over my shoulder. squeezed the bellow of the call hard, and let out a squeal in
I turned slowly and looked to where he was staring. About his direction. The buck stopped and turned, and then
150m away was a mature roe buck heading in our direction, dropped as the Hornady SST bullet hit him square on the
head down, following his nose. “He’s coming straight to shoulder (‘Thank God I still had my ear defenders on!’ I
us,” I said. We pushed back against the log pile and thought). Bertram’s smile had doubled in width and so had
Bertram took advantage of his 100-tonne shooting rest. The his muntjac trophy wall. “Bloody good shot, mate!” I said.
buck made his way straight to us and, just as required, “It’s the driven hunter in me,” he quipped.
turned to present himself side on, at about 70m. BOOM So after a pretty lean morning, we suddenly had a full roe
came the report of the unmoderated Merkel K3 Extreme, sack, and all from the ‘lucky log pile’. Both bucks lay in the
and the .308 Win bullet did its job – the impact dropping bluebells and the sun shone as we pulled them next to each
him on the spot. Bertram turned and smiled and ejected the other to take a nice photo. Both bucks were lovely animals,
BELOW: Count
spent case from the single-barrelled action. Bertram with his and Bertram went away with a memory of a not-so-typical
Before I could say a word, the brambles – just to our right bucks hunt, when Lady Luck had more than saved the day!





cunning and lamp-shy foxes, so I decided that I would enter
into the world of night vision.
This was when my dealings with Scott Country
International first started (about eight years ago now). Paul
and his team were extremely helpful in giving advice and
offering a seven-day demo trial on any kit I wanted to try out,
which is very useful when you consider how much NV kit is
available on the market today.
So, for a few years, myself and my brother dealt with
problem foxes, using both lamping and NV methods,
depending on the circumstances.
Around the same time another big change came for us,
because onto the market came very good torches in a
variety of colours – red, white, amber – and a powerful beam
that could be mounted on top of the rifle itself with a clamp.
We found that by using the Night Master 800 with the red
light we upped our success rate by a third.
About two years ago I had the opportunity to buy my first “USING THE NIGHT MASTER 800 WITH
thermal spotter. I spoke to Paul at Scott Country once again
and we discussed my needs and what was available on the
market at that time, which resulted in me buying a Pulsar
Quantum HD38S. It really did change the way we went
about controlling foxes. With the thermal spotter we were ABOVE: Ed having used one for the past seven months; to date, myself
able to sit at the location where the foxes were causing progressed from a and my brother have accounted for 89 foxes using the Apex,
problems, watch them come in from a good distance away, car battery-powered and these have ranged from 20 yards out to 315 yards.
lamp to top-of-the-
then take the shot once it was safe to do so with the fox range night vison Using a thermal scope is going to be a ‘Marmite’ situation;
having no idea that we were there. equipment you’ll either love it or hate it.
Last August I decided to sell my NV and get the new Apex I still enjoy waiting out for foxes in the early morning or
XD75 thermal scope from Scott Country (although there will evening using my conventional scope, and we still use the
be fellow shooters out there that prefer the lamp, NV or lamp on the rifles too, but having the thermal gear adds
other means of fox control). Thermal scopes have sparked BELOW: Night vision another string to our bow. I am just glad I don’t have to haul
gives Ed the edge
many a discussion regarding their safety in use and the when tackling a car battery around all night anymore; I’m getting too old
identification issue, etc. I can only go by what I know after lamp-shy foxes for that!

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SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: Rifle Shooter, 2-6
Easthampstead Road, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40
2EG or email


Across the pond
I just read your magazine for the first time and
LETTER OF WIN! A HARKILA RRP really enjoyed it. As an American, I found the
THE MONTH £57.99
BINOCULAR STRAP equipment and articles about our UK fellow
hunters really interesting.
To win your very own Harkila Binocular strap, simply send your letter to What was the bipod shown on the front cover
us at the address above. This tough, durable strap in waterproof PU and who makes it?
material with a magnetic closure and waist strap provides a safe and Looking forward to your next issue!
stable support for your binoculars. With an adjustable length, it caters Allan, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
for various sizes and weights of equipment.
The editor replies: It’s great that hunters in the
USA are enjoying the magazine… If you are
referring to the February
issue, then they are
generic stalking sticks
available from most

My beef with your beef hunting shops; if the

bipod you like is on the
I read the letter ‘My beef with venison’ in that it’s summer. This is expensive and also April issue (right), it is a
your March edition and just thought I might forbidden by some supply chains on the Harris bipod, which you
elaborate a little on the major multiple grounds of welfare. can find on their website,
venison supply chains. This is why we often see NZ venison in
Generally speaking, venison sold in the UK in the summer and British in the Hope this helps!
supermarkets is farmed. This is largely as it winter. The British animals are finished in
is a more consistent product in quality and
size of joint (important if you pack and ship
thousands of them) and also more traceable
our summer and slaughtered in our winter,
with the NZ stock being vice versa. I have
done some preliminary work looking at
Putting theory
in terms of inputs and disease risk, etc.
We do have several very successful
manipulating diets to focus on this
seasonality, but the funding just isn’t there
into practice
venison farms and abattoirs in the UK. for the research from the British deer Firstly, thank you for a cracking magazine! I’d like
Several of which I have had the pleasure of farming community, so it goes slowly. to say a big thank you to Andrew Venables for
working with on research projects, looking Now, all this aside, it is also cheaper to his article on PBZ and PBR. I’ve seen folks zero
largely into the issue which leads us to have import NZ venison, so I am not totally high at 100yds for years, but never understood
NZ venison on our shelf… seasonality. convinced that it is all down to availability. why until I dropped a roe doe at 178yds without
While it might not be apparent in wild As a final point, it would be nice to thinking about holdover, dialling-in, or the various
populations of deer (in this case reds, as believe we could use purely wild venison lines and blobs on my reticle. Having already
they represent the vast majority of farmed from the UK, but the consistent supply just done the background work using a ballistic
deer worldwide) herds go through a marked isn’t there in the volume, size, quality and calculator, I zeroed at the 100yd range and got
winter growth suppression, which is driven traceability requirements that the major myself a PBR of 240yds: +2.0" at 100yds and
by decreasing daylight. This means that, multiples require. -2.0" at 240yds; perfect for roe.
even if they are provided supplementary I appreciate this might not be of interest Before going out into the field, all this theoretical
feed in the winter outdoors, they simply do to your other readers, but the seasonality of work was checked on a gong at 250yds. Having
not grow. deer has been a research focus and not allowed sufficiently for left-to-right wind on my
The only option is to bring them indoors obsession of mine for some years, as well first shot, I clipped it far right, but the shot was
and control the photoperiod to ‘trick’ their as being an enthusiastic stalker myself. spot on for yardage. Adjusting properly for wind
hormonal feedback system into believing Dom Charman, by email then put me right in the middle of the kill zone, and
the theory was ultimately proved the following
afternoon as the doe dropped on the spot to a
140gr SST without any joined-up thinking required.
Iain, by email



Coming up in next month’s

Rifle Shooter

Pest control with Andy Crow

Neck-turning masterclass
NV, trail cameras and ammunition
Rifle Shooter, 2-6 Easthampstead
Road, Wokingham, Berkshire,
RG40 2EG or email editorial@

deal with

I’ve got some Dom is an gamekeeper and Ace trainer with Experts on Chris is a Farmer Andy Lawyer Lachlan
foxes on my experienced founder of UK a lifetime’s stalking, deer professional Crow has 40 is the man to ask
permission that stalker and deer Deer Track and experience in the management and rifle tester and years’ fox control for all your legal
warden Recovery shooting field deer behaviour writer experience queries
simply won’t put up with a
lamp near them. Is night
vision the only option?
Scope swaps and return to zero
ANDY CROW replies: Well, you certainly have

more options now as a fox shooter than ever What is the best way to swap forwards on the rail as I nip up the bolts,
before! NV units are much more affordable and back and forth with night vision, which ensures they are correctly
effective, and you can even get thermal sights and and what sort of return to zero positioned against the recoil slots, and I
spotters. But there are still plenty of options if you don’t can I expect? expect return to zero within 10mm at
want to go down that route. A bit of research might show 100m which is less than the inherent

you that this fox is active in daylight hours or at dawn CHRIS PARKIN replies: I swap the aiming error I would accept from a
and dusk. A bit of calling can sometimes do the trick at sights regularly on my .223 10/12x magnification daylight or 6.5x
a time when they aren’t expecting to be targeted. Or you between whichever day scope I digital NV scope anyway. Other scope
might want to bait a site and sit up a high seat to wait have on test and a Yukon Photon I use mounting systems are often okay, but
– if the moon is right and you have a good scope, you after dark. This particular gun has a make sure that when tightening scopes
won’t need a lamp at all. Picatinny rail fitted and I find it easy to in place nothing is being bent or
swap back and forth as I equip all my strained, as when this is slackened and
scopes with quality scope mounts and retightened when swapping, you will
always use a torque wrench to swap experience zero shift and, in any case,
back and forth, tightening rings to 5Nm. it’s a sign of misalignment in your scope
I make sure that I push the optic mounting system.



At odds with my firearms officer

I previously had one spare slot on my 7.62 rifle last year and still had a spare 7.62
FAC for a 7.62 and had also possessed slot left. They asked me when I was going to
another 7.62, which had been on my purchase one to which I replied that everyone
FAC for over 20 years. I decided to sell my is skint after Christmas and that it might be
7.62 last year as I wanted a stalking rifle in two or three months, but hopefully as soon as
that calibre instead. So when I renewed my possible. I was informed that the decision
FAC I didn’t ask for any new additions. would be left to the Chief of Police.
When I received my new FAC the 7.62 slot Could you please advise me on this as I feel
was missing. I informed them immediately, that I have been treated unfairly, but I don’t
however they were unable to give me an wish to upset the apple cart...
answer and told me that I would have to apply

for a variation. Not knowing any different or LACHLAN NISBET replies: On the face
wanting to argue I reluctantly sent off a of it, you should not have been asked
variation after just paying for my coterminous to apply for a variation. Firearms firearms licensing manager at your
certificate. After some weeks I got a call from licensing will hold a full record of your licensing constabulary and politely explain your situation.
them saying that I hadn’t had a 7.62 slot history on NFLMS. There may also be paper You shouldn’t be afraid to politely point out
before. I tried to explain to them that I sold my records. I would suggest that you write to the what was initially a fairly minor mistake.

Avoid false economies

I’m new to rifle shooting and have a project, so take advantage to bag a bargain. used marketplace your choices are even wider.
limited budget – is it worth buying a On the centrefire front, I’d be tempted to There is no point in going crazy on your first
cheap rifle and scope or am I better off save up a little longer and give yourself a ever set-up if budget is tight and you are not yet
waiting until I can afford something better. I budget of £500-£700 for a solid set-up certain if you are going to be really ‘into’ the
have about £300 at present. including a scope, mod and bipod. Howa, CZ, sport. But at the same time, don’t fall into false
Browning, Ruger and other top brands offer economies, and remember that good gear will

DOM HOLTAM replies: I prefer to think of very good, accurate and dependable entry-level last. The action from my first deer rifle is still
things in terms of ‘value’ rather than guns, while there are some excellent value going strong in a semi-custom upgrade and I
cheap or expensive. It partly depends on optics on offer from the likes of MTC, Hawke, hope to have many more years of reliable
what type of rifle shooting you intend to do. If Nikko Stirling and Bushnell, and if you enter the service from it!
you are planning on stalking deer in all weathers
and at both ends of the day then you might not
be able to get the quality of optic you will need.
However, a rimfire is a slightly easier
proposition: I bought myself a full rabbiting
set-up from a local gun shop for about £350
consisting of a used but very solid Anschutz .22,
a moderator, a battered Nikko scope and a
bipod. It gave sterling service for several years
and I sold it for pretty much the same money! It
is pretty hard to shoot out a .22 so there will be
some good bargains out there. Try websites
such as Gunstar and Guntrader to get a feel for

prices. Choose a ‘known’ brand of scope and

scour the selling sites – even eBay. Lots of gun
owners (me included) buy too much gear too
often and then want a clear out to fund the next 33


Owen is using a Merkel Helix straight-pull rifle, chambered
in .30-06. It is a rifle he uses all over the country and on the
Continent where its rapid reloading capability makes it a boon
for driven hunting.
Here it is fitted with a Haushke sound moderator. Owen uses
Hornady SST ammunition, at 150gr.
Dom is using a Sauer 202, also in .30-06 and firing a 165gr Geco
Express round.
“For roe deer, a .30 calibre round might be considered overkill.
But with the possibility of getting in to some fallow bucks, I
like to carry the larger calibre. And for the roe, too, it can be
advantageous. Dom’s first shot was through brash and with
the heavier round, I was 100% confident it would do the job. I’d
have been slightly wary of using a lighter round, such as a .243
in the same situation.”
Dom is a big fan of the .243 for stalking smaller species but
recognises that sometimes size does matter. “For shooting roe
from the high seat where you are generally targeting them in
more open areas or on the rides, no problem. In heavy cover
such as we encountered this morning, and especially on the
off chance that we would encounter big fallow, I can see why
Owen favours the heavier calibres.”
» 37


It sounds totally counter-intuitive to even the most
inexperienced of stalkers, but Owen explains his reasoning.
The tall trees in the wood are casting long fingers of shadow ABLE TO REPORT THE ELIMINATION
out into the field. We might be able to work our way forward
in their shadow. We cautiously crouch and creep forwards.
The two darker animals are lying down, heads into the very
small breeze that is ideal for our approach. adrenalised and runs at the impact but drops just a few
After a cautious 50 yards I take a look behind us and yards into the cover of the wood.
realise just what a great opportunity this is. The bright sun is Owen thinks he has missed with his second shot but as
just breaking over the treetops and is totally dazzling. The we gather up the other animals for the gralloch, we find a
fallow are bathing in its light. But the shadows beneath are few splashes of blood that prompt further investigation. It
deep and black, and I reckon we are virtually invisible. looks like it might be a follow-up job for Basher the Bavarian,
We continue to creep and crawl until we reach the edge of but after a cursory search we discover the fourth fallow
the shortening shadows. The deer are still dozing about 150 stone dead, barely 30 yards away in a patch of brambles,
yards ahead. I lie down and take a look through the bipod. I the shot placement an inch from perfection. Deer that are
have a neck shot on the larger buck with the added security amped up will always run that little bit further, but the end
of a three foot-wide oak behind his head. However, I would result is inevitable.
rather get as close as I can. “We’ll keep going until you are Owen is really pleased to be able to report the elimination
comfortable then I’ll set up on my sticks and hopefully get a of one group of problem deer. We know of at least one
chance at his mate if he runs down towards the wood,” other, but for this morning, it is a job well done. We remove
whispers Owen. the green offal and load the beasts up to take to the larder
At 90 yards I settle onto the bipod, wind up the scope where Owen will finish the carcass work and then weigh, tag
to 10x and line up my shot. The Sauer’s thunder shatters and chill the deer.
the stillness of the morning and the bomb hole explodes Deer stalking can be a funny old sport. Sometimes the
with deer. most rudimentary of approaches can be ruined by a
There are three others and they initially run in our misplaced step on a dry twig or a woodpigeon clattering off
direction, confused by the echoing report of the rifle. One through the trees. And at the other end of the spectrum you
common suddenly sees Owen standing in the field and have experiences like this morning’s outing. The beasts
pauses to present a shot, crumpling to the muted ‘thwock’ were in a seemingly impregnable position and we basically
of his Merkel. walked straight out to within 100 yards of them in bright
BELOW: Owen was
He tries to take the second dark animal and I, meanwhile, keen to reduce the sunshine and took up a firing position. The wind and the
reposition myself as a second large common sorrel pauses fallow population on light were perfect, but it is one ambush that will definitely
for a front-quartering shot at about 80 yards. He is obviously this permission stick in the memory.


