|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 specific use.
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.