, , , , ,

Airgun Adventure’s in the Mojave

by Tom Costan

Dana Webb and I met for a much needed Airgun Adventure. The plan was to meet early in the morning at the crossroads leading into our location and caravan through the back roads to our spot. As with many plans, they don’t always go as anticipated. Dana and I both had some unexpected home duties to perform before leaving in the morning, even though we didn’t get to our meeting spot until well after lunch; I knew, once we arrived life would be good. The location was high in the Mojave desert against the foothills of the Sierra Nevada; very remote, quiet, and beautiful.

This spot is not unlike so many other special places which have extremely diverse terrain. There are Joshua tree forests, rock outcroppings, sandy arroyos, typical desert chaparral and the occasional juniper tree.

It was only two days after some very significant rain had hit the area, leaving the ground damp and dust free with most of the vegetation temporarily moistened leaving that wonderful after-rain scent in the air.


Upon arriving to our campsite, the hunt was on.  As usual when hunting with Dana, he spotted the first jackrabbit and we both took a few shot as it fleed up a small hill.

Dana was using a .22 cal Hatsan that was sent to him for evaluation and I was using a new 22 cal American Air Arms EVOL testing some new parts and a new configuration of the rifle.  The Jackrabbit got a way but Dana soon bagged a cotton tail that was hiding from predators in a small crevasse in a large rock outcropping.

I scouted the area, spotted a few jackrabbits, but did not get a shot opportunity although I did formulate my plan for the next morning.

The day was gone so Dana and I enjoyed an nice campfire and turned in.


I started my walk just after sunrise and within minutes spotted a large jackrabbit hiding in the shadows behind a bush.  I ranged him at 80 yards and took my shot.  Having a new gun and very little trigger time on it, I decided to make the shot for the vitals; this was a mistake as the 18gr JSB didn’t have the power to put him down.  Even though the pellet hit with a large thud, he still ran like nothing hit him.

 I spent a few minutes following the blood trail but never found the Jackrabbit. I have become accustomed to much larger and more powerful calibers that the thought of a .22 in the boiler room not being adequate never crossed my mind. It wasn’t long before I spotted a cottontail hiding in the shadows of a large boulder.

I took my time, ranged him at 79 yards and made a perfect head-shot; he rolled over and that was all.


I bagged my cotton tail and followed a small arroyo for what seemed to be about an hour when I spotted a nice jackrabbit tucked in between two bushes. For a moment, I reflected on the thought that the jackrabbit thought he was invisible, not realizing his form was very distinctive even though his color blended perfectly with  the surroundings. I have found there are only two ways of spotting jackrabbits – their motion or their form; with the latter having much better odds of success. I worked my way to a rock outcropping where I would have cover and some height over my prey, ranged him at 76 yards, added 1 mil of holdover and made a perfect head-shot.

The jackrabbit was finished; the incredible acrobatics that followed were nothing but lost electrical signals of the nervous system on display.


Within a few minutes Dana wandered into view with Marley, I bagged my prize and headed back to camp and Dana joined me shortly with several jacks he had taken with his EVOL 30.

(left) Dana Webb with Tom Costan 

 It was about noon and I was planning on leaving in a few hours but I did want to test some Nielsen Specialty Ammo in the EVOL 22. I set up some eggs at 50 yards, Dana and I hitting them with the 21 grain NSA slug was no challenge so put I some more at 150 yards.

Eggs were placed at 150 yards on a large rock outcropping

After experimenting with the holdover by shooting at a dirt patch at the same yardage, I was able to figure the hold over and dial into my scope.

  Hitting eggs at 150 yards with a 30 fpe .22 is not easy but I did manage to get some before I ran out of air. Here is the video that includes a good portion of footage from our adventures here.

, , , , , , ,

Hatsan FLASH Review/Hunt

This field use review of the new Hatsan FLASH .22 caliber entry level PCP was one I had been very excited for. The market for entry level PCPs has become what almost seems like a race between many different Airgun manufacturers. I believe this is a great time for people to get sucked into this sport as the market has produced so many budget minded PCPs. HatsanUSA sent me the .22 caliber FLASH that was set to debut at the 2018 Shot Show in Vegas. My job was to simply field use the rifle and to document my experiences through video and my writings here. I received the rifle on a Friday and was eager to spend some time with it at the range to test various pellets and to site the rifle in for a two day hunt the following week. My initial thoughts of the rifle out of the box were very good, the gun was obviously very lightweight coming in just under 6lbs. The thumbhole ambidextrous stock was very comfortable and with the raised Monte Carlo cheek the rifle shouldered very well.

The FLASH felt very sturdy and super solid, I checked for flexing of the barrel, stock and breech, finding no movement. The rifle came with two rotary style magazines, single shot tray and quick fill probe.

