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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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.30 POLYMAG TESTING & REVIEW

Very exciting to be one of the first to field test the new .30 Polymags,a new product made by Predator International,inc. I received a box that was sent by Dick via Priority mail that made it to my house late Sunday evening just in time for some testing Monday morning.

Dick was kind enough to provide a very nice zippered pouch that I intend to use on future hunts, too are very handy for keeping the tins together. I set out Monday morning for the American Air Arms facility located in the high desert of Southern California where such guns as the .357 Slayer are built and tested. Myself along with the help of Tom Costan decided to start the day by doing some group therapy with these 44.75g beastly looking .30 pellets.

The gun I used for the testing was a custom Evenix Rainstorm with a .30 Tj enterprises barrel that puts out some good FPE. The pellets were shooting at 910 fps and the height of the shot curve,more than enough power to get them out to the 85 yard target.

The day was a bit cloudy with a very slight breeze from the right but offered some pleasant target conditions. I was very pleased with the groups I was getting even though I by no means am a paper puncher.

 I did several 5 shot groups and was beginning to feel confident in the pellets hunting capabilities,having some serious fun watching the plywood get blown apart too. I wanted to test the expansion of the pellets so I used a batch of mud that I had dumped into a plastic jug,figured this may mimic flesh fairly accurately.

The expansion was very massive and had given me the instant conclusion that these pellets would be absolutely devastating on game such as large Jackrabbits and even Coyotes. At this point of the day I decided to head out for a short hunt near our facility where I soon was able to take a Cottontail at 30 yards. The sound these pellets make when they hit bone and flesh is unreal and unlike any other “pellets” I have used.

I was able to make my shot through the neck,out the skull and actually blew off part of the rabbits ear.

The .30 Polymags are definitely a pellet I would trust to use on larger game such as Coyotes and monster Jackrabbits. By the end of the day I was feeling confident that I would no doubt use them out to 100+yards for hunting. I really enjoyed the opportunity I’ve had to test and hunt with these fine pellets,cant wait to use them on some big stuff in the next few weeks. Thanks to all involved and hope to share some more very soon!

 

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The American Airgun Revolution

The Airgun industry is flourishing here in the United States and many have called it the Golden Age for our sport. Many new manufactures are sprouting up across the states, some new and some that have been around for years. Over the past several years I have seen the market for airguns soar higher than before and with that comes ingenuity and growth. The European airguns have been on top of the high end market and I feel as though us Americans have just as much to offer as far as quality craftsmanship. My goal is to show that you don’t need to look overseas to find quality and performance, we have that right here at home.

In no particular order the first company I wanted to acknowledge here is Mac1 Airguns that has been around for over 80 years, 30 of those ran by Tim McMurray. The Mac1 legacy has set some tall standards for quality, craftsmanship and performance. Tim McMurray has earned a reputation for making accuracy and he could not be more pleased about that. “Pushing the envelope is what makes it all so fun I can hardly believe it has already represented three decades of my life as owner. I know how lucky I am to be able to compete with and build these fine airguns. It is icing on the cake I’ve shot fairly well for the last year. Enjoying these guns in a competition environment is exciting and satisfying.” I have gone to quite a few Airgun shows, competitions etc, and Tim is always just one who is always willing to give advice in hopes to help someone succeed.

The Hunter BR is the Ultimate Benchrest Airgun. Barrels are between 24 and 25″ long and all but the usable rifling at each end has been removed. The rear 6″ of this barrel is cut down to around .630″. It sports an American made 6 groove cut rifled barrel made
to Mac1 specs with 1 in 24 Twist Rate (Custom Twist Rates Available). If you wish to play with the Big Dogs you need to go with the good barrels or hope you find the 1 in a 100 barrels made to production standards that winds up exceptional. American barrel makers are the best in the world and we now have a number of them trying their luck in the AG arena. That is a very healthy thing for AG BR and AG accuracy nuts in general.The combination of ultimate build quality and great Airgun Barrel gives these fine rifles the kind of accuracy championships are made of. A plastic hard case is included along with the necessary bolt on parts to set the gun in a proper Bench Rest and bags. Tubes can be 24. 26, or 28″ long in black or clear. Accessories fill adapters and scope mounts are extra. You can have the base plate, tube plug, butt plate and receiver matching color in red, blue, clear or black. This configuration is an upright rifle that the action is inline and grip at Bottom Dead center with Scope rail at Top Dead center. This makes for a more conventional BR gun. Mac1 Airguns


