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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.


WANT MORE? Visit the forum at Airgunflix

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Jackrabbit Adventure Hunt

Thursday afternoon I started packing the Jeep for a three day adventure with my dog Marley and several hunting buddies. Friday morning at 2:45 am Marley and I headed several hours North to a location that we have been frequenting for several years now. The area is normally very secluded and offers some of the best Jackrabbit hunting the state of California has to offer. I was especially excited as the recent rainfall has created an abundance of brilliant colored wildflowers, tall green grass and near perfect weather to the area we were to be hunting. The long dirt road that heads into the hunting area is around 24 miles long and is best traveled slow, especially in the darkness of early morning. Marley and I made our way carefully down the road where we encountered Giant Kangaroo Rats, Jackrabbits, Owls and Coyotes that would occasionally make way in front of the Jeep. After some time we made our way into the campground that unfortunately was occupied to capacity by the Spring breakers making visit to spectate the wildflowers. I expected to find more than the usual amount of people, especially this time of year so we decided on plan B that was to camp on top of a mountain. The area on the mountain was not easily accessible to many vehicles, and out of the way of prying eyes as I prefer most of my camping excursions to be. Marley could hardly wait to get out and stretch her little legs and take in the fresh morning air. I pulled out a folding chair, cracked open an iced coffee and sat to enjoy the stars and quietness of the morning. After several minutes I noticed Marley staring at something and acting strange, I picked her up and put her in the truck not wanting an altercation with animals. I pulled out my flashlight and spotted the glowing eyes of several tiny kit foxes that were curiously watching us from a distance. These foxes are actually very rare to the area and considered to be endangered and highly protected.

As the morning progressed by this time it was near 6:00 am and time to start unpacking the gear and readying myself for a long day of hunting. I was using my larger pack that carries a good amount of water for both Marley and I, still leaving room for camera equipment and ammo. The plan was to hike about 45 minutes North into the mountains where I had some good experiences hunting Jackrabbits several times before. As we made our way from the Jeep we had to crawl under a bob-wire fence that proved easy for Marley and quite the challenge for me, rifle and pack full of camera gear. From this point the hillside moves up to a sharp rocky incline with tall grass and patches of thick brush that makes it a difficult hike, especially with low light. As Marley and I reached the top of the mountain it was approaching sunrise that quickly showed off our beautiful surroundings of tall grasses and brilliant wildflowers.

We hiked for a few more minutes until we came to an area that looked across a canyon where I was sure we could spot some moving Jackrabbits making way around the hillsides. We sat and waited and soon I was able to spot a juvenile sitting in a small clearing surrounded by thick brush and tall grass.

American Air Arms Classic EVOL .30

My American Air Arms EVOL .30 had recently been upgraded with a Hawke Frontier  2.5-15×50 riflescope that has made it much more enjoyable to hunt long range. I mention this scope because through much experience I have found the importance of clear glass coupled with a nice wide field of view. This scope has drastically improved my hunting in just the short time I’ve had it and seems to fit the gun very well. Back to the hunt, as mentioned I spotted a juvenile size Jackrabbit that at first can be mistaken for a Cottontail other than the ears.

From my position I was right near 140 yards with a good strong wind blowing from left to right making it the perfect kind of shot for the .30 44 grain Predator Polymag.

I took several minutes setting up my camera and adjusting the friction head to zoom in to capture the shot on film, always kind of a pain to set up considering the range and several bushes obscuring the view. After the camera was rolling I made the shot that sent the jackrabbit flying backwards about a foot where it instantly expired. Marley was quick to retrieve and was as excited as I was to make our first kill of the day.

140 Yard Jackrabbit Kill

After a short break Marley and I continued into the expansive back-country where we continued to spot Jackrabbit ears moving through the tall luscious green grass. By this time it was about 7:30 am with the wind becoming a bit stronger unfortunately, ultimately being the downfall of the hunt here. We soon came up on a deep narrow canyon that I knew must have had several Jackrabbits hiding in the bottom that went down about 100 yards. As Marley and I approached the edge looking down our presence immediately flushed several large Jackrabbits up the other side making a shot on one that was a near miss. As we slowly walked South down the ridge of the mountain I kept looking down towards the bottom of the ravine where I soon spotted a good size Jackrabbit sitting still. I sat down and tried my best adjusting the camera but unfortunately had the tripod adjusted way to low to capture any good film of the shot that was taken at 65 yards. I was able to make a great head-shot that send the Jackrabbit rolling several feet down into the bottom of the ravine.

