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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”


     


Want more? Visit the forum at AIRGUNFLIX

 

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Memoirs of a first time Airgun hunter

Several weeks ago I received an email from a gentleman named Mike who had read several of my writings and had become interested in hunting with an Airgun. Over a brief discussion through email he had made the decision to purchase a .25 Marauder from Mac1 Airgun distributor in Gardena CA. That following week I had invited Mike to join me on a 3 day hunt in a remote area of the Mojave desert that offers not only some great Jackrabbit hunting but plenty of Ground Squirrels.


The following Thursday afternoon Mike and I met in Mojave and headed another 30 miles into the deep outback of the desert that gave both our Jeeps quite the workout. We made it to an area where I had made camp on several previous occasions, good amount of shade and plenty of wood to feed a campfire. Upon arrival it was fairly windy but seemed as though it was settling down as the evening went on. I was happy to have Mike join me as I usually make many of these trips on the solo as most have to work during the week. The following morning Mike and I awoke early to mount his scope and sight the .25 Marauder in at 50 yards.

Mike with his new .25 Marauder

After sighting in the Marauder we loaded up the Jeep and headed down the road several miles to a beautiful area that has an excellent habitat for Jackrabbits. The morning was calm and clear, thankfully a bit warmer than usual that would mean the Jackrabbits would be a bit more active.

The Cholla Cactus

As we walked towards the sun looking for the amber ears Mike was immediately able to spot some in the distance, some as far as 200 yards away. The plan was to head towards some rolling hills that would give us a better chance to not only spot them but to possibly ambush them from higher ground. We walked very slowly, trying to stay quiet that was not easy as the brush was thick in some spots. Soon upon getting to the top of this little hill Mike set his sights on a good size Jackrabbit at 65 yards, his first Jackrabbit kill, not bad for his first time hunt eh?

After taking a break for a few minutes, taking some pictures and packing the Jackrabbit into my pack we continued on further through the desert. We were now in an area that had some thicker vegetation along with some Joshua trees that offered many hiding spots for Jackrabbits. I came over a hill and spotted a Jackrabbit sitting halfway up the side of a hill on what looked to be a heavily traveled animal trail, at 60 yards I made the shot right through its chest.

American Air Arms EVOL .30


By this time it was around 10:30 am so we headed back to our camp and packed up our things to move to a different campsite where we would spend the next few days. This area had tall grass, a fire pit along with plenty of shade to sit under and target shoot. The following morning we were expecting Terry, my girlfriend Lindsey and the dog Marley to arrive to join us.

After setting up camp Mike and I headed up into the rocks to hopefully find some Ground Squirrels moving about. The area has some large populations of California Ground Squirrels, the burrows are scattered about under fallen trees and in the many rocks that are just about everywhere you look. A short hike from camp set us up on top of a large flat-rock that overlooks the whole valley with several rock outcroppings just below us at near 65 yards. Mike was using a fallen log to use as a rest to steady his rifle for a shot on a Ground Squirrel that kept moving about on the rocks below us.

Mike took his time and thankfully was able to keep things steady for a near perfect head-shot that put the Ground Squirrel down with authority.

His new .25 Marauder shoots like a laser and is near the perfect budget rifle for this type of hunting. Through the rest of the morning and into the afternoon we made quite a few kills, the wind was picking up by this time. As Mike and I moved up into this canyon we could hear the distant bark of the Ground Squirrels echoing through the valley.

I ended up spotting one at over 125 yards away that proved a difficult shot in the strong winds but nevertheless the perfect job for the EVOL .30 rifle. The new HAWKE Frontier 2.5-15×50 scope has really made long range shots much easier as the glass and TMX recticle are super clear. I took my time and was able to make a head-shot that entered right through the very top of the skull, dropping the Ground Squirrel instantly.


After a few hours of hiking around the Oak Tree covered valley Mike and I headed back to our campsite to set up for the evening and to gather some firewood to get us through the night. The wind was picking up again, gusting as high at 35/40 mph, no fun when trying to set up camp.

That evening we made a great campfire and were able to relax under the stars and enjoy some good conversation. Mike and I had cleaned and processed our Jackrabbit kills earlier that day and had planned to have them for dinner, although we thought we would wait till the next evening to share with the others. Mike made us some Top Ramen that tasted excellent, and too being a great way to get warmed up as it was by now a bit cold out.

