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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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Varmint Hunting In Extreme Heat

By Dana Webb

 

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

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

American Air Arms EVOL .30 with DonnyFL Ronin Moderator

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

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

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

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

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

One of the Ground Squirrel holes at 55 yards

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

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

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

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

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

Terry’s Tapian Mutant .22

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

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

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


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

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

American Air Arms EVOL .30 at 85 fpe

 

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


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

American Air Arms EVOL TAC .22 High Power


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Air Rifle Varmint Hunt

by Dana Webb

 

Saturday morning Marley and I fired up the Jeep and drove several hours into the Mojave desert where we had planned to meet up with Terry, Tom and Brian who was visiting from Michigan. The area was well known to us and we thought it would be a great location to take Brian for his two day visit to California. This area is prime habitat for the California Ground Squirrel and offers a huge amount of property to varmint hunt on. We arrived in Mojave late morning where we met Terry at the gas station to fill up our cooler with ice and water before caravaning another 50+ miles into the rugged mountainous outback.

As we pulled off the highway we made our way to the top of the mountain that opens into a huge desert valley bordered by Oak trees, fallen logs and enormous rock outcroppings. Tom and Brian had already been hunting for several hours before we came and were set up with targets set at 175 yards when we arrived.

The day before I had spent several hours with Doug Noble reconfiguring the power levels of my EVOL .30 so I needed to spend some time sighting it in. This area can sometimes have a good amount of wind that makes it a somewhat difficult Airgun friendly location. This particular day was quite windy with gust near 40+mph at times. Marley and I sat under a giant oak tree and zeroed the rifle as well as getting familiar with the new holdovers.The EVOL is topped with a Hawke Frontier scope and DonnyFl moderator that keeps the noise down very well. This rifle is regulated and getting near 34 shots at near 90 fpe using the NSA 47gr slugs, an excellent long range varmint setup.

After spending some time getting comfortable with the new configuration it was time to get down to business and try finding some live targets. All of us spread out in several directions with me heading up a hill and along a fence that opened up into a large field near infested with Ground Squirrels. Most of the shots were all over 100+ yards with several approaching the 200 yard mark. ( check video at bottom of page) I found a nice spot to sit in the shade with some cover from the wind as well. I had spotted several Ground Squirrels moving about on the rocks and had ranged them at 98 yards out to 160 yards. Tried to film as much as I could but the wind was making it very difficult to keep the camera steady with the lightweight tripod I had brought along.

I spent several minutes waiting for this particular Ground Squirrel to stay still enough to make a shot leaving only a 1/4″ killzone as he peered over the top of the outcropping.

After spending a few more minutes waiting for more Ground Squirrels to move about I decided to hike a bit further down through the large Oak tree covered field to look for more. Within several minutes I spotted another that was sitting on top of a fallen uprooted pine tree at 78 yards.

After connecting with a shot to the chest sending the Ground Squirrel into a flip it rolled down into the thick branches and under the log. From previous experience I don’t generally like to recover many Ground Squirrels as this habitat is home to many rattlesnakes. Last year I went to recover several only to find several rattlers coiled up in and around the many holes. Marley and I made way back to find the others that were set up against a large outcropping that looked out into a giant field.

Brian with the American Air Arms High Power .22

left- Dana Webb and Tom Costan with the American Air Arms High Powered .22

After spending some time hanging out we all set ourselves up to what looked like a Ground Squirrel “Shooting Gallery” with live targets out to 300+ yards. Tom was using the experimental regulated .35 Air Rifle that shoots 81gr JSBs as well as putting out 150 fpe using the 95gr NSA slugs. This rifle is based on the Slayer platform and it’s long range capable topped with a Valdada 4-28 IOR Recon scope with the furthest kill of the weekend at just over 227 yards.

We spotted several Ground Squirrels on the rocks on the other side of the field out to 159 yards where Tom and I both were able to hammer several. In windy conditions the high BC slugs are far superior to that of a diablo type pellet, the energy is carried and the wind drift is near cut in half making these shots much more enjoyable. Brian was using the High Powered .22 EVOL thats been fitted with a dedicated slug barrel and is capable of 80 fpe although the gun is currently tuned for 60 fpe using the 27gr NSAs that have a BC around .09. Tom was giving the data through his StrelokPro application on his phone and giving the correct holdover that was allowing Brian to make shots out to 200 yards. The wind was getting very strong and in honesty was very surprised we were making as many hits as we were.

