Air Rifle Owners Guide – Information you MUST Know

hunting rabbits with air riflePeople often ask me “how can I become more accurate with my shooting” my answer is a boring one and I can always see the person’s disappointment straight away and that’s you’ll never become an accurate shooter without practice.

Now this answer is a little simple but I will explain the reason why I give it and that’s that most people who ask this question have never picked up an air rifle or gun and they want to be a sharp shooter from their first shot this is never going to happen.

There is a little more too accurate shooting than just practice a good air rifle scope will make accurate shooting a little easier once you have your air rifle scope sighted in.

Our Air Rifle Info

  1. Best Air Rifle of 2015 – Top 5 Air Rifle Reviews
  2. Air Rifle Target Shooting For Accuracy
  3. How To Set Up An Air Rifle Scope – Zero In Scope
  4. Air Rifle Safety Tips
  5. Hunting Rabbits With Air Rifle

Air Rifle Target Shooting For Accuracy

Once you have your air rifle and your scope all setup then it’s time to get your targets set at different distance because if you ever do plan on hunting with your air rifle you will want to be able to shoot at different positions.

Targets come in all different shapes and colours from animal outlines to simple circle target and one is not better than the other I just recommend one that you can keep track of your shots. When you first start out it can become a pain paying out for targets they are not all that expensive but anyway to save money is good and I print my own from a brilliant site who allow you to choose a target you like download it and print it from your printer.

Shoot with pellets that are not going to break the bank when I say this people say but don’t all pellets shoot different so when I come to shoot with my hunting pellets I won’t be as accurate. To some extent this is true but you will be learning to become accurate and learning how you move your body effects where your pellets end up. So before you go hunting have a couple of shots at a target with your hunting pellets and if you are a little out you will have learnt how to adjust your body to get it spot on and I don’t really subscribe to one pellets is much more accurate than another. I have known people to use the cheapest pellets on the market and never miss a bull. You may find with very cheap pellets that you will get what people like to call flyers this is just the odd 1/100 go way off.

People will give you advice how to stand/sit/lay and how to hold the air rifle but I just say get in a position that you feel relaxed and how to air rifle that it feels right and take your shots you will become much more accurate this way over seating in a position that you feel awkward in.

Most of all the learning process should be fun don’t beat yourself up if you are not hitting the centre of the target each and every time it will come and it won’t take that long.

How To Set Up An Air Rifle Scope – Zero In Scope

You have just got yourself a new air rifle scope, you have fitted it and your pellets are going nowhere near the point of aim?

Unfortunately it’s not just a case of attaching your scope and you will be upping your accuracy but getting it so you can up your accuracy you will need to zero in scope of your air rifle.

People like to overcomplicate the whole process if you ask me and I fell into the trap for many of years when I would be adding a scope to a new air rifle but those days are gone with this simply method.

To help with this method you will need a solid surface and an air rifle rest you can use some old socks filled with sand to rest your air rifle on but for greater accuracy I would suggest an air rifle rest and they are not that expensive here is one on Amazon for less than $30.

Step 1 – Setup your target at around 10 yards. (This is best done in a windless place and make sure the surrounding area is safe in case you miss the target)

Step 2 – Place your air rifle on the rest if you have a zoom scope fully zoom your scope and focus your eyepiece.

Step 3 – Load your pellet aim at the centre of the target and take your shot. (It’s more than likely well out)

Step 4 – Now put the cross hair back into the centre of the target and using the cross hair adjustments move the cross hair until it matched with the hole you just shot. This is where the air rifle rest comes into its own you will need to keep the air rifling as still as possible.

Step 5 – Now point the cross hair back to the centre of the target and take your shot it should now be very close to the centre if not repeat the above process until its bang on.

That’s the whole process done and you now have a fully zeroed in air rifle scope despite the little long explanation with this method you could have an air rifle scope fully zeroed in within minutes. I would always recommend an air rifle rest this will help keep your air rifle really still and lead to greater accuracy.

There really is nothing worse than a scope that is not accurate and I hope this method helps you zero in your air rifle scope for much better shooting and a lot more fun if you need any help drop us a line and I am more than happy to help with anything.

Air Rifle Safety Tips

You should always remember that your air rifle is not a toy and can cause serious damage and even kill. You should tread your air rifle as a live firearm and use it in a safe responsible manner. This air rifle safety tips is to help the beginner to drill into you the safety aspect of air gunning.

Above all what you should remember is always know where you are pointing the air rifle and never point it in an unsafe direction and when you do shoot make sure you know were the pellet will end before you finally pull the trigger.

Air rifle handling

Treat it like its loaded – Always treat the air rifle like it has a pellet in it, never point it in a person direction even when it’s not loaded.

Don’t load – Never load the air rifle until you are ready to shoot, it’s so easy to forget you loaded an air rifle this is when accidents happen so never load until you are sure you will take a shot

Safety on – Always put the safety catch on even when the air rifle is not loaded but don’t rely on this to make the gun safe as although not common things can fail the only safe air rifle is an unloaded air rifle.

