• Posing with my bull, my largest animal with an airgun

    Blue wildebeest taken with Seneca Dragon Claw and .50 caliber AirBolt

  • Jim's Texas Hog and AOA Bushbuck

    DAQ .457 used to take a nice warthog in South Africa

  • Follow Up Iguana Hunt in Puerto Rico

    On a fox hunt with a .30 caliber Rainstorm

  • Ataman M2 .30 out for Springbok

    Long range prairie dog shoot in Arizona, with small bore pcp's

Right before SHOT Show 2018, I had the opportunity to travel to North Texas on a hunt. I’m in Texas several times every year, as this is one of my favorite airgunning venues. I hunt hogs, predators, small game, and the occasional exotic, so coming to Texas to hunt is not out of the ordinary for me. However, the objective of this trip was going to be something special! Umarex intended to release their new .50 caliber Hammer precharged pneumatic air rifle at the SHOT Show and had invited me down to Bowie Texas to hunt with it! Was I available? Oh, heck yeah I was! The fact that this was Umarex’s long anticipated entry into the big bore market segment was exciting enough, but I’d been talking with the developers for over a year and had used the Hammer a couple times while we were filming segments of the American Airgunner. It was Impressive on many levels, and I was itching to get some field time with this rifle! When talking about big bores, power is always the first topic that floats up, and this rifle generating an honest 700 fpe over three shots was something to talk about. The Hammer uses Umarex’s proprietary Lightspeed Valve system, which on a 4500-psi fill provides three regulated shots at 3000 psi. This is a very important feature: most big bore air rifles are not regulated and utilize a significant volume of air with each shot, reducing the pressure with each successiveRead More →

I recently posted about the importance of practicing different real world shooting positions when heading into the field to hunt. In this post I’m going to discuss getting a gun ready for a hunt. I’d received the Hatsan Hercules and was going to take it with me on a hunt down in Texas, to use as my pig gun. My first activity was to take the rifle to my indoor range and zero it at 20 yards, just to get a feel for it with the JSB .35 cal pellets I intended to feed it. I was happy with the way it grouped on paper at close range, so after mapping a shot string across the chrony to assess the power profile, I took it a friends farm for some field shooting After setting the zero at 50 yards, I was ready to get started. I spent a morning shooting the Herc offhand and off sticks, and also shifted between sitting, kneeling, and standing positions. I knew there wasn’t much chance of a prone shot, so didn’t spend much time on my belly. I figured that I wouldn’t take more than five shots on an outing, so didn’t really worry about dialing in the POI throughout an entire shot string, and topped off after the 5th shot. After putting a tin of pellets through the rifle, I felt pretty comfortable with this Hatsan and was ready to go! When I arrived on-site, I quickly checked zero (set at 50 yards),Read More →

I am often asked what shooting positions I prefer when in the field when hunting. The easy answer is that prone is the most stable, followed by sitting, kneeling, and standing. As you move higher your center of gravity shifts and your anchor points to earth become more tenuous. I’m going to discuss this in terms of offhand shooting, though even if shooting of sticks, this holds true. The more relevant answer is that it depends on the situation. In many of the places I hunt, a prone position is not possible, and you need to pick the best position that will work in the terrain your hunting in. For instance, when hunting prairie dogs on the gently rolling hills of South Dakota in early spring, I’ll often go prone. But as spring progresses, the grass gets too long to see over so I shoot more from a sitting position. When spot and stalk hunting through a prairie dog town, every once in awhile a dog pops up close and offers a shot. Sometimes you might be able to take a knee, but more often it will require an offhand shot. For this reason its good for hunters to practice shots from these field positions, a bench is great for working up a rifle and getting sighted in, and it’s great as an end point if you’re into benchrest competitions, but it can throw you off if that the only way you practice. I frequently see guys that shoot theirRead More →

This is post is not intended to be a comprehensive review, I’ve done a video and an article in Airgunner, and am working on a comprehensive review video. But for the airgunners that visit the website I wanted to give a brief statement of what I think about this rifle as a small game gun. I’ve had the Hatsan Vectis for a few months now and have gotten a fair amount of plinking and range time with it, as well as having carried it on a few hunting trips. This rifle has a bit of a polarizing effect, mostly because it has a different look from just about any air rifle that’s been on the market. It made me do a double take when I saw it at SHOT Show earlier in the year, but after staring at it a while, throwing it up on my shoulder, cycling through it, then staring a bit more….. I thought it look kinda cool! The pairing of a lever action with a lot of more “tactical” appearing attributes (synthetic stock, square barrel shroud with a moderator, and built in accessory rails), do produce a rifle that is hard to compare with other rifles…. at least from a cosmetic point of view. Whether you like looks or not is subjective, what is not is the Vectis’s performance. I’m shooting the .25 caliber, and it is accurate giving 1/2:” 50 yard groups, hard hitting it’s putting out about 40 fpe, comfortable on the shoulder withRead More →

Hunting the Aberts tree squirrel in the Arizona mountains! I do a lot of squirrel hunting and have done, ever since moving to the Midwest almost 20 years ago. Up until that time, about the only squirrel hunting I had was ground squirrels in California, Arizona. And New Mexico and this is more like prairie dog hunting than being in the woods after tree squirrels. But once I got to Indiana, I really started to focus on this tree dwelling small game species! My first couple years I did alright, but not great……. then I met Randy Mitchel on one of the airgun forums and he invited me to hunt with him in Kentucky. I drove down a few times to hunt with him and picked up quite a few hints that started to improve my game significantly. As a matter of fact, I started to limit out so regularly that I placed self-imposed bag limits because I didn’t know what to do with the quantity of squirrels I was harvesting. It quickly got to the point that I was traveling all over the Midwest and Eastern states to hunt squirrels, fox, grays, and I even started going after specific color phases. On a backpacking trip with my son in Colorado I ran into the Aberts squirrel for the first time, and thought they were an incredible looking little animal, the coloration and tufted ears made them about the coolest squirrel I’d ever seen. A few years later I wasRead More →

I was on a deer hunt earlier this year in Texas, the first season in which game animals could be taken with an airgun. Eventually I ended up taking a buck and a couple does, but one day earlier on I’d passed on a couple small deer when a flock of Rio Grande turkeys walked in. I wanted a Rio Grande with an air rifle, and thought I’d take the opportunity being presented. I was hunting with the AirForce .357 and took the shot at about 35 yards using an archery-oriented shot placement up front and low. The turkey shot up in the air and came down about 30 yards away, piling up where he landed and not moving a twitch after. A couple things to comment on, the shot placement and the gun I used. As far as the shot placement, I’ve taken a lot of turkey with an airgun now, with about half taken with head or neck shots and about half with a body shot. Initially, I only used headshots, and when the bird is close and locked in on a decoy this is a good option. What I found worked better was placing my pellet at the base of the neck, especially when the bird was facing away. A friend down in Virginia, that’s taken more turkey with an airgun than anyone I know, told me he started using body shots with good results. His provision being that this placement worked better using a .25 caliberRead More →

Ten years ago I wrote a booklet for Crosman on hunting small game in South Africa with the Marauder. At the time the company was going through some changes, and they ended up never moving forward with it. My relationship with Crosman broke down, and I ended up scraping the project. Those days are over, the people I disliked dealing with are no longer at Crosman, and I came across this PDF as I was cleaning up my hard drive. Its a bit out of date, but still (I hope) interesting. Feel free to peruse or download!Read More →

I’ve had this very cool and unusual lever action rifle out for a couple hunts this year, and just edited a video from a pickup hunt for rabbits during down time on a hog hunt down in Texas a couple months ago. Have a look and let me hear what you think about this rifle.Read More →

I’ve just arrived home from our 3rd annual prairie dog shoot in South Dakota, and was hanging with a group of guys I’ve come to look forward to seeing every year. I have to tell you, that this was by far the roughest year we’ve had, due to thunderstorms, constant rain and drizzle, and some of the thickest and most tenacious mud I’ve encountered. What was unusual for me was that even though I’d brought along a half dozen rifles, a couple compressors and tanks, and a case of pellets, I never pulled the trigger this weekend. Since it was such difficult conditions and not too many dogs surfacing, I decided to let the other guys shoot and I walked along filming. I have a pretty good eye for picking out partially submerged PD’s, and think I helped put the guys I hunted with on a few more dogs, but still the numbers were low. In towns where we’d normally drop 20 in an hour, getting a dozen in a day required some hard hunting and covering a lot of ground. Again this year, FX was the most used rifle, there were a couple Wildcats in .25 and .30, a few Impacts in .30, and a couple Crowns…. I brought my Crown .30 and Impact .30, but as mention didn’t have the opportunity to shoot them. I’ll be out of the country working most of June, but am off for another prairie dogs shoot in South Dakota then down toRead More →

I was going back over some of my hunts from the last few years, and found this article on an interesting bullpup I took out on several hunts. Let me know if you like this stuff from my archives, and if so I’ll post some more. While visiting the Pyramyd Air booth at the SHOT Show in 2015, the good folks at AirArms pulled me aside to show me a gun they were working on. It was a bullpup prototype, and they wanted feedback on it. I had some ideas to share as did many others, but the important point is that AirArms were asking before going into production. And when I saw the prerelease gun at this years show it had evolved, proof that they had been listening. Named the Galahad, this gun leverages the companies technology assets using some elements from their existing products, but it is an original where it counts. The trigger assembly, the stock design, the cocking mechanism were built to get the best out of a bullpup configuration. Did they realize their objective to build a superior bullpup?  What constitutes the best of breed is difficult to define, because it is very subjective. I will say that in my opinion AirArms did it right; the power is optimal for small to medium game (adjustable power with high power setting), the accuracy achieved in my range work promised a solid 50 yard small game gun, the proven multishot magazine works without a hitch, the gunRead More →