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GAMO TC45 Field Review

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


GAMO TC45 STATS

Gamo TC45 Big Bore PCP Air Rifle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Ron discussing how to use the green laser with his scope

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

Ron scanning the brush piles

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

This was Marley’s first time hunting at night.

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

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

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


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


         PROS

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

         CONS

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

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


 

Want more? Visit Airgun Flix forum

 

 

 

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Brocock Bantam Sniper HR/Range Test&Field Review

by Dana Webb

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

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


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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 


My final thoughts on this rifle are as follows:

PROS

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

CONS

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Rainstorm .30 Resurrection

by Dana Webb

Saturday morning Terry, Marley and I left my house at 4:45 am to head hour North to the mountains. I had recently acquired a Brocock Sniper HR that I wanted to field test as well as to set it up for review. Terry has been working on Rons Rainstorm thats been converted by American Air Arms to .30 80 fpe beast. This was the Air Rifle used to develop the American Air Arms EVOL model rifles. About a year ago the sling’s quick release failed and the rifle dropped and broke the stock beyond what was thought could be repaired….Well Terry fixed it stronger and better than new. The full write up of the work he had done can be found here. He wanted to take the rifle out for it’s first main voyage so what better than a Jackrabbit hunt. We stopped in an open area first and spent about 30 minutes sighting in both rifles at 50 and 100 yards. We then headed another 35 minutes driving into the hunting area where I have spotted some very large populations of Jackrabbits.


The morning was very nice at 70 degrees by 8:00am, great for hiking around and refreshing after the many months of 100+ degree temperatures.

We arrived to the location, aired up our Air Rifles, loaded our packs with water and proceeded up on top of a hill. I immediately spotted a Cottontail at 130 yards moving through some thick brush that covered the hillsides. I sent Marley down to try flushing some Jackrabbits but I think we may have arrived a bit late to find them in the usual spots. We moved slowly around to the left side of this field where the brush got thicker with several small animal trails that weaved through the hills. I spotted two Jackrabbits moving away from us headed for a deep ravine where they usually will hide out. Terry moved ahead of me and I told him I suspected several would be in the ravine, they generally get spooked and will run up the other side offering an excellent opportunity to make shots. As soon as we hit the edge of where the ravine was sure enough a Jackrabbit started moving up the hillside diagonally.

Terry made several shots finally connecting with a shoulder shot at 100 yards, this Jack was moving fast, great offhand shot at that range. Terry sent Marley in pursuit and she was able to locate the Jackrabbit high up in the thick brush.. WOW were we excited when we saw her return dragging this kangaroo in her mouth. Pretty exciting to watch her retrieve from such rugged terrain.

Marley with her monster bunny recovery

I have seen many Jackrabbits in this area but this no doubt is one of the largest I’ve ever seen. I think Ron will be pleased with how this rifle performs, gun looks really cool as well.

Terry with the custom Rainstorm .30 with Tj barrel


The rest of the day was spent scouting new locations as well as some photography work I had for several new projects coming up that I have been working on. This area is absolutely stunning for this type of work, excellent photo opportunities.

We found several areas that had Ground Squirrels but the activity was very slow, we did find several spots that had some moving around.

Terry spotted several at 120 yards moving around on some rocks.

The scope he had mounted had no mil-dots so judging holdover beyond 100 yards made shots very difficult, that .30 44gr JSB gets out quick with little effect from wind.


The rest of the day was not very eventful, I really just enjoyed being out with my two friends enjoying the mountain air. I was able to gather some great product photographs as well as getting to try out an awesome new gun. We are working on several new field use projects that should make for some exciting videos, so stay tuned and SUBSCRIBE!!!!

Brocock Sniper HR .22 with MTC Cobra F1 scope courtesy of AOA 

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Cometa Lynx V10 Long term review/hunt

by Dana Webb

 

Friday evening I packed the Jeep with several days worth of supplies as the following morning Marley and I would head several hours into the remote mountains of Southern California. About 8 months ago I did a field review of the .22 Cometa Lynx V10 thats distributed by Airforce International. Since I had done the first field review Airforce was kind enough to let me keep the rifle to continue using. As soon as I had confirmation to keep the Air Rifle I went ahead and stripped the black painted finish off, sanded and applied several coats of durable clear semi gloss lacquer. The natural wood grain was beautiful and felt it was a shame to cover with paint. I did some minor trigger work as well as wrapping the shroud and bottle with camo tape to protect the finish as well as to quiet the gun when hiking through thick brush.


Saturday September 8th Lindsey, Marley and I headed out several hours into a familiar location although this time we would be exploring much further into the mountains than on previous trips. This area has been very dry from the lack of rain so through some work on Google Earth I was able to locate an area that looked to have a water source. The narrow dirt road went on for miles and just before we started heading down into the valley floor we just had to stop and take in the beautiful scenery.

Over the next several miles we encountered some cattle next to the road as well as many California Ground Squirrels scurrying about on the many rocks and fallen trees.

Marley was getting very excited as she knew as well as I did the area was plentiful with varmints to hunt. The fairly smooth fire road eventually became very rugged with several creek crossings, rocks and off camber turns.

After a few more miles we came to a flat area that had many Ponderosa Pines, fallen logs and an abundance of green bushes. We set up our camp where we would spend the next two days enjoying ourselves. As I was setting up the tent I noticed quite a few Ground Squirrels just around our camp sitting atop the many tree stumps and broken timber. After everything was set up at camp Marley and I headed out in a Northern direction following a small animal trail. The trail took us atop a hill that looked to be an excellent place to hunt Cottontail’s and Jackrabbit’s. We sat down next to a bush facing down through a canyon where after several minutes I ended up spotting a large Jackrabbit.

