Mick Garvey’s hunting kit list
PUBLISHED: 09:54 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:54 11 August 2020
Mick Garvey lists the hunting gear he can’t do without - from the FX FAC .25 Impact for day shooting, to the Wilcat .25 FAC Compact & Pulsar XQ50 Trail for night shooting!
My association with the FX range of airguns continues. You’re probably aware of my affection for FX airguns, and especially the tactical look that they bring to the table. The FAC .25 Impact has been my go-to airgun for some years now, and for more than one reason. Firstly, the accuracy is second to none, and this is the first thing we look for in any rifle; reliability is another, and my Impact has served me very well, with no major issues over the years. The Impact also ‘fits me’ like no other gun has done in the past, and this along with the first two reasons give me the uncompromised confidence that we all desire. The tactical appearance is something I prefer, too, and obviously the Impact delivers this in spades.
I have recently added a few accessories from Saber Tactical and Donny FL; a cheek riser, butt stock, underslung Arca-Swiss rail, and the very impressive Donny FL Sumo silencer, and all of the build can be checked out on my YouYube channel: Mick Garvey Air Attack MIA. The gun is finished off with the Hawke Optics Airmax SF 4-16x50, which is an awesome scope and works brilliantly with airguns. Air Arms Diablos are the pellet of choice and are head and shoulders above the rest of the field. I do not foresee a day when I will be without my Impact because it has become a part of me, an extension of my ability and enthusiasm for my shooting.
Whilst the Impact takes care of most of my daytime shooting, I have another FX that from time to time graces the fields and woodlands – the Dreamline Lite. We have covered this superb modular airgun before in Airgun World and I had an opportune outing with it last year when I took around 36 pigeons in short order, and several other good days have since followed.
The .22 FAC ‘Dreamer’ is a long gun – very long when fitted with the Donny FL silencer – but it’s a modular gun so it can be swapped out to different configurations; with options such as shorter barrels, AR15-style stocks, AR15 grips, and even carbon-fibre air bottles, all available to turn it into something completely different. I was extremely interested in this from the outset because it fitted in with my love of a tactical-looking rifle, and I will touch on that later in this article.
Once more, the FX is finished off with a Hawke Optics scope; this time, the Airmax Compact 4-16 x 44. It’s a small, lightweight scope that complements the lightness of the Dreamline perfectly, and keeps everything compact and tidy, but I have another plan for the Compact and this will be made clear later.
I use this air rifle mostly for static shooting, such as from a laid-up position, or from a hide, and not so much for stalking squirrels through the woods where the length would be an issue, catching on various brambles and the like, although the lightness would make it a dream to carry all day.
Matched up with AA Diablo pellets, the hi-power Dreamline is very capable of taking those longer shots out in the fields on wary rabbits, and 60-plus yards is the expected normal. I would like to see a more forward positioned Picatinny rail, such as the one for the Impact by Saber Tactical, so the bipod is more up front rather than central, but that’s just me being fussy. This FX is also supremely accurate, reliable and an absolute joy to use … another keeper, for sure.
My very first FX was the sub-12 ft.lb. Wildcat in .22, and this was used almost daily without fail, until the arrival of the Impact. I now use a new Wildcat, the .25 FAC Compact, for my night-time shooting. I’m sure you will have seen it within these pages on my rabbiting features, both in the Lake District and back home in Derbyshire. It too has served me well, putting hundreds of rabbits in the bag and keeping farmers, paddock owners and golf course owners very happy, not to mention a very appreciative Zeva Blue who loves a bit of rabbit in his diet.
The ‘Cat is so very light and is a pleasure to carry around until the early hours of the morning. I use a single-point-type sling on all my airguns, which spreads weight nicely over the shoulder and that is appreciated when you have a game bag full of rabbits.
