A little while back, Dale Johnson responded to my review of the FX Independence by saying “10 lb. rifle, if it sits on sand bags all day that’s fine, but a rifle that heavy is useless to me for hunting. 7.5 with scope is my limit.”
When I read that I thought, “You know, I’ve heard other hunters say similar things, that ideally their hunting rig would weigh no more than 7.5 lbs. to ease the burden of carrying it all day.” So I decided to do a little research on the Airguns of Arizona website to see what kind of 7.5 lb. (or less) hunting rig I could put together.
The first and perhaps most obvious choice would be either the Benjamin 392/397 or the Sheridan. Either rifle weighs 5.5 lbs. according to the Crosman website and can be fitted with a peep sight that adds negligible weight. Scoping these pump-up rifles is difficult, but barrel-clamping scope mount adapters are available, and the hot setup seems to be a pistol scope or red dot mounted well out on the barrel, Scout Rifle style.
Another possibility is the Marauder PCP Air Pistol which weighs 2.7 lbs. without scope. It’s a .22 caliber pre-charged repeater that comes with a plastic stock that quickly turns it into a carbine. I’ll be reviewing one of these pistols in the near future.
The FX Verminator is a carbine version of FX’s double bottle airgun and weighs only 5.3 lbs. Similarly, the Ranchero carbine weighs in at 4.8 lbs. Either of these diminutive repeater carbines is available in .177 or .22. Virtually all of the FX long guns weigh less than 7 lbs. (with the exception of the Revolution), and some of them weigh under 6 lbs.
The Daystate Huntsman Classic tips the scales at 6 lbs., as does the Daystate Huntsman Buckmaster. The Brocock Enigma weighs 6 lbs., 13.5 oz.; the Brocock Concept weighs only 6 lbs; and the Brocock Contour weighs only 4 lbs.
Among springers, Weihrauch has several candidates that might fill the bill. If you’re willing to go after smaller game at closer ranges, the HW30s weighs 5.5 lbs., as does the HW30S Deluxe. Either can be fitted with a peep sight or scope. At 7.8 lbs., the higher power HW35E is just a touch over the weight limit, but would make a delightful hunting rig, especially if equipped with a peep sight. The HW85 is a little bit lighter, at 7.7 lbs. and would be a good candidate for a peep sight. The HW50s and the HW50S Stainless weigh 6.8 lbs., deliver more power than the smaller HW30S models, and would also work well with a peep sight.
If you want a scope and rifle combination that meets the 7.5 lb criteria, there are some lightweight scopes available to mount on a light rifle. The Burris Compact 3-9 x 32 weighs just 12 oz. The Bushnell Sportsman 3-9 x 32 is just 6.3 oz., and the Leupold EFR Ultralight 3-9 x 33 weighs in at 11 oz.
Play mix and match with light air rifles and light scopes, and you should be able to put together a combination that you can carry for a full day in the field with a grin on your face.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott