FZ200 FX Bobcat 001

If you have been reading this blog for any time at all, you know that I like airguns. Airguns deliver potloads of shooting fun in a package that can be shot in a lot of places where discharging a firearm will get you in a world of trouble. Lately, I have been particularly enamored of smaller air rifles that aren’t too long, and are relatively light and easy to handle

The FX Bobcat fills the bill on all counts. A bullpup design, it stretches just 29.5 inches from end to end, weighs just 7.8 pounds before a scope is mounted, and is available in .22 caliber, .25 caliber, or .30 caliber. The factory says the .22 version will generate 30 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle on high power; the .25 caliber version, 46 fp, and the .30 version, 75 fp. The good folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com sent me the .22 version to test.

FZ200 FX Bobcat 004

At the extreme aft end of the Bobcat is a soft rubber butt pad that can be adjusted vertically. It is attached to a one-piece matte black stock that is molded from engineering polymer. Just forward of the butt pad, there is a hole in the stock. It can be accessed from the righthand side and used to store extra magazines. Forward of that on the left side of the stock is another hole which contains a clearly marked air gauge. Forward of that on the bottom of the stock is a male Foster fitting for filling the on-board air reservoir with a SCUBA tank or high pressure pump.

FZ200 FX Bobcat 005

Forward of that is a pistol grip with finger indentations and the trigger guard which surrounds a black metal trigger. Forward of that, the forestock is unadorned except for the extreme forward end, underneath which is a flat spot that looks like it could be set up with a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories. Above the forestock is the air reservoir, and above that, the shrouded smooth twist barrel.

At the end of the barrel is a fitting that can be unscrewed, allowing the attachment of a barrel shroud extension. Moving back on top of the barrel, you’ll find a long dovetail assembly for mounting a scope.

On the left side of the receiver forward of the breech, there is a wheel that allows the power to be set at one of three levels. Just to the rear of that is the breech, into which a rotary magazine is inserted. Aft of that, on the left side, the rear of the receiver is covered with a smooth metal cheek rest. The Bobcat is a decidedly right-handed air rifle.

Just aft of the breech on the right side of the receiver, you’ll find the breech lever and a lever type safety. That’s it.

I liked the fit and finish of the Bobcat. I particularly liked its no-nonsense, all-business looks and smooth matte black finish on the stock.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how the Bobcat shoots.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

 

"Varmint cong" at work at El Rancho Elliott. They are undeniably cute, but they can be very destructive.

“Varmint cong” at work at El Rancho Elliott. They are undeniably cute, but they can be very destructive.

Sometimes the subject for a blog comes from the strangest places. My wife and I were on an outing with her sister and our brother-in-law Kyle. Kyle is my best buddy.

My mechanic had informed methat one of our ancient cars had several problems that, when the inevitable failure came, would be too expensive to fix. So we were talking about cars. Kyle was relating how pleased he was with his Honda van, how reliable it was, and how over the years he had spent relatively little for repairs and maintenance. . . except for “The Great Chipmunk Invasion.”

Kyle and his wife’s house are in an older development that was built perhaps 30 years ago in a vast oak forest. Everywhere you look, there are oak trees and vast quantities of acorns are available every year. So why, exactly, chipmunks would choose to crawl into the innards of Kyle’s Honda van and chew on the plastic that insulates the wires, no one knows. What Kyle and his repair shop know, for a certainty, is that the chipmunks did $800 worth of damage in a very short period of time. In addition, chipmunks or squirrels (Kyle can’t be sure which) also ate several important plastic parts on a lawnmower stored in Kyle’s shed. He related all this to me while were chatting about cars. He also said he had begun a war on chipmunks. He calls them “varmint cong.”

What came next, however, surprised the heck out of me. “You know that pistol you gave me?” Kyle said. I nodded. He was referring to an RWS/Diana 5G springer pistol. It launches 7.9 grain pellets at around 530 fps.

He continued, “Well, the other day I killed five chipmunks with it.”

