A few thoughts on the Boss and .303
I’ve been doing a lot of shooting with the FX Boss the last few months, and think it is one of the finest hunting airguns I’ve ever used. The reasons for this strong statement are multi-fold: the guns is dead accurate all the way out to 100 yards, it is a hammer with respect to both power and the size of the wound created with a .30 caliber pellet, it has a high shot count, it is lightweight and ergonomic, it is quiet, and it is very fast to cycle with a very robust and reliable magazine feed. I wish it wasn’t quite as long, the shroud adds quite a bit to the overall length, but can live with this minor distraction in view of everything else the gun delivers.
When first taking the gun to the range, I was immediately impressed by the inherent accuracy of the guns, with my one hole near range groups opening to about an inch at 100 yards. Fred Axelsen is a great shot, but he sure didn’t hurt his odds of winning the Extreme Benchrest Competition last year by opting for the Boss as his gun of choice either! It’s a combination of the caliber and JSB pellet the gun was designed around, the smooth twist barrel pioneered by FX, the great trigger, and the ergonomic stock design. This is going to be the gun I compete with this year, and if I don’t do well it won’t be because of the gun 🙂 .
The Boss fills to 250 BAR (3500 psi) and generates about 40-50 usable shots on that fill. For most hunting applications that’s a day or two of air, but when going out on high shot opportunity hunts (like prairie dogs), I slip a small xxx cc, 4500 psi buddy bottle into my daypack and am good for just about anything that comes up. I also appreciate that the gun fills with a standard, easily accessable, Foster style fill nipple. As a quick aside, AOA supplies a small magnetic nipple cover for that is the best approach to protecting the fill port on just about any gun, it’s one of those little things that you don’t give much thought to, but after using it think “this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in awhile)!
But I’m a hunter and not a target / competitive shooter, so what really matters to me is how the gun handles in the field, and in fact this is where the rifle shines. I’ve now used the Boss for squirrel in Indiana, jackrabbit and prairie dogs in Arizona, predators in Texas, and Guinea fowl to duiker in South Africa, from cold and wet to hot and dry climates, close range to the 100 yard shots, and this gun has never been less than exceptional. And when it hits …. simply put it is the most impressive knockdown power I’ve seen with a Diabolo style pellet.
The 30 caliber pellet has a lot to do with this stellar hunting performance; driven at relatively
high velocities, the surface area of the pellet create quite an impact when quarry is hit, and furthermore opens a large wound channel. This delivers an outstanding outcome on both smaller and larger quarry, which is another cornerstone of the caliber….. flexibility!
I’ve been asking the question for awhile now, is the .303 the new .25? The reason I’ve migrated so much of my hunting to .25 calibers guns is that they hit harder, creat a bigger hole, travel further, and are less effected by environmental conditions calibers flexibility. All of these statements are even more appropriate to the .303. What I’ve mentioned but not focused on is that the bigger caliber Diabolo pellets gives me the flexibility to use the same gun for more hunting applications. I can use a .177 to kill squirrels, but that’s not the right choice for a raccoon. I can use a .45 to shoot a coyote, but it’s the wrong choice for a rabbit. But I can and have hunted squirrel with the .303 and it worked great. And I’ve used the same .303 to shoot predators, and it worked great. And even though I am blessed with a whole room full of airguns in just about any conceivable caliber, when I go out hunting I only carry one gun with me and therefore appreciate this flexibility.
I’ve been back home for a week now, and have been doing a bit of shooting but no hunting to this point. I’m going to head out on a squirrel hunt tomorrow morning (guess which gun I’m taking) and then next week fly out to Arizona where I hope to hook up with Kip for a dairy farm pest shoot and then maybe a quick outing for jackrabbit. Next it’s Texas for predators and blackbuck, then get serious about deer for a few weeks. The blackbuck is something I look forward to, I’m not typically a big exotic hunter preferring hogs and predators when down Texas way. But there are certain species that are no longer found in huntable populations in their indigenous lands, such as bushbuck and oryx, that are free range in the Lonestar State. I think the blackbuck is one of the most beautiful antelope in the world, and one I want in my trophy room!
Also on my roadmap, will be traveling out to Tucson for the Extreme Benchrest again this year. As mentioned, plan on taking my Boss this year, but might bring a couple of other guns as well. I look forward to seeing all my old friends and many of the guys I met at last years shoot. Last time around I had to fly in and out leaving only as day, but this year come hell or high water I’m staying the course!
Kip at AOA is helping me get my tags in for the javalina season in February for which I hope we get the draw! I’ve wanted a javalina with an airgun for years and this will be the first legal opportunity ever. Arizona will supplant Texas as the destination spot for airgunners with their revised hunting regulations.
Anyways, that’s it for me this week … as you tuck into the hunting season, commit to the one shot kill!