Hatsan is a Turkish airgun company manufacturing high quality rifles and pistols for the past 40 years.  They pride themselves on the fact that 100% of each airgun is produced in their factories so they can control every aspect of the manufacture of each airgun.  Hatsan does use German steel barrel blanks for their barrels but again, does control all processing of the blanks in-house.  For their wooden stocked models, of course, Turkish walnut is used. A few years ago, Hatsan opened a U.S. operation for more direct marketing and sales to a U.S. consumer base.  While the Hatsan catalog includes everything from entry-level springers to their own line of German made lead and lead-free pellets, they are becoming known for their PCP airguns, especially in mid-bore calibers.  Enter the Carnivore PCP in .357, not to be confused with another Hatsan Carnivore introduced at the SHOT Show earlier this year.  That model was an aforementioned springer, only in .30 caliber!  A story for another blog…

Carnivor left angle

The PCP version is a synthetic stocked model utilizing a 6 round rotary magazine.  It is part of Hatsan’s BT-65 series and is a side lever bolt action version. The Carnivore is also available in a .30 version and utilizes a 7 shot rotary magazine.  It is a bit on the heavy side, weighing in at slightly over 9 pounds without optics and is almost 49 inches long with 23 inches of that being the precision rifled German steel barrel.  It runs off a removable 255cc reservoir that can be charged to 3000 psi (200 bar).  The reservoir cylinder contains a built in color coded pressure gauge.  Additional reservoirs are available should you want to order one and have an extra for quickly swapping out.  The ambidextrous stock has an elevation adjustable cheekpiece, or comb, and the rubber buttpad is adjustable for length of pull as well as elevation and fit angle for added customization to the individual shooter.  An allen wrench is included for resetting the buttpad and a coin can be used to adjust the cheekpiece height.  It comes without sights and consideration must be given to the height of the rotary magazine that extends above the chamber/barrel during normal operation when selecting scope and mounting options.

Hatsan Carnivore muzzle

Hatsan Carnivore muzzle

The rifle incorporates technology that prevents double-loading of the chamber. This worked as advertised when I inadvertently attempted to load two rounds at the same time.  Unfortunately, it was at a range session where I had also inadvertently left my one piece cleaning rod at home.  So, I was done for the day.

The trigger on the Carnivore is a two-stage adjustable match model Hatsan calls the “Quattro”.  It is adjustable for first-stage travel as well as pull weight and length of trigger travel through the access holes in the metal trigger guard. The safety is activated automatically when cocking the bolt.  The safety sliding button is mounted high on the left side of the receiver and a bit of a stretch for the right-handed shooter.

Hatsan has also been a leader when it comes to fully shrouded barrels and integrated sound moderation technology to reduce muzzle report.  This .357 Carnivore sounds more like a nail gun being fired, although I would still encourage readers to take care of their hearing and wear hearing protection, even when firing a moderated big bore.  It goes without saying that eye protection is always a must.

Hatsan believes in giving the shooter extra bang-for-the-buck by including such niceties as a second rotary magazine, gold plated metal trigger and built-in sling swivels.  Another nice touch is the inclusion of a nylon sling with the Hatsan name embroidered on it in large letters.  They also include a short section of picatinny rail under the forearm for ease of mounting a bipod or other accessory.  A brass protective cap for the valve on the removable air cylinder is included as well and doubles as a way to discharge a cylinder should the need arise.  Allen wrenches to fit all of the adjustable features on the gun as well as extra O rings for the probe filler and cylinder valve round out the kit.

The .35 caliber model I have received is rated at a velocity of 730 fps and is supposed to be able to deliver 95 ft. lbs. of energy out to an effective range of 225 yards.  –More on my impressions and results in the next blog.

Please contact www.airgunsofarizona.com  to find out about the availability of this and other fine models of Hatsan products.