Don’t put it down – You should never put the air gun down once it’s loaded to put the air rifle down discharge the pellet.

Unattended air rifle – You should never leave your air rifle unattended you don’t know who’s going to pick it up.

Check – When you first pick up the air rifle always check that the air rifle is unloaded this is something of a habit you should get into.

Pellet destination – Before you pull the air rifle trigger think were your pellet is traveling and were it will be hitting or if you miss the target where will the pellet end up. When you think it is all safe then pull the trigger.

Air rifle storage

Loaded air rifle – When you put your air rifle into storage never leave it loaded.

Pellets – When you store your air rifle I always recommended that you store your pellets in a different location if someone who shouldn’t be using it finds your air rifle they won’t have any pellets.

Out of sight – When you store your air rifle never leave it in sight so people can easily see it also when carrying your air rifle in your car keep it covered.

There are some basic tips when you are using your air rifle and when you come to store it always keep in mind your air rifle is not a toy and can kill this should stop you from taking risks as the consequences can be fatal. An air rifle is a great item to own and you can have many hours of enjoyment with it but keep safe and keep others safe.

Hunting Rabbits With an Air Rifle

Hunting rabbits is fast becoming a sport that the air rifle is fast becoming the weapon of choice to take the clean shot. Hunting rabbits with air rifle can be a tricky sport but a very fun one as rabbits are fast movers and are alerted very easily. We all have different reasons for hunting rabbits some hunt because rabbits are becoming a pest and others hunt for the pot. Within this post we are going to be covering all the key elements of hunting rabbits.

What air rifle to use when hunting rabbits?

A .177 or .22 is the ideal air rifle for taking out a rabbit you would ideally be looking for a velocity 500+ and hitting the rabbit in the kill zone will lead to a humane kill. It’s also recommended that you use hunting pellets I recommend a dome headed pellet.

What is the kill zone on a rabbit?

When shooting a rabbit you should NEVER shoot it in its body this will just wound it and lead to unnecessary pain, you will need a head shot for a humane clean kill when looking at the rabbits head aim for just behind the eyes and just below the ears. This is the rabbit’s weakest part of the skull and will ensure a clean kill.

Was it a clean shot?

Once you have taken your shot wait for around a minute and retrieve the rabbit hold it in your hands for 5 seconds if you feel any movement you will need to take a shot to the head or break the rabbits neck to cause an instant death this shouldn’t happen very often if you hit the shot in the correct spot.

Help taking a clean shot

An air rifle scope will make the shot much easier and much more enjoyable, before you go hunting with the scope you will need to zero in your air rifle scope to make sure its accurate also I recommend that you zero in your air rifle with the pellet you will be using to hunt. An inaccurate shot can lead to wasted hunting day and worse a wounded rabbit.

Hunting help

So now you know how to take the clean shot and were to shoot as rabbits a spooked very easily so you will need to keep still for a long time so if the weather is bad you will need to wear clothing that will keep you warm. Wait in position until the rabbit comes out load the air rifle with a pellet keep the rabbit in your sights or scope if you are using one for a minute. This will give you time to get your breathing under control (the excitement can make you breath heavy) take the aim in the kill Zone and take your shot this should result in a clean kill.

Make sure you take the shot 2 yards from the hole as the rabbits nerves will make the rabbit jump and could end up in the hole wasting the rabbit.

Other rabbit hunting tips

  • Don’t just turn up on someone’s land taking shots ask permission.
  • Always go for the kill shot and if do happen to wound the rabbit ease it’s suffering as soon as possible.
  • Make sure you don’t shoot people so follow some basic air rifle shooting safety tips.

How To Sight In A Scope

scope sightHow many different methods have you heard of when it comes to how to sight in a scope? Probably a lot, just as we have. There are a lot of opinions on how to sight in a scope, but there are a lot of different needs for sighting in that scope. Some folks want to punch paper, some folks want to know how to sight in a scope for hunting, and some folks need to know how to sight in a scope for tactical use.

We’re somewhere in the middle with our approach to how to sight in a scope. We don’t shoot in the benchrest or tactical disciplines, but we have fairly demanding needs for high degrees of accuracy and repeatability for things like varmint hunting and longer range big game hunting so we need a good, logical routine for how to sight in a scope for our purposes.

First, we generally use a paper target at a rifle/pistol range along with a chronograph to gather some ballistics information to help us as we’re deciding on where we want our bullets to impact the target. Due to our extensive experience with chronographs, we’re partial to both the CED M2 chronograph and the Shooting Chrony Beta chronograph based on their quality, ease of use, flexibility and reasonable prices. Both of our CED M2 chronographs live in CED carrying cases because we like how everything fits perfectly and is protected by the heavy duty, yet reasonably-priced nylon case – our Shooting Chrony Beta has its own factory case as well and is very compact and dependable. A chronograph is something you’ll want to take good care of to maintain top measurement accuracy.

We’ve also used other chronographs successfully and if you use another brand, we’re OK with that. The idea is to get velocity information that is statistically repeatable to help you decide best how to sight in a best rifle scope properly for your personal use. We highly suggest that you don’t guess on your ammunition’s velocity due to variations in firearms and ammunition.

It’s highly unlikely that even if Fedremchester 30-06 180 grain, soft-point spitzer ammunition says on the box it should deliver 2,820 fps when fired that it will actually produce that velocity in your firearm. Be smart, be safe, be knowledgeable and use a good chronograph to know more precisely what your actual average velocities are.

Keep in mind that ammunition may be affected by temperature variations and that it may produce vastly different velocities when exposed to different temperature extremes in the field (i.e., winter cold and summer heat). Handloaders and users of custom-loaded ammunition should be particularly careful of possible dangerous ammunition pressures and pressure spikes when firing ammunition in the heat of spring and/or summer temperatures that was considered safe in the cool fall or cold winter temperatures when a firearm was actually sighted in. Handloading and reloading are separate major subjects and we suggest that you seek expert advice in those areas from qualified, expert sources and references.

We recommend that (for general hunting and shooting) you shoot no less than 20 rounds of the same ammunition and we heartily recommend that you shoot at least 40 rounds of the same ammunition across your chronograph’s sky screens at a consistent distance of 12-15 feet to get a solid idea of how that particular ammunition will perform velocity-wise. Later, we’ll take a closer look at the accuracy of the ammunition as we examine the process of how to sight in a scope.

It goes without saying that any scope should always (and ONLY) be sighted in for its intended purpose with the ammunition that you will be using for that specific hunt, for that particular match or even for a given tactical purpose which may be ongoing. This applies whether you’re shooting factory ammunition, custom ammunition or handloaded ammunition. If you’re shooting factory or custom-loaded ammunition, try to ensure that you have the same lot numbers on your ammunition boxes or containers for consistency. You handloaders out there should always record your loads faithfully on the ammunition boxes or containers so you’ll know exactly what ammunition you’re shooting. Again, seek expert and qualified advice for further information.

There are many free ballistic resources on the internet that you can use to help develop a suitable ballistic table for your rifle or pistol and the scope you want to sight in. You can just type “freeware ballistics software” into your favorite browser to get started finding a suitable program. We use NECO QuickLoad© and don’t mind giving that product a plug because we have depended on it so long. It’s not cheap, but it does what we need it to do and it works well on our laptop when we’re at the range. There are many free online resources available in the area of ballistics calculators and ballistics tables.

Now that you’ve set up your chronograph it gets easier. We recommend using a bore-sighter if you have access to one to save a few cartridges at the range. If you don’t have one, set up your sight-in target at 25 yards to start with and begin your sight-in process from there. If you don’t have a laptop computer to take to the range then you can print several ballistics tables in advance to take with you.

Check several reloading manuals or online sources to determine what your range of bullet velocities is likely to be. As an example, say you want to know how to sight in a scope on your Savage Model 116 in .223 Remington. You check both online and in several current reloading manuals you have available and determine that the load you will be using could produce from 2,900 fps to 3,400 fps.

Knowing the information above, you can easily and quickly print out 6 ballistic tables if you only want to use even 100 fps increments (i.e., 2,900, 3,000, 3,100, etc.). . .or 12 ballistic tables if you want to use 50 fps increments (i.e., 2,900, 2,950, 3,000, 3,050, etc.). Simply determine the average velocities of your cartridges from your chronograph information and choose the ballistics table that most closely matches your ammunition’s velocities. An alternative to this method is to use two separate trips to the range, the first to develop velocity information with your chronograph and to get your bullets onto the paper target, and the second trip to actually adjust your scope to place your fired groups exactly where you want them to be at the appropriate distance after you have determined the correct ballistic table to use (i.e., 100 yards, 150 yards, 200 yards, etc.).

Now, for the actual shooting portion of the process and the easy way to sight in your firearm with the fewest shots. Let’s assume that you are shooting at 25 yards at a standard ten-ring target. Since you used a bore-scope, you are at least on the paper but although you aimed correctly at the target center with your cross-hair reticle, the bullet struck the target 3 inches to the right and 2 inches high.

At this point, do not chamber another round yet and place your firearm in as close to its original firing position as possible and place the cross-hair exactly on the target center just as you did before and hold the rifle as steady as possible (it helps to have a friend or fellow shooter help you hold the firearm immobile here). With the cross-hair remaining exactly centered on the target to start with, just as you did with the first shot and with the rifle remaining immobile, begin to move the scope adjustments so that the intersection of the cross-hairs moves exactly on top of the first bullet hole (the gun must remain immobile during this process).

Now, you may fire your second shot – this is how to sight in a scope with very few shots required at a given range. Aim by placing the cross-hairs exactly on the target center as you did with your first shot, but now your second bullet should come very close to, if not exactly impacting, the center of the target. This assumes that you kept the firearm completely immobilized in the position that it was in while you sighted on the center of the target before you began to adjust the cross-hairs to intersect with the first bullet hole.

