Pest Control With The Air Arms Galahad
On one of my recent trips to Wales, I was asked if I would like to go and tackle a few rats that a farmer was having problems with. Rat shooting is probably up there with my favourite quarry squirrels so it was a no-brainer when I answered the farmer. It was also a good time to give the New Galahad that I had received from Air Arms a test on live quarry. I had shot the Galahad a few times now and it had taken some getting used to as opposed to any other rifle that Air Arms had given me to play with.
Bullpups were never my thing in the past, the cold metal on my face was never attractive in the winter and the tactical look was never something I liked.
When I first picked it up I though “oh my, this is heavy for a short rifle”. I then put it to my shoulder and was totally amazed how nice it was to hold. The center of balance is just behind the pistol grip so it throws any weight into your shoulder making it feel so light at the front. The forend also gives the feel like your shooting a rifle and not a short stubby gun. I was soon looking forward to getting one. Well a few weeks ago I finally got the call that it was ready, I could not wait to collect it.
When I arrived at the farm it had just got dark, the farmers son gave me a tour of the farm and showed me where the rats where mainly causing them grief. I had two areas of interest, one was near some sheds by the house and the main area was where some old sheep feed bags had been stored on some pallets. I had decided to concentrate on the feedbags first, I settled down behind an old upturned bath. This gave me a stable platform to shoot from at around 25 yards away, I could easy swing around and cover every part of the area without having to move about and scare any rats that showed.
My first half an hour produced a couple of small rats that had just poked their noses out from under the pallets too far, the Hawke Airmax was so clear in these conditions that I had no trouble placing the pellet exactly where I wanted it. I knew from the damage to all the bags that there must be a lot more than a couple of young rats about so I sat where I was and waited. Another 10 minutes had passed when I turned on the torch again. This time I could see a really big rat at the back of the bags. I closed in immediately with the scope but was met with quite a few obstructions in my way. The rat seemed totally unfazed by the torch so there was no rush to take the shot, eventually, it moved a little closer and it gave me the clear shot that I was after. My pellet struck it clean between the eyes and it disappeared from sight.
I felt a little more comfortable now knowing the light was not worrying the older rats, instead of waiting between shines I went down to a couple of minutes. It is important on heavily shot rats that you use a torch as little as possible but on new shoots use it as often as you can. It is surprising how many rats go UN-noticed when the lamp is off as the rat will usually steal a bit of food and run off with it so you will probably miss 8 out of 10 chances of seeing one.
Well this new tactic worked a treat, I was getting one rat every few minutes in the lamp and then it was a waiting game for the clear shot to come, there is no point rushing a shot and wounding the rat, yes it will die later but I would rather it be a clean kill no matter what I am shooting.
I had been there for a good hour when the farmers son, explained that I could get a few quick shots if they were under the pallets but was struggling further back. He told me that there was a lot of rocks piled up behind and they were covered over by brambles, that did at least explain all the waiting for the clean shot. In hindsight, I should have got there before dark and surveyed the ground better but it was not a planned shoot so we have to make do with what we can.
The Galahad was really impressing me, it was so quick easy to get onto the rats once spotted, even cocking it while I was looking through the scope was so easy, it soon becomes second nature. One thing I will be changing with my set up would be my mounts. I have been using medium mounts since I set it up and when just using it on targets it seemed fine, now in a live situation where you are not just going through the same motion of looking through it I did notice now and then I was not lined up correctly, I was having to fit myself to the scope. A higher mount should give me a more natural fit. That is the good thing about testing, you soon find the niggles and correct them to make the rifle work how it should.
I decided to have a walk around as the pallets area was slowing down; I managed a few more near the sheds and one more when I went back to the pallets to retrieve the dead ones.
I counted at least 30 kills for the night but was only able to retrieve a third of that number due to the brambles and rocks that they had fell between. I had also made plans to have the area cleared better for my next trip, the pallets will be raised more so I can see further underneath too.
My first thoughts on the Galahad are promising. For those guys that go out with the Nitesight set-ups, you will love this rifle as it will be so nice to hold while looking at the screen.
Next time I go out hopefully the squirrels will be showing more in the woods, this will certainly test the Galahad and give me more of an idea of how I will feel about going down the Bullpup/Sportpup route.
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