My First Hunting Trip with the Daystate Wolverine .303!
Jim Chapman Aug. 25, 2012
There has been a lot of talk floating around
centering on the anticipated arrival of this first
British big bore. Ever since seeing the prototype
gun at the SHOT Show and the IWA, I like many
others have been very eager to shoot it. On a
recent trip to Arizona to do some varmint hunting
with several different guns, the guys over at
Airguns of Arizona (the US importers of Daystate
products) invited me over to shoot it at their
facilities, then offered to let me use it for a few
days in the field! This is just my first hands on
experience with the gun, but based on this I have
ordered one and will use it this season for
predator hunting, and will also do some range
testing with it. My experience with the Wolverine
for long range varminting made a posititive
impression on me!!
The Daystate Wolverine .303 for long range Varminting!
I recently flew out to Phoenix where I met up with AoA's Robert Buchanan and Kip Pardow. As
mentioned, I got to shoot the new Daystate Wolverine with them at the shop and then Kip and I took it out
for a couple of days of long distance prairie dog and jackrabbit shooting, I had a blast!
I really like every Daystate gun I've ever shot, they are well designed, well made, reliable and offer excellent
performance across the board. But I've looked at the prototype of the Wolverine at the SHOT and IWA
shows and have been counting the minutes till I could shake it out in the field.
The Wolverine is a .303 caliber gun, which sounds an odd caliber selection until you consider this was the
30-06 of the British Empire and Daystate is nothing if not a British tradition in our sport. It is a big gun 9.5
lbs, 43" length over all with a 23" barrel, and is broad across the beam. But it balances very well and the
stock provides a perfect â€œthumbs upâ€� grip for enhanced control. It has a bit of the feel of an English
double gun to me. The walnut on the gun I was shooting had a beautiful grain, and the pistol grip and
forestock had an efficient stippling which provides a good grip. However the forestock stippling was
situated too far back to accommodate my hold. But altogether it is a beautiful gun to look at and to hold. As
a matter of fact, the balance of this gun makes it seem much more compact than it actually is.
The two stage adjustable trigger was set up to break at about 1.5 lb, and was crisp and clean. The nicest
trigger Ive used on a large caliber airgun. The 5 round magazine looks like the standard Daystate magazine
on steroids, and is auto indexed when the gun is discharged, making it impossible to double load the
magazine (something I do much too often). We sighted the gun in at 50 yards for part of the hunt, and at
100 yards for part. I will write up the detailed quantitative results when I get my gun (yes I ordered one).
With limited target shooting at 50 yards average group size was under 1/2" and at 100 it was a little over
3/4". But given some time and better conditions I am sure that could be tightened up. A 15 shot string shot
generated at the shop before leaving is shown above. This gives an average energy of a little under 100 fpe
on my test gun. So we were ready for the varmints!
First up was some long range prairie dog shooting, and picking off dogs between 80-100 yards I was
having a blast. PDogs are tenacious and often will make it down the hole even after a good head shot. But a
body shot with this gun literally tore half submerged dogs out of the burrow and threw them backwards. I
was shooting off my heavy duty Gorilla sticks (BTW, my favorite bipod shooting sticks) and the gun was
producing excellent results even as the wind started kicking up. Though wearing a fully shrouded barrel, the
gun had a bit of a bark, but in the context of big bores, not too bad at all.
The next round was the following day, and we headed up to the hills for some rabbit hunting, with both
cottontails and jackrabbits on the menu. I hadn't been in N. Arizona for a while, and had forgotten how
beautiful it is. We found ourselves in thick populations of rabbits and I took a number of jacks out to 105
yards where even a chest shot was sending these big rabbits flying. I did find that a couple I shot at closer
range didn't go down as well, because the pellet was ice picking them. At 35 yards the pellet poked right
through and exploded in the sand behind them. The rabbits took off and I had to walk a ways before finding
them dead. I'm not sure of the mechanics, but the pellets almost seemed to pull lung material behind it,
plugging the wound channel. The energy transfer on light bodied quarry at close range doesn't seem as good
as at long range., and there headshots will be better. And the gun has the accuracy to deliver those no
The pellets are worth mentioning, this gun was built around the JSB Emperor which is a .303 caliber, 50.15
grain round nose Diabolo design, and the gun and pellet were built in tandem. Some have questioned the
choice of a Diabolo pellet rather than using cast bullets. Daystate has said their rational is to limit the carrying
distance of the projectile while delivering adequate power for predator sized game. I've got lots of big bore
guns for hogs, deer, an African game, but this gun used for turkey, coyote, bobcats and long range
varminting will be hard to beat.
It was only a couple days in the field, but I really enjoyed shooting this gun. To keep the expectations
realistic though, as beautiful and accurate as this gun is it would not be my choice for larger game. As much
as the British belive they have produced Thors hammer; I have many other big bores in my collection right
now and the lowest power output is 180 fpe ranging up to a tease over 500 fpe with those guns. So why am
I willing to plunk down a hefty chunk of change on the Wolverine? Because while I like doing big game
hunts with airguns, the majority of my hunting is predator and varmint, where I think this gun may be one of
the best solutions I've found. It has a fairly high shot count, it has a fast multishot action, it is maneuverable
and ergonomic, and it has excellent accuracy and adequate power for my intended quarry. I can't wait to get
a lot more experience with this gun so that I can give a more detailed report, afterall that is the only way to
be able to make a meaningful statement on the guns potential, but what I see up front is very interesting!
Guns at this price point don't fly off the shelf like bags of jerky at the convenience store, but I see a strong
and enthusiastic group of owners developing a following around this gun. And I'm pretty sure I'll be one of
The specs state 15 shots per fill. Above is a 15 shot
string, the maximum velocity was 934 fps, average was
912 fps, with a spread of 51 fps. The maximum energy
hovered just under 100 fpe. The sole projectuile used
was the JSB Emperor 50.15 gr pellet.
I didn't do exhaustive testing, but we'd zeroed the
gun at the shop using Chairgun. The target above
is two shots to check zero at 100 yards ..... as far
as I was concerned, we were good to go hunting!
In a couple days, I shot so many jackrabbits that I
almost lost count. I shot several cottontails as well
(right), but wanted to focus on the much bigger
jackrabbits at longer distances.
This is a substantial gun, about that there is no doubt.
But the materials used and the superb stock design
make the gun lighter than expected and so well
balanced that shooting offhand in just about any
situation presented no difficulty.
Whether you agree with the philosophy or not, the
gun is designed to work with a specific pellet and to
keep the power to around 100 fpe. I have found that
Daystates do not as a rule lend themselves to
modification, so I think the 100 fpe neighborhood is
where you'll live with it. My feeling is that the package
will be perfect for coyote and bobcat when the season