Model FLASH
Caliber .22
Max Velocity*  From our field use

(Lead Pellets)

.22 915 FPS

18gr

Shots At Optimal Velocity**  

.22 25 shots

Stock Advanced polymer, ambidextrous thumbhole with monte carlo raised cheek and piccitiny for bi-pod mounting.
Key Features Bolt action

Fully shrouded choked barrel

165cc fixed aluminum air cylinder

Optics Rail (11mm and 22mm)

Spring-Loaded Rotary Magazine, single shot tray

Quick fill probe

Under 6 lbs

Anti Knock System

Onboard pressure gauge

Overall Length 42 1/2″

MSRP $299

After some time looking the gun over in the shop and mounting the Hatsan Optima 3-9x40ao scope I was ready for the range. Here are several more detailed photographs of the gun that may help to show a bit more of the gun not represented in the video.

Adjustable (metal) Quatro trigger with manual safety

Rubber butt pad with raised Monte Carlo cheek, very comfortable.                                                                                                               

Bolt action design with 11mm&22mm dovetail rails for mounting a wide variety of optics.

Single shot tray that snaps into place, perfect for range use.

Quick fill probe

Pressure gauge, gun fills to 3000 psi

Two 12 shot rotary magazines included

My main goal was to get to the range, use the chronograph and to test a wide variety of pellets to match the best accuracy and power. I was very happy to have the provided single shot tray and I prefer single loading from the bench, much easier than loading magazines. The gun was easily filled with my air tank and can see someone with a hand pump having no trouble filling the small 165cc air reservoir. The FLASH was very quiet and what I would consider backyard friendly, the QE shroud did an exceptional job quieting the 30 fpe bark. The Quatro trigger was a bit heavy but had a very predictable break, the trigger is fully adjustable and the gun includes the two small allen wrenches to easily do the job.

After some work with the chronograph the rifle was starting at a 3000psi fill with first shot 915fps using 19gr H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme’s shooting 25 shots with the last settling at 863 fps at 1700 psi. I wanted to keep the gun as is out of the box but can see some tuning potential to bring a flatter shot string. After documenting the numbers I moved onto accuracy and found the 18gr H&N Sniper Magnums to be the best I was able to achieve. Hatsan has incorporated a new Anti-Knock System into this rifle, what is this system? The Anti-Knock System is essentially a safety device that keeps the hammer in place during times the gun is bumped, bounced or knocked or dropped. This system ensures the gun cannot discharge air without the trigger being engaged. This may be a fix to a problem that was never there and one I personally have never encountered. I think this safety device does add a bit of further comfort and piece of mind added to a field gun such as the FLASH.

5 shots at 25 meters

After spending a good part of the day with the FLASH I was very excited to get out into the field with it that following weekend. I packed the gun away in a soft case and inspected it several days later for any loss of air, it held exactly at 3000 psi where I left it. Friday evening I packed up the Jeep with all the equipment and gear Marley and I would need for the several days in the Mojave desert. My good friend Tom Costan was accompanying us for the several day trip where I had planned to do some video work for several different field use projects. Marley and I left the house very early to make way through the desert in good time and to try to make the most of the day. From the highway we followed a rough motorcycle trail near 16 miles into one of the most remote areas of the Mojave desert.

As we drove through the whooped out trail Marley was keeping watch for the occasional Jackrabbit that would bolt in front of us. The area had many large rock outcroppings, Joshua trees and miles of animal trails heading from the desert floor into the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

These areas of the desert are very unforgiving and are home to many dangers such as snakes, mountain lions and birds of prey. After arriving to our spot nestled between several large rock outcroppings I set up camp and unloaded my camera gear and Airgun. By this time it was 11:30am and the temperature was in the high 60s. I checked the zero of the gun as I had packed the FLASH into a soft case, sometimes the rough ride can knock the scopes out of zero. The gun was still perfectly zeroed and ready for the day of hiking. Marley and I slowley hiked a bit South of camp where there was a huge amount of rock outcroppings, we made our way up to the base of it and sat for awhile looking for movement.

After filming several segments for the video I had spotted several Cottontail’s moving about through the many rocks and small crevices. I spotted one at near 70 yards sitting in a small crevic on the side of the adjacant rock outcropping.

I lined up for the shot that was across the canyon only to be to low just skimming its right front leg, it ran down to the left stopping just behind a boulder where I was able to make a finishing shot at 35 yards.