It was necessary to break the blog into two parts because bad weather prevented me from spending time shooting the Royale and I also wanted to expound on the excellent FX scope that accompanied the Royale.  Before I get to the meat of the matter, allow me to make a correction from Part One:  I reported that the Owner’s Manual recommended limiting the weight of pellets to 16 grains.  That information only applied to another FX rifle and the Royale handled heavy .25 caliber pellets with aplomb.  I apologize for not catching the mistake – need new reading glasses I guess…

As mentioned in Part One, the Royale is a joy to shoot. It also liked the various pellets and weights I tried and it just kept on producing single ragged hole shots all day long from a bench at 50 feet no matter what I fed through it.  My plan is to attend the Extreme Benchrest competition in Mesa, AZ in October and I certainly hope I can cajole the good folks at AofA to loan me this bad boy again for the shoot.  For hunters reading this, the .25 caliber Royale can develop over 45 foot pounds of energy and the rotary magazine has no problem with polymer tipped Polymags.  This is great news if you are a Polymag fan.  Some rotary magazines can’t handle the extra length (Polymag came out with a shorter version to accommodate for this).  You could single feed the longer .25 cal. pellets out there (no separate single-shot pellet tray accessory needed) but it is great for hunters that like the polymer tipped pellets to have the 11 rounds at the ready in the field.FX side view

The chronograph results on the pellets run through the Royale showed: JSB Kings at 25.39 grains averaged 663.2 fps.  Predator Polymags at 26 grains averaged 679.1 fps generating.  All the shots were fired using the middle power level adjustment and were generating 24 to 26 foot pounds of energy at that power setting.  The Royale even liked the new 16.4 grain lead-free pellets provided by Dick at Predator.  They clocked at an average of 796.2 fps and were giving equivalent accuracy results.  Trigger pull averaged 15.6 ounces on the two-stage match trigger as it came out of the box and I found it perfect for me without any adjustment.  Shooting outdoors on the highest power setting, the muzzle report was still so quiet that I could hear the pellet hitting the target backstop.  The advances in sound dampening technology in both firearms and airguns have been dramatic and are very welcome changes.

The Royale can be stripped, serviced and assembled by the owner in 30 minutes according to the AofA website.  The pressure gauge is only marked in the bar designation and the warranty (mentioned in Part One) is one year, although the quality that goes into these guns makes me believe you will receive a lifetime of shooting pleasure with minimal maintenance.

FX Optics 6-18x44mm scope

FX Optics 6-18x44mm scope

 

Relatively new for FX, they have stepped into the scope arena with their line called FX Optics.  The line includes a couple of different scopes and the unit that shipped with the Royale was the 6-18x44mm Illuminated Reticle in the 30mm tube.  Here are some particulars:

  • Weight: 25.4 ounces
  • OAL: 13.25 inches
  • ¼ MOA adjusting turrets
  • Offers 10 feet to infinity parallax adjustment plus a large sidewheel comes with the scope
  • The 30 mm tube handles more light than a 1 inch tube. Coupled with  the 44mm Objective bell give this scope a bright image and the quality lenses make for a crystal clear sight picture at all magnifications
  • Power ring moved through its range very smoothly; not sticky or stiff like some variable scopes
  • Red Illumination of mil-dot reticle has 7 levels of intensity and runs on one CR2032 button battery.
  • Lenses are fully multi-coated
  • A one year limited warranty is offered with the scope
  • AofA price: $379.95

DSC_0854I wound up getting a TruGlo adapter as the only 30mm rings I had available matched Weaver mounts.  The adapter reduced that to the standard 3/8 (11mm) of most airguns.  This worked great and easily cleared the magazine port.  FX offers a unique set of scope rings as well.  The FX No-Limit is easily adjustable for an additional .170 inch height as well as tilt of +/- 1.5 degrees.  This pairing of rifle and scope was an awesome package that you couldn’t go wrong with.

As always, for more information on the Royale, other FX airguns, or any of the FX Optics line, reach out to www.airgunsofarizona.com and let their excellent staff assist you.  All of their staff live and breathe airgunning and offer excellent customer support.

Reminder to the U.S. citizens reading this blog: I respect you may or may-not be pro-firearm.  However, if you are sitting on the fence, keep in mind the gun banning crowd has never seen a restrictive gun law they didn’t like.  It is only a matter of time until their focus turns to airguns.  Please register to vote and make your voice heard this election cycle as it pertains to the Second Amendment.

HW30 Elliott Edition

HW30 Elliott Edition

LX100 EE card 015-001

It all started innocently enough. Greg Glover of www.airgunsofarizona.com sent me an email announcing the availability of a new model of Weihrauch HW30 with a laminated stock. I took a look it and thought: “Wow, that’s pretty neat!”

But then I had a thought and sent Greg an email:

You know what would be an absolutely fabulous HW30 model? How about the stainless action in the laminate stock? Maybe it could be the Jock Elliott autograph model . . .

Greg replied:

Jock,

A good idea should never be ignored.

I have placed an order for 20x HW30 laminate .177 in stainless finish. Weihrauch will not do special markings on small batches, so we will get creative. We will be installing a rear peep sight on each of these and package each with a small hard sided case. If I know you, this setup is the most ideal by your standards! I need you to write up a signature card paragraph endorsing the rifle in some fashion, and then I will make it into a professional printed card for you to hand sign and return for insertion with each as 1 of 20. These will be marketed as Elliott Editions, and I will send you one to write a blog. We will then time the release with that blog. Sound like a good plan?

Following this, we will make a standard version available without the add ons.

To which I replied simply: Perfect!

And that brings us to where we are now.

The HW30 Elliott Edition just arrived at my door. Like a kid at Christmas, I couldn’t wait to unzip the long slim package to view it firsthand.

LX100 HW30 Elliott Edition 003

We’ll get to my impression of the HW30 EE in just as little bit, but first, let’s back up a couple of steps: Why the HW30?

That part is easy. The HW30 is one of my favorite air rifles of all time. It’s small, light, easy to cock and wickedly accurate. When I first began writing about airguns, I had a conversation with a famous airgun tuner. I suggested that he build me a particular spring-piston air rifle with skeletonized stock. “Why would you want to do that?” he asked.

When I told him I thought it would look neat, he patiently explained that reducing the weight of the air rifle (by cutting away all unnecessary wood in the stock) would make it harder to shoot accurately. The closer you got to one pound of rifle weight for each foot-pound of energy at the muzzle in a spring-piston air rifle, the easier it was to shoot well. That’s why the Beeman R7/Weihrauch HW30 is such a tackdriver – just about six pounds of weight and six foot-pounds of energy, he explained.

LX100 HW30 Elliott Edition 004

I would later test this theory in several different air rifles and prove its veracity. The final straw came one afternoon when my brother-in-law was dropping more targets with his HW30 that I was with my more powerful, more expensive air rifle. “My rifle is just easier to shoot well,” he said. We switched guns, and I promptly outshot him. That was when we hatched The Great Plan. When we went to the next field target match, we would each shoot HW30s. “We miss the long-range stuff anyway,” was the thought, “but with the HW30, we can be sure of knocking down the short to medium range targets.”

And it worked! We didn’t win, but we did pretty decently in our classes. Great minds must work the same, because around that time there was a small group of field target enthusiasts who were voluntarily choosing low-power air rifles, doing well, and most importantly, having fun. We were never formally organized in any way, but collectively, we referred to ourselves as Team WIMP. WIMP is an acronym, standing for Weapons of Intentionally Modest Power.

LX100 HW30 Elliott Edition 007-001

There are a couple of additional factors that contribute to the configuration of the HW30 Elliott Edition. The first is the stainless finish receiver. I chose this because one day I was shooting at a friend’s house with a well-known German air rifle when it began to mist lightly. I didn’t have any gun cloths with me, so I stuck the rifle in its hardshell case and brought it home. The next day, I pulled it out and found out that some of the surfaces on the receiver had already acquired a very light patina of rust. A few minutes work with a silicon-impregnated gun cloth cured the problem, but I was outraged: “You would think that an airgun designed for use outside, where it might occasionally rain, would be finished in such a way as to resist moisture!” So I chose the stainless finish for moisture resistance.

