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BSA Airgun Competition

WIN a BSA Ultra SE .177 air rifle

A trip down memory lane

Back to basics with the very capable BSA Ultra SE airgun

There’s a simple, raw quality to nobbling rats with an airgun – something I was reminded of recently as I went back to basics in an effort to become familiar with the BSA Ultra SE.

The thrill of watching as brown shapes materialised about the water’s edge was an enthralling bonus of fishing the village pond as a youngster. As dusk enveloped the old brickpit, so the quarry changed shape and the focus switched from the dayglo orange tip of a fishing float to the rodent inhabitants of the adjacent farmyard. Buddy the farm terrier would sit twitching with anticipation as we reeled in and unslipped the airgun. It was magic.

Who knew that 20 years later I’d be creeping round farm buildings a stone’s throw away with that same feeling in my gut. I’d gone back to the sport I cut my teeth on, but a battered old Webley Exocet between my hands there was not; my companion for the evening would be the super-compact BSA Ultra SE.

Here’s an airgun that combines practicality with very good value for money. At just 32 inches long, 11.2 inches of that being barrel, it’s not your conventional PCP. However, any worries about canting to one side and poor balance quickly dissipate when it’s put to use. The Ultra SE is extremely manoeuvrable and comes to the shoulder nicely, offering faster target acquisition than your typical plinker – just what I needed to tackle the flighty rats. They seem to have become craftier over the years…

At 5.7lb in weight, the Ultra is easy to carry about. It shoots straight, too. Once set up, it printed sub-inch groups with RWS Super Field pellets at 30 yards. The point of impact only began to wander slightly after I’d used 38 pellets and the pressure had dropped from the fill pressure of 232 bar to 90 bar, although this was easy to monitor with the help of the pressure gauge on the bottom of the rifle.

Patches of spilt grain and feed pellets beside stacks of rotting pallets looked very ratty, so I decided to alternate between sitting still and stalking round the yard. When moving between machinery and in tighter spaces, the pint-sized Ultra SE comes into its own. It had soon accounted for two rats by a bale stack. The easy to cycle bolt made reloading a doddle but the lack of a proper moderator (the Ultra SE comes with a muzzle break) did mean I’d lost the element of surprise, at least for a while.

Activity stepped up a gear in the gloaming, and the BSA Essential 3-9×50 scope coped impressively with the fading light. Right then, as I watched another long-tailed foe emerge from beneath a feed trough and brought the butt of the little gun to my shoulder, I could almost feel the warmth of Buddy the terrier pressed against me, ears pricked and rooted to the spot. It was a welcome trip down memory lane.

Pre-charged pneumatic, bolt-action, multi-shot magazine
Fill pressure: 232 bar
Shots per fill: 40
Weight: 5.7lb
Length: 32in

Barrel length: 11.8in
Scope:
Magazine: 10 shot magazine
Trigger: Fully adjustable, two-stage
Other features: Pressure gauge, removable muzzle break, ambidextrous stock

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