The FLASH is extremely quiet, especially in the unconfined spaces of the wide open desert. When hunting small game it’s sometimes important to have a quiet report as so it doesn’t alert the many other animals in the vicinity. After collecting and bagging our kill Marley and I continued around the mountain of rock formations hoping to spot several more rabbits. As we continued down a small animal trail I noticed a squirrel ranged at 68 yards off to my left sitting atop a large sagebrush.

For longer offhand shots like this the FLASH really shined with it’s lightweight shoulder-ability.

68 yard head-shot

After another short break Marley and I headed back to camp to have lunch with Tom before venturing out again into the afternoon sun. The area was very beautiful and so quiet with the only sounds being heard were from the many different types of small birds that move through the dense sagebrush. I couldn’t help but to stop and take a photograph of the FLASH.

After continuing our hike along an animal trail the sun was beginning to set over the mountain that dropped the temperature by near 20 degrees. After hiking around for a good bit of time seeing nothing within range Marley and I headed back down towards camp to see if Tom had better luck. Tom was sitting on top of a huge rock outcropping that looked over miles of desert floor.

That evening was not as cold as we had expected, we made a nice little campfire that warmed us enough to enjoy the beautiful night sky. I slept all through the night and awoke by 7:15am to air up the FLASH and head out due South towards the large outcroppings from the previous day. Marley and I slowly made our way, stopping frequently to scan the many nearby rocks. Early morning is an excellent time to Cottontail hunt, better than late evening from my experience. As we made it to the top of this hill I spotted some Cottontail ears from behind a large rock at 40 yards.

I made a nice headshot that thumped the rabbit down without even a twitch where Marley made her quick recovery.

Marley and I continued on over the hill making a big several mile circle that would ultimately lead us back to camp.

As we made our way down to the valley floor I spotted several more rabbits scurrying away with one that left me with a split second shot that was a near miss.

By this time I had to end my time with the FLASH and work on some other video work with Tom. My time spent with the FLASH was very successful and can’t wait to get out with it again very soon. The rifle is an absolute pleasure to carry around all day and made offhand shooting in off camber terrain much more doable.  The FLASH is a laser accurate rifle out to 70+ yards and is no doubt a great entry level choice in the PCP market. I hope my short adventure may be enjoyed and too will bring someone closer into purchasing their first PCP rifle. I will enclose this video that documents everything I have written and can only hope to share more very soon. Till then, “The best gun is the one your shooting” take care!!

Visit and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more great information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

, , , ,

2017 Extreme Benchrest AZ

On Monday October 9th we left the American Air Arms facility in Valencia CA to drive over seven hours to Mesa Arizona for the annual Extreme Benchrest. We had two vehicles, ours was a small sedan just big enough for me, Lindsey, Claudio Flores and his wife Magda. We had a van as well driven by Doug Noble and Tom Costan that was loaded with guns, gear and a ton of lead. I drove for about 45min before I received a call from Tom asking if I had loaded the brand new .452 Slayer into my car? haha I thought he may have been joking me, no it was not a joke, it was indeed forgotten. I got off the freeway and headed back to the Valencia facility to retrieve the first prototype from the back room where it was sitting in its case behind a chair. By this time of the day traffic was getting quite heavy and it became apparent we wouldn’t be arriving in Mesa AZ till half past midnight. We made only one stop for gas, was nice driving such an efficient car. After hitting a good amount of traffic due to accidents, construction and single lane roads we finally made it to Mesa. Throughout the past year we became friends with Stephen Marsh who lives in Mesa, fairly close to the Rio Salado Sportsmans Club where the Extreme Benchrest is held. Steve and his wife Leslie were kind enough to open their home to us for the entire week. They had a beautiful home along with a large detached workshop that we would be able to use for our daily gun maintenance. After about an hour of visiting and eating some amazing chilli that Steve prepared we got to sleep where we had planned to leave in the morning for some shooting and hunting. The following morning after a great night’s rest from our long drive from California the five of us guys headed about an hour out of town into the open desert. I had been wanting to hunt the famous Antelope Jackrabbit for many years so was very excited to finally have the opportunity to try. Steve took us to a place he has gone many times over the years and was to be a great place to both hunt and shoot. We arrived off the highway onto a long dirt road that we followed for about a mile till we came to a small turnout. We set up a few tables and some targets at ranges out to 200 yards, perfect area to sight in our rifles.

from left, Tom Costan, Stephen Marsh, Doug Noble

 After Several minutes setting everything up we pulled out several guns being used for the Extreme Benchrest such as the American Air Arms EVOL .30, .357 Slayer as well as the .452 Slayer.

Claudio Flores from Patagonia Airguns with the American Air Arms EVOL TAC .30

Doug Noble had several rifles such as his .257 Condor being shot by Steve as well as his .338 Condor that he has invested years of work into, more about that rifle later on at the range.