The second company I want to discuss is Wicked Air Rifles, a company that has been around for awhile and too well known for tuning Marauder rifles. Travis Whitney and Jim Gaska have created the FLEX line of rifles that are proudly made in USA and have achieved a very unique market for hunters. I have watched and admired this company grow and explode in the market place as they have some very unique, user friendly rifles and pistols.

These guns are very sturdy looking and the frame is a single piece of aluminum that uses AR furniture. Each gun is hand assembled and tuned to customer satisfaction. Wicked Air Rifles pride themselves on service and will go above and beyond to work with the customers needs. These guns have a rail system that allows easy adjustment of accessories such as a bi-pod or go pro camera. It’s a side bolt design with retracting bolt to move out of air path. No bounce hammer and high flow valve. Changing springs and power adjustments are easy in that the average Joe can work on without difficulty.  The rifle can achieve 20-200 FPE  (depending on caliber selection) Adjustable power levels. Timney Calvin Elite 2 stage trigger group, Carbon fiber bottle, Fully floating Tensioned barrel. Made In The USA!!! Wicked Air Rifles


The next company that holds a special place in my life and too has given me a true look into the Airgun world is American Air Arms. They are mostly known for the Slayer Big Bore Bullpups and Rifles. Founded by Tom Costan, an engineer, avid airgunner, and airgun hunter with a love of all shooting sports. These PCP Airguns are completely and proudly made in the USA with nearly 100% American made materials! All parts (except barrels, grips and bolts) are engineered and manufactured in their own facility using state of the art CNC machining centers.  In-house manufacturing allows them complete control over the quality of they’re product. The 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 their guns lean, clean and gives them the exceptional effectiveness, performance and purpose they are known for.

Some of the noteworthy features of the EVOL are: built in 25MOA, regulated, shrouded and tensioned Tj Enterprises barrel, integral moderator, indestructible side-lever action, 7-9 round magazine (depending on caliber), Match quality two stage trigger (adjustable in every way), and 100% made in the USA!  All calibers have “metal” magazines designed to accept polymags without modification. American Air Arms has described quality as: Excellence in engineering, reliability, precision, purpose and performance.  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. American Air Arms


Our last company is RAW Rapid Air Weapons a company that has set a huge name for itself in quality and craftsmanship. Rapid Air Weapons LLC was formed in 2006 as a supplier of  Precision Air Rifle components and accessories, today they manufacture, as well as supply high quality components and products for the shooting industry from their factory using the latest in CNC multi axis machines. They take building rifles extremely serious, from very early on parts are inspected at each stage to ensure they meet expectations on quality. Throughout the building stages everything is hand inspected before being installed and assembled up into a finished rifle. Specialist tools and gauges check barrel alignment in relationship to the action and scope rail, if it doesn’t pass they’re strict tests it will not leave the factory.  Having over 28 years manufacturing and design experience at Theoben their company CEO Martin has the most experience in the business when it comes to Theoben Products, with this extensive knowledge gained over decades they are able to offer some great products.  Rapid Air Weapons has an impressive line of precision Air Rifles and products manufactured in the USA and an even more impressive collection of trophy’s and medals won by users.

