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Brocock Bantam Sniper HR/Range Test&Field Review

by Dana Webb

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

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


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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 


My final thoughts on this rifle are as follows:

PROS

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

CONS

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

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

Enclosed is a video of our Airgun Adventure with this rifle and would appreciate you SUBCRIBING if you enjoy our reviews.

Love Airguns and want more? Visit the video forum at AIRGUNFLIX.COM

 

 

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2017 Extreme Benchrest AZ

On Monday October 9th we left the American Air Arms facility in Valencia CA to drive over seven hours to Mesa Arizona for the annual Extreme Benchrest. We had two vehicles, ours was a small sedan just big enough for me, Lindsey, Claudio Flores and his wife Magda. We had a van as well driven by Doug Noble and Tom Costan that was loaded with guns, gear and a ton of lead. I drove for about 45min before I received a call from Tom asking if I had loaded the brand new .452 Slayer into my car? haha I thought he may have been joking me, no it was not a joke, it was indeed forgotten. I got off the freeway and headed back to the Valencia facility to retrieve the first prototype from the back room where it was sitting in its case behind a chair. By this time of the day traffic was getting quite heavy and it became apparent we wouldn’t be arriving in Mesa AZ till half past midnight. We made only one stop for gas, was nice driving such an efficient car. After hitting a good amount of traffic due to accidents, construction and single lane roads we finally made it to Mesa. Throughout the past year we became friends with Stephen Marsh who lives in Mesa, fairly close to the Rio Salado Sportsmans Club where the Extreme Benchrest is held. Steve and his wife Leslie were kind enough to open their home to us for the entire week. They had a beautiful home along with a large detached workshop that we would be able to use for our daily gun maintenance. After about an hour of visiting and eating some amazing chilli that Steve prepared we got to sleep where we had planned to leave in the morning for some shooting and hunting. The following morning after a great night’s rest from our long drive from California the five of us guys headed about an hour out of town into the open desert. I had been wanting to hunt the famous Antelope Jackrabbit for many years so was very excited to finally have the opportunity to try. Steve took us to a place he has gone many times over the years and was to be a great place to both hunt and shoot. We arrived off the highway onto a long dirt road that we followed for about a mile till we came to a small turnout. We set up a few tables and some targets at ranges out to 200 yards, perfect area to sight in our rifles.

from left, Tom Costan, Stephen Marsh, Doug Noble

 After Several minutes setting everything up we pulled out several guns being used for the Extreme Benchrest such as the American Air Arms EVOL .30, .357 Slayer as well as the .452 Slayer.

Claudio Flores from Patagonia Airguns with the American Air Arms EVOL TAC .30

Doug Noble had several rifles such as his .257 Condor being shot by Steve as well as his .338 Condor that he has invested years of work into, more about that rifle later on at the range.

(Above)Stephen with the .257 Condor

Tom Costan with the American Air Arms .452 Slayer

After a bit of target shooting Tom and I headed out to try our hand at hunting the Antelope Jackrabbit that’s only found throughout the Sonoran Desert.

Tom and I slowly walked a small trail that lead through some very large Saguaro CactusThese cactus can grow up to 40′ tall and live to be over 200 years old.

As we walked through the desert both Tom and I were having a difficult time avoiding the many small cactus that seemed to like jumping onto our pantlegs, hahaha

Me (Dana Webb) with the EVOL .30 Classic

After making a large several mile loop, nearly feeling lost, we headed back up and crossed a road where I soon found some fresh Jackrabbit droppings and some urine. I knew we were in the right area and soon enough I spotted my first Antelope Jack that sprung from behind a knee high bush. The Jackrabbit was moving along pretty good but not into full sprint, I waited to spot him again but lost sight as he made it into a ravine. The terrain here was very difficult to navigate and almost impossible to walk in any sort of straight path, every step was something with sharp spines. I spotted several more and will say it was amazing as to just how huge these species are compared to the Black Tailed Jackrabbit. They at glance can be near mistaken for small dogs, very exciting. After trying to stalk one I finally made a shot as it was moving away at 85 yards near missing the top of it’s head. The Sonoran desert is very hot, especially in the middle of the day when shade is near impossible to find. Tom and I headed back to the vehicles for water and took what shade we could find next to the van. After being in the sun most of the day we packed up and headed back to the house to shower, relax and get something to eat. That evening we spent a good amount of time in Steve’s garage cleaning our rifles and preparing them for the following day’s practice at the Rio Salado Sportsmans Club.


We woke up early to arrive at the range to spend the day practicing with our Big Bore rifles for the following days Extreme Benchrest. The Rio Salado Sportsmans Club allowed us the day to practice on the rifle range, unfortunately we did have to share it with the firearms.

Custom Doug Noble .308 Condor

Stephen Marsh with Doug Noble .257 Condor and Nick Nielsen from NSA

We spent some time here practicing before we were able to move down to the Extreme Benchrest ranges that had been closed during set up for the event. We practiced for several hours before heading out to Airguns Of Arizona for our sign in to the Extreme Benchrest.


The showroom at Airguns Of Arizona was much smaller than I had imagined but still had plenty of Airgun’s, scopes, and misc related items. After signing in and picking up the event schedule we headed out to a nearby restaurant called Los Dos Molinos for dinner and drinks.  This was a great place to eat, so good we actually went back the following night as well, highly recommended.

That evening we spent several more hours in the garage cleaning our rifles and preparing for the following morning’s first card of the Extreme Big Bore part of the event.


We arrived to the range early to find many familiar faces and a good amount of first time competitors.

We had a few minutes to practice before we had our first 200 yard target, I was feeling pretty confident with my Doug Noble built .308 and was excited to compete with it. I was happy to see many more competitors enter the competition this year, it shows growth that will help progress the sport. The targets look big from the below photograph but I can assure you it looks very small at 200 yards out as well as the black center bullseye. My .308 Condor performed very well and was confident that I had done very well.

5 shots each on each of the top targets, bottom two are sighter targets

Right after I finished my 30min card I immediately had to move over to the American Field Target area that was on the other side of the property. After signing in and given my scorecard I proceeded down the beautiful nature path to the first area that had 4 field targets set up at various ranges. Look who’s in front of me, my good friend Thayne Simmons the owner of Side-Shot as well as part of the Utah Airguns team. Thayne is a fabulous shooter and cleared the lane with a standing offhand shot like it was nothing.

Thayne Simmons (Team Utah Airguns)

I was nervous and had never shot American Field Target before at the Extreme Benchrest. I was using my EVOL .30 and really had not set the gun up for this event, I simply was all over the place with my close shots. After making only two hits out of the 8 needed I was feeling quite simply embarrassed with myself. This is they type of event that really requires good offhand skills and knowledge of holdover and under techniques. After making several hits on the far targets and missing most all of the close ones I was finally done with the coarse after about an hour. After my horrible shooting was over I headed back to the car to grab my camera and head back down to spectate some of the more familiar faces and to hopefully learn to better myself.

Above left, Matt Dubber spectating Ted Bier

Steve Scialli AEAC channel filming Ted Bier

After hanging out spectating for a few minutes I headed back over to the range to capture some photographs of the goings ons and say hello to a few friends.

 

Airguns of Arizona’s Kip Perow setting up the 25 meter targets

Paul Capello from Utah Airguns taking a break

I had a chance to check out some pretty cool Airguns as I walked around the event including a glimpse of the new Daystate .308 Big Bore being used by no other than Andrew Huggett known for his moderators. The prototype rifle makes a striking resemblance to a Beaumont, makes me think some of the work was subbed out to them by Daystate. Beautiful rifle indeed, thank you Andrew for the great photographs!

daystate .308

Next Door to Andrew was Doug Noble ringing out his highly custom .338 Condor, this gun really has near to nothing left of the Airforce Airguns platform. This gun started out as a Condor and slowly over several years of hard work made it’s way into a masterpiece of a Big Bore. Doug is one of the nicest guys in the sport and is always willing to share his knowledge with others, I was lucky to be able to use one of his builds to compete with.

 

Stephen Marsh shooting the American Air Arms .452 Slayer

The American Air Arms  Slayer line of rifles have been around for several years now and was exciting to see quite a few this year at the Extreme Benchrest. Tom Costan has spent the past year developing this new .452 Big Bore rifle that is far advanced from anything else. This rifle is a repeater that’s capable of multiple shots at over 500+fpe with a lightweight, short package. The Slayer is a true top down new design that shares absolutely nothing with any existing platform. Tom, myself and Stephen all were hitting silhouette’s out to 560 yards with it, consistently. Here is a short video that shows some of the action.


After lunch I headed over to the 75 yard range to help Steven and Claudio setup for their first card. They were both using the new EVOL .30 TAC manufactured by American Air Arms. These guns are extremely accurate and well built guns, I believe if you put enough of one gun manufacturer into a competition you’re going to get great results. I have noticed a “certain” company has near monopolized the market and can only hope a new American Made gun can change that.

The 75 yard card is a very difficult event as this range is known for having very difficult winds that blow very erratically. The shooter has 30 min to make 1 shot onto each of the 25 small bullseye targets with a small bottom row used for sighters. Points are deducted for more than one shot on a target so it’s critical to count pellets, yes I made this mistake that cost me progression to the main. After the 30 min the Airguns of Arizona staff heads out to change targets for the next relay of competitors. I set up my bench and got to honorably sit next to none other than Kip Perow, one of my favorite members of the AOA staff and one heck of a great hunter.

After my 30 min card all I can say was wow, that wind is pretty hard to deal with. I was thankful to have had the sighter targets, otherwise I would have been all over the place. The wind would push the pellet up, down, left and right. I kept my eyes on some of the wind indicators that were set throughout the range, it helped a bit. After my 30 min card I packed up and headed back up to the other range to do some filming and take some more photographs. A few days before we left California my good friend SteveO started working on some shirts that we could wear to the Extreme Benchrest. He wasn’t able to finish them in time so kindly overnighted them to AZ for us to wear. Anyone interested in some really cool Airgun related shirts can contact SteveO at Dream Graphic Designs.

nielsen specialty ammo

Left Claudio Fores, Nick Nielsen, Tom Costan


 I want to really thank Nick Nielsen from Nielsen Specialty Ammo for coming out and showing his support to all of us. Nick had worked very hard developing precision ammo that worked well for us and drove all the way from California to make sure it performed perfectly. Him and his wife Jessica were more than helpful to us and I just wanted to let them know how it’s been appreciated, thank you!


Our day was near over and will say the Arizona sun can take a lot out of a person while competing, moving things back and forth etc, I was beat to say the least. We headed back to the house for a much needed break, some food and a good cleaning of our rifles to prepare for yet another day of competition. The following day we arrived to the range by about 8:15am for the Big Bore Steel competition at ranges 85 yards and 200 yards. These are swinging flash targets that take a good amount of energy to move, especially at 200 yards.

85 Yard flash targets

For this competition we are only allowed to use 24 shots with only two extra, have to make 12 shots on the 85 yard flash targets before being able to move to the 200 yard ones. I had my holdunder marked in my phone and was confident to be able to hit the 85 yards consistently. Per the rules we were not allowed to tether the rifles and had to make sure to disconnect the fill hose from the rifle after filling. I filled after each shot to 3000 psi and was using the .308 swaged 99gr Nielsen Specialty ammo. My scope was mounted on a Coldshot scope base that has a wheel that adjust the MOA of the scope, this keeps the scope from maxing out adjustments at long range. I fired my first shot with my given spotter behind me, missed and could not tell where it had gone. I knew it wasn’t the wind because it was near same conditions as day before. I really didn’t know what to do other than to shoot a few more, after 12 shots as well as my two extra I finally found that the scope got bumped off to the right by close to 3 mills. After I found my zero I made every shot perfectly, my spotter actually felt really bad and later came up to me to find out what had happened. I think as the gun got moved around the day before, traveling in van etc, just got bumped off a bit. I was certainly frustrated but have done this long enough to know it can happen to anyone. After the competition we walked over to the 25 meter benchrest where Tom and Claudio were both set to compete. Tom had brought his trusted TX200 .22 with a Hawke Airmax scope that unfortunately had problems with the parallax. Stephen loaned Tom his QB78 that had been converted to HPA to use, I gave him credit for trying as I thought he may do fairly well with it. Claudio was using his Edgun Leshiy .25, a beautiful gun and extremely accurate to boot.

After the 25 meter event we took a break to have some lunch followed by card 2 of the 75 yard Extreme Benchrest. We got to spectate a bit as my card wasn’t for another hour, took several pics and sat in the shade tent.

 

From left, Dale Wolcott, me, Tom Costan, Claudio Flores

Michael Wendt from Airgun Nation

After taking a break in the shade I gathered my gear and prepared to set up my bench for card 2 of the Extreme. I was a bit nervous especially as it was now later in the day with the wind picking up a bit more heavily.

Me sporting my new Dream Graphic Designs T Shirt

As I sat at the bench watching the wind flags moving in all directions I took my first sighter shot that showed me the wind was moving my pellet near 1 mil dot high and 1 1/2 to the right. The wind would sometimes quickly change so I found myself taking many test shots before I actually moved up to my target.

Middle target, I shot twice -10 points

I was doing ok I thought considering how bad the wind was, problem was I would plan to take a shot on target and then at last second decide to shoot the sighter. By doing this I would have to replace my pellets into tray used for counted targets. I didn’t trust myself and could not see through the scope that I had made an X, big mistake that ruined my card. The wind was so bad at times that some competitors were actually hitting others targets, I was just happy to make into the red. I knew immediately after I saw this picture my chances of moving on to card 3 were gone. All I could do now was be there for my teammates and try and be of service best I could.

After all of us had competed we headed back to the house to clean guns, eat and get a good nights sleep for the final day of the Extreme Benchrest. 


The next morning we headed out bright and early as Doug had qualified for the final 100 yard event and Claudio had the Speed-Silo event. That morning Tom, Doug, Steve and I set up the guns for some long range fun that seemed to attract at one point a very large crowd. We were shooting the monster Big Bores at the furthest silhouette that was set out at 560 yards. Tom, Steve and myself were consistently hitting targets even beyond that. My girlfriend Lindsey was hitting the 330 yard silhouette with Doug’s .338 Condor like it was no big deal. The new .452 Slayer was attracting a lot of attention and Tom was more than happy to allow people to shoot it.

 

mygirlfriday805.com

Lindsey from mygirlfriday805.com

330 yard silhouette’s

After a few hours of Airgun playtime we headed back down to the tent to watch Doug in the final card of the Extreme where he would be shooting 100 yards.

The wind in the afternoon usually picks up pretty good and can swirl quite erratically moving the shot in all directions. Doug has a good amount of skill with his Big Bore’s that shoot slugs that are not as affected by turbulent winds such as a diabolo pellet is. The 100 yard Extreme really separates the great shooters from the amazing shooters. The 75 yard cards are hard enough but moving out to 100 is really quite insane. To be a winner here will rely on many factors beyond just having an accurate gun, reading the wind, sorting pellets, scope etc, to name a few. Doug had told me that he found it an honor just to make it into the 100 yard extreme. The guys who made it are some of the best shooters in the world that make this competition pretty stiff. After this card was finished the AOA team prepared the range for the Speed-Silo event that has become very popular. This event was one that Claudio was very excited to compete in using his new Edgun Leshiy .25 carbine. This is a very unique Airgun and one I couldn’t wait to watch him shoot.

This is a very difficult event where you are racing to knock down 16 silhouette’s at various ranges.

  • Airgun Rifles or Pistols – Must use lead pellets – NO BBs/Round Balls
  • Airguns can be single shot or magazine fed
  • Any caliber is allowed up to .25 caliber
  • Any type of sight is allowed
  • No Airgun can exceed 50 FPE
  • No semi or fully automatic airguns are allowed – All airguns must have a cocking device or action for each shot fired
  • No magazine loading apparatus allowed (NEW-2017)
  • Each shooter will have 16 targets that must be KNOCKED down or off the TILE.
  • This is a timed event and the object is to knock down all 16 targets in the shortest amount of time.
  • There will be 20 shooting lanes open and rounds will be run every 5 to 10 minutes.
  • The top ten (10) lowest times in each class will qualify for the finals to be held on Sunday after the 75 Yard Extreme Benchrest competition has been completed.
  • All entrants for the 75 Yard Extreme can compete in the Speed Silo.
  • Shooters are allowed to shoot in three qualifying rounds.
  • The targets are all standard metal .22 LR silhouette and include four rams, four pigs, four turkeys and four chickens.
  • Targets are placed from 30 yards to 60 yards.


After the Speed-Silo even we all headed back to the house to clean up for the Banquet dinner and awards ceremony where we would find out the winners of each event. The awards banquet and raffle were held at Las Sendas Club House overlooking a beautiful golf course.

We sat down surrounded by friends, family and highly respected members of the Airgun community, I think we were all pretty tired from the long week so it was nice to be able to relax. One of the first winners to be announced was our very own teammate Stephen Marsh, winner of the pellet challenge.

75 yard pellet challenge won by Stephen Marsh

This years Extreme Benchrest were all amazing shooters, I’m really happy for Thayne Simmons as he is not only a good friend but part of a great team at Utah Airguns. Matt Dubber has been someone I have admired for a long time and have gotten much enjoyment out of watching his YouTube channel found at AirArmsHuntingSA. I spent some time this year talking to him one on one and really appreciated his sincerity and love for the sport of Airgunning. Shane Keller is a wonderful example of an Airgunner and am very excited for his well deserved victory, I’m sure we’ll hear more from him as the year goes on.

extreme benchrest

from left, Shane Keller, Matt Dubber, Thayne Simmons

The next event we were waiting to see was the Big Bore competition as that was the real reason we made it to the Extreme this year. This year I was so proud of Tom Costan as I know how hard he worked on the new .452 Slayer that was literally only finished days before the event. Over the past several months he has been not only running American Air Arms but designing and building these guns that have trumped the Big Bore podium this year. The results in .45 over were Tom Costan, Thayne Simmons and Kip Perow.

left, Dana Webb, Tom Costan, Thayne Simmons, Doug Noble

After the awards we had a chance to say goodbye to several friends and even make plans with some new ones. This event has brought so many together and was a real pleasure to be part of.

from left Thuan Donnyfl Du, Alvaro lopez, Claudio Flores, Torres Gianni


I thank all who attended and especially want to thank Airguns Of Arizona for hosting such a wonderfully planned event. Afterwards we all said our goodbyes and headed down the road back to California loaded with great memories and experience that will last a lifetime. I wrote this in the hopes of getting more people involved in this sport and to show that almost anyone who loves Airguns can enjoy this event. If anyone has any interest in the Extreme Benchrest results or more information, it can be found here.

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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.