|The New Sam Yang BigBore 909 Rifles:
Dragon Claw .50 Jim Chapman
Recluse .357 / 9 mm
It's no secret that I've been a fan of the
Sam Yang Big Bore 909 for a number of
years, having used it to take hogs, deer,
coyote all manner of smaller game. These
guns are well built, rugged, accurate,
powerful, tunable, and (importantly with
respect to big bores) available. You can
pick one of these rifles up (imported by
Pyramyd Air) for about half the price of the
semi-custom guns and be shooting in a
matter of days instead of months.
And it was available in any caliber¦. So
long as you wanted .45 (.457 actually)!
And I have to say, there is nothing wrong
with this caliber at all, there are lots of
bullets available, with good ballistic
qualities, and they punch a decent sized
hole in quarry.
The .457 is a good all around caliber when you want to go from
predators to big game, but it is not the most optimal for either.
When hunting for predators I'd like a smaller caliber, flatter
shooting gun that would let me reach out a bit further with a less
pronounced trajectory. Conversely, for the bigger game at the
ranges I like to shoot (around 60 yards), there would be nothing
wrong with punching trough with a bigger bullet, which is where the
.50 comes in.
It seems the feedback that Pyramyd Air received from their
customers led them to push Shin Sung to add a couple new guns to
the family; the .357 caliber Recluse and the .50 caliber Dragon
Claw. These two guns are essentially rebarreled models of the
standard 909 with a couple of improvements.
As you see the three guns (the Recluse and
Dragon Claw with my trusty old tuned 909) look
virtually identical, with the exception of the logos
etched on the receivers. If you flip the guns over
and look at the forestock you will find that a
manometer is now designed in to allow the hunter
to check their air status while in the field.
More noticeable is the effort expended in
reworking the valve to improve the airflow
through it. The energy delivery of the out of the
box Dragon Claw exceeds my tuned 909, while
delivering 4 usable shots per fill (he Recluse
delivers 6 shots). The guns fill to 3000 psi using
the proprietary filling probe, but as I prefer the
universal Foster type fill connector on my guns, I
ordered a couple from Pyramyd and replaced the
fill port at the end of the reservoir.
The gun has a low and high power setting that is
selected by either pulling the cocking bolt all the
way (full power) or part way (low power) back.
The bullets are loaded by pushing a sleeve
covering the loading port forward, then sliding it
back for shooting. Once cocked the gun can be
decocked by letting the cocking bolt down slowly
while squeezing the trigger. There is also a cross
bolt safety, which is a feature not all big bore
airguns have and is one I like (in addition to being
able to decock the gun).
Getting these two guns out on the range, I
decided on focusing my testing to 50 yard
distances initially as this is my typical hunting
Targets: Top: DC 4 shot
50 yard group with 225 gr
RN Solid. Bottom: Recluse
50 yard 6 shot group with
80 grain RN Solid
I used an 80 grain bullet for the Recluse (at 3000 psi) and got six usable shots starting just under 900 fps (142 fpe) range. The first four shots
exhibited around a 70 fps velocity spread before taking a rapid drop into the high 600's. This gives me six usable shots when I'm out chasing
coyotes, which is exactly where I see this gun fitting into my hunting lineup. In the target shown, shots 1- 4 were touching with 5 and 6
showing a slight drop in the point of impact.
Over the next couple of months I'll be working up the performance using several different pellets and taking these guns out hunting to get a
real assessment of what they can do. But based on my initial results, I am really impressed by the performance, and think that the Dragon
Claw has a lot to offer for the big game hunter and the Recluse is just about perfect for a predator gun. The .457 is probably the best
compromise for the gun that will do everything pretty well, but at the price of these guns it's an option to have two guns optimized for a
A little later I'll get back and work the .357 out to 125 yards as this is in
line with what I want in a predator gun.
With the Dragon Claw I was shooting a 225 grain solid point Air Venturi
bullet starting with a fill pressure of 3000 psi. The gun yielded up four
usable shots starting in the 680-690 fps range (235 fpe) dropping to the
low 600's on the third shot, with a substantial drop on the forth shot. The
forth shot is still usable but you'd have to go up a mildot to stay on
target. In the target shown the first three shots were touching with about
a 1 inch drop on the forth shot.
Recluse .357 Projectiles
I went out the other day with a selection of .357 projectiles, to see how they handled through the Recluse/ The bullets I shot were the 145 grain
Benjamin Nosler Balistic Tip, the Vogel 176 grain hollow point, the Vogel 116 grain hex hollow point, and the Eun Jin 77.8 grain round nose
pellet. these 5 shot groups were from 75 yards shooting off sticks, which represent hunting conditions better than bench resting the gun. What I
found was that virtually every shot from every round was in the kill zone of any medium to large sized game animal I might be hunting with this
gun. I used the 116 grain Vogel Hex HPs on a recent prarie dog shoot and was consistently whacking these pudgy rodents out to 125 yards .....
and they hit with authority. One second there was a dog there and the next threre wasn't! I think that based on what I experienced testing these
bullets out is that the first two are perfect for hogs and deer (where legal of coiurse) the 116 grain hex is the medicine for coyote as well as
smaller varmint, and the Eun Jin pellets are about perfect for woodchuck, raccoon, and smaller varmint. This is a gun that would let you do
everything from small game to big game hunting with a single gun.