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Ataman BP17 Full Field Review

Several weeks ago I was shipped the new Ataman BP17 Bullpup from Pyramyd Air. This was one that really excited me because it’s near the smallest Bullpup ever made at 24″ long. The black soft touch rifle was delivered in excellent condition along with two magazines, adjustment tools and detailed manual.


Ataman BP17 PCP Air Rifle, Black Soft-Touch

  • Precharged Pneumatic
  • Unique Forward Positioned Cocking Lever
  • Cocking Lever can be swapped to either side of the rifle
  • Manual Safety
  • 5.1lb Overall Weight
  • 23.85″ Overall Length
  • Integrated Moderator
  • 25 Shots per fill
  • 100cc Cylinder
  • Regulated at 130 BAR
  • 300 BAR/ 4,351 PSI Fill Pressure
  • Weaver/Picatinny Optics Rail
  • 4 magazine storage slots under the picatinny rail
  • Beechwood stock with Soft-Touch Overlay
  • Includes: Two 7rd magazines, two filling probes (1 Quick Disconnect, 1 threaded 1/8″ BSPP male) and user manual
Caliber 0.22″ (5.5mm)
Max Velocity 840 fps
Muzzle Energy 25 ft/lbs
Loudness 3-Medium
Barrel Length 14.5″
Overall Length 23.85″
Shot Capacity 7
Barrel Rifled
Front Sight none
Rear Sight none
Scopeable Weaver/Picatinny
Trigger Two-stage adjustable
Buttplate Rubber
Suggested for Small game hunting/target practice
Action Sidelever
Safety Manual
Powerplant Pre-charged pneumatic
Function Repeater
Max Shots per Fill 25
Body Type Rifle
Weight 5.1 lbs
Cylinder Size 100 cc
Shrouded Yes

 


The BP17 is one of Ataman’s most unique airgun creations. With the bullpup’s overall length just under two feet, the BP17 is built as the ultimate backpack gun crafted to the brand’s exacting standards. Beginning with the stock, the Ataman BP17 features all-weather black Soft-Touch coating that covers the beech wood body underneath. This ergonomic stock is ambidextrous and fits snugly and comfortably in your grasp with a rubberized buttplate and pistol style grip. Its onboard 100cc regulated cylinder is built to deliver up to 25 .22 caliber rounds at speeds up to 840 fps. The rifle includes two 7 round magazines that can be advanced with a smooth forward positioned lever action. When not in use, each magazine can be stored in a groove right below the optics rail.

To keep the rifle backyard friendly, the 14.5” Lothar Walther barrel is fully moderated. The Shroud is threaded for mounting an additional moderator. Last but not least, the BP17 features a two way adjustable trigger that allows the user to customize the pull to their liking. If you want the ultimate backpacker PCP air rifle, you couldn’t do much better than the Ataman BP17. With its convenient size, .22 caliber power, and regulated cylinder, the BP17 is destined for greatness on the range or the trail.


I immediately looked over the rifle that was obviously very tiny, almost scary short at just over 24″ long. The ergonomics of the BP17 is superb and the soft touch coating over the beech wood stock really adds to that. The first thing I did to the Ataman was to mount the HAWKE Vantage 3-12×44 SF scope using some medium rings. The Ataman has a picatinny top rail that really adds to the tactical styling of the bullpup. The scope actually went over the front of the barrel and looked kinda funny so I added a DonnyFL Tatsu moderator that quieted the Ataman down even further, and allowing me to keep the sunshade on the scope.

After mounting the scope and moderator I took several test shots to make sure it functioned well and to get a feel for it. The most obvious feature of the Ataman is the sidelever that’s located on the left side forend. This position of the sidelever makes cocking the Ataman with my thumb very smooth and easy.

The trigger on the BP17 is a two stage but came set near 6oz and felt more like a single stage. The trigger is a bit light but can be adjusted with the provided tools. After some shooting with it I had decided to leave it at the factory set point. The BP17’s cross bolt safety is simple, easy to use and to the point.

Ataman has regulated the 100cc cylinder that fills to a whopping 300 bar (4350psi). This high fill pressure gives the BP17 about 25 regulated shots at over 25fpe. The BP17’s fill port is available to use from either side of the rifle, the probe has a machined male foster that easily adapts to most all fill stations.

The Ataman comes with two 7 shot magazines that are conveniently able to be held just under the picatinny rail. The BP17 comes with a tool that’s used to adjust the magazines in the event they don’t cycle well. These are standard magazines that fit a variety of Ataman models so sometimes they need adjustment that’s fairy easy to do. The tool in short is used to advance the magazine so the pellets load smoothly, this only needs to be done once thankfully.


The following weekend I traveled several hours into the mountains to field test the BP17. Over the next few days I had planned to test a variety of pellets as to find a good match for accuracy. When we arrived to the target shooting area it was very windy and looked as though we would be in for some rain.

The shooting range I normally do all my reviews at was closed for maintenance so this was a good opportunity to test in some real world conditions. Through the chronograph I tested many different brands and weights of pellets, the two that stood out were the 18gr JSB’s as well as the 25gr JSB redesigns. The lighter weight pellets were traveling way to fast and would spit out an occasional flier. The heavier weight pellets performed with much better consistency as well as bucking the wind far better than the lighter ones. The BP17 does in fact give 25 regulated shots at close to 30 fpe, much higher than listed.


After finding what the Ataman liked to eat we moved on to shooting some 50 yard groups, by this time the wind was pretty atrocious.

I set out a moving blanket and used my Caldwell bag to rest on, shooting in the prone position. The BP17 is by no means a bench gun and gives very little room to rest with, this is a pure offhand hunting gun. My 7 shots went quick where I was able to achieve a great group at 50 yards in some pretty awful wind.

Moving on I wanted to practice some offhand shooting so I set out the RX Target System at 25 yards, great tool for hunting practice. The BP17 is a dream to shoot offhand and no doubt the most ergonomically friendly bullpups I have ever shot. The sidelever is unique in being able to cock the rifle with just my thumb, pretty brilliant design. The heavy wind was blowing me around making offhand shots ridiculously difficult. The light trigger was something to get used to as well as having near zero 1st stage, the more I shot it the more I liked it though.

One thing I started to notice was the small indent for the side lever on the right side, it’s like a finger rest.

I have gotten in the habit of keeping my finger out of the trigger area until ready to shoot, a discipline that thankfully I have followed over the years. This little rest really becomes apparent when hiking with the bullpup. Little things like this are never found from a bench and one reason I enjoy doing field reviews. After spending two days with the Ataman in the field I was ready to move on to some live targets out in some remote wilderness.


Today Marley and I traveled another several hours into some remote mountains where we would spend the next two days.

This area offers some of the best habitat for the California Ground Squirrels, as well as being one of the most beautiful places to hunt them. The elevation here is just over 5,500ft and offers thousands of acres of huntable land, most in very rugged steep terrain. The area we set up camp was in a heavily wooded forest at alpine level. This area gets a fair amount of snow in the winter months, so it’s green for most all year long. We wasted no time getting the pack ready and heading out for a full day of hunting. I had brought my new Air Venturi 100ci buddy bottle with me, this little 4500psi bottle is a badass one.

As we headed South I could hear the distant sounds of woodpeckers throughout the forest as well as the chatter of many large Grey tree squirrels. My plan was to head down a small animal trail into a more open pasture area that had many rock outcroppings and Oak trees.

As Marley and I headed down the trail we could hear the familiar BARK of the California Ground Squirrels, they knew we were coming. Marley immediately became excited and was ready to do some long range recovery if of course I could connect some lead to them. My first stop was just under an Oak tree at the edge of a cliff, I filmed a bit here for the enclosed video. After filming for a few minutes I turned around and spotted a good size adult Ground Squirrel sitting on top of a drainage culvert.

I made the shot that gave a nice THWACK sending it flipping over the other side of the drainage culvert. The Ataman shoots offhand like a dream!

Moving on down the trail we came to a rock outcropping with a whole ton of Ground Squirrels crawling around on it. I took several missed shots that ultimately spooked them all down for the next 20 minutes. Hunting Ground Squirrels can sometimes get frustrating having to wait so long in between shots. After a few started coming out I was able to take one with a perfect headshot at 57 yards.

This little BP17 really smacks them down hard loaded with the JSB Redesigns, great hunting pellets.

The wind was off and on depending on the area we were, the deep canyons acted as kind of a funnel for the wind. When hunting areas like this the wind becomes the biggest factor, the key is really to get in as close as possible. Ground Squirrels have great vision so are sometimes very hard to get close to, especially in natural habitat. This is what I call trophy Ground Squirrel hunting and nothing like pesting in large numbers. These animals are very skittish as opposed to those found in farm environments where they may be used to loud noises and people. Most of the time the shots are between 50 and 80 yards depending on how well you can hide yourself from them.

We spent the next several hours getting a total of around 10 kills with a few on camera. This was the first hunt that I had used two cameras to film with and was not sure how the shots would turn out. Please let me know in the comments of the video how you liked it?


By this time it was getting later into the evening so Marley and I headed back to the camp to film some more regarding the Air Venturi buddy bottle. This little 100ci bottle is something I have wanted for awhile and find very useful for someone like me who spends a ton of time in the field. This bottle fits so well in my pack and is the perfect addition coupled with the tiny BP17 bullpup. I’m able to fit both the gun and the bottle into my Alps Outdoorz backpack, really useful.

By being able to pack the gun I’m able to travel much easier with all my camera gear, something that does become difficult with these bigger field reviews.

The Air Venturi bottle fills to 4500psi and is equipped with a very nice large EZ fill on/off valve. The bottle has two gauges,foster fitted fill whip and weighs near nothing. After the gun is filled the line will automatically bleed when the valve is closed. Fast, lightweight, durable and simple make this thing a must have for guys like me. I set up the tent for the night as well as starting a fire to help with the now frigid temperatures in the mid 20’s. This cold really made me rethink wanting to spend the night, nonetheless we would make it work.


The following morning I could hardly wait to start up the Jeep to warm up, we drove up the mountain to try catching some morning sun. The temperature really didn’t move up till around 8:00am so we had several hours of waiting in the Jeep before heading out to hunt. This area has some amazing views and is no doubt one of the more picturesque areas I frequent.

After warming up for a bit we headed through a pasture following a faint animal trail that led towards a large rock outcropping.

The rocks had a few chipmunks frantically moving about, tiny and fast targets. Within a few minutes I was able to take several of them between 30 and 40 yards, tiny little animals that don’t stay still for very long. The Ataman is pinpoint accurate and made for a great tool on the 1″ killzones.

We continued down the animal trail for several miles encountering some deer grazing in the pasture. One of them was very interested in us and gazed for a few minutes before heading into the thick treeline. The wind was picking up pretty heavily but I was still able to connect with quite a few Ground Squirrels with the furthest out to 80+ yards. On a calm day I have no doubt the the BP17 is capable to 100+ yard shots with some fair planning. Many of the Ground Squirrel kills were either inaccessible to recover or they simply would just fall down into their holes. Marley was getting busy on a few of our stops with the total numbering up over 30 kills, most all headshots too.

Our time was almost done here in this beautiful place but was certainly pleased with having so much success. The BP17 performed flawlessly and is in fact one of the most enjoyable guns to carry into the field. The fact that is so lightweight, packable and easy to use makes it one of my new favorites. My time with the Ataman was very well spent and I can clearly say this is a winner of a rifle. Enclosed are my final honest thoughts of this rifle as well as the enclosed review in video form.


 

       PROS

  • Short (backpack friendly)
  • lightweight
  • Extremely ergonomic
  • Holds magazines on rifle
  • Probe has foster fill machined in
  • Accurate
  • Powerful
  • Regulated
  • Good shot count
  • Great trigger
  • Great finish

 

CONS

  • Not easy to adjust or tune
  • Soft touch picks up debris
  • Threaded end cap not easy to remove
  • Magazine needed adjustment


 


 

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Sig Sauer ASP20 Magnum .22 Field Review

Several weeks ago we received the New SIG Sauer ASP20 Magnum break barrel rifle in .22 caliber. This rifle has gained a ton of attention since the last Shot Show and was one I really wanted to field use. The ASP20 was shipped to us directly from the SIG Sauer facility in Newington, New Hampshire. This rifle is produced in the same manufacturing facility as their firearms and has incorporated some of that engineering into it. Designing the ASP20 was a collaboration between both the SIG Air and Firearms divisions. Together they wanted to create an accurate, powerful and fun to shoot Air Rifle.


 

 

SPECS

Caliber 0.22″ (5.5mm)
Max Velocity 841 fps
Muzzle Energy 23 ft/lbs
Loudness 3-Medium
Barrel Length 13.8″
Overall Length 45.6″
Shot Capacity 1
Cocking Effort 33
Barrel Rifled
Front Sight none
Rear Sight none
Scopeable Weaver/Picatinny
Trigger Two-stage adjustable
Buttplate Rubber
Suggested for Small game hunting/target practice
Trigger Pull 2.5 lbs
Action Break barrel
Safety Manual
Powerplant Gas-piston
Function Single-shot
Body Type Rifle
Fixed/adj. power Fixed
Weight 8.5 lbs

DETAILS

Introducing the most advanced break barrel system in the marketplace, engineered and produced by SIG in Newington, New Hampshire. The common misconception among many is that high muzzle velocity makes for a better air rifle. In actuality, foot-pound muzzle energy is a more accurate gauge of the power of air rifles than the speed at which a projectile comes out of the barrel. Down-range accuracy and retained energy are better with a heavier projectile leaving the barrel at subsonic speed rather than an impractically-lightweight projectile leaving the barrel at a supersonic speed of 1400+ feet per second. This .22 Caliber suppressed single-shot, Advanced Sport Pellet (ASP) air rifle delivers down-range power and accuracy with the lightest cocking effort in its class, making it ideal for hunting small to medium game.

The rifle came packaged very well and included a small allen wrench, trigger adjustment tool and users manual. I cleaned the barrel and mounted a Leapers UTG 3-12×44 scope onto the very sturdy picatinny top rail. This rifle is a magnum and have found that the UTG usually stands up pretty well to the recoil these guns produce. The picatinny rail is directly welded to the top of the receiver and looks to be a great solid mounting point for a variety of optics.

Next I took a look at the ASP20’s built in moderator that affixed to the front of the 13.8″ rifled barrel. This moderator is approximately 5.5″ long and does in fact house some sort of baffle type inserts to quiet the report.

The rifle has an ambidextrous safety that’s located on both sides of the rifle just above the trigger area. I have immediately concluded that I like this design as it’s simple and very easy to use with my index finger from either side of the rifle. The ASP20 has a matchlight trigger that’s adjustable two ways and is adjustable from 2.5 up to 4.0 lbs. The second stage is easily adjustable to customize to each shooters preference.

To adjust the trigger we are able to use the provided tool that’s simply inserted into a port located at the rear of the receiver.

The ASP20 comes from the factory set to about 3.0 lbs and can be lightened up by inserting the tool, pressing down and turning counterclockwise to lighten and clockwise to raise. The second stage is easily adjusted as well and have found to be a great feature to customize the rifle to my own preference. The adjustments are easily outlined in the users manual and had found that I liked the rifle set to 2.5 lbs.

SIG Sauer has incorporated a Glidelight cocking mechanism to aid in bringing the cocking force down by around 30% compared to others producing the same power levels.

One of the more obvious features of the rifle is the Wedge Lock System, this is a new design that promotes accuracy and solves barrel droop problems. Over extended use some break barrels will experience barrel droop as well as shifts in accuracy that caused by poor barrel alignment and in extreme cases bending.

After taking a closer look at this breech area I can see that a great deal of quality has been put into the barrel system. The quality of the machine work and weld joints makes me proud that it’s made in the USA. The barrel and cocking links look very sturdy, I even tried to flex the barrel to see if any movement could be felt. The weight of this rifle is a pretty standard weight of 8.5 lbs and has a good solid feel to it. This model is made from beech wood and has been given a very dark brown stain, almost black. I will be the first to say I wish they had gone lighter on the stain as to cover such beautiful wood grain. The darker color of the stock shows scratches and pressure dents much more than a lighter color would.

The shape of the stock is very tactical and has very well placed checkering that makes the gun hold very well. The rubber buttpad is very plush and definatley aids in cradling the rifle against the shoulder.


Our next course of action was to head out to the range for a full day of testing and break in. I had not shot a gas ram break barrel in a long time so was very eager to get some practice in. SIG Sauer was kind enough to send two tins of branded pellets to be able to test in the rifle.

They had provided some 14.66gr CruxPB as well as the 21.14gr WraithPB pellets. These pellets looked to be very similar to H&N brand and possibly could be rebranded, nonetheless very nice quality. I tested both through the chronograph as well as doing some groups at 30 and 50 yards to test the accuracy. I really like how SIG Sauer has not followed other companies by claiming high velocity numbers. They obviously have done some homework and figured out that Airguns generally achieve the best accuracy at subsonic velocities. The SIG Sauer puts out up to 23 FPE that definitely enters it into the magnum category for Gas Rams. After the rifle is broken in I believe the numbers should settle in, this is what I achieved over 10 shots out of the box using the 14.66gr CruxPB’s.

I tested the heavier 21.14gr Wraith PB’s and found them to be going much to slow in the high 600’s, they faired to be very accurate but I didn’t like the loopy trajectory beyond 30 yards. The ASP20 is a joy to shoot, very solid THUMP when fired as well as having recoil that was easily manageable.

Cocking the rifle was very easy considering how much power it has, I would say it’s at least half of what my Diana 350 magnum was.

Moving along I set up the RX Target System at 30 yards to practice on some 1.2″ kill zones, great for hunting practice. At 30 yards the ASP20 had no problem smashing down the paddles with authority.

Next we moved along to the 50 yard target that proved not easy for someone not proficient at using a break barrel rifle. I found that being able to adjust the trigger to my own preference really aided in making this rifle a whole lot more enjoyable to shoot. The trigger blade felt great as well as giving me a lot more predictability and control. After some practice I was feeling pretty confident with the rifle and was able to find a good hold that was comfortable for me.

I was having a great time with the rifle and was able to achieve a 5 shot group that could be covered with my thumb. I think with some more practice I could have definitely done better as well as to stretch the gun out further. For hunting I can see this gun being ideal considering the power it puts out. The rest of the day was spent practicing my offhand skills as to ready myself for a short hunt the following day.

This rifle has definitely passed the accuracy portion of my review with flying colors. The ASP20 has some great features, I have to say the safety and the easily adjustable trigger are my favorites sofar.


The following day I packed the Jeep to head several hours South to a familiar location to hunt the California Ground Squirrel.

This area has many rocks, fallen trees and miles of pastures that offer excellent cover for the many Ground Squirrels that call this place home. Much of this area has been heavily impacted by the damage these varmints cause.

Early Spring is usually the best time to hunt ground squirrels, although they are fairly active on most warm days throughout the year. Marley and I unpacked the Jeep and wasted no time setting out from camp to a few known areas.

Within about 10 minutes I could hear the distant bark of a Ground Squirrel sunning himself up in some large rock outcroppings. Marley and I slowly made our way under a large Oak tree where I was able to spot one at 40 yards up on a rock.

I made the shot a bit low and sent it right into it’s shoulder with a loud echoing THWACK!!! Sounded like a catchers mitt. Marley and I took a short break under the Oak tree to film part of the enclosed video, this area is really pretty this time of year.

After a short bit of time filming we hiked up into the rocks that proved to be quite difficult carrying the rifle and all my camera gear. The ASP20 carries very nice, the checkering really became apparent when my hands had become so sweaty from hiking. “I really enjoy field use because I can always find things about a rifle that simply will never be found from a bench review.” Marley and I made our way over the mountain that led us back down a small animal trail onto the valley floor. This area had more large rock outcroppings that hopefully would give us some better opportunities. The day was a bit overcast so the squirrels were simply not very active in the usual spots. As we slowly walked a small cattle trail I finally spotted one at 55 yards moving around on some rocks. The Squirrel was partially obstructed by a bush but I was still able to make a good headshot that put it down with authority.

Marley was quick to recover the Ground Squirrel, not an easy task as it was wedged between two rocks.

By 2:30pm the wind was starting to pick up and it was time for Marley and I to head several miles back to the Jeep. This was a great little hunt, I wish we had some more action but I was just pleased to be out with a great Airgun and my little companion. Marley and I headed several hours back home where I would get to spend the next week editing and finishing up this review.


I spent some great time with the SIG Sauer ASP20 and am honored that they allowed me the opportunity to field use it. Over the past several weeks I have learned a lot about this great American Made rifle and can only hope this review may help others looking to buy one. As usual I will enclose my final honest opinion of this rifle along with the review in video form. Remember, the best Airgun is the one you’re shooting!!


      PROS

  • Powerful
  • Accurate
  • Easy to cock
  • Trigger (easily adjustable)
  • Very well made (strong)
  • Checkering
  • Weaver/Picatinny rail
  • Quiet

 

      CONS

  • Stocks finish (dark color shows scratches and pressure dents easy)


 

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New Rapid Air Weapons HM1000x Field Review

Several weeks ago I received the new Rapid Air Weapons HM1000x in .25 from Pyramyd Air for a comprehensive field review. I was excited to do this review as it would be the first RAW that I would have the privilege of field using. Rapid Air Weapons is known for building precision USA Made rifles that have been proven accurate by shooters all over the world. The HM1000 was shipped to me in a nice hard case and included one 12 shot rotary magazine, O’Ring kit and users manual.


RAW HM1000x PCP Air Rifle with Tan Laminate LRT Stock

  • Tan laminate LRT (Long Range Target) stock
  • Lothar Walther polygonal rifled barrel
  • Left- or right-hand actions available
  • MADE IN THE USA
  • Fully adjustable, match-grade trigger
  • 950 FPS (.22), 900 FPS (.25)
  • Fill pressure: 250 BAR (approx. 3,625 PSI)
  • Male quick-connect fill fitting
  • Easy access trigger spring adjustment
  • Overall length: 45.37”
  • Fully regulated
  • Precision side-lever cocking mechanism
  • 480cc carbon fiber air bottle
  • 12-shot rotary magazine
  • Fully moderated, carbon fiber-wrapped barrel w/offset shroud
  • 50 FPE (.22), 60 FPE (.25)
  • Includes one magazine

Thanks to a partnership between Tennessee-based Rapid Air Weapons (RAW) and AirForce Airguns out of Texas, one of airgunning’s most sought-after pre-charged pneumatic air rifles is now available without much of a wait. The RAW HM1000x LRT (Long Range Target) PCP air rifle achieves the kind of precision, reliability and consistency that have come to characterize RAW’s high-quality airguns. Each rifle is hand built and individually tested before leaving the factory and is billed by RAW as “the most accurate pre-charged pneumatic air rifle made in the USA… capable of sub 1-inch groups out to 100 yards. The HM1000x’s LRT’s factory high-power tune produces muzzle energies of up to 50 foot-pounds (in .22, using JSB 25.39-grain pellets) and 60 foot-pounds (in .25, using JSB King Heavy 33.95-grain pellets). Its fully regulated PCP power plant ensures consistent performance from the first shot to the last and the 480cc carbon fiber bottle packs enough capacity to put up to 50 rounds downrange per fill.

It uses a 12-shot rotary magazine and features an adjustable, match-grade target trigger with an added safety catch. The fully moderated Lothar Walther polygonal rifled barrel, allows backyard plinkers to shoot without worrying about loud reports bothering neighbors and the offset muzzle shroud eliminates the need for taller scope mounts.

The RAW HM1000x LRT integrates all of this industry-leading hardware into a high-end, laminate stock with a cheek rest and rubber butt pad that are each height-adjustable to enhance accuracy and control. The pistol grip and stock are checkered, with the forend incorporating five M-Lok slots for mounting accessories like bipods and Q.D. attachments. The forestock of the RAW HM1000x LRT is flat underneath to provide bench shooters with an ultra-stable point of contact. Designed for everyone from serious plinkers and hunters to field target and benchrest competitors demanding the highest levels of performance, the RAW HM1000x LRT delivers the accuracy, consistency and precision that serious shooters demand.


Looking over the rifle and learning some of the features that were included I could hardly wait to get this rifle down to the 100 yard range and to configure it for my several days of hunting. The RAW has a Lothar Walther Polygonal barrel, this barrel has no choke and should except shooting slugs very well. Beyond the barrel this rifle can produce a good amount of power in .25 and can easily be configured to a conservative 60 FPE. The rifles stock is outfitted with a nice slot that allows us to adjust the hammer spring tension located at the rear of the receiver.

This is a great feature that allows the shooter to really fine tune this rifle for the specifics of the pellets or slugs they might be using. The rifle comes pre tuned to 60 fpe using 33gr JSB’s but can be tuned up or down with a chronograph using the hammer adjuster. Clockwise for more power, counter clockwise for less. The HM1000x is regulated and one of the main components that makes this rifle so accurate. The regulator is located just inside the front of the breech where the bottle threads into. To remove the action from the stock to make visit to some of the hidden components it’s first necessary to remove the 480cc carbon fiber bottle. To pull the action from the stock the bottle needs to be removed first to to prevent damage to the stock. The bottle can be removed while it’s under pressure and will give a “pop” sound when it’s near the end of the threads.

Once the bottle is removed we can now loosen the allen bolt from the bottom of the stock to view other components such as the regulator and trigger assembly.

The HM1000x is fitted with a regulator that’s factory set between 140/160 BAR. I easily removed it from the gun for sake of looking it over and to show its a good quality component.

The regulator simply allows only a set amount of pressure into the plenum that gives good consistent fps numbers. This regulator uses a belleville stack that just establishes a pressure that holds open the valve seat until the pressure in the plenum overcomes it and pushes a spool to the seat that will halt air flow. The amount by which you can increase or decrease the pressure is by adding or subtracting the washers. This is a much more advanced adjustment and should never need to be bothered with by the end user. Each one of these regulators is set personally by Martin at Rapid Air Weapons and looks to be very well made and trouble free unit. While I had the stock removed it was a good time to look over the match grade trigger that’s fully adjustable 4 ways.

The trigger on the HM1000x is definitely and important key component that helps to make this rifle easier to shoot accurately. The 6oz was a bit lighter than I’m used to but nonetheless this would prove to be one of my favorite parts of the rifle. The users manual included a diagram that easily explains the 4 available adjustments to the trigger.


The following day I packed the Jeep and headed out to the 100 yard range for a day of quality shooting time.

Today I would be getting the gun ready for my several days of hunting so I would be shooting some new 34gr Nielsen Specialty Ammo slugs as well as the 25.39gr JSB’s. I didn’t waste any time setting up the chronograph to run some shot strings as well as to sight in my Hawke Vantage 3-12×44 SF Scope. I spent a good hour sighting the gun in and practicing on some targets at 100 yards. The Nielsen Specialty Ammo 34gr slugs shot very well out of the HM1000x and even in the wind were very predictable. These were putting out near 64 FPE in the rifle, very impressive and accurate!!

NSA 34gr 12 shots at 100 yards RAW HM1000x .25

The RAW HM1000x comes with a 12 shot rotary magazine that loads from the left side of the rifle and has plenty of room for a variety of pellets and slugs.

The side-lever on the rifle is very robust and well made, has no slop or play and opens and closes very smoothly. The probe on this rifle is large and designed to load and seat each pellet/slug with extreme precision. Small details like this are no doubt important keys to extreme accuracy. Next we would try out the 25.39gr JSB’s, these were a bit lighter and proved to be going way to fast through the chronograph. Ideally the 33gr JSB’s would have been a better choice but unfortunately I didn’t have any on hand at the time. I used the hammer spring adjustment and turned down the gun till they reached speed of 950 giving a bit over 50 FPE. After shooting some groups I found they shot very well but not as predictable as the slugs were in the swirling winds out to 100 yards.

