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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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Hatsan FLASH Review/Hunt

This field use review of the new Hatsan FLASH .22 caliber entry level PCP was one I had been very excited for. The market for entry level PCPs has become what almost seems like a race between many different Airgun manufacturers. I believe this is a great time for people to get sucked into this sport as the market has produced so many budget minded PCPs. HatsanUSA sent me the .22 caliber FLASH that was set to debut at the 2018 Shot Show in Vegas. My job (That was apparently done for free) was to simply field use the rifle and to document my experiences through video and my writings here. I received the rifle on a Friday and was eager to spend some time with it at the range to test various pellets and to site the rifle in for a two day hunt the following week. My initial thoughts of the rifle out of the box were very good, the gun was obviously very lightweight coming in just under 6lbs. The thumbhole ambidextrous stock was very comfortable and with the raised Monte Carlo cheek the rifle shouldered very well.

The FLASH felt very sturdy and super solid, I checked for flexing of the barrel, stock and breech, finding no movement. The rifle came with two rotary style magazines, single shot tray and quick fill probe.

Model FLASH
Caliber .22
Max Velocity*  From our field use

(Lead Pellets)

.22 915 FPS

18gr

Shots At Optimal Velocity**  

.22 25 shots

Stock Advanced polymer, ambidextrous thumbhole with monte carlo raised cheek and piccitiny for bi-pod mounting.
Key Features Bolt action

Fully shrouded choked barrel

165cc fixed aluminum air cylinder

Optics Rail (11mm and 22mm)

Spring-Loaded Rotary Magazine, single shot tray

Quick fill probe

Under 6 lbs

Anti Knock System

Onboard pressure gauge

Overall Length 42 1/2″

MSRP $299

After some time looking the gun over in the shop and mounting the Hatsan Optima 3-9x40ao scope I was ready for the range. Here are several more detailed photographs of the gun that may help to show a bit more of the gun not represented in the video.

Adjustable (metal) Quatro trigger with manual safety

Rubber butt pad with raised Monte Carlo cheek, very comfortable.                                                                                                               

Bolt action design with 11mm&22mm dovetail rails for mounting a wide variety of optics.

Single shot tray that snaps into place, perfect for range use.

Quick fill probe

Pressure gauge, gun fills to 3000 psi

Two 12 shot rotary magazines included

My main goal was to get to the range, use the chronograph and to test a wide variety of pellets to match the best accuracy and power. I was very happy to have the provided single shot tray and I prefer single loading from the bench, much easier than loading magazines. The gun was easily filled with my air tank and can see someone with a hand pump having no trouble filling the small 165cc air reservoir. The FLASH was very quiet and what I would consider backyard friendly, the QE shroud did an exceptional job quieting the 30 fpe bark. The Quatro trigger was a bit heavy but had a very predictable break, the trigger is fully adjustable and the gun includes the two small allen wrenches to easily do the job.

After some work with the chronograph the rifle was starting at a 3000psi fill with first shot 915fps using 19gr H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme’s shooting 25 shots with the last settling at 863 fps at 1700 psi. I wanted to keep the gun as is out of the box but can see some tuning potential to bring a flatter shot string. After documenting the numbers I moved onto accuracy and found the 18gr H&N Sniper Magnums to be the best I was able to achieve. Hatsan has incorporated a new Anti-Knock System into this rifle, what is this system? The Anti-Knock System is essentially a safety device that keeps the hammer in place during times the gun is bumped, bounced or knocked or dropped. This system ensures the gun cannot discharge air without the trigger being engaged. This may be a fix to a problem that was never there and one I personally have never encountered. I think this safety device does add a bit of further comfort and piece of mind added to a field gun such as the FLASH.

5 shots at 25 meters

After spending a good part of the day with the FLASH I was very excited to get out into the field with it that following weekend. I packed the gun away in a soft case and inspected it several days later for any loss of air, it held exactly at 3000 psi where I left it. Friday evening I packed up the Jeep with all the equipment and gear Marley and I would need for the several days in the Mojave desert. My good friend Tom Costan was accompanying us for the several day trip where I had planned to do some video work for several different field use projects. Marley and I left the house very early to make way through the desert in good time and to try to make the most of the day. From the highway we followed a rough motorcycle trail near 16 miles into one of the most remote areas of the Mojave desert.