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owa has been making rifle actions for plenty of choice – from the large range of
the likes of Weatherby and Smith & calibres to an array of barrel profiles and finishes fibreglass structure with aluminium pillar
Wesson for decades, but over the past to a veritable smorgasbord of stock options. bedding for stock screws.
few years has established itself as a But perhaps the best of the lot is this classic A three-position safety allows you to open the
producer of rifles in its own right. The Howa sporter with its Hogue overmoulded stock. bolt and unload the rifle even when ‘on safe’,
M1500 has won a lot of fans with its It has a nice soft-touch finish and is textured while the metalwork for action and barrel are
combination of classic lines, solid value and to ensure a good grip in any conditions. The classically blued and well finished.
impressive accuracy. It’s a tough, dependable fore-end is well shaped and offers further Whether you are into foxing, stalking
rifle with a proven action. stippling (as does the pistol grip) for a secure or target shooting, this rifle is a solid,
The Howa brand has also offered buyers hold. The heart of the stock is a reinforced no-nonsense performer. 41
FEATURE Seals with Ulf Lindroth


Ulf travels to the vast, icy expanse of sea between Sweden and Finland;
if you’re hunting seal, these perilously unpredictable ice floats are the
place to be in May

n May, the drifting remains of sea ice forms a world of its them. And only a head shot will secure them. Today, seal
own in the Bay of Bothnia, between Sweden and Finland. hunting in the Baltic drift ice often requires rifle work at
It’s a landscape of sea, ice and sharp sunlight – nothing its finest.
but white and blue. And grey seals. A bright May sun is proving helpless against the chill of an
Baltic seals have been hunted through the millenia. As a easterly sea breeze. Roland Marklund is wearing a heavy
consequence, the survivors and their offspring have little in jacket as he walks the trail from his cabin with a printout of
common with the naive-looking seal cubs in the generic ads the latest ice chart for the Bay of Bothnia.
that Greenpeace use to make fools part with their money. The ice charts are a service aimed at the shipping on Kjell Wilund stalks a
grey seal in the drift
These seals won’t wait around for men with clubs. As northern harbours, but they are also popular with seal ice between Sweden
a matter of fact, they usually won’t let you anywhere near hunters. If you find the right ice, you find the seals. and Finland 43


Roland knows this well. He also knows most other things
about seals and seal hunting. He grew up on this coast,
part-time farmer, part-time fisherman. Once upon a time his
father bought their farm with money earned on long seal
hunts in the ice.
They are long and tough hunts. One of Roland’s uncles
went through the ice on one of them; his body was never winds and currents. Roland’s chart and the forecast
retrieved, but his rifle lay on the ice next to where he suggests the ice is drifting over to the Swedish side on an
dissapeared. The three remaining brothers later sold the easterly wind. Even better, the wind is dying down.
rifle to some Finnish hunters they met over the following “We’ll leave at 1am,” Eric says. That should put us near
weeks of hunting. They only returned ashore with the sad the ice around 9am.
news when the last ice was gone. The hunters expect to get a few hours of hunting before
starting the return trip. The whole trip will take some 25 to
,7,67,0( 30 hours.
Such stories never did affect young Roland’s enthusiasm for
seal hunting. On the contrary. And even if his hair is thin and 678%%2510(1
greying now, he is grinning as he walks. It’s a hungry grin. It LEFT: Seals must be If it’s a good hunt, skinning and butchering the seals and
killed instantly. Head
is spring, the time to get the boats in order and sharpen the shots are most
rendering the blubber into oil will take another day, or more
knives. It is time to go to sea... common but a good likely two. In the old days that would have been very
“It’s looking good,” Roland says as he finds his hunting hunting bullet to the profitable work. Today, the EU has banned the sale of seal
companions readying a boat down by a small quay. body may also do products in an attempt to stop Canadians turning oversized
He is soon bent over the chart, together with Eric the job seal populations into something useful.
Lindroth, son of a lighthouse master and a former naval The old hunters still go. The skins and oil are still good,
officer, and Kjell Wilund, part-time fisherman and part-time even if not marketable. It takes more than a lack of profit to
pilot. They are all in their 60s – experienced hunters, but make stubborn men, especially retired ones, come away
one generation too young to have made any money in the from the ice in May.
seal ice. But they still grew up with the stories and with the Some hours later a marine diesel throbs steadily as Eric
seals, and they are as eager as boys now. watches the sun climb out of the sea ahead. The dark sea
BELOW: Eric Lindroth
The old hunters have been holding daily conferences on arrives in the larger starts to glitter in no time, but it is still early, and the drift
the topic of weather and ice for some time. The ice sheet on boat. Meanwhile, ice is hours away.
the Bothnic Bay broke in late April, but the best part of the Roland Marklund is Roland is sleeping in one of the bunks. As Kjell comes up
seal season is in May, as the remaining ice shrinks. That ready in case of an from the galley with mugs of coffee, the windows steam up.
unlikely surprise
ice is drifting between Sweden and Finland at the mercy of opportunity It is bitterly cold.




» “I didn’t manage to find out what was wrong with the a seal are good, but not excellent. If Roland rows quietly,
heater before we launched her this spring,” Eric says, “but the hunters should be okay. The sight of the small boat at a
in a few hours the sun will warm us.” distance may or may not scare the seal, but that’s a risk
That last part may be a joke. Anyway, Kjell chuckles. They they must take.
both find a touch of misery amusing. Whatever happens, They get away with crossing the water. As Roland drops
they’ve had worse. And they know this will be a fine day. Kjell off for the stalk, the seal is still in place. It has lifted its
The calculations are good. At about 8.30am Kjell spots a head a couple of times, but it has relaxed and gone back to
light distorsion on the horizon. It turns into a white belt, then rest every time.
into individual ice floes.
The first ice is no good. The smallest floes have drifted 7+(67$/.
fastest with the wind and are furthest west. But eastwards As Kjell starts his crawl across the ice, Roland backs the
the ice changes character. The pieces get larger and boat a few metres out from the ice. Whispering, he tells a
closer together. story of hunters who got stranded on an ice floe when a
The first ice plain is a kilometre across. It is dotted with piece of ice broke off several metres underwater and came
ring seals, which maintain breathing holes and live in crashing up through the bottom of their boat. Roland then
unbroken ice all winter. They still stay true to their holes as proceeds to criticise that Kjell didn’t tie a rope with a float to LEFT: Hunting in the
ice poses some risks
the ice starts drifting. But these seals are not open to his rifle. If he goes through the ice now, his rifle is likely to – pieces of ice can
hunting; only grey seals are legal. be lost. But eventually Roland goes quiet, and focuses on break off underwater
the last part of Kjell’s stalk. and hit the bottom of
a small boat held
)857+(5($67 Kjell crawls up to a small ridge on the ice. He is some along an ice floe
Grey seals prefer more broken ice. Ice which has been 150m from the seal, which is starting to look nervous. It
pressed into multiple layers can be several metres thick, frequently lifts its head and tries to raise it to get a better
with most of it under water. In such ice, our chances will view. That, however, is too late.
be best. We can distinctly hear the impact of Kjell’s .30-06. The
Eric takes the boat further east. Binoculars are constantly seal drops its head on the ice and is still.
at work. There’s always a lookout on top of the roof. And it’s Roland nods. He and Kjell tend to disagree on most
not long before the ice changes character again. things, but this stalk was well performed, and as Kjell walks
The first grey seal slips off the ice far ahead of the boat. back across the ice to the boat there are smiles all around.
The second one is already in the water, untouchable. But It takes less work than usual to get through to the seal.
almost an hour later, there’s a single seal resting on a large There are only a few smaller ice floes in the way. Soon the
ice floe, perhaps a kilometre away. hunters can retrieve a small female grey seal.
Kjell is the designated shooter, so Eric stops the large “Through the head,” Kjell says as he inspects his seal.
boat and waits for Kjell and Roland to don the white snow “A little low,” says Roland.
coveralls, and untie the smaller boat held in tow. They will go on, but for now there is peace. Eric brings in
The plan is to row quietly to the edge of the ice floe. the larger boat, the seal is tied alongside, and the hunters
Roland will then hold the boat while Kjell stalks across move on. By now the sun really is warm. The ice is almost BELOW: The seal is a
the ice. painfully white and the water glitters intensely. The hunt has small female. For
transport, a rope
The soft wind is blowing from the seal towards the just begun, and the hunters have found the right ice. The is fastened to the
hunters and will pose no problem. The sight and hearing of place to be in May, for old men and seals. lower jaw 47
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• Ask the experts
• Foxing • Hunting Abroad
• Kit Tests
01858 438840 quote CRI6X05A


The point I am making – before I comet at a 6.5 billion-mile range; ABOVE: Taking into After setting the ammunition
start talking about the subject of the people with iPhones and iPads with account ballistic data parameters and range in the Kestrel, it
can help educate and
ballistic solutions that we most often various ballistic apps; printouts from improve the skills of can then measure wind direction and
use at WMS Firearms Training – is a ammunition makers’ websites; the long-distance strength. It also factors in
simple one: I love to hunt quarry, and I Kestrel weather stations with Horus shooter temperature, altitude, air pressure and
love to see if I can hit long-distance ballistics; watches with ballistics… the humidity as main factors in real time
targets. The two are not, in my mind, list goes on. as the shoot goes on. There is a
to be confused. I will use my skills on Like everything else we do, this has Bluetooth version you can sync to your
live quarry within the ranges that I to pass the K.I.S.S. test. Keep It iPhone, allowing you to see the
know I will hit my mark with certainty in Simple, Stupid? Well, almost. All of elevation and windage figures at the
the prevailing conditions. this is a bit complicated, and stress firing point, while the unit is up a pole
If it has a pulse, it is quarry, to be and pressure don’t mix well. The RIGHT: Ballistic 50m away.
respected and humanely dealt with. If ultimate practical solution, in our solutions are usually I am not even going to attempt to
it is a distant rock or a steel target, opinion, for best results most of the reserved for shooting explain in detail how to use the
long-range targets
and it presents a truly safe shot, then time is the Kestrel 4500NV, with rather than live
Kestrel meter here. Experience
play away. either Horus or Applied Ballistics; we quarry, unless things dictates it is a day’s work at WMS to
I have great respect for bow prefer Horus. Two caveats here: firstly, go wrong explain, programme, demonstrate and
hunters. They must be capable of this is not simple to set up, then train a client to properly use a
getting within perhaps 25m of their understand, or use properly; secondly, Kestrel. Then, they have to go off and
quarry to be certain of success, and it can only measure the wind where practise a lot to truly master the
what skill, patience and guile they you are, which may be little use for a thing. Just when it’s going well, the
must possess to succeed. bullet heading for a target elsewhere. batteries usually die and you have to
We can’t bow hunt in the UK, but The Kestrel 4500 range runs from reprogram the internal compass for
you can decide on ‘range X’ as the £600-£800. the target and wind direction degrees
limit of your shooting. How would you Used with discretion, and a full to work properly.
go about a successful hunt on your appreciation of true wind effects on I have not mentioned Coriolis here;
favourite patch if you could not shoot simple flat ground or from a hilltop, the Kestrel can deal with this but it is
at more than 30m? How proud would these solutions get us as close as worth about 18cm to a .338 LM at
you feel when you succeeded? There’s anything does: 100-300m every time; 1,000m. One kph of wind is also worth
a project for you; write a letter to tell 300-600m most of the time; 600- about 18cm, and the best wind calls
us the story with a picture, oh and 1,000m some of the time; and are generally within 3-5kph. So, forget
leave your 10-50 power sniper scope 1,000-1,200m occasionally. This is Coriolis, and smile and nod
at home. the reasonable record of first or sympathetically at anyone who says
So, onto the main subject: what second round hits using our .338 “…of course I take account of Coriolis
ballistic solutions does WMS rely on LM rifles on 25cm and 50cm steel in all my stalking/sniping.”
the most? discs. We rate first-round hits What’s next? Well, at £200 on
Well, we have seen pretty much all 100-600m, and first or second round Amazon and looking quite cool into the
of the options: folks turning up with 600-1200m, on targets. On live bargain, we have a lot of time for the
laptops connected to satellites who quarry, remember, it is all about lethal 511 Tactical Field Ops watch with
put space probes onto the Rosetta first-round hits. Horus ballistics. Clients will generally »





