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AIRGUN HUNTING IN PATAGONIA

by Mountainsport Airgun Magazine & Claudio Flores


Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains, as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands East of this Southern portion of the Andes. The weather in the Patagonia is very extreme and unpredictable with generally lots of wind and very cold temperatures. The Patagonian landscape is breathtaking with its vast rolling hills that head into the more rugged mountain peaks.

patagonia

Patagonia is one of the most extreme places to hunt in the world and offers a wide variety of game such as llama, Fox, Hare, Rabbit and Beaver to name a few. The best time to go hunting here is in summer, the wind is not so strong, the temperature is not as extreme and they have daylight until about 12:00 at night unlike the winter, when it gets dark at 4:00 pm. For the people that live in Patagonia, hunting is life and becoming very popular for Airgunners such as Claudio Flores.

Claudio Flores

Claudio is a 35 year old native to Chile that has enjoyed hunting with Airguns for over 15 years. He is what you may call an extreme hunter and one that doesn’t let a cold, windy day keep him from the thrill of the hunt. Claudio hunts a variety of animals, one of which is the giant Beaver that can reach weights up over 60 pounds.

Claudio Flores hunting

 In 1946, the Argentinian government imported fifty beavers from Canada, which were to be released in several lakes with the intention of creating a commercial fur trading industry. Though a viable industry ultimately failed to materialize, the introduction of the beavers into the region has had far-reaching consequences. Tierra del Fuego National Park in Argentina is especially threatened, as the beavers are destroying long-protected trees. The animals have spread beyond Tierra del Fuego itself into the Brunswick Peninsula of Chile, and the government fears further penetration into continental South America. The beavers already threaten around sixteen million hectares of indigenous forest. Unlike many trees in North America, trees in South America often do not regenerate, ultimately destroying the forest. As well as falling trees, beavers create dams that flood certain areas and thus drown other trees and vegetation. Flooding from beaver dams also damages roads and cattle-grazing pastures.

patagonia roads

Claudio hunts all year long but generally hunts Beavers during the warmer months as it makes reaching these areas much easier. As you can see (below) the areas are vast and offer many places that offer great habitat.

beaver hunting

These Beavers can be very difficult to hunt due to the fact they are very skittish animals and sometimes are very hard to spot, sometimes having to wait hours for one to show itself. Claudio has taken quite a few of them over the years and has found the Airrifle is a great tool for hunting them. Here is one that was taken with a .25 FX Impact at 76 yards(below)

beaver hunt

Patagonia has many other animals to hunt and some of Claudios favorites include rabbits and hares. This landscape offers excellent habitat to sustain very large populations and too make for some great eating. Over the past several months I have become very close to Claudio as more than just a team member, but a good friend. When Claudio was asked to become a team member of American Air Arms it was truly a blessing for us both. American Air Arms went a step above and sent Claudio a very special gun for him to use on his hunting adventures and to document them through video and photographs. Claudio and his son Dan make some great videos along with mind blowing photographs that I hope the world can enjoy. Here is his .357 Slayer

.357 Slayer

Generally Claudio does a review of all his rifles and makes it public on his YouTube channel “Chile Patagonia Airguns” where he gets to let the world know what he does with these guns in Patagonia.  Hunting is his passion in life as well as working hard as he can to enjoy it.  Weekends are always reserved to go practice with his 13 year old son Dan and to show him a little about extreme hunting.

patagonia hunting

Claudio and his son hunt together often as well as Dan helping with the excellent film and photographic footage they have achieved in the past. The American Air Arms .357 Slayer arrived to Claudio after a long 15 day hold in customs, from there it made it’s way to his home where it was fitted with a Schmidt&Bender scope and Accu-Tac SR-5 bipod.

claudio .357 slayer

After spending a day with the gun and getting it zeroed in, he was ready to take the .357 Slayer on its first adventure into the Patagonia wilderness. Claudio and Dan spent some time driving around until they found a good location that had a good population of rabbits, hares and Fox. Most of these are far within reach of a gun such as the .357 Slayer that was slinging 129 grain Aeromagnum hollowpoints at near 960 fps. Claudio was sad for the night before his cousin had a Fox kill two of his beautiful cats and 12 chickens, so he set out in trying to finding it. In Patagonia the foxes are very harmful, the problem is when they get into the village and start being a threat to the integrity of the family you have to make the decision and control them. Dan was the first to spot a rabbit at 202 yards, this was correctly measured with the Bushnell Elite rangefinder. Claudio had the slayer zeroed at 50 yards and had to correct the turret 8.5 mills according to his table of measures, while Dan was looking through his Steiner binoculars telling his dad to stay focused. After several moments Claudio took a deep breath and fired. They looked at each other for a span of 4 seconds and then it was a scream that you could imagine was heard throughout the city. 

