Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Malc n Lisa discover the BSA Spitfire by John Bowkett

Lisa and I were looking for something to do and we really wanted to get out with the Spitfire that has been knocking around in my gun cupboard for ages. We had just cleaned out the larder and were blessed with quite a selection of out of date tins. We agreed that it would make a rather good shooting gallery for the Spitfire. I wanted to get the gun set up for some ratting action so this would be a good chance to find the best ammo for it and get a solid zero. We set off with our out of date tinned food plinking gallery and made our way to the farm.

Once at the farm we set out our collection of canned cordon blur targets and zeroed the Spitfire on the box beneath. I am never surprised when I shoot one of John's designs as I am fully aware of his genius but the Spitfire did catch me ever so slightly of guard. I remember thinking "a break barrel PCP.... what on earth?" So the inline valve break barrel PCP that is the BSA Spitfire is a design of John Bowkett's from the beginning of the 21st century. It's self regulating inline airflow design makes it very efficient and gives very good shot to shot consistency. I remember wondering why on earth would BSA drop such a design from their line up? maybe it was another poor decision made by the accountants that seem to run the firm these days.....

For those of you that are not familiar with this incredible design, it fills from a port underneath the main action just in front of the trigger guard. You can fill from a dive bottle or a stirrup pump but one of the things that I love about the Spitfire is it's ability to fill from a buddy bottle in the field. Just top up the bottle and gun before you go out and you'll have around 100-120 shots from a single buddy bottle.
Filling up in the field is easy, just screw in the buddy bottle until the gun is charged and you're ready for another 20-30 shots depending on version. We tested Air Arms Diablo and H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme's. As you can see from the image below the Cuda's were devastating, going straight through a 4 year old can of Campbell's condensed chicken soup. This shows just how well that pellet retains it's energy, pushing through the thick soup and penetrating the tin both sides really is quite impressive. The rifle runs consistently with the Cuda's at 11.5fpe so it's not like the gun was running hot.

I can't wait to get out ratting with his gun now, it's super accurate and with the Cuda's the rat's won't stand a chance. I have an MTC Mamba and NiteSite NS200 up ready for our next outing. As you can see from the look on CPTV's Lisa's face this gun is great fun to shoot. Why on earth would they stop making it?

Here is a fantastic read regarding the Spitfire from the man himself John Bowkett.

The unique internal straight line valving in the Spitfire dates back to one of my 1980s designs. On Facebook there is a photo of a prototype complete with a slightly different anti-bounce mechanism that I made around 1990 while I was associated with Titan Developments. The production Spitfire was equipped with my S10 anti-bounce device but slightly modified. I will see if I can find the photo.
                    The Spitfire went into production in 2000. The idea was to use S10 buddy bottles to top up the rifle. It would be a companion to the flagship but at the other end of the price scale using many components from the production springers but with S10 type barrel/rifling. The Spitfire working pressure is only 1900psi (approx. 130 bars). The buddy bottle is screwed directly into the socket in front of the trigger. No connectors or charging gear is required. The combined shot indicator/pressure relief valve cuts in when that pressure is reached. You cannot overfill the gun. The reservoir volume is small (approx. 50cc) so 2 or 3 full fills can be had from a buddy bottle.
                       However, the secret of the Spitfires practicality is to be found in its shot indicator. The short 10” barrel carbine will give 25-30 shots per full fill and the 15” barrel rifle another ten or so. The procedure is as follows. Set a target at the maximum range you would use the rifle at - say 45 yards (40M). Give the rifle a full fill until the bleed valve cuts in at 2300psi. It will  then slowly fizz down to 1900psi (130 bars) which is the maximum working pressure for the valving. At this point the post of the shot indicator will be at its uppermost limit. The post is in the middle of the pressure relief valve. Start shooting until your point of impact starts to drop on target. Note the position of the post a this stage. It has horizontal lines to help. As long as the post is above this level your shots will be constant. Topping up can be whenever you want. The 200cc bottle is small enough to be portable and there is no charging gear. After a couple of fills the bleed valve will not hiss because its pressure has dropped. This does not matter as long as the post is above the lower limit you previously noted you will get consistent shots but fewer of them per part fill.  As an experiment I carried on topping up as many times as I could before there was no longer enough pressure to raise the indicator above its lower level. From the 15” barrel Spitfire I got almost 200 shots.
                       Due to over enthusiastic use of a flapwheel the main sealing surface inside the air reservoir of the first batch of rifles was damaged. This caused a slow leak. Did they scrap the faulty components? No.  The answer that BSA management had to the problem was to go ahead and  launch the Spitfire with these faulty cylinders  and state that the rifle was designed to hold a “transient charge”. It would hold air for 2-3 days.  This was stated in the instruction leaflets that came with the Spitfire.  Who wants to buy a pcp that leaks from new. Certainly gunshops would not touch them with a bargepole.  NOTHING CHANGES DOES IT!!!!!!  This effectively killed sales. Marketing reported in addition that in a gunshop it looked too much like a springer to attract attention.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Al's first fox using the Nitesite Spotter and ICOtec GC300 caller from Best Fox Call

