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Although some farms hold a resident population of rats right through the year, numbers of these unwelcome rodents tend to peak during the autumn and winter months, so Mat Manning has been out with night vision gear to tackle an infestation of farmyard scaly-tails.

Pest control is something that needs to be carried out by day as well as night, and Mat’s been reflecting on the success he’s had this year by targeting grey squirrels during daylight hours with the help of a feeding station.

British gunmaker Brocock has developed a flair for making reliable airguns that are built for functionality and getting the job done. Consequently, these air rifles are the choice of serious pest controllers up and down the country, and Mat’s been testing the Concept XR, a light, accurate and versatile rifle.

Rich Saunders has also been testing a rifle, the new Reximex Myth, a PCP that combines sharp tactical looks with an innovative dual-air supply system. Rich reckons this rifle offers a level of accuracy that belies its modest price tag and you can read his full review to find out more.

The air rifle market is polarising. On one hand we’re being tempted with products that push the boundaries in terms of innovative design and performance-enhancing features. On the other hand, the influx of entry-level PCPs from all corners of the world is neverending. So Rich has been comparing two of the priciest air rifles on the market with two less expensive models to try to find out exactly what you get by paying extra.

As lucky as we are to have so many neat gizmos to enhance our after-dark shooting these days, it’s worth remembering that it isn’t all about the kit. The phrase “all the gear, but no idea” is still as true as ever, and technically advanced equipment doesn’t count for much if you don’t take the time to learn your quarry’s behaviour and routines.

Lee Watts emphasises that point in his feature about fieldcraft. Although Lee is a long-range slug shooting aficionado and a master of high-power airgun tuning, he acknowledges that a reliance on high-tech gear to stretch his effective hunting range to the limits ended up dulling his fieldcraft skills. For that reason, Lee decided to ditch slugs for a while and take a simpler approach by loading up with pellets to get his stealth game sharp again.

All this is capped off by our Airgun Answers section, where we’ve been answering your questions about repairing mashed screws, whether indoor match rifles can be used outdoors and if it’s worth the time and trouble to wash your pellets.

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