Hunting with the FAC Galahad
- Credit: Archant
Eddie Jones finally gets his high-power airgun into the fields
Since working with Air Arms, I have been so lucky to be shooting some of the best hunting air rifles on the planet and I’m privileged to open the gun cupboard every time I go out and be stuck on which rifle to take. I have tried to give each rifle a purpose for every situation that I may encounter, so it should make the job of choosing which rifle to take so much easier, but it never works out that way.
Recently, I was given the new Galahad and since that day I haven’t put it down. I thought that nothing was going to tempt me away from the Ultimate Sporter, but this little rifle has taken its place at the top of my list for all-round hunting. The main reason for this is the length; it’s so much easier to manoeuvre when shooting from a vehicle, and also when in a hide it does make it so much easier to move around if a shot presents itself from other angles.
The only problem I have found when out walking through the woods is sometimes knocking the cocking lever with my jacket, making it move out of position, but that always happened with my Theoben so it is not a massive obstacle to get over. What I have done for now, though, is moved the lever to the right side of the gun and this has eliminated the problem altogether, but it has now made the cocking so much of a different feel that it is taking me a while to get used to it.
You might remember in the past that I had toyed with the idea of getting an FAC air rifle. I have had my ‘ticket’ for some time, but haven’t rushed into getting anything because when choosing a high-power rifle I wanted to make sure that I got the right one. If you want to change it, it’s not is not a simple case of selling it and buying another; you have to send your FAC back to your issuing force to get it taken off, and have a new slot opened to get another. This can be time consuming, and if you are doing this often whilst trying to find the right rifle, then it will become a pain. So, 12 months on from getting my ticket I now know what I want.
I have opted for the FAC Galahad because it will suit all my needs when more power is needed and for a rifle with a regulator this had to be my choice. I decided to go for a .22 version shooting at 28ft.lbs. because this would give me the flat trajectory that I needed and give me the hitting power to knock over anything it hit. The Galahad in this form would give me 40 shots per charge, which is more than I would need for any trip, and if it provednot to be, then I would just take my bottle and top-up from the car.
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There was another reason that I chose this rifle - it also has different power settings. This can be done by twisting a knob just under the cheek piece, and there are multiple adjustments. When you turn the knob, you can feel a distinct click that lets you know at every chosen point that the change has been done. I haven’t tested the power at each setting yet because I’ve only just got the rifle, but I will update when I have had time to go out and do a proper chrono’ test.
The fact that this is adjustable also gives me the option to turn down the rifle if I get called to a farm whilst I am out with it. I wouldn’t like to be shooting feral pigeons inside barns, at full power, so at least I have the option rather than going home to change rifles.
While I was in Wales on my latest fox control work, I took the FAC Galahad along with me. I thought I would get the chance at some point to set it up and give it a go over the four days I was there, and it was not until the last morning that I finally put the scope on the rifle. I had taken the Hawke Airmax off the Ultimate Sporter – it won’t be a permanent fixture, but as I was short on scopes, this was the quickest option at the time.
Setting the zero was not a problem at all – five shots and I was hitting pretty spot-on at 30 yards. I wanted to zero at this range for now, because it will take some getting used to at the longer ranges for which I intend to use the rifle. I had better point out here that I had already shot two full charges before I set zero, just to make sure that the barrel had been leaded up a bit.
The good thing about shooting at my friend’s place in Wales is that I only have to walk 10 yards and I have some pretty good ground to shoot on. It isn’t overrun with pests, but there should be something to shoot, if I’m lucky. He also wanted a meal for his ferrets so this was definitely a good reason for an hour’s walk before heading home.
I decided to head off to the fields that border a wood and this would give me about half a mile over three fields to cover. There isn’t much cover around these fields, so I would be lucky if I did get close to anything. I had walked the first field when I got my chance of a rabbit in the second, and I had just crossed the fence when I saw a crow sitting right at the very top of a tree to my left. The crow was around 40 yards away so I lifted the Airmax to my eye and scanned for him.
The crow was covered by a few branches so I had no clear path to thread the pellet to any of its vital organs so I was moving around like a snail, trying every angle to get a clear shot. The crow still had not seen me and it was so frustrating to get an opportunity, but not get a clear view. Well, I must have looked for ages until the crow finally got bored with sitting in the morning sunshine and headed off over the fields. Annoyed at not getting a shot, I set off again. The sun was getting higher, now shining down the tree line, I was sure that I’d see a rabbit sitting out, but it wasn’t until I was on my way back that I finally saw one. It was sitting at the base of a large tree, a little up the bank of the wood. I was kneeling comfortably and the Galahad was as steady as a rock on my hands, and the rabbit was around 35 yards away so there was not much holdover needed. I gently pulled the first stage of the trigger, then the second and the pellet was there in an instant. It hit the rabbit hard, and without much movement the rabbit was dead. The sheer force of the .22 pellet hitting the rabbit’s skull was loud, and it had not even known what had hit it.
What a result!
It was my first shot on live quarry and it felt great. I will now need to have a good few sessions with this on targets to be confident on the longer shots, but I am looking forward to building a great relationship with this little powerhouse, and I will keep you updated with that journey.
One final note; I have been reading that a lot of Galahad users are finding the rifle a little heavy when walking for hours with it, and they don’t want to drill the stock for a stud. Well, you might be in luck because I’ve found a company that builds a butt plate extension with a stud already attached. I haven’t fitted this yet because I have only just received them, but I will keep you posted – or if you would like to get one yourself, you can order one from www.customslingplates.co.uk. They also have a Facebook page and cater for other makes of rifle. If you go on their website, please mention that you saw this mention in Air Gunner – you never know you might get a discount!