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Coyote Hunt with the .25 Cricket

Marley and I packed Jeep and left the house by 3:00am Friday morning to meet Nick in the high desert of Southern California. As we made our turn off the highway onto the long dirt road we were already met by several Jackrabbits running across the road dodging our headlights, Marley was already excited although she had no idea we wouldn’t be after Jackrabbits today. We arrived to our location a bit early to set up the camera gear  etc, where we were soon met by Nick from Nielsen Specialty AmmoNick arrived and the plan was for us to hike in about a mile to an area I had previously scouted and had even taken a Coyote several years ago. This area had many fresh tracks along with several dens that are heavily secluded through the jungle of tall Joshua Trees. The morning was a bit warm and unusually calm as it frequently is very windy here. As we made our way East from the vehicles the sun was just coming up, absolutely stunning area to hunt.

Coyote hunt

Nick and I walked very slowly as we weaved through the thick jungle that can easily be disorienting if not familiar with the area. These Joshua trees are amazingly beautiful and are really the heart of this desert in providing cover for many animals including the Owls that haunt the area at night where they hunt Jackrabbits, Cottontail, Kangaroo field mice as well as other small rodents. Marley and I moved a bit ahead of Nick to video and photograph the hunt for some future video’s.

Nielsen Specialty Ammo

The area I chose for use to make our stand was surrounded by dens and areas where I have seen many Coyotes resting from the sun during the day. Nick set up his caller about 35 yards South of where we were sitting up against several thicker Joshua Trees and small sagebrush. Nick and I decided that a Jackrabbit distress was the most natural prey Coyote’s would encounter here so he set his caller for that at a medium/high volume. As soon as the caller started Marley’s ears perked up that obviously got her attention as an avid hunter herself, very realistic sounding. We all sat up against the thick backdrop of foliage and waited anxiously to spot some movement.

Nielsen Specialty Ammo

Within about 5 minutes a Coyote rushing in from our right, the problem was we had one short 4′ tall Joshua Tree in our line of sight not only from us but from the camera. These Coyote’s don’t stand still for very long, I was manning the camera and unfortunately Nick had no clear shot.

Nielsen Specialty Ammo

The Coyote soon ran off followed by another that I noticed was hiding behind some thick bushes. Wow was my heart pumping, I know Nicks was too because he had that look of excitement. We were both surprised as to how fast the Coyote’s came in as well as how close to us they were. This was Marley’s first Coyote hunt so she was a bit caught off guard seeing we were hunting dogs, not sure what she thought. As Nick and I sat a bit more attentive to another close encounter we continued the caller and within about 15 minutes we spotted another Coyote rush in from our right side, this time stopping just out of my line of sight leaving Nick with a good opportunity.

Nielsen Specialty Ammo

40 yards

Nick took the shot around the 35 to 40 yards with a mil dot hold under releasing a 38 grain HP swaged slug right behind it’s left shoulder. The hit was very solid and you could see the Coyote move its head back trying to bite the impacted area. It took off quick so we waited a few minutes before looking for a blood trail. As we searched the area we only found one small wet spot where the coyote was shot and started walking the direction it took off.  Around 60 or so yards we stopped to see if we could see any blood and then spotted the Coyote laying about 10 yards from us dead as a door nail.

coyote hunt airguns

This was a smaller healthy looking Coyote with a nice coat for this time of year in the super hot desert. This was Nick’s first Coyote taken with a .250 NSA slug, I was very impressed with performance of this ammo as well as his tuned KalibrGun Cricket. These are accurate slugs and a great choice for hunting with .25 cal PCP air rifles.  Swaged from pure lead to give excellent expansion for effective and responsible hunting.  This pellet is sized .250 with a 2S hollow point nose and flat base, 38.0 grains and the KalibrGun Cricket launches them at 880 fps. The gun has a larger plenum and the regulator is set to140 bar. Charlie at Georgia Air Guns sells the plenum that is a major upgrade in power to the rifle.

.250 with a 2S hollow point nose

NSA .250 with a 2S hollow point nose

airgun coyote hunt

After we took several minutes calming down from the excitement, taking some video and photographs we headed back to our stand where we continued to call for another 20 minutes or so before heading back to the vehicles. The trip was a great success already and was very pleased with the experience and footage I gathered sofar. By this time it was approaching 8:00am so we decided to move to a different area to try calling in some more Coyote’s. We tried several different locations with no action at all, by this time it was already getting very hot and the sun was pushing down on us fairly hard. Marley, Nick and I continued for the next few hours and ultimately decided to call it quits as the heat was near unbearable, especially for Marley. This was a great successful hunt and am so glad Nick was able to get out and join me, I learned a little and was just happy to spend time with a friend. Here is a link to a short video I put together and have already planned for a full three day Coyote hunt coming up soon.

 

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Three day Adventure Airgun/Bow hunt

Thursday evening I came home from work and started packing the Jeep for a three day long hunt in the high desert of California. The plan was for me to meet with Jon, a gentleman I had met on the popular SCHOUTDOORS forum and who had volunteered to help me with some filming. The next morning Marley and I left the house bright and early for the several hour drive into the desert where we would meet Jon and have him follow us up through the rugged terrain to our hunting spot. Thankfully when we arrived it wasn’t as windy as I had anticipated as well as being much cooler than planned. As we drove into the camping area Marley and I had already spotted several Cottontails as well as some Jackrabbits and Ground Squirrels. This area is very unique as it offers a wide variety of animals to hunt, all within walking distance. We unpacked our gear, relaxed for a bit and then started setting up the camera equipment, guns etc, for a short hunt where I would show Jon the lay of the land. Jon had never used an Airgun before and was primarily used to firearms as well as a compound bow. I offered him to use my custom MK1 .22 carbine pistol that was near perfect for this type of hunting and accurate enough to make shots out past 60 yards. Jon was excited and within several minutes from camp we decided to sit down under one of the many Oak trees that nestles among the large valley with many rock outcroppings and fallen trees, the best natural habitat for the California Ground Squirrel.

hunting cottontail

Within several minutes of sitting I had spotted a good size adult Ground Squirrel sunning himself atop a large boulder at 63 yards. I took aim while Jon maneuvered the camera that we had mounted on a tripod to film the action.

