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Look Back At A Great Gun That Never Got A Chance

Posted by on January 15, 2015

Flying into Las Vegas for the SHOT Show a few years back, I was eager (as always) to see what the airgun manufacturers had in store for us. I arrived Friday night and had to leave for a conference in Germany Sunday morning, which left me with one full day to cruise the show. I spent my limited time running from one Airgun booth to another as fast as I could, followed by pre dinner meetings, dinner meetings, and after dinner meetings.

A rifle that never got the chance to prove itself in the market!

A rifle that never got the chance to prove itself in the market!

But even under these time constraints I kept finding myself drawn back to the ROHM GmbH booth to look at two new rifles they were introducing; the Twinmaster Air Hunter Rifle and Twinmaster Air Hunter Carbine. These guns were both things of beauty, but it was the Carbine that really caught my eye: the precisely shaped thumbhole stock, the shrouded carbine length barrel, the solidly built bolt action, and the light crisp adjustable trigger all impressed.

An all around great little carbine that I really enjoyed hunting with. Who know what this gun might have done in the market if the legs not been kicked out from under it market introduction.

An all around great little carbine that I really enjoyed hunting with. Who know what this gun might have done in the market if the legs not been kicked out from under it market introduction.

The Air Hunter was developed in both a carbine and rifle configuration.

The Air Hunter was developed in both a carbine and rifle configuration.

After my second or third visit I sat down for a chat with the product and marketing guys in attendance, and was treated to a demo of and discussion on these yet to be released products. We agreed that when test guns were available, they would ship me the pair to get in some preliminary range and field time. As the months flew by, we kept in loose contact with an understanding they would be shipped as soon as a pre-release run of test guns was available. Then one day in June, I was notified that the brace of Air Hunters were being shipped and would be reaching me soon. I had some fun getting them through customs, a long story that I’ll go into another time, but eventually found myself sitting in my gun room opening a shipping container that held two packing boxes. The rifles resting therein had both made the long journey without incident or damage.

And a nice set of guns they were! Both of them dressed in laminate thumbhole stocks with stippled grips on the pistol grip and forestock. After a quick visual assessment, I cleaned the guns, attached the bolt (the only piece of assembly required), mounted a scope, filled the removable reservoir and charged it to 3000 psi, then sat down to sight in. I always bore sight my guns before the shooting, and the first three pellets sent down range formed a slightly ragged hole 3” inches low and a 1” to the right. I’ll get into the accuracy in detail a little further along, but want to say the first three things that I took note of were a) the stock was a great fit, b) the trigger was light and crisp, and c) the gun was very quiet. Sometimes, and it doesn’t happen often, you pick up a gun and it just “feels” right. My AA S410 FAC and Falcon PF 25 are two models that exemplify this; there are several great guns on the market but these two just felt good from the start. And extensive shooting and hunting experience with the rifles confirmed their promise as exceptional hunting arms. I had the same feeling with the Air Hunter Carbine, though carried on with the objective of maintaining a critical eye.

The kit contained both a 5 shot shuttle clip and a single shot tray.

The kit contained both a 5 shot shuttle clip and a single shot tray.

Fit and Finish

The level of fit and finish is very good, as one would expect from a gun at this price point. The laminate used for the thumbhole stock looks more like a traditional Walnut than the flashier muliti hued veneers often used in today’s guns. I think this gives the rifle classy good looks. The stippling on the pistol grip and forestock is well executed, and gives a good grip on the gun when the weather gets sloppy. All the metal work is deeply blued, and is well formed without machine marks or defects. It is solid without being bulky. A standard Weaver scope rail is factory installed, and I used it to mount a Hawke Map Pro 3-9x 40 variable scope. I found this carbine balanced very well, and the cheekpiece offered up a good sight alignment with the scope and medium profile rings used to mount it.

The Mechanics

The Air Hunter Carbine is available in .177 or .22 caliber (my gun is .22) and can be set up as a single shot using a loading recess insert, or as a repeater using a five shot strip magazine. Both the loading recess and the strip magazine will be included in the base package. The compressed air is supplied via a removable cartridge that has a fill rating of 3000 psi and yields approximately 40 shots per fill. The distal end of this air reservoir has an onboard monometer so that air pressure can be continuously monitored. This is a regulated gun, and the regulator is set to reduce the pressure to approximately 1950 psi over the 40 shot string. A filling adaptor that screws into a standard DIN tank fitting comes with the rifle. The reservoir screws onto this fitting, and after charging is automatically bled off as the cartridge is unscrewed. Therefore no external bleed valve is required.

This gun is cycled with a bolt mechanism, but is actually cocked by the compressed air pressure. If there is no charge, the gun cannot be discharged. The bolt is well proportioned and the action is smooth, I find that I can load and chamber a pellet very quickly. The triggers functional parameters; pull weight, slack, stop and force are preset at the factory with the weight preset at approximately 3.5 lb. The triggers position / finger distance can be adjusted using an Allen key. What is unique with this trigger is that there is virtually no stacking; the pressure one needs to exert to release the sear is a few grams. I really like the tactile response of this trigger for hunting, not too light but at the same time it breaks very smoothly.