I have had the NiteSite spotting unit for a while now and it has accounted for numerous rats and rabbit but I had yet to use it for spotting Fox. CPTV's Lisa and I met with my shooting buddy Alan recently at one of our permissions that has a fox problem. We set up in our usual spot in the corner of the field which offers the safest shot and largest area of observation. When plotting up in a vehicle or on foot always make sure you are not silhouetting your self against lights or a skyline. With that in mind we backed our vehicle up towards a wooded area in the corner of the field.
The NiteSite spotter was giving a clear view all the way to the edge of the square wood which is about 500yards.

The image above shows the direction of the shot, the distance to the fox and the shooting position. 

Another important thing to take notice of here is the direction of the wind. Most of the time at this permission the wind will blow straight in our faces in the corner where we set up. If it is blowing from a different direction we move to another safe position to make sure we are not winded by the fox.

So the plan was to sit tight for a while and then start calling, alternating the methods using the ICOtec GC300 from Best Fox Call and the NiteSite spotter.

It was now early December and had started to get pretty cold out. Food this time of the year starts to get harder to find and the fox’s usual diet of slugs, beetles and worms can at times become almost impossible to get at. The hard ground, snow and laying water make life very awkward and as a result fox’s become very active looking for food.
This is when calling can really produce fantastic results. That is not to say that in the summer months you can't get results calling but when they are hungry even the wiliest of foxes can drop their guard.

Alan was using his .243 with Hornady V-Max hollow points and Red Field optics. I was operating the caller and NiteSite spotting unit leaving Alan free to concentrate on the the most important bit. Now Alan has been shooting for years and has tones of target experience but he was still to shoot his first fox. We had run in to them a couple of times while rabbiting with the .17 HMR but range wind conditions and my lack of confidence in the HMR as a fox control round had stayed Alan’s trigger finger. 

We were now wondering, would tonight be his lucky night? 
Well the with the kit we’re using the odds were stacked well in our favour.

We were in place by about 8pm and in preparation for the cold night Alan broke out the flask of hot tea which is great idea at this time of the year. I woke up the ICOtec caller and started to scan the field with the spotter. Now I don’t claim to be a fox shooting expert but I know from experience that just when you least expect to see them they will just appear from nowhere. I could tell Alan was getting slightly itchy feet but I assured him that sitting tight in this spot should pay off. I have taken many fox from this position in fact last year we took 12 in two nights. I know their routes well and on a rabbit outing recently we spotted two fox in front of our shooting position about 10.30pm. I remember saying to Alan that we might see them around the same time as the fox is a creature of habit.
As 10pm approached the temperature seemed to plummet suddenly making the extra layers of thermal clothing very welcome. A warm hat and some good gloves are essential on this sort of outing. I use a nice lightweight glove made by professional sport glove specialists MacWet.

I highly recommend them for any type of shooting, ex female world HFT shooter Steph Kirkwood put me on to these a few years ago and I have warn them ever since. 

So….. Lisa, Al and I were just about to have another cup of nice hot tea when from out of nowhere two fox appeared a little short of their usual route.
I very quietly alerted Alan and gave him a direction and waited for him to get ready for the shot. Once he had indicated that he was ready to let the lead fly I hit the first fox with the peripheral light from our trusty LightForce lamp. When using a lamp on live quarry it’s definitely a case of "less is more". I lit up charlie with just enough of the beam for Alan to see his shot placement. A loud crack followed instantly by a solid thump indicated that it was a good hit. Understandably excited Alan was about to start celebrating his clinical execution unaware of the second fox now belting across the field. I hushed Alan and asked him to reload as quickly as possible but as I lit up the field again all we could see was the hind quarters of number two disappearing though the thicket. 

Now it was time to make safe the rifle and go and meet Alan’s first kill. The shot was perfectly placed and the unlucky animal lay exactly where it had been hit. It was a magnificent specimen, I don’t think I have ever seen such a clean, well fed and bushy fox as this. I guess that is how you look when you have a diet of chicken and goose. I like the way Alan expressed himself about his kill. When staring down at it he said “it is a shame to have to kill such a beautiful animal” and I agree. 

I do not think any of us should be enjoying “the kill” but the enjoyment that can be had in the execution of our duties is a reward that has kept me coming back since I was a young lad. Alan did a good job and I think next time out he’ll be ready for that double. 

The time was 10.25pm, I remember feeling an uncomfortably close to smug grin making it's way on to my face ;)

You don’t need a thousand pounds worth of equipment to outsmart a fox but having the NiteSite Spotter and ICOtec caller made this evening a piece of cake. Well done Al this will be the first of many!

Want to find out more about these incredible shooting accessories? Click the links below

NiteSite Spotter = CLICK ME

ICOtec GC300 Pro game caller = CLICK ME

MacWet professional sports gloves = CLICK ME

Friday, 6 December 2013

Win the GhostMaker's Custom Air Rifle on Christmas Day

Hi Country Pursuits TV followers,

Well yet again Christmas is almost upon us and things at CPTV towers have been really hard.
To help pay the bills I was going to sell my beloved John Bowkett Custom Hornet complete with GINB Custom Stock and a scope, it was suggested by some of the CPTV followers that I should raffle it, so here it is.

One lucky person now has the chance to win a truly unique rifle on Christmas Day!

Click the link above for the website where you will find all the details to enter this fantastic competition.

Kind Regards

Malc n Lisa
Country Pursuits TV

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Hunting feral Pigeon with airguns (Air Arms TX200hc)

In this video I am invited out to do some feral pigeon control at a local multi story car park with my beloved Air Arms TX200hc. On arrival it is clear that there are quite a number of feral's at this location. About an hour in and the population wise up and disappear but not before the TX200hc and BSA Scorpion account for 27 birds. Hunting feral pigeon (or rock doves to give them their correct name) with airguns can be really good sport. However it does require some restraint when shooting them in such a busy urban environment. Take care to make sure there is always something behind the bird to stop the pellet, concrete blocks and brickwork are fine as the pellet will just drop after hitting these straight on. Avoid shooting at armco (metal barriers) or anything else that the pellet can ricochet off of. If you are shooting with a partner have him/her watch for pedestrians while you concentrate on your shot. If you get an opportunity to take two birds down (and you will) synchronise your shooting by agreeing a method designed to time you both right. I usually count " three two one go" and shoot on go. This will not always work but does 99% of the time and will help you shoot larger numbers.
If you can approach birds at night with the use of a night vision unit (NiteSite NS50/200 perfect for this) you can get good numbers that way too. If you done have NV you can use a lamp/gun light, try to use as little light as is necessary as this will help to avoid spooking the birds.
Take anti bacterial hand cleanser, disposable gloves or a littler picker for picking the birds up. You don't want to be handling the birds by hand as they can be riddled with germs like salmonella. Feral pigeon cause 100,000 of thousand of pounds of damage every year. They also spread disease and can infect humans with potentially life threatening conditions. If you do a good job and don't damage any of the property while you are there you will get invited back again. Getting on this kind of permission can take time and patients but once you have your foot in the door you will find that your services are required in some really cool places.

Good luck, safe and happy airgun shooting.
Malc Country Pursuits TV

Friday, 12 April 2013

Rat Hunting with Airguns

So you have a rat problem what do you do? Poison? Trap? Or shoot them?

Poison will work but I have never been comfortable with the use of poison in or around animal feed.
Also dead rats found in the fields surrounding the area can be fatal to unsuspecting birds of prey looking for a quick and easy meal. 
Trapping is an option that can work but it is not as a effective as a lead pellet injection and if you look at the permission in the videos below you will see that you would need a bloody huge bag of traps too.

