20g Over & Under Hushpower
Silent but Deadly By Eric Prior Tuesday, 12 May 2009
In all the years that I've been shooting, I'd wondered why we fired guns that make so much noise, frightening everything within half a mile or more. One shot at rabbits in the evening would send the rest over the whole farm to ground. The same with crows; a shot at the first would send them off to leave me sitting there for the next half hour with nothing to do. When I've been out with others, I'd be about to take a shot when a nearby Gun would open up sending my target off into the next county, never to be seen again.
I'd seen a single barrelled twenty Hushpower in my local Gunsmiths shop, and was pleasantly surprised at its light weight and perfect balance. I very nearly bought it on the spot, but for various reasons, didn't.
I'd read many favourable reports in the shooting press on the effectiveness of the moderated 410s, but in my opinion they are short range tools, good at what they're for - rats and feral pigeons in and around farm building, but not as serious killers over decoys. Others in twelve bore, especially the pump actions appear to be long, front heavy and ugly. Therefore, were not suitable for hide work. I still had not seen exactly what I wanted.
My next move was to visit the place of manufacture, where I met the team responsible for the new moderated over and under Hushpower 20 bore. This gun is made, not as a classy sporting gun for on the peg, but as an extremely effective vermin killer; fitted with their new silencer system, giving fantastic noise reduction. Another major feature is that the moderator is closer to the natural line of sight where the rib would normally be. Choked 3/4 and full and weighing only 7.25 lbs. The overall length is an incredible 50 inches, only 4 inches longer than my Browning 525, with its 28-inch barrels, making it an ideal hide gun. Moreover, not at all clumsy; it goes up to the shoulder like a made to measure gun.
I was so impressed that I walked away with one, complete with a case of Gamebore 30 gms No. 5 Hushpower cartridges.
How was it going to perform out there in the real world?
Its first test was on rabbits in the evening on and around several fields of Lupin. Using the top half and facemask of my Jack Pyke ghillie suit, I stalked within range of a half-grown bunny and killed it stone dead. Fifty yards on, I rounded the corner to spot anything along the next length of Lupin. A grey squirrel ran out in front of me and he was immediately rolled over. I expected that by now all others had long gone to ground. Not so, I managed to creep forward towards four or five rabbits about fifty yards farther on. All except one ran in to the wood, this one rolled over on the first shot and finished with the second. This is how it went until it was too dark to continue, achieving a bag of six rabbits, one squirrel, and a young magpie. The next afternoon I met the farmer's son as I was carrying out reconnaissance on the linseed. He was very interested in the Hushpower, so I handed him the gun and two cartridges, which he fired. On handing it back to me, he said that I should reload and shoot the rabbit that had just lolloped out from the hedge. To my amazement, there he sat, one half-grown with its head poking up through the long grass. He'd not been spooked by the two shots fired only twenty-five yards away. Therefore,1 can recommend this little tool for all rabbit shooting.
I mentioned to my gamekeeper friends at a nearby shoot that I'd purchased one of these little guns. They were both sceptical, pointing out all my previous thoughts. However, they mentioned that they were constantly trying to clear feral pigeons from the farm buildings and dairy. The farmer had complained that they’d been entering the milking parlour.
Apparently, every time they fired a shot, the birds would fly away, not to return until long after they had departed. I agreed to let them have a go to see how the Hushpower would perform. Five pigeons were flushed from the barn and one was killed. To their surprise the four remaining circled and came back in. Another hit the ground and the three again circled where a double shot killed two more. The final bird disappeared for about five minutes and was dropped as it attempted to re-enter the barn. They were so impressed that they invited me to test it on their little clay layout on the far end of the estate.
There were four of us shooting with this little o/u Hushpower using midi clays. I must admit that I'm useless with any target unless it has wings or legs so I didn’t, as usual, do well However, the head keeper, Mark did reasonably well with an acceptable score, and David who has taken well to this gun, put up a very impressive performance. Obviously, this is the ideal gun for clubs where so-called noise pollution is an issue.
Back at the yard during the rest of the day two crows and a herring gull were dealt with as they attempted to take their share of the young ducks in the rearing pens, right next to a row of farm cottages without complaint.
A Day at Crows
This was on one of the local big estates with a large dairy herd of Friesians. The crows have always caused havoc around the farm buildings, mainly in the open corn stores, on the silage pits, cattle sheds and even in the milking parlour areas. They are there all year round, but the major problem is during June when they bring in their offspring with numbers amounting to as many as two thousand.
After two reconnaissance trips, Jim, and I decided that, it was time to have a go. We agreed that 1'd arrive at about 7am setting up in my usual position, and he would start at around 9.30. The only difference was that I'd be using the Hushpower. I must confess that I was not confident. I was expecting as is common in June, a big day, and as a result wondered whether this little tool was going to prove too heavy for such continued fast action. I was not used to shooting with a twenty, let alone one with such an unusual front end. In addition, I was concerned that I'd be making an idiot of myself with a very high percentage of misses.
On the day, I lost no time in setting out the eight flocked crows twenty paces out from the hide, and quickly settled in. The first arrived within two minutes, which I killed with the first shot; this was followed immediately by another, which I missed with the first and killed with the second. This was enough to give me the necessary confidence to make the day a complete success. By the time Jim arrived, I'd knocked down about forty. Everything was working better than expected; I was making contact with most of them, and the weight at the front end had no effect on the swing, if anything it helped me give the correct lead. The most amazing thing was that the crows took very little notice of the shots. Many times whilst reloading they would begin to settle in amongst the decoys before I could close the gun. I was also able to take the second shot at one, which had lost its mate with the first barrel as it circled back over the decoy pattern.
Jim at one stage had set up behind me on the other side of the high hedge. He came back after about half an hour to see if I had gone home as he'd been watching crows disappear out of sight over the hedge without hearing gunfire. I explained to him that I'd downed another twenty or so in the time that he'd been away.
At 1.30pm, we decided that we should stop; I'd certainly had enough and it was Jims turn to protect the strawberries against pigeon attack on another neighbouring farm. It took me another hour to collect everything back into the estate and count the bag, exactly eighty. Normally the average has been around the twenty-five mark, with a top score of forty-nine. This is further proof, that this little gun is the perfect tool for this type of work from a hide close to farm or residential buildings.
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