I tried to be as quiet as possible while setting up my camera that had to be adjusted for the off camber, range was 83 yards with calm wind conditions. I set up my rifle, took a breath and the Jackrabbit just hopped away like it knew what was about to happen. UGGGGGGG gets frustrating but I know after years of doing this it’s just part of the work we put into hunting and filming our experiences. Marley and I sat for a few more minutes glassing for any further Jackrabbits or Cottontails sitting in the shadows before moving on. Anytime I hunt new areas I always like to get a lay for the land and become familiar with the terrain as well as areas that may be better to hunt from. I was checking the ground and it became very apparent this was extremely active with wildlife. We found a wide variety of animal tracks, droppings everywhere as well as fresh urine in forms. Forms are the best sign that an area has large Jackrabbit populations, these are small indentations that are only about an inch deep. These are spots that Jackrabbits sit on a regular basis like clockwork, usually in the morning or evenings are best times to spot them in their forms. Marley and I hiked in a big loop for about two hours before heading back to camp, during the hike we flushed many Jackrabbits, Quail and Cottontails. Back at camp Lindsey was busy working on some Jewelry that she will be selling on her Etsy store. She made these really neat pendants out of stones she found near camp and then wrapped them with 18 gauge copper wire. One of the pendants looks like it was a lower jawbone from a Ground Squirrel, haha never seen that done before. We were all having a great time enjoying one another’s company as well as being secluded away from people and noises, this place was so nice and quiet.

After a late lunch I topped off the Lynx V10 with air, packed a few bottles of water and Marley and I headed back out into the hills for some rabbits. We took the same route as before but now having the lay of the land I knew better where to look as well as good vantage points. The sun was just about to head down over the mountaintop bringing the 87 degrees down to about 73 degrees, much better to hike in. We sat next to a large manzanita bush that overlooked a canyon with a hillside 65 yards across, great vantage point. I soon spotted some bunny ears from behind a bush moving out into the open, I unfortunately took the shot before I could situate the camera but did manage to catch marley making way to recover. This was a nice headshot and a very healthy looking Cottontail with a fairly wild coloration to the fur, almost reddish brown.

Marley carried that bunny all the way back to camp and was proud to show Lindsey what she had done, I got to say she moved really quick up that hillside to recover. She was one pooped pup by the time we made way back to camp. That evening was just beautiful, nice and cool but not cold at all.

That evening we had a small campfire that I was going to use to cook the Cottontail, I had left it on a tree stump to process and when I went to get it Marley had only left the head and foot. She ate the whole thing, guess she didn’t feel like sharing that night. We stayed up for a few hours watching the stars, was a long day and the plan was to get up early for some more.


Sunday morning I woke up to Marley whining, sounded like “Dad, get up, time to hunt” UGGGG. I made way out of the tent, got my boots on and grabbed my morning coffee drink to get me started. I loaded the pack, loaded my two magazines with 18gr JSB’s and we proceeded the same route as the day before. We took it very slow and were as quiet as can be as we made way to the top of the hill, to my amazement there were Jackrabbits everywhere, spotted at least seven of them, most were 100 yards or more away. Marley and I inched our way alongside this field where I spotted three of them moving up a hillside at 65 yards, I took a shot on one, missed and shot at the second one that was towards the bottom….THWACK right through it’s side, collapsed and rolled down the hill into a bush. Marley made a quick recovery and dragged it back to where I was sitting.

By this time it was about 8:15 am and the sun was making for some nice T-shirt weather, about 79 degrees. We headed back to camp and my plan was to hunt the Ground Squirrels that were plentiful all within 50 yards of camp. The area was covered in fallen trees, stumps and a few rocks that they had burrowed under. Marley and I sat in the shade and waited for them to come up from the holes and move about across the fallen trees. After a few minutes we spotted several that were sitting in front of a fallen tree at 68 yards.

The shot went just below it’s ear and made a very loud distinct catchers mitt THWAPP!!! It’s amazing how tough these little squirrels can be, even with a devastating blow they still will sometimes make way back down their hole.


Over the next few hours I was able to take about 30 California Ground Squirrels with the Cometa Lynx V10, I hunted all day on a single fill taking over 40 regulated shots at 30 fpe.This gun has treated me well and has proven to be a very rugged little gun. The only issue I have had in the 8 months of owning it was the magazine coming unwound and breaking. I did a search for replacements and found they wanted $75 for one. I ended up trying a .22 Marauder magazine and found that they fit a bit tightly but when inserted correctly they function perfectly. To use the Marauder magazine the single shot side pin just needed to be removed, was very simple and easy to do.

That pin is used to mount the single shot loader, with the pin in the magazine wasn’t able to slide in far enough. I think if I sanded the marauder magazine down a bit it would work even better, the way it is now I have to make sure it’s not in to far or else the bolt won’t close. This is the only issue I have faced with this rifle and am beyond pleased with it’s performance. 


I continued to take quite a few Ground Squirrels from 25 yards out to 80, they just kept popping up all around us. At 30 yards I had taken one that was moving through a pile of cut up wood, really hit it hard, enough to fling in back several feet.

The hunting was a lot easier than I’m used to, we usually have to work hard and do a ton of hiking around with only a few down by the end of the day. This was very enjoyable being able to sit in one spot and almost have them come to me haha.

We had a great day but unfortunately had to start packing up the Jeep and making our way back to civilization. I hope some may enjoy this adventure and will consider the Lynx V10 when looking for a great small game Air Rifle. I will enclose a description of what was done to the rifle to make it field friendly as well as a video. Till next time, “The best Airgun is the one your shooting”


Cometa Lynx V10 .22

  • Stripped black paint down to natural wood and applied clear lacquer
  • Added sling studs
  • Applied camo wrap to shroud & airtube
  • Adjusted trigger
  • Added more spring preload
  • Removed single shot pin for Marauder magazine use
  • Scope (UTG 3-12×44 Mini Swat mil-dot
  • Harris 24″ Bipod

Here is the VIDEO of our adventure, please help us by hitting the SUBSCRIBE button.

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Varmint Hunting In Extreme Heat

By Dana Webb

 

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

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

American Air Arms EVOL .30 with DonnyFL Ronin Moderator

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

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

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

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

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

One of the Ground Squirrel holes at 55 yards

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

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

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

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

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

Terry’s Tapian Mutant .22

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

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

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


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

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

American Air Arms EVOL .30 at 85 fpe

 

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


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

American Air Arms EVOL TAC .22 High Power


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Airgun Hunting, Scouting Safari

by Dana Webb

Thursday morning Lindsey, Marley and I left home and traveled several hours North of us where we would spend the next 4 days. The area we had chosen is somewhat familiar to us although this trip would be spent exploring new territories within the park. The weather was typical for Springtime here in California and was supposed to be in the high 70s and mid 80s throughout the rest of the week. As we turned off the highway and into the BLM land we were immediately greeted by the 246,812+ acres of grassland. Springtime is especially amazing here as everything is so green and the wildflowers are exploding throughout this vast wilderness of rolling hills and mountains.