Both Mike and I were quite tired and sore from a full day of hiking, must have put in near 8 miles up and down through the valley. Getting to sleep was no problem at all so we called it a night and planned to get up early to wait for Terry, Lindsey and Marley to arrive by 8:30 am.


The morning was quite calm with a slight breeze that we had hoped would stay that way for the rest of the day, at least long enough to get some hunting in. At about 8:45 as I sat with my rifle looking up into the nearby rocks that towered above our campsite, I could hear the distant sound of a vehicle breaking traction coming up the rugged rutted out road that lead to our spot. My favorite little companion Marley immediately came to greet me and was very surprised to see me being she wasn’t to sure where she was going at 4:30 am. This was Lindsey’s first time in the area and had came along to do a bit of Rockhounding (video link) , a hobby that we both share. This area had a large abundance of quartz that she had hoped to find plenty of that evening when we headed back down to hunt Jackrabbits. Terry set up a nice little range with several targets between 50 and 77 yards for us to use and fine tune our guns, he even brought a chronograph.

After about an hour of so of shooting our rifles we decided to head out up a trail that headed out of camp and into the nearby rock outcroppings.

We each set ourselves up in different areas about 50 yards apart each facing towards the rocks that had many Ground Squirrels that would frequently venture out to sun themselves.

Terry with his .22 Tapian Mutant Bullpup

Terry set himself up against a rock that offered good cover along with shots between 45/75 yards. Soon we could hear the distant THWACK of the obvious lead therapy that Terry was giving a nearby Ground Squirrel at 75 yards.

I had sat under a large Oak Tree where I spotted several Ground Squirrels moving about through the crevices of some large boulders. I was waiting for one of them to climb higher on the rocks making for a more clear shot. After about 20 minutes of waiting I finally spotted one that climbed up and was sitting still trying to get some sun. This shot was at 115 yards and would not be easy due to the pretty strong cross wind that I was sure would carry the pellet way to the right. With a guess in calculation I moved my shot 1.5 mil to the left, not as much as I needed but still enough to make a bone crunching gut shot.

After some time hiking around we all headed back to camp where we had lunch and relaxed for a bit, frequently shooting at several Ground Squirrels that were in the nearby rocks. After a few more hours of goofing off in camp we all had decided to head down the road and make the long hike across the desert to an area I had spotted a good amount of quartz crystals and a super great area to hunt Jackrabbits. I figured by the time we made it out to the area it would be the perfect time to pick a spot to sit and wait for some Jackrabbits to come by.

The sun was coming down pretty hard on us and we still had a ways to go before we would be near any type of shade. Lindsey was happy just to be out doing some rock hounding in such a beautiful location. As we walked we soon spotted several Jackrabbits that were well out of range, but they all looked to be very near where we were headed.

Terry stalking a Jackrabbit  

After another 20 minutes of hiking Lindsey, Marley and I arrived to the spot that I had described with many quartz crystals and great habitat for Jackrabbits. After a short break in the shade Lindsey got to work and headed out to explore the grounds for the many assortments of rocks the place had.

Terry and Mike headed further out past where Lindsey, Marley and I were and I could hear the distant shots they were making as pellets were tearing through the thick brush. After several minutes of sitting I spotted a Jackrabbit at 80+ yards across a ravine that was partially obscured from a Cholla CactusI took a head-shot and ended up shooting a bit to high sending the pellet right through the side of one ear that dazed it just long enough for Marley to get close enough to flip the Jackrabbit in the air. I ran across the ravine and watched Marley chase the Jackrabbit, she nearly got it too just as they both ran by Terry. That little dog is simply the best hunting dog I have ever seen, a pure natural hunter. After all the excitement I headed back over to check out what Lindsey was up to, she was doing a bit of rock stacking with the few larger pieces of quartz.

For those of you who don’t know, Lindsey is the real backbone of the online magazine mountainsportairguns.com and does many things for the Airgun community behind the scenes. She is responsible for many of the popular Airgun industry websites many of us frequent on a regular basis. Anyone reading this who may need some serious website work, mygirlfriday805  is the best in the business and truly an amazing part of my life. After several hours with no luck getting many shots on Jackrabbits we made the slow journey back to the truck, I say slow because I had about 100 lbs of rocks in my backpack.


