There are a lot of new airguns coming out these days, and I’m lucky because I get to shoot many of them. I like a lot of rifles, and try to keep an open mind when looking at new offerings. If we all liked the same thing, there would only need to be one gun, right? And while I like many guns, and can even understand what might be appealing to some shooter or situations even when not my cup of tea, there aren’t a lot of guns I couldn’t do without. The gun I will talk about this week is one I really would not want to do without; it’s become a constant companion on many hunts this year, and has performed brilliantly even when I haven’t.
I’ve been shooting the Verminator II for over a year now, and have carried it on jackrabbit hunts in Arizona, prairie dogs in South Dakota, tree squirrels in Michigan, crows in Indiana and raccoons in Texas …… so besides lots of shooting at targets, I’ve spent a lot of time doing what this gun was designed to do ….. hunting! I’ve also used it for things I’ve never tried with an air rifle; I arrowed carp in a stream, and missed (but still trying for) a coyote with another one of the carbon fiber bolts included in the kit! The Verminator Extreme package is a compartmentalized briefcase containing the dismounted airtank/buttstock, shrouded barrel, moderator extension, rifles scope, crossbow scope, arrow barrel, and four carbon fiber bolts (arrows). The only thing that is missing, and that a prospective owner might want to add, is the short shrouded barrel.
The gun itself is based on the proven sidelever FX Royale breech block and rotary magazine design. The take-down feature is provided by the removable 400 cc tank, which sometimes takes a couple attempts to get started, but otherwise is simple to mount and locks firmly and securely in place. The adjustable butt piece that slides over the air bottle makes this (in my opinion) the most comfortable and ergonomic “bottle in the back” rifle on the market. I’m able to get a good sight alignment even with the higher profile scope mounts needed to clear the magazine. With scope, sling, and various attachment the gun comes in at a manageable 7 or so pounds; which considering the high shot count makes it a great field gun.
The eleven shot magazine is solidly built and uses an internal spring mechanism to reliably index the pellets as the sidelever is cycled. In thousands of shots the only problem was of my own device… I loaded it backwards. It’s the typical FX loading system, the first pellet drops in skirt first, then flip the magazine over and feed the rest in head first. It’s probably not something I should admit to, but I’m usually so excited when a new gun comes the first thing I want to do is shoot it……. getting to the user guide and documentation later. This caused me some difficulty when I got my first magazine fed FX rifle a long time back, but as soon as I did the smart thing, looked into the instructions and saw the proper way to feed it, I never looked back. Well, except the one time I loaded it backwards….. But in terms of reliability, this is a rifle I trust in completely, from putting it together, cycling the action, to sending the pellet down range exactly on target: the Verminator II has proven itself to me.
The arrow barrel is a small gage tube that screws in and is locked in with a large knurled knob that holds it very securely. The distal end of this barrel has a rim that both stabilized the bolt on the barrel, and also helps form a seal to ensure all the released air is channeled behind the bolt. I will sometimes leave the rifle scope on if switching back and forth between pellet and arrows, but this requires the shooter to use the bar below the mildots and guesstimate hold, so for serious (hunting) applications swapping over to the crossbow scope and check zero is the way to go. But the gun is very accurate in archery mode, I can put arrow after arrow into a two inch group at 25 yards, which is something I’ll never achieve with an actual bow. This is one of the guns we’ll be taking with us to Africa in a few months, and I think it’s going to be perfect for Guinea fowl!
I’ve got a few thing on my radar; had an invite to do a prairie dog hunt in North Dakota hit my email inbox last night, and I’m looking at my schedule to see if next weekend or the following will work out. If you’re a Predator Xtreme reader, I will be doing a few pieces in the Passport to Adventure section that will tell you how to book trips to some of the places I’ve been hunting, which range from guided hunts on private land to DIY hunts on public lands and everything in between. I haven’t decided which guns and gear to take along yet. I’m just hoping my airtanks are back and ready for the trip, I went down to the paintball store to fill them this morning, and found that of my six carbon fiber tanks five need to be hydro’d! They said they would try to rush them, but I may end up Dakotas bound with one tank and a hand pump……
Another item on my plate is preparation for South Africa in September (6th – 15th). I’ve got everything lined up with my friends and PH’s Rob Dell and Andrew Myers, it’s going to be an exclusive airgunning safari in which we’ll be taking big game and small and predators in the mix. There will be many high quality airguns available. If you’ve ever wanted to hunt Africa, this is probably one of the most fun and most unique airgunning hunts ever. It’s not cheap, but in context it’s less than the cost of the average whitetail hunt in the Midwest. We’ve got a couple slots open, and if you want to come along you can contact either Kip at AoA or me.
Well, that’s it for me this week. I’m going to get out for some shooting in the morning, and also want to get in a long hike. Since I’m new to the area I’m taking every opportunity to get out and scout the surrounding land looking for areas to hunt. I’m also stopping by local farms looking for permissions to varmint and pest control on, and am building a pretty good list of places to go. Hope everyone is off to a good start on their summer, snd I’ll be posting again next weekend.