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Rabbiting with a second-hand CZ BRNO rifle

Tony Jackson sets out to try some different kit

shooting rabbits

After years of using my old  BSA Standard No 2 air rifle I decided to rethink my rabbit shooting by using  a .22 rimfire with an adequate scope.

  • A visit to the gunshop later I became the owner of a second-hand CZ BRNO rifle.
  • This was an elderly Model 2 E-S, with a shortened barrel to take a short moderator, its Schnabel fore-end and roach-backed stock betraying its years.
  • The wood was blond with reasonable configuration and while it was an old BRNO made perhaps in the 1960s or 1970s, before the once-united company split into two separate operations — BRNO and CZ — it was in excellent order.
  • The rifle felt comfortable, I liked its slightly worn appearance and these models retain a reputation for accuracy and longevity.

I was testing a scope –  the Endurance 3-10 x 44 MAP 8 (Multiple Aim Point), engineered in high-grade black aluminium and with an in-depth reticle design. By zeroing at 75 yards, and with the reticle set at 8x magnification, a series of aim points have been calculated on the vertical cross-hair at 25-yard intervals out to 225 yards. This scope has been specifically designed for .22 rimfire subsonic ammunition. The clarity is excellent, even at dusk, and I appreciated the simple cross-hair reticle with its easily seen calibrations.

Brno Model 2

Brno Model 2

Zeroing and testing

With the scope mounted, the little rifle had to be zeroed and then tested. On a warm, humid evening my stalking friend Charles Fenn joined me, a target was set up at 25 yards, and after the expenditure of around half a box of Winchester subsonic 40-grain ammunition and numerous ¼in click adjustments to the turrets, the rifle was found to be shooting spot on.

Then we set out with tripod, rifle and my Labrador. Half-a-dozen rabbits, all sizes, scuttled for their hedgerow burrows as we entered the field behind the house, but none paused to allow a shot. However, crossing the field to the next hedge we spotted a brace of half-grown youngsters perhaps 30 yards away. I set up the tripod, rested the rifle and as I squeezed the trigger there was a slight phut, followed by a distinctive plop as the bullet struck home. The rabbit cartwheeled, the dog was sent and the first of several was in the bag.

Brno Model 2

The triggers on a BRNO Model 2

Out rabbiting with a CZ BRNO rifle

Off next to a local three-acre field where we have been plagued by scores of rabbits.

We quietly walked up to the field gate and even as we did so more than a dozen rabbits scuttled for the nearest hedge. However, a pair of rabbits, perhaps 50 yards away and well out in the open, offered a safe shot and background. I took aim from the sticks… and missed! However, while the intended victim scuttled away, its companion sat up, puzzled and inquisitive. Charles took the shot and killed it cleanly.

At the end of half an hour, four had been shot, two missed.

Rabbiting with a CZ BRNO is satisfying and for a modest outlay of £175, real value for money. Meanwhile, the local rabbit population will be trimmed to manageable numbers.

Brno Model 2

Brno Model 2

The second largest city in the Czech Republic is Brno. It is the home of the Zbrojovka Brno factory, which…

What did the readers say?

We asked Shooting Times Facebook followers what they thought of rimfires for rabbiting. Here’s what they said.

Paul Woods: “Brno .22 bolt action, done thousands of rabbits and still puts the pill in the right place?”

Tony Napoli:  “Paul Woods spot on ?”

Clive Cooper: ” BRNO 22lr + Winchester 42 max subs does the job”

Jason Davies: ” .22 if you have to choose….having both is better. Summer days taking them at a distance with HMR and .22 with NV for the evenings.”