As I sat behind the gun I could hear the distant crack of Terry making hits with his .22 Tapian Mutant bullpup. In just a few minutes he had gotten 8 confirmed kills with some out to 100+ yards using the Predator Polymags.

After taking a break from our hunting we decided to move our camp to a more suitable location that would shelter us better from the wind and offer better clearing to have a campfire. We moved several miles up into a canyon that had a good flat area to park the vehicles as well as some good hunting spots within walking distance. After setting up our camp we headed down into the open desert to try for some Jackrabbit hunting into the evening.

We headed up towards the mountains and had planned to make a big giant loop around and back to the Jeep. As we moved away from the Jeep I had spotted a good size Jackrabbit moving just behind a Joshua tree and up a small animal trail where we soon lost sight of it. These Jackrabbits are so elusive and hard to spot in the thick sagebrush, they blend in and disappear so easily. We hiked and were able to spot several more but the area seemed to have very little activity. We all took several shots but none were connected as the flats make it so difficult to get a good open shot. Once the Jackrabbits are startled enough to run they usually will not stop for 100 yards or so, gets very frustrating. We hiked for several miles as the sun went down and after no success made it back to the Jeep.

That evening back at camp was very relaxing after a long day of hiking around, my feet were killin me and I know Marley was pretty beat. We stayed up for awhile and had planned to get up early the following morning to head to a new spot for Jackrabbits as well as Ground Squirrels.


This morning we woke up at about 6:00 am and took the Jeep and Terry’s truck several miles back down into the desert to a spot we call “The Hills Have Eyes”. This area is very rocky and gives a very being watched feel to it along with having many vantage points to hunt from. We moved down the very narrow path that leads around the side of a rock covered mountain with several scattered Joshua trees and Juniper bushes. As we hiked slowly down the narrow steep trail Terry spotted several Squirrels sunning themselves on the rocks at 85 yards.

Terry and I spent about 20 minutes in this area making several shots on Ground Squirrels and Chipmunks both.

Brian and Tom continued on along the side of the mountain about 100 yards in front of Terry and I, we were glassing the lower areas for movement and were able to spot several Jackrabbits moving about. I took several shots over 200 yards missing by several inches on both. I think the wind from the day before may have trained my shots to give more holdover than was needed. I will say it was just nice to just be out with friends and getting to enjoy this beautiful territory. As we hiked I could hear the distant crack of the high powered .22 EVOL , Brian sounded like he was busy and had connected to something. We made way through the many boulders where I could see Brian moving down the side of the hill, he had made a connecting shot but had lost the Jackrabbit in the very thick sagebrush that was covering the hillside. We took a break as it was now getting fairly hot somewhere in the mid 80s, still very cool for this part of the desert. During summer it can reach as high as 116 degrees, near impossible to hunt in. Terry and I turned back as it was a fairly long hike back to the vehicles and all uphill for the most part. We spotted several more Jackrabbits on the way back, I even made a solid heart/lung shot on one that we spent some time looking for, ultimately lost in the thick brush. If Marley can’t find the Jackrabbit it’s a very rare case but can sometimes happen, amazing how tough they can be. By this time it was approaching noon and time for us to head back to camp where we hoped to try for some more Ground Squirrels before we packed up and left for home.

Tom and Brian set up in some rocks that generally are filled with Ground Squirrels, very difficult to spot but they are usually found sunning high up in the rocks.

Brian using my Cometa Lynx MK2 .22 and Tom with the High Powered .22

Several Ground Squirrels were moving around over 80 yards up in the rocks offering not more than a headshot, very difficult shots. Tom was able to connect with one near 90 yards making a perfect headshot that gave a very distinct THWACK!! Brian against my suggestion decided to climb up into the rocks that most likely had many snakes. Sure enough he found one on his climb up….