As we drove through the whooped out trail Marley was keeping watch for the occasional Jackrabbit that would bolt in front of us. The area had many large rock outcroppings, Joshua trees and miles of animal trails heading from the desert floor into the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

These areas of the desert are very unforgiving and are home to many dangers such as snakes, mountain lions and birds of prey. After arriving to our spot nestled between several large rock outcroppings I set up camp and unloaded my camera gear and Airgun. By this time it was 11:30am and the temperature was in the high 60s. I checked the zero of the gun as I had packed the FLASH into a soft case, sometimes the rough ride can knock the scopes out of zero. The gun was still perfectly zeroed and ready for the day of hiking. Marley and I slowly hiked a bit South of camp where there was a huge amount of rock outcroppings, we made our way up to the base of it and sat for awhile looking for movement.

After filming several segments for the video I had spotted several Cottontail’s moving about through the many rocks and small crevices. I spotted one at near 70 yards sitting in a small crevice on the side of the adjacent rock outcropping.

I lined up for the shot that was across the canyon only to be to low just skimming its right front leg, it ran down to the left stopping just behind a boulder where I was able to make a finishing shot at 35 yards.

The FLASH is extremely quiet, especially in the unconfined spaces of the wide open desert. When hunting small game it’s sometimes important to have a quiet report as so it doesn’t alert the many other animals in the vicinity. After collecting and bagging our kill Marley and I continued around the mountain of rock formations hoping to spot several more rabbits. As we continued down a small animal trail I noticed a squirrel ranged at 68 yards off to my left sitting atop a large sagebrush.

For longer offhand shots like this the FLASH really shined with it’s lightweight shoulder-ability.

68 yard head-shot

After another short break Marley and I headed back to camp to have lunch with Tom before venturing out again into the afternoon sun. The area was very beautiful and so quiet with the only sounds being heard were from the many different types of small birds that move through the dense sagebrush. I couldn’t help but to stop and take a photograph of the FLASH.

After continuing our hike along an animal trail the sun was beginning to set over the mountain that dropped the temperature by near 20 degrees. After hiking around for a good bit of time seeing nothing within range Marley and I headed back down towards camp to see if Tom had better luck. Tom was sitting on top of a huge rock outcropping that looked over miles of desert floor.

That evening was not as cold as we had expected, we made a nice little campfire that warmed us enough to enjoy the beautiful night sky. I slept all through the night and awoke by 7:15am to air up the FLASH and head out due South towards the large outcroppings from the previous day. Marley and I slowly made our way, stopping frequently to scan the many nearby rocks. Early morning is an excellent time to Cottontail hunt, better than late evening from my experience. As we made it to the top of this hill I spotted some Cottontail ears from behind a large rock at 40 yards.

I made a nice headshot that thumped the rabbit down without even a twitch where Marley made her quick recovery.

Marley and I continued on over the hill making a big several mile circle that would ultimately lead us back to camp.

As we made our way down to the valley floor I spotted several more rabbits scurrying away with one that left me with a split second shot that was a near miss.

By this time I had to end my time with the FLASH and work on some other video work with Tom. My time spent with the FLASH was very successful and can’t wait to get out with it again very soon. The rifle is an absolute pleasure to carry around all day and made offhand shooting in off camber terrain much more doable.  The FLASH is a laser accurate rifle out to 70+ yards and is no doubt a great entry level choice in the PCP market. I hope my short adventure may be enjoyed and too will bring someone closer into purchasing their first PCP rifle. I will enclose this video that documents everything I have written and can only hope to share more very soon. Till then, “The best gun is the one your shooting” take care!! (Note) several months after we did this review with no compensation from Hatsan we sent an email asking for some assistance to get the word out about Airgunflix. Our email was ignored, after all the hard work we have done to support Hatsan we felt a bit used. We do not support those who do not support us, this has left a fowl taste as to how they treat the hands that feed them.Cheers MSA Team