» For instance, if it says ‘1.8’ for countries and mountain hunts; it fits
elevation and ‘0.9 right’ for wind, you into a shirt pocket, gives quality
need to set the turrets 18 clicks up seven-power viewing, and has proven
and nine clicks left for windage… very reliable. The Bushnell set works
bang… clang. It takes about 60 well as a reasonable binocular, has
seconds to set up the day data and 20 often outperformed far more expensive
seconds to set the momentary data laser rangefinders in the field (notably
for the shot. You need to measure the between 1,000m and 1,700m) and
wind with a separate anemometer, or offers ballistic solutions to 800 yards.
be a bloody good guesser. I have both There are more units from Leica,
options. Like the Kestrel, and Zeiss, Swarovski and other makers,
computers in general, remember: shit costing from £800 to £3,000 plus.
in = shit out. These offer partial or full-range finding
Next, and for similar money, we solutions for the elevation holdover or
have two options that I like and own: turret setting required, and can excel in
the Leica Rangemaster 1600-B this task. But I am increasingly amazed
monocular and the Bushnell Fusion at the manufacturer’s suggestion that
One Mile 10x42 binoculars. They both this is it – the long-range solution –
offer rangefinding to around one mile given that the instructions don’t even
in good conditions, and over a mention the elephant in the room:
kilometre in most conditions. They windage. Why not?
both offer a variety of ballistic curves The Kestrel and the 511 watch, in
to suit most popular calibres, within common with the ballistic data you can
reason (the Leica 12 and the download and print out, and the data
Bushnell eight). you get from iPhones and suchlike,
The Leica 1600 factors in deal with both range and windage,
temperature, barometric pressure together with the other atmospheric
see me wearing one of these on ABOVE: Compact and and incline; the Bushnells have incline factors affecting long-distance
long-range days as backup for when reliable, the Leica and three options for how they find shooting. They make you think about
Rangemaster is
the Kestrels go doolally. suited to hunting in a the range. The three options are the factors and educate you in the
You programme in the ammunition hot climate ‘Normal’ for general use; ‘Brush’ for process. This is why we like them.
details, the day temperature and woodland; and ‘Bullseye’ for small I always have a cheat sheet printout
altitude, choose MOA or mils, metres targets and varmints. laminated and stuck to the rifle, or
or yards, and you are ready to go. Hit For the money, both sets work. They kept in my pocket, when I set out with
the orange panic button and you set both offer pretty good solutions to serious intent, because I don’t trust
the range, wind direction, strength and perhaps 400m, or 430 yards, bearing technology and I sometimes need
any incline; about two seconds later it BELOW: The 511 in mind the set ballistic trajectories, something simple and fast.
Tactical watch and a
tells you how many mils or MOA the Kestrel meter are the and both have decent optics thrown I don’t generally use any ballistic
bullet would have missed by and you preferred apparatus into the bargain. I especially like the solutions when I’m hunting; I use
set the reverse into the rifle. at WMS Leica monocular for summer work, hot point-blank range. When culling,
pushed, or sorting a crisis, I have the
backup of the previously mentioned
ballistic solutions.
I am 56, I have been shooting long
range (like 1,000 yards plus) since I
was 14, and the main issue is
windage; the wind even moves bullets
up and down.
I am still learning and I will never
fully master the subject. Neither will
you. We can just keep learning and
trying. If anyone tells you they know it
all, we are back to the Coriolis issue;
smile and nod sympathetically.
Next month, it’s all about the wind,
and what wind does to your bullets.

To find out more about Andrew and

WMS Firearms Training:
01974 831869

Searching for the
pot of gold?


or most of us, shooting is only a most evocative images we see these
Here are some of this part of why we love our sport. days. What we want is for the image to
month’s entries for Being in the great outdoors – capture the very essence of why we are so
whether seeing dawn break in passionate about our sport.
our exclusive photo bluebell woods or lying on a crag in the We will publish our favourites here and
competition to win a Highlands watching stags fighting – is all
part of the appeal.
on the Leica website, and after 12 months
our panel of experts will choose one lucky
magnificent Leica Magnus Does the view from your favourite high winner to receive a Leica Magnus
seat fill you with joy? Or maybe it is the 1.8-12x50 worth £1,900.
1.8-12x50 riflescope. Send sight of your favourite rifle, standing Dubbed the Universal Rifle Scope, the
us your ‘perfect shot’ for proudly on its bipod as you wait for a fox? Magnus 1.8-12x50 will ensure you are
Whatever it is, we want you to share it with equipped for every situation – from fast
a chance to win... us. Just send us the picture that action on driven hunts to precise long-
encapsulates everything you love about range shot placement, while the 50mm
rifle shooting and the great outdoors. objective lens gives it fantastic
You don’t have to be a professional or performance at dawn and dusk.
have expensive gear – in fact, For more information, visit the Leica
smartphones are capturing some of the website:

My perfect shot


We know you’re Pushing his luck!

A good view

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The entrants give permission for their images to be used in print and online by both
Archant and Leica UK.
Please supply your images as a high res jpeg format at a file size of less than 15MB and
send to the email address below by 16 September 2016, with ‘Perfect Shot’ in the
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WIN RULES: Closing date is 16 September 2016. Normal Rifle Shooter rules apply. For full terms and conditions, send an sae marked t&c to the postal
address above. Archant Ltd, publisher of Rifle Shooter, would like to keep you up to date with any special offers or new products or services which
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ON TEST THIS MONTH: Sako A7 Roughtec Range .308 Winchester

In-depth, independent
reviews every month

Chris is filled with fond memories of his first centrefire when he takes this
Sako A7 to the range; will he still feel the same after testing it? Or will his
happy nostalgia be shattered?
» 59

little more force to do it. three rounds, you have all options ABOVE: Safety catch pretty good and made from fully
The A7 reminds me of the Sako 75 covered. It also has the secure bolt and manual bolt machined, rather than stamped,
release for unload on
in that it combines all the best face that encapsulates the full ‘safe’ components to provide intuitive control
characteristics of its design with a few cartridge head with sprung plunger that is clearly discernible. Single
new tweaks. The A7 feeds centrally ejector, rather than a fixed blade within stage and adjustable for pull weight, I
from a single-column magazine that is the action like the 75/85 and, all in, is found the nice slender blade with
of a very clever design; unlike the a very reliable system with 100% ABOVE LEFT: Plenty vertical grooves well positioned for my
usual requirement from a staggered functionality. I never liked the 85’s of space for gloves index finger pad to rest on and
ability to deliver perfect reliability on around the excellent squeeze until a crisp break was felt, at
twin column, the feed lips will actually trigger
spring apart, allowing you to top-load extraction, as I found cases with around 1,100g.
the gun through the ejection port. thinner rims could easily slip off the The bottom ‘metal’ is actually a
Single rounds feed perfectly well when bolt face, and only half draw back from polymer unit but, like the magazine,
dropped into the port opening too, so the chamber. No safety problem, but shows metal where needed in the
with the ability to also use a irritating in a fast-fire situation when release latch positioned at the front. I
detachable polymer magazine that you could not re-rack the bolt to load have no great problem with polymers
drops freely from the action to hold another! Sako triggers are usually used here, as long as the companies »

barrel has a neatly
machined thread
at the muzzle for a
brake or a mod

Stiffness in the
reliable shooting from SAKO A7 ROUGHTEC RANGE
any position
OVERALL LENGTH 1,168mm/46”
WEIGHT: 4.2kg/9.25lbs
BARREL LENGTH: 660mm/26”
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: Detachable, 3+1
TRIGGER: Single stage, adjustable from 500g to 2,000+
(factory set to break at 1600g/66oz)
STOCK: Composite, fully floating barrel, two sling studs
(swivels included)
SCREW CUT: 17 x 1mm
ACCESSORIES: 5mm length of pull spacers, sling swivels 61
ON TEST  Sako A7 Roughtec Range .308 Winchester

can offer replacements years into the
future, just in case one should break.
It does have the advantage of never
feeling too cold in the hands,
especially when loading a magazine
with no gloves in cold weather. All
other controls are steel, with a
thumb-operable safety to the right side
of the action. Sako also uses a
secondary button, which will allow the
safe opening of the otherwise locked
bolt when you want to unload safely.
The bolt shroud is polymer, but it
conceals a discreet cocked action
indicator below its rear. Bolt release
lever is to the left of the action’s
faceted left side. Unlike the Sako 85
or Tikka T3 action, Weaver bases were
fitted to the action bridges, and these
need no real introduction; they are, ABOVE: Sako Super textured feel throughout. Length of pull though, spacers are available to tweak
quite simply (along with Picatinny Hammerhead is no was also well proportioned at 252mm this dimension, and sling swivels are
target round, but was
rails), the best systems for scope superbly versatile (137/8"). I find this dimension critical to fitted that accept bipods, etc. with
mounting in the business, to my mind. and most dependable how a rifle feels to shoot, but it does great security. The gun felt secure,
Composite stocks are often named at any supersonic tie in somewhat with the exact reach stable and confidence-inspiring to
as such, but are regularly just injection from grip to trigger and the shape/ shoot at longer ranges, where ultimate
mouldings with minimal content of height of the cheekpiece, which here precision is required. Some may find
short fibres within the polymer was also ideal for me. When shooting the regular sloped underside of the
injection moulding mix. The stock here prone with a nice slender profile, it butt stock a little too normal, and not
is rather nice and more of a full BELOW: Sako triggers allowed my head/eyes to remain ‘tacticool’ enough, but I liked being
composite construction, showing have few rivals in horizontal, which is great for those able to use a clenched fist or rear bag
stiffness in the fore-end for reliable factory-class rifles; long shots where you can be watching to fine control elevation in the field,
gunsmiths are
shooting from any position, and a nice confident to lighten and waiting for the right opportunity as not just on a clinically set up firing
green camo colour with a grippy them further too! the wind shifts around. Better still, point at the range.



minimal fuss, but also displaces the this exact scope many years ago,
air a little more inefficiently (yes, and it was like returning to an old
in-efficiently); when target shooting at PROS friend. Likewise, Sako’s Optilock rings
Chris has been shooting in most longer ranges this allows the ‘trace’ are reliable performers, here bolted to
formats since the age of nine – from shown by the bullet to be seen a little the Weaver/Picatinny lower adaptors
airguns to large-calibre centrefire more easily, unlike some of the Quite simply, for an ultra-reliable unit, with rose-
rifles, with world championship-level smaller, faster and, yes, more a thoroughly jointed inserts to guarantee stress-free
archery along the way. He enjoys ballistically efficient competitors. This enjoyable gun scope alignment.
may seem odd, but learning to read to shoot For deer stalking, a 20-22" barrel in
every element of shooting sports,
and ‘steer’ in the wind is far more Well specified .308 is perfect with a mod on, as you
from target shooting to pest control
useful in the real world than the latest, throughout have no issue over bullet speeds or
and stalking, with long-range steel greatest ‘laser beam’ calibre to energy from the clean-burning, easily
plate shooting being a favourite. shoot with! Sako have chosen to
Great trigger
fed .308 round. However, for the
His friends always said he had an and stock
specify a 660mm (26") barrel too, and design stalker who wants to go to the range
opinion on everything and an eye on the gentlemanly .308 Winchester, and extend their shoots a little more
for technical detail, so when the this extra 50mm (2") can have a Very well priced often than they want to go hunting, I
chance came to put pen significant effect, getting it more easily really liked the A7 Range. I was
to paper five years through the transonic flight region to supplied a quantity of Sako
ago, Chris rose to make reliable 900m (1,000 yard) Hammerhead soft-point ammunition
the challenge and shots. For the UK market, that 1,000 CONS with the gun, and although the 0.410
yard number carries significant weight B.C. (and soft point) is not exactly a
now accepts the
in conversation and, although any target shooting contender, the
‘hateful’ job
.308 will get there, it might not quite fine-quality brass made for perfect
of having to 10-shot mag
do it reliably; the scorers in the availability? re-loads. All 660mm of barrel gave me
go shooting target butts will report some holes the promised muzzle velocities too,
every day. appearing in targets without a sonic Otherwise, and after the mandatory five-shot
‘crack’ overhead. sighting-in process at 100m (to check
speeds and zero the gun) I was
\\ LIKE MANY .308S, IT WAS already on the moors and so went
straight out to 400, 500 and then

A PLAIN GOOD SHOOTER 850m. I care little for alleged

accuracy testing in limited time frames

these days, and am far more
interested in how the gun shoots
straight from the box and, after that,
The stock contains an inner The barrel is hammer forged and how accessible performance is when
aluminium bedding block within the carries six flutes, as well as a neatly given the rough treatment of a dirty
action/barrel inlet, which mates with machined 17mm x 1mm thread at the barrel, mixed ammunition batches
the underside of the action profile. The muzzle for a brake or sound changed over regularly, and a wide
recoil lug is more like a recoil slot on moderator. I used neither when BELOW: All variety of bullet types. This especially
the underside of the action, which testing, but I did take advantage of the ancillaries from applies to .308s, with which I rarely go
mounts to action
bridges a cross member on this Leupold 6.5-20 x 50 VX-3 scopes, status indicator were
below 150gr for hunting, but do like
bedding block, which retains the gun supplied with great target turrets in modest but fully the 168/175gr envelope for pure
with two Torx action screws for a solid Minutes of Angle. I started out with dependable shooting fun, and the latter particularly
fix. You can feel the metal-to-metal fit
– when you tighten these in place
everything comes to a dead stop,
which is repeatable and gave me good
return to zero when slackened off and
re-tightened to 7Nm; a good sign of
minimal action/bedding stress.
‘Range’ and ‘Varmint’ are words
easily pushed around these days, but
the specification of some rifles really
seems inappropriate to satisfy such
marketing claims. .308 is a great
calibre to shoot with as it is both
long-lasting, economic, easily fed with
ammunition and, perhaps most
importantly, really allows you to learn
about controlling recoil and assessing
how wind disrupts your bullet’s flight. A
nice steady 870m/s (2,850fps) bullet
speed, with a decent frontal area, not
only dispatches game cleanly with 63
ON TEST  Sako A7 Roughtec Range .308 Winchester
GMK, 01489 579999
at long range. I have a few pet
hand-loads that I know to work well, PRICE
and I also know roughly what a full £1,435
load-development job will improve a
gun by. However, if the factory ammo
doesn’t float my boat to start with I
see an uphill struggle ahead and,
although it may be second nature for
me to quickly divert to hand-loads for
my own guns, I must consider whether
the intended buyers of these rifles
want to be forced into that.
Well, this was a boring gun – a
really dull one, in fact, because it
never missed a beat. Like many
.308s, it was a plain good shooter
accuracy-wise, and it was so easy to
access that accuracy! At no time did


any three or five-shot group at short ABOVE: Three-lug
push-feed bolt for
range from any realistic shooting 70-degree lift with a