The RWS 5G pistol when it was temporarily rigged with a red dot.

The RWS 5G pistol when it was temporarily rigged with a red dot.

“Holy smokes,” I said. “How far away were you?” In the back of my mind, I was thinking that he must have been pretty close. The eastern chipmunk is not a large animal. It’s about 5-6 inches long and weighs about 3 ounces. Further, since the RWS 5G is a springer pistol, it has typical springer recoil, which makes it challenging to shoot with high accuracy. Beyond that, the 5G is a difficult pistol to mount a scope on, so Kyle was probably shooting with iron sights.

“I was shooting from the deck,” Kyle said. His deck juts off the second story of his house and offers a commanding view of the back yard. “I got three of them by the shed and two by the woodpile.”

I thought about it for a moment. It has to be a good 30-40 feet from the deck to the shed or the woodpile.

“That’s some good shooting,” I said. “How did you do it?”

“I was shooting two-handed,” Kyle replied. “Sometimes, I rested my hands on the deck railing. The fiber optic sights really helped in lining up the shots.”

Kyle related that he dropped four of the chipmunks instantly. Another was hit but crawled under the shed.

So, if you are wondering if spring-piston air pistols can be used for pest control, under the right circumstances, yes they can!

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

There are two kinds of shooting that I really enjoy: popping away at targets with an airgun and capturing nature and wildlife images with a digital camera. Believe it or not, the two support each other.

Before we get to the specifics of what I mean, let’s grab hold of some basic background information. To wit: people wobble. That’s right; you, me, everybody, wobbles. We don’t notice it most of the time because in most folks it is slight and inconsequential. But if you have ever weighed yourself on a Wii balance board, the results displayed on the screen show the movement of your center of gravity over the balance board, and it’s not a single dot. Instead, it’s a tracing showing movement. We are constantly in motion, you and I, with our muscles continually micro-tweaking our position.

When an airgun shooter wants to shoot offhand – that is, from a standing position – immediately that inherent wobble begins to matter a great deal. Even with iron sights, you find you can’t stay pointed where you want to be: at the exact center of the target. And when you add a scope with magnification to your airgun, the problem appears to be even worse, as the field of view careens back and forth across the face of the target.

Now, here’s the real rub: short of dying, having yourself stuffed with a steel rod up your center, you can’t stop the wobble. Sure, Olympic ten-meter shooters try to control it with special jackets, pants, underwear (no kidding) and shoes, but they still wobble.

The best you can do, as an ordinary (non-Olympic) airgun shooter is to try to control it and deal with it.

Control it. Set your feet at shoulder width, relax and settle into your center of gravity, rest your elbows against your sides, take a breath in and let half of it out, ease the first stage out of the trigger, and take your shot.

Deal with it. In my view (and there certainly are contrary views, so try what I suggest and if it works well for you, use it; otherwise check out some of the contrary views), one of the best ways to deal with the wobble is to get the timing right. Here’s a prime example: some years ago I was shooting a scoped rifle at a field target match. On one of the standing lanes, I was wobbling fiercely, but the wobble was fairly regular, left and right from the center of the target. I realized that if I triggered the shot while I was aimed at the center of the kill zone, I would actually be in the act of moving off the target, but if I triggered the shot while I was at the peak of the wobble to one side, I would actually be in the act of moving back onto the center of the target. So I triggered the shot when I had “wobbled off,” and the target went down.

So what does this have to do with wildlife photography? A lot, it turns out. When I am shooting wildlife with my Panasonic FZ200 superzoom camera, I am generally shooting at extremely high zoom levels: 24x, 48x, sometimes 96x, and I shoot handheld, standing up. As you might imagine, the image sometimes moves around quite a bit in the viewfinder, so I use the same skills: feet at shoulder width, relax into my center of gravity (if I can manage it in the excitement), take in a breath, and let out half, press the shutter halfway down to lock the autofocus and autoexposure, and take the shot when the timing is right.

