Hunting Deer with a Muzzle Loading .50 Caliber Quackenbush Airgun One of my favorite hunting buddies is Randy Mitchell, but this year we’d not even had the opportunity to do a squirrel hunt. So I was really happy when I got the invite to come down for the muzzle loader season in Kentucky. Not only because we’d get to hunt together again, but also because I’d missed my opportunity on a couple of Indiana bucks and the season was over. If I was going to get a deer this year, it had to happen here. I had been on business up in Michigan, but hurried home to Carmel, kissed the wife and kid’s hello and goodbye, then took off on the three hour drive to Kentucky. When I’d left Ann Arbor there was a lot of snow on the ground, and a howling blizzard blowing …. However three hundred miles south I’d left the bitter cold and snow behind. I met up with Randy the following morning at 6: 00 am, it was dark and raining with a temperature in the twenties. We drove out to the clubhouse on his lease and signed in, then drove out to the eastern side of the property where Randy had set up a buddy blind. We hiked a couple hundred yards from the truck to his stand. If you’ve followed the hunting adventures on his website, it is the same spot where he’d taken a doe a few weeks earlier (the story isRead More →

The DAQ Exile .308 is one of the semi-custom large bore air rifles designed and manufactured by master airgun designer Dennis Quackenbush. I had finally acquired one for my collection, and a fortuitous business trip out west gave me the venue to run it through its paces in the field. The gun built for me has a 20″ barrel and an overall length of 37, weighing in at about 7 lbs. The gun is prepared for firing using a bolt action to load the .308 bullet and is cocked using the knurled cocking lever situated right below the bolt. Note that this airgun fires swaged bullets, not the conventional pellets one associates with air guns. I had obtained my ammunition as a gift from Eric Henderson at MDR, and was grateful to him as I wouldnÂ’t have made the schedule for this hunt otherwise. The air reservoir houses the charging port at the distal portion of the barrel. The port is protected by a rotating band which covers it when not in use. DAQ recommends that the gun be charged to a pressure of 205 BAR (3000 psi), and yields four full power shots after which there are a couple more useful shots which demonstrate vertical stringing resulting from the rapidly reduced pressure / velocity. The fill probe Dennis uses in his design is included with the rifle, which I had coupled with a male Foster fitting allowing me to use it with my standard rig. When I take myRead More →

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, IRead More →

I’ve had several emails asking me about Conquest .357, the mid bores are getting lots of interest! I had a pre-release version that I was providing feedback on. The production gun is just in and I’m just getting started working it up, so this is a very early and brief write up. Included some notes specific to the earlier gun for context. Evanix Meca Corp has been on a roll of late, with several new guns that are based on their longstanding revolver type action (AR6), followed by a series of sidelever cocking guns (Rainstorm, Windy City, etc), and most recently the semi/full auto guns (Speed and Max) which are distributed in the USA by Pyramyd Air. The latest gun being released to market is the Conquest 9mm/.357 seven shot, bottle fed, semi auto PCP that I think will make a great little predator hunting gun. I received one of the pre-release guns, which had come off the Evanix production line but required a work through before a general release to market. This is a step where a handful of guns are sent to reviewers to shoot, evaluate, and provide feedback and suggestions. It is where the manufacturer makes sure that the gun is performing to specification and gets a chance to tweak it and make changes that will enhance the products performance, stability, and reliability before they start rolling out in numbers to the first buyers. After testing and providing some feedback on the pre-released rifle I shipped itRead More →

I’ve been quite pleased by the performance of the Career rifles and carbines that I’ve shot, and when I came across this low cost PCP rifle offered by Cobra Airguns, I really wanted to give it a try. Following is a review based on experience off the bench and in the field I recently obtained a Career III 300 in .22 caliber, and took it to the range for a day of shooting. This is a substantial gun that weighs a little over eight pounds, with a 22â€� barrel and 41â€� overall length. The stock is a nicely figured Asian hardwood, which has machine checkering on the pistol grip and forearm, and a rubber recoil pad. The comb on this stock permitted a good line of sight with the low profile scope rings I’d used to mount a Leapers 3-9x 50 scope. The height of the receiver allowed enough clearance for this large aperture scope to sit in these low profile rings without contacting the barrel. The gun is driven by a precharged pneumatic power plant, a stacked reservoir under the barrel is charged using a fill probe (shipped with the gun) that inserts into a port located at the distal end of the top air reservoir. The reservoir has a capacity of 300 cc and is filled to a pressure of 3000 psi. There is a power adjustment wheel situated just in front of the trigger which can be used to optimize the gun for various applications or aRead More →