65 Yard Jackrabbit kill

The .30 44 grain Polymags work very well for this type of small game hunting and in most cases are devastating as the exit wounds are huge. As we collected our Jackrabbit kill we continued down the ravine still heading South, back to the Jeep’s location. As Marley and I reached the bottom of the mountain we came to an enormous open field with grass that was over waist high, not easy walking for Marley legs or mine. We decided to take a much needed break and to replenish ourselves with some water and a small snack to get us some energy to make our way back to the Jeep.

The time was now close to 11:00 am and we were both exhausted, I was feeling bad for Marley having to make her way through such high grass. We had about 4 miles to hike before we finally made it back to the Jeep where all I wanted to do was lay down, rest and have a nice cold CocaCola. 

My legs were beat and after having my lunch was ready to take a nap for several hours with the hopes that the wind would die down and to charge my camera for some more filming. Marley and I fell asleep in the back of the Jeep for about an hour until I was awoken by her barking and someone grabbing my boot, not a pleasant way to get woken up. I woke up in a daze with a park ranger standing at the end of my tailgate. The ranger stated that I was not able to park in my existing location overnight and too that I was not to be parked off of the road. I had stated that I simply was waiting for several friends and that we had planned to camp several more days, the “campground” was full. The ranger was simply doing his job and can certainly respect that, just wish he could have been more sympathetic and helpful towards finding a better alternative. Marley and I packed up the Jeep and made our way to several other locations that unfortunately were not as secluded and too were full of the unwanted presence of “City Campers”. Call me selfish but I refuse to travel hours only to have to share space with strangers when I simply want to get away from people. After some amount of time driving back and fourth the long dirt road I decided that it may be the best decision to just leave the park all together and to call the guys and tell them. As I made way to the highway I finally had enough cellphone signal to call Terry and SteveO and let them know what had happen and to not plan to meet at that location. Over the phone we had decided to move our hunt to another area about 45 minutes South into the high desert where we had spent many previous hunting trips.


After a short drive with a short stop through the nearby drive-thru we were at our new location, by this time it was about 4:45 pm. Marley was excited as soon as we drove off the highway and onto the dirt as this is her favorite location to hunt and was just happy to not be going home. The windows were down and both of us were happily gazing from side to side looking for any movement under the many Joshua Trees that horde the area. We arrived to where we normally camp and target shoot, a nice little cubby that is surrounded by many large Joshua Trees.

Southern California High Desert

Marley and I quickly unpacked the Jeep and readied the gear along with my rifle, just in time for an evening hunt. This area has a very large population of Jackrabbits, Coyotes and Ground Squirrel’s that never seem to diminish. We walked a large one mile circle that I have walked hundreds of times before, almost knowing every square inch of the entire area and where most likely to find Jackrabbits. After about 20 minutes of walking I spotted several at around 100 yards that were unfortunately partially obscured by Joshua Tree branches. Marley and I slowly made our way that direction, stopping frequently with light steps to not make any noise. The wind wasn’t bad but was by no means the perfect hunting weather. From previous experience I have always had good luck with hunting in the wind as I believe the wind noise makes stalking in close easier. I can remember several times where I have gotten within several yards of a Jackrabbit without them even noticing my presence, both times were windy conditions. We eventually got close to where the two Jackrabbits were sitting but through looking all over couldn’t find and sign of them, they vanished. As Marley and I made our way through the giant circle and back towards the Jeep I spotted some ears at 70 or so yards sticking up from behind some grass. We moved what must have been two steps before the Jackrabbit stood up to where I could see its head in full view, THWAP! right in the head. Marley excitedly was off like a bolt of lightning to collect our kill and to drag it out of the tall grass.

As the time was now late evening and soon to be dark we made way back to our homestead for the night that surprisingly wasn’t as cold as I anticipated it to be. I made myself a sandwich and gave Marley her dinner along with a strip of bacon for desert followed by a bit of reading before falling asleep. Both Marley and I were extremely tired from a long day of driving and hiking, my legs, feet and back were killing me. I set my alarm for 6:30 am and had expected Terry and SteveO to arrive shortly after, just in time for the morning amber ears.


After a great nights sleep with a short rainstorm, just enough to wash the crud off my jeep Marley and I were awake and ready for another day. The sunrise was amazing as it highlighted all the green foliage and too made the distant fog that lingered over the nearby mountain range spectacular. This area really is one of my favorites and could hardly wait to enjoy it with my two good friends over the next two days.

Marley and I lingered around the camp for a bit while we waited for the guys to arrive, of coarse we saw a few Jackrabbits before we had the chance to pull the rifle out. We unloaded the rifle from the truck and did a quick loop where we spotted several Jackrabbits,I set up the camera on one to film the shot but in unfortunately wouldn’t stay still long enough. As Marley and I headed back we could hear the sound of two vehicles approaching in the distance. SteveO and Terry had made it and Marley became very excited as these two guys are her favorite and have become family to her.

Terry approaching camp

I was happy to have both these guys join me as the past day had not been very productive considering the problem with the wind and lack of place to camp. Terry had brought his trusted Tapian Mutant that has proven to be a great hunting gun being laser accurate and extremely efficient with shot count. SteveO had brought his old trusty .25 Marauder that has had many successful hunting adventures ingrained into it. After a few minutes of them getting the guns aired up and gear situated we headed off with me following close behind with the camera. I had really hoped to capture some good hunting footage that could be used in some future videos and thought this may be a great opportunity.

Marley didn’t want to miss the action so she made sure to stay close to the guys, just in case her services were needed.

We made our way through the jungle of Joshua Trees hoping to find the peachy glow of amber ears being back-lit by the morning sun. Terry spotted one that moved off like a flash through the thick Springtime foliage that made them extremely difficult to spot. I had suggested they move towards an area that had less Joshua trees and was a bit more wide open with several small hills that may hold several. Slowly we made our way out of the wall of Joshua Trees and into the field I described, almost immediately met by several Jackrabbits.

This Jackrabbit is a prime example of how difficult it is to judge range in some cases due to hills and obstacles, this one was at 100 yards but the illusion made it look much further. We did not range properly and unfortunately were putting way to much holdover on the shots that were going way over the Jackrabbits head. The Jackrabbit amazingly enough stuck around just long enough for us to figure out what was wrong but not long enough to make a kill. This is the type of thing that can sometimes be very frustrating for any hunter, a lesson learned is always worth the mistake made I think. We continued on and tried our best to ignore the wind that seemed to be coming about very strongly. SteveO and I took a break while Terry spent some time stalking a Jackrabbit that was moving back down through the Joshua Trees.

I don’t think any of really cared much about success to much, we were just happy to be out and about with good friends. Marley was enjoying the area as well, smelling all the smells and chasing lizards, birds and tiny Golden Mantle Squirrels. As SteveO and I were walking we both noticed a very beautiful Quail that was perched on a nearby Joshua Tree, this area had many.

California quail (Callipepla californica)

The wind was becoming honestly a bit unbearable and by this time it was only 11:30 am, didn’t seem to be getting much better. We continued hunting and spread out about 30 yards apart as we headed through the thick Joshua Trees, hoping to flush a Jackrabbit in front of us. As we finally made it back to camp we noticed several Ground Squirrels that scurried off some fallen branches and back into the many holes at the base of the Joshua Trees. After a short break at camp we decided to head over and wait for the Ground Squirrels to make another appearance, long enough to make a shot.

Terry with his girlfriend Marley

All three of us were set up at within 30 yards of the nearest Ground Squirrel hole, the wind was blowing about 45/50 mph by this time. When the wind is blowing that hard we had guessed it most likely detours the ground squirrel activity, making them stay down and out of the wind and flying debris.

All of us sat patiently for quite some time, only to have nothing but sand blown in our face. The wind was at this point so bad that it made it difficult to walk without getting blown over, not to great for hunting either. After some time visiting we decided to call it a day and head home and made plans to head out again when time allows.

 

This was a great trip and even though the weather and a few of the situations were not as I had hoped for it was still nice just to get away and enjoy the outdoors. Part of being an Airgun Hunter is learning to adapt to different situations such as weather, locations and game being hunted. Sometimes the locations we hunt can be very unforgiving, thankfully the company of friends makes it all worth while. Thanks to everyone who supports our many great adventures. Enclosed is a short video of our first day of hunting:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3-Day Back Country Ground Squirrel Hunt

I had a busy week of work and could hardly wait to escape as I ended my day Thursday afternoon. I headed home and packed the Jeep for a 4 day adventure hunt in the very remote area of the desert. I left early Friday morning with my dog Marley where we drove for a good part of the morning to get us to our destination that took us through some very remote areas of the Mojave desert. We made a few stops before we headed up a very steep mountain road that at one time was frequented by miners that traveled the trail with mules, wagons and horses.


