Monthly Archives: March 2021

  • A Handy Guide to Gun Dogs

    When thinking of breeding from a current gundog that has been a faithful servant to you in the shooting field or looking online and asking fellow guns for recommendations for a new puppy, the job of selecting the future generations of the breed needs careful thought and consideration.

    Whether a stud dog from the litter your stud bitch has produced or something from a different bloodline you must consider the health and temperament you want. Therefore, steps to guide your choice may well follow some of those listed.

    Some of the things you need to look out for to produce a successful litter are:

    • Summary of health for sire and dam (hereditary history of previous generations)
    • Ensuring dogs have x-rays, for their hip scores checked and eyes tested at around a year of age.
    • DNA tests for retrievers and spaniels as this will show if the dogs are a carrier of PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), SD2 (Skeletal Dysplasia), EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse), CNM (Centronuclear Myopathy) and other general muscle weaknesses
    • A good temperament. Bold but not too over the top, not a nervous dog but a sensitive one would be easier to train. Active and athletic with a good nose, quiet and loves retrieving.

    Just putting two dogs of the same breed together to mate would not suffice. Breeding is about strengthening and improving the breedline. It is important to recognise the positives and negatives of the two dogs you wish to breed together. It is always good to breed a dog with natural ability who can use its nose and is somewhat a natural gamefinder. The perfect gun dogs need to be intelligent, work as part of a team and willing to please. Dogs that can work all day as well as be athletic enough to jump walls and swim and then be ready to go again the next day after a good night’s rest are advantageous.

    Bear in mind that the owner of the sire may charge £1000 or more especially if the dog you have in mind is a Field Trial Champion. Or, the owner may choose to have the pick of the litter rather than a stud fee in cash.

    Over the year’s dogs have been bred to create different gun dog breeds each with particular strengths. You’ll tend to see lots of Labrador retrievers and Springer Spaniels out in the fields with both breeds having various sub breeds such as golden retrievers or flatcoat retrievers along with cocker spaniels and clumber spaniels to name a few.


    The important question of training should also be considered as if you opt for a dog with high energy and drive you will need to be able to adjust your training to cater for a successful outcome as time and patience will likely be required.

    On the other hand, you may well opt for a calm steadier bitch that won’t tolerate the pressures of daily training sessions thus a slower pace and tempo may be required while her confidence grows over time.

    In either case you will want to ensure your basic training is covered diligently as having a dog that is under control at all times in the shooting field whether sat at the peg or walking to heel between drives is both safe and rewarding.

    As the dog learns to work at greater distances from you hunting on the wind for a tucked in bird or being handled across water to a retrieve across an obstacle being under control and on the whistle for each command will be crucial.

    All training of which will need to be considered when deciding on the temperament you are looking to breed from or select.

    Gundogs need both physical and mental exercise which should include being social with other dogs and play with the boss, a variety of exploring in different terrains to keep their interest and grooming should also be part of their routine. Gundogs have much more specialist requirements for basic training thus good quality equipment such as slip leads/Whistles/dummies, and more are needed for the best results. For the best collars and leads tap here.

    Gundog owner checklist, you’ll be the perfect owner if you:

    • Love exercise and the outdoors
    • Make plenty of time every day to exercise and train your dog
    • Enjoy being out in all weathers
    • Like your dog to affectionate and demonstrative
    • Don’t mind mess being brought into the house
    • Live in a rural location with a big garden and plenty of space for activities

    Pictured are working gundogs from the Pebbleridge Gundogs. Pictures provided courtesy of Mark Twiggs, owner of Pebbleridge Gundogs.

  • CZ 457 Long Range Precision Review

    CZ 457 Long Range Precision Review by Chris Parkin for Gunmart - March 2021

    CZ’s 457 LRP is a heavy fluted barrelled, target stocked variant of the core 457 multibarrel platform and although not facilitating fast changes, allows extra barrel kits. Here, the major exhibit is the stock, something a lot of designers get creative with but do not always do very well, other than just looks.