In this case, the ‘Cat is fitted with a Pulsar XQ50 Trail, a thermal scope bought from Scott Country International, which feels very balanced on the FX and will easily last all night with the supplied battery, but a spare is always on hand in case we have a red-letter day and my hours have to be extended. The night-shooting kit is completed by a Pulsar XQ38 Quantum thermal spotter. This is now quite a few years old, but works flawlessly and the only thing I’d swap it out for is perhaps the Pulsar Accolade … but not yet.
Many of my permissions consist of rolling and undulating fields where you need to gain a little height to be able to present a clear, safe shot, and I’d rather not take a shot than risk a bad one that results in wounding the target. Enter the Wicked Lights Rekon CT1 tripod; again, lightweight and very transportable, it is now a permanent part of my night shooting, be it with airguns, rimfire or centrefire on foxes. I have walked the golf course for over eight hours with the FX Wildcat Compact, Rekon tripod and a game bag of rabbits, with no problems. I drop off each load of rabbits at the pick-up when passing, though, and head straight back out.
GOING THE EXTRA YARD
The golf course also has a driving range that attracts many of the rabbits, and the yardage markers are ideal for pinpointing the distance of a shot. There have been many times when I have set up in front of the artificial tee, and picked off rabbits one by one at different yard markers’ 65-yard headshots are commonplace with the Wildcat, such is the accuracy and consistency when teamed up with 18gr AA Diablos. I actually found myself sitting on one of the benches eating an apple and just admiring the Wildcat with the chunky, but very effective Donny FL Ronin silencer … it just looks that good! I had to drag myself away to the job in hand, which is so pleasurable with the ‘Cat.
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So, with happy farmers, golf course owners, paddock owners and probably the best guns available, what’s next? Well, as we all know we have been dealt another blow, the coronavirus, and only 12 months after the last setback, the General Licence fiasco. Our outings have been curtailed, but for the greater good; social distancing has been introduced, along with self-isolation and for many, this has put a complete stop to their shooting activities.
This is a very contentious subject and something I have gone into thoroughly. I have the farmers screaming at me to carry out pest control for crop protection, and on foxes for livestock protection. I needed to be 100% clear and legitimate in anything I took on, so I contacted my local police force, both in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, also BASC, my FAO and even my local MP, and although initially most were happy to say, ‘You should be okay’, none would give me a clear go-ahead, which is quite understandable. No one wants to be held responsible for saying ‘yes, do it’ when there is so much confusion surrounding the subject.
Eventually, and after many phone calls and emails, it became clear that if I had written permission from the landowners and/or farmers, and if I contacted the local police force to get an incident number each time I intended to go shooting, I would be okay. I appreciate this is a long and involved process, but for me, it is time well spent; the local police are aware that I will be out, they have my contact and vehicle details and I inform them when I’m leaving, so this allows them concentrate on other matters. I do expect that there will be others who are not adhering to these requests, but a temporary inconvenience is preferable to the alternative. I have to say, though, that I feel strange being out while advocating the ‘stay at home’ guideline, but this is essential work and not shooting for shooting’s sake. I have actually called a truce with the skinnies for the time being, letting them pass by without even getting them in the cross hairs. At the moment, they don’t present a threat to crop or livestock, but this will change though when the time is right.
LOOK TO THE FUTURE
So what does the future hold? I have been in talks with FX about the new Dreamline Compact Tactical, this is something that really grabbed my attention. I met up with Johan Axelsson from FX at the BSS20, and we had a great talk about the future and what was coming up. We discussed the possibility of getting a Dreamline Compact Tactical in sub-12 and this is now en route to me and will be with me very soon. The plans started to formulate in my mind; the Airmax Compact will be going on top; pellets will be the AAs; an AR15 butt stock will be added; a Magpul sling attachment and a nice compact Donny FL will finish off the Tac. This should be featured next month, and I cannot express how excited I am. Should also keep the pro sub-12 guys happy too, which is always a good thing.
Stay safe and I’ll see you next month!