Brian standing just above Toms Ground Squirrel kill

We had a very eventful few days and hiked near 17 miles through this amazing property. The total between all of us had to be over 50 Ground Squirrels taken, this is a very low number but we have been hunting the area over the past several months. I think we all had a great time and was happy that we were able to host Brian in such a great location and give him a chance to hunt with some truly unique Airguns. We packed up once again and left down the dirt road with some great memories I’m happy to share through writing, photographs and video. Over the two days I was able to gather some footage, the wind made it very difficult to film in but here is a link to what was produced. VIDEO

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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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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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Texan .457 100 yard Ballistic Gel test/Hunting weekend

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

Nick Nielsen 

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

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

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


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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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Coyote Hunt with the .25 Cricket

Marley and I packed Jeep and left the house by 3:00am Friday morning to meet Nick in the high desert of Southern California. As we made our turn off the highway onto the long dirt road we were already met by several Jackrabbits running across the road dodging our headlights, Marley was already excited although she had no idea we wouldn’t be after Jackrabbits today. We arrived to our location a bit early to set up the camera gear  etc, where we were soon met by Nick from Nielsen Specialty AmmoNick arrived and the plan was for us to hike in about a mile to an area I had previously scouted and had even taken a Coyote several years ago. This area had many fresh tracks along with several dens that are heavily secluded through the jungle of tall Joshua Trees. The morning was a bit warm and unusually calm as it frequently is very windy here. As we made our way East from the vehicles the sun was just coming up, absolutely stunning area to hunt.

Coyote hunt

Nick and I walked very slowly as we weaved through the thick jungle that can easily be disorienting if not familiar with the area. These Joshua trees are amazingly beautiful and are really the heart of this desert in providing cover for many animals including the Owls that haunt the area at night where they hunt Jackrabbits, Cottontail, Kangaroo field mice as well as other small rodents. Marley and I moved a bit ahead of Nick to video and photograph the hunt for some future video’s.

Nielsen Specialty Ammo

The area I chose for use to make our stand was surrounded by dens and areas where I have seen many Coyotes resting from the sun during the day. Nick set up his caller about 35 yards South of where we were sitting up against several thicker Joshua Trees and small sagebrush. Nick and I decided that a Jackrabbit distress was the most natural prey Coyote’s would encounter here so he set his caller for that at a medium/high volume. As soon as the caller started Marley’s ears perked up that obviously got her attention as an avid hunter herself, very realistic sounding. We all sat up against the thick backdrop of foliage and waited anxiously to spot some movement.

Nielsen Specialty Ammo

Within about 5 minutes a Coyote rushing in from our right, the problem was we had one short 4′ tall Joshua Tree in our line of sight not only from us but from the camera. These Coyote’s don’t stand still for very long, I was manning the camera and unfortunately Nick had no clear shot.

Nielsen Specialty Ammo

The Coyote soon ran off followed by another that I noticed was hiding behind some thick bushes. Wow was my heart pumping, I know Nicks was too because he had that look of excitement. We were both surprised as to how fast the Coyote’s came in as well as how close to us they were. This was Marley’s first Coyote hunt so she was a bit caught off guard seeing we were hunting dogs, not sure what she thought. As Nick and I sat a bit more attentive to another close encounter we continued the caller and within about 15 minutes we spotted another Coyote rush in from our right side, this time stopping just out of my line of sight leaving Nick with a good opportunity.

Nielsen Specialty Ammo

40 yards

Nick took the shot around the 35 to 40 yards with a mil dot hold under releasing a 38 grain HP swaged slug right behind it’s left shoulder. The hit was very solid and you could see the Coyote move its head back trying to bite the impacted area. It took off quick so we waited a few minutes before looking for a blood trail. As we searched the area we only found one small wet spot where the coyote was shot and started walking the direction it took off.  Around 60 or so yards we stopped to see if we could see any blood and then spotted the Coyote laying about 10 yards from us dead as a door nail.

coyote hunt airguns

This was a smaller healthy looking Coyote with a nice coat for this time of year in the super hot desert. This was Nick’s first Coyote taken with a .250 NSA slug, I was very impressed with performance of this ammo as well as his tuned KalibrGun Cricket. These are accurate slugs and a great choice for hunting with .25 cal PCP air rifles.  Swaged from pure lead to give excellent expansion for effective and responsible hunting.  This pellet is sized .250 with a 2S hollow point nose and flat base, 38.0 grains and the KalibrGun Cricket launches them at 880 fps. The gun has a larger plenum and the regulator is set to140 bar. Charlie at Georgia Air Guns sells the plenum that is a major upgrade in power to the rifle.