LX100 HW30 Elliott Edition 009

The second is the laminated stock. Because of the way laminate is constructed, I believe that will confer additional moisture resistance on the HW30EE, but the real reason I chose the laminate was because it is about .5 pounds heavier that the conventional wooden stock. Back in my Team WIMP days, when I was campaigning the HW30 (it was actually a Beeman R7, but the models are virtually identical), I often wished that the rifle were just a bit heavier. I actually contacted a custom stock maker to have him build me a laminated stock for the HW30, but he believed what I really needed was a lighter walnut stock. Bottom line: the project didn’t work out.

LX100 HW30 Elliott Edition 011-001

So now we have the Elliott Edition, a weather-resistant, slightly heavier version of the HW30, tricked out with a peep sight and a hard case. It’s light enough to carry all day and powerful and accurate enough to defend the garden at short range or the bird feeder or even to campaign in field target. I doubt that you will achieve top score, but I virtually guarantee that you will have fun.

So what are my impressions of the HW30 EE?

First, it’s absolutely gorgeous. If you look closely at the photos here, you’ll notice a couple of things: the buttstock has a modest cheek piece of either side, which is good news for left-handed shooters, and the full length fore end extends to cover the cocking linkage, which give the HW30 EE a more finished appearance. A couple of other items worthy of note: the front globe sight comes with interchangeable inserts, and the rear peep sight has clicker knobs for adjusting windage and elevation.

Even better, when I shot the sample that Airguns of Arizona send to me, I found that the half pound of extra weight seems to dampen out any twang or vibration when the shot goes off.  There is a muted pop, and that’s it. By bottoming out the Williams peep sight, I was able to zero the EE at twenty yards and regularly hit an inch-and-a-half target at that distance, even with the slightly astigmatic view out of my uncorrected right eye.

Finally, toting the “EE” around for a bit, I find the weight is just right. As I think back, it reminds me of the Daisy BB gun that I loved carrying through the woods and fields of my boyhood. In my heart, the HW30 EE is the grown-up successor to that Daisy. It’s heavier, certainly more powerful, more accurate, and a ton of fun. The HW3 EE is an air rifle that virtually begs for an adventure in the outdoors.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–           Jock Elliott

PS My brother-in-law says if you absolutely have to put a scope on an Elliott Edition, make sure it is a silver scope. In his words, “That would be bad *ss.”

Fredrik Axelsson is a driven man.  His passion has been to create some of the best airguns on the planet ever since his disappointment with an off-the-shelf air rifle he purchased years ago.  Fredrik shot that air rifle for a while and thought to himself: “I can do better than this” and so, he did.  Since creating that first air rifle under the Swedish FX brand, the line has continued to expand and that brings us to the subject of this blog, the FX Royale 500 Synthetic.  The Royale line is a collaboration with Fredrik’s close friend Ben Taylor of Theoben fame and took two years of development and testing of the breech block and valve system.  You’ll feel the result when operating the smooth-as-glass side lever.  The 500 in the name refers to the capacity, in cubic centimeters, of the non-removable air reservoir. The reservoir can be filled to 220 bar, or approximately 3200 psi, via the male foster fitting accessed on the bottom of the forearm.  A pressure gauge resides right next to the fitting.  FX provides a female foster quick detach coupling for attaching to your air charging hose. FX Royale side view #1

A black beauty in .25 caliber, the Royale is 47 inches long and, as the name implies, sports a synthetic stock in a thumbhole style configuration.  There is a molded in Monte Carlo cheek piece and it has a rubber buttpad that is adjustable vertically to get just the right fit.  It is also available in a left hand version as well as a walnut stocked version and in .177 or .22 calibers.  The 25 ½ inch free-floated match barrel utilizes the “Smooth Twist” method of rifling and the last 16 inches of the barrel are fully shrouded for sound dampening.  For those unfamiliar with it, Smooth Twist rifling is imparted to approximately the last two inches of the match-grade barrel and achieved by placing the muzzle end over a mandrel and concentrically hammering it from the outside so the inside takes on the spiral impressions of the mandrel.  This method allows a fired pellet to accelerate quickly down the smooth portion of the bore before encountering this “gentle” rifling imparting the spin just before it leaves the barrel.  If you have never shot an FX airgun, having grown up knowing barrels were traditionally rifled by cutting grooves the entire length of the barrel, this process may give rise to questions about how accurate such a barrel could be.  Rest assured, FX airguns are well known for their accuracy.