position disappoint me. I am far fully enclosed face to
beyond blaming a rifle; I’m totally open give 100% extraction
and ejection
to my own acceptance of personal
technique and identifying when I get
the shot wrong… because I often do.
But then again, I do shoot often! fouling problems and also to clean finest machining in the business. You
Leupold M.O.A turrets are solid relatively easily, which is a good can take any Sako apart, look ‘behind
performers and, with the usual inputs indicator of surface quality of the inner the scenes’, and you will rarely find a
into my iPhone ballistics app and bore. Fit and finish on the entire rifle tooling mark, never mind any kind of
Kestrel Applied Ballistics anemometer, was second to none, combining the residual moulding characteristics on
I had no problem at all finding the looks of old-world gunsmithing with metal or plastics. Yes, this is the Sako
distant targets and retaining regular modern coatings and some of the I remember.
hits, well within my ability to ‘call’ the
wind. My first centrefire was a Sako 75 RIGHT: The grippy
recoil pad locked
and I shot it out twice (after a solidly into the
re-barrel), so to say I was familiar with shoulder
the gun is an understatement. I did
not really take to a brief encounter
with the 85, but this A7 really
entertained me; it bears more 75
lineage in my opinion than anything
else. It is no lightweight at 4.2kg so,
as expected, recoil is minimised and
well controlled. Still, the way the gun
felt to point and aim, especially from
supported positions, was a delight
and, like all the best rifles, it never felt
weighty or ungainly. It was well
balanced and, dare I say it, light
footed. I liked what Sako had done
with the magazine system and think
the steel feed lips will be a little more VERDICT
durable than the polymer ones on the
T3. Enquiries continue as to whether a
large capacity magazine is available
I shoot a lot,
because, off the shelf, this is a rifle and I really
that really does satisfy its performance enjoyed just
mandate, and shows that the ‘going shooting’
engineers and shooters at Sako (not with the Sako;
just the accountants and marketers) it just did
were listened to in its creation. everything it
promised from
Sako’s hammer-forged barrels enjoy
the first look to
a great reputation and, although I the last barrel
treated it fairly brutally in terms of cleaning.
cleaning, I found it to suffer little from


rB t
e e
ta i
sh w
visitor hunting and
then sightseeing; after
developing buck fever,
swiftly followed by bunny
fever, it sounds as though
maybe she preferred the
former activity


few years ago I had my RIGHT: The record for bucks we were seeing were just too
Swedish friend, Alexandra the largest mouflon small, but we pushed on and kept
shot in Sweden is
Hellström, come over to currently held going out to find one.
Scotland for the first time, in by Alexandra On the third day, after stalking for
the first week of June. I had been over four hours in the morning and having
to her place in the March of the same no luck, we decided to go back home.
year, and now it was her time to visit, On the way back Alexandra saw a buck
to hunt roe bucks. Alexandra is a very in the tall grass along a woodland
well-known hunter in Sweden. She edge. It was at least 400m away, so it
holds the record for the biggest made a good stalk and the wind was
mouflon shot in Sweden, and also perfect. We kept low and sneaked
some high-class fallow bucks. Not only behind a bank. Every now and again I
that, she hunts wild boar, roe bucks checked to see if he was still there,
and foxes in her home country. She and he stayed put. Everything was
likes to travel too, and has been to going to plan. I wasn’t sure how good
South Africa twice, Namibia once, has he was but I could see his antlers
shot red deer in Hungary, and this year were above the ears, so that was good
shot a Beceite ibex in Spain. enough. There was a stone wall where
I wanted Alexandra to experience I wanted to get Alexandra into position towards the trees. As soon as he
Scotland – not just the hunting, but to take the shot. We had to start turned broadside I would give
also the scenery and culture, as it is crawling to reach it. When we got to it Alexandra the okay, but he really didn’t
very different to Sweden. Also, of the buck was below us, about 80m want to turn, and carried on walking
course, I wanted her to shoot her first away. I tried to find a comfortable spot away. He stopped once more and I
Scottish roe buck. on the wall, and then got Alexandra knew we couldn’t let him go any
During the first few days I showed ready with her rifle. The buck was further because he was so close to
Alexandra around the area, mainly the BELOW: A happily browsing but he was still in the the trees. Then he turned to the right,
forests, trying to find a buck. It can be serendipitous tall grass, so it wasn’t easy to find a nearly broadside, so I gave the okay.
difficult at this time of year to find a moment leads to suitable shot. When we could see him Alexandra placed a perfect shot; he
Alexandra shooting
mature buck, so I didn’t want to be too her very first Scottish more clearly he wasn’t broadside, and only ran 10m before falling over. I
picky finding her first. A lot of the roe buck then he started to walk away, heading looked at Alexandra and said: “You 67


» have just shot your first Scottish roe few metres to spy, in case there was a
buck!” We walked over to him and buck hiding in the tall grass. Around
found he was a six pointer. Grattis! 300m away I saw movement on the
(Congratulations in Swedish). A young left-hand side of the track, in the Brent Norbury is 24 years old and
buck, but a nice animal, and a very grass. I could see it was a roe deer, has been hunting for most of his
happy Swedish huntress! but I wasn’t sure if it was a buck or life. He moved to the Galloway
We then had to go back and get our not; then it lifted up its head and I saw Hills in south-west Scotland when
cameras for the photo shoot. Both of antlers. I couldn’t tell how good he he was 17. Brent is a full-time deer
us are very passionate about the way was – we now had to stalk. We stayed stalker at Strahanna Stalking,
we take photos of the trophy, and it is low and stalked towards him. I had to
taking clients out for roe and
a great way to show the respect you keep stopping and checking where he
have for the animal. was as he kept disappearing, but each
red deer throughout
That evening I thought we would go time I spotted him again we would the year. He’s also
and hunt something else... Rabbits! continue forward. We got within 50m an avid fox shooter,
Another animal for Alexandra to tick off of him and I told Alexandra to get a wildlife/hunting
the list! We sat and waited by the ready. I wanted to have a better look pencil artist and
warrens with a .22 rimfire. When she had at the antlers before shooting him. I has a passion
shot her first rabbit she developed bunny could see he wasn’t a mature buck for hunting in
fever! Alexandra was hooked on shooting and I asked Alexandra: “Do you want Scandinavia.
rabbits! She got four that evening and to shoot him?” “Yes!” She replied
another three the next evening. There straight away. Her buck fever had
aren’t many rabbits in the area but it’s kicked in, so I conceded and waited for Scotland is a beautiful country and it
nice to shoot a few for the freezer. him to turn broadside, which didn’t was nice to show it off, especially
I wanted to get Alexandra another take long. Alexandra shot the buck. He when the weather was so perfect.
buck, and a bigger one. We had seen ran 20m and dropped, turning out to Alexandra was very lucky and nearly
a couple of nice mature bucks, but we be a nice young four-pointer with great made it through her whole trip without
hadn’t had the chance for a shot. I colour in the antler. We both had buck any rain at all, which is rare! However,
decided to go near to my home in the BELOW: When they fever with this one; it was quite an she didn’t escape the dreaded
morning. We stalked along the forest weren’t stalking, intense stalk! Scottish midges, but that’s just part of
Brent took Alexandra
track slowly. There was only a little on a tour of some of
Between all the hunting, we did the Scottish experience. It was great
breath of wind and it was nice and Scotland’s some sightseeing, and I showed fun having Alexandra over and I know
cool. We walked on and stopped every spectacular sights Alexandra some areas of interest. she enjoyed it too!



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Focusing on the latest scopes,

binos and night vision kit to
set your sights on

The new Z8i riflescope from Swarovski Optik is designed to be the
company’s best ever

warovski showcased the Z8i With a sophisticated optical system be combined with any reticle. The Z8i
at this year’s IWA show in that offers rapid target acquisition, the will be available from selected
Nuremberg. With a monster Z8i features Flexchange – the first specialist retailers in four different
8x zoom range that has been switchable reticle 4A-IF – which models from June 2016, along with the
integrated into a standard diameter enables the Z8i to be adapted to a personalised ballistic ring (PBR) for the
30mm (1.2") central tube, it can be wide variety of hunting scenarios. BTF offered as an accessory.
BELOW: The Z8i can
adapted to any firearm and all common The ballistic turret flex (BTF) can be Swarovski tells us that the “Z8i be adapted to a range
mounting solutions. used as a top and side turret and can riflescope completely redefines of hunting scenarios

performance with its 8x zoom and

outstanding optics. The 8x zoom
combines a large field of view with a
high level of detail accuracy.
Combined with masterfully crafted
optics, the new riflescope, offering
optimum detail recognition, is
impressive with its high magnification,
uncompromising image definition
across the whole field of view, and
exceptional viewing comfort facilitating
rapid target acquisition.”
Swarovski was also keen to ensure

that the Z8i was both compact and
elegant and retained a 30mm tube
and featured a new, slimline
illumination system. “Good design is
not an end in itself, but it does offer
genuine added value. The
ergonomically enhanced illumination
unit provides a better overview of what
is going on, while large buttons that
can be reached from the top offer
rapid, reliable use.” ABOVE: The Z8i hunting situation ahead and achieve Four Z8i models are offered for
Designed as a riflescope range to 2-16x50 P has a large greater flexibility when facing any different hunting priorities:
field of view for
suit every hunting scenario, the driven hunting hunting challenge. The Z8i 1-8x24 (available with the
combination of the easily attachable The BTF can be configured optional 4A-IF Flexchange reticle) is
ballistic turret flex, powerful 8x zoom, separately using three different types suited to driven hunting. Maximising
and the first switchable reticle makes of rings, and be attached with a single the field of view, it is ideal in rapidly
the Z8i extremely versatile. click. It can be used as a top or side changing situations when making the
The new Flexchange 4A-IF reticle turret, and can be combined with all right decision matters.
was specially developed for driven the available reticles. This makes it The Z8i 1.7-13.3x42 P (available
hunting and has an illuminated ring possible to always stay on target at with the optional 4A-IF Flexchange
that can be switched on and off with the desired distances. If it is used as reticle) is a versatile riflescope suited
the press of a button. You can then a top turret, it can compensate for to driven hunting and stalking.
adapt the reticles exactly to the bullet drop, and when used as a side Combining a remarkable field of view
LEFT: The Z8i has turret, for windage adjustment or for driven hunting with a lightweight
redesigned estimating the lead distance. A lock design makes it also ideal for
illumination controls mechanism also prevents it from being mountain hunting.
turned inadvertently. As a multipurpose riflescope for
The Z8i’s parallax turret allows you stalking, hide hunting and driven
to set a parallax-free image, which can hunting, the Z8i 2-16x50 P combines
be quickly adjusted even when in a a large field of view for driven hunting
shooting position. The catch at the and all the details required for
100m (100yd) mark allows you to set long-range shooting.
the parallax turret easily and reliably Thanks to excellent optics, the
even at twilight. high-luminosity Z8i 2.3-18x56 P
As an optional accessory for the riflescope produces razor-sharp
BTF, the personalised ballistic ring images even in poor light conditions
(PBR) offers maximum scope for and at twilight. The high magnification
individual adjustment to all the relevant and detail accuracy facilitate accurate
hunting distances. It is engraved shooting over long distances.
based on the personal data input into
the Swarovski Optik ballistic program, RRP: from £2,070
BELOW: Each model
is compact, slimline adapted to the ammunition selected.
and elegant

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Even coming from a vintage gun fanatic like Diggory, this month’s subject is awarded
some very high praise; could this be the best value collector’s rifle out there?

eeking the biggest bang for It is remarkable how many of these original performance with black powder
your buck, to coin an rifles still exist and appear to be in propels a 440gr bullet at 1,500fps,
American phrase, and very good condition, considering the with a muzzle energy of 2,198ft-lbs.
perusing the many types of relatively small numbers that were The .500 (3") BPE, loaded with Nitro
firearm available to the collector and made, and the work they were for Black Powder, fired a 440gr bullet
user of vintage British rifles, one intended to undertake. The key at 1,900fps, delivering 3,530ft-lbs of
cannot help but fall for the beguiling decades are the 1870s and early energy. The .500 (3") NE, loaded with
qualities of the 1870s double 1880s. Smokeless powders Cordite and firing a 570gr bullet,
hammer rifle. developed in the 1870s, such as achieved speeds of 2,150fps and
The beauty of the old heavy-bullet Schultze, were more easily applied to 5,850ft-lbs of energy. A .500 BPE is
medium game rifles, for that is what smooth-bore guns than to rifles, until likely to weigh in the region of 8½ to
they were (dangerous game in those refinements allowed for their wider 9lbs, whereas the nitro version will tip
days was tackled with ‘bore rifles’ at adoption into rifle ammunition. the scales at 10½ to 11½lbs.
close range) the sheer quality of Vielle’s 1884 Poudre Blanch was Clearly, the rifles are very different,
construction and attention to detail promising, followed in 1888 by despite the bores being equivalent
is breathtaking. Nobel’s Ballistite, and in 1891 by sizes. The .450 and .500 NE rifles,
For many Victorian hunters, utility Cordite. This heralded the advance of carried by elephant hunters in Africa in
required them to adopt military Nitro Express (NE) rifles. the early 20th century, are very
weapons, or commercially available One must not confuse these later different to the .450 and .500 BPE
repeating carbines. Martini-action rifles NE rifles with the BPE (Black Powder rifles, used for tiger in India in the late
were common, as were Winchester Express) guns of the 1870s and 19th century.
lever-action repeaters. 1880s. While both types appear in The double hammer rifles of the
However, for the discerning and various .400, .450 and .500 calibre 1870s and 1880s are the epitome of
wealthy gentleman heading out in guises, the BPE versions are medium BELOW: This 1871 handcrafted precision implements.
search of ‘soft-skinned’ dangerous game rifles, and the NE versions were Stephen Grant .500 They were made at a time when
game (lions, tigers and bears) or for designed for thick-skinned dangerous exhibits all the craftsmen in the gunmaking factories
qualities synonymous
tackling red deer or exotic ungulates of game, such as elephant and rhino. with the double and workshops of Birmingham and
a decent size, nothing would do but a Performance characteristics of .500 hammer rifles made London were at the zenith of their
double rifle. NE and .500 BPE will tell the tale: during this era skills and ingenuity. Handiwork

predominated; every surface was ABOVE: Intricate very secure fastening. very secure, but early, form of
made to its exact final shape and scrollwork covers In rifles, security and stability were individual safety catch for each lock.
the action
contour from a forging by a more important than speed in Most conventional safety catches
supremely talented and experienced balancing the attributes of the various merely lock the triggers, so the bolted
gunmaker. Different parts of the systems available, whereas with hammers are actually safer, though
process were specialised, and shotguns, speed of reloading was slower to operate.
undertaken by specialists. ABOVE RIGHT: increasingly important to sportsmen, Ammunition is relatively easy to find.
Despite its age, a
The skills required to make a double lot of the original
especially as driven game shooting Kynoch provide Nitro for Black
rifle hold ‘on point’ effortlessly despite case colour became more popular. ready-loaded in new brass cases.
its weight, to come to rest with a hardening remains As an example of the type, we can Reloading is still popular with owners
perfectly steady sight picture through examine a .500 Stephen Grant rifle, of BPE rifles, as they can experiment
the leaf and ramp sights, and to group built in 1871. It conforms to all the with loads and bullet weights. Many of
acceptably at set ranges are build attributes listed above, with these rifles come with loading data on
exceptional. Considering the technology Jones grip and under-lever, wedge- the cases or, sometimes, engraved on
(or lack of it) available to the gunmakers attached fore-end and leaf sights. the rifle itself. Cases often contain
of the day, what they produced in terms The stock has a curved pistol grip, bullet moulds and powder measures,
of functional perfection and artistic which felt immediately comfortable as well.
beauty is remarkable. and secure in my hands, the guard- As for the cost of collecting one of
For most rifles of this type, strap extending into the steel grip-cap, these beautiful rifles, the Stephen
knowledgeable gunmakers appear to providing a subtle but effective bolster Grant illustrated here was sold to the
have favoured the combination of to strengthen the wood. owner for $6,000 in the United States.
back-action locks, often with bolted The rib is full length, flat, and filed to Holt’s listed an 1872 Purdey .500 (3")
hammers, rounded bars, and the reduce glare, much in the manner of a in March this year at an estimated
1859 Henry Jones screw-grip (also live pigeon gun. It has a standing leaf £3,000 to £5,000, and an Alexander
called a double-grip) action. Barrels sight for 50 yards, and a further two Henry .500 (3") made in 1873 with
are usually of Damascus construction, folding options for 100 and 150 yards. the same estimate.
and the fore-end held by a wedge and The action has a short top-strap and If one considers £5,000 a typical
BELOW: The curved
escutcheon in earlier versions, and a pistol grip feels is filed flat to the rear of the rib. purchase price for a very good
lever-grip in later ones. Both provide a secure in the hands Engraving is generous coverage of fine example, these rifles are exceptional
scrolls. Despite its 190-year age, the value for money. They are probably the
rifle is in fabulous condition. It retains hardest thing possible to make. In
a lot of original case colour hardening, fact, nobody could make you one today
including on the lever which, restorers approaching the finesse and featuring
should note, was originally case- the apparent alchemy required to
hardened, not blacked. make these engineered masterpieces
The non-rebounding locks are look, feel and operate the way they do.
bolted, in this case with bolts placed If they could, they would want to
forward of the hammers, to hold them charge you close to £150,000. In my
at half-cock. This prevented opinion, this is the best value
inadvertent cocking of the rifle when purchase of anything, anywhere, for
carried loaded but not required for the money. If you have a spare five
imminent discharge. It functions as a grand, go and buy one now.



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Diggory Hadoke – writer, British firearms expert,

hunter, shooter and vintage gun addict – chats to

Helena Venables about his business, his philosophy,

and the rifles he wishes he hadn’t sold


RS: Why did you set up Vintage Guns

and how does it differ from other RS: What is the most interesting gun
gun shops? that has come through your door?
DH: I was buying and selling a few DH: My favourite was a 10-bore side
guns as a hobby but decided to set up lever John Dickson double hammer
more formally as I thought it would pay rifle, made in 1871, which I picked
for my gun collecting habit. The idea up in America. That is the gun I wish
was prompted largely by my I’d never sold; it was one of those
readership; I started writing for The guns that you pick up, open and
Double Gun Journal in America, close, bring to your shoulder and it
covering British auctions, which led to feels just perfect. It was the only one
me being approached by American I’ve ever seen or that anyone I know
readers asking me to source particular has ever seen.
guns. Then I was asked to write My stupidest gun story came about
reports on specific guns in auctions, when a chap got in touch with me
which invariably led to being asked if I about some guns he had for sale. I
could buy guns for clients, repair them gave him the asking price of £4,000
and ship them. Everything started to for an Alfred Lancaster double 500
link up. In 2003 I put a website black powder express hammer rifle,
together to act as a hub and separate and sold it a week later in America for
this work from my proper job in double that. The gun was stocked in
academia. Then in 2008 my inclination rhino horn for a maharajah. I knew
to stay in academic management, rhino horn was valuable but I didn’t
which I’d done for over 20 years, was want to split the horn from the gun
waning and I decided to run Vintage because of its historical provenance.
Guns full-time. The guy I sold it to promised me he
would keep it intact, but six months
RS: What do you offer clients? later he sold it to his brother-in-law,
DH: Vintage Guns provides who then put it into an auction. It
independent, expert evaluation of fetched $168,000. You could say my
English guns for sale in the UK, either integrity was rather expensive, but you
privately, in gun shops or at auction live and learn.
sales. We also provide repairs,
information, training, shooting LEFT: Writing for an RS: You attend lots of gun auctions;
opportunities, vintage shooting American journal led do you have a favourite auction
equipment, support and friendship Diggory to start up house?
his own shop
with like-minded sportsmen. People specialising in
DH: There is no doubt that Holt’s
knock on the door, email me, phone vintage guns Auctioneers is leading the field. They
me, locally and from all over the are bigger, they specialise in firearms,
country and around the world. So I may they have more variety, and they have
be asked for advice on a BSA boxlock a great viewing room where they don’t
in Australia, have to deal with a family chain the guns up or display them in
gun that needs restocking, or find a separate bits, so you can really look at
20-bore shotgun for a man of 6ft 4" them properly. Nick Holt is very
living in Switzerland. proactive too, which is key.
As for the ‘Vintage’, I tend to treat
shooting as a nostalgic hobby, and I RS: Tell me about the best sidelocks
don’t sell post WW2 guns unless they you build?
happen to be what I call ‘byproduct’ DH: If a client comes to me wanting a
in a batch of old guns. So I will sell particular gun, we can build it to their
those quickly, but I really focus on specifications and put their name on
older firearms. it. I know lots of people in the trade so
I can bring everyone together and
RS: Your website says you only create something special at a lower
sell guns you like – what is your cost than that charged by the big
reason for this and does it give your names. I can get stocking done by the
clients confidence in buying best stocker I know, and the barrel,
from you? the finishing and engraving done by
DH: I hope so. It was a pragmatic experts, along with fitting, casing,
decision; I’m not a salesman and I can tools and so on. The gun will be
only sell things I can enthuse about. completely unique and that means a
I’m a very poor liar and can’t sell great deal to the client.
something that is wrong for someone. My view is that the client becomes
I have a lot of repeat clients so I guess the gunmaker and can pick exactly
this works. what he or she wants. » 79

RS: You were appointed as an agent RS: What guns do you shoot? with, people of the same identity will
for John Rigby & Co last year – what DH: My favourite shotgun is a believe them; that’s happening with
does that mean in practice? side-by-side hammer gun by J Donald Trump in America. All you can
DH: I have a Rigby .375 H&H Big Thompson. Then I have an 1870 do with antis is put up a robust
Game rifle here in Shropshire for Jones underlever, another by W Thorn defence, but you have to do this in the
people to look at and shoot on my of the Strand, and a Cashmore knowledge that it is not about argument
local range. I explain the options and 20-bore bar-action hammer gun with or fact or evidence; they don’t care,
production processes, and if they 31½" Damascus barrels. I also have because their views are manifestations
decide to buy the order goes into three Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifles in of their own bigotry. In that case you
Rigby. Because Rigby really produces 6.5x54, two with open sights and one have to assert your right to carry on.
new incarnations of historical firearms, with a decent Swarovski scope on it.
RS: What do you enjoy outside of work?
“I’M GETTING INTO BUFFALO HUNTING; IF MONEY DH: A bit of fly fishing; I grew up fishing
in tiny little streams with split cane
WERE NO OBJECT I’D GO SOMEWHERE GRUBBY rods and dry flies, and I still enjoy
catching trout in overgrown streams. I
AND HUNT BUFFALO AT CLOSE RANGE” make knife handles from old gun
stocks, I am fixing up an old pile in
working with them very much fits in My ‘go-to’ sporting rifle is a custom- Ludlow, and I look after my hunting dog
with my philosophy. built Proctor in 7x57, which has Vesper and my girlfriend’s new puppy,
permanently sweated-on scope Quaver. I still write books; I’m just
RS: You started shooting at the age mounts and a Swarovski Nova 4x working on a book on hammer guns.
of eight; what was the most scope. This rifle is built on a 1924
important thing you learnt as a child? Argentine contract Mauser action and RS: What do you dislike about the
DH: I grew up on a huge sporting is perfect for the shooting I do, which gun trade?
estate in Shropshire and started is never further than 200 yards. DH: My personal dislike is people in the
shooting the old-school way, so safety business who only contribute through
was the most important thing. My RS: What is the greatest threat criticism or in a negative manner. I have
grandfather gave me the British Field to hunting? no time for people like that.
Sports Society’s shotgun code book DH: The real threats, looking at it in a
he had given my uncle, although I long-term historical context, are two RS: Finally, what’s your favourite cheese?
BELOW: Diggory
wanted an air rifle. I was told, “When fold. First is the increase in the enjoys big game DH: Stilton. And being an old-fashioned
you can quote that back to me word numbers of children being constantly hunting on the kind of chap, I like to accompany it
for word, we’ll think about it.” So I monitored and kept inside, and only African plains with a good flat Irish Porter!
went off and learnt it and then I got an going outside to do something
air rifle. Shooting was all around me specific, rather than that just messing
as I grew up: my dad was a country GP about outdoors and learning. You can’t
who collected guns; my school teacher learn about shooting or fishing or the
loved shooting and would bring guns countryside in half an hour on a
he had bought at auction into the Saturday. So we see the younger
classroom; I’d go shooting with the generation doing outside sports such
gamekeeper and I’d also shoot with as rock climbing, cycling, fell running
friends on farms. They’d let me have and so on, which is great but it’s not
old rusty guns and I used to strip bringing children into field sports.
these down and fix them; that curiosity Second, and in terms of evolution, I
about how something worked came think human society is moving towards
naturally to me. an intolerance of inflicting pain. This is
what Steven Pinker argues in his 2011
RS: What sort of shooting do you like book The Better Angels of Our Nature:
doing these days? the public’s general approach to the
DH: I’m getting into buffalo hunting and killing of animals will shift, and what is
went to Tanzania last year with a acceptable will change. It won’t be the
Westley Richards; if money were no zealots that change it, it will be a
object it would involve going somewhere change in the mood of the public.
grubby and hunting buffalo at close
range. But if I’m in a shooting situation RS: What would you like to say to
I make the best of what it is; I like the antis?
shooting rats in a barn, stalking rabbits DH: One of the problems of the
with a .22, and I like sneaking up on modern world is that everyone is a
African game with a big rifle. I love tabloid journalist. Today, people’s
shotgun shooting, especially grouse arguments and beliefs are driven by
and pheasants; although high, driven, their narrative and identity. So people
curling, dropping pheasants I find very will line themselves up with a
hard. And I love pigeon shooting with particular viewpoint and it doesn’t
Phil Beasley, who is brilliant. matter what idiocy a person comes out


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For many, stalking’s appeal lies in the chance to claim an impressive trophy,
but how does this impact on deer management? Mike Allison takes a look

here are few of us that will be important economic element providing element in effective, sustainable and
fortunate enough to be an a vital income, from ground which may profitable deer management.
employee on an estate solely otherwise yield little revenue. This article deals with the
responsible for managing the Although it may well be an integral differences in management approach,
deer, whether park or wild, on behalf element of the wider estate and discusses ways in which we can
of the landowner or employer. The management strategy, the aims of ensure that a commercial (trophy)
alternative option is to run a commercial stalking may well conflict A top-class trophy stalking enterprise can coexist,
red deer can cost
commercial enterprise as a tenant or with other aspects of management, many thousands without detriment to one objective or
lessee, where the deer management such as forestry and agricultural crop of pounds the other. »
decisions are down to you and your protection, especially if a properly
income is derived from selling stalking, structured plan is not in place at
as opposed to an employee receiving the outset.
a salary for running an enterprise. Many people, even some of those
It is believed by many that involved in deer stalking and
commercial stalking and deer management, may find the idea of
management are two different things. stalking and killing a deer for its
In fact, commercial stalking on many antlers to be abhorrent. However, it
estates is an integral part of the must be remembered that the sale of
overall management, and not least an trophies can form a significant

7523+,(6 benefited from the trophy quality this thought process has led to the
Trophy deer are usually seen as heads produced on neighbouring estates and destruction of many fine animals,
that are of better quality than just culls. farms, simply through the effects of invariably ones that would have been
They are usually animals that are a population dynamics – especially in much better left to breed or grow on a
good representation of the typical antler roe deer, where older, higher-quality few more years. This may well be the
form of the deer species concerned. bucks have been displaced by case with the males of almost all the
Obviously, when the animal exceeds younger, stronger animals. In other six species, particularly the territorial
the quality of a mere representative words, estates may lose out through and semi-solitary roe.
head and becomes a ‘trophy’, then the their own shortfalls in management, or The systematic harvest of trophy
value goes up proportionally. poor management. animals should be a sustainable,
So why does this make them more year-on-year process, but where other
‘valuable’? Well, it is (or should be) 7523+<67$/.,1* estate enterprises are paramount –
relative to the length of time the Each year, most estates will yield male such as the protection of agricultural
animal has spent on the ground, animals that are able to be sold to and forestry interests – then the
eating crops, damaging crops, being sporting clients, or trophy hunters. production of trophies combined with
observed, assessed and protected for Prices for trophy animals range from effective damage control can be
sometimes many years by a deer only £75 per head for a cull roe buck, problematic, as both management
manager, who is being paid by an up to many thousands of pounds for a strategies are somewhat incompatible.
estate owner or, alternatively, has to top-class trophy red deer. As part of the deer manager’s
make a living for himself. The very fact that exceptional male approach, this is one of the issues
The value of such animals should be deer are worth a lot of money can be that should form part of the initial plan,
relative to the quality of the trophy, to the detriment of the species, locally in line with the owner’s objectives.
and to the five, six or seven years of and regionally, from a quality viewpoint
management that has been invested – especially where short-term leases 7+(.(<)($785(6
in that animal. However, it is also are involved. In some cases, where
relative to the genetic superiority of there are no guarantees that 72352'8&(7523+<52(%8&.6
the animal – a result of good managers will have the stalking in the As discussed earlier in this series,
management based on the removal of next lease period, the temptation to management plans need to remain
poorer animals from the breeding ‘harvest’ good-quality animals before flexible to allow for direct, or indirect,
population, and on the prevention of leaving is very strong indeed. influences that may affect the
sub-standard animals from The general outlook is: why should management strategy employed. In
metapopulations establishing BELOW: Thriving in someone else benefit from the general, however, a trophy production
the UK, the muntjac
themselves in the resident population. is a very sought-after
‘manager’s’ hard work in the previous strategy can be loosely based on
In contrast, many estates have species management period? In recent years, the following:





➌ Yearling bucks – Cull all yearling damage as each competes for a

bucks that do not form six points, or at smaller ‘territory’ of their own. More
least a good four strong points, in their importantly, from an economic
first head. By ‘good’ we are mainly viewpoint, neighbouring estates will
referring to antler length above the reap the benefits of your hard work
ears, when the ears are in the normal over the past five years or so.
alert position. This is especially true in This can be avoided by paying
the south of England where, generally attention to what animals are in and
speaking, given the suitable habitats, around the mature buck’s territory,
if a buck cannot produce a respectable and if the presence of the underlings
first head then, genetically, it probably is not ultimately of benefit to the
doesn’t possess the capability to management aims, then they should
produce a top-class trophy. be removed as early in the season as
possible, otherwise they may cause
➍ Mature bucks – Generally mature quality bucks to move away.
bucks will be highly territorial, often By keeping the territorial bucks in
following the same movement place, and tolerating one or two
patterns each day until an event, or upcoming animals, we can
series of events, may cause them to effectively ensure tree protection to an

change the pattern. This in itself can extent. Large territorial bucks (and
work against the deer, as mature does) will effectively keep other
quality bucks become ‘easy targets’, animals away, so there is some
especially during the rut where deer benefit to keeping them in areas that
movements and locations can be may be vulnerable.
➊ Does – Culling mature, breeding- ABOVE: Due to its very predictable. However, when such bucks are
aged does, should be avoided, unless small size, the removed – and especially if there are
muntjac is able to
done for a welfare reason. Mature move around 7(55,725,$/$1,0$/6$1'75(( no upcoming bucks to take their place
does will be hefted to a particular inconspicuously, 3527(&7,21 – then damage levels, especially
area, and research carried out at making stalking As with people, older age tends to fraying damage, can increase up to
them a real challenge
Eskdalemuir in the Borders region bring with it routine, and this is true four-fold, as several younger animals
suggests that mature females will with older bucks. The routine may may compete for a portion of the
rarely move out of a small area change when younger bucks begin to same territory.
throughout their entire lives, and if encroach on the mature buck’s
they do then they will normally return territory. When the pressure of younger 7523+<5('67$*6
TOP: Trophies
within a short time. epitomise the typical bucks becomes too much, then For many, the red deer is the largest
antler form of the mature bucks may become stressed, and arguably one of the most iconic
➋ Yearling does – These will particular species and eventually move from the area species of deer, representing the
undoubtedly be forced to move from altogether. This may cause the pinnacle of physical sporting
the home range of the mature doe, emigration of quality animals onto challenges throughout most of Europe.
and if not culled they may be lost to neighbouring land, leaving several There are some animals of
the estate as they emigrate to ‘troublesome’ bucks in their place, outstanding quality throughout the UK,
other areas. which could cause increased tree and especially in Europe.


In the UK, it would be a challenge to

beat the quality of red deer found in
The attraction of a large set of antlers
has, however, led to the destruction of PRICES OF TROPHY
Norfolk and Suffolk, and in parts of the
West Country. This is due mainly to
quality among many wild herds in the
UK. The New Forest areas are a notable DEER
the quality of the lowland environment example. Red deer are still there in
they live in. In mainland Europe, abundance in some locations, but The prices of trophy deer are
Bulgaria, Hungary and parts of the antler quality has deteriorated mostly within the following price
Carpathian mountain range support throughout the past three decades. ranges:
some of the finest quality red deer in Through careful and disciplined
Roe bucks: £75 - £1,450
existence – often with the highest management, red deer can provide a
price tags! lucrative and sustainable source of Roe does: £40 - £50
Red deer stalking as we know it income, but the quest for sporting
today began in the Highlands of value must not overlook the potential Fallow bucks: £75 - £1,200
Scotland, in particular the Balmoral and of the species to cause widespread Fallow does: £40 - £50
Athol estates, where Queen Victoria damage, especially where red deer
and Prince Albert were the catalysts of exist in large numbers. Sika stags: £75 - £1,700
the sport; very soon after, it became
Sika hinds: £40 - £50
fashionable amongst the gentry. 7523+<)$//2:%8&.6
The fact that many stately homes With good management, fallow bucks Red stags: £75 - £3,000 plus
throughout most of the UK and are well capable of producing
Europe have at least one red deer outstanding trophies, but the demand Red hinds: £50 - £100
trophy on the wall is indicative of their for quality fallow trophies is somewhat Muntjac bucks: £75 - £950
past and present attraction as a limited in the UK, especially as many
sporting animal, especially amongst places in Europe and throughout the Muntjac does £40 - £50
the more affluent. world – from New Zealand to USA to
Chinese water deer bucks and
Due to the increase in the numbers the Emirates – hold fallow deer, and
and range of red deer nationally, the so the demand from overseas clients does: £100 - £1,100 plus
recognition of red stags as a lucrative is limited.
sporting business opportunity, and the It is questionable as to whether there chances of being able to either affect
relative increase in disposable is really a viable incentive to manage specific management, or gain the
incomes since the Victorian era, fallow for trophies. Given their transient BELOW: Hunting benefits of long-term management, are
quality sika stags is
quality red deer stalking is now nature, unless the deer manager has in high demand due somewhat unreliable.
accessible to most willing sportsmen control over their entire range, to the exciting nature Considering the extensive damage
and sportswomen. (potentially 10,000 acres plus) then the of the stalk that fallow are capable of inflicting on


farm and forest crops, balanced many ‘well-shot’ animals make their well as disruption of pheasant drives,
against the likely returns for trophy way into cover, and are never and can often cause the management
animals, there is probably little point in recovered. In many cases, the of muntjac for trophies to be
developing a management plan to absence of blood trails and strike sacrificed in favour of woodland
produce trophy fallow bucks. Although debris can lead shooters to assume protection. As so often happens, the
if a trophy animal does present itself a miss. presence of high-value deer can lead
while the client is shooting roe, sika or It must be remembered that of all some ‘managers’ to promote
reds, then the chances are that he/ the wild species in the UK, sika deer population increase.
she will take the opportunity. in good condition tend to carry One of the challenges of muntjac
the most subcutaneous fat. It is stalking is their small size, and
7523+<6,.$67$*6 very likely that fat deposits once ground cover exceeds 30cm in
In contrast to fallow, the demand for can block entry and exit height, a muntjac can move – and
Jelen Deer
quality sika stags is now holes, preventing not only Services: breed! – very easily without being
unprecedented, especially for medal blood flow out of the Tel: 01264 811155 observed at ground level. Being known
heads, and is increasing year on year. animal, but also Email: as a species that are often on the
Sika trophies are sought after by maintaining some move only serves to compound the
visiting sportsmen/women, more now respiratory function, as air Website: difficulty in stalking them effectively.
than ever before, and the demand is loss through the bullet One of the most effective means of
reflected in the prices charged and holes is generally restricted. shooting muntjac is from well-
regularly obtained. positioned high seats.
As a sporting animal, sika stags are 7523+<0817-$&%8&.6
probably one of the most challenging. The fact that, outside of their native 7523+<&+,1(6(:$7(5'((5
Their autumn colour alone allows them Asia, muntjac are only present in the While representing one of the most
to blend into most woodland UK makes them a very sought-after sought-after species in the UK, not
backgrounds; combine this with the species, and good-quality trophies are least due to the scarcity of the species
fact that they are often in the presence relatively easy to produce on good- nationally, Chinese water deer
of a group of several observant hinds, quality ground, coupled with good nevertheless provide one of the least
and it is no wonder that stalkers management. However, muntjac are an sporting challenges. In the fields of
often overlook these while transfixed invasive species, and there needs to be parts of Bedfordshire and
on their ‘stag of a lifetime’. Therein a careful balance between maintaining Cambridgeshire it is not uncommon to
lies the challenge and excitement of higher populations for trophy stalking, observe groups of five to 10 animals
BELOW: Fallow
sika stalking. and the management of biodiversity. trophies can be and – compared to other deer species
As a species, sika are renowned for Numbers can soon spiral out of outstanding, but the – they are relatively easy to approach
being a ‘tough’ animal. Every year, control causing damage to flora, as demand is limited and shoot.


For many, the attraction is the fact
that they are the least distributed
species throughout the UK and,
similarly to muntjac, they carry visible
tusks. These can be several
centimetres long in the males.
Because of their relative scarcity in
the UK, they command generally
higher prices than one would expect
from what is, essentially, one of the
least interesting sporting animals on
the deer stalker’s quarry list.
In many cases, the greatest
attraction among UK stalkers is in
‘collecting’ trophies, to make up the
last of the six UK species. The person
who can offer stalking of all six
species in the UK is not only in a
fortunate position as a deer stalker/

manager, but holds the availability of

one of the most sought-after (and
therefore the most saleable) options
available to both UK and overseas
sportsmen and sportswomen.

90 91

Rifle shooting can play a key part in controlling corvids – but keepers need to
have a diverse approach, writes Sarah Read

s we approach the nesting As we know already, there is a real keepers will also shoot these crows if
period, keepers up and down importance to keep on top of almost and when they can get close enough.
the country have stepped up the entire list of corvid species: Crows are intelligent, therefore they
their corvid control, whether carrion, rooks, jays, magpies and are tricky to get close enough to shoot,
this is through a skilled programme of jackdaws. Most of the crow species however with a good rifle, if you know
trapping or taking part in roost are expanding, not just in the UK but where to look, you will be able to shoot
shooting. A combined approach will across Europe, which leaves many them at a distance on a perch. The
work best if several of the crow vulnerable species at risk. The work uplands has the benefit of wide open
species are to be targeted. done in early spring makes a big areas, making it perhaps easier to
The months from March to June are difference further into the year, spot the crows moving, and with a lack
absolutely key, especially when it relieving pressure on those species of trees there are less places for them
comes to keeping on top of magpies that are threatened by crows. to roost, making them slightly easier to
and carrion crows, as these are the As custodians of the countryside, find and shoot with a rifle, providing
months when Larsen trapping really responsible for not only protecting there is a sufficient backstop.
can take effect as the birds are gamebirds but helping to conserve As with most methods of pest and
claiming and protecting territories. other species, keepers from all over predator control, a certain amount of
Trapping should only really be done the UK will routinely shoot and trap skill and experience is needed in order
over these months because it is carrions. Some gamekeepers will also to trap them, whether by using ladder/
easier to successfully catch the birds use a good rifle to shoot some crows. letterbox traps, Larsens or funnel
as they tend to be nesting in a smaller In the uplands, carrion and hooded traps. Each trap will require a different
area (territory) making it easier to crows will do a lot of damage to grouse approach and if you are using traps for
trap; later in the year, once their young populations. A grouse chick will make BELOW: Some the first time it might just take a little
have fledged, crows tend to have a a perfect snack-sized bite for a carrion keepers carry out bit of practice to master the art.
long-range pest
much larger range, making them crow, therefore a lot of work is done to control on grouse If you are planning on using a
harder to trap. control these through trapping. Many moors Larsen trap where you will be using a

decoy/call bird then, again, much skill
is required, such as getting the right

timing, placing the trap in the right
place, choosing the right decoy, etc.
One of the most difficult parts of
starting a Larsen programme is often The National
getting a hold of the first bird to attract Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO)
other birds. Usually a baited Larsen is the representative body for
will be used in order to capture the gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies
first call bird; a popular bait to use is in England and Wales.
an egg, however this only really works
during nest season when a crow’s diet To join, call 01833 660869 or go to
will typically consist of eggs.
A call bird in a Larsen is put into a ABOVE: An effective and, due to crows and magpies being
Larsen programme where you can find out more
territory of uncaught territory holders naturally aggressive, the pair will see
relies partly on
the call bird as an intruder and will information.
choosing the right
THE DOS AND DON’TS decoy attempt to drive it away.
In England and Wales, the legal every 24 hours as it is technically still
OF TRAPPING framework we are governed by is the in use. Before closing the door of the
■,IXVLQJDGHFR\VXFKDVDPDJSLH Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. trap and setting out bait, it is
RUDFDUULRQFURZ\RXPXVWPDNHVXUH This is a huge piece of law with many important that the trap is in a good
LWKDV parts to it. Section 16 sets out the state of repair – make sure you check
‡$VXLWDEOHSHUFK General Licences and allows for holes and gaps.
‡&OHDQGULQNLQJZDWHUIUHHIURP gamekeepers the right to trap and Last year I found out the hard way
FKHPLFDOV take certain species of birds by that my checks weren’t satisfactory. I
certain methods. For example only had been out in the morning and as I
UHJXODUO\UHPRYHDQ\XQHDWHQ crows, magpies, jackdaws, jays, rooks, passed my ladder trap I was delighted
SDUWVWRDYRLGWKHFDUFDVVURWWLQJ and ring-necked or monk parakeets to see that it was full of jackdaws, so I
‡&RYHUIURPWKHHOHPHQWV can be used as decoys in Larsen went back to the farm, picked up what
traps; other species, such as pigeons, I needed and headed back to the trap
cannot be used. to deal with the pests. As I
VWRULHVRIGHFR\VODVWLQJPDQ\\HDUV Before starting a trapping approached the trap I stopped in my
&HUWDLQGHFR\VDUHRIWHQPRUH programme there are things that tracks as I watched the last two crows
HIIHFWLYHWKDQRWKHUVKRZHYHULILWLV should be done in order to carry out squeeze out of a gap that must have
ORRNHGDIWHUULJKWDQGLVILWDQGKHDOWK\ the job quickly and effectively. One of been no bigger than the size of a
WKHQLWZLOOEHPRUHOLNHO\WRDWWUDFWWKH the most important things is to make snooker ball. I was gutted.
XQFDXJKWELUGV And to add absolute insult to injury,
sure the tools used are fit for the
■'RQ·WZLQJFOLS²WKLVLVQRWJRRG intended purpose. Ladder traps will the next day, sitting at my kitchen
SUDFWLFHDQGLVXQQHFHVVDU\ usually stay in the one place as they table, I heard a commotion coming
tend to be a large structure. The door from the barn, and by the time I
BELOW: The nesting of the cage should be left fixed open managed to retrieve my gun from the
DQGQRWLQVLJKWRIRWKHUELUGV during the months when not in use – cabinet, the jackdaws had robbed just
of the year for
controlling carrion if this is not done then by law you about every swallow nest in the barn. I
■:KHQWUDQVSRUWLQJWKHGHFR\\RX crows should be checking that trap within definitely learnt the hard way!