.357 slayer jackrabbit kill

Claudio has had many of the best high end Airguns Airguns and is now a firm believer in the true power of a big bore Airrifle when it comes to long range. He has stated that when you shoot a big-bore, everything else seems small such as the .22 and .25 as he’s used to hunting with.
Over the rest of the day Claudio was able to bag several rabbits at 75,95,125 and 202 yards.

rabbit kills with .357 slayer

Patagonia is one of the most beautiful and unforgiving locations in the world that does too offer many unique hunting opportunities for Airgunners. I hope to visit very soon and to meet up with Claudio and Dan, joining them on one of their many adventures that at the least can be brought to you here.

 

 

 

 

 

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HUNTING WITH THE .22 SUMATRA CARBINE

The Sam Yang Sumatra 2500 is a powerhouse of an Airrifle in almost any configuration considering it’s ability to generate high muzzle velocity with heavy pellets. The rifle is powerful, but not a real efficient system as it uses a lot of air per shot on high power (it’s better about air use when dialed down) Yes, you can turn this thing down so as to get more shots. The .22 will sling a 43 grain Eun-jin pellet 1000-fps so John had chosen to use some 52 grain custom swaged pellets he had made specifically for this gun. The shot count on low settings is near 50 and on high power near 23 although some tuners such as Will Piatt are getting these to be much more efficient on air consumption.

Johns sumatra 2500

The Sumatra’s total weight with scope was a bit over 10 lbs making it a fairly heavy hunting rifle, especially for hiking around all day. I will say the under-lever design along with the well finished stock really makes the gun look sharp. The magazines are a rotary design, and pellets are loaded from the front (note) they do tend to fall out if you have some loaded in your pocket. This rifle is loud even at the lower power setting, so John contacted  Neil Clague to outfit him with and LDC to quiet the bark down to an appropriate level. With the LDC attached it does increase the overall length of the rifle, but well worth it making the gun nearly silent.

john shooting sumatra 2500

John was able to get very good accuracy with the rifle out to 60 yards being able to continually hit the same target with 1″ groups using his preferred ammo. The Sumatra is a great repeating rifle that’s fairly easy to operate and shoulders nice considering its weight and feels very sturdy and solid. After several days of getting the rifle set up and sighted in we had decided to take it out for some Rabbit hunting in the Mojave desert. John and I set out early that next morning and arrived near 8:30 am to a spot I hadn’t hunted in quite some years, but did offer some good Cottontail populations.

Hunting Mojave

After arriving and filling our guns we set out a ways North where the terrain was quite rocky with low knee high sagebrush that made great habitat for Cottontails and Jackrabbits.

Hunting area in Mojave Desert

It didn’t take long for the both of us to spot a few Jackrabbits, but unfortunately they were at quite a distance away making it difficult to get close enough to present good shots. After walking around for about an hour, spread 50 yards apart, I came around a corner of a rock face and spotted a good size Jackrabbit at near 60 yards that presented me with a good head-shot using my .22 Marauder.

.22 Marauder Jackrabbit kill

After taking a short break I decided to sit up on a rock that overlooked a good portion of our hunting area and too provided me a good view of John’s location.

John hunting in Mojave Desert

I sat for several minutes watching him almost certain he would flush a Cottontail from the nearby rocks and sure enough I heard that distinctive THWACK. John was able to get a great head-shot on a fleeing Cottontail at 30 yards, and it was very exciting to witness from my vantage point.

John's Cottontail kill with Sumatra .22

I soon after made my way down off the rock to congratulate John, and too was able to take some photographs to document his successful kill. Upon inspection of the Cottontail I noticed the large entry and exit holes that made way through the head and out the back of the shoulder, this Sumatra does pack a punch.

Cottontail kill

By this time it was getting later in the day, and we had a good amount of driving ahead to get home so we decided to call it quits. This was just one of many trips I have planned, and can’t wait till the next. Overall I think the Sumatra is an excellent choice for someone looking for versatility, power and accuracy from an Airrifle. I normally am not a fan of Korean guns but after shooting the Sumatra I have to say I was pretty impressed with its function in the field. Anyone looking for an entry level type PCP rifle I think should take a serious look at this rifle and the few unique features it offers. The gun is near ready out of the box but does require a few additions to make it more user friendly such as these enclosed items.