ground squirrel

ground squirrel kill

63 Yard headshot

After I had made the kill on the Ground Squirrel Jon spotted a Cottontail grazing in some grass just under another Oak tree at 45 yards, Jon was able to make a nice head-shot making it his first rabbit kill and his first time using an Airgun. As we moved our locations we spotted another Cottontail that was grazing further up the hill at 40 yards where I was able to dispatch with authority using the .30 American Air Arms EVOL. After a short trip back to camp where Jon decided to pick up his compound bow and some more water for our walk down the hill we set out again.

cottontail hunting

Over the next 20 minutes Jon, Marley and I walked down through the valley that followed a small creek with embankments that many Cottontails like to graze at. The grass near the creek is a bit greener as well as having a bit more cover for them to scurry into in the event they are attacked by predators. As we walked slowly down through a wooded area following a game trail I soon spotted a Cottontail at about 25 yards, perfect range for Jon’s bow.

cottontail bow hunt

cottontail kill with arrow

The arrows he was using were fitted with a large blunt tip that in turn is suppose to simply knock out the rabbit and not penetrate, this one passed through the entire rabbit. As Jon was collecting his kill we spotted another Cottontail that was heading up a hillside towards a large rock outcropping. I was able to make a nice kill at 64 yards that dropped the rabbit just before it disappeared under some rocks, Marley was fast to assist in the recovery.

cottontail kill

As we continued down the creek-side into an area that was a bit more open, almost like a field we spotted another Cottontail grazing. The position of the sun gave Jon a great silhouette to make sight on at what looked to be near 45 yards, impressive with a bow.

bowhunting

bowhunting cottontail

Jon and I continued a giant loop that lead us back onto a road that headed North up a hill and back to camp, by this time it was getting very hot. We made our return to camp where we were happily greeted by Nick, his wife Jessica and three boys. Nick was busy sighting in a few of his rifles and putting the final test on several lines of ammo he has produced.

The one thing I really admire about Nick is his drive for perfection in producing a quality product, he spends hours testing his ammo and is always open to suggestion. Over the next few hours we all relaxed at camp and enjoyed the shade and luxuries such as ice cold water, food and snacks. Jessica his wife was amazing and pretty much fed us all the entire weekend!

 

It was a great fellowship we had and I much enjoyed hanging with Nicks youngest son Josh who did join us on several hunts throughout the weekend.

After several hours of relaxing in the shade I suggested that we take two vehicles and head down the hill several miles to the Jackrabbit hunting area.

This area is huge and offers a wide variety of terrain to hunt in, flat areas, rolling hills and steep mountains. When Airgun hunting where we are trying to keep our ranges fairly close, similar as to what a bowhunter needs. After witnessing Jon’s several kills with a bow I was was excited to see what he was capable of in a more open environment. After parking our vehicles and unpacking our gear we headed East towards the mountains, I usually do this in late afternoon where I walk several miles away from the sun and then turn back into it. By doing this I can usually spot the amber ears of the Jackrabbits that are brightly back-lite by the sun.

As we all made our way East spread about 100 yards apart I was able to spot several Jackrabbits moving through the thicker bushes and tall luminous Joshua trees. As I looked over I could occasionally spot the other guys taking shots on the many Jackrabbits that call this area home.

As I walked I much enjoyed being here, this area is absolutely beautiful and in ways I almost felt like I had been transported back in time to the wild west. The look and feel of this location is unlike any other desert I have visited, amazing how the plants and animals can sustain such a dry climate. As Marley and I continued our slow walk, stopping every few steps to glass for movement I spotted several Jackrabbits at 75 yards in front of us between two Joshua trees. These two had frozen like statues and were near invisible with the perfect camouflage they wore. I had the EVOL .30 loaded with the 44gr Predator International Polymags that I have concluded are just about the best ammo for this type of hunting. They feature a polymer tip in the head of the pellet which implodes into the rest of the pellet, making for a devastating impact. This pellet is also lighter due to its polymer tip that in turn shoots a bit faster, these are not as great for super long range but out to 120+ yards they work very well.

Jon and I continued our walk where we eventually turned around to head into the sun hoping to spot the illusive amber ears, the evening was just breathtakingly beautiful.

As we walked a bit more Jon had suggested that I stay put and he would continue in a short half circle direction hoping to flush several Jackrabbits my direction.

Several minutes went by and sure enough I had a smaller Jackrabbit moving its way casually right towards Marley and I by about 65 yards. I was able to make a nice clean chest shot that sent the Jackrabbit into a back-flip where Marley was quick to make her retrieval.

As we made our way back to the Jeep we had noticed that our second party had left us, figured it may have been to hot or they simply had gotten to many or not enough.

 

I was very pleased with our short little hunt that turned out to be very action packed and successful, too the footage I had gotten of Jon stalking a Jackrabbit was spectacular. As we packed up the truck I took several more photographs and we headed back to camp excited to hear how the others did. The evening was nice and cool and offered some spectacular views of the stars, Nick, Jon and I stayed up late and talked for a bit with Jon and I deciding to call it a night as we planned to get up early and hunt.


This morning we awoke just after sunup and decided to follow the creek down through camp and cross the road where I had previously scouted for Cottontail the day before. We had been expecting Tom Costan from American Air Arms to arrive that morning so had planned to stay fairly close to the road so that we could hear his arrival. As we made way down the creek Jon and I had spotted several Cottontail that disappeared into the treeline and out of sight into the thicker bushes. This area was loaded with rabbits, no doubt one of the best habitats I have ever seen.

We continued down the creek-side path that led us into a giant open field that gave opportunities for much longer shots. As we took a break from our hike we stopped just near the creeks embankment where I soon spotted a Cottontail moving around next to a large bush at 115 yards. I set up the rifles bi-pod and took my shot that sent the rabbit into a backwards flip leaving a loud crack that echoed through the canyon.

 

cottontail hunt

After this photograph was taken we heard the distant crack of a Big Bore Airgun in the distance, figured it was Tom Costan from American Air Arms making his way into the field with his .357 Slayer. Soon enough Tom made his way down through the tall dry grass and across the creek to where we were posting up.

hunting

Tom was excited when we told him of the success we had that morning and was eager to accompany us on our hunt further out into the hills. We now headed Eastward where a large many Conifer trees were, Cottontails usually frequent the base of these areas and offer good opportunities. Tom was able to make a shot on one Cottontail at close to 75 yards that came in a bit low sending the rabbit on the run and into the thicker areas of bushes where we lost sight of it.

This area made way past several of these large trees and then into a more open area with Oak trees and scattered rocks. Jon spotted a Cottontail moving through the grass and up into the many nearby rock outcroppings, this was a great habitat for them.

bowhunting

After Tom had taken several shots getting after some rabbits he made a quick refill with his buddy bottle with a little help from Marley. As he was refilling I had noticed Jon stalking a rabbit so Tom and I decided to quietly continue down the path where we split up a ways so I could photograph.

Tom headed up into the mountains that offered him further shots and was soon to spot several ground squirrels sunning themselves on the many rocks that scattered the area. As he made his way through the rocks he made a beautiful 85 yard head-shot on a ground squirrel that left quite the mess on the rocks using 120gr  Nielsen Specialty Ammo Swaged slug.

slayer headshot

As we hiked further into the mountains we took a rest under a large Oak tree that offered shad and a great location to spot animals moving in the distance.

By this time it was late morning and the heat of the sun was starting to beat down on us pretty hard, especially Marley. We rested for about 20 minutes while glassing the vast valley for any visible movement, very little mount of activity other than birds as it was simply by this time to hot. We all stuck fairly close together on the way back as we headed down the other side of the mountain where we followed a trail that ultimately would return us to camp. As we made our way back I could see several rabbits in the distance scurrying in several directions, one made its way right in front of Tom at 40 yards where he was able to take it out even considering a small bush was in his way.

After lunch we headed down the hill where we had planned to do some long range shooting with the Slayer as well as some photography work I was doing with several other products. The area we drove to was only several miles down the road and offered a nice shaded area to park as well as ranges out to several hundred yards.

We had set up a soda can at 100 yards, eggs at 175 yards and a 3″ spinner at 250 yards that offered all of us some good challenges, especially in the wind. Tom was first to make some shots and make it look easy with the .357 Slayer, well he should have considering he built the entire gun from the ground up. The eggs were by no means easy in the wind, luckily Jon had brought his high end spotting scope that helped very much in identifying the shots.

After annihilating a bunch of eggs Tom turned his sights on a very challenging 3″ spinner that was set out at 250 yards, pretty hard to see at that distance.

Both Tom and I took turns with the gun and with some practice were able to consistently make hits, even in the wind that was swirling at times. His Valdada IOR Recon 4-28X50 scope is a beast and one of the nicest long range scopes I have used, perfect match for the Slayer.

We all had a great time shooting, John even had brought his .22 rifle that he had a great time shooting.

As the guys continued shooting I decided to set up the Kalibr Cricket .25 bullpup with the new Side-Shot phone mount that’s a great new product that allows you to shoulder the rifle like normal and look through scope while still recording. The kit comes with 1 complete Side-Shot, 1 Scope clamp of your choice (3 scope clamps are in the picture to show different sizes, comes with 1 clamp) in 1 inch (25mm), 30mm or 34mm size (to fit scope tube size) and 1 stabilizer bar (plastic piece that snaps onto your scope and dampens vibrations) Side-Shot is a universal phone adapter that holds your smart phone securely and adjusts to different phone sizes and brands so you don’t have to keep buying more holders each time you get a new phone. Its quick change system lets you switch from one gun to the next in seconds.

This  Kalibr Cricket .25 bullpup is set up to shoot .25 38gr NSA slugs at near 880 fps making this gun quite the hammer. I was setting up this gun to use for my hunt that afternoon and evening, hoping to capture some action on video. This is the first time I had really ever used any type of scope-cam and was very pleased with how easily everything went together. After I set the gun up I set out into the nearby field and immediately spotted several Jackrabbits. The cant was a bit off adjustment but I can see with a bit more time in fine tuning this may be the ultimate setup for recording.

I spotted several Jackrabbits and most were on the run after they spotted Marley, she chased a few after I had taken several shots. These Jackrabbits are amazingly fast, especially out in the open as they were here. I much enjoyed playing back the action on my phone and can see I will be using much more of the Side-Shot on future hunts. I think its really good for me because I can easily record and send to email, Facebook or even directly to YouTube. After making some very unsuccessful shots in the extreme heat of the day Marley and I made way back to the Jeep for some water and to join the other guys for our continued long range activities.

We all had a great time and felt a little more confident with our shooting skills after the several hours spent practicing, the 250 yard spinner was a ton of fun and really shows what Airguns are really capable of. The footage we got was impressive! We loaded up the vehicles and headed back to camp where we really just sat and relaxed until about 5:00pm when it started cooling down a bit, the high for the day was 112 degrees, much to hot to be out hunting. As we drove down the hill the plan was to follow a small Jeep trail that headed East up into a very remote part of this desert. I had previously found the area on Google Earth and had noticed it being a little greener that may have indicated some sort of water source.

Tom took off up into the valley a bit ahead of us where he soon made a beautiful 105 yard shot on a good size Jackrabbit, you can see in the photo just how close the Jackrabbits fur matches the ground cover.

Jon, Marley and I continued several hundred yards next to Tom following the many animal trails that were covered in tracks, this area was very active. We made our way into a field that seemed much greener just as I had seen on Google Earth and almost immediately spotted several Jackrabbits. I set my sights on one at 75 yards that had froze like a statue next to several bushes just long enough to make a great shoulder shot.

The .25 Cricket is a great bullpup for offhand shooting and has a ton of power to push the NSA 38gr slugs nice and flat for longer range shots.

As we continued our hike through the desert Tom continued his own busy hunt and even managed to get a very large Jackrabbit at 90 yards with a spine shot that dropped that jack on the spot.

 

.357 Slayer Jackrabbit kill using 120gr  Nielsen Specialty Ammo Swaged slug

Jon and I moved a bit further away from each other and I moved towards a strange area that had some sandstone hills with more open terrain with very little vegetation. I saw something out of the corner of my eye like a flash of something big moving, as I looked again I noticed it was a very large Coyote, unlike others I had seen this one almost had more of a winter coat. I tried getting my scope on it and was able to capture some on film but unfortunately it was moving way to fast to take any successful shots. I was caught a bit off guard by the sighting and was a bit disappointing that I had not had a better chance. As the sun moved down a bit more I was starting to see more and more Jackrabbits moving about through the bushes and sandy washes. Marley and I continued to follow the sunset in a slow walk down the sandy wash that led us to an opening where I spotted a good size Jackrabbit sitting next to a Cholla Cactus. I had a nice clear shot at 87 yards that I placed right in the head that sent the Jackrabbit flipping backwards where Marley was able to make a quick retrieval.