HM1000x 25.39gr JSB’s 12 shots at 100 yards

The accuracy of the Rapid Air Weapons HM1000s .25 is definitely impressive with not only pellets but slugs. I was excited as it’s very rare to find a rifle that’s capable of shooting both so well at longer ranges. The ability to fine tune this rifle by the user to the specifics of a variety of pellets and slugs makes it an extremely versatile Airgun. My time at the bench was well spent but now it was time for the RAW to make it’s way into a hunting environment. That evening I packed up the Jeep with all my gear for our several days adventure into the remote mountains.


The following morning Marley and I headed several hours South to a familiar remote location where we would be spending the next two days. This area is very remote and has one of the best natural habitats for the California Ground Squirrels. The recent rains have brought California a super bloom of flowers and an amount of green I haven’t seen in years.

The day was partially cloudy with the sunshine coming in and out, still very beautiful with all the bright yellow flowers. Marley and I pulled into our camp that was nestled in a canyon surrounded by many Oak trees and small creeks. I unpacked some of my gear and we wasted no time getting out into the field in search of the many Ground Squirrels that call this place home.

The area we were headed to was about a mile South from camp and offered some amazing hiking through some rolling pastures. We came up on several large rock outcroppings that had several Ground Squirrels moving about atop them. Marley and I sat down and within a minute or two I was able to spot my first victim of the day. This one was at 116 yards sitting high up on a giant boulder, he was staying pretty still and left me with a good headshot.

After making a successful shot and capturing it on video we headed a bit further to an area that was much greener. The yellow flowers were so bright that they were near blinding, pretty amazing picturesque view.

Marley and I sat on a small bluff overlooking a creek and many rocks and fallen trees. We spotted quite a few busy Ground Squirrels moving about at around 60 yards.

The RAW HM1000x has plenty of power to whallop down these Ground Squirrels with ease at ranges out to 130 yards. We spent the next several hours here putting down quite a few of them. The area was one of the best hunting spots I have been to for Ground Squirrels, on a sunny hot day I’m sure we could have gotten even more. Marley and I took a break down in the creek as the clouds moved overhead.

The temperature was in the high 60’s so the ground squirrels were not as active as they would be on warmer days. Marley and I continued our hike and decided to move higher up into the rocks where we were able to overlook a good portion of the valley floor.

The Ground Squirrels can be very difficult to spot in this type of terrain, they can usually be found high up in the rocks where they like to sun themselves.

The Hawke Vantage 3-12×44 SF is a great scope for this type of hunting, the side focus is definitely a step up from the standard model AO scopes and makes focusing much quicker. The 3-12×44 works very well for hunting at closer ranges offering a good wide field of view, at longer ranges the 1/2 mill-dots are perfect for most applications. This scope is one of my favorites because it’s lightweight and has great glass for the money along with smooth turret adjusters. I added a sun-shade and some good quality medium rings that mounted very solid the the HM1000x. For hunting situations it’s imperative to have a good mounting system to hold the scopes zero under heavy field conditions. Expect to see some thorough scope reviews coming very soon!

By this time it was 5:00pm and we had a two mile hike back to our camp where I still had to set up the tent and get situated for the night ahead. The HM1000x had treated me well on the first day of hunting and had already allowed me to learn a few things about it away from the bench. Sofar my favorite things about it were the power, trigger and great shot count. One of the things I really noticed was the noise levels, on a scale from 1 to 5 of loudness this ones a 4. I was not to concerned about the sound level though due to the fact the gun had so much power that I was able to shoot from far distances out beyond 130+ yards. My experience is what may be loud to the shooter is usually not heard at all 100 yards downrange.


Back at camp I set up the tent and made dinner along with digging a fire pit to keep us warm through the night. That night the wind picked up as well as giving us a short sprinkle around 10:00pm, thankfully it wasn’t really very cold.


The next morning Marley and I woke up around 7:30 to start out the day. The morning was a bit cold and had some clouds rolling overhead giving us moments of warmth from the morning sunshine.

I was quick to get the rifle situated by loading it’s magazine with the 34gr NSA slugs. The magazine is very large and easy to load, 12 shots is a good number to keep busy for awhile before reloading.


QUICK TIP

I always like to leave both my Air Tank and gun out in the sun before filling, this keeps the pressures up. Sometimes if our Air tank is a bit low we can use the sun to build pressure, sometimes several hundred PSI. In field situations this can sometimes come in handy and has helped me on numerous occasions.

The HM1000x is very easy to fill, no probes or funky fill devices to lose or break. A simple foster fill has never let me down and the one on the RAW is as trouble free as they come.

The foster fitting has a nice little dust cap that pops on and off with ease to help keep the field debris out. The carbon fiber bottle fills to just over 3,625psi and provides enough air to keep most varmint hunters in the field all day long with 50 shots. (NOTE) The gauge on the RAW only goes to 230 BAR but the gun is able to fill to 250 BAR. Apparently RAW uses the same gauge for both the CF and aluminum bottles.   


Marley and I headed out to a few areas we had scouted the day before that looked to be very promising with Ground Squirrels.

The first area was fairly flat and had several Ground Squirrels scurrying around through the rocks and fallen trees. Within a few minutes I was able to spot one just behind a small rock, they really blend in well and are sometimes impossible to see.

Marley was quick to retrieve this one from the rocks that was put down with a mean headshot.

We continued on and soon spotted another high up in some rocks at 70 yards away, this area is getting busy.

Moving along up over the mountain we came back down into a creekbed where I was able to take several more Ground Squirrels with the furthest out to 92 yards.

The HM1000x shoots very well offhand and from the sitting position, I really like the flat bottom of the forearm. The guns weight is balanced very well and considering it’s length is very manageable. The checkering on the grip and forearm area give enough to use from a variety of holds. I will say I felt this stock was not something that would handle a drop well, I was a bit careful with the gun but still used it as intended. Over the past few days I have carried the rifle without a sling and found it to be pretty lightweight, never felt uncomfortable. If this was mine I would definitely have added a sling but since it would be getting returned I did not want to drill out the buttstock for a swivel stud. Marley and I spent the next few hours moving to several different areas with a total of 24 kills over the day. The HM1000x was a powerhouse and worked flawlessly coupled with the NSA slugs. Our time was near up so we headed back to camp to pack up and head down the long dirt road to home. My time spent with this fine American Made rifle was well spent and more than a pleasure. I really appreciate Pyramyd Air for sponsoring this trip and allowing me the opportunity to bring my experience to you. I will enclose my final honest opinion of this rifle along with the review in video form.


      PROS

  • Powerful (60+FPE)
  • Adjustable (easy to fine tune)
  • Great trigger
  • Great weight
  • Good shot count
  • Accurate (works well with both pellets and slugs)
  • Easy to work on
  • Convenient safety

      CONS

  • Loud (does have 60FPE though)
  • Bit long (would like to see shorter moderator)
  • Delicate Stock (handle with care)
  • Needs gauge that goes to 250 BAR

This rifle has been thoroughly field tested and is one of the most accurate long range Airguns that I have used for hunting. The fact that it can shoot both slugs and pellets so well is very rare to find, I was happy to see that Airforce has committed to keeping this rifles legacy alive with quality. This PCP is definitely on the high end of rifles but has proven itself time over to be one of the best.



 

 

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Air Arms S510 XS Ultimate Sporter Field Review

Several weeks ago Pyramydair sent us the new Air Arms S510xs Ultimate Sporter in .25 to be able to field review.  This rifle is one of the hot picks of 2019 so I was very excited to get a chance to field use this awesome rifle. I received the rifle and was very pleased with the packing of it in a very well formed shipping box. The S510xs comes in several stock options, I had chosen the walnut 288cc version in .25 caliber. Air Arms has done a beautiful job with the fit and finish of this sporter, beautiful natural looking wood. The rifle included two 10 shot magazines, T-Bar fill probe as well as some allen wrenches for adjustments to the stock and trigger.


 

Air Arms S510 XS Ultimate Sporter Xtra FAC, Walnut

  • Precharged pneumatic
  • Smooth side lever cocking mechanism
  • 10-shot repeater
  • 2-stage adjustable trigger with safety
  • 11mm scope grooves (no open sights)
  • 250 Bar / 3626 PSI Fill Pressure
  • Built-in manometer (air pressure gauge)
  • Built-in adjustable power
  • Fully shrouded Lothar Walther barrel
  • Ambidextrous Walnut Stock
  • Adjustable cheek piece
  • Checkered pistol grip and forearm
  • Adjustable rubber buttpad
  • Rear sling swivel stud
  • Fully-Regulated 288cc cylinder
  • 60 shots in .177, 55 shots in .22, 40 shots in .25
  • Accessory rail under forearm with built-in adjustable sling mount
  • Includes 2 rotary magazines, 4 hex wrenches, fill adapter and airgun oil

The Ultimate Sporter XS Xtra takes Air Arms’ most prized PCP and adds even more value to a platform already at the height of its powers. With an introduction of a fully-regulated system, the Air Arms S510 XS is the S510 action perfected, with more shots per fill than ever before. This variant features a finely crafted Walnut stock, with luxurious etching that reflects Air Arms dedication to traditional craftsmanship. This XS’s precision checkering on the grip and forend, fine curves and grooved handholds make this PCP a worthy mantlepiece. The Minelli stock comes complete with an adjustable, soft-touch coated cheekpiece, adjustable buttpad, integrated sling mounts, and an accessory rail ready to accept bipods or even a palm shelf. Customers requested a regulated S510 and Air Arms delivered, all while boosting the power of the increasingly popular .25 caliber. With this regulated upgrade, the XS can achieve a whopping 44 ft-lbs in .25, 32 ft-lbs in .22 and 20 ft-lbs in .177. Power isn’t the only thing increasing in the XS. The XS regulator offers increased consistency and shot counts from the 288cc cylinder, delivering an impressive 60 (.177), 55 (.22) and 40 (.25) shots per fill with minimal velocity change.  These long shot strings are further aided by a built-in power adjuster. Each XS Xtra features the prized Lothar Walther barrel, which gives this platform its renowned accuracy. Each rifle includes 2 of Air Arms perfected 10-shot indexing magazines, smooth side-lever cocking mechanism and an easy to read built-in manometer. The Air Arms Ultimate Sporter platform has turned heads at the range since 2013 with shots so accurate they require a double-take. If you want the longest, most consistent shot strings with surgical accuracy, join the elite ranks of Air Arms airgunners with S510 Ultimate Sporter XS Xtra.

Caliber 0.25″ (6.35mm)
Max Velocity 815 fps
Muzzle Energy 44 ft/lbs
Loudness 2-Low-Medium
Barrel Length 15.5″
Overall Length 44.74″
Shot Capacity 10
Barrel Rifled
Front Sight none
Rear Sight none
Scopeable 11mm dovetail
Trigger Two-stage adjustable
Buttplate Adjustable
Suggested for Small game hunting/target practice
Action Sidelever
Safety Manual
Powerplant Pre-charged pneumatic
Function Repeater
Max Shots per Fill 35
Body Type Rifle
Fixed/adj. power Multiple settings
Weight 8.37 lbs
Cylinder Size 288 cc
Shrouded Yes

After a full inspection of the rifles function and making sure everything was tight I mounted a Hawke Vantage 3-12X44 SF Scope.

This is a great scope for the money that I believe to be a good step up from the standard AO Vantage. This model has the Side Focus that works much better in the field for quicker adjustments.

  • Rifle scope
  • 3-12x magnification
  • 44mm objective lens
  • 1 mono-tube for superior strength
  • 1/4 MOA (1/4″ click value @ 100 yds)
  • Side focus control for parallax adjustment from 10 yds to infinity
  • 30.6 ft to 7.7 ft field of view
  • 3.5″ eye relief
  • 17.3 oz.
  • 13.3″ long
  • Includes elasticated lens covers and lens cloth

Other features:

  • 11 layer fully multi-coated optics for maximum clarity
  • 100 MOA elevation and windage adjustment range
  • Nitrogen-filled
  • Shockproof
  • Waterproof
  • 1/4 at 100 yard low profile no snag fingertip turrets
  • Fast focus eyeball and high torque zoom ring
  • Black matte finish

10X 1/2 Mil Dot Reticle

  • Designed to be exact at 10x
  • Multiple aim points for hold over and hold under
  • Between each dot is a dash for more options when selecting an aimpoint

With the Hawke Sport Optics Vantage Side Focus Rifle Scope you’ll enjoy both close and long-range shooting. The unique 1/2 Mil Dot reticle offers several aim points for those times when you need to hold over or under. All the power you need for your most accurate shooting is built into this scope with its side focus control, low profile MOA turrets, and convenient side focus operation.


Ater mounting the scope I took a look at the T-Bar fill probe, this is Air Arms standard adaptor that I personally don’t like. The reason I don’t like any type of probes or adaptors beyond standard fosters is the get lost easily and are reliant on several O-rings.

To fill this gun using a standard foster fitting an Air Venturi adaptor will be needed. This model has the 288cc air reservoir that fills to 250 BAR or 3600psi.


The Air Arms is fully shrouded and is able to be fitted with several different types of moderators to quiet the bark. The end cap is threaded for a 1/2×20 male, I have chosen a DonnyFL Tatsu moderator as these have worked well on my other rifles and are of great build quality.

 


The side lever on this gun is of excellent quality, easily opens and closes with one finger. Really smooth and easy to use, very well done and looked very durable.

On the right side of the rifle is the power adjuster knob that has five increments “clicks” for fine tuning the power levels or consuming of air.

On the left side of the rifle is where you can see the adjustments with a small bar with +/- symbols.

I personally don’t see myself using this feature and would most likely always have the setting to maximum power levels.


Next we look at the safety that is of a simple crossbolt design, I don’t really like the placement as it’s not able to be put on easily with my index finger.