The rifle weighs in at 7 ¼ pounds without optics and does not ship with sights of any kind.   The Royale comes with a 2-stage match trigger that is adjustable for pull weight and length of pull.  A wheel on the left side of the receiver allows for low, medium and high power adjustments represented by dots.  The superb design and construction of the rifle assures the user that power levels will be consistent from shot-to-shot each time the power level is adjusted.  Even though this is a mid-bore rifle, the shrouded barrel is quite effective at reducing the sound signature and shooting outdoors would not necessarily require hearing protection.  Especially on the low power setting where the hits on the target were louder than the report from the muzzle.  Eye protection is always a must.  You only have one set of eyes; don’t take unnecessary chances.

A safety lever is situated on the right side just below the rear hinge point of the cocking lever with clear white lettering denoting “Safe” and “Fire”.  This safety does not automatically set as with other air rifles on the market.  The automatic safety is probably more of a corporate lawyer directive as opposed to a market-driven desirable feature and this rifle is ready to fire each time you cycle the action.  As mentioned earlier, it is glass smooth and cocking the rifle can be accomplished without ever breaking your cheek weld.

The Royale 500, as with the other FX rifles I’ve had the pleasure of shooting, is just a joy to shoot.  It is balanced, quiet and soft shooting with a fantastic trigger right out of the box.  The 11 round spring loaded rotary magazine takes a bit of getting used to because the first pellet is loaded backwards compared to the remaining pellets.  This process of loading the first pellet with the nose facing you (locking the magazine spring tension), then turning the magazine over to load the rest with the skirt facing you seems awkward at first.  Once the shooter has loaded a few magazines, it becomes old hat and you won’t give it a second thought. FX Royale rotary magazine

The Owner’s Instruction Manual recommends limiting pellet weight to 16 grains for best accuracy.  There is also not mechanism to prevent double loading of a pellet, so make certain you don’t work the action more than once with a loaded magazine in place.  If you do pull the bolt handle back and realize a pellet is already in the barrel, simply remove the magazine, close the action and fire the pellet.

The weather in my part of the country has been snowy and wet this spring and not conducive to putting the Royale 500 through its paces.  Plus, I want to get into particulars about the nice FX Optics that shipped with the test gun.  That, along with me being a wordy sort of fellow, dictates this blog be broken into two parts.  Look for Part Deux next month.

The FX Royale 500 retails for $1549.00 without optics and the walnut stocked version for $1750.00.  It carries a one year warranty and ships in a durable plastic foam lined rifle case emblazoned with the FX logo.  If you like what you’ve read so far and can’t wait for Part Deux, check this and other FX offerings and accessories by navigating to the Airguns of Arizona website: www.airgunsofarizona.com.

We asked a good airgunning friend of ours, who lives in the UK out in the wilds of East Anglia, to give us a regular flavor of life there. Here is his latest post.

Farm

Mid April 2016. There’s been warmer weather at Home Farm in Norfolk. It’s party time in the garden for our visitors who have been buzzing with excitement recently. The birds, who visit our feeding stations around the garden, are in a frenzy. All through the winter we have tried to understand why some feeding points are so much more popular than others, when the same mix of seed and suet goes into each. Some are emptied immediately; others take all day to be finished. “You need an Avian Feng Shui Consultant to explain it” laughs one of our more human visitors. Well, to be frank, I would think that an AFSC, if such exists, is the last person whom I would sit down with to learn the mysteries of the natural world. Whichever restaurant our birds prefer, they are always welcome here. So many regulars: yellow hammers (ten or more); green finches; blue tits; great tits; sparrows; starlings; blackbirds; collared doves; moorhens; lesser spotted woodpecker, Mr & Mrs Jay, the robin and El Magnifico (our friendly cock pheasant who lives at #1 the Ditch) – they are all here, waiting for us, half an hour after sunrise. Meanwhile, somewhere in the tall ash tree, our thrush is singing, as bright, loud and as sweet as you can possibly imagine, saying to us “Welcome. It’s another great day”.