This high power model comes regulated and fitted with a quick fill system with an incorporated pressure gauge, powering the HM1000 is a 480cc air cylinder and a high quality German match grade barrel, finished with an carbon fiber barrel sleeve and integral carbon fiber moderator or barrel weight where required, the rifle comes equipped with a multi shot magazine or it can be single shot loaded, machined into the action is a new style picatinny rail with 22 MOA to give the shooter added ability to zero at longer distances, both picatinny and weaver mounts will fit. The trigger is a fully adjustable sporting version of our TM1000 target trigger with an added safety catch, the stock is made from laminate or walnut and hand oiled for weather protection and fitted with an adjustable butt pad and stippled for a secure grip while in the aim. All aluminum parts are coated for protection and the internal components are hand finished, hammer and trigger parts are hardened and polished for extra smoothness in reloading as well as making for a cleaner firing cycle, the sidelever linkage and bolt have been hardened ready for a lifetime of work. Rapid Air Weapons


The four companies in this read are just my own hand picked example of whats available to the American consumer and shows we don’t have to go European to find quality. For myself I enjoy shooting all types of Airguns but over the past few years have learned I prefer the quality I can find at home in the USA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AEROMAGNUM BIG BORE HUNT

Aeromagnum Aeromunition

On Sept 17th Marley and I left the house at 3:00 am and headed 68 miles North to an area we have recently been frequenting. It was a fairly warm morning, enough so that we left the windows down in the Jeep. Marley is a 3yo Dachshund/Lab mix, the perfect little rabbit dog being she’s small enough to get under the brush but yet strong enough to get through the day of hunting. As we turned off the highway onto the long dirt road heading further North we could almost immediately see Cottontail rabbits grazing right next to the road. Marley was sitting up front with me glaring out the windows excited as she knew we were going hunting.

Several days before I had acquired some Aeromagnum .358 128gr HP Devastator’s made by Al Clark over at Aeromagnum  to try and to give some feedback on. The pellets are hand cast and very well packaged, too upon removal were noticeably uniform. These were obviously very well made and loaded very smoothly. These are among the best ammo I have seen in production cast pellets.  I tried the best I could to hurry up getting ready as Marley was very impatient and kept telling me to hurry up.  ;D

After I loaded up my magazine it was barley becoming light out as I stood in front of my jeep having a smoke before venturing through the gate and out into the giant field. As I went through the gate I could see a Jackrabbit moving slowly out to my right at about 90 yards. I walked quietly trying to get up onto a small hill that I thought may give me a better shot over the brush and too for a better vantage point for a follow up shot. I got to the top of the hill and was able to take a kneeling shot that broadsided the Jackrabbit as he was hopping away. I have to say I have never heard a bone crack like that ever while hunting, It was loud. Marley and I  immediately ran over to the kill site only to see a big mess where I had to boot her away because she was trying to carry it as it was being pulled in half. Pretty gross. As the photograph shows these Aeromagnum hollow points do exactly what they were designed for and achieve maximum expansion.

Marley and I had one in the bag and continued to make our way up into a canyon crevice where I suspected many Jackrabbits were going to be heading through. I have found that crevices like in this photo make great hunting, especially when the sun is to your back.

We sat and  waited till the sun was just up over the hill behind us and soon Marley spotted a fairly large Jackrabbit moving down through the crevice just like I had imagined they would. This one was fairly close around 45 yards. I lined up for a headshot but he had moved behind a bush as I pulled the trigger sprinting his way up the hillside finally slowing down over 100 yards up near some rocks where I was able to connect. I’m still not sure if I hit him or if the shot ricochet off the rocks into him, either way he was down and Marley made sure of it.

By this time it was coming near 9:00 as we ventured up over the mountaintop and down over the other side where the brush was a little more scattered and in some cases easier to see movement. We sat and waited being shaded by a rather small bush but still better than nothing as it was getting hot.

We sat and waited near 30 minutes before I spotted a Jackrabbit hopping down a hillside at 85 yards, he was moving pretty slow and ended up stopping right behind a bush. It gets frustrating because when a Jackrabbit moves you never really know what direction. I had just hoped that he would move out and away from the bush just long enough to make a shot, usually it takes flushing them out that unfortunately leaves you with only a running shot.