The Air Arms is fully shrouded and one thing to note is it is vented, I mention this because for those not familiar with a vented design.

A shroud with vents will expel air and can sometimes be felt by the shooter, this is totally normal to a true shroud design. The Air Arms is fitted with a fully adjustable Cheek piece as well as an accessory rail under the forearm with built in adjustable sling mount. This is a great feature that allows the rifle to be set up comfortably to the individual. I mounted a Benjamin tactical type bipod that extends out to 7.9″ and works well from bench to field.


The following day was spent at the 50/100 yard private shooting facility, the weather would hopefully cooperate. I first set up at 50 yards where I spent some time sighting in the new Hawke Vantage scope. The rifle came with two 10 shot rotary magazines that in my opinion are very reliable due to having no “spring” inside. Air Arms has incorporated a mechanism on the rifle itself to advance the magazine. These magazines are very easy to load and very friendly to leave loaded and field carry.

I had brought several types of pellets but found the .25 JSB Match Diabolo 25.39gr domed pellets worked very well.  Air Arms has done a great job with the ergonomics of the rifle to work very well from the bench. The large 288cc air reservoir gives 32 regulated shots at 44 fpe, a very conservative shot count. The trigger is fully adjustable but was very pleased with it’s set right out of the box, smooth and predictable. After spending some time shooting the rifle and sighting it in I shot several groups at 50 yards, all very good.

This S510xs .25’s regulator works very well to keep the accuracy very consistent, the gun shoots far better than I can. We moved along to the 100 yard range where unfortunately I would need to contend with some wind. I was actually kind of happy to be able to practice with some wind as the area I would be hunting is frequently very windy. Filming in the wind is never fun and makes it difficult to keep the video smooth and shake free. I shot several groups that fared very well so decided to go for the gold and shoot a 20 shot group. To put it simply, this gun is “ACCURATE”!!!

The Air Arms S510xs definitely shoots well and no doubt the regulator and LW barrel are a great combination to the rifle. A 20 shot group like this at 100 yard no doubt puts a smile on my face, can’t wait to get this into the field for some hunting. My initial thought was that 44fpe really isn’t much power for a .25 caliber Airgun here in the United States, this power level however works very well for it. The weather here in CA had been very poor the past several weeks so getting outside was hit or miss with the rain storms.


The following week Marley and I headed several hours North to a familiar location where I have spent much time hunting the California Ground Squirrel. This terrain is one of my favorite areas and offers near perfect habitat for these varmints. The weather here has been poor and the temperature and rain has kept many of the ground squirrels inside their holes. We arrived to find some snow still on the ground as well as the temperature being about 44 degrees at 6:00am.

The morning was a bit cold but nonetheless very beautiful and green after having some much needed rain. I unpacked the rifle and aired up for a full day of field use!

The area we would be hunting first was a bit of a hike into some thick forest that had many fallen trees and a hillside with many rocks and logs. By this time it was still cold but the sun was starting to warm us up as we set up behind a large fallen tree.

It didn’t take long for us to spot several of our first victims moving around out past 70+ yards.

This Ground Squirrel went down with authority sending the THWAAACK echoing through the canyon. The Air Arms works very well for offhand shooting and the adjustable cheek is an added bonus for comfort. The texture on the beautiful walnut stock makes for exceptional grip in a variety of shooting positions. Marley and I spent another hour in this spot and managed to feed some lead to 5 of them. This one I put down at 55 yards with a mean headshot!!

The Hawke Vantage 3-12X44 SF scope works very well for most hunting situations, the side focus really is a step up from the standard AO model. The glass is clear and the half mil dots really help with those precision shots at longer ranges.

I like having the lower power for close range quick shots where a higher magnification can sometimes take awhile to get on target. Excellent scope for the money!! After taking several Ground Squirrels we headed back to the Jeep for some lunch and to film a few details to the video portion of this review. NOTE: Due to weather we had to call the day short and return a few days later


A few days later we would be hunting the same area but with a bit more wide open terrain that has several rock outcroppings and Oak tree groves. This really is one of the best natural habitats for the California Ground Squirrel.

The temperature was moving up into the high 60’s with the clouds moving through pretty quickly. Marley and I found a valley that looked to be a good spot to sit in the tall grass and wait for action.

It didn’t take long to spot a few Ground Squirrels at 57 yards, this shot needed to get threaded between some branches to make a connect. THWAAACK!!!

We ended up taking several in the same spot, most were lost down into the many holes that were covering the small embankments. We continued in a big loop that followed a small animal trail that eventually led us down a steep hillside.

I spotted quite a few Ground Squirrels sunning themselves on a rock at 116+ yards offering several great shots. I missed on a couple of them only to have continual shots due to the fact they really couldn’t see or hear me from so far away. I made a perfect headshot on one that was sitting in a crack at 116 yards. THWAAAACK!!

The Air Arms S510xs .25 is in fact one of my new favorite Airguns for field use, I love the ruggedness, accuracy and adjustability of it. After spending the rest of the day filming and taking some still photographs we were ready to head back down the mountain. The activity was very slow but still managed a successful trophy Ground Squirrel hunt.


I have truly enjoyed my time spent with this amazing Air Rifle and cringe at the thought of having to return it. I have had my hands on a great many Airguns over the years and can honestly say this may be in one of my top five favorites. I want to thank Pyramydair for sponsoring me to review this rifle and be able to show it’s full potential to making a great hunting gun. My final honest thoughts are as follows:

       PROS

  • Accurate
  • Great Shot Count
  • Great Adjustability
  • Great Trigger
  • Smooth Side Lever
  • Well Balanced
  • Nice Magazines
  • Durable
  • Bipod/Sling Mount
  • Threaded For Moderator

      CONS 

  • Fill Probe
  • Safety
  • Easy To Double Load

I really enjoyed making this review and hope that it might help those of you who are interested. If you would like to purchase this rifle it’s available for order through Pyramydair with the provided link.


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GAMO TC45 Field Review

Several months ago we reached out to Gamo USA and were awarded a chance to field review the TC45 Big Bore. This is GAMO’s newest entry into the Big Bore Airgun market and was something I thought may fit well with an extended use review. The TC45 has been branded by GAMO but is essentially modeled after the Evanix REX platform of Airguns.


GAMO TC45 STATS

Gamo TC45 Big Bore PCP Air Rifle

  • Precharged-pneumatic
  • Single shot for maximum ammo flexibility
  • Integrated noise dampening
  • Adjustable 2-stage trigger
  • 480cc carbon fiber air cylinder fillable to 250 BAR (3,625 psi)
  • Highly efficient in-line valve system
  • Weaver/Picatinny optics rail
  • 10-40 shot count, may vary depending on projectile and settings

Gamo is diving headfirst into big bore pre charged pneumatics with the all-new TC45 PCP air rifle.  This PCP hunter is built for one thing, and one thing only–delivering huge lead into medium to large game. The TC45 has a large 480cc carbon fiber cylinder, sheathed by a rubber-coated polymer stock designed to provide the ideal cheek weld.  Each cylinder includes an easy-to-read integrated manometer and the cylinder itself is removable for easy takedown and transportation. When you’re ready for a scope, a long tactical Weaver/Picatinny rail awaits your choice of optics and an adjustable 2-stage trigger awaits your preferred pull. Featuring an innovative underlever cocking system, the trigger guard acts as the cocking lever that simultaneously opens the breach. Load up a .45 cal. round, and send it downrange at speeds up to 900 FPS. This is definitely huge air power, but the TC45 includes an integrated suppressor to keep the noise down a bit. Lastly, the TC45 features grooved and textured AR style grip is interchangeable with other AR15 grips. Gamo’s TC45 gives shooters huge rounds, good power, in a streamlined frame filled with added features, and the result?  A big bore that’s more than ready to face most hunting situations.

Caliber 0.45″
Max Velocity 900 fps
Muzzle Energy 248 ft/lbs
Loudness 4-Medium-High
Barrel Length 24.24″
Overall Length 47.13″
Shot Capacity 1
Barrel Rifled
Front Sight none
Rear Sight none
Scopeable Weaver/Picatinny
Trigger Two-stage adjustable
Buttplate Rubber
Suggested for Hunting
Action Underlever
Safety Manual
Powerplant Pre-charged pneumatic
Function Single-shot
Body Type Rifle
Weight 8.0 lbs
Cylinder Size 480 cc
Shrouded Yes

I received the rifle and was given several months to conclude my review, this so I thought would be more than adequate time. My first impression of the rifle was the weight, it feels extremely lightweight and well balanced considering it’s length. The TC45 felt very sturdy and well made right down to the finish on the gun, the only plastic on the gun was the AR style grips. My first course of action was to mount a scope, I had chosen a Trinity Force 1-4X28 tactical style scope.

This is a great scope for short ranges and fit the gun well with it’s tactical style mount and the ability to accept a light for night hunting. I looked over most all of the physical aspects of the gun and will show the best details I can. TC45 comes in at 8.0 lbs and that’s partly due to the 480cc carbon fiber bottle that’s able to lower the overall weight as well as to fill to 3600psi or 250BAR. The bottle is easily removed by loosening the locking ring and simply unscrewing it from the receiver. This is a nice feature to the gun as it’s easily able to pack into a small case.

The TC45 is uniquely designed with an underlever that is part of the trigger guard. To open the breech this lever is simply pulled down and forward.

 The loading port on this rifle is very large and has plenty of room for a variety of different length Slugs and Pellets. Having a large loading port is especially important when we may be reloading quickly and have no time to fumble. The lever itself has a small latch on the right side that acts as somewhat of an Anti-Bear Trap that keeps the lever from accidentally getting slammed closed. This is an interesting feature but one that’s certainly important for safety of our fingers and accidental discharge. The lever does have a little bit of play in it but nothing out of the ordinary or sloppy. The safety sits just above the trigger on the right side of the lower part of the receiver, simple design that works well. Moving on we look at the barrel system that includes a full length shroud and built in moderator. I inspected the inside of the moderator and discovered that it had no baffles or any other form of deadening material to quiet the gun.

 I have concluded that this moderator is most likely for cosmetic purposes and serves little to quiet down the guns bark. This most likely was added to stiffen the shroud and through design it was made to be a larger diameter to enhance the appearance to the front of the rifle. My initial inspection was to see if it may unthread and would allow for the installation of an aftermarket moderation device, it doesn’t. The barrel system on this rifle is very strong and had no flex or movement whatsoever, this is a great stiff system. After checking the gun over and making sure everything was tight it was time to pack it up and ready it for a day of shooting.


The following weekend Terry, Marley and I drove several hours North to a location that has excellent space to set up for longer range shooting. We arrived fairly early and were met by a good amount of wind that never makes for great shooting conditions. We had brought a 12″X12″ steel freestanding plate that would be set to 50/100/200 yards.

We aired up the rifle to 3600 psi and loaded it with some Neisen Specialty Ammo 196gr Slugs, these were the lightest weight swaged slugs he had. Through some chronograph reading I had concluded that this ammo would give 3 shots at close to 300 fpe.

We set the plate out at 50 yards and proceeded with taking three shots. The trigger on the TC45 was set up good out of the box and gave a very predictable feel with smooth break to it. The trigger is adjustable but after extended use it seemed to get even smoother.

We moved the plate out to 100 yards and this is really where the wind started howling as well as my camera giving me some difficulty and ultimately needed a major cleaning. The wind had blown some debris into the internals causing some distortion to the picture.

After taking a break and having lunch I hiked out to 200 yards with the steel plate, setting it up just above the creeks bank.

Making it out to 200 yards was no easy task and quite honestly took quite a bit of practice to find the correct hold. The wind at that range was just killing me!! Although the rifle was able to reach out I felt is was a bit much, especially with slugs. The rifle faired well at closer ranges but just did not seem to have enough power to push the 196gr slugs at extended ranges. We packed up and headed back down the mountain and called it a day. The TC45 is a very enjoyable rifle to shoot, has a little kick but super manageable and predictable at shorter ranges. I was happy with the first test run and was excited to move forward with the review.


Several weeks past due to rain and some roads being closed that kept me away from my normal shooting areas. When the rain finally let up I headed over to a nearby private range to conclude my testing of the TC45. I received some Air Venturi 138gr diabolo pellets, these were the most lightweight cast pellets I could find.

The Gamo TC45 seems to like lightweight “pellets” that not only bring up the speed but bring up the shot count of the rifle. I spent some time over the chronograph and was able to achieve the provided shot string over a 3600 psi fill. The sweet spot seemed to be in the 3400psi range giving me 8 shots, most were all declining but somewhat close in numbers.

The rifle produced 8 shots with the highest at 236 fpe, I felt this was fairly conservative and more in range with the overall power it’s best suited to. For accuracy out to 100 yards these fared ok, the main benefit was to increase the shot count for field use. I had some fun with blasting some pumpkins and a water bottle at 100 yards, 200+fpe was a pleasure at that range.

This rifle is no doubt a bunch of fun to shoot and pretty accurate out to 100 yards, beyond that it was kind of hit or miss and just didn’t seem consistent enough for long range. I can see this being an excellent predator hunting gun, being lightweight and having a fair shot count with good power. The following week I had planned to head into the remote mountains for several days of hunting with the GAMO.


We have received quite a bit of rain here in California that has made getting into the field difficult. Most of the areas we hunt require traveling dirt roads that don’t fair well during the winter months. I finally had some time to head out to a familiar location for several days and hunt with the TC45.

I left the house and headed into the mountains that took Marley and I several hours into a remote location where I would be spending several days. My hopes were to try for some Jackrabbits, Ground Squirrels and Coyote’s as this area has plenty of all three. We arrived to an area I frequently camp and was quick to find a good amount of Ground Squirrels running about in a nearby field. The temperature was a bit cold and the ground was still very saturated from the several inches of rain the night before. I was quick to set up camp and to ready my gear for a short hike into the field.

