|The New Sam Yang BigBore 909 Rifles:
Dragon Claw .50 Jim Chapman
Recluse .357 / 9 mm
|Itís no secret that Iíve 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 Ö. 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 Iíd 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 range.
|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|
|A little later Iíll 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 600ís on the third shot, with a substantial drop on the forth shot. The forth shot is still usable but youíd 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.
|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 600ís. This gives me six usable shots when Iím 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 Iíll 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 itís an option to have two guns optimized for a specific use.
|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.|