I finally saw the top of his head that allowed me enough to take a shot,it looked as though I missed as it quickly moved behind a bush as Marley ran towards to retrieve. I guess its a good thing I had my little bunny Slayer to finish it off. She brought it back and it was clear that I had barley skimmed its shoulder.

By this time it was getting much hotter so I had decided we should head back as it was several hours home. The day turned out pretty good and I’m very pleased with how well we did considering its late Summer and this area is usually not very active for this time of year. I really want to thank Al from Aeromagnum for allowing me some pellets to do some hunting with and giving me something to post about. I would have posted much sooner but have been so busy with work and preparation for the Extreme Benchrest 2016.

Hope to have more soon. 8)

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HUNTING WITH THE .308/.357 SLAYERS

On Thursday June 16th Terry and I set out at 4:30am to make our way several hours North to meet Tom and his son Nick for a two day hunt.We had chosen to get out during the week to allow us to beat the heat wave and to avoid people that frequent the area during weekends. As Terry and I drove down the long dirt road I couldn’t help but to imagine we were in the African Plains going on some kind of wild safari. Part of the excitement for me on trips like this is the feeling of being a kid again,problems and worries just slip away and the thought of adventure takes over. We arrived to find our usual camping area quite empty with the only occupant being a very nice old man who was just traveling through.

He had came over and talked to Terry and I being intrigued by the fact we were using airguns to hunt with. He had even brought up the famous “Lewis and Clark” expedition and was very familiar with the use of the  Girardoni air rifle. I really enjoyed talking to him and to spark someone’s interest in our fine sport. By this time it was 7:15 and we were soon joined by Tom and his son Nick who had decided to join us being he had just gotten on Summer break. The weather was nice and clear with a good solid breeze that kept things cool for most of the day. We all aired up our guns and filled our pockets and gear bags with pellets and water to set out for some Jackrabbit hunting. Terry and I were the first ones through the gate and into the fields where we almost immediately started seeing large Jackrabbits,they were simply everywhere so it seemed. I was using the first prototype .357 Slayer loaded with 127gr pellets provided by nielsenspecialtyammo.com along with Terry who was using his .22 Tapian Mutant Bullpup loaded with his custom made 22.5gr slugs. We hiked around the same locations as our last trip over a month ago that proved to still be full of action after taking 14 of them in two days. It didn’t take long to empty my magazine and exhaust my air supply from shooting at so many Jackrabbits, having a gun that has so much range capability makes it difficult to not shoot at something.      ;D

After an hour or so I had made my way back to camp to get something to eat and to cool off in the shade for awhile waiting for the others to return. Soon Tom and Nick made there way back into camp followed 45 minutes later by Terry, all of them with the same story of  how many Jackrabbits they had seen. Tom had taken a fairly hard fall on a rocky hillside that had knocked his .308 Slayer up pretty good along with his hand. Thankfully he was ok and the gun with only a few noticeable scratches with the zero being questionable. After several minutes of rest I had spotted a large Jackrabbit out in a nearby field, Tom had invited me to use his .308 and take it out as I had not really used it much. The first thing I noticed was the weight difference being lighter with the aluminum shroud and the fact it was a right handed model as I had been used to shooting the left handed prototype. The pellets I was using were 111gr provided by Nick over at nielsenspecialtyammo.com I took the gun expecting to be gone for only a few minutes but being it shot so nicely I ended up being gone for close to two hours. The area I was hunting had many hills that offered amazing views and vantage points to sniper style shooting. The gun was zeroed at 85 yards using a Leapers Accushot 30mms scope with etched glass reticle, one of my favorite scopes for hunting being fairly rugged. The first shot I took felt great with little recoil,similar in feeling to a pellet gun but with much more authority and thump. I was amazed at how flat shooting it was and how much more controllable it felt over the big brother .357 Slayer. The first Jackrabbit I was able to hit was at 60 yards moving through some thick sage,nice solid chest shot that made a clean kill.

