Flying into Las Vegas for the SHOT Show earlier this year, I was eager to see what the airgun manufacturers had in store for us. I arrived Friday night and had to leave for a conference in Germany Sunday morning, which left me with one full day on Saturday to cruise the show. I spent my limited time running from one Airgun booth to another as fast as I could, followed by pre dinner meetings, dinner meetings, and after dinner meetings. But even under these time constraints I kept finding myself drawn back to the ROHM GmbH booth to look at two new rifles they were introducing; the Twinmaster Air Hunter Rifle and Twinmaster Air Hunter Carbine. These guns were both things of beauty, but it was the Carbine that really caught my eye: the precisely shaped thumbhole stock, the shrouded carbine length barrel, the solidly built bolt action, and the light crisp adjustable trigger all impressed. After my second or third visit I sat down for a chat with the product and marketing guys in attendance, and was treated to a demo of and discussion on these yet to be released rifles. We agreed that when test guns were available, they would ship me the pair to get in some preliminary range and field time. As the months flew by, we kept in loose contact with an understanding they would be shipped as soon as a pre-release run of test guns was available. Then one day in June, I was notified that the brace of Air Hunters were being shipped and would be reaching me soon. I had some fun getting them through customs, a long story that Iâ€™ll go into another time, but eventually found myself sitting in my gun room opening a shipping container that held two packing boxes. The rifles resting therein had both made the long journey without incident or damage.
And a nice set of guns they were! Both of them dressed in laminate thumbhole stocks with stippling on the pistol grip and forestock. After a quick visual assessment, I cleaned the guns, attached the bolt (the only piece of assembly required), mounted a scope, filled the removable reservoir and charged it to 3000 psi, then sat down to sight in. I always bore sight my guns before the shooting then site in at 10 m on my indoor range. The first three pellets sent down range through the carbine formed a slightly ragged hole 3â€� inches low and a 1â€� to the right. Iâ€™ll get into the accuracy in detail a little further along, but want to say the first three things that I took note of were a) the stock was a great fit, b) the trigger was light and crisp, and c) the gun was very quiet. Sometimes, and it doesnâ€™t happen often, you pick up a gun and it just â€œfeelsâ€� right. My AA S410 FAC and Falcon PF 25 are two models that exemplify this; there are several great guns on the market but these two just felt good from the start. And extensive shooting and hunting experience with the rifles confirmed their promise as exceptional hunting arms. I had the same feeling with the Air Hunter Carbine, though carried on with the objective of maintaining a critical eye.
Fit and Finish The level of fit and finish is very good, as one would expect from a gun at this price point. The laminate used for the thumbhole stock looks more like a traditional Walnut than the flashier muliti hued veneers often used in todayâ€™s laminate stocks. I think this gives the rifle classy good looks. The stippling on the pistol grip and forestock is well executed, and gives a good grip on the gun when the weather gets sloppy. All the metal work is deeply blued, and is well formed without machine marks or defects. It is solid without being bulky. A standard Weaver scope rail is factory installed, and I used it to mount a Hawke Map Pro 3-9x 40 variable scope. I found this carbine balanced very well, and the cheekpiece offered up a good sight alignment with the scope and medium profile rings used to mount it.
In The Field
On my first hunting trip with this carbine, I carried it for a day of rabbit hunting on a friendâ€™s farm. The garden on his property was working as a magnet for the local bunny population, and he asked me to thin out their numbers a bit. I take these pest control duties seriously as this is one of the properties I use for deer hunting when season comes around, and you want to keep the landowner happy! I rolled up late one afternoon, and scattered a few rabbits that had been feeding in the small park-like field in front of the farm house and bordering the 2 acre garden patch. I unloaded the Air Hunter and stuck a small pouch of CP pellets in my shirt pocket before starting out. I moved to the edge of the cultivated area using the trees and bushes to shield my approach, before sitting down next to a small tree with an overlook of both the field and the garden. After a short wait rabbits started to appear but they were all out of range. Then I noticed one come out along the edge of the brush line at about fifty yards. I lined up the shot and squeezed the trigger, the light, crisp break along with the effectively silenced report allowed me to watch as the pellet dropped right on my point of aim! The rabbit rolled over, anchored on the spot. A similar scene played out a few more times with shots taken and made at 40 to 65 yards, before diminishing light sent me packing. The outing did give me enough shooting to appreciate how well this compact carbine handled in the field. On this trip I had the single shot loading recess in place, and found that I could easily and quickly feed the CPs and cycle the shot. The accuracy was outstanding, every shot was dead on target and every aspect of the gun was exceptional; they way it carried, the way it came to the shoulder, the sight alignment, and the responsive trigger made it a lot of fun to hunt with. My next trip out found me chasing ground hogs, where shots sometimes have to range out a bit further and the quarry is a lot bigger. I was using XP 18 grain pellets this time, and in testing had found them to be accurate with the Air Hunter. Past experience had also shown me that they perform well on whistle pigs. Long story short; I stalked a series of fields but these late summer survivors would not let me get inside a hundred yards. Iâ€™ll reach out for a jack rabbit or prairie dog this far, but not an animal the sized of a well feed ground hog. This did give me a chance to walk, trot, leopard crawl, and crab walk with the gun, which reconfirmed my earlier assessment that it carried well in the field! Finally on my way back to the car, I looked up as I walked through a stand of trees and there in a small clearing sitting atop a log was a plump hog staring at me. I slowly raised the rifle and shot, taking him with a headshot as he prepared to vacate the area. He flopped over dead, and I counted off 32 paces as I walked over to collect him. As a rule, Iâ€™m not going to use a .22 air rifle for any prey much larger than this, and in my view the knock down performance of this gun satisfies my hunting needs for an air rifle in this caliber.
Opening day of Indianaâ€™s squirrel season found me in the woods at daybreak, in full camo with the carbine in hand. I moved to a den tree that Iâ€™ve hunted a few times over the years and settled in for a wait. After a half hour, nothing was happening in my area but I did hear the repetitive barking of a squirrel off to my right. Grabbing my pack and rifle I slowly started moving in the direction of the sound, stopping often and listening. I sat at the base of a tall mast producing tree where I thought Iâ €™d heard some movement. After a few more minutes I heard cutting and saw a telltale patch of red fur from the fox squirrel high up. But the foliage was so heavy I could not see well enough for a shot. Standing up, I leaned around the base of the trunk to a point that I could see the bushytail stretched out above me. Bringing the rifle to shoulder, I leaned back and lined up a bead right on the noggin. The thumbhole stock allowed me to comfortably hold the rifle in this awkward position, and shooting almost straight up I squeezed the trigger. A plump red squirrel dropped through the branches landing at my feet. Within two hours in the woods, I had three nice fox squirrels loaded into the game pouch of my pack.
I believe that when released to market the Twinmaster Airhunter Carbine will find a strong following with North American hunters looking for a qulity hunting rifle to use on small and medium game. In my opinion accuracy, power, and a low sound signature is the perfect trifecta in a hunting airgun. The ergonomic and well executed design of this carbine is icing on the cake! In my next installment, we’ll look more closely at the full sized Airhunter rifle