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New Rapid Air Weapons HM1000x Field Review

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


RAW HM1000x PCP Air Rifle with Tan Laminate LRT Stock

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

HM1000x 25.39gr JSB’s 12 shots at 100 yards

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


QUICK TIP

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


      PROS

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

      CONS

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

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



 

 

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GAMO TC45 Field Review

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


GAMO TC45 STATS

Gamo TC45 Big Bore PCP Air Rifle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Ron discussing how to use the green laser with his scope

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

Ron scanning the brush piles

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

This was Marley’s first time hunting at night.

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

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

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


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


         PROS

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

         CONS

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

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


 

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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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Three day Adventure Airgun/Bow hunt

Thursday evening I came home from work and started packing the Jeep for a three day long hunt in the high desert of California. The plan was for me to meet with Jon, a gentleman I had met on the popular SCHOUTDOORS forum and who had volunteered to help me with some filming. The next morning Marley and I left the house bright and early for the several hour drive into the desert where we would meet Jon and have him follow us up through the rugged terrain to our hunting spot. Thankfully when we arrived it wasn’t as windy as I had anticipated as well as being much cooler than planned. As we drove into the camping area Marley and I had already spotted several Cottontails as well as some Jackrabbits and Ground Squirrels. This area is very unique as it offers a wide variety of animals to hunt, all within walking distance. We unpacked our gear, relaxed for a bit and then started setting up the camera equipment, guns etc, for a short hunt where I would show Jon the lay of the land. Jon had never used an Airgun before and was primarily used to firearms as well as a compound bow. I offered him to use my custom MK1 .22 carbine pistol that was near perfect for this type of hunting and accurate enough to make shots out past 60 yards. Jon was excited and within several minutes from camp we decided to sit down under one of the many Oak trees that nestles among the large valley with many rock outcroppings and fallen trees, the best natural habitat for the California Ground Squirrel.

hunting cottontail

Within several minutes of sitting I had spotted a good size adult Ground Squirrel sunning himself atop a large boulder at 63 yards. I took aim while Jon maneuvered the camera that we had mounted on a tripod to film the action.

ground squirrel

ground squirrel kill

63 Yard headshot

After I had made the kill on the Ground Squirrel Jon spotted a Cottontail grazing in some grass just under another Oak tree at 45 yards, Jon was able to make a nice head-shot making it his first rabbit kill and his first time using an Airgun. As we moved our locations we spotted another Cottontail that was grazing further up the hill at 40 yards where I was able to dispatch with authority using the .30 American Air Arms EVOL. After a short trip back to camp where Jon decided to pick up his compound bow and some more water for our walk down the hill we set out again.

cottontail hunting

Over the next 20 minutes Jon, Marley and I walked down through the valley that followed a small creek with embankments that many Cottontails like to graze at. The grass near the creek is a bit greener as well as having a bit more cover for them to scurry into in the event they are attacked by predators. As we walked slowly down through a wooded area following a game trail I soon spotted a Cottontail at about 25 yards, perfect range for Jon’s bow.

cottontail bow hunt

cottontail kill with arrow

The arrows he was using were fitted with a large blunt tip that in turn is suppose to simply knock out the rabbit and not penetrate, this one passed through the entire rabbit. As Jon was collecting his kill we spotted another Cottontail that was heading up a hillside towards a large rock outcropping. I was able to make a nice kill at 64 yards that dropped the rabbit just before it disappeared under some rocks, Marley was fast to assist in the recovery.

cottontail kill

As we continued down the creek-side into an area that was a bit more open, almost like a field we spotted another Cottontail grazing. The position of the sun gave Jon a great silhouette to make sight on at what looked to be near 45 yards, impressive with a bow.

bowhunting

bowhunting cottontail

Jon and I continued a giant loop that lead us back onto a road that headed North up a hill and back to camp, by this time it was getting very hot. We made our return to camp where we were happily greeted by Nick, his wife Jessica and three boys. Nick was busy sighting in a few of his rifles and putting the final test on several lines of ammo he has produced.