The clouds were passing over quickly giving several minutes of sunshine before being gloomed over again by large thunderclouds. This area was very beautiful and certainly starting to look a lot like Springtime. Everything was so green and I could loads of ground squirrel holes scattered around every few feet. The first shot I took was on a large Ground Squirrel at 65 yards, made the shot only to have it move into it’s hole just as the pellet hit. I think many times they can actually see the projectile coming towards them. After making the shot most of them cleared the field and down into their holes to safety. This Big Bore is fairly loud and gives a good amount of feedback depending on the environment such as hills and canyons, this is where I would have liked to see the gun a bit quieter. After sitting for a bit longer watching the clouds roll by I spotted a Ground Squirrel come out at 55 yards in front of me. I took the shot that whalloped right in the center mass, near exploding it.

After the squirrel explosion I headed back down the hill as it started sprinkling enough to make me not want to use my camera. Near camp was an old abandoned barn that gave me a great opportunity to take some photographs of the TC45 as well as to dry off my equipment.


The weather started getting pretty bad after I finished up with taking my photographs so we ended up staying in the barn for several hours. I was as usual just happy to be out enjoying the trip with Marley and being able to relax a bit in such a beautiful place. After having a late lunch the rain stopped so Marley and I headed out again with the hopes of finding some more varmints moving about.

After a few minutes of walking through the field I was able to spot a few more Ground Squirrels peering from their holes. Most of them were beyond 100 yards and wouldn’t keep still long enough to give me adequate time to set up my shots.

I was able to take several before giving myself enough time to set up the camera, thankfully for future hunts a scope camera will be in order. This trip was especially difficult considering everything was wet and much more care needed to be taken with the video equipment. Keeping the lens dry was my biggest problem and some of the footage was later discovered to be unusable. Marley and I continued hiking in a large circle that eventually made way towards a steep ravine where I flushed several Jackrabbits. I took a shot on one of them at 60+ yards that was sprinting up an embankment but fell short by several inches. Over the next hour we saw very little action and ultimately headed back to camp as the rain was moving back in again. Back at camp it was now getting into evening and I decided to pack up as the rain was coming down fairly hard. The goal of the trip was to document some hunting but unfortunately my camera gear is just not suited to moisture. Hunting in the rain is usually slim to none anyways, the animals are hunkered down and out of sight.

Marley and I headed down the road just before dark thankfully because the road can get pretty nasty and flooded.


The following weekend the weather was much better so we headed several hours south of us to a large farm. This farm is a great location and has plenty to hunt such as Coyotes, Ground Squirrels, Rabbits and Birds. We had just acquired a new motorhome so this trip would be our main voyage and something we looked very forward to. My friend Ron who frequents the farm is a long time Airgunner and has spent a good amount of time on this particular permission. I had planned to gather some footage for several reviews and to use the GAMO TC45 for a night hunt against some Coyotes and Rabbits.

This farm has large fields full of brush piles and fallen citrus trees, the perfect habitat for Cottontail rabbits. Over the two days I hunted some Ground Squirrels, Eurasian Collared Doves and Jackrabbits. Saturday night Ron and I set up our guns with low powered lights, thankfully that evening would be a full moon. The sun went down and the temperature dropped very quickly into the low 40’s, still the moonlight made hiking around much easier. Ron was kind enough to loan me one of his lights that mounted perfectly on top of the Trinity Force 1-4X28 tactical scope. Ron showed me a bit about the poor man’s night vision that uses an adjustable green laser. These can be found fairly cheap on Amazon and work very well out to 150 yards.

Ron discussing how to use the green laser with his scope

Ron, Marley and I hiked around for a bit looking for “eyes” to shine back at us using the laser and the mounted light.

Ron scanning the brush piles

Ron and I both took shots on several rabbits as far away as 130 yards, it’s amazing how little light it takes to spot the eyes. I was able to connect with a small cottontail at 20 yards that was hiding is a brush pile.

This was Marley’s first time hunting at night.

After about an hour of hiking around Ron became frustrated with his batteries in the laser as well as having some pain in his leg from a previous injury.

At around midnight Ron packed it up and went back to the shootin shack to call it a night. Marley and I however were not tired and continued along making several kills within the next few hours. Most of the rabbits we spotted were all within 50 yards moving about in the grassy fields around the brush piles.

The nights chill finally took it’s toll on me around 3:30am so we headed back to the motorhome to get warm and hit the sack. The following morning I spent several hours filming for another field review before packing up and moving down the road to home.


My time spent with the GAMO TC45 was just a bit over three months, much longer than anticipated. Normally a review may take up to 4 weeks but this took much longer due to camera problems and poor weather conditions. This was not a paid review and a project I took on freelance to be able to give a real honest review of it. I really appreciate GAMO sending me this rifle to use as any end user would. I will enclose my final honest thoughts on this rifle as well as the video portion of the review.


         PROS

  • Lightweight and easy to pack
  • Easy to fill
  • 3600 psi Carbon Bottle
  • Nice underlever
  • Good trigger
  • Very durable
  • Well balanced
  • Large Loading Port

         CONS

  • Loudness
  • Needs lower picatinny rail
  • Underpowered for large Slugs

Here are links as to where to purchase this Air rifle:


 

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Pest Control on the Farm

by Dana Webb

Several weeks ago I had received a call from a good friend of mine who kindly invited Lindsey, Marley, Buddy and I to spend the weekend on one of the farms he frequents. This was an excellent opportunity for us as we had just recently purchased an R/V for extended trips and to make room for our new larger dog Buddy. Friday afternoon I loaded up the R/V with all of my camera equipment, Airguns and gear so we could get started on the road early Saturday morning. My friend had informed me that the Ground Squirrels and Collared Doves were plentiful and ready to be thinned out a bit. Saturday morning we left the house for our several hour trip down to the farm, the weather was a bit chilly but bright and clear. We arrived to the farm by 9:00 and were kindly greeted by the farms owner. We drove in slowly as the road was still a bit muddy from the several days of rain we had had. All the rain has turned the hills grass so green, something I have not seen in many years.

This farm has many acres of prime huntable land that offers a great place to target shoot as well. The panoramic views were just gorgeous with the green grass and snow capped mountains in the background. I had brought several Airguns with me but had planned to use my American Air Arms EVOL .30 for most of the weekends hunting. I started off the day by unpacking the gear from the motorhome and to situate it for the several days of being parked. After setting things up I was eager to set out on foot and have a look at the property as well as the varmint activity.

As we made way down an animal trail that weaved through the many fallen citrus trees I noticed a ton of Rabbit and Ground Squirrel activity. This trail made way around the property and ultimately led up to a small abandoned shack. This shack was a great place to stay hidden from the many Eurasian Collared Doves that flock into the branches of the fallen citrus trees.

I set myself up inside towards the back wall that left me some great shots between 20 and 60 yards. After waiting for several minutes sure enough a good size flock of Eurasians came in to perch on the branches just ahead of me.

The Eurasian Collared Doves are becoming more and more abundant here in the Western states and can be found near almost all agricultural properties. In many cases the populations have simply become far out of control and at times may need to be thinned out. No species of bird has colonized North America at the speed with which the Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) has marched across the continent. Many invasive species have a negative impact on native species, particularly species that are similar to the invader.

Eurasian Collared Doves can be easily identified by the black ring that goes from the back of the neck and stops halfway around the front with a sharp taper. Most states have no limit on these invasive species and are in some cases encouraged to be taken. Air Rifles are near the perfect tool to ethically hunt the Eurasian Collared Doves, especially in a farmyard type environment. When hunting on any permission it’s imperative to be safe and know your surroundings. Under some circumstances the use of a large caliber may be a poor safety choice. When hunting birds we are most likely always aiming upwards and sometimes near buildings or livestock. We always need to be aware of what’s behind our line of sight and to be conscious of the surrounding areas.

 

Over the next few hours I had some great success with taking many Collared Doves and ranges out to 60+ yards. My rifle is outfitted with a DonnyFL Ronin moderator that quiets the report down considerably making the birds a lot less skittish to land.

Many of the times I was able to take several sitting on the same branch. The fallen citrus trees had many California Ground Squirrels that burrow in and around these areas.

Marley and I spent enough time on the birds so we headed back to the motorhome for some lunch and a bit of relaxation. This area was a pleasure to hunt and definitely had given me the most fun I’ve had hunting birds in a great many years. After lunch I topped off the EVOL with air and filled my bag with some more NSA .300 47gr hollow point slugs. I have used these slugs for the majority of the hunting I do here in CA as they’re extremely accurate and carry much better BC than that of a standard diabolo pellet. After reloading my pack and putting a fresh battery in my camera Marley and I set out again, this time we were going after the California Ground Squirrel. This farm has several large pastures that are bordered by some large citrus groves. When Springtime comes the Ground Squirrels move into the groves and cause serious damage to the orange trees, killing many of them. Our goal was to eliminate some of the larger adults before having a chance to create offspring that can explode the population in less than several weeks.

I walked around the property and noticed quite a few large adults in an area approximately 40 yards from the edge of the citrus grove. These areas all had very large mounds with active holes set several feet apart. Marley and I set up on the very edge of the northern part of the field between 65 and 100 yards of most of the active holes.

In most cases hunting Ground Squirrels requires a good amount of patience and quiet time. When hunting like this we sometimes may be waiting 20 minutes before we get a good clear shot. After a short wait I spotted several large adults congregating just outside one of the large mounds at 67 yards. With careful aim I was able to take a great headshot that threw the Ground Squirrel down lifelessly.

A short time later I spotted another one at 72 yards and was able to take it down with another perfectly placed headshot. This field looked to be pretty active but after killing several off they became extremely skittish and stopped coming out. At this time I decided to move a bit higher up on the hill where I could get more of a long range view of the field. This hill gave me a great view but took me out of the shelter of the wind. The next adult ground squirrel was across a ravine at 112 yards, somewhat of a tricky shot in heavy wind. I took the shot and was a bit low hitting it in the shoulder sending it into a flip. Not much can survive a shot like that and sure enough Marley found the squirrel expired just under a nearby bush. After several hours of some casual pest control we headed back to the motorhome to relax and to take a short walk with the dogs. That evening my friend and I had planned to take a trip out for some rabbits, skunks and coyotes.


After having a nice relaxing dinner in the warmth of the motorhome my good friend and I got ready for a night hunt. I would be using the GAMO TC45 loaded with 138gr Air Venturi diabolo pellets.

This is a rifle I have been working with for several months doing and in depth review on. I have found it to be an excellent short range big bore that’s an excellent choice for small to medium game. This rifle is easy to carry and with the Trinity Force 1-4X28 scope I’m able to mount a light very easily onto the tactical rail. This area gets very cold at night so we quickly found that most battery powered devices lose power due to the low temperatures. This evening I was hoping to spot one of many coyotes that frequently roam throughout the farm looking for rabbits as well as trying to enter a nearby chicken pen. Due to the cold we called the night short but not before I was able to take several cottontails moving about through the thick areas of a large field.


The following morning I got up fairly early to head out to film some shots for the enclosed video. Over the next year I plan to do add some more hunts like this into the “Farm Series” of videos. This has been a great experience for me and was happy to have the opportunity to try something new. Most of my hunting is done in very remote and hard to reach natural terrain, this has opened my eyes to a different form of hunting. I was happy to have put a dent in the pest populations on this farm as well as opening the door to future visits. I apologize for the short post but have found it to be increasingly difficult to produce both videos and written reports together. Over the past several months I have been working on several amazing projects with some very interesting Airguns that will be shared very soon. Enclosed is the video I hope you may enjoy!!

 

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Seneca Aspen Field Review

Several weeks ago I received a package from Air Venturi containing the new Seneca Aspen PCP rifle. This is a rifle I had some great interest in as I felt it was something different and unique from other Airguns. The Seneca Aspen is a very innovative Air Rifle that is built with a pump integrated into it, this means we always have an available air source to keep us in the field. The Aspen is what I would call a “survivalist” type Airgun, great for long extended trips where weight may be a factor. Here are some factory stats on the rifle.

Seneca Aspen PCP Air Rifle, Multi-Pump PCP 

  • Pre-charged Pneumatic (PCP) Air Rifle with built-in pump
  • Side Lever Action
  • Two Stage Velocity Adjustment 
  • Fires up to 17 Shots with 40-60 Pumps
  • Two-Stage Adjustable Trigger
  • Synthetic Stock
  • 250 BAR / 3,600 PSI Fill Pressure
  • On Board Pressure Gauge
  • Automatic Overpressure Air Release
  • Manual Safety
  • Fully Shrouded Barrel
  • Rifled Steel Barrel
  • Pump Lock Carry Handle
  • Overall Length:  43.3 Inches
  • 11mm Dovetail Rail
  • Includes 10-Shot Rotary Magazine 
  • Includes Fill Probe
  • Includes Single-Shot Tray
  • Includes 4×32 AO Scope
  • Weight 8.0 lbs

Two Stage Velocity Adjustment

  • .22 Caliber: Low Power= 700 fps, High=900+ fps

As one of the most innovative options in PCP airguns, the Aspen uses an integrated pump to fill its 3,600 PSI/ 250 BAR cylinder. Once filled, you can shoot up to 17 shots with 40-60 pumps. Pumping the Aspen up is quick and easy, only requiring about 28 lbs of effort at 3,600 PSI. Once fired, your shots can reach speeds as high as 900+ fps in .22 caliber. The Aspen features a two-stage velocity adjustment to keep you firmly in control of your shot’s power. With a flick of the dial, hunters can switch to high-power for devastating knockdown shots and be ready for the next shot 5-6 pumps later. With its dial set to low, target shooters can take almost 20 shots before you need to pump again.The Aspen features a two-stage trigger to cater to preferred pull weight. These features alone make the Aspen worth the $400 price of admission, but what if you already have a fill source? If you want to fill faster, the PCP still includes a Male QD probe with standard foster fitting to fill up your airgun the old-fashioned way. With adjustable power, adjustable trigger, magazine, single shot tray and a 4×32 AO scope, and no fill source needed, the Aspen is an attractive and affordable option for PCP airgunners new and old.


