Hunting in South Africa with a unique new hunting projectile, the Air Venturi AirBolt! – Jim Chapman Airgun hunting has been gaining popularity in recent years, and along with advances in rifle technology, there have been concurrent advances in ammunition development. The Air Bolt is one such example, an arrow that can be launched from a conventional air rifle with great accuracy and power. Earlier airguns that shot arrows utilized a hollow arrow slipped over a thin purpose designed barrel, with the volume of pressurized air released inside the arrow to drive it forward. Air Venturi took a different approach, the Air Bolt is a caliber specific arrow that is muzzle-loaded into a standard big bore air rifle. Currently, the Air Bolt is available in .50 caliber, but there are other calibers on the way. The carbon fiber shaft has a nock with an o-ring and a synthetic fletching at the proximal end, and is matched to the caliber dimensions. The distal end has a teardrop shaped head that is threaded to accept standard broad heads, and fits snugly into the muzzle of the rifle. This design permits any rifle of the corresponding caliber to be used to shoot the Air Bolt, as well as the ammunition the rifle was originally designed for. The result is a platform that transforms a marginally powered big bore hunting airgun into the most powerful arrow launching system in existence! In my Air Venturi .50 caliber air rifle, a 425 grain Air Bolt tippedRead More →

I woke up early and dressed quickly so that I could get out to the woods before sunrise. It really isn’t necassary to get to your hunting site before first light when hunting fox squirrels, but I love to be in place and set up to watch the woods coming alive as the morning breaks. This morning was cold with a light drizzel falling to earth as I parked my jeep and started the hike to a spot I’d found on an earlier outing. My shoot was nestled in a flat area containing several large mast producing trees, with acorns and hazel nuts strewn about in profusion. There was a small stream to my back, and about 150 yards ahead the woods were broken by a Powerline right of way before continuing for many acres on the other side. It was a great find, and contains a large number of squirrels; unfortunately it’s slated to be plowed under for a new housing development and shops, so this will be my last season here. Making my way down to a space nestled between a falling log and a still standing tree, I settled in as daylight started to filter through the trees. I placed a comouflaged backpacking seat on the ground with the back against the standing tree’s trunk, pulled down my face mask and waited. A few minutes later I heard a branch snap to my right, and slowly looking up saw a doe stepping out from behind a treeRead More →

I have always liked the look and feel of a Manlicher stock, probably a holdover from my days in Southern Europe where this configuration has been popular for many years. As a matter of fact, both my 30-06 and 250 Savage are fitted out with a Manlicher stock. It is no surprise then, from the first moment I saw a spring piston air rifle in this configuration I wanted one, however for one reason or another it never seemed to float up as a priority when buying another airgun. But recently the timing felt right and I decided to finally pick one up for my collection …. but which one? There are two or three on the market, but in the end I was attracted to the Gamo Stutzen for a couple of reasons; I’d been hearing good things about the Gamo line of fixed barrel rifles as hunting guns and wanted to give one a try. And most importantly, when I picked up this rifle I really liked the look and feel of it. In this review I will discuss the guns features and bench performance, and then discuss my impressions based on taking it to the field to hunt squirrels, rabbits, and other small game. The Gamo Stutzen is a fixed barrel rifle which is cocked by an underlever cocking mechanism. The Manlicher design is a full length one piece stock that extends to just below the muzzle. I like the aesthetics of the Manlicher stock because ofRead More →

When, why, and how to use an air powered gun to effectively hunt North American predators. Airgunning for Predators As more hunters are becoming familiar with the use of airguns for small game and varmint hunting, I am frequently asked if they can be used for larger predators. The short answer is yes, but with some qualification. It depends; on the gun, the quarry, and conditions under which they will be used. Many raccoons, fox, bobcats, and coyote have been cleanly taken with airguns. Many animals have also been lost when a guns terminal performance is not up to the task, or the shot is taken at an inappropriate range and the proper shot placement is either not selected or not achieved. In this article I’d like to present my world view on predator hunting with airguns, though you’ll find others with different outlooks. The basis of this discussion for me is that I believe no matter what you hunt the gun and the ammunition used must be able to cleanly kill the quarry. This is especially true with predators, as a poorly hit coyote has more potential to be a problem animal if wounded, and at any rate wounded once he’ll be a lot smarter second time around. So if you are going to use smaller calibers or lower power because the situation mandates it, the hunter has to compensate by being that much more selective about distance and shot placement. Raccoons and Fox Smaller predators such as raccoonsRead More →

