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Varmint Hunting In Extreme Heat

By Dana Webb

 

Thursday morning we left the house and drove several hours into the remote mountains of Southern California. Terry and I set up in a location away from our campsite to check zero on our Air Rifles and to scout several new areas for hunting Ground Squirrels. The temperature was in the high 80’s so the new EZ-UP helped immensely in keeping us cool.

Terry and I set up targets out to 100 yards and were happy to have zero wind that is a rarity in this part of the valley floor. We had a great time shooting both the EVOL .30 and the .22 Tapian Mutant Bullpup, both amazingly accurate Air Rifles.

American Air Arms EVOL .30 with DonnyFL Ronin Moderator

After some practice with the rifles we packed up and headed down the road to a spot I had previously seen some Ground Squirrel activity. By this time it was the middle of the day and the temperature was rising into the 90’s making hiking around a bit unpleasant.

Terry making his way back to the Jeep with is Tapian Mutant

After about a half hour of looking for Ground Squirrels we packed the guns up and headed about another 14 miles into the mountains to around 5,300 ft elevation. We had chosen this location as it would be cooler with many Ponderosa Pines that were nestled throughout the vast canyon. The area too had several creeks that are fed by natural springs where Marley could swim and play.

I was quick to set up camp as well as the new EZ-Up canopy, that thing is an absolute necessity on trips like this. The Jeep was loaded with several coolers packed with water, ice and plenty of food for the several days in the wilderness. Ater setting up camp we set out down a nearby trail that followed the creek and gave some shade from the scorching Summer heat.

  The terrain was quite rugged and in some areas was near impossible to cross over the creek due to the steep embankments. I found an area overlooking the creek where I had spotted several Ground Squirrels moving from the many holes and fallen trees.

One of the Ground Squirrel holes at 55 yards

I sat for awhile and spotted several Ground Squirrels going in and out of this hole, made a shot on one of them and missed. After making a poor shot i knew I would have to wait for a while before one would pop back out again. Within about 15 min one decided to show itself again where it was met with a 44gr JSB.

I moved a bit further up the hill as I could hear the distant bark of several more Ground Squirrels moving about around the many fallen trees. I spotted one standing on a fallen log just down the hill overlooking the creeks embankment at 68 yards.

The angle I had to shoot from was a bit awkward to work with as well as having to move my cameras tripod legs to keep upright. The shot was a bit low and made a gut shot sending the Ground Squirrel flying backwards. Almost immediately after I spotted another Ground Squirrel barking high up on a fallen log to my right at 83 yards.

 I took the shot on this one and hit just low sending a chunk of wood right into him, the heat was really getting to me and the sweat in my eyes was making it difficult to see well. I could hear Terry making several shots so went to meet up with him, together we hiked down next to the creek to try and get cool.

Marley and I were perfectly happy staying down by the creek and not moving around much, we sat for awhile and spotted several Ground Squirrels moving around the embankments. We were able to connect with several of them although most were on the run. This was such a beautiful place to hunt despite the brutal Summer heat, was happy to just be able to get out and enjoy. Later that evening the plan was to try finding some Cottontail rabbits that may be moving about and to hopefully cook that evening. We made way back to the camp where we set up some targets along with a steel plate at 125 yards.

Terry’s Tapian Mutant .22

After dragging that heavy steel swing target out to 125 yards I took a break for awhile before shooting again. I watched Terry do some 100 yard practice before getting on it with the EVOL .30, the wind conditions were nice and predictable for late afternoon. After a few shots I was getting amazing groups with my gun at the shorter ranges and finally decided to move out to the 125 yard steel.

I put 3 shots in a nice 1″1/2 cluster and think with better setup such as bags I could have done much better. Shooting like this really makes me appreciate how far modern PCP’s have come. Later that evening after we had rested a bit we took a walk around near the campsite searching for Cottontail rabbits. I had seen plenty of droppings as well as tracks but no movement at all, I think the heat has made them resort to coming out after sundown. After Marley and I took our stroll looking for bunnies we came back to camp and decided to cook up some chicken for an early dinner.

The moon was near full that night and was thankfully much cooler making things much more bearable and relaxing.


That next morning my plan was to wake up early before the sun came up although I slept so well that I didn’t awake till around 6:15am. Terry had already been gone when I woke up so Marley and I ventured away from camp about 3/4 of a mile to a big open field, perfect area to spot both Cottontails and Jackrabbits. 

I decided to hike up the barron hillside and work my way around looking for movement in the large open fields. Hunting this type of terrain on flat ground is difficult and usually never works well without a shotgun. Marley and I spotted several Jackrabbits moving up the hillsides at some 200+ yards away but nothing within reasonable range for and Air Rifle. By this time it was apparent that the day was going to be another scorcher, already had my jacket off by 6:45. Marley and I picked a spot in the small amount of shade next to a bush and waited near 20 minutes before we spotted several large Jackrabbit moving in the field at close to 100 yards. I took a shoulder shot on one that sent it running up the hillside before collapsing, the second one was at 98 yards just next to a bush. The Jackrabbit gave me a nice side profile to line up for a perfect headshot that sent it into a flip. Marley ran to recover as it was wildly flipping all over causing a huge dust cloud. I went and recovered the first and met up with Marley where she had recovered the second large Jackrabbit.

American Air Arms EVOL .30 at 85 fpe

 

Marley and I were both happy our patience had paid off and were able to get two huge Jackrabbits within several seconds of one another. We took a break before throwing them into the pack and heading back to the campsite where Tom from American Air Arms would be showing up to spend the day. As marley and I hiked back we spotted several deer as well as many chipmunks moving about near the creekbed. This area is loaded with larger animals such as Deer, Coyote, Bobcat, Mountain Lion as well as many types of birds.


We made way back to camp where Tom had just arrived just in time for the heat to really become overbearing at 90 degrees by 8:30am. Tom had brought a new Air Rifle he has created that shoots a 27gr .22 slug putting out 60+fpe, he spent some time shooting that against a small 2″ spinner at 125 yards just under the steel plate. Enclosed is a previous photograph of the rifle, we will take a more in depth look at this very advanced Air Rifle in our next article.

American Air Arms EVOL TAC .22 High Power


After our shooting session at camp we all headed back out to seek out some Ground Squirrel action, I headed East following the creek the other direction. Marley and I crossed to the other side of the creek and set up just under the shade of a large Pine tree.

This looked to be a great location and offered a great unobstructed view in near all directions of the large area. To our right as well as in front of us were huge fallen trees that had Ground Squirrel holes all around them. I spotted several Chipmunks running back and forth from one tree to the next as well as the several periodic Ground Squirrel barks. I took a shot at several of the Chipmunks that were sitting on a root from one of the Pine trees next to the creek. These shots were all around 30 yards, close range shots that required some hold-under for once.

After a few minutes I spotted a fairly large Ground Squirrel sticking it’s head up from behind a log at 115 yards.

I made the shot a bit high and it came down right on the back of his head drilling him right into the ground behind the fallen tree.

This area looked to have a large population but I think the heat had kept most of them in the Ground as it was well up to 100 degrees out. I can’t stress enough how important it is to carry a large amount of water, more than you think you need. This environment dehydrates you so quickly that heat exhaustion can happen very easily. When we are out in the wilderness like this, nobody will find you and when they do you just may be dead. With Marley I have to be especially careful about making sure she has enough water as well as keeping my eyes open for Rattlesnakes. Having her bit by a venomous snake is one of my worst nightmares, miles from any type of help. After sitting for about 20 more minutes with no action we looped around back towards camp following the other side of the creek. As we moved through the tall Ponderosa Pines I could see a Ground Squirrel in the distance moving about on a huge fallen tree. I set up the camera the best I could and tried to follow it with the lens while trying to set up the range and gun at the same time, very frustrating. The Ground Squirrel was at 68 yards but moving further up this fallen log.

