January 3, 2013
So, after a couple of years of waiting, yesterday finally brought my first opportunity to take a turkey with my Benjamin Marauder, .25 caliber air rifle. On my cameras, I saw where the birds had been passing through the past few days, and yesterday when I looked out, I could see a few in the barn pasture. I quickly aired up the rifle and dove into the woods to circle around.
About halfway to where I’d seen the three birds, I heard a rustling in the brush ahead. I froze and squatted down. On a well-worn deer trail, about 25 yards away, I spotted a feathery breast. The bird came right up the trail, and as she did, I realized there were several more in line behind her. I quickly took a sitting rest, leveled the scope on an opening in the branches, and waited for a shot. I decided I’d aim for the base of the neck, which should make a killing shot with this rifle. A head shot was out of the question due to the movement of the birds and the level of the brush that kept obscuring them when they’d stop and look around.
The first two birds slipped through without stopping, but then a big hen stepped into the opening and stopped. The two-stage trigger seemed to take forever to engage, but then the pellet was away! Unfortunately, the bird had started to walk again at almost the same instant. I heard the “thwack”, and realized I’d managed to hit the bird flat on the wing… about two inches from where I’d been aiming. The bird flapped and ran over a little rise, while about 15 other turkeys suddenly started racing around in chaos. When all was quiet, I went to see the damage.
Turkey wings are pretty damned tough. I’ve heard more than one story of .22 magnums bouncing off without any damage. I know, first hand, that a shotgun won’t penetrate. And after yesterday, I now know that a .25 caliber pellet, fired from my Marauder won’t penetrate a turkey’s wings either.
I’ll have another go with the air rifle, as soon as I get the chance. But I will definitely have to be a lot more careful about my shot selection.
February 29, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about Jim Shockey hunting hogs with the new Rogue air rifle. It got some good discussion, and a lot of you folks were sort of down on the idea. Personally, I can see a place for it, but there are an awful lot of qualifiers that go into that. The common thread, though, was that, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
There’s a lot of wisdom in that aphorism.
Well, I just got a note from the PR company that represents Barnett crossbows. Crossbow hunting is something that’s interested me for quite some time, and something I intend to try (sooner or later). Mostly, I just think they’re pretty cool weapons with a really interesting history. The ones I’ve shot were accurate and powerful… impressively so. As a hunting tool under the right conditions, they’re deadly as can be. I’ve seen, up close and personal, what they’ll do to hogs and whitetail deer.
I know there’s a ton of politics behind their use as “archery tackle”, and don’t really want to go down that road right now. I’m more interested in their application as hunting tools, and whether you want to classify them as archery or gun or something else doesn’t much concern me.
But like all hunting weapons, they have their limitations. The question we often ask is, how far should those limitations be pushed. For example, the following clip:
Please share your thoughts. Mine will follow.
February 3, 2012
I have a feeling we’re going to start hearing more and more about air rifle hunting… not only the hunting stories, but discussions about the ethics of using these “low-powered” rifles to kill game animals. It’s an area of firearms and hunting in which I’m only slightly immersed, but it is an area that holds a lot of interest to me. Hunting is the primary purpose for my Marauder (even though it hasn’t really had a chance yet).
Anyway, Jim Shockey is really on the forefront of celebrity hunters who are embracing the airgun technology. He’s become a regular spokesman for Crosman and Benjamin airguns, and he’s on video now hunting everything from grouse and rabbits to wild hogs.
Yes. Wild hogs. With an airgun.
Of course these aren’t ordinary airguns. Lately, he’s been doing a lot of hunts with the Benjamin Rogue, .357. I had the opportunity to shoot the prototype of this rifle last year, and they’ve done a lot of work to get it into production. It’s an incredibly accurate gun, and delivers some pretty significant impact on target. With the Nosler hunting bullets, I have no doubt this is plenty of gun for stuff like coyotes and bobcats. Hogs, though, are a different question. Shockey answers the question, though, in a series of videos on YouTube,including the one below. A well-placed shot at close range is definitely enough to bring down a pig.
But is it a good idea? What do you guys think?
January 26, 2012
Some of you may be sick to death of my posts about the Benjamin Marauder, and to you I apologize. I really hadn’t intended to write about it again so soon, but then I read this great article on RealGuns.com. The write-up covers a level of detail that I simply didn’t (and won’t) get to, and it is really good stuff for the more technically minded. It’s also some good stuff for anyone thinking about hunting with one of these rifles, as he gets into kinetic energy at various ranges.
If you don’t want to actually read the article, here’s how he sums it all up. It’s not too different from my own summation, except he gets here with a much more detailed examination.
The Benjamin Marauder is interesting. It isn’t a firearm and it wouldn’t be fair to compare it to one. Compared to other air rifles I have worked with, the Marauder is well made, nicely finished and a good performer. As marketed by Crosman, the gun is lethal on lawn and garden pests, small game and some smaller predators. As is the case with other quality PCP guns, owning and shooting one is an investment, into the rifle and in the support systems required to make it a daily shooter. For situation where neighbors are relatively close in, noise is a problem, as are bullets that carry a long distances, the .25 Caliber Marauder may be one of the best solutions.