(Above)Stephen with the .257 Condor

Tom Costan with the American Air Arms .452 Slayer

After a bit of target shooting Tom and I headed out to try our hand at hunting the Antelope Jackrabbit that’s only found throughout the Sonoran Desert.

Tom and I slowly walked a small trail that lead through some very large Saguaro CactusThese cactus can grow up to 40′ tall and live to be over 200 years old.

As we walked through the desert both Tom and I were having a difficult time avoiding the many small cactus that seemed to like jumping onto our pantlegs, hahaha

Me (Dana Webb) with the EVOL .30 Classic

After making a large several mile loop, nearly feeling lost, we headed back up and crossed a road where I soon found some fresh Jackrabbit droppings and some urine. I knew we were in the right area and soon enough I spotted my first Antelope Jack that sprung from behind a knee high bush. The Jackrabbit was moving along pretty good but not into full sprint, I waited to spot him again but lost sight as he made it into a ravine. The terrain here was very difficult to navigate and almost impossible to walk in any sort of straight path, every step was something with sharp spines. I spotted several more and will say it was amazing as to just how huge these species are compared to the Black Tailed Jackrabbit. They at glance can be near mistaken for small dogs, very exciting. After trying to stalk one I finally made a shot as it was moving away at 85 yards near missing the top of it’s head. The Sonoran desert is very hot, especially in the middle of the day when shade is near impossible to find. Tom and I headed back to the vehicles for water and took what shade we could find next to the van. After being in the sun most of the day we packed up and headed back to the house to shower, relax and get something to eat. That evening we spent a good amount of time in Steve’s garage cleaning our rifles and preparing them for the following day’s practice at the Rio Salado Sportsmans Club.


We woke up early to arrive at the range to spend the day practicing with our Big Bore rifles for the following days Extreme Benchrest. The Rio Salado Sportsmans Club allowed us the day to practice on the rifle range, unfortunately we did have to share it with the firearms.

Custom Doug Noble .308 Condor

Stephen Marsh with Doug Noble .257 Condor and Nick Nielsen from NSA

We spent some time here practicing before we were able to move down to the Extreme Benchrest ranges that had been closed during set up for the event. We practiced for several hours before heading out to Airguns Of Arizona for our sign in to the Extreme Benchrest.


The showroom at Airguns Of Arizona was much smaller than I had imagined but still had plenty of Airgun’s, scopes, and misc related items. After signing in and picking up the event schedule we headed out to a nearby restaurant called Los Dos Molinos for dinner and drinks.  This was a great place to eat, so good we actually went back the following night as well, highly recommended.

That evening we spent several more hours in the garage cleaning our rifles and preparing for the following morning’s first card of the Extreme Big Bore part of the event.


We arrived to the range early to find many familiar faces and a good amount of first time competitors.

We had a few minutes to practice before we had our first 200 yard target, I was feeling pretty confident with my Doug Noble built .308 and was excited to compete with it. I was happy to see many more competitors enter the competition this year, it shows growth that will help progress the sport. The targets look big from the below photograph but I can assure you it looks very small at 200 yards out as well as the black center bullseye. My .308 Condor performed very well and was confident that I had done very well.

5 shots each on each of the top targets, bottom two are sighter targets

Right after I finished my 30min card I immediately had to move over to the American Field Target area that was on the other side of the property. After signing in and given my scorecard I proceeded down the beautiful nature path to the first area that had 4 field targets set up at various ranges. Look who’s in front of me, my good friend Thayne Simmons the owner of Side-Shot as well as part of the Utah Airguns team. Thayne is a fabulous shooter and cleared the lane with a standing offhand shot like it was nothing.

Thayne Simmons (Team Utah Airguns)

I was nervous and had never shot American Field Target before at the Extreme Benchrest. I was using my EVOL .30 and really had not set the gun up for this event, I simply was all over the place with my close shots. After making only two hits out of the 8 needed I was feeling quite simply embarrassed with myself. This is they type of event that really requires good offhand skills and knowledge of holdover and under techniques. After making several hits on the far targets and missing most all of the close ones I was finally done with the coarse after about an hour. After my horrible shooting was over I headed back to the car to grab my camera and head back down to spectate some of the more familiar faces and to hopefully learn to better myself.

Above left, Matt Dubber spectating Ted Bier

Steve Scialli AEAC channel filming Ted Bier

After hanging out spectating for a few minutes I headed back over to the range to capture some photographs of the goings ons and say hello to a few friends.

 

Airguns of Arizona’s Kip Perow setting up the 25 meter targets

Paul Capello from Utah Airguns taking a break

I had a chance to check out some pretty cool Airguns as I walked around the event including a glimpse of the new Daystate .308 Big Bore being used by no other than Andrew Huggett known for his moderators. The prototype rifle makes a striking resemblance to a Beaumont, makes me think some of the work was subbed out to them by Daystate. Beautiful rifle indeed, thank you Andrew for the great photographs!

daystate .308

Next Door to Andrew was Doug Noble ringing out his highly custom .338 Condor, this gun really has near to nothing left of the Airforce Airguns platform. This gun started out as a Condor and slowly over several years of hard work made it’s way into a masterpiece of a Big Bore. Doug is one of the nicest guys in the sport and is always willing to share his knowledge with others, I was lucky to be able to use one of his builds to compete with.

 

Stephen Marsh shooting the American Air Arms .452 Slayer

The American Air Arms  Slayer line of rifles have been around for several years now and was exciting to see quite a few this year at the Extreme Benchrest. Tom Costan has spent the past year developing this new .452 Big Bore rifle that is far advanced from anything else. This rifle is a repeater that’s capable of multiple shots at over 500+fpe with a lightweight, short package. The Slayer is a true top down new design that shares absolutely nothing with any existing platform. Tom, myself and Stephen all were hitting silhouette’s out to 560 yards with it, consistently. Here is a short video that shows some of the action.


After lunch I headed over to the 75 yard range to help Steven and Claudio setup for their first card. They were both using the new EVOL .30 TAC manufactured by American Air Arms. These guns are extremely accurate and well built guns, I believe if you put enough of one gun manufacturer into a competition you’re going to get great results. I have noticed a “certain” company has near monopolized the market and can only hope a new American Made gun can change that.

The 75 yard card is a very difficult event as this range is known for having very difficult winds that blow very erratically. The shooter has 30 min to make 1 shot onto each of the 25 small bullseye targets with a small bottom row used for sighters. Points are deducted for more than one shot on a target so it’s critical to count pellets, yes I made this mistake that cost me progression to the main. After the 30 min the Airguns of Arizona staff heads out to change targets for the next relay of competitors. I set up my bench and got to honorably sit next to none other than Kip Perow, one of my favorite members of the AOA staff and one heck of a great hunter.

After my 30 min card all I can say was wow, that wind is pretty hard to deal with. I was thankful to have had the sighter targets, otherwise I would have been all over the place. The wind would push the pellet up, down, left and right. I kept my eyes on some of the wind indicators that were set throughout the range, it helped a bit. After my 30 min card I packed up and headed back up to the other range to do some filming and take some more photographs. A few days before we left California my good friend SteveO started working on some shirts that we could wear to the Extreme Benchrest. He wasn’t able to finish them in time so kindly overnighted them to AZ for us to wear. Anyone interested in some really cool Airgun related shirts can contact SteveO at Dream Graphic Designs.

nielsen specialty ammo

Left Claudio Fores, Nick Nielsen, Tom Costan


 I want to really thank Nick Nielsen from Nielsen Specialty Ammo for coming out and showing his support to all of us. Nick had worked very hard developing precision ammo that worked well for us and drove all the way from California to make sure it performed perfectly. Him and his wife Jessica were more than helpful to us and I just wanted to let them know how it’s been appreciated, thank you!


Our day was near over and will say the Arizona sun can take a lot out of a person while competing, moving things back and forth etc, I was beat to say the least. We headed back to the house for a much needed break, some food and a good cleaning of our rifles to prepare for yet another day of competition. The following day we arrived to the range by about 8:15am for the Big Bore Steel competition at ranges 85 yards and 200 yards. These are swinging flash targets that take a good amount of energy to move, especially at 200 yards.

85 Yard flash targets

For this competition we are only allowed to use 24 shots with only two extra, have to make 12 shots on the 85 yard flash targets before being able to move to the 200 yard ones. I had my holdunder marked in my phone and was confident to be able to hit the 85 yards consistently. Per the rules we were not allowed to tether the rifles and had to make sure to disconnect the fill hose from the rifle after filling. I filled after each shot to 3000 psi and was using the .308 swaged 99gr Nielsen Specialty ammo. My scope was mounted on a Coldshot scope base that has a wheel that adjust the MOA of the scope, this keeps the scope from maxing out adjustments at long range. I fired my first shot with my given spotter behind me, missed and could not tell where it had gone. I knew it wasn’t the wind because it was near same conditions as day before. I really didn’t know what to do other than to shoot a few more, after 12 shots as well as my two extra I finally found that the scope got bumped off to the right by close to 3 mills. After I found my zero I made every shot perfectly, my spotter actually felt really bad and later came up to me to find out what had happened. I think as the gun got moved around the day before, traveling in van etc, just got bumped off a bit. I was certainly frustrated but have done this long enough to know it can happen to anyone. After the competition we walked over to the 25 meter benchrest where Tom and Claudio were both set to compete. Tom had brought his trusted TX200 .22 with a Hawke Airmax scope that unfortunately had problems with the parallax. Stephen loaned Tom his QB78 that had been converted to HPA to use, I gave him credit for trying as I thought he may do fairly well with it. Claudio was using his Edgun Leshiy .25, a beautiful gun and extremely accurate to boot.

After the 25 meter event we took a break to have some lunch followed by card 2 of the 75 yard Extreme Benchrest. We got to spectate a bit as my card wasn’t for another hour, took several pics and sat in the shade tent.

 

From left, Dale Wolcott, me, Tom Costan, Claudio Flores

Michael Wendt from Airgun Nation

After taking a break in the shade I gathered my gear and prepared to set up my bench for card 2 of the Extreme. I was a bit nervous especially as it was now later in the day with the wind picking up a bit more heavily.

Me sporting my new Dream Graphic Designs T Shirt

As I sat at the bench watching the wind flags moving in all directions I took my first sighter shot that showed me the wind was moving my pellet near 1 mil dot high and 1 1/2 to the right. The wind would sometimes quickly change so I found myself taking many test shots before I actually moved up to my target.

Middle target, I shot twice -10 points

I was doing ok I thought considering how bad the wind was, problem was I would plan to take a shot on target and then at last second decide to shoot the sighter. By doing this I would have to replace my pellets into tray used for counted targets. I didn’t trust myself and could not see through the scope that I had made an X, big mistake that ruined my card. The wind was so bad at times that some competitors were actually hitting others targets, I was just happy to make into the red. I knew immediately after I saw this picture my chances of moving on to card 3 were gone. All I could do now was be there for my teammates and try and be of service best I could.

After all of us had competed we headed back to the house to clean guns, eat and get a good nights sleep for the final day of the Extreme Benchrest. 


The next morning we headed out bright and early as Doug had qualified for the final 100 yard event and Claudio had the Speed-Silo event. That morning Tom, Doug, Steve and I set up the guns for some long range fun that seemed to attract at one point a very large crowd. We were shooting the monster Big Bores at the furthest silhouette that was set out at 560 yards. Tom, Steve and myself were consistently hitting targets even beyond that. My girlfriend Lindsey was hitting the 330 yard silhouette with Doug’s .338 Condor like it was no big deal. The new .452 Slayer was attracting a lot of attention and Tom was more than happy to allow people to shoot it.

 

mygirlfriday805.com

Lindsey from mygirlfriday805.com

330 yard silhouette’s

After a few hours of Airgun playtime we headed back down to the tent to watch Doug in the final card of the Extreme where he would be shooting 100 yards.

The wind in the afternoon usually picks up pretty good and can swirl quite erratically moving the shot in all directions. Doug has a good amount of skill with his Big Bore’s that shoot slugs that are not as affected by turbulent winds such as a diabolo pellet is. The 100 yard Extreme really separates the great shooters from the amazing shooters. The 75 yard cards are hard enough but moving out to 100 is really quite insane. To be a winner here will rely on many factors beyond just having an accurate gun, reading the wind, sorting pellets, scope etc, to name a few. Doug had told me that he found it an honor just to make it into the 100 yard extreme. The guys who made it are some of the best shooters in the world that make this competition pretty stiff. After this card was finished the AOA team prepared the range for the Speed-Silo event that has become very popular. This event was one that Claudio was very excited to compete in using his new Edgun Leshiy .25 carbine. This is a very unique Airgun and one I couldn’t wait to watch him shoot.

This is a very difficult event where you are racing to knock down 16 silhouette’s at various ranges.

  • Airgun Rifles or Pistols – Must use lead pellets – NO BBs/Round Balls
  • Airguns can be single shot or magazine fed
  • Any caliber is allowed up to .25 caliber
  • Any type of sight is allowed
  • No Airgun can exceed 50 FPE
  • No semi or fully automatic airguns are allowed – All airguns must have a cocking device or action for each shot fired
  • No magazine loading apparatus allowed (NEW-2017)
  • Each shooter will have 16 targets that must be KNOCKED down or off the TILE.
  • This is a timed event and the object is to knock down all 16 targets in the shortest amount of time.
  • There will be 20 shooting lanes open and rounds will be run every 5 to 10 minutes.
  • The top ten (10) lowest times in each class will qualify for the finals to be held on Sunday after the 75 Yard Extreme Benchrest competition has been completed.
  • All entrants for the 75 Yard Extreme can compete in the Speed Silo.
  • Shooters are allowed to shoot in three qualifying rounds.
  • The targets are all standard metal .22 LR silhouette and include four rams, four pigs, four turkeys and four chickens.
  • Targets are placed from 30 yards to 60 yards.


After the Speed-Silo even we all headed back to the house to clean up for the Banquet dinner and awards ceremony where we would find out the winners of each event. The awards banquet and raffle were held at Las Sendas Club House overlooking a beautiful golf course.

We sat down surrounded by friends, family and highly respected members of the Airgun community, I think we were all pretty tired from the long week so it was nice to be able to relax. One of the first winners to be announced was our very own teammate Stephen Marsh, winner of the pellet challenge.

75 yard pellet challenge won by Stephen Marsh

This years Extreme Benchrest were all amazing shooters, I’m really happy for Thayne Simmons as he is not only a good friend but part of a great team at Utah Airguns. Matt Dubber has been someone I have admired for a long time and have gotten much enjoyment out of watching his YouTube channel found at AirArmsHuntingSA. I spent some time this year talking to him one on one and really appreciated his sincerity and love for the sport of Airgunning. Shane Keller is a wonderful example of an Airgunner and am very excited for his well deserved victory, I’m sure we’ll hear more from him as the year goes on.

extreme benchrest

from left, Shane Keller, Matt Dubber, Thayne Simmons

The next event we were waiting to see was the Big Bore competition as that was the real reason we made it to the Extreme this year. This year I was so proud of Tom Costan as I know how hard he worked on the new .452 Slayer that was literally only finished days before the event. Over the past several months he has been not only running American Air Arms but designing and building these guns that have trumped the Big Bore podium this year. The results in .45 over were Tom Costan, Thayne Simmons and Kip Perow.

left, Dana Webb, Tom Costan, Thayne Simmons, Doug Noble

After the awards we had a chance to say goodbye to several friends and even make plans with some new ones. This event has brought so many together and was a real pleasure to be part of.

from left Thuan Donnyfl Du, Alvaro lopez, Claudio Flores, Torres Gianni


I thank all who attended and especially want to thank Airguns Of Arizona for hosting such a wonderfully planned event. Afterwards we all said our goodbyes and headed down the road back to California loaded with great memories and experience that will last a lifetime. I wrote this in the hopes of getting more people involved in this sport and to show that almost anyone who loves Airguns can enjoy this event. If anyone has any interest in the Extreme Benchrest results or more information, it can be found here.

 

, , , , , , , ,

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

 

, , , , ,

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!

, ,

HUNTING & PLINKING PRACTICE

Many hunters as myself have a difficult time practicing in between hunting trips. Some may find target practice somewhat boring and lacking the fun that hunting small game can provide. There’s no doubt plinking is one of the greatest American pastimes. Today we will outline just a few ways we have found to make practicing fun and very beneficial to defining good marksmanship. As hunters we need practice at various ranges that can mimic shots that we may find in the field, close and far. Field targets are great practice tools and can also provide a very close representation of hunting situations we may find. The targets we used were rather inexpensive and the rifle we were using was a QB 78 .22 that is Co2 powered, accurate and with very economical shot count.

The targets were set at various ranges from 15 yards all the way out to 55 yards with some being partially obscured with bushes to mimic hiding game animals. These targets come with rings that can change the diameter of the kill zone, we removed them as it may be to challenging to the new shooter.

We shot from the standing position as this is mostly how we are shooting during hunting situations.

Moreover, most hunters as myself are sometimes not familiar with shooting at closer ranges and sometimes having to “hold under” our targets. This is a very important and widely overlooked skill that can ruin chances at getting a kill from simply missing a shot and/or not knowing range.

We too set up some other plinking style objects such as tin cans and junk we had found on the desert floor. Things like this are fun and provide a solid way to see where you are hitting and help the opportunity to change the point of impact.

Lindsey, being fairly new to our sport set out targets such as muffin tins, glass bottles, scrap metal piping, and buckets at various distances. These targets were shot with an array of air powered guns: Colt Peacemaker, EVOL .30, and a QB78 Air Rifle. Each one of these low-cost experiments gave the inexperienced shooter a very expensive education. Distance, velocity and power were able to be roughly determined and too comparisons of inaccuracies could be made with each shot. For a new shooter its important for it to remain fun, safe and free from the pressure of making every shot just right. We can learn from our mistakes and too have the opportunity in finding our own individual shooting style. Reactive targets are a great way to keep interest and allow the shooter to feel some confidence they may not find in simply shooting paper targets. The areas we choose to plink are simply much easier to find with an Airgun as with a firearm as we can be much more discreet and too don’t have as much to pick up after.

We always carry trash bags to pick up after ourselves as its never a pleasant sight to show up to an area with trash and empty shell casings scattered about. This is the kind of thing that leaves an impression on all shooters, so leading by example is one of the most important things we can do for our sport.  Plinking is a fun practice tool for new and veteran Airgunners, too can provide us with the key ingredients that makes a good shooter a great shooter. Enjoying Airguns and sharing the sport with others is the keystone of what keeps it alive and available for all.

, , , ,

SAN LUIS OBISPO/ MORRO BAY FIELD TARGET AUGUST 20-21, 2016

On Saturday August 20th Lindsey,Marley and I headed two hours North from Ventura to the Beautiful San Luis Obispo small bore range. Our good friend Terry had arrived the day before and was kind enough to send me some photos that prompted us to make our way out. When we arrived to the location we were greeted by a nice little dirt road that took us about a mile off the highway into a secluded nook where the small bore range was. We pulled into what looked like a wild west movie set,complete with bathrooms, showers and a nice little clubhouse.

We were kindly greeted by many familiar faces,one of which was Motorhead. Was so good to see him,one of my favorite Airgunners of all time and someone I have always looked up to. We had made it up to late for me to compete but in still plenty of time to do a little field target shooting and to check out some very cool airguns.

Tapian Mutant Bullpup

As the day went on, Lindsey and I did a little plinking with her Colt replica .177 pellet revolver.

She is quite the Annie Oakley with that thing…..Yeeehaaa

By this time it was getting later and we set up our camp and enjoyed the cooler temperature with a nice ocean breeze. I finally made way to the clubhouse where I had the pleasure of meeting Scotchmo, the man who seemed to be doing everything. Scott was very welcoming and yet i could tell he was overwhelmed with everything that was going on. This man is obviously very dedicated to our sport and was very helpful in getting us set up and comfortable. Big thank you Scott, I really appreciate all you have been doing.

The evening was upon us and I could see the fog rolling in over the mountains bringing the temp down enough to want a jacket.We had a wonderful BBQ dinner followed by some good times around the campfire sharing stories and lots of laughter. I really enjoyed hanging with some of the old-timers that have been shooting airguns longer than I’ve been alive.

The next morning I was slow to wake up by 7:00 as I slept very well that night. I ventured over to Motorheads camp and was greeted kindly with an invitation to use his custom .177 Marauder, a beautiful gun that I had been eyeballing the day before. Scott was so helpful and kind, even providing some pellets and shooting sticks that later I realized I had forgotten to return. I spent a little time shooting the gun but not nearly enough to be comfortable to compete with. I had brought several guns with me but none of which were under 20fpe so i was blessed that Motorhead was kind enough to set me up.

Here is Marley and I waiting for the match to start, Yes I am a hunter.  ;D

I believe the match started about 9:00am but we all gathered around first to hear some rules and to find out who we would be paired to shoot with on the coarse.

I was going to be shooting with John and a 10yo old girl named Annabel, I felt a little out of place as these two obviously had way more experience than me in field target competitive shooting. Both were more than helpful in helping me learn how the scoring works and too was nice to be able to watch the techniques they used.

The first set of targets were standing only, one of my strong points of shooting being a hunter.

As we moved further down I could definitely see this was very challenging as some of the targets had obstacles such as branches and change in distance and elevation.

John shot mostly from the prone position while Annabel and I both preferred shooting sticks. The wind was blowing fairly erratically but in some cases would let up just long enough to make a shot.

John was a very experienced shooter and on a few of the courses made it look easy, very entertaining to watch. Annabel was just the sweetest girl, very smart and polite as well. I had the best time watching her as I felt excited seeing a kid her age having so much fun shooting airguns. She made some shots that were very impressive, and I even learned a few things without her even knowing she taught me.

Some of the targets were very hard to see.

I was having a great time even though I wasn’t doing so great, I did clean out a few lanes that put a smile on my face. Looked as though I was getting better, but still didn’t trust myself being comfortable with the gun. I was doing pretty good considering I had only practiced for 20 min before the match. Honestly I was having a great time just being outside and around so many that love airguns as much as myself. The coarse was as beautiful as a field target shooting range can get, cant imagine how pretty it is in Springtime.

Here is my friend Terry with his Marauder

We all finished our last set of targets and headed back to the clubhouse to eat,I was so hungry that I apparently had forgotten Motorheads shooting sticks somewhere. :(

My first field target match was absolutely one of the best things I have done for upgrading my hunting skills,I can only imagine how much better I will get with some more practice. The group of men and women I met here were some of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I will urge anyone who may be interested in trying Field Target to go to  http://www.slsba.org/  or  http://www.socasa.org/ for more information. Thanks to everyone and hope to see some of you again very soon. 8)

Enclosed are just a few of the photos I was able to get.