Over the rest of the evening we continued to see several large Jackrabbits but I think between all the foot-traffic they had become very aware of our presence in the desert. As we continued back and made our way to the vehicles Marley had spotted a Jackrabbit and gave it a pretty good chase, amazing how fast that little dog is when she is motivated. Over just the past two days she had gotten more action than any other hunting trip I can remember, near 20 rabbits between all of us. We took a break by the Jeep soon accompanied by Tom who had to say his goodbyes and head back home, what a great day we all had. That evening back at camp Nick BBQ some burgers and we had a great time hanging out and reminiscing the great day we had.


It was 4:15am and Marley, Jon and I awoke very early to head into an area I call “The Hills Have Eyes” a very desolate location that offers extreme long range shots. I had hunted here several times before with Tom and we had both always had great luck finding Jackrabbits and Cottontails. The area we parked was near a trail that wrapped around the base of a mountain that overlooked several miles onto the desert floor. It was barley light out by the time we started our long hike that’s terrain can be very unforgiving and rocky. As we made way over the first rise I spotted a Cottontail at 83 yards in the open that gave me opportunity to make an excellent head-shot.

Jon set up his GoPro camera to capture some time-lapse video that we planned to use in the video of this adventure. The morning was fairly quiet other than the distant chatter of a Coyote caller that someone had set out several miles down on the desert floor followed by several large caliber shots followed by silence.

As the sun started to come up over the mountains Jon and I were starting to spot several Jackrabbits moving about, most way beyond 200 yards. I knew most of the shots here may beyond what the Cricket was capable of but still was excited to see what Jon could do with his .22 rim-fire as I knew he had much practice with it the day before. Jon set up his rifle into his tripod that would assist him in making some shots that were out to 300 yards, amazing for almost any type of rifle.

We had spotted several Jackrabbits moving, some were simply lost due to the extreme distance and difficulty to track through the scope with so many bushes, trees etc,. After some patience Jon finally settled in on a Jackrabbit that I believe was just beyond 300 yards sitting next to a bush offering not much more than a sharp black silhouette as a target.

As you can see from the photograph this is an extreme long range shot and very similar as to what we were doing with the Slayer in a previous video we did. I manned the camera and even with a tripod and the friction head cinched down it was still difficult to keep still at these ranges.

After a few minutes of setting everything up Jon took the shot that through a video review took several seconds for it to reach out the 300 yards where it fell just short and to the left by about 8″, still impressive shooting as far as he was.

As it was now approaching 9:30am it was time for us to make our way back to the Jeep and make our way back to camp to start packing for the trip home. As we made way through the mountains and more nearing the vehicle we spotted several Cottontail, one of which we both took shots at with no luck of recovery, even by Marley. As we made out of the mountains and back to the Jeep Jon had spotted several Ground Squirrels that were sitting upon a huge boulder high above us.

With very little energy left to sit and wait for the Ground Squirrels to come back up we decided to call it a day and make our way back to pack up all our camping stuff and head back home. Over the three days we had taken many Cottontails, Jackrabbits, Ground Squirrels and even had a short encounter with a Coyote. For me this one simply just one of the best hunting trips I had had in a great many years and was so happy that everyone had such a great time. I learned a few new things and got to make a new friend out of the whole adventure. Marley and I said our goodbyes and headed down the long desert road left with the exhaustion and memories of another great adventure together. I want to thank Jon for his amazing photography and video work, Nick for his great company and allowing me to use his Cricket coupled with his NSA ammo that worked flawlessly throughout the hunt. I want to thank Tom for coming out and hunting with us and allowing us to do some long range shooting with his .357 Slayer. Over the next few months we plan on doing some more trips and as usual will try our best to bring all the action through video and photos. Enclosed is a video link of our three day hunt I hope you can enjoy

 

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Fun and Gun weekend/hunting and shooting

Late Thursday evening I headed out with Marley several hours North into the secluded NF where I had previously scouted a good area to not only hunt, but shoot. My goal was to spend several days hunting and testing some ammo for not only the EVOL .30 but the .308 and .357 Slayers. After arriving close to dark I found a good place where I was meeting my friend Brent and his 20 year old son who were shortly behind me. After a short wait they had arrived and started making camp in our usual fashion along with a nice campfire to take the chill off our bones through the night.


The plan for us to get up early and to each scout several different areas for Cottontail, Jackrabbits and Ground Squirrels where we would meet up later in the day. I started out about a mile down the road where the foliage was just a bit greener along with a bit of water in the nearby creek. By this time it was about 7:00 am so I still had several hours until my friend Nick and his family arrived to a previously scouted area where we would camp, shoot and hunt for a solid 3 days. I decided to park the Jeep in a nice shady spot and take a long hike into the mountains with Marley and the EVOL .30



After a short hike across a creek and up a steep ravine Marley and I decided to take a break in the shade as it was getting fairly hot, we could hear the many birds such as Woodpeckers and Blue jays staying very active. After several minutes I was able to spot several ground squirrels moving about across a huge fallen tree.


I shot at several coming within inches, even close enough to blow one off the log with the shrapnel of splinters from the impact of the 44gr Polymag. After making some wind adjustments I spotted a good size Ground Squirrel poking his head up from behind the fallen log and just to the left of a small nubby branch.


When the wind had that moment of calmness I was able to make a beautiful 130 yard head-shot that blew that squirrel right off his rocker.


It always amazes me how far a shot really is when I have to walk it, was not easy making our way down the steep embankment and up the other side where we made our way to the giant fallen tree. The tree was massive and for some odd reason had what looked to be several doors someone had cut into it.??


Marley and I made our way around the other side and saw several more Ground Squirrel scrambling away through the broken mess of branches. We headed up from the other side and hiked up a hill where we sat in the shade at 90 yards looking down.


After about 10 minutes of patiently waiting Marley and I spotted several more Ground Squirrels moving about, one even stopped right on top.

The 90 yard shot was fairly easy for the .30 monster I was using so I was able to plug him pretty good as he made his way down off the log.



Marley and I made our way down to document our kills and to move to another spot where we would make way back to the tuck.



We continued down into the ravine and followed the creek back towards the Jeep when I spotted several more Ground Squirrels running up a steep embankment.


The Ground Squirrels seemed to all be invading a large tree that had roots that were protruding the ground from erosion. I sat in the shade while Marley played in the creek, trying to cool off from the Summer heat. I was having a difficult time positioning myself for a shot as the area was very off camber and too was forcing me to shoot near vertically. I finally spotted several and ended up killing the larger one on the right offering a bit larger target at 45 yards.