This may sound a little complex, but in practice it takes only a few seconds, particularly if you have a good assistant to help you hold the firearm still during the reticle adjustment after the first shot. After you try it a time or two, you’ll be giving lessons at the range. . .heck, you might even make a little money. . .or not!

At this point, you should find it very easy to extend your target to either 50 or 100 yards to further fine-tune and adjust your scope to place your fired groups just about anywhere you like. We always prefer 5-shot groups for consistency and we always like to shoot at least 5 groups of 5 shots for maximum confidence in our sighting procedure.

We hope this article on how to sight in a scope will help you streamline your sight-in process and make your range time more efficient. It sure helps us save range time so we can have more field time. . .we would always rather be hunting than sighting in our scopes anyway. . .and we really like scopes here at BestRifleScopeReview.com

5 Rifle Cartridges For The Beginning Deer Hunter

After writing about how the .243 Winchester was not a good round for the beginning deer hunter, I received a number of emails asking me which rounds I would consider for new deer hunters.

Here’s My Pick of Rifle Cartridges For the Beginning Deer Hunter

Note: This list is in no order. Any of these cartridges are more than enough for any Whitetail or Mule Deer buck that walks.

  1. 260 Remington – This round is basically a 6.5mm bullet with a necked down .308 case. As you would expect with any round based on the 308, it’s accurate. The 260 Remington has low felt recoil and excellent accuracy. You can get it in a range of rifle styles, from compact to standard weight.
  2. 257 Roberts – An age old classic! The 117 – 120 grain bullet used in the standard loading is good Buck medicine. This caliber comes in just about any rifle combination you want, especially if you’re looking at a bolt action rifle. The 257 Roberts is a necked down 7mm Mauser case and the felt recoil is nil. Most modern rifles can handle the 257 Roberts +P loads. However, always check with the manufacturer first, just to be on the safe side.
  3. 7mm-08 Remington – My favorite rifle at this time and it has been for many, many years! Even though I’m what you’d call a “Big Ole Boy”, I love the low recoil and nail driving accuracy of the 7mm-08. I haven’t had any rifle that I’ve owned in this round to shoot bad. In fact, my current rifle chambered in the 7mm-08 is a Featherlight Winchester. The light whippy barrel will still hold 1.5 inch groups with most factory ammo.
  4. 250 Savage – You might have to look around for a while to find a 250 Savage, but it will be worth it! This quarter bore is deadly on any Deer, Antelope or Black Bear you want to tackle. In most bolt guns, it will give good accuracy and virtually no recoil.
  5. 30-30 Winchester– Ahhhh! I can already hear some of you scream now! But let’s face it. Many hunters, especially those back East, will never shoot a Deer at 150 yards away. Most will never kill one at 100 yards. The 170 grain soft point is more than enough medicine for any Buck that wants to walk past you, or Black Bear! Yes, I prefer the heavier 170 grain bullet. In a rifle like the Marlin 336, the 30-30 Winchester has low recoil with more than adequate energy delivered to the target!

Why didn’t I mention rounds like the 7×57 Mauser, .270 Winchester or the .280? Simply because the rifles listed above usually deliver less recoil and just as much accuracy.

One of the biggest problems I see beginners or Parents make is buying their self or their kids a Deer rifle that is larger than what they need. I guess for some it’s a Macho thing to tell other Parents that your 10 year old shoots a 30-06 or .270 Winchester.

Small framed hunters can do better. If it’s one thing that will ruin a lot of new Hunters, it’s recoil. If it’s not fun shooting, they’re not going to become good at it!

6 ‘Old School’ Deer Rifles That Can Still Bring Home the Venison

Ruger 44 Carbine

ruger-44-carbine.thumbnailThe Ruger 44 Carbine’s are getting more and more scarce each year. If you find one of these little brush guns, grab it up!

The Ruger 44 Carbine is a great first time gun for a young hunter or for a hunter who’ll never be shooting out past 100 yards. This little carbine tames the 44 mag round and makes it manageable for those shooters who are slight of build.

The 240 grain 44 Magnum is plenty for any buck who ventures into your stand area. The rifle is compact and quick handling and comes with a rotary clip magazine. You can find clips for these old deer getters on ebay and some gun shops still carry a few.

I’ve heard of a few reports that this gun would not cycle reliably with factory bullets heavier than 240 grains, but I can not personally attest to that. I never found the need for anything heavier than the good old 240 grainer, but it’s something you should be aware of if you’ll be trying bullets of different weights.

As I said above, the Ruger 44 Carbines are getting harder and harder to find. Expect to pay in the neighborhood of $300 to $500, and possibly even more, for a Carbine in Excellent shape.

Savage Model 99

savage-99.thumbnailThe Savage Model 99 is an old favorite of many deer hunters across the country. Whether your after a Whitetail Buck in the expansive forest of the Northeast or a Mule Deer buck in the Rockies, you can do far worse than carry a Model 99.