.250 with a 2S hollow point nose

NSA .250 with a 2S hollow point nose

airgun coyote hunt

After we took several minutes calming down from the excitement, taking some video and photographs we headed back to our stand where we continued to call for another 20 minutes or so before heading back to the vehicles. The trip was a great success already and was very pleased with the experience and footage I gathered sofar. By this time it was approaching 8:00am so we decided to move to a different area to try calling in some more Coyote’s. We tried several different locations with no action at all, by this time it was already getting very hot and the sun was pushing down on us fairly hard. Marley, Nick and I continued for the next few hours and ultimately decided to call it quits as the heat was near unbearable, especially for Marley. This was a great successful hunt and am so glad Nick was able to get out and join me, I learned a little and was just happy to spend time with a friend. Here is a link to a short video I put together and have already planned for a full three day Coyote hunt coming up soon.

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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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Fun and Gun weekend/hunting and shooting

Late Thursday evening I headed out with Marley several hours North into the secluded NF where I had previously scouted a good area to not only hunt, but shoot. My goal was to spend several days hunting and testing some ammo for not only the EVOL .30 but the .308 and .357 Slayers. After arriving close to dark I found a good place where I was meeting my friend Brent and his 20 year old son who were shortly behind me. After a short wait they had arrived and started making camp in our usual fashion along with a nice campfire to take the chill off our bones through the night.


The plan for us to get up early and to each scout several different areas for Cottontail, Jackrabbits and Ground Squirrels where we would meet up later in the day. I started out about a mile down the road where the foliage was just a bit greener along with a bit of water in the nearby creek. By this time it was about 7:00 am so I still had several hours until my friend Nick and his family arrived to a previously scouted area where we would camp, shoot and hunt for a solid 3 days. I decided to park the Jeep in a nice shady spot and take a long hike into the mountains with Marley and the EVOL .30



After a short hike across a creek and up a steep ravine Marley and I decided to take a break in the shade as it was getting fairly hot, we could hear the many birds such as Woodpeckers and Blue jays staying very active. After several minutes I was able to spot several ground squirrels moving about across a huge fallen tree.


I shot at several coming within inches, even close enough to blow one off the log with the shrapnel of splinters from the impact of the 44gr Polymag. After making some wind adjustments I spotted a good size Ground Squirrel poking his head up from behind the fallen log and just to the left of a small nubby branch.


When the wind had that moment of calmness I was able to make a beautiful 130 yard head-shot that blew that squirrel right off his rocker.


It always amazes me how far a shot really is when I have to walk it, was not easy making our way down the steep embankment and up the other side where we made our way to the giant fallen tree. The tree was massive and for some odd reason had what looked to be several doors someone had cut into it.??


Marley and I made our way around the other side and saw several more Ground Squirrel scrambling away through the broken mess of branches. We headed up from the other side and hiked up a hill where we sat in the shade at 90 yards looking down.


After about 10 minutes of patiently waiting Marley and I spotted several more Ground Squirrels moving about, one even stopped right on top.

The 90 yard shot was fairly easy for the .30 monster I was using so I was able to plug him pretty good as he made his way down off the log.



Marley and I made our way down to document our kills and to move to another spot where we would make way back to the tuck.



We continued down into the ravine and followed the creek back towards the Jeep when I spotted several more Ground Squirrels running up a steep embankment.


The Ground Squirrels seemed to all be invading a large tree that had roots that were protruding the ground from erosion. I sat in the shade while Marley played in the creek, trying to cool off from the Summer heat. I was having a difficult time positioning myself for a shot as the area was very off camber and too was forcing me to shoot near vertically. I finally spotted several and ended up killing the larger one on the right offering a bit larger target at 45 yards.



Marley and I headed a short distance back to the Jeep where we were soon met by Nick and his family. We set up a nice camp along with some EZups that would take the sun off and too offered a cool place for a shooting lane.


Nick was kind enough to set up his chronograph and Lab Radar

We set up several targets, spinners and later on my two friends even brought some heavy steel we set up at 130 yards through the trees.


After a full day of shooting we had a nice campfire followed by dinner, laughs and a few mosquito bites. The night was so peaceful and quiet other than a few Owls and the distant chatter of Coyotes.


Saturday morning came about and I woke up a bit late, being now after 8:00 am where we had expected Tom and several others to arrive throughout the day. Nicks wife was kind enough to make a nice pot of caffeine that I much needed to start my day of adventuring. Marley was so happy just to be outside and able to play stick with Nicks two boys.


Sometime around 11:00am Tom arrived with a .308 and .357 Slayer where him and Nick planned to test several different weights of Big Bore ammo. We had acquired a heavy steel quadrant target that I dragged 250 yards up through the trees, a great challenging target considering the small window it left to shoot through the thick branches.


Tom was using the nielsenspecialtyammo.com swaged 98.9gr .308 going 970 fps, gets out pretty quick and by the end of the day proved to be very accurate.


Later after lunch my friend Brent and his son Brian came to visit us and to tell us about the scouting they had done for Cottontail. My friend Brent is not an Airgunner but him and his son both showed great interest in the Big Bores we had on the table, heck who wouldn’t? Tom eagerly invited them to try them out and they both surly did.




After a bit more fun we took a break and relaxed in the shade talking about hunting, shooting and just having a few great conversations!
Tom sadly had to leave the fun and head back to his desert home so Nick, Marley and I loaded into the Jeep to do some scouting and to meet Craig down the road where he would follow us back to camp. By this time it was near 5:30 when we finally met up with Craig, was happy to see another friendly face join us in the reindeer games. Marley and I went out on another short hunt not far from camp where she was able to tackle herself some dinner down near the creek, a small Cottontail to be exact. That little dog is as amazing as they come and has brought so much joy into my life having such a good little companion as her. That evening we had more laughter along with some tasty chicken cabobs Nicks wife provided.


The next morning I woke up fairly early and headed up the hill to visit Brent and his son Brian and see how they faired with the opening day of cottontail season. They ended up getting one Cottontail not far from our camp using a shotgun at 30 yards on the run. I wish I had taken my camera but unfortunately did not. We all made way back to camp and enjoyed the shade from the EZup along with plenty of water that is so important on such hot days, especially when hiking around. I had suggested going on a Ground Squirrel hunt and Nick and Craig were both eager to attend. We packed our gear and brought plenty of water where I had planned to set them up near where I had gone the day before.

                                                                    Nick with his .25 Cricket
I set them both up about 50 yards apart where they both had some good view of the adjacent hillside.

                                                 Craig with his .25 Vulcan 

After several minutes Craig and I could hear the solid crack of Nicks .25 Cricket smacking a Ground-squirrel as it made its way up a fallen log. Nice shot at what looked to be about 35 yards or so. I sat with Craig for about 20 minutes before Marley and I decided to take a hike and circle back around to camp, I had hoped to find more active areas but the heat was taking its toll on us both. Craig had left not to long before Marley and I arrived back at camp, was hoping everyone would have better luck with hunting but it really was very hot. That evening Nick and I set out again where his son was able to spot a good size Cottontail at 35 yards sitting under a bush, hidden very well I might add. Nick took a great shot that put that bunny down with authority. Marley was happy to retrieve and was even allowed in the photograph.  ;D


Nick and his boy headed back to camp and Marley and I continued along the creek-bed when just before dark I was able to spot a small Cottontail at 45 yards just at the edge of the embankment.

                                                 American Air Arms EVOL .30
Marley and I had a great finish to a long weekend and were both super tired, we slept great that night. The following morning we got up a bit late and started packing up the camp for our long venture home, where we both needed a long hot shower. I thank everyone who attended and am embarrassed because I forgot some names and was not as organized as I usually am with photos. I have been doing a great deal of filming lately and have not been writing as much as I should, this is what I enjoy and can’t forget the importance of it. Through my writing I hope to not only entertain but to bring the spark of our sport to the newcomers. As some may know I started this online magazine along with my video series that can be found on YouTube, I have put much work into both and really appreciate all the support I have been given.

“The best gun’s the one you’re shooting”

Check our video page for more action and please subscribe!

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Coyote Hunting After Dark

by Ron Stephen


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

shootin shack

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


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

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

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

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

shootin shack
airgun shooters

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

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

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

sunset night coyote hunt

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

evol .30 night hunt

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

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

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

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

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

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

coyote rabbit kill

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

doug noble .338