The one thing I really admire about Nick is his drive for perfection in producing a quality product, he spends hours testing his ammo and is always open to suggestion. Over the next few hours we all relaxed at camp and enjoyed the shade and luxuries such as ice cold water, food and snacks. Jessica his wife was amazing and pretty much fed us all the entire weekend!

 

It was a great fellowship we had and I much enjoyed hanging with Nicks youngest son Josh who did join us on several hunts throughout the weekend.

After several hours of relaxing in the shade I suggested that we take two vehicles and head down the hill several miles to the Jackrabbit hunting area.

This area is huge and offers a wide variety of terrain to hunt in, flat areas, rolling hills and steep mountains. When Airgun hunting where we are trying to keep our ranges fairly close, similar as to what a bowhunter needs. After witnessing Jon’s several kills with a bow I was was excited to see what he was capable of in a more open environment. After parking our vehicles and unpacking our gear we headed East towards the mountains, I usually do this in late afternoon where I walk several miles away from the sun and then turn back into it. By doing this I can usually spot the amber ears of the Jackrabbits that are brightly back-lite by the sun.

As we all made our way East spread about 100 yards apart I was able to spot several Jackrabbits moving through the thicker bushes and tall luminous Joshua trees. As I looked over I could occasionally spot the other guys taking shots on the many Jackrabbits that call this area home.

As I walked I much enjoyed being here, this area is absolutely beautiful and in ways I almost felt like I had been transported back in time to the wild west. The look and feel of this location is unlike any other desert I have visited, amazing how the plants and animals can sustain such a dry climate. As Marley and I continued our slow walk, stopping every few steps to glass for movement I spotted several Jackrabbits at 75 yards in front of us between two Joshua trees. These two had frozen like statues and were near invisible with the perfect camouflage they wore. I had the EVOL .30 loaded with the 44gr Predator International Polymags that I have concluded are just about the best ammo for this type of hunting. They feature a polymer tip in the head of the pellet which implodes into the rest of the pellet, making for a devastating impact. This pellet is also lighter due to its polymer tip that in turn shoots a bit faster, these are not as great for super long range but out to 120+ yards they work very well.

Jon and I continued our walk where we eventually turned around to head into the sun hoping to spot the illusive amber ears, the evening was just breathtakingly beautiful.

As we walked a bit more Jon had suggested that I stay put and he would continue in a short half circle direction hoping to flush several Jackrabbits my direction.

Several minutes went by and sure enough I had a smaller Jackrabbit moving its way casually right towards Marley and I by about 65 yards. I was able to make a nice clean chest shot that sent the Jackrabbit into a back-flip where Marley was quick to make her retrieval.

As we made our way back to the Jeep we had noticed that our second party had left us, figured it may have been to hot or they simply had gotten to many or not enough.

 

I was very pleased with our short little hunt that turned out to be very action packed and successful, too the footage I had gotten of Jon stalking a Jackrabbit was spectacular. As we packed up the truck I took several more photographs and we headed back to camp excited to hear how the others did. The evening was nice and cool and offered some spectacular views of the stars, Nick, Jon and I stayed up late and talked for a bit with Jon and I deciding to call it a night as we planned to get up early and hunt.


This morning we awoke just after sunup and decided to follow the creek down through camp and cross the road where I had previously scouted for Cottontail the day before. We had been expecting Tom Costan from American Air Arms to arrive that morning so had planned to stay fairly close to the road so that we could hear his arrival. As we made way down the creek Jon and I had spotted several Cottontail that disappeared into the treeline and out of sight into the thicker bushes. This area was loaded with rabbits, no doubt one of the best habitats I have ever seen.

We continued down the creek-side path that led us into a giant open field that gave opportunities for much longer shots. As we took a break from our hike we stopped just near the creeks embankment where I soon spotted a Cottontail moving around next to a large bush at 115 yards. I set up the rifles bi-pod and took my shot that sent the rabbit into a backwards flip leaving a loud crack that echoed through the canyon.

 

cottontail hunt

After this photograph was taken we heard the distant crack of a Big Bore Airgun in the distance, figured it was Tom Costan from American Air Arms making his way into the field with his .357 Slayer. Soon enough Tom made his way down through the tall dry grass and across the creek to where we were posting up.

hunting

Tom was excited when we told him of the success we had that morning and was eager to accompany us on our hunt further out into the hills. We now headed Eastward where a large many Conifer trees were, Cottontails usually frequent the base of these areas and offer good opportunities. Tom was able to make a shot on one Cottontail at close to 75 yards that came in a bit low sending the rabbit on the run and into the thicker areas of bushes where we lost sight of it.

This area made way past several of these large trees and then into a more open area with Oak trees and scattered rocks. Jon spotted a Cottontail moving through the grass and up into the many nearby rock outcroppings, this was a great habitat for them.

bowhunting

After Tom had taken several shots getting after some rabbits he made a quick refill with his buddy bottle with a little help from Marley. As he was refilling I had noticed Jon stalking a rabbit so Tom and I decided to quietly continue down the path where we split up a ways so I could photograph.

Tom headed up into the mountains that offered him further shots and was soon to spot several ground squirrels sunning themselves on the many rocks that scattered the area. As he made his way through the rocks he made a beautiful 85 yard head-shot on a ground squirrel that left quite the mess on the rocks using 120gr  Nielsen Specialty Ammo Swaged slug.

slayer headshot

As we hiked further into the mountains we took a rest under a large Oak tree that offered shad and a great location to spot animals moving in the distance.

By this time it was late morning and the heat of the sun was starting to beat down on us pretty hard, especially Marley. We rested for about 20 minutes while glassing the vast valley for any visible movement, very little mount of activity other than birds as it was simply by this time to hot. We all stuck fairly close together on the way back as we headed down the other side of the mountain where we followed a trail that ultimately would return us to camp. As we made our way back I could see several rabbits in the distance scurrying in several directions, one made its way right in front of Tom at 40 yards where he was able to take it out even considering a small bush was in his way.

After lunch we headed down the hill where we had planned to do some long range shooting with the Slayer as well as some photography work I was doing with several other products. The area we drove to was only several miles down the road and offered a nice shaded area to park as well as ranges out to several hundred yards.

We had set up a soda can at 100 yards, eggs at 175 yards and a 3″ spinner at 250 yards that offered all of us some good challenges, especially in the wind. Tom was first to make some shots and make it look easy with the .357 Slayer, well he should have considering he built the entire gun from the ground up. The eggs were by no means easy in the wind, luckily Jon had brought his high end spotting scope that helped very much in identifying the shots.

After annihilating a bunch of eggs Tom turned his sights on a very challenging 3″ spinner that was set out at 250 yards, pretty hard to see at that distance.

Both Tom and I took turns with the gun and with some practice were able to consistently make hits, even in the wind that was swirling at times. His Valdada IOR Recon 4-28X50 scope is a beast and one of the nicest long range scopes I have used, perfect match for the Slayer.

We all had a great time shooting, John even had brought his .22 rifle that he had a great time shooting.

As the guys continued shooting I decided to set up the Kalibr Cricket .25 bullpup with the new Side-Shot phone mount that’s a great new product that allows you to shoulder the rifle like normal and look through scope while still recording. The kit comes with 1 complete Side-Shot, 1 Scope clamp of your choice (3 scope clamps are in the picture to show different sizes, comes with 1 clamp) in 1 inch (25mm), 30mm or 34mm size (to fit scope tube size) and 1 stabilizer bar (plastic piece that snaps onto your scope and dampens vibrations) Side-Shot is a universal phone adapter that holds your smart phone securely and adjusts to different phone sizes and brands so you don’t have to keep buying more holders each time you get a new phone. Its quick change system lets you switch from one gun to the next in seconds.