We arrived back to camp just in time to watch the sunset and to get a fire started along with the portable BBQ Terry had brought to cook on. Between all of us we had a good amount of food that we had all brought to cook, hotdogs, carne asada, snacks, drinks and even hot chocolate and beer. We were all very hungry from the long day of marching through the desert, even Marley was ready for anything she could get her paws on.

After stuffing ourselves with mass quantities of food we were all near comatose and ready to just go to sleep. The plan was for us guys to get up super early and head down the hill again to try for some Jackrabbits for a few hours. We all slept pretty good that night, I felt pretty refreshed the next morning at 6:30 am and was ready for some more hunting. We headed down the hill and excitedly made our way back into the same area we hunted the evening before.

It was a beautiful morning that thankfully wasn’t windy at all, wish the last few days had been that calm. After about 30 minutes I finally spotted a Jackrabbit at 45 yards that was sitting under a bush taking in the warm morning sunshine.

Notice in the photograph I was wearing jeans, well the day before I had gotten a small tear in my hunting pants that ultimately worked into a larger tear that ripped the whole pant leg off. Happy I had brought some extra pants, otherwise I would be chasing Jackrabbits in my underwear. Not a pleasant sight I can assure you! As the morning moved on I spent some time stalking Terry hoping to get some shots captured on camera, he was quite hard to spot among the dense desert foliage.

As all four of us hiked towards the nearby mountains the plan was to circle around and cross over a road into a new area I had never hunted before. Marley and I set out ahead and crossed the road almost immediately seeing several very large Jackrabbits moving through the brush on the hillsides. This area was near perfect terrain for Airgun hunting as it offered good opportunities to get close having so many trees to hide behind as we moved closer. I could hear Terry and Mike both making shots on running Jackrabbits, Marley was getting supper riled up as she listened for that distinctive THWAP!!  As Marley and I moved around a bush I attempted making a shot on this Jack that was sitting facing us at 200+ yards, made a shot that came up short right next to its feet sending it into a full sprint out of sight.

Over the next hour all four of us tried stalking several Jackrabbits, the one I was after went up a hill and over a rise down into some more open area. Marley and I slowly made our way up the hill with the hopes to ambush the Jackrabbit from above, when hunting them I always have good luck hunting down on them when possible. As we made our way over the crest of the hill I immediately spotted the Jackrabbit sitting under a large bush with its back facing me, perfect shoulder shot at 95 yards. The .30 EVOL is in my opinion the perfect all day gun for hunting Jackrabbits, with plenty of power and 40 regulated shots at 85 fpe it packs a mean whallop.


As I made my last kill of the day I packed them neatly into my back and ventured back to the truck where where Terry and Mike soon joined. This few days of hunting was no doubt a good amount of work but well worth the effort to be able to share it with a newcomer to the sport. I commend Mike for reaching out and not being afraid to ask questions and take advice, It was a true privilege to have him join me and to be able to witness his first Jackrabbit kill. It’s very important for us as Airgunners to keep the sport alive and to help it grow in a positive way, Mikes story is a great example. Enclosed is a video documentary of our trip, enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WAR Hunting Jackrabbits

Sometime has gone by since this hunting trip had taken place but has always been one of my most memorable Airgunning trips. I had acquired a cabin in the high desert for a week so planned to spend some of it with a good long time friend of mine. Matt and I have been hunting buddies in the powder burning world so I was excited to finally get him out to try for some Jackrabbits with Airguns. Matt had never really shot a PCP before, yet is a very accomplished big game hunter. He is used to long hunts for game such as Elk, Bear, Deer and a variety of exotic animal hunts. This morning we got out to the location early with the .22 Benjamin Marauder and the Wicked Air Rifles FLEX .30 prototype that I had acquired for about a week. I went over a few things with Matt such as how to load the magazines and how to fill the gun, zero range etc,

I too brought a buddy bottle with us to fill with and I think Matt was very impressed with the simplicity of being able to fill the guns in the field. These small bottles have made my hunting adventures much more pleasurable and make venturing into the desert much more long-lasting. This particular bottle is a carbon fiber 90CI 4500 psi that I picked up from Mac1 Airguns that is perfect being its lightweight and fits into a backpack fairly easily.

We set out and almost immediately saw quit a few Jackrabbits, that .30 was making some long shots out past 150 yards. We both ended up spotting a Jackrabbit at around 90 yards and both moved in on it. The Jack started running and we both ended up connecting hits at the same time,very heart pumping and exciting. Not sure who’s shot took it down so we shared some pics with both rifles.

For me it was just about being out hunting with my life long friend and showing him what Airguns are capable of in hunting. This was such a memorable day and can only say it was one of my favorite hunts in a long time. After Matt bagging his first Jackrabbit with my Marauder I think he may have gotten the Airgun bug, I hope. After spending a little more time shooting and having lunch Matt was on his way and left with a great memory of his first Airgun hunt. I hope that Matt will join me again very soon and possibly even invest in something Air powered for some future hunts.


Today was nearing my last day of the trip so I got up super early around 5:15 am and drove several miles down the mountain and into the Desert Jungle. The morning was cool and had almost a beach breeze going on,very beautiful sunrise it was.

The area I was hiking into was a place I had found days before, it was one of very few places that offered a good field of view and had a very good overlook to hunt from.

The area I was looking down on was fairly flat with short bushes and some larger Joshua trees near the outer area. I used a laser link to find 200 yards where I sat and waited for a Jackrabbit to get into that range, really was hoping to make a long range kill today. By this time the sun was bringing them out from cover and soon the amber ears everywhere in the distance. The first Jackrabbit I encountered into my range was moving along a trail, stopping frequently, usually behind something. Hunting Jackrabbits gets frustrating because they move directions so quickly and are sometimes impossible to see, especially at 200 yards.

I sat for over an hour waiting until one finally stopped and sat coincidentally right under the Joshua Tree that marked 200 yards. Very slowly I aimed right at the top of his head at 4 1/2 mill-dot holdover and slightly to the right for the breeze over my right shoulder. I fired and could see the pellet arch down and right into his head, couldn’t hear any hit. The Jackrabbit flopped down, kicked a few times and was out like a light.

I cant tell you how happy I was, so amazing what these modern PCPs are capable of. Being that I have been using Airguns for over 30 years to hunt with I would have never imagined how far they have come in just the past several years. Days like this make me grateful to be in the “Golden Age Of Airgunning”


Day three I had arrived just before the sun came up and decided to hike out to another area that I know to be busy with Jackrabbits. Both my packs were full as I wasn’t sure how long I would be out, brought my buddy bottle, water, snacks and plenty of JSBs. The area was very sandy with rolling hills that made for good spots to hunt them from a distance. I knew the gun would shoot 100+yards easy, problem was the wind was gusting over 35 mph. My first kill was sitting at 50 yards downhill from me between two Joshua trees. The entry was right below his neck and he fell over like a sack of potato’s.

I was very pleased with my first kill of the day, the Jackrabbit was quite large too at near “11 lbs.” Kept moving towards the South where I planned to explore a different area and as I was walking could see a few juveniles running about. By this time it was getting warmer with still plenty of wind, although wind makes stalking much easier. I even shot at a few ground squirrels that were climbing through some of the fallen Joshua Trees. The desert was very beautiful and made me grateful for such a wonderful place to visit and hunt. After shooting through my magazine I decided to stop for a break and refill the gun in a big open field.

As I sat and had a smoke I could see a Jackrabbits ears moving along the grass in the next field over. “Excitedly” I grabbed the gun and slowly headed over trying to stay low to the ground as not to spook it. I was able to get within 60 yards where I felt comfortable to make the shot, it stood up on it’s hind legs and THWAPP,right trough his leg and into his chest.

At this point I was getting tired and started my loop back to where I had parked my tuck, about 4 miles away. While hiking a mile into it I came to a large field surrounded by Joshua trees with a few scattered knee high bushes in the middle, great prime spot to sit. I knew that several Jackrabbits may be hiding in this area as it was looking almost to good to pass up.

After several minutes, sure enough I spotted one and was able to use the bipod to take aim at 70 yards. I took a heart/lung shot that allowed the Jackrabbit to run for several feet before collapsing.

Over the past week I have spent some much needed time in the high desert, a place full of great hunting opportunities. I had the opportunity to be the first to shoot a great American Made gun as well as the shared memories with a great friend. Airgunning is a passion and can only hope that through some writing that I may share with others as I have been so freely given. Keep on shooting and remember, “The best gun is the one your shooting”

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