Hello All! I’ve been on the road and a little sporadic with posting again, been traveling overseas for work, attending some shooting events, getting in a couple hunts, and my computer time has gone way down. I’m going to try to rectify this, but stay with me as this is the start of my serious hunting season…. it’s when I get material for many of the magazines, the American Airgunner TV show, and the online social media. Sure I get squirrel, rabbit, dove, prairie dogs, woodchucks etc in summer, and occasionally Africa (remember their winter is our summer), but the fall and winter is when I get most of my big game and predator hunting in. I’ve got about 6 weeks of vacation, and by using it to string together 4 and 5 day weekends, I can stretch it into many trips. So long as I keep a week or so to take my girls to a warm weather spot for a winter break, I get a nod to use up the rest for my hunts. So let me run you through a couple airgun related things I’ve been doing.
I had this great plan for AOA’s EBR this year, been practicing with the Wildcat on a purpose built rest and was set to go. Two weeks before my boss called me over for a meeting in Tokyo, and the only way I could make it was cutting my trip to AZ very short. So my plans changed; I could not bring my own gun or rest and I couldn’t stay for the entire event. I’ll tell you how bad it was, my wife had been in South Africa for a month on some family business and she got home Wednesday night at 6:00 so jet lagged she could barely stay awake for the ride home, and I left the next morning for AZ then onward to Japan Saturday night (for 2 weeks) directly from Phoenix via LAX. But, and this is why I’m sharing these details, I’ve come to enjoy EBR so much that I did not want to miss it entirely. And I am glad I didn’t, because it was a blast! Seeing a lot of old and new friends, seeing some very cool guns, lots of fun shooting… this along with SHOT Show are the two non hunting events that I will not miss.
This year my co-host from American Airgunner Rossi Moreale drove in to hang and to shoot, Robert, Greg, Kip, Shane, Jerrod and the rest of the AOA team, all the European industry guys, my dove hunting buddies Scott and Chuck, Alvaro in from Mexico, last years champion Tim MacMurray, the young shooting phenom Noah and his dad Joel (who I’ll be hunting with this year), and it was great hanging with some of these guys I hadn’t seen since last year. I meet a lot of new people too, Travis down from Canada, eh, a couple guys named Mike and Chris I ran into at Cabelas the morning before the shoot, who had brought their brilliant new helium driven big bore (hope to do a Turkey hunt with these guys later in the year too, also finally met Tom from American Arms Airguns who brought his Slayer big bore.
The facilities were top shelf, the shooting benches, the range, the organization all fantastic! Roberts team was out here from early in the week getting set up, and the thought and effort that went into the organization showed in the final product. I won’t go into the results, because I was somewhere at 35k feet over the Pacific when the finals occurred, and because several others will cover these in detail. I did shoot a springer in the 25 M benchrest and had fun, though didn’t cover myself in glory! I spent the first few minutes of competitive shooting time sighting in a rifle I’d never shot before, but to be honest even if all my plans had worked out and I had my own gear I don’t have the discipline of these serious competitive shooters to be a serious contender. Let me tell you though that if you come to win, these guys are serious… I was sharing a house with some of the guys from Sweden, and walked in one evening to find them sitting at the dinning table sorting, weighing, and rolling pellets.
The wind was wild, in a hunting situation I would have shut down any long range shooting; five flags down the 75 yard range would be pointing in different directions. A couple of the serious competitors told me that they’d worked out the wind dynamics, and that the real impact on POI was the wind at the muzzle and first 1/3 of the path of flight. They said that it would take a 6 mph crosswind from the opposite direction for the final 2/3 to compensate for a 1 mph wind in the first 1/3….. I’m trying to figure a way to test the hypothesis… think I need a 25M range with a lot of powerful fans!
If you missed it this year …… don’t do that again! Like a lot of the airgunners that had come from all over the country, this event is worth the trip. If you live in Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah you really need to make the drive, and even if you live further away it’s well worth the trip!
Carrying My Hunting Springers
So I mentioned I shot a springer at the EBR, for the fun of it and for the fact that I will be doing a couple springer only trips this year. I like to mount slings on my hunting rifles, as long hours spent hiking in rough terrain is made much easier with the rifle slung over the shoulder as opposed to carrying by hand, not to mention being vastly preferable when the hunter needs to climb over fallen trees or scamper across steep rock faces and hills. However, finding a convenient way to mount the swivels can be a bit difficult with some spring piston airguns, but with a little ingenuity can usually be accomplished.
With break barrel springers I’ll generally use a swivel set, such as the Uncle Mikes Quick Detachable Super Swivel set up. This product is designed to be used on tube fed lever action rifles, as the band made to fit the lever actions feeding tube will fit the springers barrel quite well. Mount it low enough that the pressure of carrying the gun does not cause the barrel action to break open, at the same making sure it is not so low as to prevent the gun from being cocked. The rear swivel stud is screwed into the stock, and my preference is to position it between the butt and the pistol grip. On PCP and CO2 rifles with a full length forestock, I’ll position a second screw in stud a couple inches in front of where I grip the stock, so it changes a little bit from rifle to rifle depending on the guns balance.
Two other approaches I’ve been using is to use the Safari sling that can be purchased at Cabelas that has loops at either end they can be cinched down on the barrel and the wrist of any gun, without requiring swivels. Another convenient carry is the Eberlestock daypack with an integrated rifle scabbard. It’s a bit more difficult to access your rifle than either of the sling options, but is by far and away the most comfortable carry over long distance.
Last thing on my plate is refining my airgunners man-cave. I’m looking for a way to extend my gun display cases without cluttering up the room. This is where I work from home a couple days per week, and do all my writing. I’ve got a couple ideas, and hopefully will be showing you something cool in the not too distant future. I think having a place to display favored guns is a way to extend the enjoyment of the hobby/obsession.
Hope to be back on track once again. Going on a little squirrel hunt later in the week, and let you know how it went!