Set of back legs to convert standard double to freestanding £120

Large platform highseat for two with 360 degree shooting angle £500


★ Folding highseats ★ Take apart highseats ★ Roofed highseats
★ Adjustable shooting rails ★ Wheeled highseats ★ Extra long or extra short highseats

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• All sprayed with a mordant wash to de-nature - giving a grey appearance which can
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• The ladder of each seat is made in two halves for ease of transport
• Each seat can be made into a ‘low seat’ with the edition of a foot-bracket providing a
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In-depth, independent
reviews every month

GDK 2.5M
Chris is living the high life! This month he’s perched up a tall, narrow tree in
a portable high seat, testing its durability; let’s find out how he got on...

n the USA you will see endless The overall weight is 12kg and, with ABOVE: There is five minutes to actually erect it from
designs for high seats on shop two stout backpack straps looped from plenty of space to start to finish. However, like anything
shelves, and many that are also the upper frame onto the lower legs, it move and the that is going to position you high up
surrounding gun rest
portable. Designed to actually will easily carry as you walk through gives great versatility and alone in a remote location, I would
assist climbing of the tree itself and the woods. It is a little wide for most in shot positioning always prefer daylight. I would also
capable of locking into position for long people’s shoulders, to be truly always check it before entering if you
reconnaissance or ambush hunting ‘backpack comfortable’, but a good left it overnight; there are those out
opportunities, many fail for UK hunters thick layer of clothing will help to pad it there who, upon finding such a seat,
because they are designed for bow out. On the other hand, when planning might just sabotage it, intending a fall
hunting; these shots are taken standing hunting in such a sedentary manner, from full height!
or seated, so the seats require minimal you are likely to be wrapped up very The telescopic design of the GDK
mechanical interruptions in front of the warm anyway, as sitting still in a requires you to unfold the seat
bow, and certainly no form of support tree is a cold way to spend a CONTACT... assembly and gun-rest bar, which
suitable to assist a rifle shot. The GDK morning! Speaking of mornings, GDK Outdoors, 01582 need a couple of bolts to be removed
telescopic tree stand takes all these I wouldn’t want to be putting up 879588 and replaced in position, to lock the
matters into account and, being the seat in the dark and would www.gdkoutdoors. seat perpendicular to the legs. The
fully-portable in a backpack-style, is always choose the night before rest frame can be adjusted with sliding
easy to take wherever you need to go. but, in terms of time, it only takes clamps, allowing a little height/angle » 97


LEFT: Disassembly
takes no more than
five minutes

RIGHT: Twelve kilos

is pretty light to
carry, although it is
quite wide across the
shoulders and tends
to slip to one side

movement to suit your upper body
size, and the shot angle for uphill or
Three to five-
downhill (although this can be set minute set up
when you are in it).
The only part that is actually Comfortable
and solid to
separate from the telescopic/folding
shoot from
package is a support bar. This braces
the underside of the seat to the Feels safe and
second rung from the ladder top, so secure to sit in
just remember to keep it with the, and climb up!
otherwise complete, unit.
When the seat is locked out solidly
you can release the legs, which will ladder seems to want to lock
automatically fall to length as they CONS extended, rather than compressed.
telescope out, each segment locking Subsequently, it’s more of a
into position with catches on the step concentrated job to put it down than to
below it. You don’t need to use them A little wide
set it up, and when in place it feels
all but, with 2.5m full height available, across the very assured to climb. The seat is
the most important thing to remember shoulders for a textured for grip and has drain holes to
as you lean it against your desired tree long carry allow water to clear. It wasn’t cold to
is that both feet are on a solid surface; sit on, but you may want an extra
I’d prefer green,
leaf litter on the ground will soon sag, but do deer cushion for very long waits. The back
allowing the ladder to dig into the care? rest is fabric and holds back to the
ground under your weight. tree with a secondary strap which, if
When leant against a suitable tree, disengaged, allows the whole back
the base of the polymer seat sits and gun rest to fold down over the
above a concave claw that bites into ladder, making it a little less
the tree trunk. The stand will easily VERDICT prominent if left in situ. Climbing up
handle a tree well over 18" in diameter,
but you need to be a little careful, as
reaching around that 18" tree to wrap A high seat
the ratchet strap assembly could be a like this can
little dicey. The hooks on the ends of open up plenty
of shooting
the strap remain securely in dedicated
holes either side of the seat and, when
and improve
tightened, really do lock the seat solidly safety on some
into position. However, until this is types of ground. with the gun is fine, and the gun rest gun and rest my hand/arm anyway).
done, remember you are at the top of Although leaves a fairly large space to fit The seat is actually quite spacious and
quite a tall narrow ‘ladder’, with all the lightweight through – you wouldn’t want it too big, I had no real problem swivelling to
usual caveats to be aware of with and portable, as you want to use it as a rest without either side to make lateral shots, while
regard to the angle you lean it at. I felt very reaching too far, and I felt a good still retaining full use of the gun rest –
secure when
I was initially a little concerned compromise was made. Light foam this remained easy to adjust for
seated and it is
about the security of the telescoping fantastic value padding covers it to minimise noise, elevation when preparing your likely
legs, but my doubts were quickly for money. heat transfer, and to aid positional grip arcs of fire.
washed away by the fact that the of your gun (I always prefer to hold the RRP: £149.99

Visit our website at:
T: 01582 879 588 E:
Norrington End Farm, Redding Lane, Redbourn, Hertfordshire, AL3 7PU

PRICE £139.9
UNTIL 11/05/16

£139.99 Inc VAT & Delivery 6 GUN CABINET £449.99 Inc Vat & Delivery WOOD EFFECT WITH
After the initial set up out of the box, this high £194.99 Inc Vat & Delivery Internal key locking ammunition INNER AMMO SAFE
tree seat takes around 3 minutes to put up/take safe memory foam gun rack
5 x vault locking pins operated £199.99 Inc Vat & Delivery
down. The ladder reaches a tall 2.5m, the perfect via the chrome handle. 1 x 7 Lever divider. Spacious cabinet, if you
height for rifle hunting. With a weight of just lock. are storing shotguns, you could Suitable for shotguns / rifles
12kgs, this unit is completely portable. fit 18-20 if you rearrange the gun • Internal key locking inner
Suitable for 3-6 scoped rifles. ammo safe • Red carpet lining
Internal key locking ammunition rack.
• Anti finger trapping design; throughout Police Approved Built
As you lower each section of the telescopic safe. Dimensions:
to BS7558/92
ladder, the above step will lower half the Dimensions: Length 1500mm
Height 1450mm Width 630mm Dimensions:
way, until you lower the below section, the
top step will then lower completely. Width 350mm Depth 420mm Length 1500mm
Depth 300mm Width 350mm
• This High tree telescopic ladder will fold into Depth 300mm
a backpack design, with thick shoulder straps
for comfort. GREEN MP3 &
• Comfortable camouflage seat, with a foam ELECTRONIC EAR
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• Ultra lightweight complete unit weighs just
£34.99 Inc Vat &
Model- EE-MP3-1.
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£39.99 Inc Vat &
by 5 times size adjustable, Delivery
1 size fits all. 4 x AAA 4 Mics to amplify sounds by
batteries required. 6 times. Size adjustable for
(MP3 cable not included) kids and adults.

NECK IN! Mark gets a bit more technical as we move away from basic reloading and into
the fine-tuning techniques of neck sizing and tension

oving on from last month’s add up, and are more noticeable at This can be an advantage in certain
topic of load development, extended ranges. conditions – for example, you won’t
we’ll now start to look at This month, we’ll look at the neck of overwork the brass by continually
what I would class as the your case and the effects of neck full-length sizing it. The main problem
more advanced reloading tips and sizing and neck tension. As I have with overworking the brass is that,
techniques. Deciding whether you mentioned before, we can either after being continually full-length sized,
need or want to do any of them is full-length size or neck size the case it can become hard and brittle and
down to you. I’ll take one topic at a after firing, bringing it back down in start to split in the neck area. One
time and explore it more deeply. size to accept the bullet when seating downside to neck sizing is that, after
Now that our load is producing for a new projectile. With neck sizing three or four firings, the shoulders of
small, decent groups, which are safe only, the standard neck-sizing die will the case can start to creep forward,
to shoot, we’ll start to explore the only size down the neck to the causing the case to become really
possibilities of further manipulation. shoulder-neck junction, setting a BELOW: Sometimes it tight on the bolt when chambering a
The effects of the modifications we standard dimension. The rest of the can be harder to round. To my mind, this is not
chamber a follow-up
make in the next few articles might be case will be unsized and remain the round with desirable. Because of this issue, as a
subtle, but the little gains do start to same dimensions as your chamber. neck-sized cases stalker, I don’t neck size; I full-length

Mark’s website for
supplies, reloading
data, videos and more:


LEFT: In the quest for 30-degree case when fired. As a target thousands of an inch maximum! If part
ultra-precision in shooter, I can live with a neck-sized of the neck is slightly thicker in one
hand-loaded cases, a
neck-wall thickness
case, since it’s a more methodical place, and another part of the neck is
gauge will help to approach to shooting, and usually no slightly thinner, the grip at the thicker bit
identify neck quick second shots are needed. will have more neck tension at that
thickness variations Moving on to neck tension, here is a point. How is this caused? Well, when
brief definition of the term: neck you resize the case by using an
tension is the amount of force or ‘grip’ expander ball in the sizing die (to set the
exerted on the seated bullet, created neck wall back to the correct calibre
by the case neck wall. If you can size), and then you seat a bullet in that
imagine that, as you pull the trigger of case, the thicker part of the neck can


size everything. For example, if I take a
shot at an animal and it is badly TENSION WILL RELEASE THE
misplaced, I will need a rapid second
shot for a speedy dispatch. I know my BULLET WITH UNEVEN GRIP //
full-length sized case will always
chamber smoothly, unlike a neck-sized your gun and start the firing sequence, have effectively been undersized, as the
case that may or may not chamber a chain reaction starts which ends with brass was thicker in the die and the
smoothly, so I am more confident and the bullet exiting the case. When the expander ball had less effect on it.
calm when racking the bolt and not bullet leaves the case, under the Another way of thinking of it is to imagine
flustered when the bolt doesn’t pressure caused by the gases from putting an elastic band around the
chamber cleanly. The remedy for this the burning powder, the case neck middle of an inflated balloon, and then
is to knock the shoulders back by two BELOW: Neck-turning expands and opens up, allowing the putting a penny between the two; a
the case neck, using
to three thou of an inch by running the a tool like this one, bullet to fly free. dimple will appear in the balloon where
case through a full-length sizing die. will even out the Now, this is where the neck tension the penny is located, due to the extra
So, you will still need to use a tension can take effect on this process – a tension the coin is creating under the
full-length die at some point. Some neck with uneven tension will release pressure of the elastic band. This is an
calibres, such as those of the the bullet with uneven grip, causing the exaggerated example, but it does show
Ackley Improved variety, need bullet to exit the case without flying as how the tension can ‘nip’ the side. The
less full-length resizing; with straight and concentric as it could case wall ‘nips’ onto the bullet jacket
a 40-degree shoulder as have (it’s minimal, as I said in the with more grip one side than the other.
part of their design, they beginning, but does have an effect). What’s the remedy for uneven neck
tend not to lengthen as How does this happen? Well, the tension? I get asked this question a
much as a normal case neck-wall brass can vary in lot by fellow shooters, and there are a
thickness around its circumference; few things you can do to your brass to
when I say vary, I am only talking both cut down on the uneven tension,
one to two and to control the neck tension that
you grip your seated bullets with in the
case neck. In a

elastic band’s tension on the

\\ SOME CALIBRES, balloon becomes a lot more even
around the circumference.
SUCH AS THE ACKLEY By using the same neck-turning
tool, we can set the exact cutting
IMPROVED VARIETY, thickness we want the wall of the
case neck to finish up. We might

NEED LESS FULL- need to fully turn the necks if we had

a ‘tight’ neck throat on our rifle – we

LENGTH RESIZING // would have to turn the brass so it

physically fits in the chamber, for
instance. The main benefit of being
nutshell, the best way to even out the able to do this really becomes
neck tension and control the neck apparent when we start using
tension is by neck-turning the case bushing-style dies; with these we can
neck. By this, I mean we can take a set the amount of tension we want to
neck-turning tool and trim/shave the grip our bullet by using a
brass on the outside of the neck down RIGHT: Using a bushing of a certain size for
to the shoulder junction, in a neck-sizing die that calibre. The neck turner
means that the rest
controlled manner. To even out the of the case will is set to the thickness we
neck tension, we would take our remain the same want and 100% of the neck is
neck-turning tool and turn the neck, so dimensions as the cut to that exact
that we end up getting 80% coverage measurement. There is a bit
of the cutter. By doing this we are of maths involved when
effectively cutting the thicker parts of working with bushing dies,
the neck and slimming them down, so but I’ll cover all that in the second part
that they are a closer tolerance to the of this subject.
BELOW: Ackley
thinner parts of the neck. This will help Improved rounds have I think that is a good point at
even out the neck tension. Think back a sharper shoulder which to stop until next month, when
to the balloon analogy: it’s much like than the standard we will cover the dark art of neck
round (right) and
taking out the penny from under the don’t tend to lengthen turning as discussed above, in depth
elastic band – once we do this, the as much when fired and with detail.





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please email: editorial@ or
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Our guide to the clubs, guides, specialists and

outfitters you need to facilitate the sport that you love

(1*/$1' Tel: 0798 320 4868 Paul Childerley Sporting shooting, also deer stalking.
Mob: 0790 830 3622 CWD Stalking, sika, muntjac,
Mark Boulton Horndean
<25.6+,5( 1( rallow, red, roe
Deer stalking in south;
Tel: 01908 282794
Yorkshire Deer Management Tom Reveley Boar shooting in Europe and
Mob: 07715 638934
Guided deer stalking Fallow in Co. Durham Sussex.
DSC1 courses DSC2 AW Tel: 0191 4282894 Tel: 02392 595925
Overseas hunting Mob: 07880 787586 Cervus–UK Mob: 07854 985006
Tel: 07896 200739 Deer management and sporting agency.
Stalking & pheasant Canvey
0,'/$1'6 Quality guided stalking.
Yorkshire Deer Stalking Wildfowling & CA
Tel: 01283 711878,
Professional guided stalking with DKS Deer Stalking Tel: Mr Webster on
Mob: 07968 829540
John Robson Tel: 01536 761978 or 01268 752665
Tel: 01377 255868 Mob: 07850 380923 Specialist Rifle Services
Custom long range F–Class,
Deercare, Deer and
UK Gunworks varmint and stalking rifles
1257+:(67 Woodland Management
Custom rifle builders Steve Bowers
Strategic woodland and deer
Brock & Norris Tel: 01604 585055
management for landowners
Custom rifles Mobile: 07789 690386
Quality guided stalking for Kent Deer Services
Tel: 0845 521 2995; Email:
muntjac and fallow in Contact Andrew
mob: 07971 169829
Hertfordshire and Essex Tel: 07754 272214
Mob: 07973 440479 or 01892 680327
D V Sporting Email:
Roe stalking in Northumberland Anglia Sporting
The British Deer Society (BDS)
& Berwickshire Guided deer stalking; pigeon
English Premier Hunts DSC1 training courses
David Virtue shooting; rough and driven
DMQ assessments, guided Hampshire,
Tel: 07866 901019 shooting; wild duck flights.
hunting, DSC1 training, advanced Tel: 01425 655434 Tel: 01728 605892
specialist training. Bespoke
Geoff Kerr stalking packages for the
DSC2 Accredited Witness BASC Norfolk discerning hunter 6287+:(67
Stannington, Northumberland, Tel: Andrea Green, Tel: 01264 811155
Mob: 07707 118612 Arundell Arms Devon
NE61 6AN 01244 573047, Tel: 01566 784666
Tel: 01670 789416
Riflecraft Limited
K & A Services Cervus–UK
Greenlee Deer Management Tel: 01379 853745
CWD stalking, muntjac, DSC2 Deer management and sporting
Training Courses, DSC2
Accredited Witness, fallow, roe agency. Quality guided stalking.
Accredited Witness, roe stalking
Tel: 01283 711878
Hexham, Northumberland /21'21 6( Keith Watson
Tel: 01922 722988 Mob: 07968 829540
Tel: 01434 344067
AJN Stalking Mob: 07958 942960 Email:
Mob: 07889 843522
CWD stalking, sika, muntjac, roe
in Bedfordshire, Dorset,
William & Philip Beasley Cotswold Shooting Company
Liddlesdale Deer Management Cambridgeshire, Norfolk
Tel: 01869 277534 for Philip, Tel: 01285 657527
Training Courses, DSC2 Alexander Nielsen
Tel: 07831 572247 for William,
Accredited Witness & roe stalking Tel: 07718 747217
in Northumberland Tel: 07831 195736. Pigeon Devon Custom Rifles


Tel: 01548 856742 Muntjac in Monmouthshire Sika, red & roe stalking in Des Cochrane Rob Rennie Aberdeenshire, Banffshire Roe stalking; Fife and Perthshire
Tel: 07831 805100 Tel: 01340 820397 BASC registered goose guide
Ian Coley Sporting Mob: 0777 0903043
Shooting school and worldwide Tel: 07725054046
sporting agency. WMS Firearms Training
Tel: 01242 870391 Rifle training, shooting training, Capreolus Game Dunmhor Sporting and firearms instruction Scottish Borders Tel: 01864 Highlands. Contact Graham,
Ceredigion 502317 or 07725 943190 Tel: 07778 874026
Target Sports Centre Ltd
Tel: 01974 831869 or 01540 661809
The Tunnel, Dorset
100m indoor range, 40m indoor Case Sport DV Sporting
range and 25m .22 LR-.50cal Red and roe stalking; driven Scottish Borders. 07866
6&27/$1' shooting Contact: Andrew Case 901019
Tel: 01297 560049 Alladale Estates Dumfries & Galloway
Andy Harding
The Warrener Edinglassie
Tel: 01863 755338 Tel: (01644) 430469 or
Box 36, Tavistock, Devon. Roe stalking in Aberdeenshire. Mob: 07747 691447
Tel: 01822 832990 Malcolm Hay
Alvie and Dalraddy Estates CKD Galbraith Tel: 01466 700274
West Country Deer Services
Stalking in Invernesshire Sporting trips and
Complete stalking & bespoke
Tel: 01540 651255 accommodation
packages Eilean Iarmain Estate Tel: 01738 451600
Tel: Andy 07795 966 659 or Isle of Skye. Contact Michael
Sarah 07939 085 927 Avochie Estate Huntly Mackenzie, Tel: 01471 833266 Aberdeenshire. Countrysports Stalking
Tel: 01466 711282 Contact Michael Roberts,
Wiltshire Deer Stalking FPD Savills Tel 01786 447400
Quality roe, muntjac, fallow & Contact: Roddy Willis,
sika stalking; trophy bucks Avon & Airlie Sporting Paddy Tel: 01356 628600
Tel: 07977 203428 Fetherston-Godley Cowans Law Tel: 01575 560292 www. Ayrshire Contact Jay Steel,
Glenavon Estate Tel: 01560 700666
Inversnesshire, red deer stalking
Ballogie Estate Enterprises Tel: 01463 761204
Anglesey Shooting & Fishing Red & Roe in Aberdeenshire Cowans Sporting
Tel: 01407 740652 Tel: 013398 86497 Dumfries & Galloway
Greylag Country Sports Contact Craig Denman,
Aberdeenshire. Contact John Tel: 07775 760651
BASC Isle of Arran Lewis, Tel: 01799 476421 or
or 01387 760284
BASC Contact Andrea Green 07793 025859
Marford Mill, Rossett, Wrexham, Tel: 01244 573047
Heron Fieldsports
Tel: 01244 573 000 Creeside Stalking Scotland
Woodland stalking
Stalking for BASC members Quality roe, fallow & red stalking,
Welsh Deer Management Contact Colin Chisholm,
SW Scotland
Roe stalking in Cardiganshire, Border Fieldsports Tel: 01369 705888
Tel: 01671 403794; mob:
Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire Estate stalking, high pheasants,
07774 860484 Invercauld Estate
Tel: 01239 621184 walked-up days. Contact Steve Reds in Aberdeenshire
Mob: 07818 276234 Nuttall, 07860 461017
Angus McNicol Dalnaglar Castle Estate
Tel: 013397 41224
Perthshire Tel: 01250 882232
Woodland Deer Services C & S Farrell » 109

Kingairloch Highland Estate Artemis Hunting Hawkeye Sporting Agency
Tel: 01967 411 242 Driven boar, bear, mouflon, deer UK & worldwide game,
Solway Sporting Breaks & bird shooting in Croatia. wildfowling, rough & vermin
Tel: 01461 700333
Contact Tomo Svetic Mike Manley,
Laggan Estate
Tel: 07795 084055 Tel: 01962 733378
Islay. Tel: 01496 810235
South Ayrshire Stalking
Roe and red stalking –
Bear Creek Shooting Preserve Highmoor
Liddlesdale Wildlife Management accompanied DSC1 and DSC2
Deer, turkey, hog, quail, vermin Walked-up grouse in Sweden &
Accompanied roe stalking, DSC1 training and witnessing, plus
and rough shooting. Georgia, moose hunting
& 2 training and DSC2 witnessing many other packages
USA. Contact Lord Roy Thornton Contact Simon Dickens,
Deer syndicate places available Contact: Chris Dalton
email: lordroy Tel: (+46) 707792744
Tel: 07908 303622 Tel: 07710 871190 Email: Just Stalking Chasse de la Bancalie Quality outfitter specialising in
Mar Lodge Estate
Driven wild boar in S France. deer stalking, with a ‘Just
Red deer stalking, Braemar, Sporting Adventures
Contact: Jean-Luc, Fieldsports’ shop based in
Tel: 01339 720163 in the Highlands
Tel: +33 563 55 65 00 or Bedfordshire Tel: 07843 493230
Gary 07860 904211
Mortlach Sporting Tel: 01525 851700
Chasse de la Loire
Aberdeenshire. Sporting Highlander Field Sports Email: sales@juststalking
Wild boar in Loire Valley
Tel: 01466 720225 Services International
Massif du Graffard, France. Lasarotta Deer stalking, including Red,
Contact Michelle Hackworthy, Driven wild boar in Serbia and
Fallow and Roe. Game shooting
North Uist Estate Tel: 0033 2 41 82 32 45 Croatia. Mouflon and chamois
and wildfowling in and around
Tel: 01876 500329 stalking.
Geese, stags & snipe Tel: 01782 954710 or
Contact: Paul Skinner Delta Hunting
07832 100524
Paul Wain Deer Stalking sportinghighlander@btinternet. Stalking, woodcock, wildfowling,
Red, roe & sika stalking in com boar & pigeons in Romania.
Dumfries and Galloway Contact: Miola Giacomo, Peter Swales International
Strahanna Stalking
Tel: 01556 650358; mob: Tel: 0040 212 424372, Mob: Experienced African Safari
Dumfries & Galloway
07766579894 07979 360619, provider.
Tel: 01644 460660 Tel: 07771 695494
The Gearach Isle of Islay
Peter Swales International Domain de la Vallee de l’Ortolo
Contact Mark Piper, Tel: 01496
Red, roe and sika stalking in Open country boar battue, Corsica Roxtons
850120 or 07786 906472
Scotland. Tel: 0033 495 7169 24. UK stalking & shooting;
Tel: 07771 695494 driven boar overseas
DV Sporting David Virtue Tel: 01488 683222
Driven wild boar and stalking in
Berwickshire, Tel: 01578
RJH Sports Isle of Lewis Poland. African plains game and
740672 or 07866 901019
Contact Russell Hird, Tel: 01851 bird shooting. Rigby Safaris London
820610 Tel: 020 7622 1131
Winston Churchill Stalking Wild boar/big game worldwide
Roxtons GBW Safaris
Tel: 01369 705319
Quality UK stalking & shooting Driven wild boar in Europe & Sporting UK
trips; driven boar overseas African big game. Sport in the UK & overseas
Tel: 01488 683222 Contact Tony Williams Tel: 01536 202779
8. :25/':,'( Tel: 01483 205090 or 07900
A1 Decoy 670660
Safari in Scotland UK Custom Shop Ltd
Driven wild boar in Serbia,
Contact Andrew Richardson GI Country Sports UK Home of the Wildcat Moderators
Bulgaria and Croatia, Monteria in
Tel: 07866 395975 Driven wild boar & pheasant in CZ. Contact Alison
Spain boar/deer, Namibian Tel: 01507 327522 or Tel: 01905 797060
safaris 07980 071192 Email:
Mark Curtis 07860 657990
Tel: 01339 889290 Great North Company Nduna Hunting Safaris
African Sky Hunters Impala, warthog, blue wildebeest Plains game hunting in the
Falconry safaris in Zimbabwe.
Contact Mike Rainback, Eastern cape of South Africa.
Also big game hunts & bird
ShootfishinScotland Tel: 01305 853737 Contact David, 07866-571180
shooting. Contact A Williams,
Contact Paul, Tel: 07974 240738
Tel: 01443 206333

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Never one to shy away from a good argument, our feline friend is preaching
peace this month – through the medium of scoff
ood is a powerful medium. We literally As a conversation starter it works a treat: “This

F can’t live without it, can we? But it is so

much more than just a means of survival.
We woo with it, we entertain with it… let’s
be honest, we show off with it.
Food culture in the UK has been transformed in
meat is delicious – what is it?” “That’s venison.”
“Oh, wow, where did you buy it?” “I didn’t, I shot
it.” The wheres, whens and hows usually follow
swiftly. Free-range, healthy, low in food miles,
sustainable… it’s an easy sell from an ethics point
recent years and, where once we were the culinary
laughing stock of Europe, our chefs now reign
of view and easier still given how delicious most
game meat is.
supreme on a global stage. You can’t pass an
evening in front of the TV without Nigel or Nigella,
And if you think about it, it is almost impossible
to escape the powerful good work of hunters and
Jamie or Gino, The Hairy Bikers or the Hairy Bloke pest controllers, wherever or whatever you eat. WHATEVER YOU EAT”
from River Cottage invading your living room with That loaf of bread – pigeon shooters were hard at
their latest ideas for sabotaging your waistline. it keeping the woodies away from the wheat while And while farmers can and do make use of
Food is also, without doubt, the most powerful it grew. That organic salad – who do you think bangers and scarers, they only ever move the
pro-hunting tool that I have yet discovered. I have kept the bunnies at bay as those verdant leaves problem onto somebody else’s farm. They don’t
mentioned in a previous column how wild game is pushed through the soil? I’ve shot deer that were actually solve the problem. And nor do they fill
a source of positive media exposure in the hammering the fruit in orchards and champagne anybody’s tummy.
mainstream press. But it is just as valuable a vineyards, wild boar that were mullering maize, People get the link between food and shooting
commodity closer to home. and pigeons that were pummelling peas. – and not just the obvious one about putting meat
on the table. Most people understand that in
commercial farming, pest control is a necessity.
That so many of the pests are accounted for by
volunteers and enthusiasts, who gratefully take
home those pests and turn them into food, often
comes as a revelation.
Non-shooters have very little understanding
of why I might wish to spend several hours in the
freezing cold up a high seat, or understand the
magic of a summer sun-up when the roe bucks
are feeling fruity. They don’t understand the
allure of a belly crawl through sodden peatbog
or of a night’s solitude out on a windswept,
moonlit foreshore.
But I have yet to meet one that wasn’t at least
partially swayed by a fragrant bowl of rabbit
linguine, a meltingly-tender wild boar stew or a
perfectly-pink venison burger fresh from the grill.
Over the years I’ve had many arguments about
our sport. Sometimes, just occasionally, you see a
light bulb flicker on, a glimmer of understanding.

But too depressingly often, logic is met with

ignorance, reason with outrage. Yet if you ever
despair for the future of our sport, don’t: the future
The views of the author are his/her
is bright, sizzling and preferably medium rare.
own and do not necessarily represent

the views of the magazine. ◆ £4,000 DREAM HUNT



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