The Savage 99 is a lever action rifle that is most known for the two Savage cartridges it was chambered for early on in its production, the 250 Savage and the 300 Savage. Both are good deer rounds, although ammo may be hard to find on the shelf for both in most parts of the country. Later 99’s were chambered for the popular .243 and .308.

Early models of the Savage 99 were not tapped and drilled for scope mounts, although any good gunsmith can do this relatively cheaply. The rifles had a rotary magazine until 1984 when Savage introduced the ‘99 with a clip magazine.

The Savage 99 came in both a solid frame gun and a take-down model.

The ‘99 was made for nearly 100 years and was chambered in a range of calibers all the way from the 22 Hi-Power to a version that was chambered for the .410.

Savage introduced the  250-3000 Savage in 1915 and it was the first commercial cartridge to break the 3000 fps barrier. Later the name was shortened to .250 Savage.

These rifles have smooth actions and are plenty accurate for hunting needs. Expect to pay anywhere from $300 for a well worn ‘99 all the up to a $1000 or more for a rare caliber Model 99 in excellent condition. Most of the .300 Savages and the new production run of clip fed Savage 99’s in .243 and .308 in good shape can be had for around $400 to $600.

Remington Model 788

remington-788.thumbnailThe Remington Model 788 was introduced by Remington as an answer for the economy minded hunter and shooter. I doubt they realized how popular this gun would become.

I bought a used 788 in .308 in the early 90’s. That rifle was the 2nd most accurate rifle I ever owned (the first was a Ruger 77V in 6mm). This rifle would easily hold 1 inch groups at 100 yards with most factory ammo and sub MOA groups with my handloads with Speer 165 grain Hot-Cor’s.

The Remington 788 is a rugged “meat and potato’s” type gun. It’s far more accurate than most people can shoot. The clips can be easily found on eBay should you need more than 1.

The 788 was chambered for most standard short chamber cartridges including the 22-250, .243, 7mm-08, .308 and 30/30.

If you happen to see a Remington 788 on the gun rack at your local gun shop, be sure to grab it. You won’t be disappointed!

Remington 760

remington-760.thumbnailThe Remington 760 is as fine a deer gun as you can find. It’s a solid pump rifle that many Eastern deer hunters have relied on for years. TheBenoits of New England have probably done more for the popularity of pump rifles as anyone.

The Remington 760 and 7600 come in standard calibers such as the .243, .270, 30-06 and .308. You can also find some of these older guns in deer getting calibers such as 35 Whelen, 300 Savage and the 7mm-08.

These pump rifles are amazingly accurate as well. In fact, although one thinks of Eastern hunters when they think of the Remington pump rifle, they’re used by many a Western big game hunters as well.

Remington pump rifles come in a standard 22 inch barreled version as well as a ‘Carbine’ version with a 18 inch barrel. If memory serves me correctly, the Carbine comes in 30-06 and 308 only…just don’t quote me on that! The Carbine is a quick handling gun in thick timber. One reason it’s a favorite among Guides who go after dangerous game like Bears in thick cover.

Expect to pay in the $300 to $600 range for a good Remington 760 or 7600. Extra clips are easily found on GunBroker.com and eBay.

Winchester Model 88

winchester-88.thumbnailThe Winchester Model 88 has been around since 1955 when it was introduced for the then new .308 Winchester. The Winchester 88 is a lever action rifle that is chambered for short action rounds such as the .358, .308, .284 and .243.

The Winchester 88 uses a detachable clip magazine which allows the use of spire pointed bullets for greater velocity.

In the late 60’s Winchester introduced a Carbine version of the 88 that was chambered for the .243, .284 and .308. It had a plain stock rather than the checkered stock of the standard version.

The Winchester 88 is very accurate due to its rotating bolt lugs. Rotating bolt lugs very similar to a bolt action rifle. This is one solid gun.

I believe the Model 88 failed to ‘catch on’ because it was ahead of its time. It really didn’t look like any of the traditional deer guns of its time. The .284 and .358 weren’t the most popular calibers, although they enjoyed far more favor back then than they do today.

Expect to find a good used Winchester 88 for $400 to $700.

Ruger No. 1

ruger-number-1.thumbnailI know that it’s said the Model 70 is the ‘Riflemans Rifle’ but I don’t agree. I think the Ruger #1 is the ‘Riflemans Rifle’. Like it or not, there’s just something positive to be said for someone who has the confidence to use a single shot rifle.

Although the Ruger #3 is also a fine single shot rifle, it was only made in a few calibers including the 30-40 Krag and 45-70. Both of which are more than enough for any deer walking, but the rifles their self are scarce.

The Ruger #1 on the other hand are still being made. These are accurate single shot rifles. One reason I preferred the No. 3 to he No. 1 is because the No. 3 was a ‘Basic’ rifle with little to no frills and was accurate. The No. 1 on the other hand is a high class big game rifle and the price reflect that.