The Air Rifle is the perfect tool for quick and effective control of this less than savoury visitor. 


Rattus Norvegicus (the Brown Rat) is a tenacious tenant and once established is almost impossible to completely eradicate. In addition to his incredible ability to survive he is a prolific breeder. The female of the species comes in to heat every 4-5 days and will have up to 7 litters per year. Each litter will have an average of 7 in it but this number can be as high as 14. These young will reach sexual maturity in just 5 weeks! 

So just imagine.... a female has 4 female young and just five weeks later they are able to breed, with a gestation period of just 21 days you could have 20 or more female young. If you do the figures on this it is easy to see just how a colony can grow to thousands in a very short time if unchecked. 


Similar to other rodents, brown rats may carry a number of pathogens, which can result in disease, including Weil's disease, rat bite fever, cryptosoridiosis, viral hemorrhagic fever, Q fever, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Many of these can be very unpleasant and in lots of cases every year fatal. 

Creating a safe working environment

It is important to control the numbers of rats and if you have a population in your work place or home you are at risk of disease. Prevention is the best form of attack but in some cases that is no longer an option.
In this series of videos I share with you tips I use to shoot these vermin with Air Rifles.
I will run you through the gear I use and the bait I make to help dictate where I shoot the rat.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Cant Error

I recently got this question from one of the Country Pursuits TV subscribers

 Malc got a doubt I mounted a scope with spirit level and a string with a weight for the vertical line evrything was aligned properly but whn I kept the gun on the shoulder it's tilted to the right n rechecked again on a rest with spirit level n string but it spot on the line. Y is it different whn I hold the gun. Will that make changes in accuracy ? Thx

 Here is the answer I gave....

 Hi Matthew this is a common fault. Perceived correct gun alignment and actual correct gun alignment are hard to spot unless you know how. Often a correctly aligned scope will feel wrong when shouldered. It is very important that you learn to shoot with it upright though or you will get "cant error"

 This link has some great info and good diagrams to show you what that is and how it affects poi (point of impact) http://www.riflescopelevel.com/cant_tests.html

I used to use a scope level to watch out for "cant" when shooting. I was surprised just how often I would be canting the rifle. When it felt wrong it was mainly right and visa versa. I hope this helps. 


Friday, 25 January 2013

SHOTGUN SLOW MOTION Clips from Ronnie Sunshines caravan carnage

In this clip I am sharing some of the content shot at the recent fundraiser and fun shoot sponsored by Ronnie Sunshines. Please click on the thumbnails to navigate to the videos. When you have finished watching the clip click the return to hub link and the end of the video and you will return here to select your next video. I hope you all enjoy watching as much as we did shooting them. 

The video Caravan Carnage can be found below


We decided to do some fun videos for Dave's (Ronnie Sunshines owner) channel a while back. This is just the first in a series of cool videos involving grown men with shotguns having fun. The videos are shot with trained professionals using all the relevant safety equipment and procedures. The camera used to film these cool clips was the awesome Sony FS700 which we rented from Hire-A-Camera http://www.hireacamera.com 

We have some real cool ideas for videos in the New Year so don't forget to subscribe to Country Pursuits TV and Ronnie Sunshines YouTube pages for more cool slow motion carnage. 

Join Country Pursuits TV Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/CountryPursuitsTV/?fref=ts

Fiat Panda 4x4 test drive

As CPTV subscribers will know I am currently looking for a 4x4 vehicle. I have looked at the Dacia Duster and will be looking at the Suzuki Jimny and some other budget and compact 4x4's. Next on the list and a welcome return is the Fiat Panda 4x4. I was quite surprised just how good this little car really is. Comfortable and fun to drive the Panda could well be the car I was looking for. I am not going to make up my mind until I have seen all the possibles. But for now the Panda is firmly through to the next round.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Hot to fit a scope cam to your airgun

This video shows the slickest way I have ever seen to connect a camera to a scope.

I have been using scope cams for a good few years now and I have tried just about every way there is to attach them to my airguns. However when shooting recently with my friend Paul I came across a new method of mounting that I had not seen before.

You will need to order the adapter rings from Ebay

1 x 52 - 52 Male to Male
1 x 52 - 38 Male to Female
and 1 x 52 - your camera's filter size Male to Female

Simples =)