    The action
    Twin extractor claws span CZ’s control feed bolt face with a mechanical ejector appearing below as the bolt is drawn fully rearward on its 42.5mm stroke. The rail is slotted and screwed over the machined in dovetails, so not only is it functional -allowing return to zero with barrel/scope swapsit helps stiffen the otherwise open-topped action supporting that 22mm diameter barrel. It’s cylindrical action profile blends towards parallel sides at the rear, with a long slot for bolt handle reciprocation. There is a single rear locking lug being the base of the handle itself. It can’t snag or stall on any surfaces, it never withdraws from the slot, enabling intrinsically smooth operation and minimal slop. The short shaft is 130mm long with a 33mm handle extending to support the 33mm spherical knob. It’s facetted like a giant gem and some say it looks too bulky, but this is the finest bolt action rimfire I have operated, regardless of price.

    Nice features
    A familiar-looking single column 5-round polymer magazine is supplied (10-round mag available) and the release catch sits at the front of the well. The rounds slide snag-free into the breech without damage or excess lubricant shedding and if you swap calibres, the feed ramp is part of the action insert. After fitting a different barrel, I can confirm everything worked perfectly in .17 HMR with ballistic tipped and hollow-point bullets.

    The rifle is supplied with a radially ported ½” UNF muzzle brake wrapping the well-cut crown, to which I added a SAK sound moderator. The 20” barrel includes flutes along its profile, all the way back to the action. It shows a deep matt black/blue corrosion-resistant finish which has withstood extensive use in all sorts of rain, snow, ice and mud. The barrel swap involves removing the receiver from the stock with Twin T25 Torx action screws, slacken off two angled grub screws at the front of the action and the barrel will slide out. The small spacer within
    the action mates into a rebate of appropriate calibre, so if you change to say a .17 HMR, the
    job can be done in five minutes with basic tools. You do need the correct magazine for either .22/.17 cartridge length and a small spacer. Overall, its a good design.

    The purposeful stock is visually striking, featuring a height adjustable cheekpiece and
    recoil pad with angular float. Both need a T25 Torx to adjust and the cheekpiece may need
    removal to get the bolt out. Everything locks 100% solid and notably, the comfortable recoil
    pad fits nicely without slipping from your shoulder. Spacers allow the length of pull (LOP) to
    be adjusted from 351-382mm and the comb has a medium width of 47mm, maximising eye/
    scope alignment. I particularly like the lower scalloped sides to minimise lateral jawbone disruption, although they might just look like pretty curves, they are 100% functional.
    The beech structure shows a seamlessly machined compound material build including
    aluminium sections. All the timber is coated in a soft-touch finish which is easily cleaned. There is lateral stippling on the forend as well as the vertical pistol grip, which includes a delicate ambidextrous palm swell.

    Suitable Ammo
    I ran the gun in on all sorts of ammo but the main test was to use premium match ammo.
    Viking Arms supplied SK Standard, Match and Long Range variants for more detailed reviewing. All use a 40-grain round nose lead bullet with a delicate greasy feel but no excess wax. Average velocities in the CZ were 1071 FPS for Standard (extreme spread 10 FPS), 1079 for Match (ES 19 FPS), and 1127 for Long-Range (ES 14 FPS). The latter was clearly supersonic and although effective on targets at intermediate ranges, lost out to both subsonic examples at longer ranges beyond 200m. Although initially slower, these never suffered dropping back into the supersonic/transonic flight regions. It was also interesting to note that these bullets performed differently at the critically variable 0-5 °C temperature ranges through the test period, where the speed of sound is variable too. In the end, SK Match proved time after time to be the front
    runner over ELEY and RWS supersonic variants.

    Running the Rifle
    Bolt manipulation was light and fast with zero distraction from point of aim. The ability to reload quickly without disruption was appreciated, allowing shot strings to be performed more
    rapidly in consistent wind intervals. It was appreciably non-disruptive in awkward improvised shooting positions, where the slight rearward balance point left the gun pressed into the shoulder and feeling like it was 'part of you'. The inherent consistency of performance and the ability to spot and dial accurate corrections for downrange wind conditions at ranges out to
    305m allowed me to enjoy every aspect of shooting the rifle, with excellent head support.

    In my opinion, CZ has demonstrated superb execution. Although perhaps not the rifle
    for everyone, it is a perfect example of a focussed design that meets or exceeds every one
    of its marketing parameters. It has actually introduced me to a whole new world of technical
    shooting challenges which I intend to continue pursuing. One of my all-time favourites for nearly every reason.

    PLEASE NOTE: This is not the full review. The full review can be found HERE.


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