Marley and I headed a short distance back to the Jeep where we were soon met by Nick and his family. We set up a nice camp along with some EZups that would take the sun off and too offered a cool place for a shooting lane.


Nick was kind enough to set up his chronograph and Lab Radar

We set up several targets, spinners and later on my two friends even brought some heavy steel we set up at 130 yards through the trees.


After a full day of shooting we had a nice campfire followed by dinner, laughs and a few mosquito bites. The night was so peaceful and quiet other than a few Owls and the distant chatter of Coyotes.


Saturday morning came about and I woke up a bit late, being now after 8:00 am where we had expected Tom and several others to arrive throughout the day. Nicks wife was kind enough to make a nice pot of caffeine that I much needed to start my day of adventuring. Marley was so happy just to be outside and able to play stick with Nicks two boys.


Sometime around 11:00am Tom arrived with a .308 and .357 Slayer where him and Nick planned to test several different weights of Big Bore ammo. We had acquired a heavy steel quadrant target that I dragged 250 yards up through the trees, a great challenging target considering the small window it left to shoot through the thick branches.


Tom was using the nielsenspecialtyammo.com swaged 98.9gr .308 going 970 fps, gets out pretty quick and by the end of the day proved to be very accurate.


Later after lunch my friend Brent and his son Brian came to visit us and to tell us about the scouting they had done for Cottontail. My friend Brent is not an Airgunner but him and his son both showed great interest in the Big Bores we had on the table, heck who wouldn’t? Tom eagerly invited them to try them out and they both surly did.




After a bit more fun we took a break and relaxed in the shade talking about hunting, shooting and just having a few great conversations!
Tom sadly had to leave the fun and head back to his desert home so Nick, Marley and I loaded into the Jeep to do some scouting and to meet Craig down the road where he would follow us back to camp. By this time it was near 5:30 when we finally met up with Craig, was happy to see another friendly face join us in the reindeer games. Marley and I went out on another short hunt not far from camp where she was able to tackle herself some dinner down near the creek, a small Cottontail to be exact. That little dog is as amazing as they come and has brought so much joy into my life having such a good little companion as her. That evening we had more laughter along with some tasty chicken cabobs Nicks wife provided.


The next morning I woke up fairly early and headed up the hill to visit Brent and his son Brian and see how they faired with the opening day of cottontail season. They ended up getting one Cottontail not far from our camp using a shotgun at 30 yards on the run. I wish I had taken my camera but unfortunately did not. We all made way back to camp and enjoyed the shade from the EZup along with plenty of water that is so important on such hot days, especially when hiking around. I had suggested going on a Ground Squirrel hunt and Nick and Craig were both eager to attend. We packed our gear and brought plenty of water where I had planned to set them up near where I had gone the day before.

                                                                    Nick with his .25 Cricket
I set them both up about 50 yards apart where they both had some good view of the adjacent hillside.

                                                 Craig with his .25 Vulcan 

After several minutes Craig and I could hear the solid crack of Nicks .25 Cricket smacking a Ground-squirrel as it made its way up a fallen log. Nice shot at what looked to be about 35 yards or so. I sat with Craig for about 20 minutes before Marley and I decided to take a hike and circle back around to camp, I had hoped to find more active areas but the heat was taking its toll on us both. Craig had left not to long before Marley and I arrived back at camp, was hoping everyone would have better luck with hunting but it really was very hot. That evening Nick and I set out again where his son was able to spot a good size Cottontail at 35 yards sitting under a bush, hidden very well I might add. Nick took a great shot that put that bunny down with authority. Marley was happy to retrieve and was even allowed in the photograph.  ;D


Nick and his boy headed back to camp and Marley and I continued along the creek-bed when just before dark I was able to spot a small Cottontail at 45 yards just at the edge of the embankment.

                                                 American Air Arms EVOL .30
Marley and I had a great finish to a long weekend and were both super tired, we slept great that night. The following morning we got up a bit late and started packing up the camp for our long venture home, where we both needed a long hot shower. I thank everyone who attended and am embarrassed because I forgot some names and was not as organized as I usually am with photos. I have been doing a great deal of filming lately and have not been writing as much as I should, this is what I enjoy and can’t forget the importance of it. Through my writing I hope to not only entertain but to bring the spark of our sport to the newcomers. As some may know I started this online magazine along with my video series that can be found on YouTube, I have put much work into both and really appreciate all the support I have been given.

“The best gun’s the one you’re shooting”

Check our video page for more action and please subscribe!

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Kral Puncher Breaker

by Dana Webb

After visiting the 2017 Shot Show in Las Vegas the United States was introduced to the Kral line of rifles and bullpups. The initial reviews were all very exciting, Krals looked to be a great entry level Airgun that offered many features of even the higher end Airguns. The Krals seemed to flood the market almost overnight, several distributors even had them on pre-order. Soon after the first batch of Krals arrived the great reviews started that in turn made them even more desirable to the consumer, the problem with this was nobody really knew much about the guns other than on the surface and short term use. After several weeks some problems with the guns started popping up around various forums. Several well known tuners had made attempts to modify and remedy the problems, parts, design and materials were obviously not well thought out by Kral, leaving many customers to fend for themselves as far as service and repair. This is just a vague story of the initial problems with the guns and needs not go further. Several months ago a gentleman by the name of Roger contracted the Airgun bug and decided to make his first PCP purchase that happen to be a Kral Puncher Breaker bullpup. Over the next three weeks Roger had spent almost every weekend shooting with an elite group of Southern California Airgunners, one of whom was Ron Stephen.

Kral Puncher Breaker

One weekend Roger showed up to shoot, filled his gun, loaded his magazine with pellets and “TINK”, nothing happens and the gun wont fire. Ron, being a good friend ends up taking the rifle home that day in hopes of fixing it through some help and research through the Gateway To Airguns forum . After a bit of reading Ron soon realized just how many problems he was finding and the unfortunate lack of support from not only Kral but the distributors as well. Ron finally called me and had asked what I knew of the Kral line of rifles and if I knew of anyone that had a good amount of experience diagnosing, fixing and tuning them, thankfully I was able to turn him on to a friend of mine Troy Hammer. Troy is fairly new to the forums but has been working with Airguns for a good many years and had a good amount of experience with tuning them. Troy had recently started his full time career as a professional tuner and is the proud owner of Annihilator Airguns. Over the past year Troy has spent a good amount of time with tuning the Kral line of rifles and really is the only one in the United States that will service them as well as offering several custom parts and upgrades. Don’t hesitate to visit his website and reach out for help, he’s more than happy to talk Airguns.


by Ron Stephen

After having a VERY pleasant and educational conversation with Troy on proper disassembly procedure of this rifle, we got together yesterday to tear down the rifle. I wanted to verify, if in fact, it had the same issue with the broken valve stem…
….  and Oh BOYYYYY did we verify it !