Jackrabbit kill .308 slayer

Jackrabbit kill .308 slayer

I hiked around a bit more and found a good spot to sit and rest along with having a good vantage point to sniper a few with the first one taken at 115 yards with a solid hard hitting shoulder shot. The second one was very close to the first only he ran several hundred yards up a hill before stopping towards the top at a little over 300 yards. I gave the gun so much holdover that I couldn’t even see the Jackrabbit in my scope,kinda just guessed but ended up hitting solid throwing him into a backflip where he did the death dance.

I headed back to camp dragging these two kangaroos that get very heavy after hiking with them for several miles,Nick was kind enough to come over and help me get everything over the fence. As I walked into camp my presence had awoken Tom from his afternoon siesta under the giant shade tree. He immediately had concluded that the earlier spill had not effected the POI at all apparently. :o
My feet were sore and the sun by this time was taking its toll making relaxing in the shade seem like the best option along with drinking plenty of water. Terry came back into camp exhausted as the rest of us telling of how many Jackrabbits he had encountered and the few that got away. We pretty much stayed in camp until 6:00pm when we all set back out together to try a new area I had found on Google Earth. The area was about a mile hike South from camp and looked to be very good and one of the few places that were still a bit green.

airgun hunting

We all stayed close together and Tom was the first to make a shot on a Jackrabbit that was foraging in a small clearing,we all stalked the Jackrabbit and eventually all missed him as he disappeared in the thick sagebrush. A few more minutes went by and Tom spotted another running through the sage only to run several hundred yards with Tom and I taking turns trying to hit him. These big bores are simply amazing able to come several feet from hitting a running Jackrabbit at out to 400 yards. The loop we took was several miles through fields and mountains where we ended back at camp by 8:15pm. The night was lit by a full moon and offered us a nice relaxing evening being nice enough to even sleep outside. Later in the night I could hear Coyotes chattering in the distance and a hoot owl perching in the tree above our camp. The next morning had started later than I hoped as we had all slept a bit later than expected being so tired from the day before hunting. Terry and I aired up our guns and set out in close to the same loop as the evening before but ended up going much further. I had spotted a Jackrabbit sitting up in the sagebrush at 25 yards,shot a bit to high only to see a puff of fur from my pellet skimming the top of his head. These Hares are so fast and hard to spot that hunting them can get very frustrating. I can’t tell you how many shots I experience that’s like “How in the heck did I miss?” I followed Terry for a bit as I enjoyed taking pics and to be careful with my air supply and ammo,not having very good luck with any good shots. Terry spotted a good size Jackrabbit at around 30 yards where he was able to connect his shot,from the sound he had hit him hard. The Jackrabbit slowly ran away into some thick sagebrush making it very difficult to find and when you did it wouldn’t stay still long enough to make a shot. We both spent a good amount of time scouring the area to find him with no luck. A few hundred more yards on our hike I spotted a good size Ground Squirrel sitting on a rock that Terry was able to take at 35 yards.

Terry and I kept hiking higher and higher up into the mountains and by this time I had used up all my shots barely missing several Jackrabbits I had encountered on the rocky hillsides. We found a good saddle where we took a rest before we climbed even higher where we had to make it up over the next mountain and back towards our camp. The mountain we were climbing proved difficult with it being near vertical at some points. We too were running low on water that’s never a good thing in the blazing desert sun.

American airgunner

After making it to the top of the mountain we were both exhausted and had decided to take the easiest straight route back to camp that was thankfully mostly downhill. I was the first to stagger into camp where I found Tom and Nick as exhausted as we were relaxing in the shade. The first thing on my mind was to get some water and to cut open a watermelon that had been on ice. What a hunt,ended with 4 hard earned kills and legs that felt like jello. We all packed up our things and set out down the road till the next time. The best part of every hunt like this is the time spent with good friends and the adventure of exploring nature. Hope to share more soon but until then “Best Wishes” 8)