This has been a busy week for me; I received a couple new big bores that I’ll be talking about in coming months, and started doing range work. I’ll save the details for later, but it’s hard to imagine the out of the box performance being delivered by todays production big bores! Just a few short years ago we were getting Quackenbush guns off the line doing around 300 fpe, then modding them (which was easy to do because they are wayyy over-engineered) to go up to 500 fpe. Now I’m shooting the new breed of big bore that are doing in the 600 fpe range out of the box! This type of performance underscores the validity of these guns as big game hunters, and in fact validates their reason for being. You can take deer and hogs with a couple hundred foot pount…. as a matter of fact you can do it with a lot less. But in my view a big game gun should be larger than a .40 caliber and generating at least 300 fpe. I know there are many examples of much lower power guns doing the job, especially in the early days of big game airgun hunting, I tested the limits with respect to power and caliber. I have been on eight airgun safaris to South Africa, deer, hogs, javalina in every state in the USA where they can be hunted, I doubt there is anyone in the world that has taken either the number of big game heads or the variety of species that I have. In addition I’ve taken many exotics in Texas several years back, but with all the opportunities for big game around the country these days, don’t really have the urge to do these hunts anymore. With two exception; I do want to add aoudad and a black buck (with an airgun) to my life’s list, and free chase hunts in Texas is the best/only way to achieve this. So what do I have planned for big game this year? Going to Virginia to hunt whitetail, Florida, Texas, and Georgia for hogs, Arizona for Javalina, Texas for Aoudad and blackbuck, Mexico for javalina, Alabama for whitetail, Missourri for whitetail.
Also shooting many of the new midbores, the .30 and .35 caliber guns. These range from the 90 fpe type guns like the Carnivore, Rainstorm, Wolverine, Boss to the 180 fpe guns like the BullDog and Recluse. There are guys that use these for bigger game and they can be effective, but my experience has been they are just not as effective as the more powerful big bores. However, as a predator gun for taking coyote, bobcat, fox, raccoon, they are about perfect. Also, for the small “big game” javalina, small antelope (steinbok, duiker, springbuck etc) they are a good option. I especially like these guns for closer range hunting using Diabolo pellets, and there is a growing selection of pellets to choose from, though the JSB’s rule the roost at the current time. The hunts I have on the schedule for midbore guns are; predators in Texas, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Arizona, Nevada, and I am going to try to make the fall turkey hunts in Maryland and California. I may shift the javaliana and blackbuck away from the bigs to the mediums depending on the results of continuing range work.
With all the excitement about the bigs and mediums, you could loose view of the standard caliber guns in the 30-80 fpe range. But small game is the heart and soul of airgun hunting. I don’t use the .177 much any more, maybe for the occasional pest control shoot, but the .22 and .25 still represents more than half my trigger time. Before the end of the summer/fall I will get back out to Arizona and South Dakota to hunt prairie dogs. We have rabbit hunts lined up in South Dakota, California, Texas, Arizona, and Indiana. Squirrel hunts in Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Arizona and Virginia (I’m going for the grandslam this year). Also something I’ve missed the last couple years, I plan to go after quail in California and Arizona where they are on the airggun ticket. I also have a few days of shooting doves with my buddy Scott down in Arizona, which has become my test bed (along with prairie dogs) for trying out new guns under field conditions, because of the target rich environments.
And though I touched on it briefly, its worth mentioning that besides new guns, ammo, and hunting locations, I’ll be getting the chance to hunt with a lot of friends I’ve made over the last few years; Chip, Charles, and Nathan in Virginia, Kip and Scott in Arizona, Glenn in California, Brian in Indiana, Brett in South Dakota…… a great sport and great people!
As I write this I’m at 30k feet flying to Scotland then London on business, but am stopping midway to visit my brother in law, and the the two of us are heading over to meet up with Tony Belas and the Daystate team to see what’s going on there…. should be a lot of fun! Unfortunately I have limited time while there, I would like to stop by the other manufacturers in the region, would also like to get in a rabbit or squirrel hunt with legal limit guns, and meet up with the editors of the British magazines I write for, but will have to save this for my next trip.
We all have an event coming up though!!! The Extreme Bench Rest (EBR) is in October, and I expect it (as always) to be a blast. It’s a new venue this year, but the competition and quality of shooters will be outstanding, as usual. I’m going to be staying a few days longer for some of the hunting trips mentioned earlier, and though I haven’t decided yet, am leaning on either the Wildcat or the Pulsar as my guns of choice…. but also considering shooting in the springer divisions as well! I always look forward to meeting up with friends old and new, and hope to see you there.
That’s it for this week, catch up with everyone on my return home.