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 →

Returning to South Africa for several weeks this year, the author brought his precharged pneumatic air rifles along to get some pigeon shooting in during breaks from hunting plains game. The action was fast and furious and the pigeons just kept on coming! I was out on a friend’s stock (sheep) farm in South Africa recently, and had a chance to get in some airgun hunting. Down near the feedlots and stockyards they have a huge population of rock pigeons that fly in to forage before, during, and after the sheep have been fed. Wave after wave of these wild pigeons fly in to rob the animal feeders, and take a substantial amount of grain. I’ve hunted this area several times in past years with various airguns in .177, .22, and .25 calibers, but this year I chose to use a new rifle from the American manufacturer Crosman. The Benjamin Marauder is a multi-shot precharged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle recently released to market. A PCP air rifle is one that has an air reservoir incorporated, and is charged from an external power source such as a hand pump or scuba tank. Once the reservoir is filled 50 to 80 shots are available before it requires refilling. The Marauder is currently chambered in .177 and .22, and comes loaded with desirable features usually found in much more expensive guns. A fully integrated barrel shroud effectively lowers the sound signature to less than a whisper while providing three times the power ofRead More →

Jim, Eric Henderson, and Robert Vogel Head up North for some great big bore airgunning excitement! Clockwise from top: Eric showing off his buck, a beautiful animal taken with a perfect shot using his Quackenbush .457. This huge animal tipped the scales at over 270 lbs. Robert back at the processing shed with his doe, happy hunter but at this time we still hadn’t found his buck, the smile got even bigger a couple hours later when the birds led them to it. Gelow is Eric with his doe taken with his .457 Destroyer. Several weeks ago, I was contacted with a proposal to put together a hunt for whitetail deer at the Deer Tracks Ranch in Michigan. The property was described to me as 1500 acres behind high fence that was rugged and varied terrain incorporating forest, swamp, and a small amount of pasture land. The deer population was healthy, genetically superior, and wild. The gentlemen that first brought the Deer Track Ranch to my attention is an outdoor writer I’d meet over the phone a couple of years back, and he emphasized to me that this was a fair chase hunt in a spectacular setting. I asked if I could bring a couple of other airgunners with me, and the owner of the ranch agreed. The owners name is Dave Tuxbury, and he’s owned the ranch for the last fifteen years. Dave’s goal has been to grow the best herd in the Region, and provide a fantastic huntingRead More →

On the first official day of fall I grabbed my freshly camo’d .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder for a morning squirrel hunt. The camo job was done using one of the spray on products that includes four can of paint in black, tan, brown and green, along with a plastic fern stencil. This system allows the color pattern best suited for the time of year, and can be removed and reapplied in various colors and designs as needed Squirrel season has been on for a couple of months in my neck of the woods, and the late summer hunting has been challenging. With lots of leaves on the trees, getting a clear shot has been taking a lot of work, and I’ve seen a lot of quick glimpses of fur jumping through the canopy, but have only been getting a couple shots per outing. At least this is the case when hunting public land, I have a few farms that I can hunt where there isn’t any pressure and the population are high and we fare better, but I like working the big tracts of state forest to the south of me primarily for grays and north for fox squirrels, though either can show up anywhere as their ranges overlap. The gun I took out today was my .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder, which I have set up to shoot the Benjamin Domed pellet at approximately 850 fps. I have a couple of custom sticks for my Marauders, so on one ofRead More →

This interesting new offering is the first spring piston airgun configured as a scattergun! The loads are light and the power low, but there is enough gun to use it for close range pest control. Added: I’ve included a section below in which I answer questions and post additional comments as I get more experience with this gun I hiked along the edges of the field where the grass grew long and provided habitat for a variety of birds, when one popped up in front of me. Swinging my scatter gun in an arc and leading ever so slightly, I squeezed the trigger and watched the male bird crash to the ground. As I moved between a couple old sheds a small covey popped up with one bird perching for a moment on a rain gutter, a crack of the gun and another bird down, a hen. Wait a minute you say, you shot a bird off the roof? And it was a hen!? Well my quarry was of the sparrow variety, and the scattergun was a Gamo Viper Express. I received this gun for evaluation recently and wanted to bring it out for a test of its intended use, close in pest control. I don’t typically go out with the objective of shooting sparrows or starlings these days, but this gun cried out to be used on flying critters. Ever since this gun was first discussed in public: there has been no shortage of outspoken critics saying the gun/conceptRead More →