Even better, I have found that the more I practice with the camera, it helps my airgun shooting, and the more I practice with the airguns, it helps my wildlife photography. It appears to be a synergistic system, and it sure is fun!

What follows are some photos that I was fortunate enough — using the techniques described in this blog — to capture when my wife and I were walking on Peebles Island near Troy NY. On both days, it was a “God likes me” moment.

On July 24, 2013, I shot this image of the dam on the north side of Peebles Island. (Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.)

FZ150 Peebles Island 019

My wife, who has extraordinary distance vision, said, “What’s that at the far end of the dam?” At full optical and digital zoom, I saw this:

FZ150 Peebles Island 020

On June 16, 2014, we saw the following:

Due to recent rains, water was pouring over the dam.

FZ200 Peebles eagles and herons 016

Herons were waiting below the dam.

FZ200 Peebles eagles and herons 031

One of them caught a fish.

FZ200 Peebles eagles and herons 033

An eagle scared the heron off the fish.

FZ200 Peebles eagles and herons 034

He thought about his options for a moment.

FZ200 Peebles eagles and herons 035

And flew off with his ill-gotten gains.

FZ200 Peebles eagles and herons 036

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

You don’t see it talked about much in the airgun forums, but many spring-piston air rifles and air pistols – springers – actually burn some of the lubricants in their compression cylinders during the shot cycle. Don’t worry; it’s a normal thing.

Here’s how G.V. Cardew and G.M. Cardew describe it in their book The Airgun from Trigger to Target: “The combustion phase is the phase in which most high powered sporting spring rifles operate. As the piston comes forward on firing, the temperature of the air in front of it rises with the pressure; this very high temperature causes oil, or any other combustible substance to burn, thereby increasing the pressure further, producing enough energy to drive the pellet up the barrel at a very high velocity.”

Further, they proved that the combustion takes place through an ingenious test that they called “The Nitrogen Experiment.” Starting with a .22 caliber Weihrauch HW35, they stripped it, degreased and rebuilt it with the correct amount of lubrication everywhere. They then fired it through a chronograph until it settled down at 636 fps with a 14.4 grain pellet (12.9 fp of energy at the muzzle).

They then placed the HW35 and a supply of pellets in a long plastic bag and sucked all the air out of it with a vacuum pump, leaving it sitting under vacuum for half an hour to remove all oxygen from within the seals and mechanism. The bag was sealed around the barrel and a rubber bung pressed into the muzzle to prevent oxygen from re-entering the gun. After that, nitrogen, an inert gas that does not support combustion, was blown into the bag to make it a manageable size for shooting the gun. The bung was removed and replaced for each shot, and a number of shots were fired. With the HW35 unable to enter the combustion phase of the shot cycle, the gun managed only 426 fps or 5.8 foot-pounds. The Cardews had proved conclusively that combustion is necessary for the proper operation of a sporting springer.

So, a little bit of lubrication is necessary so that combustion can take place. But what happens when your brand new airgun has a little too much lubrication? Check out the chart below.

WhatIsThis

This is the graph of velocities of an airgun that has too much lubrication and has entered into what the Cardews call the “detonation phase,” or what airgunners generally refer to as “dieseling.” Instead of making normal shot-cycle sounds, the shot goes off with a bang, producing the wild variations in velocity that you see above. Often smoke comes out the barrel and there is a characteristic smell. In severe cases, dieseling can actually bow out the walls of the compression chamber and drive the piston backwards with such force that it kinks the mainspring.

Fortunately, it is usually the case that a handful of shots with extra-heavy pellets will drive the excess lubricant out of the powerplant and settle the airgun back into normal operation. Below is the velocity graph of the same airgun after it was shot enough to settle down.