 

 

 

 

 

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DOUG NOBLE .257 AIRFORCE CONDOR

Many who are fans of the Airforce Condor platform of Airguns are most likely familiar with the name Doug Noble. Well known for his design and development of the components that modify these rifles to perform at long ranges, some well over 1000 yards. Doug’s Condors are near the ultimate of custom  airguns and their isn’t much room for improvement I might add. The guns he builds shoot like lasers and too are as quiet as a mouse with his custom built shroud design. He has spent years and countless hours building and testing his own guns for the pure love of shooting them. Along the way he has shared his results very openly to help others achieve they’re goal, and on occasion will build one for a customer. I have had the privilege to shoot several of his many guns and will say they truly are unreal in performance and quality.

Doug Noble .257 Condor

His .257 Condor shoots out to 400+ yards with ease with 70 MOA adjustments. (shooting from bench below) 300 yard steel plinkers.

shooting area

Doug Noble targets

Doug’s .257 has a 32″ 1:14 TJ Enterprises barrel and it runs one of his custom .257 valves in a tank adapter with a 62 ci tank.

.257 barrel

tank adaptor
Doug does most all of his own work and design including machining the .257 barrel and too the one piece bushing to go along with it.
Here is one of his custom made a cocking knobs and hammers.

condor cocking knob

condor hammer

The .257  uses a hammer cocking setup were the hammer clocks the gun instead of the breech. The breech on this rifle is aluminum and is just open and shut load design.  There are some interesting things that happened with these Airforce valves as they are a unique valve design for an Airgun. Here is one of Doug’s custom valves on the (left) compared to stock valve, as you can see his is much larger and created for more power and efficiency.

Custom Valve

On a .257  or .25 you can port all you want. .257/.308 valve has a 49 lb return spring. He says that you could use a smaller one on .257 but he got to a point where he was tired of experimenting so a .25 valve will work with almost no spring.
Here are some of his numbers he has achieved.
-3300 psi fill gets shots in the 1080’s with 74 gr Lyman. With 102 gr slugs it is in the 960’s.
-3950 psi fill gets shots in the 1140’s with 74 gr Lyman. He got 1060’s with 93 gr.

Here is a stock condor stem on the left along with his .25, .257, and .308. The opening is where the air comes in the valve then goes to the ports in the stem. He uses three ports instead of the two Airforce uses for ease of manufacturing.

Doug Noble stem

Doug has stated that for good accuracy its very important to size and weigh each slug, as Airguns don’t have the energy that a firearm has. If a slug is to large it takes away a lot of fps and you will end up with the base not being flat from trimming in the barrel. He only size’s .0003″ over on his .257 and it shoots dime size groups at 1080 fps. Too, barrels don’t lead up as bad either with proper sizing. This is Doug Noble’s designed .257, 91 grain super slug made by nielsenspecialtyammo.com . If you have a .257 capable of shooting this awesome slug it is definitely worth trying out.

.257 ammo

These Airforce Condors are excellent rifles to modify into the .257 for not only target shooting but long range predator hunting as well. Here is a Coyote taken by Tofazfou at 120 yards with his custom .257 with some of Doug’s ideas. If you get a chance to please check out his blog with the provided link, some very good reading.

Cedric Tofazfou

As you can see, the .257 is a great long range tool but as anything can only get better with more experimenting. In one of our next issues we will take a look at one of Doug’s other customs such as his .338 that he used in the 2016 Extreme Benchrest where he was hitting silhouettes at 550 yards.

 

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FIRST LOOK AT THE EVOL TAC

American Air Arms designs always start from a clean slate and are never just another example of the industry standard. They are engineered to meet a specific vision, purpose and performance goals before any chips hit the shop floor. When the vision and purpose are clear, the performance goals are analyzed and found to be reasonable and attainable, only then can the actual design begin. This philosophy is what makes the guns lean, clean and gives them the exceptional effectiveness, performance and purpose they are known for. The creation of the EVOL TAC was first just a great idea out of pure LOVE for Airgunning and the need for the ultimate in performance and durability. The EVOL’s  first rendering was putting the idea into a usable format that could be changed and adjusted before the actual rifle was ever built.

evol rendering

American Air Arms products are designed using 3D CAD and manufactured on state of the art CNC machining centers completely in the USA. This is one of the first early model prototype EVOL .30 TAC’s that’s been outfitted for field testing.