I made the shot that finally ended at 73 yards sending the 44gr JSB right into his back sending up a cloud of dust as it smacked. The past two days were a great time spent with friends but the heat made moving around quite miserable. Marley and I continued back to camp where it by this time was around 12:30pm, we packed the Jeep and waited for Tom to get back before heading out. This was a slow few days of hunting but was very happy with how well it turned out considering how hot it was. As I’m writing this we are already planning for the next trip, can’t wait to share. Enclosed is the video of our adventures, hope you enjoy and will help us by subscribing.

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Airgun Ground Squirrel Adventure Hunt

With the recent wind and rains here in California it has been difficult to get away to do some hunting. My good friend Terry and I had planned to leave early Friday morning and head out to a familiar stomping ground several hours away. Terry, Marley and I had planned to stay for several days where we would scout several new areas as well as film for several upcoming videos. The night before it had rained quite heavily so I was a bit skeptical about the road situation going into the hunting area. This area is many miles off the main highway and heads into what I call an oasis in the desert.

Road heading in approx 6:45am

The recent rains had left everything green and full of life, Terry and I stopped near a large Oak Tree where we planned to site in the rifles and scout a portion of the valley for Ground Squirrel activity. This area is one of the best habitats for the California Ground Squirrel with it’s many fallen trees, rocks and hillsides to dig their holes in. After Terry, Marley and I spent some time getting the guns ready we hiked around and could hear the distant bark as well as the occasional Cottontail rabbits moving about. (out of season)The morning was still a bit cold and the sun was not in full effect, nevertheless Terry still managed to hammer a Ground Squirrel out of its hole at near 55 yards. After about an hour we packed up and moved to the area we had planned to camp about a 1/4mi North. This area had a great place to park the vehicles and spot Ground Squirrels all over the many large rock outcroppings.

We unpacked and proceeded to hike around looking for a good area to sit an eradicate them from distance.

Terry glassing for Ground Squirrels

After a bit of hiking around we settled down in a nice spot that looked to be very active, just needed to be patient and wait for them to come out.

Marley’s running the camera

It didn’t take long for us to spot several squirrels moving about and both Terry and I had our sites on several.

Terry and I were both getting connections from 55 yards all the way out to 70+ yards.

Result of a .30 47gr NSA HP to the head.

Terry and I spent about an hour or so moving along the hillsides where we frequently could spot Ground Squirrels sunning themselves on the rocks. This place was beautiful and had some pretty amazing views of the vast Oak tree covered valley below.

Terry and Marley taking a break.

After some time taking a break Terry proceeded down the hill where there were many rocks, Marley and I stayed above. After a few minutes I could hear barking and soon after the distant CLAP of a Ground Squirrel receiving a headache.

Tapian Mutant .22 at 30 yards,that shut him up.

Marley and I sat under an Oak Tree for about 45 minutes where I was able to take down several Ground Squirrels at various ranges.

A few screen-shots of the video.

Marley was having a great time hiking around with us but by this time we needed a break so headed back to camp for some water and snacks.

After a short break we decided to stick around camp and look into the nearby rocks where occasionally one would appear. I had spotted one high up on the very top of a rock outcropping at 75+ yards. I manned the camera while Terry took the shot with his Tapian Mutant.

Good shot considering the wind.

As our long day was coming to a close and the sun was going down the temperature dropped near 30 degrees making “camping” sound horrible. We both decided to pack up and head home as the night and lack of dry firewood would have been simply unbearable. We headed out the long dirt road back to civilization left with the memories of yet another successful adventure.


I hope some may enjoy this write up and be inspired to get into the field and enjoy the outdoors. Airguns have brought much joy into my life and have enjoyed sharing it with the community through video and writings. Enclosed is the video documentation of our adventure along with some bonus content regarding the Nielsen Specialty Ammo 47gr slugs as well as the Tapian Mutant bullpub. Till then, the best Airgun is the one your shooting.

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Airgun Adventure’s in the Mojave

by Tom Costan

Dana Webb and I met for a much needed Airgun Adventure. The plan was to meet early in the morning at the crossroads leading into our location and caravan through the back roads to our spot. As with many plans, they don’t always go as anticipated. Dana and I both had some unexpected home duties to perform before leaving in the morning, even though we didn’t get to our meeting spot until well after lunch; I knew, once we arrived life would be good. The location was high in the Mojave desert against the foothills of the Sierra Nevada; very remote, quiet, and beautiful.

This spot is not unlike so many other special places which have extremely diverse terrain. There are Joshua tree forests, rock outcroppings, sandy arroyos, typical desert chaparral and the occasional juniper tree.

It was only two days after some very significant rain had hit the area, leaving the ground damp and dust free with most of the vegetation temporarily moistened leaving that wonderful after-rain scent in the air.


Upon arriving to our campsite, the hunt was on.  As usual when hunting with Dana, he spotted the first jackrabbit and we both took a few shot as it fleed up a small hill.

Dana was using a .22 cal Hatsan that was sent to him for evaluation and I was using a new 22 cal American Air Arms EVOL testing some new parts and a new configuration of the rifle.  The Jackrabbit got a way but Dana soon bagged a cotton tail that was hiding from predators in a small crevasse in a large rock outcropping.

I scouted the area, spotted a few jackrabbits, but did not get a shot opportunity although I did formulate my plan for the next morning.

The day was gone so Dana and I enjoyed an nice campfire and turned in.


I started my walk just after sunrise and within minutes spotted a large jackrabbit hiding in the shadows behind a bush.  I ranged him at 80 yards and took my shot.  Having a new gun and very little trigger time on it, I decided to make the shot for the vitals; this was a mistake as the 18gr JSB didn’t have the power to put him down.  Even though the pellet hit with a large thud, he still ran like nothing hit him.

 I spent a few minutes following the blood trail but never found the Jackrabbit. I have become accustomed to much larger and more powerful calibers that the thought of a .22 in the boiler room not being adequate never crossed my mind. It wasn’t long before I spotted a cottontail hiding in the shadows of a large boulder.

I took my time, ranged him at 79 yards and made a perfect head-shot; he rolled over and that was all.


I bagged my cotton tail and followed a small arroyo for what seemed to be about an hour when I spotted a nice jackrabbit tucked in between two bushes. For a moment, I reflected on the thought that the jackrabbit thought he was invisible, not realizing his form was very distinctive even though his color blended perfectly with  the surroundings. I have found there are only two ways of spotting jackrabbits – their motion or their form; with the latter having much better odds of success. I worked my way to a rock outcropping where I would have cover and some height over my prey, ranged him at 76 yards, added 1 mil of holdover and made a perfect head-shot.

The jackrabbit was finished; the incredible acrobatics that followed were nothing but lost electrical signals of the nervous system on display.


Within a few minutes Dana wandered into view with Marley, I bagged my prize and headed back to camp and Dana joined me shortly with several jacks he had taken with his EVOL 30.