I think most air gun shooters that surf the net and visit the forums are aware of Metal Work Designs, an outfit that has been turning out some really interesting guns built on the modified Crosman 2240 platform. Recently Matt Parker, owner and airgun craftsman, has started building custom rifles. I’ll have a full write up on his work published elsewhere in the not too distant future, but on this web page I’ll give a quick review of my first hunt This picture shows the gun wearing a very nice custom stock. This particular gun is a .20 caliber. It is a powerful and accurate gun, and takes advantage of the 6-24x scope mounted on it. This is a rifle of substantial dimensions, but not enough to diminish it as a great hunting gun. Matt is working with a custom stock maker to dress his rifles in a fashion befitting the excellent mechanics designed and built into his guns. I’d like to get a thumbhole stock to try out on this gun, as I find I shoot better, and this gun deserves a shooter that is on his game MWD guns can be fabricated using a wide variety of materials. This one uses stainless steel for the barrel shroud, air reservoir, and receiver, and the endcap and barrel band are brass. The gun uses a male Foster adaptor fitting that works with the same charging equipment I use for my Daystate and XS-B50. Matt has made a simple cover usingRead More →

I’ve had the opportunity to take the Benjamin Bulldog out on a few hunting trips, so what do I think? Well first, the performance is quite good. The Bulldog is accurate, and while at the lower end of the spectrum and caliber for big game, it is a potent predator gun. And this is where I like the gun, coyote and the Bulldog are made for each other! And this isn’t to say the Bulldog won’t do the job on feral hogs and whitetail if you need a multi-application gun.. There are two undeniable trends in the world of airgunning, at least as it applies to the US market. The first is the move by many manufacturers to include a big bore offering in their product portfolio, this was clearly demonstrated at the SHOT with a half dozen new guns in the .30 and up calibers. Secondly is the trend to offer at least one bullpup configuration. The gun I’m looking at in this short review hit both marks, it is both a big bore and a bullpup. Now I’m going to be up front, I have a few bullpups and I use them for hunting. For me it’s very much a case of form following function, to my eye there is no beauty in the design…. but rather they are a utilitarian tool and in this respect I view them as I do a hammer. I’ve never been entranced by the beauty of a hammer (though I’m sure thereRead More →

I get this fine rifle from the British manufacturer BSA out for a shakedown. Spoiler alert; this gun shoots as great as it looks! The BSA R 10 Mark II is a great looking bolt action PCP air rifle that comes to the shoulder quickly and mounts solidly. The two stage adjustable match grade trigger is crisp, breaking cleanly with minimal creep and very little over travel. You do need to remove the stock to adjust the trigger, but if you’re adjusting the trigger yourself removing a stock is a non-issue, and one done infrequently. The trigger blade is just broad enough to provide a great contact with the finger pad, but no extraneous material. The safety is easily deployed with the thumb of the shooting hand. The thumb shelf behind the receiver lets the shooter use a thumbs up hold if so desired, and is a detail I appreciate. The stock is to my eye a thing of beauty, finely figured walnut, sharply cut checkering on the forestock and pistol grip, and ebony colored caps to both the forestock and pistol grip. The forestock is perfectly shaped and fitted around the removable 200cc bottle. I really like the cut-a-way butt piece of this rifle; it reduces weight and looks fast and sleek. To my way of thinking this is the prettiest bottle forward design I’ve ever seen. Enough wood to protect the bottle and make it look integrated into the design, rather than simply forced there out of necessity.Read More →