Our winged guests are messy eaters. The smaller birds throw out a lot of grain on the ground as they sift for the tastier morsels. Alas, this attracts in rats from the adjoining the fields. This is where airgunning comes into its own. I don’t even need to leave the farmhouse to make sure I have a good and safe shot. The rat may see the back door of the house slowly swing ajar, spot a shadowy shape inside hunching over slightly… “but, hey, let’s not worry too much when there’s so much food around here, right beneath my nose”. The rat’s eagerness gives me my opportunity and –wham– the airgun has done what it was made for. The FX Verminator has lived up to its name. Time for me to tidy up the corpse, wash my hands and have a mug of hot tea on this sunny, uplifting, Spring day.

Yellowhammer taking off

Yellowhammer taking off

Until next time,

Get out and shoot!

After 80-plus years of being out of the airgun scene, Remington returned in 2014 with a strong commitment to gain a piece of the market.  As part of that effort, Remington’s renewed airgun division introduced a line of reactive targets in several animal shapes.

Remington Shoot-To-Reset Crow Target

Remington Shoot-To-Reset Crow Target

The Remington shoot-to-reset reactive targets work very well.  My sample was a crow and you can select from a choice of a jack rabbit or wild hog as well.  The targets are a sturdy 1/8” steel plate, painted black, sitting atop a 12” long angle-iron spike which holds it securely in the ground.  Overall height is 19 ¾” and a width of 6”.  Two rings attached to the back can be rotated in front of the bright yellow target paddle to adjust the kill zone from 1.5” to 1” to ½”.  Once your shot knocks down the target paddle, the unit is reset by an accurate shot on the yellow paddle hanging at the bottom.  Remington recommends a minimum safe shooting distance of 25 yards with .177 pellets travelling 1000+ fps and 35 yards if using .22 pellets at 800+ fps.  It is not rated for alloy pellets which tend to be harder and prone to ricochet, and of course, no steel BBs for the same reason (Well, duh…)  PLEASE, always wear eye protection any time you are shooting and make sure spectators are as well!  The target stood up well to the punishment of being shot by adult airguns and it was great fun.  As can be expected, a touch up of the paint is needed occasionally to protect the bare steel that becomes exposed when an errant shot chips the finish.  Made in China, they have a very reasonable MSRP of $29.95 and Airguns of Arizona actually offers these targets to their customers at an even better price of $19.95!  Check them out at www.airgunsofarizona.com.   Remington also has the same critters in a manual, pull-string reset configuration for the same MSRP and our friends at AofA sell them at the same discounted $19.95 price.  If you think you might get into field target competition or simply want an alternative to punching holes in paper, give these reactive targets a try.

We asked a good airgunning friend of ours, who lives in the UK out in the wilds of East Anglia, to give us a regular flavor of life there. Here is his latest post.

Farm

Easter 2016. It’s been chilly weather at Home Farm in Norfolk. The winds have been blowing in from the south with an unexpected vengeance, cutting straight across the county’s flat fields, skimming across the huddled backs of wood pigeon which have flocked down onto the fields. Yesterday we had a hailstorm. The oil seed rape has been growing well, but this has drawn in pigeon to feast on the burgeoning crop. They have been devastating field after field. One of our neighbours, a farmer, knocked on our door in the last week – “Airgun or shotgun, don’t really care. Please just spare some time to take out some of those pesky pigeon.” So midweek finds me trudging across wide open fields to one of three very small woods which will afford me enough cover to take some shots. I have a trusty old FX Verminator (I really should upgrade to something more 2016) and an Italian Fabarm 12 gauge, over and under. This was my first ever shotgun bought 26 years ago and still going strong.