WeihrauchHW4522

The bottom line: high powered sporting air rifles and air pistols require some combustion of their lubrication to operate properly. But there is such a thing as too much. If you find your air rifle or air pistol dieseling, 5-10 shots with the heaviest pellets you have of the appropriate caliber may help to correct the situation.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

 

pie plate massacree 001

Recently I heard from a reader who was responding to my attempt to test the claims made for the Predator Polymag pellet. You can read that blog and the comments that follow here: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2011/08/shooting-household-objects-%E2%80%93-a-test-of-the-predator-polymag-pellet.html

In a nice note, Mark, who says he is a professional shooter with over 20 years’ experience, made a number of comments, among them: “Simply if hunting small game you don’t want to punch a little hole through you want a pellet that goes in expands uses all its kinetic energy in the animal and that gives much better quicker kills. I’ve tested these poly pellets along others in .22 and have seen the results they do penetrate and unleash more kinetic energy than most …”

He also said, in effect, that he didn’t think my tests on inanimate objects really proved anything and that if I did some testing on actual rabbit heads I might be surprised at the results. Now, I take Mark’s point: maybe my tests on inanimate objects really don’t prove anything. And, if Mark or anyone is getting really good results with Predator Polymag pellets in the field, that’s all that really matters. If the Polymags deliver the accuracy and lethality you need, the defense calls no further witnesses. Read the original blog carefully and you’ll see that at no point did I say that the Predator Polymag pellets were bad pellets. Instead, I simply couldn’t prove – in my tests – the claims of “incomparable penetration and expansion.”

As to the suggestion that I test on actual rabbit heads, in theory it is a good one, but the practical problems seem daunting: I don’t have a supply of rabbit head available for testing and – even more importantly – I lack the dissection skills to make sense of the results. Nevertheless, Mark had planted the seed of an idea: maybe I should give the Polymag Predator pellets another test to see if I had got it wrong the first time.

So I decided to do some more testing, again on inanimate objects. For outright penetration – the ability to crack a skull – I decided to use a metal pie plate my wife gracious donated to the cause. For penetration in somewhat softer material, I selected a piece of 5/8-inch-thick hard wood. And for penetration and expansion, a thick paperback book that I had purchased at a used bookstore and didn’t care to finish.

The pie plate was thick, enameled, and looked to be pretty tough. To get calibrated as to its ability to withstand penetration, I set it up at 13 yards and launched a 7.9 grain Crosman Premier at it from my high-power .177 caliber Walther LGV. With a clang, the pellet punched through the plate, so I decided to step down in power and brought out my 6-foot-pound FWB 150. Typically, it launches pellets in the mid-600 feet per second range.

The first shot with the FWB150, with a Crosman 7.9 grain premier, dented but failed to punch through the plate. The same thing happened with the Predator Polymag and an RWS Superpoint Extra. An RWS Hypermax alloy pellet, however, punched through the plate with authority.

On the thin wood, the 7.9 Premier, the Polymag, and the Hypermax, when shot from the FWB 150, all lodged themselves near the surface of the wood. When I tried the same pellets launched from the LGV, measuring with a toothpick down the pellet holes, the Crosman Premier apparently penetrated the deepest.

Special note here: shot from the high powered .177 LGV, the Hypermax pellet went supersonic with a loud CRACK! I once kinked the mainspring in a nice German break barrel air rifle while shooting ultralight pellets that went supersonic and caused the rifle to diesel. So unless your air rifle manufacture specifically makes claims for high velocity with alloy pellets (1,200 fps and above), I would avoid shooting ultralight alloy pellets in high power spring-piston airguns.

The one place I can really recommend shooting lightweight alloy pellets is in low-power airguns (such as the Weihrauch HW 30 rifle or RWS LP8 pistol) for pest control at short range where you might want lots of penetration and then have the shot “die” very quickly. And – this should go without saying – only if the pellet delivers the accuracy you need.

Shooting the paperback book with the FWB, the Crosman Premier penetrated to page 131. The Hypermax drilled its way to page 173. I found the red plastic tip of the Predator Polymag at page 198 and the body of the pellet at page 179. The RWS Superpoint penetrated to page 206. All of the pellets caused deformation in the paper pages well beyond where the pellet was found, and none of them – including the Polymag – exhibited any significant deformation or expansion of the pellet body itself.