(left) Dana Webb with Tom Costan 

 It was about noon and I was planning on leaving in a few hours but I did want to test some Nielsen Specialty Ammo in the EVOL 22. I set up some eggs at 50 yards, Dana and I hitting them with the 21 grain NSA slug was no challenge so put I some more at 150 yards.

Eggs were placed at 150 yards on a large rock outcropping

After experimenting with the holdover by shooting at a dirt patch at the same yardage, I was able to figure the hold over and dial into my scope.

  Hitting eggs at 150 yards with a 30 fpe .22 is not easy but I did manage to get some before I ran out of air. Here is the video that includes a good portion of footage from our adventures here. Please help us by taking a second to hit SUBSCRIBE.

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Texan .457 100 yard Ballistic Gel test/Hunting weekend

Friday afternoon Nick Nielsen and I headed out from his house where we had a several hour drive into the mountains. Here we would be spending the next four days hunting and vigorously testing ammo. We had to take Nick’s truck that was loaded to capacity with the good amount of supplies and gear needed to sustain us for the several days ahead. We were having quite the heat wave here in California so I was more than happy to enjoy the 20 degree cooler weather the mountains provided.

Nick Nielsen 

We made it up the long winding highway thankfully with very little traffic as well as some very scenic views that I was happy to enjoy being I wasn’t having to drive. We made it into town where we met up with our friend Russ who was kindly allowing us to make use of his beautiful cabin. Soon after we arrived several other Airgunners arrived to join us as well, was nice to see a few folks I hadn’t seen in awhile.

From Left Craig, Dana, Russ, Nick, Kerry not pictured

After some catching up we got down to business and headed quite a few miles into the outback where the remote cabin was nestled. The road was quite rough heading up to the cabin that is only accessible during the Summer months before the snow makes it inaccessible to vehicles. As we arrived up through the well hidden trail to the cabin it was near pitch black outside making it hard to get around the many tall pine trees. We stepped out of the truck and were greeted by what looked to be the coolest hunting cabin I have ever seen, was excited already. All the guys were as impressed as I was to be able to stay in such a beautiful place. The place had a rustic charm that followed all the way through the door of the two story place. We were all able to sleep very comfortably with plenty of space as well as a kitchen and wood burning stove in the center of the floor. I was so happy to be away from everything for the next few days as well as being able to enjoy it with some friends. The night was still young but we decided to get some sleep as we would be awakening early to do some hunting.


The next morning it was nice to get up in such a beautiful place and get to enjoy the view from such a nice spot.

 

The plan was for us to meet our friend Jon down the hill near a favorite local shooting area, from there we planned to do some Coyote and Jackrabbit hunting. Nick and Jon thankfully were both very familiar with some of the areas that made finding each other much easier. As we made our way up the steep dirt fire road we soon spotted Jon’s truck parked where he had gone off on foot to do a little scouting. I got my gear out and headed Southward up into the hills to check out the Jackrabbit situation. As I headed up the hill I could barely make out Jon’s figure as his camouflage blended in near perfect to the surrounding terrain.

Was great to get out again with Jon, one of my new favorite hunting buddies and just an all around pleasure to hang with. As we headed back down the hill I couldn’t help but to capture some candid shots from afar. How lucky we are to be able to explore so much open country!

After a few minutes to gather our thoughts we decided to head further down the road that proved to be a little rougher than we had hoped for. I felt sorry for Craig’s nice shiny truck as it was not equipped for such a boulder infested “trail”. After a short stop to investigate an abandoned vehicle that through our report to the police turned out to be stolen we headed on. As we made our way down the steep trail it became apparent we were not going to make it back up, luckily we had seen plenty of little roads that gave us some options back to the highway. After the road flattened out Nick and I spotted a coyote running across the desert paralleling the wash, Nick hit the brakes and I was quick to pull my rifle from its case. By the time I loaded up the Coyote was already near 150+ yards away on the run, I ran out as fast as I could and took a shot that came fairly close amazingly enough.

I hiked down into the wash that was covered in Coyote tracks that told me the place was very active. Jon decided to join me as the others continued down the road in the vehicles where they tried to find a suitable accessible trail back onto the highway. The sun was by this time coming down pretty hard on us with only a few opportunities from the few Jackrabbits we encountered. As Jon and I made our way up out of the wash we continued onto the road where Nick, Kerry and Craig were taking a break. After relaxing for a few minutes we loaded into the vehicles and headed back up the long winding highway that ultimately gained us some altitude into a much cooler setting. The area we had arrived to was a hybrid desert environment that had many rock outcroppings, cactus and densely covered sagebrush.

Nick had wanted to try calling in some Coyotes as the area looked to offer some good cover to make some stands as well as having plenty of high ground to see some distance. The backdrop of this area was very pretty as well as the ground that was heavily covered in quartz crystals. This will definitely be a stop I will be making with Lindsey as she is an avid rockhound. We set our stand halfway up a nearby hillside that offered a good view of our surroundings while still providing some good cover to hide our silhouette’s.

After calling for near 20 minutes without seeing or hearing and sort of response we decided to pack it up and hike in a few miles to explore the area. We had thought with all the rocks the area may have a good number of Ground Squirrels, later we had learned many of this area had been hit by the plague that wiped out a huge number of the populations. We slowly weaved our way through the many rocks, trees and small washes that appeared to have almost no living creatures. I always find it interesting that what looks to be a great habitat turns out to be missing some key that only animals can be in tune with. As we continued a big several mile loop that sent us back to where we parked our vehicles we spotted a Jackrabbit flash across the trail in front of us catching us all off guard. I had noticed it move to my right side behind some trees, figured I may be able to stalk it. Nick and Jon watched as I moved slowly side stepping hoping to catch the Jackrabbit standing still.

Sure enough as I moved around a large Juniper (Juniperus Californica) tree I was able to spot the Jackrabbit just in front of a small sagebrush at about 75 yards. I made a quick shoulder shot using the new 45gr Nielsen Specialty Ammo HP that sent the Jackrabbit down with authority.

Nick and Jon both were excited as with all the hiking around we finally had something to show for it as we headed back to the trucks. After a short break we packed up the trucks and returned Jon to his truck and then continued back into town for a burger. After visiting a very cool restaurant and consuming a huge mac&cheese burger, that’s right “mac&cheese burger” I was ready for some relaxing back at the cabin for a few hours. Nick and I had planned on doing an evening hunt followed by trying to call in some Coyotes later that night. After several hours of relaxing at the cabin and taking a nap I was feeling a bit refreshed and ready to head back out. Craig and Kerry stayed back at the cabin while Nick and I ventured back down the hill into the open desert where we had had spotted the Coyote earlier.

The evening was beautiful and a bit cooler thankfully, hiking around in the high temperatures really sucks the life out of you. We had brought plenty of water to stay hydrated, even through the night. Nick and I hiked through the wash and up a steep hillside a bit North of where we parked the truck.

Nick was using his .357 Bulldog loaded with his proven accurate 110gr swaged hollow point. Through some vigorous testing Nick is happy to have finally developed a slug that works well out of the Bulldog out to 100+ yards. The rifle was outfitted with an electronic sight coupled with a powerful red light made by Wicked Hunting Lights that has several great features such as adjustable mount, intensity control, and an adjustable focus beam.