Snuggled down in the wood, facing the wind, with a few pigeon decoys tucked in the lee of a hedge 70 yards away, the waiting begins. As the pigeon drop in, I keep a keen eye but a still hand. Finally, I have around 40 or so in sight. With the airgun, I pick out several single birds on the outer edge of the group, closest to me. The noise of the wind and the excellent Huggett moderator on the airgun combine to mask the shots. After 10 minutes, I have enough pigeon for the pot and it’s time to do my proper job and move them all on. The shotgun is readied. My movement disturbs a ‘sentry’ who, unseen by me, has flown into a nearby tree. The flock lifts and my two last-gasp shots miss, but still, I scare them off. Switching between rifle and shotgun is not so easy as it was in earlier days.

As the light starts to fade, I head for Home. By now the fire will be lit and a strong cup of tea will warm me up. But there is one last treat as the great indoors beckons. I walk quietly past Home Meadow, and there, with her back to me, is our wild barn owl, getting ready for her hunting time.

owl

Until next time,

Get out and shoot!

Back in June, 2015, I interviewed Larry Piercy, who was about to embark on a really cool adventure traveling the U.S. with the Airguns of Arizona van. Initially, the project had four goals:

  1. To establish additional dealers in the Precision Airgun distribution network.
  2. To help existing dealerships be more successful.
  3. To interface with the airgunning public.
  4. To do some outreach to provide some relief for people in need.

Recently I spoke with Piercy, getting an update from him on the road with the AoA van in Florida.

PAD Van ocean side in Florida!

PAD Van ocean side in Florida!

“It’s going well,” he said. “but with a slightly different emphasis than we initially thought. We’re doing more support and education. We’ve been supporting a lot of shoots – benchrest, 10 meters, and field target. And we’ve been doing education. We went to the California duck calling championship. There were 4,500 to five thousand people there, and most had no idea that airguns have advanced to the level that they have.”

“We’re doing stuff with some of the younger kids, going to some of the ranges and opening up the van, working with different clubs and sponsors, and letting the kids shoot different guns from the van.”

Piercy has also been supporting Precision Airgun distribution network dealers. Several of the dealers are working on airgun ranges, and Piercy has been consulting with them on what kind of guns, safety and other considerations associated with setting up a range. “My NRA certified instructor and range safety office training comes into play there,” Piercy says.

He adds, “We have established some additional dealers, but not as fast as we had hoped. Everyone is amazed at the state-of-the-art in airguns, but they are typically slower to react and do something about it. Still, it is better to have one good dealer than five who are in it half-heartedly.”

“Some of the existing dealers have picked up their sales as well. Some haven’t been dealers that long, so I have been doing a lot of education,” Piercy says.  “Often they want to know ‘how fast does it shoot?’ and I have to point out that fast isn’t necessarily accurate, and if you are not accurate, you are just blasting lead. A better question to ask is “How many foot-pounds will it shoot accurately?’ They also want to know how many shots a gun will deliver, and I always tell them how many good shots it will give.”

Piercy has also visited many events: the field target nationals, the US air rifle benchrest nationals, the Cajun Spring Classic, several local benchrest and ten meter events, filling tanks and sometimes repairing guns. “I found out that if you offer free tank fills, that’s like offering free food – the shooters definitely show up!”

PAD van photobombing the 2016 Cajun Spring Nationals!

PAD van photobombing the 2016 Cajun Spring Nationals!

As to helping people in need, Piercy has been handing out one-gallon zip bags stuffed with soap, toothbrushes, razors, socks, water, and other goodies. One chilly fall morning in Albuquerque, Piercy gave a bag to a gentleman who was asking for help, and as Piercy drove away, he could see in his rearview mirror the fellow wolfing down the breakfast bars and drinking the water.

The biggest surprise for Piercy is that “the general public has no idea that airguns have advanced as far as they have. Another surprise is the demand for information about airguns for nuisance wildlife control.

So far, Piercy is enjoying the project. “I’ve met a lot of nice people, seen a lot of beautiful country, and helped some airgunners and dealers along the way.”

Larry in the Everglades.