Just for fun, I also tried shooting the book with a 7-foot-pound .22 caliber pumper rifle that Tim Smith put together for me. Launching a Gamo Hunter round-nose pellet, it penetrated to page 98 in the book.

I sacrificed another thick paperback book to the angry gods of airgun testing, Predator Polymag head-to-head against the RWS hollowpoint. Shooting them through the FWB 150 at 13 yards, I found that the body of the Polymag out-penetrated the RWS hollowpoint by some 34 pages, and the red point of the Polymag penetrated another 12 pages beyond that. There was little deformation to the body of the Polymag while the nose of the RWS pellet had flattened so that it looked like a wadcutter.

Shooting with the high power LGV, both pellets penetrated more than twice as far. The Polymag penetrated 16 pages deeper with the red point three pages beyond that. Both pellets were approximately equally mangled and flattened by their passage through the book. Why the pellets were more flattened by this book than by the first book, I can’t say.

So where does that leave us? First of all, there are clearly more variables to the business of testing pellet penetration and expansion than I have a good handle on. The Predator Polymag may not deliver “incomparable” performance in all cases, but it fares pretty well. So if you are using the Predator Polymag, and if it delivers the accuracy and hunting performance you need, by all means keep using it . . . and, if you like, share with me some of your experiences in the comments section of this blog.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

 

G12 misc and modular moderator 022

A few years ago I conducted an interview on long-distance shooting with a gentleman who is well known in the airgunning community. He offered the opinion that no one would want a silencer on an airgun unless they wanted to do poaching.

I’ve had a few years to think about that statement, and my conclusion is that it is hogwash. Sure, I imagine that there might be some airgunners out there who are poachers and who would want silenced air rifles for that purpose, but among all the airgunners that I have spoken with or met not once has the subject of poaching even been whispered.

On the other hand, I have talked with and met many airgunners who particularly enjoy the special freedom that airguns offer – that is, the ability to shoot legally in many locations where the discharging of firearms is strictly forbidden. Many of them desire air pistols and air rifles with a reduced report to help maintain good relationships with their neighbors.

For myself, accuracy is the thing that attracts me to airguns, and in addition to accuracy I simply enjoy shooting an air rifle that makes as little noise as possible. In general, most spring-piston are much quieter than, say, a .22 long rifle, and most pre-charged pneumatics and multi-stroke pneumatics, if they are not fitted with some sort of sound-attenuation device, tend to be considerably noisier than springers.

Some time ago, I read that Dr. Robert Beeman, former owner of Beeman airguns, had done an experiment in which he had a colleague position himself so that he couldn’t see Beeman shooting. Beeman then fired a springer with and without a sound attenuating device, asking the hidden listener which as louder. The listener apparently found no discernable difference. From this, if I remember correctly, Beeman concluded that sound attenuation devices really didn’t have an impact on springers.

Recently, however, I had the opportunity to shoot a Walther LGV .177 caliber, high-power version, that had been fitted with the FX Modular Moderator. It’s easy to do a with-and-without comparison because all you have to do is remove the screw-on sections that attach to the base piece that is permanently bonded to the barrel.

G12 misc and modular moderator 023

Now, from the factory, the LGV is the smoothest shooting spring-piston powerplant on which I have had the pleasure to squeeze the trigger. If you want the easiest cock, quietest version, go for the .22 caliber 12-foot-pound version. It is simply amazing. But if you want the flattest shooting model, go for the .177 high power. It launches 7.9 grain Crosman Premier Lights (CPLs) at around 930 fps and produces a report at the muzzle that is very similar to the Weihrauch HW80 – a bit of a snap as the pellet exits. Fitted with the FX Modular Moderator, the noise at the muzzle of the LGV .177 high power seems to just disappear. The shooter hears and feels the action of the powerplant as the shot discharges, and that’s it. I like it. It makes an already excellent air rifle even better, and, as an added bonus, the modular moderator extends the length of the barrel assembly beyond the muzzle. I found myself grabbing the modular moderator as a cocking assist handle that, because of the additional length and leverage, reduces the cocking effort.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

