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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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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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