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General Musings and News

Posted by on July 28, 2013

This week I have a hodgepodge of topics to talk about. Hunting season is around the bend, with small game opening in many states, it’s time to get the small game guns down and prep your skills for the woods and grasslands! I’m going to make a concerted effort to spend more time with springers this year, it’s what got me started in the sport and it was my method for taking thousands of small game, varmint, and pest over the years before the love affair with PCP’s started. Don’t get me wrong, still love the PCP’s …. but there’s room for both, and as a response to many readers of the blogs, magazines, and emails asking for more on springers along with my natural proclivity towards these guns, I’m signing up for it. If there’s a specific gun or game you’d like me to focus on, please let me know and I’ll see what we can do.

My son is visiting before his semester starts, and we’re throwing some guns in the boot and heading out to S. Dakota to camp and shoot for a few days. We’ve been doing airgun hunts for years, he’s more into shooting powder burners, but is always willing to hit the field with me. I find it interesting to see how a guy with a firearms bias reacts to some of the different airguns I get to shoot, and this will be his first go around with the Wolverine, Huntsman, Verminator, and several other guns that will be taken along! I remember a few years ago we headed out on a similar excursion and he got to shoot the Dragonslayer .50 caliber, which was his first big bore airgun, and took a mountain of jackrabbits in Nevada….. I almost won him back from the loud and smokey world of powderburners……..lets see how it goes when he has a go with the Wolverine… The other great aspect of this trip, besides the company, is we don’t know exactly where we’re going. It’s a bit of a scouting road trip, I’m going to knock on a few ranch house doors and see if I can find some new hunting terrain within 4-5 hours of home. I’ve been pretty lucky getting outright permission or working out reasonable trespass fees.

As long as I’m on a general ramble, I’ll tell you about another goal I have for this year; I’m going to do a “North American Squirrel Superslam”! OK, this is something I made up, but what I intend to do is shoot a) fox squirrel, b)gray squirrel, c) black phase fox/gray, Aberts squirrel, d) California ground squirrel, e) Richardson’s ground squirrel, f) Franklins ground squirrel, and g) prairie dog. I’m not going after every subspecies or member of the squirrel family, but rather those that are most frequently shot by hunters. It will be my first time to take them all in a single year, and will take me to several states. There’s no motivation to do this other than I think it will be a lot of fun and, I had ‘t heard of anyone else doing it yet (though I’m sure somebody somewhere has). Last year I did an airgunners predator grandslam: coyote, bobcat, fox, raccoon, ringtail cat.

I’m trying to line up deer hunts everywhere legal; so far I have Missouri, Michigan, Virginia and axis or fallow in Texas (can’t shoot whitetail there) lined up. Just waiting for a place to take a mulie. I have several guns in .357, .451, .457, .50 caliber I want to work with. Haven’t seen if the regs in Arizona have changed yet…. keeping my fingers crossed there! I have wanted to take a javalina my entire airgunning life (have done so with rifle and handgun, but not air). We’ve also lined up a hunt for free range blackbuck in Texas, I have a friend with a huge property and this is the only exotic, besides an aoudad I’ve wanted to add to my trophy room.

Also have a new GoPro HD video camera ordered and waiting for it to reach me any day now. I’ve been very impressed by the quality of footage coming off these cameras, and will definitely have it on my gun while in South Africa, will try for the footage on my squirrel slam as well, thinking this will make a cool little video production.

You’ve probably heard about the updated version of the Huntsman Classic, called the Regal which has been released to market in the UK. We’re waiting for the first shipments stateside, and I can’t wait to see it. The gun is said to have a higher capacity air reservoir made of titanium, which keeps the weight down at the same time providing a larger air volume. I’m keeping an open mind, but it will have to be a super gun to displace the Huntsman, which is one of my all time favorites.

I am continuing to shoot the little Brocock Specialist, and think this little tack driver is a fantastic field gun. Probably the lightest and most compact 20 fpe hunting gun I’ve ever used! The rotary magazines, I’m using 3 different one, have never failed me after several hundred shots. This is my new truck gun, and is almost always somewhere in the vehicle!

And when it’s not the Specialist, the other gun I’ve been using A LOTis the FX Verminator. This is another of those guns that is perhaps not my aesthetic ideal (I’m old school and like the wood), but from the perspective of functionality it is just about perfect; accurate, powerful, high shot count, versatile, takedown design, ergonomic…….. If I could only take one gun on a prairie dog shoot, this would be the one. Have a couple recent hunts with this gun that I’ll be writing up soon, it’s been particularly effective for the long range shooting, the .25 caliber pellet with the power dialed up does a better job of bucking the wind than most of the guns in my collection, while still giving a reasonably high shot count.

Well, I’ve been writing this while in the air and my plane is about to land so I’ll sign off for this week. Next posting I’ll let you know how my son and I got along on our airgunning roadtrip.

6 Responses to General Musings and News

  1. Jim Phillips

    Sounds like you are going to have a blast with your son. I am envious, although my son does hunt Wild Turkey with me in April. So, I cannot complain.
    A Grand Slam Squirrel hunt, eh? Sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to hear all about it!
    Springers? Well, I am really just getting into air rifles and have started out with Springers. I realize a Daystate huntsman is lightweight and would be the choice for many hunters. But, I’m sticking with Springers for the time being. I have an Air Sportsman Prosport .22 and just bought from AOA, within the past few weeks, an absolutely magnificent HW 97 KT wood with stainless barrel. It not only looks gorgeous but shoots very nicely. Of course, both guns are very heavy. I like mine so much I will figure out how to squirrel and crow hunt with them in spite of the weight. I’d love to hear your thoughts on hunting with an HW 97.

    All the Best,

    Jim Phillips

  2. Jim Phillips

    Whoops, almost forgot. The HW 97 is .177 caliber.

    Jim Phillips

  3. JRMoreau

    This will be my first season of airgun hunting and I hope to nail some critters with my RWS 34 .22. Any interest in addressing that or this type of springer? Thanks Jim!

  4. JRMoreau

    I’d also LOVE to see a post about how to get permissions from ranchers and farmers. I’m still too nervous to just go and ask without any guidance and could use some tips!

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi James;
      It is a bit intimidating, but I’ll tell you what I do most of the time. For farmers around me I write a cover note, with an introduction and a few words on airgun hunting. It talks about the benefits of using an airgun with respect to safety, effectiveness, and low noise levels, and says I’ll stop by to discuss at a later point or invite them to call me. If I have shooting property with a neighbor I’ll mention that as well. I leave them my cell and email and invite them to contact me if they’d like, and say that I’d like to stop by to ask permission. I leave this in their mailbox, so when I stop by I’m not taking them off guard. When I do stop by, I don’t do it when I see they are busy working, nobody likes to be bothered when busy. I also mention specifically that I want to shoot predators or varmint. When I get the permission I notify them when I’ll be on property by whatever means they define (a call, email, or note on my windshield). I get turned down more than I get permission, but it happens often enough to make it worthwhile. Once you get the first on in an area, you can often leverage that success to get others.
      Regards,
      Jim

  5. JRMoreau

    Great idea! I like the concept of the mailbox, especially. I’ll give that a try!

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