Nick and I sat on the side of the hill with our electronic caller set near 65 yards down the hill from us. We started the caller out with a Jackrabbit distress on a medium tone that sent a good sound down through the desert floor. After several minutes Nick and I both began scanning the area for flashing eyes. I had my beam set very wide and dim, barely visible but still enough to spot the flash of peering Coyote eyes. We continued calling for about 45 min till finally I spotted a faint glare at near 130+yards behind a large Joshua tree. I thought it may have been a Jackrabbit but the eyes were spread to far apart and it definitely had a canine type movement. As both Nick and I continued to watch it I decided to intensify the red light that gave a more pronounced view of the animal. After several minutes of watching it peeking from behind a joshua tree it finally moved far enough into the light to see it was a Coyote. I took the shot that was aimed at center of it’s chest, the shot fell short right between its front legs where it amazingly offered Nick another shot. We both missed and through the excitement had a hard time spotting the direction it had ran off to. This is the kind of hunting that really gets the heart going, it can be frustrating though. After spending another few minutes scanning the desert floor we concluded the area may not be as full of life as we had anticipated. Nick recovered his caller and we made our way back to the vehicle to go meet up with Jon who had been scouting several other areas. After a short meet with jon it was getting late so we headed back up the long beaten road to the cabin to call it a night and get some much needed sleep.


The next morning we woke up a bit more casually as we had planned to stick around the property, explore a bit and to do some shooting. The property had several Airgun only ranges that stretched out through the trees to 150 yards. We took a short walk up the hill to check out a few of the other cabins, what a beautiful day.

The area had several cabins that were each peacefully hidden away from each other nestled through the treeline. Russ had not yet arrived so we decided to go visit the place he uses as a weekend sanctuary, what a neat little place it was.

After a few minutes of enjoying the views from his porch we made our way back down the hill to set up the 100 yard range.

The range was set in front of a cabin that was built in 1905 by a miner that had several nearby open mines that he worked for many years until he died. The place had been abandoned for many years but thankfully had survived the elements in good condition.

 

Nick had planned to do some ammo testing with his Airforce Texan .457 Airrifle. I had brought all my camera gear to capture the entire test through both photographs and video to help him promote his new ammo that will prove to be the best.

Nick had brought two blocks of Clear Ballistics that were (9x4x4) each and would be set at 100 yards. I encouraged them to be placed at distance to see how well his ammo would react at hunting ranges. I know several ballistics test have been done but none that I know of at 100 yards, close range test are worthless in my opinion. We set the block of Gel out at 100 yards on a block of wood just under the target Nick used to sight in the rifle.

The ammo we were testing was a 220gr NSA Hollow Point that Nick has spent a great deal of time developing to be accurate.

After the gel was set up Nick spent some time cleaning his barrel followed by leading it up with some practice shots. Those little clear blocks don’t leave much room for error at 100 yards.

After Nick took several practice shots I went out on the range to start the small camera I had placed several feet from the ballistic gel. After my return I filmed the event with my handheld movie camera as well as trying to capture some other photographs of our experiment.

As you can see from the (above) video snapshot the shot entered thankfully near center of the block making way all the way through both blocks.

I was impressed he made the shot so perfectly center, I have not seen any other Texan ammo be able to achieve much more than hitting a barn at 100 yards.

We brought the blocks back to our shooting table and examined to find the 220gr NSA had made it’s way entirely through the first block and 3/4 of the way through the second block. Craig dug out the slug and we continued to use the gel to continue testing with some other lines of ammo Nick is developing.

Left to right .300 44gr/.300 44gr Polymag/.357 110gr NSA/.457 220gr NSA

After having lunch we continued to shoot a little more and conclude the rest of the testing we had left to do. We did a good amount of testing with some of the smaller bore slugs and some of the results were pretty dang impressive.

 

Left to Right .250 39gr JSB/.250 39gr NSA point blank /.250 39gr NSA 100 yards

Soon after our testing had concluded Russ,Craig and Kerry had to leave us to head back to civilization. I was most pleased to have had such a great group of Airgunners to hang with as well as to hunt with, thank you all. Nick and I relaxed a bit and were soon getting settled in for the night as the plan was to get up fairly early to pack up the truck and return the key to Russ.


After a great nights sleep I think Nick and I both were ready to start heading back home, a shower was about all I could think of. After cleaning the cabin and securing the doors and the gate to the property we headed back down into town to return the key to Russ. I want to personally thank Russ for his kind hospitality as well as the honor of his several visits with us during the past few days. Thank you my friend!!


After we said our goodbyes Nick and I headed down the road where we met up with Jon to do some scouting through some other areas of the desert, some of which were extremely remote.

We parked near some large rock outcroppings that stood like landmarks in the vast dry desert, figured these areas may sustain life.

The temperature was well up over 100 degrees so plenty of water was an absolute necessity in this unforgiving desert. We drove through several different areas and decided to settle on one spot that had a huge amount of rocks that no doubt had to be home to several coyotes. We hiked several hundred yards from the vehicles and I set myself up on top of a small hill, just high enough for a good view of my surroundings.

Nick and Jon stayed down a bit lower to manage the caller as well as to look from the other direction, my thoughts were focused on some small caves that I believed could be a coyote den. Nick started his caller with the Jackrabbit distress and within about three minutes I sure enough spotted a Coyote coming right out of the rocks to my right side. The Coyote was coming in really fast and I was not even fully prepared with my gun nor my movie camera.

I set the camera in the general location with no zoom, basically guessing where it was aimed, in this video snapshot (above) the arrow is where the Coyote was along with the direction he was moving. I raised my rifle as he came into around 75 yards, Jon whistled getting him to stop just long enough for a perfect head shot. I pulled the trigger and CRACK!!!!!!! NOTHING CAME OUT OF THE GUN, I forgot to load it……..OMG!!!!!! Well the Coyote was only about 200 yards away by the time I unzipped my pack to grab a slug. What an embarrassing thing for me to do, I was to put bluntly pretty pissed off about my blunder. Apparently when I got out of the truck I cocked the gun, set it down and grabbed a water forgetting that I didn’t load the rifle. When I picked it up I checked it, noticed it was cocked and assumed from habit that I had loaded it. UHHHHHH wow, ok I’m glad I got that off my chest now. Nick and Jon were having fun with it, those guys are both awesome and am so glad to have friends like them. I can honestly say I learned a big lesson on this outing, a failure like that just makes the hunt that much more special when it’s a success. The hunt for me is really just to be in nature, enjoy the company of friends and just to try being a positive example to other Airgunners. After the walk back to our trucks we were tired, hungry and overheated from the sun beating down on us, we called it quits and headed to a nearby town for a burger. I want to especially thank Nick from Nielsen Specialty Ammo for inviting me with him and showing me such a great time. I would encourage anyone looking for the best quality ammo made by someone who puts tremendous dedication into all his products to contact Nick for help. Till next time, keep shooting and enjoy what you have.

Please visit our YouTube channel for the full video of this adventure, please hit SUBSCRIBE

WANT MORE? Visit the video forum at AIRGUN FLIX 

 

 

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Turkey Hunting with Airguns

On Saturday March 25th Tom Costan and I headed out from the American Air Arms facility in Acton California where we would drive 6 hours North to hunt Turkey. Several years ago I came across a post on the GTA Airgun forum by a guy named Glenn Elliott, he had posted one of his video’s of a Turkey hunt he recently had. Glenn received a good amount of heckling that unfortunately I chose to participate in, one comment I made really as a joke was taken very seriously by Glenn. Glenn ended up contacting me over the phone and expressed his disappointment in the comments I made and I gladly apologized with sincerity. Over a good talk on the phone we became friends and had even planned to hunt together one day that sounded to me like a great adventure. Several weeks ago I got a call from Glenn asking if I had planned to attend the Placerville Airgun Expo that was very near his ranch, if so it would be nice to visit him and join him for a Turkey hunt. Well I immediately contacted Tom Costan and he excitedly made arrangements for us to attend the show and set some extra time aside to hunt with Glenn the following Monday March 27th.


After attending the two day Airgun Expo that will be included in another article we set out an hour West to Davis where we would stay at Glenn’s beautiful horse ranch that gave a very mid-western feel to it. The recent rains have given this areas fields miles of luscious green grass that was simply breathtaking.

Glenn Elliott has hunted Turkey’s exclusively with Airguns since 2010. After his father’s death Glenn spent many hours in the woods with his Airgun as a way to connect with his father as it was always something they did together. Glenn has been an avid  bow-hunter for many years where he hunted whitetail deer and eventually Turkey. Glenn eventually made a move to California and continued bow-hunting Turkey and after many years of hunting them with a bow Glenn decided to try something different. Glenn ultimately decided to give Airguns a try since they were now legal to hunt Turkey’s with in California. After taking his first Turkey in 2010 with a Nitro Piston Airgun and dropping it in its tracks, he was very successful and decided to continue hunting them with Airguns. Eventually through his many successful Turkey hunts Crosman Corporation decided to sponsor Glenn and make him a Prostaff member that allowed Glenn access to many of they’re Airguns.

Photo American Airgunner TV (left) Glenn Elliott (right) Rossi Morreale

Glenn believes that Airguns offer less of a chance of wounding a Turkey when compared to both bow and shotgun if done properly by taking head-shots within range. Waiting for a good close head-shot makes Airguns one of the most rewarding tools for Turkey hunting. Glenn’s hunts can be seen on his  YouTube channel “The Airgun Hunter“. He has hunted with many well known celebrities as well as long time Airgunners such as Jim Chapman. He has appeared on the TV show American Airgunner where he hunted with Rossi Morreale and always has freely given his vast knowledge of Turkey hunting to anyone who asks. Glenn would eventually love to host his own TV show that would be focused exclusively on hunting with Airguns for different species all over the United States.


Upon our arrival Glenn invited me into his awesome “Man Cave” where I was greeted with a little surprise that I gladly played along with. As mentioned before I had posted a comment on a popular forum that Quoted “I can tell you I sure wont be running out to buy the NP2 for turkey unless of coarse it comes with a case of Mountain Dew.”  Well, Glenn did it and made me swallow my words. Those that know me know that I can take a joke, this one was picture perfect!

Glenn is an absolute pleasure to talk to and is in fact a very professional “real world” hunter that became obvious from his wall of mounted trophy whitetails and Turkey’s. Tom and I were very excited and honored that he not only invited us to stay on his beautiful 26 acre ranch but allowed us the opportunity for our very first Turkey hunt. Glenn gave us some time that evening to sight our new American Air Arms EVOL .30s between 5 and 30 yards, not the type of short range hunting either of us were very familiar with.

After sighting in our guns we had a nice dinner with Glenn and his family, we got to sleep as we would be starting our Monday’s hunt by 5:45 am.


Tom and I got up around 5:00 am and proceeded to ready our gear for the days Turkey hunt as well as having our morning cup of Joe that Glenn thankfully provided. We got into our vehicles and took a short ride down the road to one of the areas Glenn had hoped to be very active with Turkeys. After we arrived we followed Glenn in the dark on foot several hundred yards into a big field where he set up some decoys as well as the blind we would be sitting in for most of the morning.

In the direction we set up the blind was a road that ran parallel with a ravine followed by some wooded areas on the other side where Glenn said the Turkey’s roost during the night. After setting up the decoys and getting ourselves adjusted inside the blind with Glenn and I on opposite corners to man the cameras, Tom being in the middle using the shooting sticks.

The blind was good size for one or two people but three made it quite difficult to move around in, especially when trying to make a small adjustment or reach for something. I felt bad because as Glenn was loading his Marauder magazine we noticed that his breech oring had fallen out and upon trying to reinstall it got lost on the ground. Within about 15 minutes we started hearing the distant gobbling and clucking of Turkey’s, pretty exciting as this was my first Turkey hunt. Glenn had hoped that the Turkeys would make way out of the woods and down the road seeing the decoys that were set around 15 yards away leaving us some good close shots. After a bit of waiting Glenn used his Turkey caller that soon gave us sight of a good size Tom that was moving in the woods at near 60 yards, obstructed by tall grass and branches.

The Turkey’s moved to the to the right through the woods and around us where they walked along a road towards a large open field. Unfortunately we had several obstructions such as a gate, embankment and a ravine that limited any good shots. We waited keeping our eyes on all sides of the blind in hopes that some hens would return followed by several Jake’s and eventually the large bearded Toms that we were after. The decoys that Glenn set up were fairly realistic and placed in a very natural pose that surly may invoke some excitement from any Turkey’s that may pass by.

Soon Glenn had spotted several hens returning from down the road that were to soon be followed by a good sized Gobbler, the largest one I had seen this day.

This large Tom was at near 60 yards away and the fence in front was frustrating because it would occasionally obstruct making a good head-shot, especially as the Turkey would not stay still. This may have been the best opportunity for a shot we would have all day but simply was not worth the risk in failure, spooking all the rest away. As frustrating as it was we decided to wait and hope for a closer, more clear head-shot. As the morning progressed we were visited by several Jackrabbits that were taunting all of us with great shot opportunity but we simply could not risk hunting them as that would ruin our goal of bagging a Turkey.

By this time we had been in the blind for nearly 3 hours and getting quite yancy so Glenn decided to become a bit more aggressive with the Turkey calls. We would see them moving back and fourth in the woods but none of them would come out enough for us to make any clear shots. This was frustrating but I was still just happy to be with friends and get to learn so much being this was my first Turkey hunt. Glenn helped pass the time by telling us a few stories and giving us some insight on some of his past hunting experience. Luckily all three of us had reached that level of hunting to where we simply didn’t care about success but for us was more about just enjoying it for what it was.

With it being close to 11:00 am we unfortunately had to think about calling it a day as our many hours of driving was ahead of us. We decided to wait several more minutes as several Jackrabbits were moving about and frequently would sit on the road in front of us. Soon enough a good sized one came about and Tom had his sights on it.

Tom took several moments and made his shot that sent the .30 44 grain JSB right into his chest sending him down the other side into the woods.

After several minutes we exited the blind to make our way across the ravine to locate the Jackrabbit.

We made our way across a small metal bridge that gave us entrance into a large eucalyptus forest where we attempted to find the expired Jackrabbit. We searched and after several minutes I found a very large pool of blood and a trail of blood that seemed to vanish with no trace. Tom and I had noticed prior to his shot that a Hawk had been circling the area and even landed in a tree close before the shot, I think the Hawk may have swooped down and taken the Jackrabbit before we had a chance to recover it. This to me seemed the only logical explanation as that amount of blood loss would make it impossible for the Jackrabbit to continue more than several yards. Through our walk back I ended up spooking several Turkeys that were in the far portion of the woods, amazing how fast those birds can move through the tall grass. We made our way back to the blind to start packing everything up and into the vehicles where we would head back to Glenn’s ranch.


As Tom and I packed up our vehicle with the remaining equipment at Glenn’s ranch he offered to let us have some fun with his Pioneer Airbow, a new product from Crosman Corporation. This Airbow is very similar to the Benjamin Bulldog but in fact shoots arrows or broad-heads. The gun fills to 3000 psi and gets loaded by inserting the airbolts into the front of the rifle  where it puts out near 160 fpe with 375 grain arrows at 450 fps for 8 shots.

This Airbow is pretty easy to load and cocks very easily with the weight being about 7 lbs. All three of us were able to hit bulls-eyes at 40 yards very easily. The gun is fairly loud but was still very enjoyable to shoot, no doubt being a very capable hunting weapon.


Tom and I will remember this hunt for a lifetime as it not only was our first Turkey hunt but one that we had the honor of sharing with someone as reputable as Glenn Elliott. We both learned so much and will be able to take that knowledge with us on future hunts and through some of my writing here. I can’t thank Glenn enough for opening his home and extending the hand of friendship to fellow Airgunners. Glenn is a great example to future hunters and has a ton to offer the Airgun community as he has helped to progress our sport. The experience will never be forgotten and can only hope to extend the honor of taking Glenn for a hunt in some of my locations here in Southern California in the future.

 

 

 

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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

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Coyote Hunting After Dark

by Ron Stephen


Last week a bunch of our regular shooting group met at our favorite permission. We had a great time as usual, and got to start enjoying the comforts of our new Shootin’ Shack.

shootin shack

The first night I slept in the rear bunk, I noticed the window had these odd looking latches that the other windows did not have.
HMmmm,…. I wonder what those things are ? ? ? OH !, Well Check THAT out !,… How Convenient !,… It’s a built in Snipers post.


I got up the following morning, and enjoyed the welcome luxury of being able to make a pot of coffee, and relaxing at the dinette.
As I was sitting there, I wondered if the crank open windows might open far enough, to allow my barrel to stick out while my rifle is sitting on the bipod. Well it was just perfect, (with the help of a few Airgun World magazines) to boost it up a little, SWEET ! hahaha

evol .30
So I’m sitting there sipping my cup of ‘Joe’, waiting for the gang to start showing up, and just enjoying the quiet morning as I gazed down the firing line. Way down at the 100 yard rock, I think I notice a little movement. Should I put my boots on ?,…. Nahh,…The coffee is hot, the outside is cold, the window is open, and the heater is nice in here. The rifle is chambered, and just needs to be cocked. I’ll sit right here and see if the movement comes back. Wait,… yep,… I see something…It’s a big fat Ground Squirrel that is completely oblivious to the fact I had previously zero’d the new American Air Arms .30 EVOL at that exact same rock, and I was in the trailer just waiting for the opportunity. Yep, This is going to be a good story for the guys when they get here in a little while. I take another sip of java, set down my cup, and get into position. I’m thinking to myself, “DANG this is nice to have a shooting bench from INSIDE the trailer”. I’m just LOVING it ! Right about then, Mr. Dirt Rat decides to jump up on top of my rock to take a look around and start his day. Suffice to say,… His day didn’t last very long. I served him up a 44.75gr JSB breakfast, delivered at 925 FPS, straight to the fuse-box. Good way to start of the day for me,…. not so good for Mr. Fuzzy Tail.

100 yard ground squirrel kill evol .30
evol .30 ground squirrel kill

So the gang started showing up and got themselves going on the target range and having a great time. We have lots of skilled shooters and lots of Really Cool “toys” to shoot. They were all very anxious to get to try out the new EVOL test gun.

shootin shack
airgun shooters

I had brought some nice Smoked Bacon and Cajun spiced Sausage from the hog Jeff and I had raised last year, and since this IS a Chicken farm, We get to pick the Eggs still warm from the chickens. It doesn’t get much better than that! Lets put on another pot of coffee while we’re at it.

ron cooking
So the day is going great, We are having a fantastic time throwing all kinds of lead. Every thing from the little QB’s to the various big bores, some slug pushers, and exotic customs, and fancy bullpups, you name it !

airgun shooters
So some of the guys had to hit the road, and Nick and I had decided to stay the night and play with his Thermal stuff. MAN !,… He’s got some SUPER DUPER COOL TOYS to play with. He was using his .308 Slayer, and had loaned me his totally custom .257 Condor, Built by the “.257 Master”, Mr. Doug Noble. OH yeah,… I’m a very lucky guy,… and this is going to be a GREAT Night ! If you ever get a chance to shoot one of Doug’s masterpieces, I suggest you Do NOT pass up that opportunity. I guarantee you will NOT be disappointed. Nick and I set up our benches so that we can collectively cover a 180 degree sweep. We turn some tables on their sides to give us more cover, and to block the cold nights breeze. We set up a propane heater between us and get ourselves all comfortable for a long night of scanning the darkness.
I always enjoy a long night hunt with Nick (because he brings some good munchies to snack on too)

sunset night coyote hunt

So after darkness came, we started seeing all kinds of bunnies and rats running around, and the Coyotes were plentiful howling and yipping it up off in the distance. Some time had passed and we had spotted a quite few. They were way too far out of range, but they would be coming in soon for their nightly feedings of dead chickens. (since this is a chicken farm with 40,000+ chickens, there are several dead chickens per day that get disposed of), and the Coyotes are accustomed to their nightly raids. We had popped a few rabbits to pass the time, (and to have for fresh rabbit stew), and the Coyotes were starting to gather in more closely.

evol .30 night hunt

We started working with the caller and sqweekers and soon were spotting A LOT of Coyotes, (I’m talking about over 25 of them) but they were all staying too far out to get a decent shot. At one point, we spotted SIX of them coming in together, but they would not come in any closer than about 300 yards. Way too far for a night time shot. After a while, Nick went to take a little nap due to not feeling too well, and I stayed out to keep the watch going. I guess about an hour had passed and I had seen several Coyotes within 100 – 150 yards, (which is well within range of Doug’s .257), but they were on the move, and did not present themselves with a decent shot, so I waited. (NOT an easy thing to do !) A little while later, I get a text from Tom over at American Air Arms, asking how it was going, and how everyone liked shooting the EVOL today. I had my headset with me, so I gave him a call back while sitting at the bench and scanning thru the scope. As we were talking, a bunny pops out at the same rock that the mornings Ground Squirrel was sitting on. (Apparently this bunny “hadn’t gotten the memo”). So while I’m on the phone with Tom, I point the phone down range and I re-send the memo out again to Mr. bunny. This time he received the message! Tom said that he could even hear the impact over the phone. Then,… to my surprise,… and only moments later, I see a larger movement down at the end of the range. Yep it’s a Coyote !, and he’s coming right down the middle of the range, directly at me !

Heck, I got so excited I didn’t know what to think ! I’m still on the phone with Tom, and I’m Whispering to him the play by play as the Coyote is coming in. He’s just as excited as I am, and is whispering back to me Then he says “Hey Why am I whispering too ? I’m on the phone !” The Coyote is about 150 yards out and he’s swaying his way in kind of slow. I know the .257 is zero’d at 125 yards, and I’m getting ready for the shot. The Coyote begins to trot right to me, and I’ve got “Buck Fever” so bad at this point, I didn’t realize soon enough he was at the 125 yard mark, and he kept coming in closer. My heart is racing and my excitement almost got the best of me. I’ve been waiting for this all night, and I’m about to blow it. He’s trotting in and approaching the 100 yard mark. (yep,… it’s the same rock where Mr. Bunny and Mr. Ground Squirrel were reading their mail). I suddenly realize that I’ve got to stop him, or I’ll probably shoot high and miss. I let out a “Woof”, and he stops dead in his tracks facing right at me. He’s instantly on FULL Alert, ears raised, chest high, and hunched down on his rear haunches.
He’s spooked and was about to bolt away. I’ve only got one chance and maybe 2 seconds, to place the cross-hairs to take the shot.
My heart is POUNDING SO HARD THE GUN IS BOUNCING !