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FIRST LOOK AT THE EVOL TAC

American Air Arms designs always start from a clean slate and are never just another example of the industry standard. They are engineered to meet a specific vision, purpose and performance goals before any chips hit the shop floor. When the vision and purpose are clear, the performance goals are analyzed and found to be reasonable and attainable, only then can the actual design begin. This philosophy is what makes the guns lean, clean and gives them the exceptional effectiveness, performance and purpose they are known for. The creation of the EVOL TAC was first just a great idea out of pure LOVE for Airgunning and the need for the ultimate in performance and durability. The EVOL’s  first rendering was putting the idea into a usable format that could be changed and adjusted before the actual rifle was ever built.

evol rendering

American Air Arms products are designed using 3D CAD and manufactured on state of the art CNC machining centers completely in the USA. This is one of the first early model prototype EVOL .30 TAC’s that’s been outfitted for field testing.

evol .30 tac

This rifle has been outfitted with the Magpul PRS buttstock, Magpul MOE grip,  Magpul AFG foregrip, Magpul RSA QD sling mounts, nylon/neoprene sling, Burris Tactical 30mm scope mounts and a Hawke Frontier 5-30 Scope. The total weight is 10lbs 4 oz. PRS buttstock with the RSA QD picatinny mount. The PRS is a fixed stock with adjustable pull and cheek riser.

magpul buttstock

This stock is much heavier than collapsing or folding units, though it is very rigid and doesn’t rattle around as some others may. RSA Quick Disconnect mount on the lower makes adding a sling both simple and adjustable. The amount of components available for this platform are nearly endless and can meet just about anyone’s needs.

evol tac sling

Lot’s of Airgun shooters are going to feel a sense of “Home” when handling this rifle. It’s really a testament to Eugene Stoner’s AR-15 design; the EVOL effortlessly fell into the AR form. I love the big bores but have been bugging Tom for two years to build something like this. I’m not sure if Tom Costan will agree but I think he surprised himself, it came out nicer than he imagined.

Tom Costan with evol .30

I have shot both guns at the Extreme Benchrest and to be honest the whole time I kept thinking about how great the TAC version would be to hunt with. Both the TAC and tradition EVOL rifles are very lightweight and as the SLAYER are near indestructible. The side-lever design is beyond a pleasure to use and will make follow up shots a breeze when hunting.

evol 30 next to ar15

The EVOL is shooting very consistently at 890 fps with the JSB 44 grain pellets and too a very unique feature is that the magazine has been designed to accommodate Polymags as well. This is the trigger group for the Slayer Hi-Power Rifle and EVOL Sport Carbine models.

evol trigger group

It’s a package type unit that is adjusted before assembly into the action. It too is also possible to adjust once installed as well.
Features:
-True two stage.
-Wire EDM cut and heat treated tool steel sears.
-First stage pull weight.
-First stage position.
-Second Stage pull weight.
-Second stage break.
-Over-travel
-Pull is adjustable from 2 lbs to ~ 4 oz

All EVOL model rifles are regulated to deliver consistent shot to shot velocity and maximize shot count.

evol regulator

The side mounted gauge and foster fill was the solution to many complaints and concerns with the end of tube placement. The magazines are very similar to the EVOL‘s big brother the SLAYER in being all aluminum and self indexing holding 8 rounds. The barrels twists were selected for long range performance with the intent of eliminating spiraling past 100 yards.  Several rates and land configurations were evaluated as well as some “name brand” barrels.  The twist rates are designed around pellets and are NOT suitable for slugs.  The goal for EVOL’s is the most ergonomic, consistent and accurate pellet shooter available while optimizing performance for the most common commercially available pellets.

Action Side Lever Regulated Rotary Magazine Rotary Magazine Rotary Magazine
Single Shot Tray Single Shot Tray Single Shot Tray
Barrel Length 18 in 18 in 18 in
Caliber 0.218 in 0.250 in .300 in
Twist 1:19 in 1:32 in 1:42 in
Physical Weight* 7.0 lbs 7.0 lbs 7.0 lbs
Length w/ moderator 39in 39in 39in
Length wo/ moderator 35in 35in 35 in
Lenght of Pull 14.0 in 14.0 in 14.0 in
Performance Power 20 – 40 fpe 40 – 60 fpe 80 – 90 fpe
Shot count 200 – 100 ~60 ~36
Trigger Pull < 0.5 – 4.0 lbs < 0.5 – 4.0 lbs < 0.5 – 4.0 lbs
Reservoir Capacity 290cc 290cc 290cc
Max Fill Pressure 4000psi 4000psi 4000psi

* Tactical weight with Magul MOE Buttstock.