Marley and I drove quite a bit further and used our time to explore a few areas that we had planned to hunt the following day when SteveO and Terry arrived. I was too looking for a good area for us to camp and possibly have some shade to camp under. After a bit of searching I was able to find a good location that fit the criteria for not only hunting but camping as well. We parked the Jeep under a nice sized Pine tree and proceeded to unpack the hunting gear, cameras etc, and head out on foot to explore a bit.

Marley was just as excited as I was to be in such a beautiful location, I too could hear the distant bark and chatter of the many Ground Squirrels that have saturated the area. After gearing up we set across a small creek that opened up into a large open field with fallen trees, rock outcroppings and nice green grass. It wasn’t long before I found a nice spot to sit for awhile and try making some longer shots on these Ground Squirrels.

I spotted quite a few at some 100+ yards away sunning themselves high up on the rocks. The wind was actually quite fierce at times but would sometimes let up just enough to make a good shot. I had quite a few misses as I was trying to not only steady the rifle but the movie camera as well, gets frustrating when you miss a shot due to camera set up.


I was using the new American Air Arms EVOL .30 that was loaded with 44gr Predator Polymags that from prior experience work very well in the gun out past 130+ yards.

After a short time I had connected with several Ground Squirrels and will say it was very exciting as the place was simply crawling with them. The Polymags work flawlessly out of the EVOL and I even surprised myself a few times with shots that were simply amazing. Here is one I took from over 130 yards as he was sunning himself on a cliff-face.

After about 45 minutes in the same spot I decided to move locations onto a very large slab rock that overlooked a good part of the valley and offered near panoramic views.

This area was great as I had spotted many Ground Squirrels moving from hole to hole around and under the many Oak Trees that covered the area. I took several from this location with the furthest being out to 90 yards.


After some time hunting and trying the best I could to get some good video footage it was getting late and time for Marley and I to go set up camp. The following morning Terry and SteveO were to meet me in a set location that was quite a distance from where I was. After some thought I decided to pack up my gear and head back down the mountain many miles to the area we were to meet. This area was so remote that getting a cell-phone signal would be near impossible and I simply did not want to take the chance of them not finding me in the morning. Marley and I packed up all the gear and headed down the narrow Jeep trail as by this time the sun was setting.

After quite a bit of driving we came to the area where I was to meet SteveO and Terry in the morning. This area was actually very creepy as it was backed up into a rocky canyon and gave a bit of “The Hills Have Eyes” type of vibe. Thankfully Marley kept me company as I set up camp for the night and made a good size bon-fire to keep the critters away.

We slept quite well that night and awoke to a beautiful clear morning with thankfully no wind that would sure to make a great day of hunting. The guys weren’t expected for another few hours so I had decided to get in a little Jackrabbit hunting before they came.

The morning was just gorgeous as the sun came up and the location looked to be perfect habitat for hunting Jackrabbits. We walked up over a ridge where I hoped to be able to spot some amber ears from the distance.

After about a mile of hiking we came up over a ridge where we could see for several hundred yards ahead of us, perfect place to sit quietly and enjoy the morning. I soon spotted several Jackrabbits that were near a bit beyond 200 yards on the side of a densely vegetated hillside.

I ended up taking the shot on one and came within several inches of hitting it, actually from the looks of the photo I may have connected with its tail.

We spotted several more Jackrabbits as we made our way back to camp as by this time I was expecting SteveO and Terry to arrive to meet us. As we made our way around the ridge I could see that the guys had arrived and were waiting to spot me coming down through the rocks. After a few minutes of saying our hellos we moved the caravan to the location I had hunted the day before, where we would spend the next several days. The guys were most excited about the spot, especially since I had told them how active it was the day before.

Terry had spent some time setting up some targets so they could zero the rifles and warm up for the day of hunting ahead.

After about 20 minutes we were ready to head out across the creek and search out some active Ground Squirrel areas. I showed Terry and SteveO a few of the areas I felt to be active and they settled for a spot that was under several trees and offered a good view of some rock-outcroppings.


SteveO and Terry both almost immediately connected with some Ground Squirrels that were between 45 and 65 yards. The rock had several that were moving about and would sometimes give good opportunity as they climbed the rocks, stopping frequently.