This hunt can be seen on American Airgunner broadcast on Pursuit Network and on you tube post season. I was wedged into position so that if I even took a deep breath I’d get poked by a sharp spine. So I carefully held my position and waited, spending my time glassing the distant ridges for traces of pigs moving in for water. This was my next to last day before boarding the plane for the 32 hour trip home, and things didn’t look very good. I always shoot a couple of warthogs when I go out to the Eastern Cape, but they are so plentiful most of the time I’d passed on several opportunities early on. As I dropped my glasses I spotted first one hog that had slipped in from my right side followed by a second. These pigs were identical in size, so of course I dropped the crosshairs on the one standing in the water, which would prove the most difficult to retrieve, The gun I was shooting was a .457 XP Ranger shooting Mr Hollowpoint 250 grain bullets. The gun was charged to 3600 psi and was putting out about 500 fpe. When I pulled the trigger, the gun roared (it is not a quiet airgun) and knocked the pig over in the water. He thrashed and kicked a bit, and while he ended up a bout five feet further out in the water/mud, he didn’t get up again. I’ve take many warthogs, Russian boar andRead More →

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 atRead More →

At the recent SHOT show, I spent quite a bit of time at the Gamo booth looking over their current products, as well as newer additions to their portfolio. One of the products they were promoting quite heavily was the Raptor pellet, made of a hard, light material that was said to increase the muzzle velocities of most guns by up to 25% percent. I will be presenting a fairly detailed review of testing on several new pellets in a separate article, but the scope of this piece is the companies Varmint Hunter rifle. I wanted a platform to test the Raptor, and thought one of Gamos guns would be just the ticket. So I ordered the rifle, and after a short wait found it sitting on my desk when I returned home one day. The Varmint hunter is based on the Gamos Shadow series of break barrel spring piston air rifle. The gun is dressed in a black synthetic stock, with a compliment of lights, lasers, and optics riding atop it. I have to admit, I’m a traditional kind of guy and have always preferred wood, however this rifles stock does give it a businesslike appearance. I’ll spend a few lines giving some of the relevant specifications and features before getting into my shooting/pest control experience with this gun. The stock is an all weather synthetic material that is available in any color (as Henry Ford use to say of the Model T) so long as you want black.Read More →

As I finished working on the second edition of The Practical Guide to Airgun Hunting, I thought back to why I sat down to write the book in the first place. My primary motivation was to help increase the awareness of the sport, and to provide some guidance for those that would like to give it a try. While the books have met with some degree of success, I wanted to reach a broader audience. And with this goal in mind, I decided to make the book available to all that want it, free of charge. If you’d like to get information on the guns, gear, game, and techniques used to hunt with airguns, this book will put you on the right path. The contents cover everything you need to get started, and if you’re already an experienced airgunner or hunter, there may still be some hints that will be useful. We’re very lucky in the USA, we don’t have many restrictions on airguns, we have a lot of species to hunt, and a lot of opportunities to take to the field. To make the download a bit more manageable the book has been split into two parts; the first focuses on general airgun information and the second part on field applications of this gear. This book will discuss pest control, small game hunting, predator hunting, and big game hunting with many different spring piston and precharged pneumatic airguns. Pass this link around, share it with your friends, and getRead More →

Is the .30 the new .25? When I first started airguning many, many years ago, the .25 was considered something of a novelty caliber. It was said to be inaccurate, ineffective, too expensive, limited to too few models of guns, and too expensive.. Today it’s many airgun hunters favorite caliber, and I have to say if not my favorite it’s very high on my list. A favorite topic of airgunners in general, and airgun hunters in particular is what constitutes the best hunting caliber and projectile. Back in the day, the discussion was the benefits of .177 as opposed to .22 caliber, which often came down to flat shooting vs knock down power and such axioms as .177 for feather and .22 for fur. This debate continued on, while the .25 slowly worked its way onto the scene. My initial experience with .25 some thirty years back was that the accuracy I was getting was only OK, and the spring piston guns that shot them well tended to be giant pieces of hardware. But as I started shooting more pcps that were slowly coming to market with .25 caliber options, concurrent with a wider selection of quality pellets, I started to find myself gravitating towards this caliber. I wasn’t the only one noticing these improved results, and I think it’s safe to say that over the least few years the .25 caliber has earned it’s place as the rightful king of the “standard” calibers. In the modern big bore calibers,Read More →

On the Road to Texas! Getting ready for the trip from Indianapolis to Midland Odessa I confronted the perennial challenge, how to get all my gear onsite without spending more in excess baggage than the cost of the airfare. I wanted to take three guns on this trip, but outside of the massive safari case used for long overseas trips, none of my cases would conveniently fit three full sized rifles. I finally settled on disassembling the guns removing the actions from stocks and demounting the scopes so that they’d fit into a standard two rifle case. I’d originally planned to carry a couple of small tanks and a hand pump for keeping the guns charged. But while doing some advanced ground work, I went online to look for a paintball shop where I could get the tanks filled, and lo and behold found a dive shop…. In the middle of Texas, go figure! Calling to see if they could fill my tanks, the owner asked if I just wanted to rent tanks instead of hauling my own cross country. He arranged to have three bottles filled and ready, so all I had to carry along was the yoke and fill probes. I was a bit apprehensive without the safety net of even a handpump, but the shop owner had done business with airgunners in the past and assured me they would have everything I’d need. So in the end I got all the gear required packed into my duffleRead More →