EVOL .30 TAC

EVOL Sport Carbine Features:

1 Titanium reservoir
2 Internally adjustable regulator
3 Hammer forged chromemoly, tensioned and shrouded barrel system
4 Quick and easy side lever action
5 Self indexing rotary magazine (all aluminum design)
6 True two stage trigger (position, first and second stage, pull, and stop are adjustable)
7 MIL-STD-1913 Picitinny scope rail with 25 MOA included
8 600px-Canada_Maple_Leaf.svg SSG anti-bounce hammer system
9 Rear velocity adjuster
10 Industry standard QD Foster fill connection

 

Quality cannot be obtained without understanding the limitations of manufacturing with modern technology; every American Air Arms Airgun is a combination of vision and technology combined with passion for old world craftsmanship. An American Air Arms Airgun will exceed  expectations, provide exceptional service, pride of ownership and one that will be shared with future generations.

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USING A DOT SIGHT ON A BIG BORE AIRGUN

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

Hunting area

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

dot sight

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

sitting in shade

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

jackrabbit area

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

jackrabbit kill

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

jackrabbit headshot

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

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.30 POLYMAG TESTING & REVIEW

Very exciting to be one of the first to field test the new .30 Polymags,a new product made by Predator International,inc. I received a box that was sent by Dick via Priority mail that made it to my house late Sunday evening just in time for some testing Monday morning.

Dick was kind enough to provide a very nice zippered pouch that I intend to use on future hunts, too are very handy for keeping the tins together. I set out Monday morning for the American Air Arms facility located in the high desert of Southern California where such guns as the .357 Slayer are built and tested. Myself along with the help of Tom Costan decided to start the day by doing some group therapy with these 44.75g beastly looking .30 pellets.

The gun I used for the testing was a custom Evenix Rainstorm with a .30 Tj enterprises barrel that puts out some good FPE. The pellets were shooting at 910 fps and the height of the shot curve,more than enough power to get them out to the 85 yard target.

The day was a bit cloudy with a very slight breeze from the right but offered some pleasant target conditions. I was very pleased with the groups I was getting even though I by no means am a paper puncher.

 I did several 5 shot groups and was beginning to feel confident in the pellets hunting capabilities,having some serious fun watching the plywood get blown apart too. I wanted to test the expansion of the pellets so I used a batch of mud that I had dumped into a plastic jug,figured this may mimic flesh fairly accurately.

The expansion was very massive and had given me the instant conclusion that these pellets would be absolutely devastating on game such as large Jackrabbits and even Coyotes. At this point of the day I decided to head out for a short hunt near our facility where I soon was able to take a Cottontail at 30 yards. The sound these pellets make when they hit bone and flesh is unreal and unlike any other “pellets” I have used.

I was able to make my shot through the neck,out the skull and actually blew off part of the rabbits ear.

The .30 Polymags are definitely a pellet I would trust to use on larger game such as Coyotes and monster Jackrabbits. By the end of the day I was feeling confident that I would no doubt use them out to 100+yards for hunting. I really enjoyed the opportunity I’ve had to test and hunt with these fine pellets,cant wait to use them on some big stuff in the next few weeks. Thanks to all involved and hope to share some more very soon!

 

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The American Airgun Revolution

The Airgun industry is flourishing here in the United States and many have called it the Golden Age for our sport. Many new manufactures are sprouting up across the states, some new and some that have been around for years. Over the past several years I have seen the market for airguns soar higher than before and with that comes ingenuity and growth. The European airguns have been on top of the high end market and I feel as though us Americans have just as much to offer as far as quality craftsmanship. My goal is to show that you don’t need to look overseas to find quality and performance, we have that right here at home.

In no particular order the first company I wanted to acknowledge here is Mac1 Airguns that has been around for over 80 years, 30 of those ran by Tim McMurray. The Mac1 legacy has set some tall standards for quality, craftsmanship and performance. Tim McMurray has earned a reputation for making accuracy and he could not be more pleased about that. “Pushing the envelope is what makes it all so fun I can hardly believe it has already represented three decades of my life as owner. I know how lucky I am to be able to compete with and build these fine airguns. It is icing on the cake I’ve shot fairly well for the last year. Enjoying these guns in a competition environment is exciting and satisfying.” I have gone to quite a few Airgun shows, competitions etc, and Tim is always just one who is always willing to give advice in hopes to help someone succeed.

The Hunter BR is the Ultimate Benchrest Airgun. Barrels are between 24 and 25″ long and all but the usable rifling at each end has been removed. The rear 6″ of this barrel is cut down to around .630″. It sports an American made 6 groove cut rifled barrel made
to Mac1 specs with 1 in 24 Twist Rate (Custom Twist Rates Available). If you wish to play with the Big Dogs you need to go with the good barrels or hope you find the 1 in a 100 barrels made to production standards that winds up exceptional. American barrel makers are the best in the world and we now have a number of them trying their luck in the AG arena. That is a very healthy thing for AG BR and AG accuracy nuts in general.The combination of ultimate build quality and great Airgun Barrel gives these fine rifles the kind of accuracy championships are made of. A plastic hard case is included along with the necessary bolt on parts to set the gun in a proper Bench Rest and bags. Tubes can be 24. 26, or 28″ long in black or clear. Accessories fill adapters and scope mounts are extra. You can have the base plate, tube plug, butt plate and receiver matching color in red, blue, clear or black. This configuration is an upright rifle that the action is inline and grip at Bottom Dead center with Scope rail at Top Dead center. This makes for a more conventional BR gun. Mac1 Airguns


The second company I want to discuss is Wicked Air Rifles, a company that has been around for awhile and too well known for tuning Marauder rifles. Travis Whitney and Jim Gaska have created the FLEX line of rifles that are proudly made in USA and have achieved a very unique market for hunters. I have watched and admired this company grow and explode in the market place as they have some very unique, user friendly rifles and pistols.

These guns are very sturdy looking and the frame is a single piece of aluminum that uses AR furniture. Each gun is hand assembled and tuned to customer satisfaction. Wicked Air Rifles pride themselves on service and will go above and beyond to work with the customers needs. These guns have a rail system that allows easy adjustment of accessories such as a bi-pod or go pro camera. It’s a side bolt design with retracting bolt to move out of air path. No bounce hammer and high flow valve. Changing springs and power adjustments are easy in that the average Joe can work on without difficulty.  The rifle can achieve 20-200 FPE  (depending on caliber selection) Adjustable power levels. Timney Calvin Elite 2 stage trigger group, Carbon fiber bottle, Fully floating Tensioned barrel. Made In The USA!!! Wicked Air Rifles


The next company that holds a special place in my life and too has given me a true look into the Airgun world is American Air Arms. They are mostly known for the Slayer Big Bore Bullpups and Rifles. Founded by Tom Costan, an engineer, avid airgunner, and airgun hunter with a love of all shooting sports. These PCP Airguns are completely and proudly made in the USA with nearly 100% American made materials! All parts (except barrels, grips and bolts) are engineered and manufactured in their own facility using state of the art CNC machining centers.  In-house manufacturing allows them complete control over the quality of they’re product. The designs always start from a clean slate and are never just another example of the industry standard. They are engineered to meet a specific vision, purpose, and performance goals before any chips hit the shop floor. When the vision and purpose are clear, the performance goals are analyzed and found to be reasonable and attainable, only then can the actual design begin. This philosophy is what makes their guns lean, clean and gives them the exceptional effectiveness, performance and purpose they are known for.

Some of the noteworthy features of the EVOL are: built in 25MOA, regulated, shrouded and tensioned Tj Enterprises barrel, integral moderator, indestructible side-lever action, 7-9 round magazine (depending on caliber), Match quality two stage trigger (adjustable in every way), and 100% made in the USA!  All calibers have “metal” magazines designed to accept polymags without modification. American Air Arms has described quality as: Excellence in engineering, reliability, precision, purpose and performance.  Quality cannot be obtained without understanding the limitations of manufacturing with modern technology; every American Air Arms Airgun is a combination of vision and technology combined with passion for old world craftsmanship.  An American Air Arms Airgun will exceed  expectations, provide exceptional service, pride of ownership and one that will be shared with future generations. American Air Arms


Our last company is RAW Rapid Air Weapons a company that has set a huge name for itself in quality and craftsmanship. Rapid Air Weapons LLC was formed in 2006 as a supplier of  Precision Air Rifle components and accessories, today they manufacture, as well as supply high quality components and products for the shooting industry from their factory using the latest in CNC multi axis machines. They take building rifles extremely serious, from very early on parts are inspected at each stage to ensure they meet expectations on quality. Throughout the building stages everything is hand inspected before being installed and assembled up into a finished rifle. Specialist tools and gauges check barrel alignment in relationship to the action and scope rail, if it doesn’t pass they’re strict tests it will not leave the factory.  Having over 28 years manufacturing and design experience at Theoben their company CEO Martin has the most experience in the business when it comes to Theoben Products, with this extensive knowledge gained over decades they are able to offer some great products.  Rapid Air Weapons has an impressive line of precision Air Rifles and products manufactured in the USA and an even more impressive collection of trophy’s and medals won by users.

This high power model comes regulated and fitted with a quick fill system with an incorporated pressure gauge, powering the HM1000 is a 480cc air cylinder and a high quality German match grade barrel, finished with an carbon fiber barrel sleeve and integral carbon fiber moderator or barrel weight where required, the rifle comes equipped with a multi shot magazine or it can be single shot loaded, machined into the action is a new style picatinny rail with 22 MOA to give the shooter added ability to zero at longer distances, both picatinny and weaver mounts will fit. The trigger is a fully adjustable sporting version of our TM1000 target trigger with an added safety catch, the stock is made from laminate or walnut and hand oiled for weather protection and fitted with an adjustable butt pad and stippled for a secure grip while in the aim. All aluminum parts are coated for protection and the internal components are hand finished, hammer and trigger parts are hardened and polished for extra smoothness in reloading as well as making for a cleaner firing cycle, the sidelever linkage and bolt have been hardened ready for a lifetime of work. Rapid Air Weapons


The four companies in this read are just my own hand picked example of whats available to the American consumer and shows we don’t have to go European to find quality. For myself I enjoy shooting all types of Airguns but over the past few years have learned I prefer the quality I can find at home in the USA!

WANT MORE? Visit us at Airgun Flix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2016 EXTREME BENCHREST

On Wednesday October 5th 2016 Doug Noble, myself and Tom Costan left the American Air Arms facility in Acton California to head out 7 hours into the Arizona desert. Our trip had not started as soon as we would have liked as our rifles had literally been just finished that morning setting us back more than 6 hours. I was very excited as this was my first widely followed Airgun event where I was sure to meet some very familiar faces. My goal was to do well in the Big Bore event and to hopefully place well in the small bore 75yard benchrest that was to be very challenging. We arrived in Arizona early that evening where we settled in and made sure we had all necessary components to compete the following morning. The next morning we piled into the van and made our way for some coffee before our arrival to the 2016 Extreme Benchrest event.

We pulled into the beautiful  Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club by 7:30 am where we were greeted by banners and an army of Airguns Of Arizona staff diligently getting the event ready.

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We made our way into the registration area where we were kindly greeted and given our time schedule that included a small bag of goodies along with an 2016 Extreme Benchrest T-shirt. Tom, Doug and I were excited to get some practice in before our 1st afternoon Big Bore event. We unloaded our guns, tanks and pounds of other shooting equipment to the nicely shaded shooting benches.

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We were greeted by AoA’s own Kip Perow who later I found to be quite a great shooter in the Big Bore event. The man sitting was Ron from High Arc Hunting shooting the new Bushbuck .45 monster Big Bore rifle. Doug Noble set up his custom built .338 that he has spent many months preparing to shoot here.

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Other well known names such as Rossi Morreale (below) from the show American Airgunner were practicing for the event. Tom and myself had a great talk with Rossi and were impressed with his love for the sport and his sincerity in trying to make it grow.

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As Tom and I set up our new guns for testing we had Micheal Wendt (below) the new owner of Airgun Nation forum come by to say hello and to check out our new guns. Micheal is a very friendly guy that had some very positive energy behind him and one I was glad to meet.

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I was having a great time trying out my new wood stock EVOL .30 while Tom was using the .30 TAC version. We were practicing with both of the American Air Arms .357 Slayers as well. For me it was quite the adjustment to switch between two completely different power levels. I was sighting in my .30 for the 75 yard event and my .357 Slayer for 200 yards.

img_6924-copy-copyimg_6908-copy-copyMy first event was the Big Bore 200 yard event where we were shooting at 4 military style targets, we had to make 5 shots onto each target. I was shooting horrible not only due to the wind but I had chosen the wrong scope for the application being a fixed parallax. After that disastrous event I headed over to have my Airtank filled where I was kindly greeted by Todd DeOrio (below) Airguns Of Arizona’s fill station expert. He was most helpful and very on his game as I had to visit him quite often over the next few days,never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a fill. Thank you

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The rest of the day we practiced some more and walked around in between checking out some cool guns and even spotting a few more well known shooters such as my friend Tim McMurray of Mac1 Airguns and former winner of the EBR.

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Food and refreshments were available all day long with a great shaded area with plenty of room to sit and chat. Precision Airgun was on hand with its mobile repair center as well as the onsite gunsmith.

img_6964  Day two for us was to practice till about 3:00 where we were to shoot our first 75 yard card.

img_6925-copy-2 I had still been dialing in my gun and practicing the best I could in the wind that didn’t seem too bad as of yet. Tom was shooting the best out of the three of us with his gun, ending with him doing fairly well on his card. I had made the mistake of not using my sighters as often as I should of, ending with me doing very poorly. (no need to post pic)

Day 3 we had or 2nd 75 yard card to shoot, all three of us were in the 3rd relay so we had a good portion of the day to practice. As I walked up to practice I saw another more familiar face such as Ted Bier.

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As the time approached I was feeling confident in my gun and my ability to shoot it well. We all headed down to our lanes to set our bench and to start the 75 yard event. I thankfully used a rear lead bag that proved to work much better for me, good to learn for future competitions. The wind was not as bad as the previous day but was still a bit unpredictable for me. This time I used my sights as needed and filled my gun along with using sorted pellets. For me this was my personal best and was very pleased regardless of how I placed.

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img_6983As you can see, these are very small targets and very humbling when missed. Unfortunately as good as I had done this day my previous card had killed my chance to qualify for the 3rd card at 100 yards.

Day 4 started early for us as our Big Bore event started at around 8:00 where we would be shooting at 85 yards and 200 yards. I was pretty confident with shooting 200 yards but was a bit nervous of the 85 yards as I’m not used to having to hold under. Doug, Kip, Ron and Tom were all shooting great. That Bushbuck is a pretty amazing gun, Doug’s .338 is just plain radical.

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I had a bit of confusion with my 85 yard targets but in the end was very happy with a 2nd.

After the event we had nothing more to do till the banquet so we spent our time plinking with our guns and visiting friends. I was having fun offhand shooting the 200 yard silhouette while Doug was visiting the 550 yard silhouette with his custom .338. My good friend Jim Walton (below) from “Fun Birds Hunting” came by to visit and to do a bit of shooting with us.

img_6947-copyHad some more visitors from Chile “Patagonia Airguns” So nice to see people from all over the world, bringing some very nice airguns to compete with.

img_6958 img_6957My friend Steve Marsh (above) who lives in Arizona and came to keep us company and to show us some killer places to eat throughout the area. I cant wait to come back and do some hunting when time allows. The day was just about to and end with a few Thunderheads in the distance.

img_6991We headed down the road several minutes to a very upscale banquet hall that was overlooking a beautiful golf coarse. This is where we would have dinner, announce the winners and to draw for the raffle prizes.

img_7006Some very nice raffle prizes this year.

ham-raffleThe dinner was excellent along with coffee and dessert, and followed by the awards.

img_7007 Big Congrats to Ted for winning the $5000

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This year had so many amazing competitors,some that traveled from far away places. I see this event only growing stronger and I will say the future is in the young shooters. We all as airgunners need to focus on the progression and to try sharing this wonderful pastime. I want to especially thank the AOA crew for doing such a wonderful job and being so welcoming to me as this was my first year competing. I feel it was well worth the trip and can only help to do better next year. The 2016 Extreme Benchrest has many events that can fit just about any shooters needs. Next year I plan to compete in the American Field Target and Big Bore events. Anyone that’s wanting a fun,family friendly event,this is a winner. Thanks to all who participated. Results can be found here: 2016 Extreme Benchrest

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