About two months ago I received the FX Wildcat in .25 caliber, which I’ve been target shooting at ranges from 20-100 yards, and getting very good results which I’ve commented on from time to time. I really like this bullpup more than any other I’ve shot; the stock is light, ergonomic and compact, but it’s the great trigger, mid-gun cocking position with a very fast and smooth cycling, and a very effective shroud that made this a gun crying out to go hunting.
I was talking to a friend of mine in South Dakota named Brett, that owns an outfitting company and lodge outside of Draper SD, and he said the prairie dogs were thick, there was a lot of predator activity, and he was in the pre season doldrums. He said he was busy with some of his farming duties, and couldn’t hunt with me the whole time, but if I wanted to come down and hunt with hime when he could get free, and go off on my own when he was busy that I was welcome to come out for a few days.
I scheduled a few days out of the office, loaded up my outback with a ton of gear, and was on my way! Getting out to this Western region of the state is about a 6.5 hour drive, a bit longer this time as I sat for a while as my speeding ticked was writen up, and after an uneventful (other than my visit with the State Trooper) I arrived at the lodge and unloaded my gear. I’d brought 5 CF air-tanks and 8 rifles along, and one of the primary rifles I used was my Wildcat!
The gun handled very well, and what I said regarding my intial experience held true; I’ll use any gun that works, but I am almost always accutely aware that I’m hunting with a bullpup and making some tradeoffs in doing so. But with the Wildcat I feel like I have a well balanced hunting rifle, that happens to be a bullpup. It cycles quickly without having to dismount the gun, the trigger requires no compromise just a pleasure to use in the field.
I shot about 30 dogs on a morning outing, between 40 – 120 yards. The heavy .25 caliber jsb Kings I was shooting made a siginificant impact on the dogs, knocking them over solidly. My approach varied depending on location, sometimes I’d sneak in and sit down with the gun on my tripod, then wait for them to resurface. Sometimes I crawled over the ridge of a hill and shoot prone. Once in a while I’d shoot kneeling or even offhand on closer shots, and in every position found the gun fit me well.
The Wildcat cycled flawlessly, except for a couple of operator errors when I double loaded a pellet. I was refilling the gun after five magazines noticing only a slight drop in the point of impact toweards the end of a string.
This shoot was a lot of fun, but man was it hot with a capital H! I lasted about three hours at a time before going back to the truck for an ice cold coke or bottle of water. But in 4 days I got in at least i hunt with each of the gun/pellet combos I’d brought along. I got in a couple of evenings of rabbit hunting, and called in and shot some coyotes. I saw fox, badgers, porcupine, whitetail and mule deer, pronghorn, and pheasant everywhere!
On my last morning we went out on a rabbit hunt, but only a half hour and a couple bunnies in, got the message that severe weather was moving in fast. We drove back at high speed, I quickly showered, and threw the last of my gear in my vehicle, having packed the night before. Running 12 miles down a dirt road along the strom front, I cut east before the hail caught me and outran the weather heading due east.
This was a great trip, and I love having South Dakota right on my doorstep! Next trip up for me is Texas for hogs and predators, then back to Arizona for jackrabbits and prairie dogs. Also going to do a quail hunt there later in the year. Also planning my squirrel hunting grandslam this year; fox squirrel in Indiana, grays in Minnesota, Black color phase in Michigan, then out to AZ again for Aberts. Also will probably hit the fall turkey hunt in CA, had a great time there for the spring season! We are so lucky in the States with all of the hunting opportunity we have. And here’s the thing, by using airguns and going after small game and vermint species you get the excitement of a traveling hunbt without the high expense of big game trips!