My buddies rifle not only had a broken stem, (Yes,… right at the O-ring groove), but it was also BEATEN TO DEATH ! The broken end of the stem was SO Deformed and “Mushroomed”, it was wedged in the valve like a Rivet! Notice in the pic Troy previously shared (of the factory stem), that the stem is chamfered on the very tip. The stem in my buddies rifle was beaten so badly, that the chamfer is completely gone, and is now severely mushroomed.



The broken tip was stuck so tight in the valve body, I could not pull it out. I had to use a drift punch and hammer inside the valve body to drive it out. It was wedged in there MUCH tighter than I would have ever expected. Upon finding it in this bad of condition, I immediately sent these pics to Troy, to ask if this was what he has seen previously on other broken stems,… or if this was the worst he had seen ?  Not to my surprise, he confirmed that this was the worst he had seen so far. In fact, not only was the Stem beaten so badly, but even the Rear Face Surface of the valve body showed significant hammer impact  damage…

Troy and I both feel that there MUST be more to this than simply a “Weak spot” in the stem, due to the O-ring groove. After inspecting the broken pieces, We both feel that there must be a “Bad Batch” of stems, that were Not Properly Heat Treated,… and inevitably made it into the assembly of these rifles from the factory. I tested this theory using a VERY FINE Jewelers Hand File, and I feel our suspicions are spot on. With just a couple of very light strokes of the file on the broken stem’s tip, it was quite evident this was Very VERY SOFT Steel. It basically felt like I was filing on soft butter ! No way could this material EVER stand up to several thousand strikes of a hammer. It is NOT a matter of “IF it will fail”,… it is truly a matter of WHEN it is GOING to Fail !

I want to take this moment to thank Mr. Troy Hammer of Annihilator Airguns and Tuning for his assistance and patience in taking time out of his day, with my several calls for help. I am looking very forward to receiving his improved and upgraded Valve Stems, as well as field testing some of his other products for the Kral rifles.

kral valve stem

(Top) New Annihilator valve stem

It is guys like Troy, who help advance the development and improvement of our sport. He is not just someone who is looking out for himself… He is a active hunter, shooter himself, and he truly wants to help those of us who can benefit from his personal experience with these guns. He is an asset to the sport, and I am glad to have met him. Hopefully we will have an opportunity one day, to share some trigger time and maybe even a hunt or two !  ;D

THANKS Troy !

 

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2017 SHOT SHOW

We headed out 6 hours to the Sands Expo in Las Vegas Nevada where we would make our visit to the 2017 Shot Show. We were very excited to make the rounds through this very large convention center that had 3 floors of Airgun and Firearm vendors. After a short walk we made our way into the Sands Expo where we checked in and proceeded to try navigating through the mass of foot traffic. The amount of people attending this event was astounding, no doubt making it the most popular gun expo in the world.

2017 Shot Show

Our first stop was at the Airguns Of Arizona booth where we ran into Tony Roman from the popular site Airguns Air Rifles & Pistols as he was checking out  few very cool products they carry.

Tony Roman

Some of the new Daystate models were no doubt in our opinion some of the nicest Airguns of the show as they even attracted some popular faces such as Giles Barry from the Airgun Gear Show. The Daystate rifles are very well made kits that offer quality beyond anything else we had seen. The wood stocks, fit and finish were absolutely top notch.

Barry Giles from Airgun Gear Show

Daystate


Our next stop was over to the Crosman booth where we were kindly greeted by their friendly and knowledgeable staff that were happy to answer questions. I spoke with them about several new rifles such as the Wildfire and the New regulated Marauder field target.

Benjamin Wildfire

The Wildfire is essentially a PCP version of the 10/77 repeater that uses the same trigger and magazine system, but with the addition of a 2000 psi air reservoir. With a low fill up to 2000 psi it is perfect for those looking for a great gun to pair with a hand pump and at a reported 60 shots of .177 caliber pellets. The Wildfire is really going to be a good bridge gun that may bring PCPs into the mainstream market. The SBD system is Crosman’s new silencer design, which allows for an oversize baffle and maximum volume in the chamber without obstructing the shooter’s field of view.

Benjamin SBD system

This will be applied to all of the Gen3 Nitro Piston guns and we think the real reason for the design may have been to solve the cracking issues with the shroud on the older models. We really see no change in the performance of the gun by adding the SBD system other than cosmetics, strength and possibly sound of the break barrel.


Our next stop was to the GAMO booth where we were a bit surprised to not be greeted by anyone, we did spy on the new Swarm Maxxim “repeating” break barrel though.

GAMO Swarm Maxxim

The rifle is a 10 shot repeater that uses a rotary magazine that’s inserted into a slot in the top of the rifle. Each time the rifle is cocked it indexes the magazine and loads the pellet into the breech.

GAMO Swarm magazine loading port

GAMO Swarm rotary magazine

This is a great call by GAMO to create a repeating piston gun but would have loved to see it made as a side-lever design instead of a break barrel. The rifle really isn’t much different than any of the other models as far as overall power or performance, the new barrel design is a bit robust and obviously resembles a large caliber center-fire rifle.

Gamo

The great thing about the Shot Show is to see such a wide variety of Airguns and to find the good and bad in all of them.


The next booth we visited was BEEMAN where we immediately drawn to the new QB-78S synthetic stock rifle.

Beeman QB78S rifle

The QB-78S is an updated synthetic stock version that is designed to allow the use of a bipod, flashlight or laser. The gun is not changed other than the stock and may offer a little more versatility to some of you tinkerers. These QBs are great little guns for the money and no doubt will continue to be top sellers to the entry level and veteran Airgunners both.


After a little more browsing we made out way to the EVANIX booth where we were kindly greeted by Siyoung Lee the managing director of EVANIX. He was happy to show us all of the great guns they had on hand including the new very lightweight semi-auto bullpup.

EVANIX bullpup

The new semi-auto models use recycled blowback to automatically cycle the magazine and load the pellet. Evanix will be the first to incorporate recycled blowback into a modern tactical design.

Evanix bullpup

These new rifles are extremely lightweight and shoulder very well with great fit and finish. The innovation that goes into these guns is very advanced and no doubt is a stepping stone for many other companies in design. The REX pistol was a very neat little gun that looks to offer many features that any small game hunter would be really happy with.

Evanix REX pistol

Overall I have to say that EVANIX has really hit the market this year with some serious innovative products that I think unfortunately were overlooked by a few other hypes. We however will have our eye on them and hope to report some further reviews down the road.


Our next stop was a visit to see the new KRAL ARMS line of rifles that are newly imported from Turkey. These are the Puncher Breaker bullpups that are a bit crude in overall appearance but do offer some good features in .177/.22/.25 calibers.

Kral Arms puncher breaker

Some of the rifles are very sharp looking and the wood looks like fair quality for the price these rifles are going for. The one thing we noticed about the Puncher Pro model was its similar design cross between several guns such as Daystate, Evanix and Hatsan.

Kral Arms Puncher Pro

Kral Arms rifle

The overall fit and finish of these guns is not super and feel like the want of comparing it to a very very nice Hatsan. The Puncher EVO does have some nice bling to it along with some very pretty wood stock designs. I think we will be seeing a ton of these rifles in the next year and can see Kral Arms being a great competitor to the Airgun market.


Our next stop was to check out the Ataman line of rifles that too have been a fairly new import from Russia. They were originally known for building high quality Olympic rifles and have carried the tradition of bringing some new age technology into these rifles. The M2R bullpups and compact rifles are pretty sharp looking and offer some fairly impressive performance. All the models offer built in picitany rails along with good sturdy stocks offered in wood and synthetic.

Ataman M2R

Ataman M2R synthetic stock

The Ataman’s are high end guns but can see some improvement in making some of the edges a little less sharp. The side-levers and magazines are top notch and look as though they have been made to perform and last. These guns are hunters and have a great reputation for being built by the people who use them.


Our next stop was the Hatsan booth where we were very kindly greeted by the ever knowledgeable Cecil Bays from the popular YouTube channel AirGun Scout

Hatsan rifles

Cecil was happy to show us several of the many new models and we were able to get all the information we needed from someone who uses every single model. The newest model is the Bullmaster, a semi-auto bullpup that comes in .177 and .22 and has a 500cc bottle that offers a good amount of shots. The guns semi-auto operation is completely air operated and supposedly is a much more reliable and efficient way in design than some other kits offer.

Hatsan Bullmaster

The gun is very heavy as much all Hatsan’s are, still we can give credit for some creativity in design. The new magazines are surprisingly very well made and all seemed to fit very well.

Hatsan Bullmaster magazine

The Nova may have been a favorite as far as looks but have to say that its very hard to get around the weight of these guns. We think Hatsan needs to lower the overall weight of these guns and spend some more time on the finished metal.

Hatsan Nova

Most of the guns were all very robust and had some design features that are really difficult to make sense of. The fact that Hatsan is putting out so many new affordable models is great in the sense it offers something for almost any application. If Hatsan spent some more time on one rifle and raised the quality of the materials and QC we may see a huge step up because they do have the capability. Will they do it is the question?


The next stop through our massive wave of people was the UMAREX booth where we planned to look at two new models that have really been turning some heads. The first gun we looked at was the Umarex Gauntlet entry level PCP that is planned to retail for $300, a great value for the money.

Umarex Gauntlet

The gun will be offered in .177 and .22 and features a 13-cu regulated Ninja bottle that fills to 3000psi and can easily be filled with a hand pump. They claim 60 shots at 900 fps in .22 and 70 shots in .177 at 1000 fps. The magazine is near identical to the Marauder and self indexes each time its cocked.

Umarex

The comb is adjustable that is a very nice feature along with a shrouded type barrel that is claimed to quiet the gun considerably. The only thing that would have made this gun better would be picitany rail instead of the dovetail. Overall this looks to be a winner of a rifle and tough to beat for the money. The next gun we looked at was the new .50 Hammer that is very boldly claimed to achieve 700 fpe in a 3 shot repeater “pump action”.

Umarex Hammer

This rifle is no doubt very innovative but still very skeptical to being able to achieve the power level claims. ” The Umarex Hammer is a 700 ft. lb. 50 caliber PCP rifle in a compact configuration that will shock airgun hunting enthusiasts with its innovative approach of packing multiple shots with lots of power into a modern and rugged rifle that’s easy to carry and use.” ?? We are definitely shocked. The gun uses a stripper type magazine that moves to the side to load each slug into the chamber.

Umarex hammer magazine

The gun was showcased with a new Umarex ARX ammo that is essentially a sabot type that’s popular in the muzzle-loading world.

Umarex ARX

The Umarex staff was not able to answer many questions such as ammo weight or air capacity for this rifle. The barrel looked to be near 48″ long with some sort of carbon fiber sticker type wrap on it.

Umarex hammer

The thin walled, untensioned barrel may prove to be a serious problem with harmonics when producing 700 fpe. When asked about accuracy the quote was 2″ at 50 yards, good enough for a hunting gun?….The gun looks as though it may be using a large plenum that is housed somewhere near the back of the buttstock that may explain its ease of cocking. A heck of a hammer spring would normally be needed to put out such high numbers. The best guess is this gun may produce high numbers but with only one shot and several using a lightweight conservative slug. The gun does have a curb appeal that includes AR furniture, picitany rails and a fairly lightweight to it. Without seeing more than just a few prototypes we can really only speculate on weather or not the hype is all true or if its just a brilliant way to achieve some much needed publicity. Umarex did bring a good show and does look as though it has created a winner with the Gauntlet model.


Our last visit of the day was to Predator International where we met and talked to Richard Dixon.

Predator International

Richard showed us a few of his new lead free GTO line of pellets that look as though they are a great step in lead free technology. We are a California based company where many of our hunting areas may soon require a lead free alternative due to changing laws. Predator International is on top of the game in providing exceptional products for hunting and target practice.

predator international

We helped ourselves to a few stickers and had a good chat with Randy over at RL Airgun Supply  who seemed like a great guy who enjoyes the sport to its fullest.


The 2017 Shot Show was a great visit and found it as a valuable tool in being able to interact with the companies on a more personal level and to see the faces behind the media that promotes them. The goal for this trip was to make some connections and to try to share some serious truth as to what was seen in the light. All that was mentioned is just our own opinion and applied using the best facts that could be gathered, hopefully it can be taken as helpful.