Most of the area is semi-arid grassland where very few trees grow with the annual rainfall around 9 inches. This area is close to the terrain you would expect to find on the African Plains and gives a very “Safari” like feel to it when traveling down the long dirt roads in the Jeep.

We had planned to travel much further than before into the area where we would create a primitive campsite where we would spend our first night. The area we chose was at much higher elevation and would prove to be much cooler as the sun made way down over the mountains. The small trail that switch-backed through the picturesque mountains was steep, rutted and no doubt a great job for the Jeep. We found a nice spot that offered a spectacular view of the valley floor as well as great scouting opportunity for the giant Jackrabbits that roam the hillsides. We unpacked the Jeep and set up a nice comfortable campsite complete with fire-pit to keep us warm while enjoying the stars.

We spent the evening enjoying the stars and making plans for our following days adventure. This area offers a great deal to the outdoor enthusiast such as hiking, offroading, wildlife watching, metal detecting and some unreal hunting opportunities. My plan was to get up early and hike around the hillsides looking for signs of large Jackrabbits.


The next morning Marley woke me up ready to start the day with a nice leisurely hike, she was very excited to get out and about looking for big bunnies. On this trip I packed very minimally with only a small pack for water, pellets, rangefinder and the .22 Lynx MK2 PCP rifle. I had recently done some work to the rifle making it more suitable to extreme field use. Marley and I moved slowly down the hillsides through the tall grass and with hopes of spotting some Jackrabbits in the distance as the sun came over the mountains.

As I was carrying a light caliber rifle the ideal range was within 100 yards limiting many of the shots that are more suitable to the larger .30 rifles. The nice part of using a smaller caliber is the challenge of getting closer and making much more precise shots to bring down these giant Jackrabbits. These animals are tough and can many times run for miles if shot placement isn’t perfect. I found myself using more stalking techniques that have not been practiced in awhile. The key is to stay low and slow, frequently stopping to look around. I like to work hillsides, canyons, ravines as these are generally the areas Jackrabbits move through. Many times I will walk for a few minutes and simply sit and wait to spot for movement, it’s amazing to see a Jackrabbit sometimes appear from nowhere. This particular habitat can be difficult as the grass is taller and the Jackrabbits blend so well into the environment.

Marley had flushed a few Jackrabbits from the tall grass with none stopping long enough to to make any decent shots. I was having a great time just being able to hiking around with my little friend and to have the opportunity to gather some great photographs of our adventures. After about an hour we headed back to camp and had decided to pack things up and venture back down into the valley to explore some different areas. We had enjoyed our stay in the primitive campsite and will most likely return sometime to spend a few more days. As we slowly drove down the mountain into the valley floor we spotted a large Elk herd off in the distance.

After spending several minutes watching the Elk move across the large open plain we continued down the road and deeper into the territory. I had found several buildings off in the distance using the spotting scope I figured we would go and explore. The area was home to several ranches in the mid 1800’s and many of these homes are still in fair condition as well as the many other ruins left such as farm equipment, water tanks and windmills.

One of three wooden harvesters found near an abandoned homestead site

Homestead built around 1929

After having a short break in the shade of the old homestead we continued north spotting several more Elk as well as some Antelope grazing in the miles of open plains. One of the prominent attractions that can be seen from the highest points of the valley is an alkali lake, essentially a dry lake bed. From a distance the lake seems to give the illusion of water but upon closer inspection it’s just several miles of salt bed.

We spent some time walking around taking some photographs while Marley played in this interesting new environment. We soon left and continued down the road heading up into a more remote area more off the beaten path, this area is simply huge and fairly easy to get lost in. Lindsey drove for a bit as it was now late afternoon and we decided to try settling on a new spot to spend the night. We drove up a small trail that took us into some beautiful rolling hills covered in grass.

This area was very open with a few Ephedra Viridis bushes spread throughout, very beautiful place to camp. After we parked and started unpacking the Jeep I had already spotted several Jackrabbits moving about. I dug a small fire-pit as I knew it may be a bit chilly later in the evening, I too gathered a small amount of kindling as well as some larger dead branches I found.

That night was a bit chilly as anticipated but offered some unimaginable views of the stars, I ended up staying up quite late just enjoying the sky.

Lindsey enjoying a beer next to a great fire


The following morning Marley awoke me as usual as she was ready to start the day with a nice hunt. I was excited as I was sure we would no doubt have some action from the many Jackrabbits I had encountered moving about from the day before. We moved slowly heading towards the Northeast of the camp where there were some prominent hills.

We hiked up to the highest hill where I had planned to sit and see if I could spot the ears of some Jackrabbits that sometimes glow as the sun hits them. After the sun started coming up I sure enough spotted a Jackrabbit behind a bush at 74 yards.

I slowly moved to my right as to get better sight of the Jackrabbit and made a nice heart lung shot that took it down instantly with Marley excitedly able to recover.

As Marley and I hiked back to camp the morning was really starting to heat up and by 9:00am was already approaching the mid 80’s. Lindsey spent some time walking around looking for some interesting rocks to add to our huge collection at home. I had forgotten the metal detector and can only imagine the cool things we may have been able to find if we had brought it. We plan to make a future trip dedicated specifically for relic hunting. We packed up once again and decided to venture to a nearby marked campground where a trailhead was located. The trail was to take us on a several mile loop that weaved through a cattle pasture and up a steep mountain offering spectacular views of this amazing wilderness.

Lindsey and I had a great hike and it was the first time she really got to witness Marley hunt Jackrabbits. As we walked the trail we would flush them and watch Marley shoot after them like a rocket, amazing how fast and hard that little dog can move through the rugged terrain. She is extremely adapted to this type of hunting as she’s so short she can easily move through the bushes. After each session of her chasing we would take a break to keep her hydrated to lessen the probability of heat stroke, a very common cause of death for dogs. We continued the trail back to the Jeep where we enjoyed a nice lunch in the shade of one of few trees found in the area. We decided to head another direction and back into the mountains on a small fireroad that weaved us high up onto a giant overlook. We decided to make our camp and enjoy no doubt one of the best views of the entire trip. It was quite exhilarating being up so high and able to view the many different features and mountain ranges over 50 miles away.

That evening my friend Jon had arrived with his girlfriend, her sister and his two boys. The campsite had plenty of room for all our tents and it was nice to have some company for the next few days. The plan was for Jon and I to hunt that evening and early the following morning where we would take the Jeep into and area he had previously scouted. That evening Jon, his son and I had decided to hunt up the hill from camp and work a very steep hillside where we hoped to find some Jackrabbits moving about. We all hiked down the steep hillside, Jon and his son sat at the edge just as it dropped off into the ravine. I moved a bit North and followed the ravine occasionally stopping to scan the embankments for Jackrabbits.

Within a few minutes I spotted one foraging around a large bush at 80+ yards unaware of my presence from high above. Hunting from a high point like this is always a great way to increase success as we have a much better view and the shots are usually less obstructed by thick vegetation, this becomes especially important when using small caliber Airguns. I was able to make and a good chest shot that took down the Jackrabbit with authority using the H&N Sport Sniper MagnumsIt took me quite a while to recover as I had left Marley back at camp and with Lindsey, it was getting dark and the ravine was ridiculously steep.

By the time I made it back up to the truck it was pretty much dark but thankful to have bagged a Jack. We had a great little drive back down the hill to our campsite where the girls had started a nice fire for us to warm ourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jon and I processed the Jacks and marinated them in olive oil, black pepper and several other spices he had brought. After having a nice bed of coals we cooked them over the fire and had more than enough for all of us including Marley to feast on.

That evening we slept great in our tent having much more room than the previous nights being cramped in the back of the Jeep with Marley.

 


Jon and I woke up early to fire up the Jeep and head 12 miles down onto the valley floor to a spot he had previously scouted for both Coyotes and Jackrabbits. Marley was eager to hunt as usual so we proceeded to the area that was very near the dry lake bed.

Jon, Marley and I parked the Jeep and proceeded to hike up a hill into a large field that ran into a steep ravine, we saw many Jackrabbits moving about on the hillsides. We spread about 50 yards apart and paralleled this ravine where I soon spotted a good size Jackrabbit moving up the other side stopping at 58 yards. I was able to make a good headshot that sent the Jackrabbit into a flip as it rolled backwards down the hill into a bush where Marley recovered.

This area had a ton of Jackrabbits but the terrain was a bit open and difficult to get close without spooking them. I see myself returning at a later date with the .30 EVOL and laying it down with some long range varmint hunting. Jon had set out his Coyote caller with the hope of bringing one in within range of his .223 varmint rifle. Marley and I patiently sat behind hoping to partake in the excitement of Jon’s hunt and to keep watch in several different directions. We spent about 20 minutes using the caller with little activity other than viewing some crows and birds of prey staying busy in the sky. This area is no doubt a good area to hunt predators and I would much enjoy returning for a dedicated Coyote hunt. Usually areas with a large habitat for small animals such as kangaroo rats, squirrels and rabbits are good places to set a stand. The place is large enough that we would never run out of areas to try, I do believe the higher elevation areas may be a better choice to try.

We made our way back up into the mountains where we started packing up the camp and venture to several other landmarks. The areas throughout this valley have a ton of history and almost to much to see in just a few days, can’t wait to return again and continue our exploration. After just a few days we had managed to find several new areas that are excellent for hunting, camping and hiking. I hope you enjoyed this write up and encourage you to subscribe and share this website with others. Till then, enjoy life and remember “The best Airgun is the one your shooting”

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Summer Parasites – A reminder for Health and Safety

by Ron Stephen
Well, to be honest, my original intention for this article, was to write a simple tutorial on how to properly field dress a Rabbit.
That changed while I was in the process of dressing this Rabbit, to an even more important subject,… that I will share with you all here. I have always heard that it is not a good idea to eat Wild Rabbit during the warmer months of late Spring through early Winter.
 I have heard it described as :
 “Never eat Wild Rabbit in months that are not spelled with an “R”
 (May, June, July, August). But depending on your location and typical weather, (especially in warmer climates such as we have here in southern California), we should also toss in September, and possibly October too. The idea behind this, is that most Parasites are either dormant or die off in the cold winter months, and in area’s that have snow, it is believed the Parasites do not survive “After the first Good Freeze”. (Here in  Southern California, we rarely get snow below 4000′ elevation) I suppose these old sayings of “Months without an R”, or “After the first Good Freeze” are not really hard line RULES,…but it brings us to the point of this article. That point is, ALWAYS thoroughly inspect your kills, and Be Mindful of any Unhealthy Game. We are now in the warmer months, and all the bugs, creepy crawlers, parasites are most active now. So it is important to keep in mind, pay attention, and closely inspect any kills you intend to eat. I took this rabbit yesterday in San Bernadino County on one of my permissions. I was dressing it out, and taking pics with the intention of presenting a “How To  Dress Out a Rabbit”.  I was going to include step by step instruction with each pic, but we’ll do that some other time, with a healthy and safe to eat game animal.
The priority for this article changed when I noticed this on the cutting board of my dressing table. What the heck is that thing ? and Why is it moving ?
EWwww… it’s a Bot Fly Larvae ! YUCK ! these are sometimes called “Wolves” , Warble flies, Heel flies, Gadflies,
So Yeah,….
 I wont be making any Rabbit Stew with this weeks bunny, and we can just toss it out for the Coyotes to feed on. (haven’t seen many of those on the permission lately), but we Did have one walk right out in front of us at only 50 yds a couple of weeks ago. Wouldn’t you know it, I hadn’t even taken my rifle out of the truck yet, and the Coyote seemed to know that, since he was in no hurry, and just slowly trotted away, straight down our target shooting lane. GRrrrrrrr ! This also warrants a mention to those of you hunting Coyotes, … as they are fraught full of Fleas, Ticks, Deer-flies, and who knows what else right now. These critters can infect both your game, and/or You too. So BE CAREFUL,… and use proper protection, if you plan on handling any kills during this time of year. They can carry a whole list of diseases one of which is Tularemia. So do your homework, and be properly prepared. Check your clothing often, check yourself and or your kids, pets, etc, after being in the field.
Here is some additional info/reading from the web on the subjects…

        Bot Fly Infestation

The Bot Fly or Cuterebra (Cute-a Ree-bra) is the larval form of a small fly like insect. The Bot Fly larva forms a pocket under the hosts skin, that grows as the larvae matures, called a “warble”. These warbles are most commonly found at the mouth, neck or flanks of the rabbit. Parasitic in nature, the Bot fly will deposit its eggs on a host such as a rabbit, or on an intermediate host such as a house fly or mosquito, transferring its eggs when the fly or mosquito lands on the hosts body. Bot fly’s may also lay their eggs on plants and surfaces near animal burrows/homes where they are then transferred to the host as it passes by. These eggs then hatch and enter the host animals body by way of a wound or by burrowing into the hosts body. The Bot Fly may also be ingested through plant material and migrate its way to the dermal layer where the same process then occurs. Once under the skin the maturing larva forms a growing lump called a warble where it will live until ready for its next
stage of development. The warble is typically oblong. The larva will cut a hole in the top of the warble forming a darker spot (warble pore) to breathe through, then uses it’s mouth hooks to secure itself. The Bot Fly larvae uses its warble much like other insects would use a cocoon to develop. It does not in fact digest the hosts live tissue, but digests the tissue exudate (secretions) of the host. As the warble grows with the maturing larvae the warble may occasionally be mistaken for an abscess. While unnerving and disgusting, it is rarely fatal, and once mature the larvae will crawl from its warble, fall from the host and develop into its pupae form in the soil.  It causes no more than mild irritation to the host. More than one warble may form at a time. The danger in Bot Fly infestation is the likely-hood of infection at the warble site. We don’t recommend trying to remove Bot Fly larvae on your own and recommend the bunn be brought to a veterinarian.

If the larvae is crushed in the removal process it can cause an anaphalactic (severe allergic) reaction leading to the death of the bunn. A vet is better equipped to fascilitate its removal.

Stages of Bot Fly Infestation:

Week 1:

  • swelling
  • abscess
  • redness
  • a lump with missing fur from animal scratching at site.

Week 2:

  • the warble protrudes prominantly from the animals body.
  • the tip of the warble, the spiracle through which the larvae breathes is visible.
  • discharge, blood, pus or a browish material.

By week 3-4, the larvae matures and drops to the ground to pupate.
The animal is left with a hole where the larvae was living.  Most of the time the wounds will heal requiring no treatment.
However, at times these pockets may become infected and require treatment.
The animal heals and there is little evidence of warble infestation.


Tularemia (Rabbit fever)

What is tularemia?

Tularemia is an illness caused by a bacteria, Francisella tularensis, which can affect both animals and humans. Most cases occur during the summer months when deer-flies and ticks are abundant and the early winter months during rabbit hunting season. During hunting season, illness usually results from skinning infected rabbits.

Who gets tularemia?

Anyone can get tularemia if they spend time outdoors in areas where infected animals, deer-flies or ticks, can be found. Rabbit hunters, trappers, and laboratory workers exposed to the bacteria are at higher risk.
How is tularemia spread?
The most common way tularemia is spread is by the bite of an infected blood sucking insect such as a deer-fly or tick. Another way people get tularemia is by getting blood or tissue from infected animals (especially rabbits) in their eyes, mouth, or in cuts or scratches on the skin. Tularemia can also be spread by handling or eating rabbit meat that is not cooked well. Drinking contaminated water or breathing dust containing the bacteria can also spread tularemia. Person to person spread does not occur.
What are the symptoms of tularemia?
The usual symptoms of tularemia are fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, chest pain, and coughing. If tularemia is caused by the bite of an infected insect or from bacteria entering a cut or scratch, it usually causes a skin ulcer and swollen glands. Eating or drinking food or water containing the bacteria may produce a throat infection, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Breathing dust containing the bacteria may cause a pneumonia-like illness.
How soon do symptoms appear?
Symptoms may appear between two and ten days, most often within three to five days.
What is the treatment for tularemia?
Antibiotics such as streptomycin and gentamicin are used to treat tularemia.
What can be done to prevent the spread of tularemia?

1. Persons at risk should reduce chances for insect bites by wearing protective clothing, and by searching for ticks often and removing attached ticks immediately. Tick/insect repellents containing “DEET” provide additional protection. Permethrin is also helpful when sprayed onto clothing.
2. Children should be discouraged from handling sick or dead rabbits, or other possibly infected animals.
3. Gloves should be worn when skinning or handling animals, especially wild rabbits.
4. Wild rabbit meat should be thoroughly cooked.
5. Face masks, gowns, and rubber gloves should be worn by those working with cultures or infective material in a laboratory.

Where can I get more information?

* Your personal doctor
* Your local health department, listed in the telephone directory


With regard to Tularemia. For those who hunt predators, particularly predators that (can) prey on rodents (as most do), bears, foxes, coyotes, lynx/bobcat, etc., those predators are potential for contracting tularemia.

OK everyone, I hope you find this informative and a good reminder to Pay Attention out there.

THINK about what you are doing…. Watch what you are preparing for your dinner table,….. and don’t get lazy, .

(unless of course, you enjoy eating gross bugs and getting sick) haha

Take care, Have fun, and Shoot safely.

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Memoirs of a first time Airgun hunter

Several weeks ago I received an email from a gentleman named Mike who had read several of my writings and had become interested in hunting with an Airgun. Over a brief discussion through email he had made the decision to purchase a .25 Marauder from Mac1 Airgun distributor in Gardena CA. That following week I had invited Mike to join me on a 3 day hunt in a remote area of the Mojave desert that offers not only some great Jackrabbit hunting but plenty of Ground Squirrels.


The following Thursday afternoon Mike and I met in Mojave and headed another 30 miles into the deep outback of the desert that gave both our Jeeps quite the workout. We made it to an area where I had made camp on several previous occasions, good amount of shade and plenty of wood to feed a campfire. Upon arrival it was fairly windy but seemed as though it was settling down as the evening went on. I was happy to have Mike join me as I usually make many of these trips on the solo as most have to work during the week. The following morning Mike and I awoke early to mount his scope and sight the .25 Marauder in at 50 yards.

Mike with his new .25 Marauder

After sighting in the Marauder we loaded up the Jeep and headed down the road several miles to a beautiful area that has an excellent habitat for Jackrabbits. The morning was calm and clear, thankfully a bit warmer than usual that would mean the Jackrabbits would be a bit more active.

The Cholla Cactus

As we walked towards the sun looking for the amber ears Mike was immediately able to spot some in the distance, some as far as 200 yards away. The plan was to head towards some rolling hills that would give us a better chance to not only spot them but to possibly ambush them from higher ground. We walked very slowly, trying to stay quiet that was not easy as the brush was thick in some spots. Soon upon getting to the top of this little hill Mike set his sights on a good size Jackrabbit at 65 yards, his first Jackrabbit kill, not bad for his first time hunt eh?

After taking a break for a few minutes, taking some pictures and packing the Jackrabbit into my pack we continued on further through the desert. We were now in an area that had some thicker vegetation along with some Joshua trees that offered many hiding spots for Jackrabbits. I came over a hill and spotted a Jackrabbit sitting halfway up the side of a hill on what looked to be a heavily traveled animal trail, at 60 yards I made the shot right through its chest.

American Air Arms EVOL .30


By this time it was around 10:30 am so we headed back to our camp and packed up our things to move to a different campsite where we would spend the next few days. This area had tall grass, a fire pit along with plenty of shade to sit under and target shoot. The following morning we were expecting Terry, my girlfriend Lindsey and the dog Marley to arrive to join us.

After setting up camp Mike and I headed up into the rocks to hopefully find some Ground Squirrels moving about. The area has some large populations of California Ground Squirrels, the burrows are scattered about under fallen trees and in the many rocks that are just about everywhere you look. A short hike from camp set us up on top of a large flat-rock that overlooks the whole valley with several rock outcroppings just below us at near 65 yards. Mike was using a fallen log to use as a rest to steady his rifle for a shot on a Ground Squirrel that kept moving about on the rocks below us.

Mike took his time and thankfully was able to keep things steady for a near perfect head-shot that put the Ground Squirrel down with authority.

His new .25 Marauder shoots like a laser and is near the perfect budget rifle for this type of hunting. Through the rest of the morning and into the afternoon we made quite a few kills, the wind was picking up by this time. As Mike and I moved up into this canyon we could hear the distant bark of the Ground Squirrels echoing through the valley.

I ended up spotting one at over 125 yards away that proved a difficult shot in the strong winds but nevertheless the perfect job for the EVOL .30 rifle. The new HAWKE Frontier 2.5-15×50 scope has really made long range shots much easier as the glass and TMX recticle are super clear. I took my time and was able to make a head-shot that entered right through the very top of the skull, dropping the Ground Squirrel instantly.


After a few hours of hiking around the Oak Tree covered valley Mike and I headed back to our campsite to set up for the evening and to gather some firewood to get us through the night. The wind was picking up again, gusting as high at 35/40 mph, no fun when trying to set up camp.

That evening we made a great campfire and were able to relax under the stars and enjoy some good conversation. Mike and I had cleaned and processed our Jackrabbit kills earlier that day and had planned to have them for dinner, although we thought we would wait till the next evening to share with the others. Mike made us some Top Ramen that tasted excellent, and too being a great way to get warmed up as it was by now a bit cold out.

Both Mike and I were quite tired and sore from a full day of hiking, must have put in near 8 miles up and down through the valley. Getting to sleep was no problem at all so we called it a night and planned to get up early to wait for Terry, Lindsey and Marley to arrive by 8:30 am.


The morning was quite calm with a slight breeze that we had hoped would stay that way for the rest of the day, at least long enough to get some hunting in. At about 8:45 as I sat with my rifle looking up into the nearby rocks that towered above our campsite, I could hear the distant sound of a vehicle breaking traction coming up the rugged rutted out road that lead to our spot. My favorite little companion Marley immediately came to greet me and was very surprised to see me being she wasn’t to sure where she was going at 4:30 am. This was Lindsey’s first time in the area and had came along to do a bit of Rockhounding (video link) , a hobby that we both share. This area had a large abundance of quartz that she had hoped to find plenty of that evening when we headed back down to hunt Jackrabbits. Terry set up a nice little range with several targets between 50 and 77 yards for us to use and fine tune our guns, he even brought a chronograph.

After about an hour of so of shooting our rifles we decided to head out up a trail that headed out of camp and into the nearby rock outcroppings.

We each set ourselves up in different areas about 50 yards apart each facing towards the rocks that had many Ground Squirrels that would frequently venture out to sun themselves.

Terry with his .22 Tapian Mutant Bullpup

Terry set himself up against a rock that offered good cover along with shots between 45/75 yards. Soon we could hear the distant THWACK of the obvious lead therapy that Terry was giving a nearby Ground Squirrel at 75 yards.

I had sat under a large Oak Tree where I spotted several Ground Squirrels moving about through the crevices of some large boulders. I was waiting for one of them to climb higher on the rocks making for a more clear shot. After about 20 minutes of waiting I finally spotted one that climbed up and was sitting still trying to get some sun. This shot was at 115 yards and would not be easy due to the pretty strong cross wind that I was sure would carry the pellet way to the right. With a guess in calculation I moved my shot 1.5 mil to the left, not as much as I needed but still enough to make a bone crunching gut shot.

After some time hiking around we all headed back to camp where we had lunch and relaxed for a bit, frequently shooting at several Ground Squirrels that were in the nearby rocks. After a few more hours of goofing off in camp we all had decided to head down the road and make the long hike across the desert to an area I had spotted a good amount of quartz crystals and a super great area to hunt Jackrabbits. I figured by the time we made it out to the area it would be the perfect time to pick a spot to sit and wait for some Jackrabbits to come by.

The sun was coming down pretty hard on us and we still had a ways to go before we would be near any type of shade. Lindsey was happy just to be out doing some rock hounding in such a beautiful location. As we walked we soon spotted several Jackrabbits that were well out of range, but they all looked to be very near where we were headed.

Terry stalking a Jackrabbit  

After another 20 minutes of hiking Lindsey, Marley and I arrived to the spot that I had described with many quartz crystals and great habitat for Jackrabbits. After a short break in the shade Lindsey got to work and headed out to explore the grounds for the many assortments of rocks the place had.

Terry and Mike headed further out past where Lindsey, Marley and I were and I could hear the distant shots they were making as pellets were tearing through the thick brush. After several minutes of sitting I spotted a Jackrabbit at 80+ yards across a ravine that was partially obscured from a Cholla CactusI took a head-shot and ended up shooting a bit to high sending the pellet right through the side of one ear that dazed it just long enough for Marley to get close enough to flip the Jackrabbit in the air. I ran across the ravine and watched Marley chase the Jackrabbit, she nearly got it too just as they both ran by Terry. That little dog is simply the best hunting dog I have ever seen, a pure natural hunter. After all the excitement I headed back over to check out what Lindsey was up to, she was doing a bit of rock stacking with the few larger pieces of quartz.

For those of you who don’t know, Lindsey is the real backbone of the online magazine mountainsportairguns.com and does many things for the Airgun community behind the scenes. She is responsible for many of the popular Airgun industry websites many of us frequent on a regular basis. Anyone reading this who may need some serious website work, mygirlfriday805  is the best in the business and truly an amazing part of my life. After several hours with no luck getting many shots on Jackrabbits we made the slow journey back to the truck, I say slow because I had about 100 lbs of rocks in my backpack.


We arrived back to camp just in time to watch the sunset and to get a fire started along with the portable BBQ Terry had brought to cook on. Between all of us we had a good amount of food that we had all brought to cook, hotdogs, carne asada, snacks, drinks and even hot chocolate and beer. We were all very hungry from the long day of marching through the desert, even Marley was ready for anything she could get her paws on.

After stuffing ourselves with mass quantities of food we were all near comatose and ready to just go to sleep. The plan was for us guys to get up super early and head down the hill again to try for some Jackrabbits for a few hours. We all slept pretty good that night, I felt pretty refreshed the next morning at 6:30 am and was ready for some more hunting. We headed down the hill and excitedly made our way back into the same area we hunted the evening before.

It was a beautiful morning that thankfully wasn’t windy at all, wish the last few days had been that calm. After about 30 minutes I finally spotted a Jackrabbit at 45 yards that was sitting under a bush taking in the warm morning sunshine.

Notice in the photograph I was wearing jeans, well the day before I had gotten a small tear in my hunting pants that ultimately worked into a larger tear that ripped the whole pant leg off. Happy I had brought some extra pants, otherwise I would be chasing Jackrabbits in my underwear. Not a pleasant sight I can assure you! As the morning moved on I spent some time stalking Terry hoping to get some shots captured on camera, he was quite hard to spot among the dense desert foliage.

As all four of us hiked towards the nearby mountains the plan was to circle around and cross over a road into a new area I had never hunted before. Marley and I set out ahead and crossed the road almost immediately seeing several very large Jackrabbits moving through the brush on the hillsides. This area was near perfect terrain for Airgun hunting as it offered good opportunities to get close having so many trees to hide behind as we moved closer. I could hear Terry and Mike both making shots on running Jackrabbits, Marley was getting supper riled up as she listened for that distinctive THWAP!!  As Marley and I moved around a bush I attempted making a shot on this Jack that was sitting facing us at 200+ yards, made a shot that came up short right next to its feet sending it into a full sprint out of sight.

Over the next hour all four of us tried stalking several Jackrabbits, the one I was after went up a hill and over a rise down into some more open area. Marley and I slowly made our way up the hill with the hopes to ambush the Jackrabbit from above, when hunting them I always have good luck hunting down on them when possible. As we made our way over the crest of the hill I immediately spotted the Jackrabbit sitting under a large bush with its back facing me, perfect shoulder shot at 95 yards. The .30 EVOL is in my opinion the perfect all day gun for hunting Jackrabbits, with plenty of power and 40 regulated shots at 85 fpe it packs a mean whallop.


As I made my last kill of the day I packed them neatly into my back and ventured back to the truck where where Terry and Mike soon joined. This few days of hunting was no doubt a good amount of work but well worth the effort to be able to share it with a newcomer to the sport. I commend Mike for reaching out and not being afraid to ask questions and take advice, It was a true privilege to have him join me and to be able to witness his first Jackrabbit kill. It’s very important for us as Airgunners to keep the sport alive and to help it grow in a positive way, Mikes story is a great example. Enclosed is a video documentary of our trip, enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jackrabbit Adventure Hunt

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

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

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

American Air Arms Classic EVOL .30

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

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

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

140 Yard Jackrabbit Kill

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

65 Yard Jackrabbit kill

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

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

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


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

Southern California High Desert

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

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


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

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

Terry approaching camp

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

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

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

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

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

California quail (Callipepla californica)

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

Terry with his girlfriend Marley

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3-Day Back Country Ground Squirrel Hunt

I had a busy week of work and could hardly wait to escape as I ended my day Thursday afternoon. I headed home and packed the Jeep for a 4 day adventure hunt in the very remote area of the desert. I left early Friday morning with my dog Marley where we drove for a good part of the morning to get us to our destination that took us through some very remote areas of the Mojave desert. We made a few stops before we headed up a very steep mountain road that at one time was frequented by miners that traveled the trail with mules, wagons and horses.


Marley and I drove quite a bit further and used our time to explore a few areas that we had planned to hunt the following day when SteveO and Terry arrived. I was too looking for a good area for us to camp and possibly have some shade to camp under. After a bit of searching I was able to find a good location that fit the criteria for not only hunting but camping as well. We parked the Jeep under a nice sized Pine tree and proceeded to unpack the hunting gear, cameras etc, and head out on foot to explore a bit.

Marley was just as excited as I was to be in such a beautiful location, I too could hear the distant bark and chatter of the many Ground Squirrels that have saturated the area. After gearing up we set across a small creek that opened up into a large open field with fallen trees, rock outcroppings and nice green grass. It wasn’t long before I found a nice spot to sit for awhile and try making some longer shots on these Ground Squirrels.

I spotted quite a few at some 100+ yards away sunning themselves high up on the rocks. The wind was actually quite fierce at times but would sometimes let up just enough to make a good shot. I had quite a few misses as I was trying to not only steady the rifle but the movie camera as well, gets frustrating when you miss a shot due to camera set up.


I was using the new American Air Arms EVOL .30 that was loaded with 44gr Predator Polymags that from prior experience work very well in the gun out past 130+ yards.

After a short time I had connected with several Ground Squirrels and will say it was very exciting as the place was simply crawling with them. The Polymags work flawlessly out of the EVOL and I even surprised myself a few times with shots that were simply amazing. Here is one I took from over 130 yards as he was sunning himself on a cliff-face.

After about 45 minutes in the same spot I decided to move locations onto a very large slab rock that overlooked a good part of the valley and offered near panoramic views.

This area was great as I had spotted many Ground Squirrels moving from hole to hole around and under the many Oak Trees that covered the area. I took several from this location with the furthest being out to 90 yards.


After some time hunting and trying the best I could to get some good video footage it was getting late and time for Marley and I to go set up camp. The following morning Terry and SteveO were to meet me in a set location that was quite a distance from where I was. After some thought I decided to pack up my gear and head back down the mountain many miles to the area we were to meet. This area was so remote that getting a cell-phone signal would be near impossible and I simply did not want to take the chance of them not finding me in the morning. Marley and I packed up all the gear and headed down the narrow Jeep trail as by this time the sun was setting.

After quite a bit of driving we came to the area where I was to meet SteveO and Terry in the morning. This area was actually very creepy as it was backed up into a rocky canyon and gave a bit of “The Hills Have Eyes” type of vibe. Thankfully Marley kept me company as I set up camp for the night and made a good size bon-fire to keep the critters away.

We slept quite well that night and awoke to a beautiful clear morning with thankfully no wind that would sure to make a great day of hunting. The guys weren’t expected for another few hours so I had decided to get in a little Jackrabbit hunting before they came.

The morning was just gorgeous as the sun came up and the location looked to be perfect habitat for hunting Jackrabbits. We walked up over a ridge where I hoped to be able to spot some amber ears from the distance.

After about a mile of hiking we came up over a ridge where we could see for several hundred yards ahead of us, perfect place to sit quietly and enjoy the morning. I soon spotted several Jackrabbits that were near a bit beyond 200 yards on the side of a densely vegetated hillside.

I ended up taking the shot on one and came within several inches of hitting it, actually from the looks of the photo I may have connected with its tail.

We spotted several more Jackrabbits as we made our way back to camp as by this time I was expecting SteveO and Terry to arrive to meet us. As we made our way around the ridge I could see that the guys had arrived and were waiting to spot me coming down through the rocks. After a few minutes of saying our hellos we moved the caravan to the location I had hunted the day before, where we would spend the next several days. The guys were most excited about the spot, especially since I had told them how active it was the day before.

Terry had spent some time setting up some targets so they could zero the rifles and warm up for the day of hunting ahead.

After about 20 minutes we were ready to head out across the creek and search out some active Ground Squirrel areas. I showed Terry and SteveO a few of the areas I felt to be active and they settled for a spot that was under several trees and offered a good view of some rock-outcroppings.


SteveO and Terry both almost immediately connected with some Ground Squirrels that were between 45 and 65 yards. The rock had several that were moving about and would sometimes give good opportunity as they climbed the rocks, stopping frequently.


After around 45 minutes SteveO spotted a Ground Squirrel at 80 yards peeking his head up from behind a very large boulder, the only thing you could see was his eye. I spent a little time watching the Ground Squirrel until I felt comfortable to take the shot that was a very tiny target. I made the shot and connected perfectly considering the range and the angle I was at, really only had a tiny black eye for an aiming point.


I took a short little break and then followed the guys around for awhile hoping to capture some good video footage. Terry ended up spotting a Ground Squirrel next to a tree at 85 yards where he connected with a loud distinct THWACK sound.


These Ground Squirrels were literally all over the place, pretty much just needed to pick a spot and go to town. As SteveO and I were walking we heard the distant crack followed by a THWACK, OOOOOOH sounds like he got one. SteveO, Marley and I went to check it out and sure enough Terry made a head-shot that looked to be near 70 yards. The obvious signs of death by lead poisoning were all over the rocks, looked like a murder scene.

After a quick walk back to camp we sat in the shade while enjoying our lunch, followed by a little more target shooting. After a few minutes we headed out again, this time being a little more familiar with the area and where the active spots are. I choose a spot up under a tree that looked down on some fallen logs and large rocks.

This area had a good field of view of several Ground Squirrels that were running around with several that were sunning themselves on the flat-rocks. I ended up shooting one that was over 80 yards as he turned facing away from me, I think everyone heard the THWACK that seemed to echo throughout the canyon.

After a little over an hour I asked the guys if they wanted to take a ride in the Jeep and go further up the mountain to another location that SteveO and I hunted last Summer with great luck.


This area upon arrival was obviously extremely infested with Ground Squirrels and was apparent that we didn’t need to look far to find opportunity.

Within about two minutes we all had at least one kill each with hundreds more in sight, some as far away as 150 yards. I worked my way into the back of a giant field, taking several as far as 130 yards. This area had many beautiful Oak trees to sit under along with nice short green grass that made spotting the Ground Squirrels quite easy.


I could hear the distant sounds of both Terry and SteveO making connections, very loud and could be heard throughout the entire valley. This may have been my favorite area of the day as it had so much great opportunity for long range shots. After following a faint trail down through the valley I came across a spot where I spooked several Ground Squirrels off a rock formation. I figured Marley and I would sit and wait several minutes for one to come back up on top of the rocks.

It didn’t take long before a Ground Squirrel came back up onto the rock to sun himself, I took a devastating shoulder shot at 65 yards that blew him right off the rock.


About this time we met back to the Jeep and headed back down to camp with near 60 kills between us for the day, even the dog was pleased. It was nice to just be among good friends and be able to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. This area was truly amazing and offered some of the best Ground Squirrel hunting I have ever encountered. We set up a fine camp and even cooked hotdogs, burgers while we enjoyed the company of good friends and the light of the full moon. Later in the night I started a good size fire to take the chill off and add to the rustic backdrop of this beautiful place.

The following morning we were up early and ready to hunt as SteveO would be leaving us around 9:00 am. We crossed the creek and decided to try a few different areas that we had not explored yet, one of which had a huge amount of rocks.


We all had connected with several Ground Squirrels that in some cases were very difficult to see against the endless assortment of rocks. The one I was after was high up on a large boulder, almost acting as though he was king of his castle.

The trouble with hunting Ground Squirrels in this type of habitat is that finding the kill can become a challenge in itself, loosing them in holes, cracks etc, can become very frustrating. All three of us made some incredible shots in this spot but the area was simply near impossible to recover our kills from, even with the dog. SteveO soon had to leave us where it was now just Terry, Marley and I to hunt for the rest of the day. Terry and I decided that we would take the Jeep and venture back up to the other area from the day before. We split up and headed out separate ways where I soon could hear the distant clap of his Tapian Mutant making some heavy Ground Squirrel connections. I on the other hand was content near the Jeep where I spotted several at 150+ yards where I was able to connect with one.



Here is one I took at 110 yards



Terry and I made quite a few kills through the morning putting our total to well up over 90 I believe.

This area was an absolute pleasure to hunt and my choice in company made the trip most memorable. I was able to get a good amount of video footage considering the difficulty of the area. This hunt was a huge learning curve for me and the first time I had really used the camera for an extended period of time, facing challenges with setup and the various angles involved in filming them. I am truly blessed to have such good friends and many others behind the scenes that support my adventures on many levels, thank you. Enclosed is a link to the video in relation to this hunt, hope you enjoy. HUNT VIDEO