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Squirrel Hunting Specialist

Posted by on October 27, 2013
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The Brocock Specialist is the most compact hunting rifle in my collection, though there is nothing diminutive about the performance.

A few months back I ordered a Brocock Specialist in .22 caliber, after having the chance to do a jackrabbit and prairie dog shoot with it up in Northern Arizona. We had several guns along with us, including some very expensive high end masterpieces along on the trip, but I kept finding myself with this little carbine in hand. The guys I was hunting with were laughing, because they knew as soon as this gun came out of the case I was going to be on it like bees on honey. I found that this gun was generating 20 or so full power shots in the 20 fpe range, and that the gun digested a variety of pellets. The reason I wanted the gun was first, to keep in the my Outback’s trunk with a buddy bottle so I always had a gun at hand, and secondly to use as a compact little gun for pick up squirrel hunts when I found a little time and a stand of trees.

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The leaves are starting to thin out, but still enough cover to make locating hiding squirrels a challenge.

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I prefer shooting off sticks when possible, but shooting offhand or braced against trees is sometimes the only option.

I’d been driving by a plot of land with a nice stand of hardwoods that is being cut down and bull dozed to make room for a new housing development…… you hate to see it happen, but I live in such a place so won’t be a hypocrite and complain about it. They cut down about 70% of the woods and have put in roads, but then nothing happened afterwards, it just sat there. One day driving by I saw a guy in a truck looking at a set of plans spread out on the hood of his truck, and pulled in behind to talk to him. He turned out to be the project manager and we talked for awhile, with me making sure to mention I’d bought a house in the development they’d just finished, before asking if it would be alright to do some squirrel hunting with my airgun before they finished knocking down what was left of the woods. He said he didn’t care especially since I was “only shooting an airgun” though he couldn’t officially give me permission. He went on to say that once the crew came in to start working in a couple months, it was off limits to shooting, airguns or not, which was fine by me.

I’ve been busy and traveling quite a bit lately, plus had several other guns to work up. But this morning after church and taking the family out for a great Chinese lunch, I decided to go on a short hunt along a hundred yard stretch of woods bordering a small lake. I drove in with my messenger bag, a shooting stick, and a cushion (the ground was wet and it’s getting cold), parked and headed off. Not more than 50 yards in a caught the flicker of a bushytail a couple of trees away, and brought the gun up and leaned in on a sapling to brace myself. Looking through the scope I could see a bit of tail behind a branch, and waited. It wasn’t long before the squirrel jumped out on to a large horizontal branch and sat like a target……but as I looked saw it was one of the little red squirrels, which I typically don’t shoot when out in the woods. They’re too small for the table and aren’t doing any harm out here so I take a live and let live approach.

I slowly crept down a deer trail and saw a grey squirrel threading it’s way through the canopy. It was moving away from my disturbance, but stopped every now and again. I took an offhand shot at forty yards, missing cleanly, the squirrel turned and started running back and forth trying to decide which way to go. He stopped, but just as I squeezed off the shot, jumped with my pellet hitting pretty much right where he’d been a split second before. That was all she wrote, that bushytail was gone in a flash without a backwards glance. A little further along, I came up to what looked like a perfect den tree; it was a big damages trunk with holes and perching branches stretching up 50 feet in the air, with a big oak and several small hickory’s surrounding it. Even though I didn’t see anything moving, I sat myself down on my foam pad and rested the Specialist on a monopod and enjoyed the scenery, woodpeckers, finches, and the occasional flight of geese heading south. I turned from my bird watching to see that a gray squirrel had moved on to a branch up in the den tree, and was sitting perfectly broadside at 50 yards. I had the Hawke 3-9x variable scope set at 7x and the gun loaded with RWS Superdome pellets (thought I’d give this old standard a go). Lining up just a bit over the head, I watched the pellet hit home knocking the squirrel out of the tree DOA by the time he hit the ground.

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At the end of the hunt, I’d put two in the bag, missed two, and passed on a few red squirrels……. not bad for a two hour hunt less than 5 minutes from home!

I stayed out for another hour, missing the next squirrel and hitting the one after, before taking off on the 5 minute drive home to write this up and prepare for a flight down south in the morning. I really like this gun, and as I was sitting in the woods came up with a third scenario for it in my hunting repertoire; Taking off the moderator, demounting the action from the stock, this gun slips into a takedown shot gun case and along with a handpump will make a great little travel gun as well! If you have a need/desire for a compact, lightweight, full power hunting carbine, I can definitely recommend you take a look at the Brocock.

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Just a quick note: I had one of the AOA pellet canisters and find these a very convenient means of carrying pellets in the field. It keeps them well protected and easily accessible when needed.

 

5 Responses to Squirrel Hunting Specialist

  1. A.R. Wyatt

    Jim,

    Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, even if it was only for a few hours, I’m sure you had a great time.

    Thanks for sharing, I thoroughly enjoy reading about your adventures and as always keep them coming!

    Alan

  2. lee brown

    Jim, I’m seriously considering the specialist. How well does the factory shroud help in reducing sound, also do you know if predator pellets fit the mag?

    • Jim Chapman

      Lee;
      The gun still has a bit of a bark with the shroud, but not too bad.. might be more noise than you’d consider back yard friendly if you live in a housing development. But I hunted with it in woods surrounded by houses within a couple hundred yards and nobody seemed to notice. The barrel is threaded and I have a moderator for it, but didn’t bother mounting it. Haven’t tried the Polymags in this gun, and my family are getting ready to fly out to Chicago for Thanks giving and I’ll be away about a week, but when I get back I’ll try it out and post for you,
      Regards,
      Jim

  3. lee brown

    Ok, thanks for the reply jim.

    • Jim Chapman

      Lee,
      I don’t want to scare you away, overall my favorite compact hunting carbine at this time!

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