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Three economy pistols under $100

The need for high end Airguns is always there, but what about for those times you just want to have some fun on a budget? We have found three pistols that offer good value for the money. Over the years we have gotten our hands on a wide variety of BB and pellet pistols and have found them all to be great fun. The nice thing about using BB pistols is they are a bit more economical to shoot along with being easier to pack into a bag and off to your favorite shooting spot. Over the past several years these pistols have become much more realistic in mimicking the function of a firearm. The three pistols we are showcasing are just a handpicked look at whats available to the consumer and we have found them to be nothing more than fun. All three are intended for plinking and not really suitable for any type of hunting, and as always we recommend using safety glasses.


The first gun is the Brodax revolver made by UMAREX. The Brodax is an air-powered revolver featuring futuristic styling along with dual Picatinny rails for mounting a red dot sight, laser or flashlight. This pistol is mostly all lightweight polymer besides the internal parts such as the trigger and hammer. The CO2 capsule is concealed in the frame of the grip as most other similar pistols, and a hex tool for tightening the capsule is integrated into the grip plate to prevent you from losing it. I really like the fact that the safety is conveniently  placed at top of the grip behind the hammer. The pistol came with three 10 shot rotary magazines that are very simple to load with BBs and easily slide in from the side of the fixed cylinder.

Umarex Brodax bb pistol

This pistol is really difficult to beat for the price point considering the features it includes. We tested the speed and were pleased to find it getting very close to the advertised fps of 375 fps and as high as 392 fps. The fact that accessories can be mounted makes the gun a bit more user friendly and fun to use. This gun wont win any precision shooting matches but has enough to put down some cans at 20 yards along with a good amount of shots per cartridge at around 55. Overall this is a really fun pistol that should give anyone a fair amount of enjoyment without breaking the bank.


The second pistol is the Smith & Wesson 327 TRR8 Revolver made by WinGun.  This is a fairly realistic BB revolver that has some good weight to it adding in the realism. To load the revolver you swing out the cylinder where you load the 6 included shells that are each individually loaded with BBs. To remove the shells the gun has a fairly well made ejector rod that’s very similar to a real firearm. The revolver has a 5.5″ barrel and textured plastic grips. This would be a good gun for maintaining firearm proficiency without the cost or inconvenience of going to a range and the cost of expensive firearm ammo.

Smith & Wesson revolver

We shot this gun over the chrony and found it to be fairly consistent at 400 fps as the company has stated and even as high at 410 fps. A few things noticed were the barrel had a slight wobble and the grips could have been designed better as far as removal to insert the Co2. This gun works both double and single action and in honesty could be a bit smoother. The open fiber optic sights work very well and the gun seemed to have fairly good accuracy for a BB pistol. The TRR8 is a tactical pistol and does accommodate a dot sight very well although the rail can be removed if desired. If your looking for a fun, realistic pistol that has features that are close to a firearm this is a good pick for the money.


The next gun and possibly my favorite is the 250XT TAC-BOSS made by HATSAN.  This pistol is an obvious clone of a Ruger MK111 and will say its fairly close in function and feel. The gun has a very sturdy feel being it is nearly all metal excluding the grip frame, grips and the fiber optic sights. The magazine in this pistol drops down just as the real firearm and holds 17 BBs in a stack along with housing the Co2. The latch to the magazine is a very realistic clone of the Ruger, also adds good detail to the function and use of the pistol.

Hatsan 250xt tac-boss

The TAC-BOSS has a beautifully fluted barrel along with the added detail of the side ejector (non-functioning) and a disassembly lever on the back of the grip that does function in removing the bolt. The safety is on the left side of the frame and easily applied with a flick of your thumb just as the Ruger itself.  The pistol is double action but unlike others this one seems to be fairly smooth and light with a fair amount of over-travel that did take a little getting used to. This gun feels powerful and was shooting at the 430+ fps that was claimed on the packaging, with several shots going over 440 fps. Overall this may be my favorite BB pistol as far as ease of use and efficiency in its Co2 consumption, getting nearly 60+ shots per cartridge.


The amount of Air Pistols on the market now days can make it difficult to decide on one that’s right for you. I always try to look at where the good outweighs the bad, coupled with value, function and durability. The three pistols we have featured are just a few examples of what can be found for under $100 and may offer a good amount of use when properly cared for. Over the next year we will be looking at several budget minded Airguns that will offer the consumer a good value for the dollar.

 

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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.

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HUNTING WITH THE CROSMAN MK1 LD

Several weeks ago I had ventured into our nearby NF to an area I have frequented for over 30 years. The past years have been scarce with Ground Squirrels due to hunting pressure and the drought. This area is a popular attraction in the Spring for viewing poppies and several other varieties of wildflowers.

The area I was hunting had many fallen logs and rock outcroppings that make the perfect habitat for the California Ground Squirrel.

After hiking around for awhile I decided to take a break and relax under the large Oak Trees that covered most of the mountains.

While sitting eating my lunch I could see Ground Squirrels running back and fourth between holes and even sunning themselves on rocks and logs. This area has been so frequently hunted that only a small pocket of hunt-able areas have been left. Getting close to these Squirrels would prove a challenge as they are very “skittish” little creatures. My weapon of choice for this hunt was the regulated Crosman MK1 LD with carbine stock, great squirrel gun out to 75 yards.

I watched this squirrel run in and out of the same hole and was able to set myself close within 30 yards to make a nice clean kill.

After taking a break for a few minutes I hiked across a little ravine where I could see some more fallen logs and tree stumps that to me looked like great habitat for Ground Squirrels. The grass was so tall and lush that sitting in it was quite pleasant and too provided good cover for me to crawl closer to a few of the holes I spotted. After about 10 minutes of waiting I saw a few Chipmunk’s moving back and fourth over a fallen tree branch. These little things are lightning fast and have superb camouflage, the only obvious part about them is they’re constantly moving tail. As I sat in the tall grass, 45 yards away from them with a few overhanging branches keeping me in the shade to make my shot.

The Crosman MK1 LD is by far one of my favorite Squirrel hunting guns capable of making shots that some rifles may find difficult. Too, the gun gets near 130+ regulated shots making it great for all day hunts like this one. By this time it was late afternoon and time again to leave this sacred mountain where I felt so much at home. On to the next adventure I hope to share more of very soon!