The Aspen came packaged very well and included instructions, spare o’rings, fill probe, magazine, single shot tray, silicone oil and scope. My first impression was the stock that was obvious plastic and had a “hollow” type feel to it. I shouldered the rifle and was happy with it’s weight distribution, it felt very natural and the pump handle made a nice rest for my hand. The rifle felt very solid and the metal finish was very well done, especially the shroud.

I went ahead and mounted the 4X32 AO scope that came with the Aspen, this is a fair scope for short distances but difficult to use for precision shooting beyond 30 yards. The rifle thankfully does include sling studs on both the buttstock and forend that make the gun ready for a sling. I liked how the stud on the forend can be mounted to either left or right side depending on how you carry the rifle. The following morning we would visit the range to sight in the gun and do some chronograph readings.


Today we visited the local range where we tested several different types and weights of pellets, for accuracy as well as to chronograph the rifle on high power. We tested the speed using the .22 H&N Sport Field Target Trophy’s that come in at 14.66 grains. These are great pellets, and through the years have found they work well in the majority of the .22’s I have field tested. We first tested a 10 shot string at a 3000psi fill pressure.

The 3000psi fill brings the gun to about 22fpe using the 14gr pellets, these are fair numbers considering the small size of the Air cylinder. Next we would fill the gun to the maximum pressure of 250BAR or 3600psi for our next 10 shot string.

With the 3600psi fill we are now reaching close to 30 fpe, a great amount of power for hunting most all small game animals at extended ranges. We tested the accuracy at 35 yards, because the 4X32 AO scope was a bit underpowered to make precision shots at 50+ yards. No doubt with a scope upgrade this gun is capable of great accuracy, still I used the gun just as it came from Air Venturi. 

H&N Field Target Trophy .22 Cal, 14.66 Grains, Round Nose

JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo Heavy .22 Cal, 18.13 Grains

JSB Redesigned Monster Pellets .22 25gr


The 25gr JSB redesigned pellets worked very well in the gun although they were going considerably slower, and not shooting very flat. I was pleased with how all three shot, but still felt the 14gr H&N’s may be the best match for flat shooting out in the open desert. The single shot tray as well as being able to fill the gun with my SCBA tank made the range a whole lot more enjoyable. The gun was easy to fill, but the only thing that got annoying was having to remove the small rubber dust cap from the fill port. My large fingers had a difficult time reaching in to remove it, a small flat blade screwdriver may have made things go faster.

After we had finished our work at the range I left the Seneca Aspen with 3000psi to check for leaks the following morning.


The following morning I woke up at 5:30 am and proceeded into the shop to check the gun for leaks, and to pack the Jeep with all the gear I would need for my several day field trip. The Aspen had held the 3000psi overnight just fine so I loaded it into the case and into the Jeep. Our drive would take us several hours North through the remote mountains to a familiar vast wilderness. This area is very remote and always requires great caution due to weather conditions and road hazards.

 

The weather was cold with rain clouds rolling in towards the West, at this point I had expected the hunting to be very slow over the next few days. I unpacked the Jeep, set up camp and loaded my pack with all my camera gear, water, snacks etc,

The area we were hunting resembles East African terrain. It is home to animals such as Pronghorn Antelope, Tule elk, Fox, Coyote, Mountain Lions, Wild Pigs and a wide variety of birds. The area is vast and consist of approx 38,900 acres of huntable area, one of the more remote locations I frequent. Marley and I hiked a bit North from camp where we immediately spotted one of the many large Jackrabbits that frequent the area, most we encountered were well beyond 100+ yards and well out of reach of the .22 caliber.

  We hiked for several miles up over a mountain where we finally made our way down through a steep ravine hoping to flush some Jackrabbits. I had taken several shots along the way at ranges no closer that 80 yards. The rifle carried very well and I much enjoyed using the pump arms locking handle to carry the Aspen with. The 8.0 LB rifle really shined in conditions where I was having to climb steep hills and switch my carry from sling to the handle. 

Marley and I came down a steep mountain that fed us into a huge open field with sparse vegetation throughout the hillsides. It had just rained several times in the past week so the green grass was looking somewhat like Springtime.

 The area was a great place to take a break as well as to film for the video portion of our review. I took a few shots with the Aspen, plinking at some rocks and just getting comfortable with some of my holdovers at various ranges. I found the rifle to be very easy to pump from 3000psi to 3600psi, the key is to go slowly and smoothly as to not allow the pump to heat up. It’s important to go slow, this will maintain the longevity of the o’rings.To fill the rifle from empty to full takes about 60 pumps, once the gun is to 3000psi it becomes very easy to get to 3600psi. I found that taking several shots and then pumping about 13 times would keep the power up.

  After a few hours of hiking around marley and I headed back to camp to have some lunch and to find a good location to take some scenic photographs of the Seneca Aspen.

Marley and I headed out again not far from camp and were able to take several shots, one that was a near miss at 83 yards.

It can get pretty frustrating sometimes when we are trying to “film” the excitement of a hunt, people like to see success more than failure. When hunting we never have a guarantee, all we can do is try our best and to enjoy the experience and relaxation of the location. By this time it was getting late and the temperature was dropping as the evening approached. Marley was getting a bit grumpy, guess she didn’t have enough action and she was exhausted. I put her to bed and made a nice campfire to stay warm for a few hours.

 

A few hours later it started raining fairly heavy, making it apparent we may move to a different location the following morning.


The following day I packed up the Jeep and decided to head home due to the rain making for very poor hunting and filming conditions. Several days later Terry, Marley and I traveled to another remote location in the high desert near Mojave. This area has a good variety of small game to hunt such as Ground Squirrels, Jackrabbits, Cottontail and Quail. We arrived to the location very early with the temperature being in the high 40’s, the plan was to hike the steep hillsides as the sun came up. We parked the Jeep in a very rocky area, a place we call “The Hills Have Eye’s” from past trips. 

Terry, Marley and I hiked along this small animal trail that took us alongside of a large mountain, as the sun came up the Jackrabbits and Cottontail usually start moving about. Terry and I both took several shots on a few Jackrabbits, it was still a bit dark so spotting them was difficult. Marley flushed one from a nearby sagebrush and nearly grabbed it by the back legs. She was so happy and excited to be out with the boys on this great morning. As we circled back I had spotted several large Jackrabbits scatter, two of them stopped high above me on the hillside at 85+ yards. I moved as slowly and quietly as possible getting myself just in front of a large bush at 75 yards. 

 I took the shot that put the 14gr H&N right into the Jackrabbits chest, that ‘THWAAAP’ echoed through the canyon like it got hit with a baseball. Marley and I moved as quickly as we could up the side of the steep hillside to recover our kill and to relax in the shade. Terry and I both were surprised how quick that large Jackrabbit went down!!

It was a great morning so far, very pleased with my 75 yard kill, good size one too!


After a short break we continued along the trail and circled back towards the Jeep where we had planned to drive down lower into the valley and check for Ground Squirrels.

 

This area is normally crawling with Ground Squirrels in the Spring and Summer months but I had expected to see a few adults out and about considering how nice the weather was.

I had decided to load the magazine with some NSA .217 19gr slugs, wanted to see how slugs would shoot out of the Aspen.

We headed along a cattle trail that ran parallel with a dry creek bed, trees, fallen logs and rock outcroppings were abundant here. 

  We hiked for a bit and saw very few Ground Squirrels, the few we did see were extremely skittish and difficult to get close to. Terry, Marley and I sat under a large Oak tree and waited for several to pop their heads out from under a fallen tree.

  

After spending about an hour or so in several spots we had concluded this area had very little action, my guess was the temperatures were still much to cool for busy activity. We moved back to the Jeep where we set up a few things to shoot at 35 yards. Terry was excited to get to shoot this really cool rifle.

Terry was impressed with the entire rifle, especially the trigger that I have concluded is one of the best out of the box I have field used. The Seneca Aspen is a great gun, has excellent power, sidelever is very smooth and the ergonomics such as the pump handle work very well to the entire package. After lunch we packed up the Jeep to head down the long road and head back towards home. Turned out to be a great day just to get out with Marley and my good friend Terry.


Later that evening I wanted to document a bit of preventative maintenance to the Aspen in video form. I went ahead and removed the shrouds end cap to see if the shroud may have had any baffles or any form of sound deadening material. 

The shroud does not have any baffles between the 4″ muzzle and end cap. The Aspen is very quiet but I can see how some baffles can easily be fitted to quiet the gun even further. (I personally see no reason to quiet the gun further) Next I looked to the small air tube just under the shroud, it has a knurled cap that can be removed. What is this? The direct answer for this is to service the pump tube at the factory and serves no direct purpose to the end user. My guess is it may be to remove the tube from the air tube assembly. Moving on I wanted to show the points of lubrication that include the breech o’rings, the Aspen includes a small bottle of silicone oil. We will use a Q-Tip to apply a small amount of silicone oil to the breech o’rings.

Next we will apply some silicone oil to the pump o’ring, this hole is visible when we open the pump handle arm all the way.

This is a good time to lubricate the pump arm linkage as well as to brush off any debris that may have accumulated on or around the pump area. After the rifle is broken in after about 500 shots it’s necessary to increase the hammer preload. The Seneca Aspen comes with a small allen wrench that fits in the small hole in the stock just behind the breech.

After the rifle is broken in the hammer spring will start to settle, to bring the power of the gun back up we turn the the adjustment 1 full turn “clockwise”. I would not recommend going further with the chance of either spring failure or causing binding issues. This adjustment would come in great for those who have a chronograph and want to “fine tune” the rifle. Modifications and adjustments beyond what’s in the user manual will most likely void the warranty. 


My time with the Seneca Aspen has been great, this truly is a worthy field gun and one that would impress even the high end Airgun snobs. This rifle has passed the test of being rugged and I feel with proper care it’s something that will last under heavy use in the field. Enclosed are my final honest thoughts on this rifle.

                   PROS

  • Great power
  • Shoots a variety of pellets well
  • Great metal finish
  • Smooth solid Sidelever
  • Great trigger
  • Lightweight
  • Handle is very useful
  • Sling studs
  • Inexpensive magazines
  • Solid shroud and barrel band 
  • High/Low power setting
  • Great safety
  • Can pump or fill with a tank 

                  CONS

  • Scope, difficult to use at longer ranges
  • Stock feels hollow
  • Cover for probe is difficult to get off

Overall this is one heck of an Airgun, perfect for a first PCP being it has the pump built into it. The sidelever, trigger, metal finish and high/low power settings are features found on guns costing near three times as much. People may complain about the stock but the reality is that it’s very durable and weather resistant. As mentioned, my only real complaint is the scope, the accuracy of the gun is well worth the upgrade in my opinion. Even without the scope the gun is well worth $400. For an out of the box $400 PCP this is no doubt one of the best performing rifles I have ever field used, perfect survival rifle being independent with air and shooting a variety of pellets well. Air Venturi was smart to brand this rifle and I see them selling a ton of them over the next year. From an Airgunner that likes to tinker and tune I can see this being a winner as well, capable of much more than it gets out of the box. I hope this review may help others decide on this rifle as their next purchase. Enclosed is the review in video form as well as the link as to where to buy it. Remember “The best Airgun is the one you’re shooting”


     


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Seneca Double-Shot Shotgun field review

A few weeks ago I received two Air Venturi products, the Seneca Wing Shot and the new Double-Shot Air shotgun. These are both products of Air Venturi and arrived fairly quickly with 150 loaded shotshells and .50 Air Bolts. I had very little experience using any type of shotguns, so I was a bit excited as well as skeptical using them in the field. My expectations of air-shotguns were very low. I expected them to have low power, be heavy and have only a few inefficient shots before getting refilled. This detailed article is written as my first-hand experience using these in the field.


      Seneca Double Shot .50 cal Double Barrel Shotgun

  • Precharged pneumatic
  • 244 cc air cylinder
  • Two Smooth Bore Barrels
  • Up to 5 good shots per fill
  • 3000 psi fill
  • Male Quick Disconnect Foster Fill Fitting
  • On-board pressure gauge
  • Velocity up to 1130 fps with shotshells
  • Velocity up to 425 fps with Air Bolts (170+ FPE)
  • Velocity up to 600 fps with Round Balls (140+ FPE)
  • Thread on chokes (Easily removed for use with Air Bolt or Slugs)
  • Front bead sight (no rear sight)
  • Optional 11mm dovetail scope rail to add optics
  • Ambidextrous hardwood stock
  • Rubber Buttpad
  • Patent Pending Air Distributor allows a follow-up shot in less than 2 seconds
  • Bore Diameter: 12.47mm Barrel Thread: 16.6×18 Choke Measurement: 12.4mm The choke reduces the inner barrel diameter from .494″ to .486″

Easily the most flexible big bore system on the market: Double Shot delivers a decisive one-two punch to medium and large game with any combination of .50 caliber ammo, shotshells, and the Air Venturi Air Bolt. The Double Shot uses a patent-pending air distributor that allows you to perform a quick follow up shot in less than two seconds, through the use of a barrel selector dial. Simply load both barrels, rack back the bolt, fire your shot, twist the barrel selector dial, rack the bolt, and fire again. To sight in on your target, use the traditional shotgun style bead sight, or purchase the Air Venturi 11mm Dovetail rail for mounting the optic of your choice. This innovative PCP uses a 244cc cylinder, filled to 3000 psi, that provides 5 full-powered shots per fill. This high pressure translates to incredible velocities with up to 1,130 fps with shotshells. The options don’t stop there, as the Double Shot can sling .50 caliber big bore ammo and the revolutionary Air Venturi Air Bolt—an arrow-slinging system that can put 170 FPE on target. Each Double Shot features the trademarked etched actions and finely grained hardwood stocks you’ve come to expect from a brand that pays homage to the golden age of the hunt. Put simply, the Seneca Double Shot is a very versatile big bore PCP shotgun that doubles down on big bore power. This is a PCP shotgun that can sling .50 caliber rounds downrange one shot after the next, perfect for small game such as birds and rabbits. Load slugs, round balls or Air Bolts for large game hunts.

Check out these configurations below:

Mount up optics with the Air Venturi 11mm Scope Rail (sold separately).

SHOTGUN: Choose the shotgun option and enjoy velocities of 1,130 feet per second with either No. 6 or No. 8 filled shot shells. With consistent spreads of 12″ at 20 yards. (NOTE) Empty shells can be purchased to customize your load for various types of hunting)

RIFLE: UNSCREW THE CHOKES BEFORE USING LEAD BULLETS. Hunting for larger game? With .50 caliber slugs the Double Shot offers speeds of 600 fps and fpe exceeding 140. That’s more than enough power to take medium game with a well-placed shot.

BOLT-SLINGER:  UNSCREW THE CHOKES BEFORE USING AIR BOLTS. Arm your Double Shot with Air Venturi Air Bolts to turn your air shotgun into a hard-hitting arrow launcher!  Now more speargun than airgun, be careful not to “Robin Hood” or split bolts already on the target –they are that accurate!  Capable of speeds up to 425 FPS and 170 FPE, Air Bolts are a fusion of innovative design and incredible knockdown power.


The first day out with this rifle was mostly to just get familiar with its function as well as to get several promotional type photographs to use for this report. I took both rifles with me to make sure they both functioned and would be sufficient to hunt with. The only part of the rifle that needed assembly was the cocking bolt, very easy to install with the provided allen key. Marley and I arrived to our location high in the mountains in a remote part of California, perfect for testing these rifles. My first impression of the Double Shot was great, it’s lightweight at 7.5 lbs and has a great looking wood stock as well as good durable metal finish. I found the rifle to be very easy to fill with a standard foster fitting with a cap that snaps on and off with ease. The rifle is very well made and has a unique and robust double loading breech with a manual valve that controls airflow into each barrel.

I loaded the rifle with the provided Air Venturi #6 shot that came boxed very well, these in my opinion are great for birds, but from later experience found them to be too light of a load for rabbits.

Marley and I proceeded to hike North away from the Jeep hoping to spot some Quail, Cottontail and Jackrabbits. The rifle really carried well and had a great solid feel to it and it did not feel like 7.5 lbs at all. Within several minutes of hiking I had spotted two Jackrabbits running up the hillsides at over 100 yards away. Marley and I moved slowly into the mountains with the hopes to get some closer shots on rabbits as well as to find some Quail. We were now several miles from the Jeep and decided to take a much needed break from to 80+ degree weather. I figured we would sit in the shade for awhile and wait to see if I could spot any movement on the nearby hillsides.

After about 20 minutes of rest Marley and I continued in a large loop through the brush covered hillsides with very little activity. Marley flushed out a good sized Jackrabbit that sped off leaving a poof of dust behind, much too quick for me to even react. I had made the mistake of not mounting my camera on the rifle and was only carrying my movie camera and tripod. On the way back we flushed a large covey of Quail and I was able to get several shots on a few at 40 yards. The brush is so thick that the #6 shot just didn’t carry enough energy to get through it at that range. Our real goal was to test the rifle, see how it carries and look for performance issues. As we made our way back down the hill I made several stops to take some more photographs, as well as to enjoy the beautiful scenery this location offers.


The following day I was accompanied by my good friend Terry who is an avid Airgunner and hunter as myself. This would be his first experience hunting with an air powered shotgun as well as his first time hunting the California Quail. These birds are abundant in the areas we hunt, but are incredibly difficult to find and get close to.  Terry and I left fairly late in the morning and arrived to our location around 11:00 am, the weather was in the low 80’s with a slight cool coastal breeze. Terry would be using the Seneca Wing Shot, the single barrel version of the Double Shot. He was impressed with the simplicity, lightweight and feel of the rifle right away. We did some initial shooting with it just so he could get a feel for it as well as familiarizing how to aim it. We found that the front bead covering the target would get the full pattern on the target. The pattern was as stated approximately 12″ at out to 30 yards, great for birds and even rabbits at close ranges.

 

Terry, Marley and I headed out into this large field where we had spotted a large covey of Quail. We moved through the field with Marley zig zagging through the tall grass trying to flush some birds and rabbits.

We continued through the field in a big loop that took us into some thicker areas where we soon spotted a large covey of Quail at 50 yards. Terry and I both took shots on several that were fleeing away from us. I believe we may have hit one of them but the area was so thick that Marley had a difficult time making her way through the brush. This was the most fun I think I’ve had with an Airgun in a long time, a very unique way of hunting. The challenge at this point was very apparent to both Terry and I, super fun nonetheless.

‘Terry and I took a short break in the shade and just enjoyed being out in such a beautiful location to hunt. Terry was saying how surprised he was on how light the Wingshot was to tote around, shouldered nice and had a forearm that made good for offhand shooting.

Over the course of the next few hours we had very little luck finding any birds or rabbits, but we did have some fun back at camp. We had set up some small pumpkins at 20 yards and took turns blowing them off the log.

After looking at the damage afterwards it became apparent how powerful these shotguns were. The shot penetrated through very easily, with heavier load I’m sure they would have exploded. The rest of the day was spent doing some filming and taking some more photographs for this write up. The following week would be the Dove opener so I had planned to come back to try for that, giving me a better chance to capture something on film. When making field use videos we sometimes feel like we have to capture a kill on film. I have to remember that when hunting there is never a guarantee. We still enjoy the time out getting to hunt with some awesome Airguns.


Today Marley and I got up very early and headed back for the Dove opener, this would be another first for me. I had not really ever hunted many birds, through curiosity had been reading as much as I could on the subject as well as watching a few videos. I had decided the night before to pull apart several of the #6 shot shells and replace them with 20 Crosman Copperhead BB’s. I felt that the #6 was just to lightweight for punching through the brush as well as making longer range shots. When we arrived I tested out several that I had loaded on a tin can at 35 yards, the shot seemed to hit with much more authority. I had packed my large backpack with close to a gallon of water, snacks, as well as all my camera gear. This time I had decided to mount a small Sony HD camera to the barrel of the Double Shot, hopefully to capture the action with ease.

We headed up through a rugged canyon that had many fallen trees and tall dry grass that eventually lead us into some very thick brush. I wanted to get up into the higher elevations to get to where the Cottontail would most likely be, as well as some birds. Within about 20 minutes I spotted several Doves fly overhead and land in some nearby brush. Marley and I quietly made our way closer where I was able to take one at 35 yards as it was perched on a branch.

The shot took the Dove down fairly violently and Marley was quick to make her first bird retrieval.

Finally after a few days with little luck I felt some success, it’s tough hunting but when things like this happen it makes it all worthwhile. What a beautiful bird, I was hoping several more were around but I think we would have to work hard to find them.

Marley and I bagged our prize and headed further South where it took us through a creek and up a steep ravine into the higher points of the mountains. By this time it was close to 9:30 am but fairly cool in the high 60’s, perfect weather for hiking. As we followed a small but busy animal trail I spotted out of the corner of my eye a small Cottontail scurry under a bush at 20 yards, THWACK!!!

Marley ran to find it with me close behind, it got hit so hard that it literally drilled it into the ground. I think 20 yards was a bit to close haha! After the recovery I filmed a little as well as taking some more photographs along with a much needed water break.

After our break Marley and I continued down the small animal trail along a ridgeline that was fairly flat giving us a fairly good view in front of us. As we slowly walked I soon spotted another Cottontail sitting under a nearby bush at 30 yards in front of us. THWACK!!! Another one down with authority, I actually hit a bit in front of it, but still managed to take it down.

As we continued down the trail I spotted two jackrabbits with one leaving me a great shot, in the excitement I aimed a bit to low just missing it. Very exciting watching Marley chase the huge jack into a big circle where I was able to take a good running shot hitting just behind it. I think with some more practice behind the gun I could really get used to hitting moving Jackrabbits. This rifle is so much fun, I love it the more I use it, and have found it to be near the perfect tool for this type of hunting. Using a shotgun can get frustrating when we see a shot that is beyond 100 yards, still at close range it’s versatility is well above a standard pellet shooting rifle. Marley and I made our way back to the Jeep where I planned to film some footage with the Air Bolts.


Back at the Jeep we took a rest and had some lunch, my legs were killing me from all that hiking around. I felt relieved that I finally had something to show for all the work I put into making this field use review. I mean lets be honest, we want to be successful and show how capable the rifle can be in real life scenarios. The Air Venturi Air Bolts are .50 in size and made from a carbon fiber shaft with finely machined aluminum tips. Broadheads can be fitted but the composite points are more than adequate for any small game use up to Coyote size.

The first thing we do when using the Air Bolts, slugs, round balls is to remove the chokes from the barrel. To do this they simply unthread from the rifle, these chokes are what adjust the shot pattern. After we have removed the chokes we can now insert the Air Bolt from the muzzle end of the shotgun.

The Air Venturi Air Bolts have a small o’ring at the end of the nock, this o’ring rides on the inside of the smooth bore creating a seal to propel the arrow at optimal speed. The Air Bolt can achieve 238 foot pounds of energy, more than any conventional archery device I know of.

The Air Bolt is easily inserted in the muzzle end of the rifle with a twisting motion to get the flights to glide through the bore. I took several test shots and was astounded at both the accuracy and power of these things. I actually broke one of them because it went through my test target and into the tree behind it. The arrow had gone so deep into the tree I couldn’t remove it without breaking the shaft. These Air Bolts are not cheap, but could be extremely deadly on almost any game animal. I set up a target at 35 yards and was amazed at how accurate they could be. Even with having just open sights a scope on the rifle would be most ideal for this setup.

Over the past week I have enjoyed the Seneca Double Shot Air Rifle, it’s versatility and fun is near impossible to beat. I went into the situation a bit skeptical, but was quickly satisfied after my first shot with it. This truly is one of the funnest Airguns I’ve had the privilege to use in the field. I think with some practice one could become very efficient in hunting with this awesome piece of kit. My final thoughts are as follows:

PROS 

  • Extremely versatile
  • Great fit and finish
  • Lightweight
  • Simple design
  • Easy to fill
  • Great power

CONS

  • Need buddy bottle for longer trips
  • Cost of shot shells/ Air Bolts

I want to thank Air Venturi for sponsoring this field review and allowing me the opportunity to bring my honest review of this great product. If you like what you see and are interested in purchasing this rifle please click HERE to find the best location for you!


Here is the video documentation of our adventure with the Seneca Double Shot, help us out by SUBSCRIBING to our YouTube Channel.

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Brocock Bantam Sniper HR/Range Test&Field Review

by Dana Webb

Over the past several weeks we have been busy with several new products that have arrived for review. Two of these products arrived swiftly from Airguns Of Arizona, a .22 Brocock Bantam Sniper HR and a MTC Optics Cobra F1 FFP scope. The rifle was packaged very well and had the Cobra F1 scope mounted and ready for the range. We were provided with the included Single shot tray, 10 shot magazine as well as an extended female foster fill fitting and spare o-ring set.

This all new Hybrid air rifle is short and does not require the long troublesome trigger linkages required in a traditional Bull Pup design. The Brocock bantam Sniper comes standard with features found on much higher priced rifles. The purpose built breech block is made from high quality aircraft grade alloy and finished to provide to an almost indestructible level. The ballistic nylon synthetic stock has shooter inspired features like a adjustable cheek piece and butt pad with a removable picatinny rail on the forearm. Performance features include a HUMA regulator for more consistent shot fps numbers that in turn creates a very accurate Air Rifle. The HUMA system is easily adjustable in pressure by the shooter for tuning purpose. The regulator can be adjusted without removal of the stock or any disassembly of the rifle from a port behind the fill nipple. The Bantam Sniper houses two pressure gauges that show the pressure from the carbon fiber bottle with the other showing regulator pressure. On the right side is a power adjuster with a large control knob gives the shooter the flexibility of long range varmint control to short range plinking in seconds with a satisfying click of the knob when needed. This feature is very useful when shooting in a structure sensitive or urban environment, or to conserve air consumption. The American market demands have been met with a picatinny scope rail with an included 11 mm option for more traditional shooters, and a large diameter barrel shroud system for reduced report. Further noise reduction is possible with the 1/2 UNF threads on the muzzle end. The all new Bantam Sniper will be equally at home or on the range with accuracy provided by the Lothar-Walther barrel and adjustable trigger unit. The ten shot magazine is cycled by the large tactical style bolt and single shot magazine is included for target work.


As mentioned the rifle came outfitted with the MTC Cobra F1 FFP Scope, a great combination for any small game hunting kit.

Designated ‘F1’ to mark its lenses’ optical configuration, the Cobra will prove popular with shooters who favor the less complicated sight picture offered by FFP scopes, where the relationship between target and crosshair size remains constant throughout the scope’s entire magnification range. This is particularly advantageous when allowing hold-over and hold-under on targets – scenarios aided further by MTC’s multi-stadia SCB2 crosshair that provides numerous aiming points to counter trajectory and windage deviation.

The Cobra F1’s First Focal Plane crosshair has MIL click-stop adjustments (1 click = 1cm @100m) via lockable, finger-adjustable elevation and windage turrets, and can also be illuminated to one of 6 intensity settings to suit any lighting condition in the field or on the range. The new F1 also boasts sidewheel parallax adjustment to eliminate aiming errors and assist in range estimation from 10m to infinity. To maximize light transmission and maintain a bright sight picture, the specially-coated lenses of the 50mm diameter objective have been matched to an oversize, 30mm tube – and besides a fast-focus eye-piece, the Cobra F1 also ships with the standard magnetic, flip-up lens covers with inbuilt magnifying pane to assist with turret scale reading.