Day I An opportunity came up to get a couple of short hunts in while away on a business trip out west, my problem would be a shortage of space as I had to carry a lot of clothes and a lot of equipment to fulfill my work obligations. But this is exactly what I had Dennis Quackenbush build my Outlaw .25 for, so the choice of guns was clear. I decided to take the Hill pump rather than the little pony bottle that I had recently purchased from Airhog, only because I had so little time that I could not afford even an hour to search for a place to have the tank filled when my flight arrived. My flight landed at 4:15 on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and my plan was to grab my bags, pick up the rental car (I’d reserved a SUV), and be out in the desert for a late afternoon jackrabbit shoot before evening fell. I knew the area well and was pretty sure I could pick up a couple of jacks quickly. That was my plan, but things headed south quickly…. my bags took forever to roll down the baggage claim. When they finally arrived I grabbed them and jumped on the shuttle Â… to the wrong rental company! After I begged a ride back to the correct one I found out they had lost my reservation, and when I went to get my confirmation number off my palm pilot found the batteriesRead More →

Squirrel Hunt with the Benjamin Trail NP (NitroPiston) As squirrel season got underway, I was hitting the woods for a quick hunt in the morning before work. On most mornings I found myself stalking though the woods with on of my high power PCPs, and was shooting lots of squirrels. One morning as I sat watching a den tree and waiting for the action to start, I started thinking back over the last decade of squirrel hunting since moving to the Midwest. A lot of those hunts, especially the earlier ones had been done with one of my trusty springers, often an old Beeman C1. But this year I’d not gone out once with a springer, and I decided then and there to fix this oversight the following morning! But which gun to use? I looked in my gun room and there were several to choose from, but finally I settled on a Crosman Benjamin Trail NP in .22 caliber. The gun is light, compact, accurate, moderately powerful, and easily capable of laying out the 35 yards bushytails I looked forward to encountering. I also like the ergonomic thumbhole stock and reckoned the digital camo would be spot on in the still heavy foliage of early fall. I worked my way into the woods as the first rays of day started to filter through the trees listening for nuts dropping out of the canopy while watching for the telltale cuttings raining down from above. I found an area that wasRead More →

On a business trip down to Texas, I hooked up with my shooting buddies Eric Henderson and Mark Bolson for a varminting session. They have a large farm that they provide pest control for, and it was heavily populated with raccoons, possum, skunks, and I heard we might even run into some feral hogs. Eric picked me up at my hotel and we drove out to meet Mark at the farm, and after a 45 minute drive rolled up to find him waiting for us at the gate. We loaded up our gear, guns and lights into the Big Bore Productions truck and started back onto the property. The two guns we had along were distinctly different; Mark brought his Gladi8tor and Eric brought his .497 caliber Big Bore Bob tuned Quackenbush Ubermagnum. Our plan was to use the .22 Gladi8tor for the small stuff, and if we came across a hog we’d break out the Quackenbush. After a half hour or so we glassed a skunk out in a harvested corn field scooting along, and I lined up a fifty yard shot …. Which missed, then another ….. that missed again. Not knowing if the gun or the shooter was a problem, I handed the gun back to Mark. He lined up his shot …. And missed, then missed again as we watched the striped backed stinker dive into the bush. That was it; the gun had to be messed up! Eric walked a milk jug out into theRead More →

Using a squirrel distress call to coax out a wary squirrel, I get a surprise visitor I received permission to hunt a little farm right outside of town, and got out to the woods a bit after day break. I worked my way back to an area in which I’d seen squirrels earlier in the year while on a pre-season scouting trip. There were several food trees and a big oak that looked like it might have a den, set in a flat area with undergrowth thinning in the early fall season. This was going to be a pleasant morning, it was a little overcast and about 60 degrees and I felt sure IÂ’d kick up a couple of bushytails before too long. I was set up under a tree with a couple of thick vines running down in front of me, offering a little bit more cover and further breaking my outline. After about twenty minutes I saw the first squirrel of the morning up in the canopy moving around, but I could not get a clear shot before I lost him in the foliage. I waited another ten minutes and saw nothing, so decided to break out a call and give it a try. I am getting better with calling as every season passes, finding that when I know thereÂ’s a squirrel in the vicinity a call will sometimes bring him out. So I started with a few barks switching over to a distress squeal, then waited. NotRead More →

From Predator International A few years back, Predator International release a new line of pellets called the Polymag, which were a hollow point pellet with a bonded polymer tip. Unlike the experience I’d had with pointed field pellets, these were fairly accurate in many of my guns. The exception being that they did not like exceedingly high powered PCP’s. But even in these cases if you had a gun with an adjustable power setting, you could dial down the power from say 30 fpe to 22 fpe of energy and often times pull the accuracy back. I used these pellets extensively for squirrel, rabbit, and medium sized quarry with good results. The terminal performance could be devastating, and I considered them a solid mid range hunting pellet, The primary disadvantage however, was that many multi-shot rifles could not cycle these pellets, they were too long and at best would jam up the magazine, and at worst (or maybe not worse, but equally unusable) would not even fit the magazine making loading impossible. As many of the rifles I use are either high powered or multi-shots with magazines that could not accommodate the length of the Polymag, I was limited in when I could use them. But last January while at the SHOT Show I stopped by to visit with Dick Dixon, who heads up Predator International, which is also the importer of JSB pellets. Every year I stop by to see what new products are coming to market, and thisRead More →