I put the cross-hairs at the lower part of his rib-cage, figuring that should be just enough hold under to make a good heart / lung shot,… and I let the “Fat Lady Sing”and  I was dead on the target. The impact sounded like a fastball hitting the catchers mitt. I think Tom could hear that impact over the phone too!  I started giggling like a little girl and was telling Tom “I got Him! I got Him! ” Tom was cheering me too ” Right ON Buddy ! Congrats !” Upon impact, the Coyote spun around 3 or 4 times like a kids toy spinning top. It was pretty wild, and then he bolted about 6 or 8 feet into the weeds where I could not see him. I was going crazy that he was hit, and might get away. I told Tom that I had to go chase him down to finish him off, and would call him back. He was saying “go Go GO !!!,… GO GET HIM and Call me Back !” I had previously loaded the EVOL, and had it sitting behind me, de-cocked, just for this purpose. I cocked the EVOL as I headed down the shooting lane into the darkness, and not knowing exactly where the Coyote might be, it was a little spooky. I knew that if it was wounded, it could come out of a bush at me and that could be dangerous. I had my Laser Designator lit up on the EVOL, and a bright flashlight in my hand. When I got up to the point where I had lost sight of him, I slowed my pace and gathered my senses. Heart pounding and breathing racing, I turn into the brush and I’m scanning left and right watching for anything that moves and ready to let the EVOL bust off a round. I go no more than 20 or 25 more feet into the brush, I find the Coyote already down and lifeless. He’s completely limp, eyes open, tongue hanging out, and no breathing. Apparently He didn’t make it as far as I had thought. I held back for a few moments to make sure he was down for good. I circled around behind him and gave his head a little poke with the muzzle of the EVOL. “Go ahead and twitch sucker, .. and I’m putting 85 more FPE into your noggin’ !” 2 or 3 pokes with the muzzle confirmed he was already expired. Good !, It was a good hit and a fast kill.

ron with his .257 coyote kill
I flipped him over to reveal the .257 had passed almost completely through the length of his body. It exited just forward of the rear leg, with a  massive hole and bleeding. This dog was basically “dead on impact”, but it just took him a couple of seconds to realize that,… and to have the decency to fall down. WOW ! What a RUSH that was ! MY First YOTE ! WOO-HOOooooo ! (No,… I did not take him down with the EVOL)
This pic is when I first went out to get him, and I grabbed up the EVOL to take with me, rather than reload the .257, (and not to mention the LONG gun that it is to try and carry)

evol .30 coyote
Nick had woken up when he heard the shots ,but I was already heading out after it, by the time he made it out of the trailer. The Coyote and the bunny I had got only moments before

.257 coyote kill
When I came dragging it back, Nick was sitting at his gun and was just smiling like nobody’s business and congratulating me on getting my first Coyote. I think he was just as proud and happy as I was, when I came out of the darkness with the dog in tow.

coyote rabbit kill

THANKS Nick from Nielsen Specialty Ammo ! for loaning me your awesome rifle and Thermal to give me the opportunity to get my first trophy yote… And THANKS to Doug Noble for building such an AMAZING Rifle! MAN ! I’ve gotta get me one of these .257 Bad-boys someday !  Nick and Doug are both out at the farm right now. They just sent me a pic of Doug and his Coyote that he just got tonight, , but You’ll have to wait for him to tell all about it.

doug noble .338

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AIRGUN HUNTING IN PATAGONIA

by Mountainsport Airgun Magazine & Claudio Flores


Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains, as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands East of this Southern portion of the Andes. The weather in the Patagonia is very extreme and unpredictable with generally lots of wind and very cold temperatures. The Patagonian landscape is breathtaking with its vast rolling hills that head into the more rugged mountain peaks.

patagonia

Patagonia is one of the most extreme places to hunt in the world and offers a wide variety of game such as llama, Fox, Hare, Rabbit and Beaver to name a few. The best time to go hunting here is in summer, the wind is not so strong, the temperature is not as extreme and they have daylight until about 12:00 at night unlike the winter, when it gets dark at 4:00 pm. For the people that live in Patagonia, hunting is life and becoming very popular for Airgunners such as Claudio Flores.

Claudio Flores

Claudio is a 35 year old native to Chile that has enjoyed hunting with Airguns for over 15 years. He is what you may call an extreme hunter and one that doesn’t let a cold, windy day keep him from the thrill of the hunt. Claudio hunts a variety of animals, one of which is the giant Beaver that can reach weights up over 60 pounds.

Claudio Flores hunting

 In 1946, the Argentinian government imported fifty beavers from Canada, which were to be released in several lakes with the intention of creating a commercial fur trading industry. Though a viable industry ultimately failed to materialize, the introduction of the beavers into the region has had far-reaching consequences. Tierra del Fuego National Park in Argentina is especially threatened, as the beavers are destroying long-protected trees. The animals have spread beyond Tierra del Fuego itself into the Brunswick Peninsula of Chile, and the government fears further penetration into continental South America. The beavers already threaten around sixteen million hectares of indigenous forest. Unlike many trees in North America, trees in South America often do not regenerate, ultimately destroying the forest. As well as falling trees, beavers create dams that flood certain areas and thus drown other trees and vegetation. Flooding from beaver dams also damages roads and cattle-grazing pastures.

patagonia roads

Claudio hunts all year long but generally hunts Beavers during the warmer months as it makes reaching these areas much easier. As you can see (below) the areas are vast and offer many places that offer great habitat.

beaver hunting

These Beavers can be very difficult to hunt due to the fact they are very skittish animals and sometimes are very hard to spot, sometimes having to wait hours for one to show itself. Claudio has taken quite a few of them over the years and has found the Airrifle is a great tool for hunting them. Here is one that was taken with a .25 FX Impact at 76 yards(below)

beaver hunt

Patagonia has many other animals to hunt and some of Claudios favorites include rabbits and hares. This landscape offers excellent habitat to sustain very large populations and too make for some great eating. Over the past several months I have become very close to Claudio as more than just a team member, but a good friend. When Claudio was asked to become a team member of American Air Arms it was truly a blessing for us both. American Air Arms went a step above and sent Claudio a very special gun for him to use on his hunting adventures and to document them through video and photographs. Claudio and his son Dan make some great videos along with mind blowing photographs that I hope the world can enjoy. Here is his .357 Slayer

.357 Slayer

Generally Claudio does a review of all his rifles and makes it public on his YouTube channel “Chile Patagonia Airguns” where he gets to let the world know what he does with these guns in Patagonia.  Hunting is his passion in life as well as working hard as he can to enjoy it.  Weekends are always reserved to go practice with his 13 year old son Dan and to show him a little about extreme hunting.

patagonia hunting

Claudio and his son hunt together often as well as Dan helping with the excellent film and photographic footage they have achieved in the past. The American Air Arms .357 Slayer arrived to Claudio after a long 15 day hold in customs, from there it made it’s way to his home where it was fitted with a Schmidt&Bender scope and Accu-Tac SR-5 bipod.

claudio .357 slayer

After spending a day with the gun and getting it zeroed in, he was ready to take the .357 Slayer on its first adventure into the Patagonia wilderness. Claudio and Dan spent some time driving around until they found a good location that had a good population of rabbits, hares and Fox. Most of these are far within reach of a gun such as the .357 Slayer that was slinging 129 grain Aeromagnum hollowpoints at near 960 fps. Claudio was sad for the night before his cousin had a Fox kill two of his beautiful cats and 12 chickens, so he set out in trying to finding it. In Patagonia the foxes are very harmful, the problem is when they get into the village and start being a threat to the integrity of the family you have to make the decision and control them. Dan was the first to spot a rabbit at 202 yards, this was correctly measured with the Bushnell Elite rangefinder. Claudio had the slayer zeroed at 50 yards and had to correct the turret 8.5 mills according to his table of measures, while Dan was looking through his Steiner binoculars telling his dad to stay focused. After several moments Claudio took a deep breath and fired. They looked at each other for a span of 4 seconds and then it was a scream that you could imagine was heard throughout the city. 

.357 slayer jackrabbit kill

Claudio has had many of the best high end Airguns Airguns and is now a firm believer in the true power of a big bore Airrifle when it comes to long range. He has stated that when you shoot a big-bore, everything else seems small such as the .22 and .25 as he’s used to hunting with.
Over the rest of the day Claudio was able to bag several rabbits at 75,95,125 and 202 yards.

rabbit kills with .357 slayer

Patagonia is one of the most beautiful and unforgiving locations in the world that does too offer many unique hunting opportunities for Airgunners. I hope to visit very soon and to meet up with Claudio and Dan, joining them on one of their many adventures that at the least can be brought to you here.

 

 

 

 

 

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USING A DOT SIGHT ON A BIG BORE AIRGUN

This past Morning I showed up to Johns at 3:00 am to pick him up to hunt but he was feeling under the weather so he gave me the AAA Big Bore .357 along with a 50 round box of his precision made 125 gr pellets. I set out to the high desert on a solo mission to try and get a Jackrabbit, it was 61 degrees and had just rained the day before.

Hunting area

The time of arrival was 4:45 am, I filled the gun to the 3600 psi and loaded the 6 massive pellets along with water and food for the day. The gun was equipped with a very small dot sight that was sighted at 90 yards along with a Magpul forend grip for comfort. I too was carrying my binoculars around my neck as I was going to be glassing the Jackrabbits.

dot sight

The morning was a bit slow as I’m guessing the Jackrabbits may have still been held up from the recent rainstorm. Within about 20 minutes I sprung a young juvenile out from behind a set of Joshua trees and he was gone, making his large 1 mile loop back to the same spot. The hiking was a bit rough and I was tired, by 9:00 am it was already in the mid 80’s and getting hotter by the minute. I had taken a break around that time under some shade hoping to spot some ears in the distance, no such luck even with binoculars.

sitting in shade

The day was just plain slow with action so I hiked some more, my GPS said I had ventured 6 miles by this time. The slayer is very lightweight and at this point was happy it didn’t have the extra weight of a scope. I was a bit skeptical on the use of a dot sight on a gun that’s capable of 300 yard shots. Everything becomes heavy when your hiking in the desert at these distances, my feet were sore and I was frustrated in not seeing anything but Juveniles all day. I started making my way back and soon came into a large valley with Joshua trees on one side, I thought to myself there has to be a Jackrabbit in here. I used my binoculars and sure enough there was, at 100+yards I could barley make out his ears so I stalked in staying very low to the ground. As I slowly made my way into a 60 yard range using the bushes as my cover, making sure he had no view of me.

jackrabbit area

The Jackrabbit was a medium sized one but still the only good opportunity I had seen all day so I went for it in the kneeling position. After a few moments I raised the gun, aligned the dot a bit below his head and squeezed the trigger,”THWACK” instant poof of fur and blood.

jackrabbit kill

To me it looked like I had shot a can of red spray paint is best I can describe. The Jackrabbit actually got flung backwards around 5 feet from the impact.

jackrabbit headshot

The Slayer is just plain devastating and I was shocked by the damage the 125 gr pellet did, the impact went into the neck and came close to decapitating the head completely. I can honestly say its been a long time since I’ve had to put that much work into making a kill but it was well worth it just to see what that guns capable of. The use of a dot sight on a Big Bore such as the Slayer actually surprised me on how well it functioned. Aquisitioning the rifle to target was much faster than with a scope and too was much easier to see in low light conditions along with loosing the weight of the overall rifle. The dot sight is a great system for someone looking to hunt at closer ranges out to 100 yards such as predator hunting and even deer. The obvious downside of a dot sight is lack of magnification and reliance on batteries to function. Anyone looking for a Bull-pup with loads of power in a lightweight, easy handling with reliability and good looks,this is it.

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SLAYERS MEET THE HIGH DESERT

Hey guys, I had another great weekend with the American Air Arms Slayer. SteveO was finally able to get loose for a few hours Saturday morning to do some hunting with me. We started our drive to the desert at 5:00 am and arrived at sometime after 6:15 to a new spot that I had previously scouted several days before. I had brought two .357 bull-pups with one being the titanium tube long version with the shorter one being the more compact tactical version.

.357 slayer

SteveO was happy to be able to get out and do some filming and to do some shooting with the Slayer. We filled the guns and loaded the mags with some 125 grain pellets that I personally love in the gun, they are accurate and move fast at over 1000 fps. SteveO and I walked several miles into the sunrise looking for the amber ears and possibly some coyotes as well.

hunting with the slayer

The area was slow but did offer a few shots on some running jacks at over 150 or so yards. We soon spotted some small golden mantel ground squirrels that in the wind offered quite the challenge. We shot a few of them capturing the overkill on video, should be fun to see once its edited. By this time it was near 8:30 am as we moved back to the truck for a break and to refill the guns with air and pellets that had been provided by John from Pelletgarden.com. SteveO took quite a few shots with his gun that was equipped with a Leapers Accushot and an offset mounted dot sight that proved to be a pretty cool setup for long and short ranges.

.357 slayer

His reaction to the gun is that it felt similar to shooting an AR-15 but without the noise. He also couldn’t believe how FAST the pellet can get out to 100+yards. We continued the same loop as before, walking slowly and stopping frequently looking for any movement. As we were talking a Jackrabbit sprung up from a bush several feet away from me, by the time I raised my gun as he was at full sprint at 60 yards, lined up less than a foot in front of him and THWACK….He flung down and tumbled to a stop. The entry was through his buttox and most likely made its way through most of the body.

.357 slayer jackrabbit kill

Cant wait till the video is done to see again in slow motion, taking a running shot with an air rifle is something I would not attempt with many guns. The Slayer performs like a dream and the more I shoot it the more I love it. The problem is the gun may have ruined it for me, after shooting it, everything else seems like a cap gun. SteveO and I made our way back to the truck and moved to a different location, this area provided more long range view. We hiked to the high point of an area that offers great line of sight and more of an open area to spot movement. We soon spotted another Jackrabbit hopping at 150 yards, lead the shot ahead of him and fired…..THUNK…missed by what looked like not much with a huge plume of dust kicked up…That gun truly is a powerhouse, amazing how quick that pellet gets to the target after trigger is pulled. The day had ended and certainly didn’t leave us without any excitement. We will be doing some more hunts very soon along with something a bit different. Here is a link to SteveOs YouTube channel dreamhobbies where you can find the video of our hunt.