After around 45 minutes SteveO spotted a Ground Squirrel at 80 yards peeking his head up from behind a very large boulder, the only thing you could see was his eye. I spent a little time watching the Ground Squirrel until I felt comfortable to take the shot that was a very tiny target. I made the shot and connected perfectly considering the range and the angle I was at, really only had a tiny black eye for an aiming point.


I took a short little break and then followed the guys around for awhile hoping to capture some good video footage. Terry ended up spotting a Ground Squirrel next to a tree at 85 yards where he connected with a loud distinct THWACK sound.


These Ground Squirrels were literally all over the place, pretty much just needed to pick a spot and go to town. As SteveO and I were walking we heard the distant crack followed by a THWACK, OOOOOOH sounds like he got one. SteveO, Marley and I went to check it out and sure enough Terry made a head-shot that looked to be near 70 yards. The obvious signs of death by lead poisoning were all over the rocks, looked like a murder scene.

After a quick walk back to camp we sat in the shade while enjoying our lunch, followed by a little more target shooting. After a few minutes we headed out again, this time being a little more familiar with the area and where the active spots are. I choose a spot up under a tree that looked down on some fallen logs and large rocks.

This area had a good field of view of several Ground Squirrels that were running around with several that were sunning themselves on the flat-rocks. I ended up shooting one that was over 80 yards as he turned facing away from me, I think everyone heard the THWACK that seemed to echo throughout the canyon.

After a little over an hour I asked the guys if they wanted to take a ride in the Jeep and go further up the mountain to another location that SteveO and I hunted last Summer with great luck.


This area upon arrival was obviously extremely infested with Ground Squirrels and was apparent that we didn’t need to look far to find opportunity.

Within about two minutes we all had at least one kill each with hundreds more in sight, some as far away as 150 yards. I worked my way into the back of a giant field, taking several as far as 130 yards. This area had many beautiful Oak trees to sit under along with nice short green grass that made spotting the Ground Squirrels quite easy.


I could hear the distant sounds of both Terry and SteveO making connections, very loud and could be heard throughout the entire valley. This may have been my favorite area of the day as it had so much great opportunity for long range shots. After following a faint trail down through the valley I came across a spot where I spooked several Ground Squirrels off a rock formation. I figured Marley and I would sit and wait several minutes for one to come back up on top of the rocks.

It didn’t take long before a Ground Squirrel came back up onto the rock to sun himself, I took a devastating shoulder shot at 65 yards that blew him right off the rock.


About this time we met back to the Jeep and headed back down to camp with near 60 kills between us for the day, even the dog was pleased. It was nice to just be among good friends and be able to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. This area was truly amazing and offered some of the best Ground Squirrel hunting I have ever encountered. We set up a fine camp and even cooked hotdogs, burgers while we enjoyed the company of good friends and the light of the full moon. Later in the night I started a good size fire to take the chill off and add to the rustic backdrop of this beautiful place.

The following morning we were up early and ready to hunt as SteveO would be leaving us around 9:00 am. We crossed the creek and decided to try a few different areas that we had not explored yet, one of which had a huge amount of rocks.


We all had connected with several Ground Squirrels that in some cases were very difficult to see against the endless assortment of rocks. The one I was after was high up on a large boulder, almost acting as though he was king of his castle.

The trouble with hunting Ground Squirrels in this type of habitat is that finding the kill can become a challenge in itself, loosing them in holes, cracks etc, can become very frustrating. All three of us made some incredible shots in this spot but the area was simply near impossible to recover our kills from, even with the dog. SteveO soon had to leave us where it was now just Terry, Marley and I to hunt for the rest of the day. Terry and I decided that we would take the Jeep and venture back up to the other area from the day before. We split up and headed out separate ways where I soon could hear the distant clap of his Tapian Mutant making some heavy Ground Squirrel connections. I on the other hand was content near the Jeep where I spotted several at 150+ yards where I was able to connect with one.



Here is one I took at 110 yards



Terry and I made quite a few kills through the morning putting our total to well up over 90 I believe.

This area was an absolute pleasure to hunt and my choice in company made the trip most memorable. I was able to get a good amount of video footage considering the difficulty of the area. This hunt was a huge learning curve for me and the first time I had really used the camera for an extended period of time, facing challenges with setup and the various angles involved in filming them. I am truly blessed to have such good friends and many others behind the scenes that support my adventures on many levels, thank you. Enclosed is a link to the video in relation to this hunt, hope you enjoy. HUNT VIDEO