Larry in the Everglades.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

This week we take another trip back in time! Back to the 70’s with the Benjamin Franklin Model 3120, .22 caliber lead ball, pump-up repeater! And we do so in a fun video showcasing this old classic:

This rifle is part of the AOA vintage collection, and was also featured in a recent article in Hard Air Magazine, with a title of “How It All Began” by AOA’s own Robert Buchanan! Click Here to read the Article over at Hard Air Magazine.

http://hardairmagazine.com/features/how-it-all-began/

While the Model 3120 is no longer made, we do still offer modern pump rifles made by Benjamin under current ownership of the Crosman Corp.

 

Until next time,

Get out and shoot!

M712 with box #2I have always been a fan of the C96 “Broomhandle” Mausers and not sure what is at the root of the attraction.  Maybe because it was a pistol ahead of its time, maybe because of its distinctive look with the magazine forward of the trigger as opposed to inside the grip like with modern autoloaders; it’s hard to say.  The “96” part of the designation stood for the year of its release – 1896.  Originally in caliber 7.63 with a 10 round box magazine, it was copied by Spanish and Chinese manufacturers and saw action all over the world for more than half of the last century.  The M712 Schnellfeuer (rapid fire) was the select fire version of the C96.  Suffice that the C96 and M712 are iconic and historical firearms and this replica BB CO2 pistol will satisfy the collector in you while also providing many hours of enjoyable shooting.  After going over the instruction manual to be certain I was familiar with any unique operational differences from the many CO2 pistols I’ve had the pleasure of shooting, I was ready to take it outside.   Of all metal construction, the M712 has the heft of its real counterpart with the controls in the same places as the original and even a lanyard ring at the base of the grip.  The smoothbore barrel is made of brass and is 4 ¾ inches long.  In keeping with the original there is a ladder type rear sight, but with the M712’s limited range, you won’t do much with it.  It sports plastic grips made to resemble real wood with a slot in back to accommodate the wooden stock/holster that came with some original guns to turn them into carbines.  Umarex does not sell a replica stock at this time but I understand some internet sites have an aftermarket version.

The drop-free magazine holds both the 12 gram CO2 cartridge and 18 BBs.  To charge the magazine: remove the threaded plug from the magazine’s base using the provided hex key, insert the cartridge and replace the threaded plug.  (Umarex recommends placing a drop of high quality silicone oil on the tip before insertion.)  Once assembled, but before piercing or loading with BBs, install the magazine into the pistol.  Then, continue to screw in the threaded plug until the cartridge is pierced.  Point the muzzle in a safe direction, pull back the charging handle and fire the pistol to make sure the CO2 is flowing.  Remove the magazine and proceed to load BBs.  It is possible to load 20 BBs, but don’t do it – the follower will not work properly and you’ll wind up with feed problems.

The bolt does not lock back on this airgun version, so clearing a stuck BB is definitely a two hand operation.  Also, when firing full auto mode you will waste some gas not realizing the mag is empty and it is time to release the trigger.  The M712 was a whole lot of fun to shoot, especially in the rock n’ roll mode, with one drawback: it was slow to load.  It is possible to purchase extra magazines, but if Umarex could figure a way to help speed loading and/or hold more rounds, it would be just about perfect.M712 right side close up

I’m not sure how to gauge the rate of fire, but it was fast.  You can empty a full magazine in just 3 or 4 seconds.   Of course, being CO2 driven, this does not efficiently utilize the gas so velocity drops during full auto firing, but it is a blast! (Please pardon the pun…)  Have plenty of CO2 cartridges on hand because you’ll go through them quickly – and have great fun doing it!

After firing a couple of magazines to break-in the airgun you are ready to strike fear into the hearts of pop cans everywhere.  Accuracy was very good at 7 yards and the trigger was quite nice.  The chronograph showed an average reading of 357.4 FPS from a 5 shot string on a 64 degree day at 6,000 feet. The safety is excellent and disengages the trigger when the lever is pushed up.

Being a hundred twenty-something year old design, it’s different than what you are used to but proficiency comes quickly.  If you have interest in famous military arms or just want to have a great time plinking in your backyard, you owe it to yourself to check out this well-made airgun.  MSRP is in the $120.00 range and it comes with a 90 day warranty.  Airguns of Arizona (www.airgunsofarizona.com) can certainly be your connection to this and any of the Legends replicas from Umarex.