Just last night I had an encounter with a fellow who is an experienced hunter, firearms user, and sportsman, and he knows very little about airguns. His lack of knowledge of about airguns about airguns isn’t a rare thing. Most of the experienced sportsmen that I know have very little conception of the world of adult precision airguns. Their knowledge is pretty much limited to what can be found on the shelves of the big-box stores, and there the packaging screams: 1200 feet per second, 1300 feet per second, 1500 feet per second! This leaves the consumer to assume that more feet per second is somehow better, and it does the consumer a gross dis-service in making a buying decision.

So let’s suppose that you think maybe it would be neat to try airgunning, but you really don’t have a clue what to buy.

392-397

First on my list would be a Benjamin 392. This is a solidly made single-shot, bolt-action, .22 caliber, multi-stroke pneumatic air rifle. It is easy to shoot well, delivers enough power for small game hunting or pest control, and with care should last for decades. I would buy one with a Williams peep sight. Scoping the 392, or its .177 caliber brother the 397, is difficult.

Model-34

Next up would be the highly respected RWS Model 34. This is a single-shot, break-barrel air rifle available in .177 or .22 with power enough for hunting or field targe. Like all spring-piston air rifles, it requires some care to shoot well. The build quality is excellent, and the trigger is far better than you will find in the typical big-box break-barrel springer. In addition, the Model 34 is easy to mount a scope on.

HW30S

Third is the Weihrauch HW30S. This is a lower-power break-air rifle that is easy to cock, offers excellent accuracy, and is perhaps the easiest springer to shoot well. Many airgunners I know say it is the last air rifle they would sell. It can be readily scoped, the build quality is outstanding, and it will deliver decades of service with the occasional rebuild. It can be used for pest control and garden defense with careful shot placement at close range.

WAL-LGV-Master

My favorite springer is the Walther LGV. These are break-barrel, single-shot spring-piston air rifles that are easy to cock and incredibly smooth to shoot. With a scope mounted, you could hunt, plink, shoot field target with a huge grin on your face. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one to a friend.

When it comes to pre-charged pneumatic rifles, it’s hard to go wrong. Virtually all of them will deliver one-inch groups at fifty yards under good conditions with the right pellet.

L1377C

Turning to air pistols, the Crosman 1377c is an excellent starter pistol that people love to customize. It’s a single-shot, bolt-action, .177 caliber pistol that is fun to shoot and can be used for small pest control at close range. The rear sight, however, requires a safecracker’s touch to adjust.

Triumph%20747

If you want pure, accurate, air pistol shooting fun, the Daisy Avanti Triumph 747 http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/Daisy%20Triumph%20747.html can’t be beat. It’s a single-stroke pneumatic pistol that’s wimpy in power and no good for pest control or hunting but highly accurate, and people use them all the time in air pistol silhouette matches.

HW45

If you want more power and a challenge, I suggest any of the Weihrauch HW45 pistols. These are spring-pistol air pistols that are tricky to shoot well but are fun to shoot and master. They also offer enough power for defending the birdfeeder at short range.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

 

 

 

SONY DSC

The folks who shoot air rifle field target are pretty serious about their accuracy. In the dozen or so years that I have been fooling around with adult precision air rifles, I have yet to meet a field target competitor who has his (or her) rifle set up to shoot faster than someplace in the low 900 feet per second range. I get the feeling that many of them (if they are not shooting in the slower, less powerful international class) have their rifles set up to shoot around 930 fps.

The reason for that is pretty simple: 1100 fps is the speed of sound at sea level. As your pellet approaches the speed of sound, it gets into a region of turbulence that screws up accuracy. If you ever saw the movie The Right Stuff, you might recall that scene in which Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier, and as his plane approaches it, he gets bounced around by massive turbulence. That turbulence region occurs whether you are approaching the sound barrier from below or are dropping down and through the sound barrier from a higher velocity. That’s why firearms varminters, who pop prairie dogs and woodchucks at long range, make it a point to keep their bullets well above the 1,100 fps from the muzzle of their rifle all the way to the target.

