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DOUG NOBLE .257 AIRFORCE CONDOR

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

Doug Noble .257 Condor

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

shooting area

Doug Noble targets

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

.257 barrel

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

condor cocking knob

condor hammer

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

Custom Valve

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

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

Doug Noble stem

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

.257 ammo

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

Cedric Tofazfou

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

 

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2016 EXTREME BENCHREST

On Wednesday October 5th 2016 Doug Noble, myself and Tom Costan left the American Air Arms facility in Acton California to head out 7 hours into the Arizona desert. Our trip had not started as soon as we would have liked as our rifles had literally been just finished that morning setting us back more than 6 hours. I was very excited as this was my first widely followed Airgun event where I was sure to meet some very familiar faces. My goal was to do well in the Big Bore event and to hopefully place well in the small bore 75yard benchrest that was to be very challenging. We arrived in Arizona early that evening where we settled in and made sure we had all necessary components to compete the following morning. The next morning we piled into the van and made our way for some coffee before our arrival to the 2016 Extreme Benchrest event.

We pulled into the beautiful  Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club by 7:30 am where we were greeted by banners and an army of Airguns Of Arizona staff diligently getting the event ready.

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We made our way into the registration area where we were kindly greeted and given our time schedule that included a small bag of goodies along with an 2016 Extreme Benchrest T-shirt. Tom, Doug and I were excited to get some practice in before our 1st afternoon Big Bore event. We unloaded our guns, tanks and pounds of other shooting equipment to the nicely shaded shooting benches.

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We were greeted by AoA’s own Kip Perow who later I found to be quite a great shooter in the Big Bore event. The man sitting was Ron from High Arc Hunting shooting the new Bushbuck .45 monster Big Bore rifle. Doug Noble set up his custom built .338 that he has spent many months preparing to shoot here.

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Other well known names such as Rossi Morreale (below) from the show American Airgunner were practicing for the event. Tom and myself had a great talk with Rossi and were impressed with his love for the sport and his sincerity in trying to make it grow.

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As Tom and I set up our new guns for testing we had Micheal Wendt (below) the new owner of Airgun Nation forum come by to say hello and to check out our new guns. Micheal is a very friendly guy that had some very positive energy behind him and one I was glad to meet.

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I was having a great time trying out my new wood stock EVOL .30 while Tom was using the .30 TAC version. We were practicing with both of the American Air Arms .357 Slayers as well. For me it was quite the adjustment to switch between two completely different power levels. I was sighting in my .30 for the 75 yard event and my .357 Slayer for 200 yards.

img_6924-copy-copyimg_6908-copy-copyMy first event was the Big Bore 200 yard event where we were shooting at 4 military style targets, we had to make 5 shots onto each target. I was shooting horrible not only due to the wind but I had chosen the wrong scope for the application being a fixed parallax. After that disastrous event I headed over to have my Airtank filled where I was kindly greeted by Todd DeOrio (below) Airguns Of Arizona’s fill station expert. He was most helpful and very on his game as I had to visit him quite often over the next few days,never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a fill. Thank you

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The rest of the day we practiced some more and walked around in between checking out some cool guns and even spotting a few more well known shooters such as my friend Tim McMurray of Mac1 Airguns and former winner of the EBR.

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Food and refreshments were available all day long with a great shaded area with plenty of room to sit and chat. Precision Airgun was on hand with its mobile repair center as well as the onsite gunsmith.

img_6964  Day two for us was to practice till about 3:00 where we were to shoot our first 75 yard card.

img_6925-copy-2 I had still been dialing in my gun and practicing the best I could in the wind that didn’t seem too bad as of yet. Tom was shooting the best out of the three of us with his gun, ending with him doing fairly well on his card. I had made the mistake of not using my sighters as often as I should of, ending with me doing very poorly. (no need to post pic)

Day 3 we had or 2nd 75 yard card to shoot, all three of us were in the 3rd relay so we had a good portion of the day to practice. As I walked up to practice I saw another more familiar face such as Ted Bier.

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As the time approached I was feeling confident in my gun and my ability to shoot it well. We all headed down to our lanes to set our bench and to start the 75 yard event. I thankfully used a rear lead bag that proved to work much better for me, good to learn for future competitions. The wind was not as bad as the previous day but was still a bit unpredictable for me. This time I used my sights as needed and filled my gun along with using sorted pellets. For me this was my personal best and was very pleased regardless of how I placed.

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img_6983As you can see, these are very small targets and very humbling when missed. Unfortunately as good as I had done this day my previous card had killed my chance to qualify for the 3rd card at 100 yards.

Day 4 started early for us as our Big Bore event started at around 8:00 where we would be shooting at 85 yards and 200 yards. I was pretty confident with shooting 200 yards but was a bit nervous of the 85 yards as I’m not used to having to hold under. Doug, Kip, Ron and Tom were all shooting great. That Bushbuck is a pretty amazing gun, Doug’s .338 is just plain radical.

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I had a bit of confusion with my 85 yard targets but in the end was very happy with a 2nd.

After the event we had nothing more to do till the banquet so we spent our time plinking with our guns and visiting friends. I was having fun offhand shooting the 200 yard silhouette while Doug was visiting the 550 yard silhouette with his custom .338. My good friend Jim Walton (below) from “Fun Birds Hunting” came by to visit and to do a bit of shooting with us.

img_6947-copyHad some more visitors from Chile “Patagonia Airguns” So nice to see people from all over the world, bringing some very nice airguns to compete with.

img_6958 img_6957My friend Steve Marsh (above) who lives in Arizona and came to keep us company and to show us some killer places to eat throughout the area. I cant wait to come back and do some hunting when time allows. The day was just about to and end with a few Thunderheads in the distance.

img_6991We headed down the road several minutes to a very upscale banquet hall that was overlooking a beautiful golf coarse. This is where we would have dinner, announce the winners and to draw for the raffle prizes.

img_7006Some very nice raffle prizes this year.

ham-raffleThe dinner was excellent along with coffee and dessert, and followed by the awards.

img_7007 Big Congrats to Ted for winning the $5000

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This year had so many amazing competitors,some that traveled from far away places. I see this event only growing stronger and I will say the future is in the young shooters. We all as airgunners need to focus on the progression and to try sharing this wonderful pastime. I want to especially thank the AOA crew for doing such a wonderful job and being so welcoming to me as this was my first year competing. I feel it was well worth the trip and can only help to do better next year. The 2016 Extreme Benchrest has many events that can fit just about any shooters needs. Next year I plan to compete in the American Field Target and Big Bore events. Anyone that’s wanting a fun,family friendly event,this is a winner. Thanks to all who participated. Results can be found here: 2016 Extreme Benchrest

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