This  Kalibr Cricket .25 bullpup is set up to shoot .25 38gr NSA slugs at near 880 fps making this gun quite the hammer. I was setting up this gun to use for my hunt that afternoon and evening, hoping to capture some action on video. This is the first time I had really ever used any type of scope-cam and was very pleased with how easily everything went together. After I set the gun up I set out into the nearby field and immediately spotted several Jackrabbits. The cant was a bit off adjustment but I can see with a bit more time in fine tuning this may be the ultimate setup for recording.

I spotted several Jackrabbits and most were on the run after they spotted Marley, she chased a few after I had taken several shots. These Jackrabbits are amazingly fast, especially out in the open as they were here. I much enjoyed playing back the action on my phone and can see I will be using much more of the Side-Shot on future hunts. I think its really good for me because I can easily record and send to email, Facebook or even directly to YouTube. After making some very unsuccessful shots in the extreme heat of the day Marley and I made way back to the Jeep for some water and to join the other guys for our continued long range activities.

We all had a great time and felt a little more confident with our shooting skills after the several hours spent practicing, the 250 yard spinner was a ton of fun and really shows what Airguns are really capable of. The footage we got was impressive! We loaded up the vehicles and headed back to camp where we really just sat and relaxed until about 5:00pm when it started cooling down a bit, the high for the day was 112 degrees, much to hot to be out hunting. As we drove down the hill the plan was to follow a small Jeep trail that headed East up into a very remote part of this desert. I had previously found the area on Google Earth and had noticed it being a little greener that may have indicated some sort of water source.

Tom took off up into the valley a bit ahead of us where he soon made a beautiful 105 yard shot on a good size Jackrabbit, you can see in the photo just how close the Jackrabbits fur matches the ground cover.

Jon, Marley and I continued several hundred yards next to Tom following the many animal trails that were covered in tracks, this area was very active. We made our way into a field that seemed much greener just as I had seen on Google Earth and almost immediately spotted several Jackrabbits. I set my sights on one at 75 yards that had froze like a statue next to several bushes just long enough to make a great shoulder shot.

The .25 Cricket is a great bullpup for offhand shooting and has a ton of power to push the NSA 38gr slugs nice and flat for longer range shots.

As we continued our hike through the desert Tom continued his own busy hunt and even managed to get a very large Jackrabbit at 90 yards with a spine shot that dropped that jack on the spot.

 

.357 Slayer Jackrabbit kill using 120gr  Nielsen Specialty Ammo Swaged slug

Jon and I moved a bit further away from each other and I moved towards a strange area that had some sandstone hills with more open terrain with very little vegetation. I saw something out of the corner of my eye like a flash of something big moving, as I looked again I noticed it was a very large Coyote, unlike others I had seen this one almost had more of a winter coat. I tried getting my scope on it and was able to capture some on film but unfortunately it was moving way to fast to take any successful shots. I was caught a bit off guard by the sighting and was a bit disappointing that I had not had a better chance. As the sun moved down a bit more I was starting to see more and more Jackrabbits moving about through the bushes and sandy washes. Marley and I continued to follow the sunset in a slow walk down the sandy wash that led us to an opening where I spotted a good size Jackrabbit sitting next to a Cholla Cactus. I had a nice clear shot at 87 yards that I placed right in the head that sent the Jackrabbit flipping backwards where Marley was able to make a quick retrieval.

Over the rest of the evening we continued to see several large Jackrabbits but I think between all the foot-traffic they had become very aware of our presence in the desert. As we continued back and made our way to the vehicles Marley had spotted a Jackrabbit and gave it a pretty good chase, amazing how fast that little dog is when she is motivated. Over just the past two days she had gotten more action than any other hunting trip I can remember, near 20 rabbits between all of us. We took a break by the Jeep soon accompanied by Tom who had to say his goodbyes and head back home, what a great day we all had. That evening back at camp Nick BBQ some burgers and we had a great time hanging out and reminiscing the great day we had.


It was 4:15am and Marley, Jon and I awoke very early to head into an area I call “The Hills Have Eyes” a very desolate location that offers extreme long range shots. I had hunted here several times before with Tom and we had both always had great luck finding Jackrabbits and Cottontails. The area we parked was near a trail that wrapped around the base of a mountain that overlooked several miles onto the desert floor. It was barley light out by the time we started our long hike that’s terrain can be very unforgiving and rocky. As we made way over the first rise I spotted a Cottontail at 83 yards in the open that gave me opportunity to make an excellent head-shot.

Jon set up his GoPro camera to capture some time-lapse video that we planned to use in the video of this adventure. The morning was fairly quiet other than the distant chatter of a Coyote caller that someone had set out several miles down on the desert floor followed by several large caliber shots followed by silence.

As the sun started to come up over the mountains Jon and I were starting to spot several Jackrabbits moving about, most way beyond 200 yards. I knew most of the shots here may beyond what the Cricket was capable of but still was excited to see what Jon could do with his .22 rim-fire as I knew he had much practice with it the day before. Jon set up his rifle into his tripod that would assist him in making some shots that were out to 300 yards, amazing for almost any type of rifle.

We had spotted several Jackrabbits moving, some were simply lost due to the extreme distance and difficulty to track through the scope with so many bushes, trees etc,. After some patience Jon finally settled in on a Jackrabbit that I believe was just beyond 300 yards sitting next to a bush offering not much more than a sharp black silhouette as a target.

As you can see from the photograph this is an extreme long range shot and very similar as to what we were doing with the Slayer in a previous video we did. I manned the camera and even with a tripod and the friction head cinched down it was still difficult to keep still at these ranges.

After a few minutes of setting everything up Jon took the shot that through a video review took several seconds for it to reach out the 300 yards where it fell just short and to the left by about 8″, still impressive shooting as far as he was.

As it was now approaching 9:30am it was time for us to make our way back to the Jeep and make our way back to camp to start packing for the trip home. As we made way through the mountains and more nearing the vehicle we spotted several Cottontail, one of which we both took shots at with no luck of recovery, even by Marley. As we made out of the mountains and back to the Jeep Jon had spotted several Ground Squirrels that were sitting upon a huge boulder high above us.

With very little energy left to sit and wait for the Ground Squirrels to come back up we decided to call it a day and make our way back to pack up all our camping stuff and head back home. Over the three days we had taken many Cottontails, Jackrabbits, Ground Squirrels and even had a short encounter with a Coyote. For me this one simply just one of the best hunting trips I had had in a great many years and was so happy that everyone had such a great time. I learned a few new things and got to make a new friend out of the whole adventure. Marley and I said our goodbyes and headed down the long desert road left with the exhaustion and memories of another great adventure together. I want to thank Jon for his amazing photography and video work, Nick for his great company and allowing me to use his Cricket coupled with his NSA ammo that worked flawlessly throughout the hunt. I want to thank Tom for coming out and hunting with us and allowing us to do some long range shooting with his .357 Slayer. Over the next few months we plan on doing some more trips and as usual will try our best to bring all the action through video and photos. Enclosed is a video link of our three day hunt I hope you can enjoy. If you can help us by SUBSCRIBING to our channel it’s much helpful, Thanks!

 

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Jackrabbit Adventure Hunt

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

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

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

American Air Arms Classic EVOL .30

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

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

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

140 Yard Jackrabbit Kill

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

65 Yard Jackrabbit kill

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

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

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


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

Southern California High Desert

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

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


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

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

Terry approaching camp

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

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

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

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

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

California quail (Callipepla californica)

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

Terry with his girlfriend Marley

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

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

 

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