Okay, so what does that mean for you as an airgunner. Answer: you are going to be shooting slower that 1,000 fps and you are going to have to deal with the trajectory of your pellet. So, for example, if your air rifle is zeroed so that the pellet will land exactly where the crosshairs are pointed at 20 yards, at 55 yards, you are going to have to deal with the pellets dropping several inches below where the crosshairs meet.

Some shooters compensate for the pellet drop by spinning the elevation knob a predetermined numbers of clicks to make the shot fall where the crosshairs are pointed. The method that I prefer is to use a mil-dot scope which has multiple aiming points and then map where the shot falls at various ranges on a diagram of the mil-dot reticle. Below is a picture of the reticle map that Hans Apelles prepared for the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship a couple of years ago.

NE Championship and Pistol ft 010

The other factor that air rifle shooters must compensate for is the wind, and that’s where the MTC Mamba scope comes in. It has something called the Small Calibre Ballistic (SCB) reticle that not only has multiple aiming points like a mil-dot reticle, but it also has horizontal extensions on the lower aiming points that allow the shooter to more closely estimate how much to move the point of aim to compensate for the wind.

retSCBcombined

If you use a “windicator” – a feather or a bit of yarn hanging from the barrel of your rifle that indicates the strength of the wind – with some practice, you can correlate the movement of the windicator with how much you have to “stand off” with the SCB reticle. It’s a slick system that works very well.

Even better, scope delivers bright, clear views and is extremely solid built. It is the only scope that I am aware of that has metal flip-up scope covers. It feels like it is built to withstand years of rugged use without a whimper, and I would not hesitate to use one of these on my own field target rig.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

G12 Wolverine 004

To ready the Wolverine B for shooting, pop the cover off the foster fitting under the forestock and fill the 500cc reservoir (that’s the displacement of a decent-sized motorcycle engine!) up to bar using a high-pressure hand pump or a SCUBA tank.

The underside of he forestock showing the Wolverine insignia and the cap over the foster fitting.

The underside of he forestock showing the Wolverine insignia and the cap over the foster fitting.

Next, pull the bolt all the way back so that you can slide the rotary magazine out to the left. Loading the magazine is pretty straightforward. On the back side of the magazine (if you see a full width horizontal groove, you’re looking at the front side of the magazine), there is an indentation at the bottom through which a pellet bay is visible. Push a pellet nose-first into the hole and then rotate the pellet holder portion of the magazine one click to the left (about a quarter of an inch). Load another pellet, click the magazine to the left again, and so forth. Pretty soon, you will have ten pellets loaded (they will be visible through small holes on the back of the magazine).

Slide the magazine into the receiver from the left side, slide the bolt handle all the way forward (this pushes a pellet out of the magazine and into the barrel), and you’re good to go. Take careful aim, flick the safety off, and ease the first stage out of the trigger. This requires just 8.3 ounces of effort. At 1 lb. 15.7 oz., the shot goes down range.

The Wolverine B with the shroud/moderator assembly dismounted.

The Wolverine B with the shroud/moderator assembly dismounted.

Now, before we get to what happens next, an enormous digression. You’ll remember that I mentioned the Wolverine B arrived with the shroud/moderator assembly not mounted on the air rifle. Further, I had heard very good things about the Huggett moderator. What better opportunity to find out how effective the Huggett moderator is than to shoot the Wolverine B with just the naked barrel, then mount the shroud/moderator and shoot it again to observe the difference.

The Huggett moderator is extraordinarily effective.

The Huggett moderator is extraordinarily effective.

So I shot the Wolverine B without the shroud/moderator, and all I can say is: DON’T! Without the moderator in place, this is one loud airgun. Even though Harper valve is efficient at metering the air through the action, the report is loud (not as loud as some of the Korean pre-charged pneumatics that I have shot), and it has a sharp crack to it that reminds me of a .22 long rifle shooting high-speed ammunition.