evol .30 tac

This rifle has been outfitted with the Magpul PRS buttstock, Magpul MOE grip,  Magpul AFG foregrip, Magpul RSA QD sling mounts, nylon/neoprene sling, Burris Tactical 30mm scope mounts and a Hawke Frontier 5-30 Scope. The total weight is 10lbs 4 oz. PRS buttstock with the RSA QD picatinny mount. The PRS is a fixed stock with adjustable pull and cheek riser.

magpul buttstock

This stock is much heavier than collapsing or folding units, though it is very rigid and doesn’t rattle around as some others may. RSA Quick Disconnect mount on the lower makes adding a sling both simple and adjustable. The amount of components available for this platform are nearly endless and can meet just about anyone’s needs.

evol tac sling

Lot’s of Airgun shooters are going to feel a sense of “Home” when handling this rifle. It’s really a testament to Eugene Stoner’s AR-15 design; the EVOL effortlessly fell into the AR form. I love the big bores but have been bugging Tom for two years to build something like this. I’m not sure if Tom Costan will agree but I think he surprised himself, it came out nicer than he imagined.

Tom Costan with evol .30

I have shot both guns at the Extreme Benchrest and to be honest the whole time I kept thinking about how great the TAC version would be to hunt with. Both the TAC and tradition EVOL rifles are very lightweight and as the SLAYER are near indestructible. The side-lever design is beyond a pleasure to use and will make follow up shots a breeze when hunting.

evol 30 next to ar15

The EVOL is shooting very consistently at 890 fps with the JSB 44 grain pellets and too a very unique feature is that the magazine has been designed to accommodate Polymags as well. This is the trigger group for the Slayer Hi-Power Rifle and EVOL Sport Carbine models.

evol trigger group

It’s a package type unit that is adjusted before assembly into the action. It too is also possible to adjust once installed as well.
Features:
-True two stage.
-Wire EDM cut and heat treated tool steel sears.
-First stage pull weight.
-First stage position.
-Second Stage pull weight.
-Second stage break.
-Over-travel
-Pull is adjustable from 2 lbs to ~ 4 oz

All EVOL model rifles are regulated to deliver consistent shot to shot velocity and maximize shot count.

evol regulator

The side mounted gauge and foster fill was the solution to many complaints and concerns with the end of tube placement. The magazines are very similar to the EVOL‘s big brother the SLAYER in being all aluminum and self indexing holding 8 rounds. The barrels twists were selected for long range performance with the intent of eliminating spiraling past 100 yards.  Several rates and land configurations were evaluated as well as some “name brand” barrels.  The twist rates are designed around pellets and are NOT suitable for slugs.  The goal for EVOL’s is the most ergonomic, consistent and accurate pellet shooter available while optimizing performance for the most common commercially available pellets.

Action Side Lever Regulated Rotary Magazine Rotary Magazine Rotary Magazine
Single Shot Tray Single Shot Tray Single Shot Tray
Barrel Length 18 in 18 in 18 in
Caliber 0.218 in 0.250 in .300 in
Twist 1:19 in 1:32 in 1:42 in
Physical Weight* 7.0 lbs 7.0 lbs 7.0 lbs
Length w/ moderator 39in 39in 39in
Length wo/ moderator 35in 35in 35 in
Lenght of Pull 14.0 in 14.0 in 14.0 in
Performance Power 20 – 40 fpe 40 – 60 fpe 80 – 90 fpe
Shot count 200 – 100 ~60 ~36
Trigger Pull < 0.5 – 4.0 lbs < 0.5 – 4.0 lbs < 0.5 – 4.0 lbs
Reservoir Capacity 290cc 290cc 290cc
Max Fill Pressure 4000psi 4000psi 4000psi

* Tactical weight with Magul MOE Buttstock.

EVOL .30 TAC

EVOL Sport Carbine Features:

1 Titanium reservoir
2 Internally adjustable regulator
3 Hammer forged chromemoly, tensioned and shrouded barrel system
4 Quick and easy side lever action
5 Self indexing rotary magazine (all aluminum design)
6 True two stage trigger (position, first and second stage, pull, and stop are adjustable)
7 MIL-STD-1913 Picitinny scope rail with 25 MOA included
8 600px-Canada_Maple_Leaf.svg SSG anti-bounce hammer system
9 Rear velocity adjuster
10 Industry standard QD Foster fill connection

 

Quality cannot be obtained without understanding the limitations of manufacturing with modern technology; every American Air Arms Airgun is a combination of vision and technology combined with passion for old world craftsmanship. An American Air Arms Airgun will exceed  expectations, provide exceptional service, pride of ownership and one that will be shared with future generations.