Performance

I shot Crosman Premiers, JSB Exacts, and Eu Jin ,22 pellets for my initial shakedown of the Air Hunter. This gun is producing around 17 fpe, and performs very well with the CPs. I charged the gun to just under 3000 psi and shot 25 shot string, getting a maximum velocity of 752 fps and minimum velocity of 748 for a spread of only 13 fps. The accuracy achieved with the CPs was also impressive; shooting a series of five 10 shot groups at 25 and 50 yards I obtained .31 and .62 inch ctc groups respectively.  I have had good terminal performance on small game with CPs over the years, so decided to make this my hunting round.I think the combination of the quality barrel, well regulated air charge, ergonomic stock and the excellent tactile response of the trigger results in a very shootable package.

The gun provided consistency, accuracy, and power for small game hunting.

The gun provided consistency, accuracy, and power for small game hunting.

In The Field

On my first hunting trip with this carbine, I carried it for a day of rabbit hunting on a friend’s farm. The garden on his property was working as a magnet for the local bunny population, and he asked me to thin out the population a bit. I take these pest control duties seriously as this is one of the properties I use for deer hunting when season comes around. I rolled up late one afternoon, and scattered a few rabbits that had been feeding in the small park-like field in front of the farm house and bordering the 2 acre garden patch. I unloaded the Air Hunter and stuck a small pouch of CP pellets in my shirt pocket before starting out.  I moved to the edge of the cultivated area using the trees and bushes to shield my approach, before sitting down next to a small tree with an overlook of both the field and the garden. After a short wait rabbits started to appear but they were all out of range. Then I noticed one come out along the edge of the brush line at about fifty yards. I lined up the shot and squeezed the trigger, the light, crisp break along with the effectively silenced report allowed me to watch as the pellet dropped right on my point of aim! The rabbit rolled over, anchored on the spot. A similar scene played out a few more times with shots taken and made at 40 to 65 yards, before diminishing light sent me packing. The outing did give me enough shooting to appreciate how well this compact carbine handled in the field. On this trip I had the single shot loading recess in place, and found that I could easily and quickly feed the CPs and cycle the shot. The accuracy was outstanding, every shot was dead on target and every aspect of the gun was exceptional; they way it carried, the way it came to the shoulder, the sight alignment, and the responsive trigger made it a lot of fun to hunt with.

My next trip out found me chasing ground hogs, where shots sometimes have to range out a bit further and the quarry is a lot bigger. I was using XP 18 grain pellets this time, and in testing had found them to be accurate with the Air Hunter. Past experience had also shown me that they perform well on whistle pigs. Long story short; I stalked a series of fields but these late summer survivors would not let me get inside a hundred yards. I’ll reach out for a jack rabbit or prairie dog this far, but not an animal the sized of a well feed ground hog. This did give me a chance to walk, trot, leopard crawl, and crab walk with the gun, which reconfirmed my earlier assessment that it carried well in the field! Finally on my way back to the car, I looked up as I walked through a stand of trees and there in a small clearing sitting atop a log was a plump hog staring at me. I slowly raised the rifle and shot, taking him with a headshot as he prepared to vacate the area. He flopped over dead, and I counted off 32 paces as I walked over to collect him. As a rule, I’m not going to use a .22 air rifle for any prey much larger than this, and in my view the knock down performance of this gun satisfies my hunting needs for an air rifle in this caliber.

Opening day of Indiana’s squirrel season found me in the woods at daybreak, in full camo with the carbine in hand. I moved to a den tree that I’ve hunted a few times over the years and settled in for a wait. After a half hour, nothing was happening in my area but I did hear the repetitive barking of a squirrel off to my right. Grabbing my pack and rifle I slowly started moving in the direction of the sound, stopping often and listening. I sat at the base of a tall mast producing tree where I thought I’d heard some movement. After a few more minutes I heard cutting and saw a telltale patch of red fur from the fox squirrel high up. But the foliage was so heavy I could not see well enough for a shot. Standing up, I leaned around the base of the trunk to a point that I could see the bushytail stretched out above me. Bringing the rifle to shoulder, I leaned back and lined up a bead right on the noggin. The thumbhole stock allowed me to comfortably hold the rifle in this awkward position, and shooting almost straight up I squeezed the trigger. A plump red squirrel dropped through the branches landing at my feet. Within two hours in the woods, I had three nice fox squirrels loaded into the game pouch of my pack.

So, I started talking about these rifles and wrote a couple articles that got interest up, but nobody could find the guns or track down the manufacturer. I tried reaching the marketing folks at Roehm that had shipped the guns to me…. the phones went unanswered, emails went unanswered, I even tried snail mail without success, only to find much later on that the company had ceased operations and their assets sold. Since I have found that Airguns of Arizona had a couple of these guns hidden away in inventory….. but in the end I don’t believe more than a small handful ever made it into shooters hands. I’ve seen this a few times over the couple decades, what looked like a promising gun that for one reason or another never hit the market. Mine get a place of honor in the display case.

Other news:

I’m getting ready to leave for the SHOT Show in a couple days, and it’s going to be both a lot of fun and very busy. I’m covering the exhibition for four different magazines, a TV show, and I know there are a lot of new guns coming out! I’ll keep you all updated!

2 Responses to Look Back At A Great Gun That Never Got A Chance

  1. budirto

    How much price the air gun tanks

    • Jim Chapman

      It depends on whether you get steel or aluminum dive tanks (least expensive), carbon fiber (most expensive), and the size of the tank. You can also buy used, but beware the expiration / inspection dates. You can pay anywhere from a couple hundred bucks to over a thousand.
      Jim

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