Slide the shroud/moderator over the barrel and screw it into place and shoot again, and you’ll find all that noise simply goes away. What was a loud and neighbor-annoying report becomes a soft “ping.” It is remarkable, and even more remarkable in an air rifle of the Wolverine B’s power. Take a look at the chart below. The .22 Wolverine gets at least 85 shots out of a fill-up and generates over 30 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s more than enough power to take whatever game you might reasonably want to take with a .22 caliber air rifle.

WolvB22

The Wolverine easily produces dime-sized groups at 100 feet, and I’m willing to bet that, with care and optimal conditions, it will produce similar size groups at 50 yards. The state of the art in today’s pre-charged pneumatic air rifles is so high that it is fairly rare to find a PCP rifle that won’t do dime-sized groups at 32-33 yards and well under an inch at 50 yards.

In the end, I liked the .22 Wolverine a whole lot. It is a big, powerful, accurate, and incredibly quiet air rifle that would make any airgunner proud.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

 

 

 

 

The Daystate Wolverine is an air rifle that does a lot of things well.

The Daystate Wolverine is an air rifle that does a lot of things well.

What technology is doing with the latest generation of airguns is pretty amazing.

Recently, the good folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com sent me a .22 caliber Daystate Wolverine B for testing. The gun arrived with the barrel shroud, which incorporates a permanently-bonded Huggett moderator, uninstalled. The user has to slip the shroud/moderator assembly over the naked barrel and screw them together. And what the Huggett moderator does for the Wolverine B is pretty spectacular.

The walnut stock is ambidextrous.

The walnut stock is ambidextrous.

We’ll get to that in a little while, but first let’s take a guided tour of the Wolverine B which stretches nearly 44 inches long and weighs 8.1 lbs. without a scope. At the extreme aft end is a soft rubber butt pad which is attached to an ambidextrous Walnut stock crafted by Minnelli in Italy. The hand-finished thumbhole stock features a cheek piece on either side, a nearly vertical pistol grip with the Wolverine insignia on both sides, and a landing pad for the shooter’s thumb on either side in case you want to shoot with your thumb in opposition to your trigger finger.

The trigger, bolt, and breech.

The trigger, bolt, and breech.

Just forward of the pistol grip, there is a black metal trigger guard that surrounds an adjustable silver metal trigger. Forward of that, the underside of the forestock is adorned with the Wolverine insignia, and forward of that, there is an inlet in the stock that contains a black metal knob. Remove the knob, and you’ll find a male foster fitting for filling the air reservoir. Above the foster fitting on the left side of the stock is an air gauge that tells how much pressure remains in the tank. On either side of the stock, just below the receiver, you’ll find the Daystate name and logo embossed into the wood.

At the front end of the forestock is the air reservoir, a 500cc black metal bottle. Above that is the barrel, which is silver metal, and the matte black shroud and moderator assembly slides over it. At the aft end of the barrel is the matte black receiver. The breech, which holds a ten-shot rotary magazine is located roughly in the middle, and there are dovetails fore and aft of the breech on top of the receiver for mounting a scope. At the aft end of the receiver is the silver metal bolt handle, which can be mounted to the right or left side according to the shooter’s preference. Just under the bolt handle is a sliding-switch type safety.

The Wolverine B is equipped with the Steve Harper designed patented “slingshot” hammer and valve train. It uses inertia to mimic the operation of a solenoid-powered valve hammer and, therefore, eliminates the phenomenon known as “hammer bounce.” Hammer bounce is common in conventional PCPs and involves the valve opening and closing after the main discharge, wasting air long after the pellet has zipped down the bore. The Harper valve delivers extremely efficient use of air, a very high number of shots per charge, a flat power curve, an ultra-fast firing cycle and a relatively quiet (for the power level) muzzle discharge. The slingshot system is also remarkably simple and reliable. As a result, Daystate offers the Wolverine B with a three-year warranty.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how the Wolverine B shoots.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott