|Review: Talon SS out for an Early Fall Squirrel Hunt Jim Chapman|
|The Airforce Talon SS is the only American manufactured PCP air rifle. With a futuristic design and a load of features such as adjustable power settings, multiple accessory rails, and a detachable high volume airtank/buttstock this gun is worth a look.
Lining up a shot, the Talon is the center piece of my travelling hunting rig
I had been looking for a gun I could break down, throw into my pack, and take off with on my motorcycle for the local squirrel woods. I’d shot a Talon previously, and thought it would be the perfect gun. At the SHOT Show I’d met with several of the key players over at the Air Force Booth, and begged a rifle to run through its paces. A couple of months later I was sent a Talon SS to review on the bench and in the field, along with a 4-16x Air Force scope.
Taking the rifle down to my basement range I zeroed in and got used to it by sending a couple hundred pellets at a target ten meters away, then made some minor adjustments to the two stage trigger until it was fine tuned for my shooting style. I then started shooting groups with a variety of pellets including; Beeman Crow Magnum, Kodiaks, Ram Jets, Eu Jin, RWS Superdomes, Field & Trophy, Predator Hollow Points, Polymer Tipped, Crosman CPs, and a few others to get a handle on what the gun liked. After narrowing down the field a bit, I next started shooting at low, mid, and high power settings; in the end I found that the three pellets offering the best all around results for various applications were the Superdomes, the Polymer Tipped Predators, and at high power the Eu Jins.
Moving outside a couple days later I set up to shoot at 40, 50, or 60 yards. At 50 yards I found that I could get sub half inch groups shooting off a sand bag, and shooting offhand I could consistently throw pellets into the kill zone of a squirrel. Even though it took me a while to find a consistent cheek placement on the combined bottle/butt, the pistol grip and fore stock offered an ergonomic package that was very shootable from either a standing or prone position.
|Thick folliage makes for pleasent, but difficult conditions.|
|Once I felt confident in the gun and my ability to shoot it well, I started to take the gun out to hunt rabbits, squirrels, pigeons, and starlings and found it to be just what I hoped for …. a compact full power takedown carbine that allowed me to tune the performance for various hunting conditions. The utility of this compact package was underscored on a recent hunt; I put the Talon SS, my camo, some pellets, binoculars, and a bottle of water into my pack, jumped on my bike and rode out to a friends farm about an hour south of town. It was a nice fall day, beautiful weather with blue skies and cool enough to be comfortable. The foliage was heavy on the trees, which always makes for a challenging hunt. Dressing up and putting the gun together, I slowly worked my way through the forest until I heard nuts crashing down to earth. Scanning the ground, I located a spot with fresh cuttings and started looking through the canopy until I saw a branch shaking in a manner inconsistent with wind motion. After a few minutes, I say a bushy tail swinging over the side of a large horizontal branch, then a squirrelly little head peering over the side. Bringing the Talon up, I zoomed the scope to 12x and centered him in the crosshairs. When the pellet made contact, the squirrel back flipped of the limb and came crashing down a few yards away stone dead. I worked my away along for another hour before bagging a second squirrel, filling my self imposed limit. On several of the small properties I shoot over, I keep my bag down to 2-3 squirrels as I’d rather have several short hunts per season than a couple outings with big numbers. At the end of my morning shoot, I peeled off the camo insect suit, broke down the gun, packed everything away and stopped by the farmhouse for a cup of coffee before the ride home.
The Talon SS is an accurate and powerful rifle, which due to the high volume reservoir is a very handy rig to travel with. Fill it once and you good for a weekend hunt. To date I’ve used this compact carbine to take many rabbits and squirrels, but have found it effective on larger game such as raccoon and turkey. I personally appreciate a traditional rifle with beautiful wood; but for a gun that is accurate, powerful, versatile, and an excellent value it is hard to deny that this gun has a lot going for it.
|Look for cuttings to steer you to your quarry.|
|The combination of accuarcy, power, compactness, and low report make this an excellent squirrel gun!|
|But this gun is also strong medicine for larger game as this gobbler found out.|