  • First Focal Plane reticle: aim-points do not change with magnification adjustment
  • Glass-etched crosshair: design exclusive to MTC Optics
  • Edge-to-edge multi-coated lenses: bright, clear picture quality
  • Side parallax adjustment: eliminates parallax error and assists in range-finding
  • 10-yard minimum focus: suitable for airgun use and ultra-close-range shooting
  • Reticle illumination: assists with tricky background and lighting scenarios
  • 30mm body tube: more substantial build quality and light transmission
  • Fully water, fog and shock proof: increases longevity of the scope
  • Nitrogen purged: internal regulation of scope’s high-end performance
  • (NOTE) This scope works excellent in low light conditions, the lighted reticle is one of the best we have seen. For hunting purposes this is a very ideal scope with very useful features. +1 

 


We took a trip to our local private facility to test the Bantam Sniper at the 55 yard range, the rifle was sent to us with the regulator set to 130 bar. Through testing several different pellets we found a thorough barrel cleaning was in order, immediately our groups were improved with the .22 25gr JSB Monsters.

The regulator is easily turned up externally with a small flat head screwdriver. The method for doing this is to cock the gun and turn screw counter clockwise very slowly while watching the regulator gauge. A chronograph is needed to achieve desired tuning results, we do not recommend going over 160 bar as efficiency will be poor. We were able to achieve very consistent velocity in the low 800’s with the 25gr and 880’s with the 18gr JSB’s. We found the heavier pellet to be a better match for accuracy as well as having a bit more weight against the slight wind.

This Air Rifle has a great design and allows for easy adjustments via the “power wheel” on the right side of the breech. We kept our power at max levels throughout most all of our shooting at the range, we were setting the gun up for our several days of hunting. (Note) The gun needs to be filled very slow, no hot fills. The reason for this is the male foster fitting on the rifle has a small debris filter as well as a spring, if the gun is filled to fast the spring can get stuck open. This happened to us as the foster fitting had to be removed and manually closed. These are the things that are important for us to learn here at the range and not out in the remote wilderness. The trigger on the gun came to us set just under 1.5 lbs, perfect for me and ideal for most shooters. I have been told that Brocock has improved the trigger over the older design and the trigger on this model is highly adjustable, but felt no reason to change it. The safety on the Bantam Sniper is one of the best I have seen and is a paddle style, something new that I very much enjoy. Very quick on and off with a solid and smooth “click”, very well designed system.

The performance of this rifle grows on me the more I use it, the weight of the gun balances very well and the synthetic stock feels extremely sturdy in the hands. The guns weight is just over 8.5 lbs with scope and our Accu-Tac bipod.

Overall Length 34.6″
Barrel 18″ Lothar Walther -Choked/Crowned
Weight 7lbs
Magazine 10 shot capacity
Trigger 2 stage
Regulator Precision Huma

My good friend Claudio Flores had been staying with us for several weeks visiting from Chile, you may recognize him from his popular YouTube channel “Patagonia Airguns“. Claudio has hunted with many well known Airgunners from around the world such as Matt Dubber, and is one true professional Airgun hunter. Claudio had brought his Brocock Bantam Sniper that Airguns Of Arizona outfitted him with for our several day trip into the remotes of Southern California wilderness.

Claudio’s custom Painted Bantam Sniper topped off with a Khales scope and Accu-Tac bipod.


Claudio and I packed the Jeep Thursday night and headed out early Friday morning where we would spend several days hunting a variety of small game in some very remote terrain. The weather was much cooler than weeks before but still extremely hot in the first location of the high desert. We unpacked our Air rifles, loaded our magazines and set out to pursue some large Blacktailed Jackrabbits. We started our hike into the mountains a bit late unfortunately just as the sun had brought temperatures up into the high 80’s by 8:30am.

Claudio, Marley and I hiked up a steep ridge that overlooked the valley floor with hopes of getting a better vantage point over the large Jackrabbbits. We spotted several that were far out of range and the few that were close soon disappeared in the thick brush. I spotted a good size one at 80+yards but as we set up the camera it soon sprinted away and far out of range.

Over the next few hours we unfortunately had very little luck even spotting any as by this time it was much to hot and the Jackrabbits have moved to much thicker cover. The temperatures were by now in the mid to high 90’s and making hiking around near unbearable. After taking a break at the truck I decided to pack up and take Claudio to a different location 1 hour South of us, an area with more shade and cooler temperatures.


This area is fairly new to me and has plenty of small game opportunities such as California Ground Squirrels, Cottontail’s and Jackrabbits. We drove near 15 miles on dirt to an area that has tons of fallen trees, rocks and a much more mountainous terrain.

Claudio was much happier here with the cooler temperatures and the possibility of hunting some California Ground Squirrels. After setting up our camp, Claudio, Marley and I took a very short walk and soon spotted several Ground Squirrels moving about over the many fallen trees that scattered the area. Most of the shots were between 45 and 65 yards, nice range for getting good video and scope camera footage.

The rest of the day was fairly slow with the Ground Squirrels, they were not as active as from previous trips. We stayed fairly close to camp most of the day and had planned to venture away as the evening came, was nice to just sit and relax with not a care in the world. That evening around 5:30pm we headed out from camp into the mountains where we spotted a covy of some California Quail, a beautiful bird that can be hunted with Air Rifles. We didn’t take any unfortunately due to being more than a month out of season. We spotted a large Bobcat, Deer as well as many different types of birds. We spotted no rabbits or Jackrabbits on our hike but Claudio did get to see the beautiful wilderness California has to offer Airgunners. These areas are somewhat difficult to hunt but I will say the Brocock Bantam Sniper was a pleasure to carry, the MTC Cobra F1’s glass was a perfect match and the illuminated reticle at lower magnification made quick acquisitions very easy. After our hike we made way back to camp where Claudio and I made a small campfire that I used to make some toasted Turkey sandwiches. The evening sky was super clear and not very cold at all, perfect camping weather.

The plan was to get up early and hunt for the many large Jackrabbits that roam the area in early mornings.


Saturday morning I awoke to Marley licking my face and her whining, “C’mon dad, GET UP, lets go hunting”. I climbed out of the Jeep quietly as Claudio was still asleep in the tent, I sat with my coffee drink and had my morning cigarette. The sunrise was absolutely stunning, after several minutes I pulled out my monocular to glass the nearby hillsides for Jackrabbits.

I spotted several moving about several hundred yards from camp, so was quick to wake up Claudio. After a few minutes he was ready and we headed slowly away from camp where we stopped at 120 yards from the several Jackrabbits standing in the open field. I had the large 4k Cannon movie camera in tote, along with the quite heavy tripod to be able to film the action as it unfolded. Claudio took a shot on one that went a bit low sending them both running in different directions, the smaller of the two stopped just behind a small bush with just it’s ears visible.

Claudio took the shot on the smaller one hitting it just behind the shoulder putting it down with authority. Nothing like the sound of a loud THWACK echoing through the canyon, very distinct sound. Marley didn’t waste any time going for the recovery, took her a few minutes to locate as she was not able to see exactly where Claudio had made the hit. We made our way over the small ravine and into this big open field where Marley had finally recovered the expired Jackrabbit.

Claudio and Marley with his first Jackrabbit taken with the Brocock Bantam Sniper .22 at 120 yards

I was so happy for Claudio as I felt he was starting to get frustrated with the very slow and difficult few days we had with hunting. I did explain to him that California can be a difficult place to hunt, the terrain and hot weather make for quite the workout. When we hunt with Airguns we are trying to stalk in close, especially with the smaller calibers such as .22. The Bantam Sniper performed wonderfully and in some ways Claudio almost made it look easy, fabulous 120 yard shot!! We spent the rest of the morning hiking around where we both were able to take several more Ground Squirrels before packing it up and heading to another location.

Brocock Bantam Sniper HR .22 fitted with MTC Cobra F1, Accu-Tac bipod…stunning piece of hunting kit


Our next stop is a very familiar place to me and one that offers one of the best natural Ground Squirrel habitats in California. The area is nestled high in the coastal mountains and has some very rugged terrain with both Pine trees, Oak trees and miles of open pastures to roam.

Claudio and I parked the Jeep and proceeded along a small animal trail that was very close to several large Oak trees.

Claudio and I both almost immediately spotted several Ground Squirrels moving about through the many holes under the Oak trees, most were around 60 yards or so. Claudio missed his first shot going just high nearly missing a perfect headshot. We continued down the small trail that weaved through the center of a large field where I was able to take a Ground Squirrel sitting atop a fallen branch at 45 yards, THWACK, lights out. The trail took us further down a hill where we spotted several moving about next to a small fire road. Most of these shots were all over 100+ yards.

Claudio and I both sat patiently under a nearby Oak tree that provided some good shade from the heat of the day as well as some cover to hide us from the Ground Squirrels.

After taking more than 15 Ground Squirrels we moved back up the hill to the Jeep where I drove us to a more secluded location to take a break and have lunch in the shade. After my quick lunch I decided to up the power of the Bantam by turning the regulator up to 150 bar, WOW what a difference in power, this thing was fairly beastly now and still holding great accuracy. The gun was near 42 fpe now and made longer shots much easier with the extra power. The 10 shot magazine was a breeze to load and gave no feed issues so far, easy to see red dot on side to keep track of how many shots left.

I had filled the gun to 250 bar and had gone through about 4 or 5 magazines with no POI shift, this 480cc bottle holds a TON of air. This is near the perfect gun for this type of varmint hunting where we may be hiking most of the day. Very pleased with having such a high shot count, somewhere near 90+ shots is pure awesome. To be honest I probably could have filled the gun at home and gone on this trip without a tank, hypothetically of course. After shooting the gun a bit more Claudio spotted a large adult Ground Squirrel climbing on a fallen tree at 65 yards.

 THWACK, blew him right off the log with a plume of dirt from it’s fur flying up in the air. The power increase really shined and this Air Rifle is no doubt deadly to any varmint within 85 yards. The past several days with these Brocock Bantam Snipers has been an absolute pleasure, so thankful Airguns Of Arizona gave me the privilege to review such a beautiful kit. The rest of the day was spent taking some photographs and enjoying this amazing wilderness we have here in California.

 

 

 

 

 


My final thoughts on this rifle are as follows:

PROS

  • Well made and rugged
  • Regulated
  • Very accurate
  • Massive shot count
  • Easy loading reliable magazine
  • Externally adjustable power
  • Adjustable stock
  • Picatinny rails top and bottom
  • Easy to read gauge’s
  • LDC ready (quiet as is)
  • Magnetic dust cap for foster fill
  • Excellent placement of safety

CONS

  • Fairly heavy
  • Slow fill only
  • Barrel needs to be cleaned frequently
  • Can double load
  • No magazine stop when empty

Over the past several weeks I have enjoyed my time spent with this beautifully made Air Rifle, I want to once again thank Airguns Of Arizona for setting me up with such an awesome kit to review. I hope you enjoyed our adventure and won’t hesitate to reach out to them for more information on the Brocock Bantam Sniper HR.

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Rainstorm .30 Resurrection

by Dana Webb

Saturday morning Terry, Marley and I left my house at 4:45 am to head hour North to the mountains. I had recently acquired a Brocock Sniper HR that I wanted to field test as well as to set it up for review. Terry has been working on Rons Rainstorm thats been converted by American Air Arms to .30 80 fpe beast. This was the Air Rifle used to develop the American Air Arms EVOL model rifles. About a year ago the sling’s quick release failed and the rifle dropped and broke the stock beyond what was thought could be repaired….Well Terry fixed it stronger and better than new. The full write up of the work he had done can be found here. He wanted to take the rifle out for it’s first main voyage so what better than a Jackrabbit hunt. We stopped in an open area first and spent about 30 minutes sighting in both rifles at 50 and 100 yards. We then headed another 35 minutes driving into the hunting area where I have spotted some very large populations of Jackrabbits.


The morning was very nice at 70 degrees by 8:00am, great for hiking around and refreshing after the many months of 100+ degree temperatures.

We arrived to the location, aired up our Air Rifles, loaded our packs with water and proceeded up on top of a hill. I immediately spotted a Cottontail at 130 yards moving through some thick brush that covered the hillsides. I sent Marley down to try flushing some Jackrabbits but I think we may have arrived a bit late to find them in the usual spots. We moved slowly around to the left side of this field where the brush got thicker with several small animal trails that weaved through the hills. I spotted two Jackrabbits moving away from us headed for a deep ravine where they usually will hide out. Terry moved ahead of me and I told him I suspected several would be in the ravine, they generally get spooked and will run up the other side offering an excellent opportunity to make shots. As soon as we hit the edge of where the ravine was sure enough a Jackrabbit started moving up the hillside diagonally.

Terry made several shots finally connecting with a shoulder shot at 100 yards, this Jack was moving fast, great offhand shot at that range. Terry sent Marley in pursuit and she was able to locate the Jackrabbit high up in the thick brush.. WOW were we excited when we saw her return dragging this kangaroo in her mouth. Pretty exciting to watch her retrieve from such rugged terrain.

Marley with her monster bunny recovery

I have seen many Jackrabbits in this area but this no doubt is one of the largest I’ve ever seen. I think Ron will be pleased with how this rifle performs, gun looks really cool as well.

Terry with the custom Rainstorm .30 with Tj barrel


The rest of the day was spent scouting new locations as well as some photography work I had for several new projects coming up that I have been working on. This area is absolutely stunning for this type of work, excellent photo opportunities.

We found several areas that had Ground Squirrels but the activity was very slow, we did find several spots that had some moving around.

Terry spotted several at 120 yards moving around on some rocks.

The scope he had mounted had no mil-dots so judging holdover beyond 100 yards made shots very difficult, that .30 44gr JSB gets out quick with little effect from wind.


The rest of the day was not very eventful, I really just enjoyed being out with my two friends enjoying the mountain air. I was able to gather some great product photographs as well as getting to try out an awesome new gun. We are working on several new field use projects that should make for some exciting videos, so stay tuned and SUBSCRIBE!!!!

Brocock Sniper HR .22 with MTC Cobra F1 scope courtesy of AOA 

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