I went out with my Chinese air rifles to hunt jackrabbits, taking along the BAM B19 spring piston air rifle, and the BAM XS-B50 precharged pneumatic air rifle. Both guns are chambered in .177, which is a caliber I rather like for this type of hunting. The Dynamite Nobel Superdome is an efficient and effective hunting pellet: and as luck would have it turns out that both of these rifles digest this round particularly well.
Hunting the Mojave Desert at one of my hidden hot spots, I had the chance to take a number of these big desert rabbits with both guns over a four day hunt. Shots ranged from 25 to 40 yards with the springer, and 25 to 60 yards with the PCP – however most shots were taken at about 35 – 40 yards with both guns. I usually try for head shots, but on several rabbits I was only presented with a chest or quartering shot. The early fall vegetation in the desert is the reverse of the midwestern forest I’d recently been hunting, it gets thicker in the desert as winter draws near! The stalks were challenging and the shooting lanes offered limited windows of opportunity.
I took a total of six rabbits with the B19; three with head shots, two with chest shots, and one a quartering shot from behind the right leg. The head shots were at 30,37, and 45 yards and all were quick one shot kills. The chest shots were at 35 and 40 yards and both were one shot kills, but the rabbits ran a few steps and kicked around before dropping. The quartering shot was taken at 38 yards, and I had to track the rabbit 30 or 40 yards before I found him lying dead under a creosote. I missed one shot by quite a large distance because the scope had walked back during earlier shots. I made a temporary scope block and encountered no further problems. The B19 is fairly light weight and carries well in the field, though I do need to add a sling before my next outing.
I used the XS-B50 to harvest another nine rabbits, five head shots between 35 – 60 yards all one shot kills. The 60 yards shot was impressive, the pellet hit, the rabbit popped up and dropped down dead on the spot. There was again one quartering chest shot at 45 yards which did not require a follow up shot. The rest were all chest shots and one shot kills. I have written quite a bit about this gun, so won’t repeat myself here.
Both guns performed well in the field, and brought home the point that one does not have to invest four or five hundred dollars for a European air rifle to get started with the sport of air gun hunting. The B19 cost less than $90.00 and the B50 just under $300.00, both of which I feel represents good value. Granted the workmanship and quality of woods used is not at the same level as the more expensive guns, but I don’t think any of the rabbits I met on this trip noticed! The stocks on both guns were actually quite nice pieces of wood, which could be reshaped and refinished. As a matter of fact I did refinish the XS-B50 stock and will probably make the B19 a project gun for the coming winter.
For those of you out there with Chinese manufactured guns that have been asking me what I think about hunting with them – for the B19 and XS-B50 models that I used on my hunt I’d say; Make sure you have one in good working order and hit the field! Nothing at all wrong with these guns!
At the end of a long hunt with my XS-B50, I take a rest and show off three jackrabbits I picked up along the way. This gun yielded sufficient power and accuracy to allow me to reach out over long distances, up to about 60 yards, and make clean one shot kills. I quite like the thumbhole stock on this gun, it fits me very well and allows me to shoot from standing, sitting and prone positions comfortably. The .177 caliber worked fine for this quarry, however I do hope they build a .22 version at some point. Interestingly, the specifications list this gun as either .177 or .22, but the importer says no.22 is planned.