The No. 1’s come in a wide range of calibers depending on the Model. You can get them in anything from a .204 right up to the .458 Magnum.

Another advantage of the Ruger #1 is that the standard length barrel is 26″. Even so, since there is no action, the Ruger #1 is shorter than many standard bolt action rifles with 22 ” barrels.

My ’Perfect’ deer rifle would be a #1 or #3 with a 22 or 24″ barrel chambered for the 7mm-08. Since that combination is not available (or wasn’t the last time I looked), I’ve been thinking about a No. 1 in the .257 Roberts. (another favorite round of mine)

Ruger No. 1’s aren’t cheap. Expect to pay $500 to $800 for a No. 1 in Good condition.

Good Guns That Didn’t Make My List

There are many good rifles that didn’t make my list. Guns like the Browining BAR and BLR’s, any number of Sears and Western Auto contract rifles, Remington Automatics, etc. Some rifles I just don’t like. Others, I have never used or have been around.

One that didn’t make my list and that I’m very familiar with is the Winchester Model 94. I know it’s a popular deer rifle, but I just don’t like the 94. I don’t like the early versions because it takes a good gunsmith to mount a scope with them and the newer side ejection models still benefit from using see through scope rings. I hate see through rings!

No Magnums Here

I also didn’t list any Magnums. I have never felt the need to use a Magnum caliber on a deer. They’re just not needed. Few hunters can actually shoot one well and if a deer is so far off that you feel you need a Magnum, you need to learn to get closer to the deer.

Case in point. I used to work with a guy who talked his wife into buying him a .340 Weatherby Magnum one year for Christmas. At the time I lived in Arkansas and he hunted the same general area I did. The Ozark Mountains. His excuse was that he needed the rifle to “reach across the clearcuts to touch ‘dem big boys”.

He only shot this rifle a day or so prior to the Gun opener and only in camp. Which meant the target was never more than 100 yards away (I visited their camp several times). After the first few times of shooting the gun he became afraid of it and would try and have other people site it in for him. I shot the rifle on several occasions. Needless to say, of all the years I knew him, he only shot two deer with that rifle and both were under a 100 yards. Both were badly mangled due to one bullet hitting the front shoulder first and one hitting the rear leg bone on the other.

Another guy I worked with bragged to everyone in ear shot that he used a 7 Mag and a .338 Win. Magnum for deer hunting. The other guys at work who hunted out of his camp said he would find a spot where he could see the furthest, usually a clear cut, and open up on anything that walked into few. The running joke in camp was “When is Bud starting the Revolution?” Surprisingly, for all the firepower this guy had, he never killed a buck large enough to enter into the company’s big buck contest. Go figure.

If you run into any of the ’Old School’  guns listed above on a gun rack, know that they’ll do a good job for you. Don’t hesitate to put the gun back into the field. Hey, chances are they’re experienced deer killers anyway!

Shot Show: New Hunting Shotguns

The crowds have gone back to their shops and the vendors are hoping for orders. This year’s Shot Show in Orlando, FLA, has ended. The NSSF has left the building. But take stock (pun intended) on the latest and greatest shotguns for us upland hunters. When these guns will actually be on your dealer’s shelf is anyone’s guess. I’m still looking for a Ruger Gold Label. How about one of thoseRemington 105 CTi? Maybe I’m not looking hard enough. So without further adieu, here’s a look at some likely guns for grouse, quail, and pheasant.

Smith & Wesson is back in the shotgun game. You might recall they pitched a line of semis about 20 to 25 years ago. Well they are jumping back into the market with a new semi and side-by-side. Ruger and Marlin think the side-by-side is an idea that has come full circle again and they all are probably right. The S&W Elite Gold comes in 20-gauge in three popular stock configurations: straight, pistol grip, and Prince of Wales.

shot_show_smithwesson_EliteGold

Keeping with the “gold” theme started by Ruger a few years back, Savage, like S&W, seem to think that the word ‘gold’ in the model name and double barreled guns go shell in chamber. Savage’s “Gold Wing” over-under shotguns come in all the prerequisite gauges—12, 20, 28 and .410—and are built on frames that are gauge specific, so the 20-gauge model hopefully won’t feel like and over weight 12-gauge.

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The ersatz LC Smiths from Marlin are now being chambered in 28- and 410-gauge.
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Ok, who has some experience with Benellis? The new Benelli Cordoba comes in 20-gauge. Tell us what you think about your Benelli and let’s see which of the Big B’s (Browning, Beretta and Benelli) are really worth the price of admission. Does a cryogenically treated barrel really put more pellets on target? The ComforTech stock takes some getting used to. It’s not easy on the eyes.
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And Beretta fans now have an enhanced AL391 Urika. The new Urika 2 has an improved gas system that allows for more shooting between cleanings.
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Trophy Hunters Prefer .300 Winchester Magnum

300_Win_Mag_hornady_uplandfeathers_huntingA few months ago the Boone & Crockett Club released the most popular caliber used to take wall hangers in North America. It seems that most trophies are taken with the .300 Winchester Magnum. The .300 win mag beat out the .30-06, 7mm Remington Magnum, .270 among others.

Care to take a guess what the second most popular caliber is? Trick questions. It’s not a caliber at all but a bow. The second most popular weapon used by B&C members is a bow. The .300 win mag is probably the outer limit of most hunter’s and shooter’s recoil tolerance.

The .300 spits out a 150 grain bullet at about 3,290 fps and that can result in about 2,314 pounds of recoil. In layman’s terms that similar to a sharp blow to the shoulder from 2×4 depending on how well you have the stock placed in your shoulder pocket and what position you are shooting from.

My first experience with the .300 win mag was about 35 years ago. A friend of mine who believed bigger and faster in a caliber was better bought a used bolt-action that looked a suspiciously like a Weatherby—glossy stock, bright blue finish—but was actually a Japanese-made brand that is now long defunct.

He bought the gun for whitetails and shot one about two acres away on the edge of the hay field. The bullet entered via a small hole and existed by a tennis-ball sized hole and kept going. Not one to be duly impressed I commented that it’s a good thing the farmer’s Holsteins weren’t around since you might have had to drag two animals.

I understand a grizzly, elk or mountain goat hunter needing the power at a distance the .300 win mag offers, but it’s a little too much gun for whitetails. And I know you are dying to know what other calibers B&C members use; in order of popularity the .270, .30-06 followed by the 7mm rem mag.

Real Life American Sniper Simulation with the Real Tools

People will always want something that is out of the ordinary. And when most people would want the same thing, it would not be so ordinary; it would be a fad. One of the things that went through this process is the sniper and gun addiction of many people. They may not be shooting these high end guns to other people but they still want them for display or for the sake of having a big boy toy. This is even amplified by certain movies such as Saving Private Ryan and American Sniper. Because of this a lot more people went shopping with these big guns on top of their lists. There is nothing bad about it as long as they have the right license to carry the guns and they are responsible enough to use them.

Some people actually have hobbies that will require guns like hunting and shooting games which are usually done in shooting ranges. These hobbies are legal and they can be done in almost any part of the world. And just like any hobby, these people are spending a lot of money for these hobbies. For these people, the enjoyment they are having with these kinds of hobbies is much more valuable compared to the money that they are spending so it is all worth it.

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Equipment

The equipment that is being used in this hobby is not limited to the gun only. They are also using several high end devices to make themselves a lot more accurate and a lot more powerful. This may be in a form of competition or a simple past time but it doesn’t matter. All they want is to be better at what they do.

One of the devices that get a lot of attention is sniper scopes. These are the tools that they are looking at in order to close up their sight at the target. The best snipers are using these ones in a very accurate manner. Their deadly precision is the one that marked their name on the pages of history forever. This is the reason why a good sniper scope is very important.

Specifications

There are a lot of sniper scopes available in the market. These ones have different prices, different specifications and features that may vary from one brand to another or one model from the other. These specifications are the ones that every expert is looking at in order for them to find the best model and the best brand.

There are several specifications that can be mentioned in when we are talking about sniper scopes.

  • The first one will always be magnification level. This is the specification that will tell you how near you would see once you look into the scope. This is very important for snipers because this can affect their precision and accuracy. The level of magnification may vary from one brand to another. And the good news is that there are so many brands and models available to give the users so many choices. This will allow them to find the one that will fit their needs. Some of these best rifle scopes can even have an adjustable magnification level for better precision.
  • Large guns will need larger sniper scopes because of their ability to shoot long range bullets. This will help the shooter guide the bullet towards the target without ever worrying about the mistakes he can make during the shooting.
  • Objective Lens Diameter is also very important. This is the part that will dictate how much light will enter the scope. Larger scopes will allow more light into the tube so he picture that is magnified will be a lot clearer. It will also be a lot lighter and sharper. The only downside with the large scopes is that they tend to be really heavy. This will complicate the aiming and the shooting. For expert shooters however, this may not be a problem.
  • Lens quality is something that should not leave the list because this does not only dictate the clarity or the sharpness of the image but also the durability of the glass. We have to understand that we are talking about high powered guns that can target miles from the shooing point. Its power can destroy not just glass but also stronger materials such as concrete and metal plating. The glass should be strong enough to hold high levels of pressure and shock. The installation should also be strong enough to keep the glass in place.

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Standards

The quality of a scope can also be measured on how it followed the standards. The reticle is one of the most important parts of every standard issue scope. The reticles are the marks that you can see on the glass. These ones are not just placed on an assumed location on the glass. They have to be imprinted in the most accurate way so that the shooter will be able to bring out the best in that particular gun. There are other factors which may include safety checks and others.

Checking for Updates

These things may also be subjected to certain upgrades. Of course we cannot make the perfect equipment so they would have to be changed once a better model comes out. The good news is that it is very easy to check if there are certain upgrades in the equipment that are now available in stores. All you have to do is to check the internet and type in any keyword that you want, and it will be there right in front of you.

You can also buy these things through the internet. This will make things easier for you since you will be able to get the thing that you want without even going out of the house. However, you should be careful because the internet is the house of misconception and lies. Make sure that you are buying from a reputable seller to avoid any delays or even fraud. The best thing to do is to read reviews about the product and the seller so you will have some kind of assurance.

Winchester 30-30 – America’s Deer Cartridge

winchester30-30If you’re getting long in the tooth like me, chances are your first deer gun was chambered in 30-30 Winchester. Chances are also good that the Winchester 30-30 you had was either a Winchester Model 94 or a Marlin 336 (or one of the many knockoffs).

It’s been said that the 30-30 Winchester has killed more Deer than any other cartridge. I’d have to agree with that statement. Even today, I’m betting more Deer fall every Deer season to this 103 year old round than any other.

History of the Winchester 30-30

The 30-30 Winchester started life as the 30 WCF in 1895. Shortly after, Marlin chambered the round in its lever action rifle but didn’t want the name “Winchester” on its rifles, so they called it the 30-30. The name stuck.

It was first chambered in the Winchester model 1894.

The 30-30 was the first small bore centerfire round to use smokeless powder. History tells us some guy named Teddy Roosevelt was an avid hunter and owned one of the first 30-30’s to come out of the factory.

Teddy use the “thutty thutty” to down an Antelope buck at 220 yards with a 160 grain bullet.

Isn’t it ironic that Teddy and the people of that day considered the 30-30 Winchester a flat shooting rifle? I guess compared to a 45-75 with black powder, it would be! (Teddy’s favorite ‘American’ rifle was a Winchester 1876 chambered for the 45-75)

The Modern 30-30 Winchester Rifle

30-30winchesterWhy has the 30-30 become the most popular round in America? In my opinion, there are a few reasons.

For one thing, the rifles that are chambered for the 30-30 are inexpensive when compared to other rifles chambered for other rounds. It’s not uncommon to find a Model 94 Winchester or Marlin 336 in good shape at a Pawn Shop for under $200. These guns are capable of producing acceptable accuracy for deer hunting out to 100 yards or more with a little practice.

My longest shot with a 30-30 was right at 150 yards and I’ve know a couple others who taken deer past that range. Not that this would be my first choice for those ranges, nearly all the deer I’ve killed with the 30-30 have been under 100 yards, but in the right hands, it can be an effective round.

Ammo for the 30-30 is generally a few bucks (no pun intended) cheaper than other ammo as well.

The light recoil of rifles chambered for the 30-30 Winchester make them desirable for new Hunters, Women and those who only shoot a rifle a few times a year not to mention those Hunters that are sensitive to recoil.
Finally, the round itself is a solid round. I think it’s safe to say the 30-30 Winchester has probably taken everything that walks North America.

The Marlin 336

For my money, I love the feel and handling of the Marlin 336’s. My Dad actually bought a Glennfield Model 30A (basically the same as a Marlin 336 but with a shortened magazine) in 1967 to hunt Mule Deer in New Mexico around Chalma. The pictures that he and my Uncle have of the Mulies they killed out there make me drool even today. I’m in most of those pictures, a little two year old cowboy sitting on his knee beaming as if I’d shot those bucks myself! You’ll see the Glennfield in those pictures as well.

Today, I own that same rifle. It was the rifle I took my first deer with, a Doe that field dressed 94 lbs. Since then, I’ve put more than a few deer on the ground with that rifle. Most with open sights. It has only been the last 5 years or so that I mounted a scope on it. The scope does take away some of the rifles quick handling, but it more than makes up for it in improved accuracy.

My Winchester Model 94 Experiences

I have a confession to make about the Model 94 Winchester Rifle. I don’t particularly care for them! I much prefer the Marlins over the 94.

My experience with the Model 94 is limited. I’ve only owned two of the rifles and found both lacking for my needs.

For starters, you couldn’t put a scope over the receiver on older Models and the new ones still need the see through mounts to function properly.

Second, I hated the straight stock. It’s not nearly as comfortable in my hands as the pistol gripped Marlin.

Next, I hated those freakin’ buckhorn sights!

Last but not least, I hated the way the action opens up at the top. There were times when I’ve be in the tree stand and it would be raining and I’d see drops dripping down on top of the receiver. It used to drive me nuts! I’d then be twisting and turning trying to keep that rifle from getting water in the receiver.

I doubt it would have affected the performance of the rifle, but it drove me crazy thinking about it. All I had to do with the Marlins were turn it right side down on my lap and I didn’t have to worry about water getting into the receiver. At least, not where I could see it.

The great gun writer Sam Fadala actually has an entire book on the Winchester Model 94 and the 30-30 Winchester. I recommend anyone thinking about buying a rifle to read it. It’s called Winchester’s 30-30: Model 94, The Rifle America Loves

Is the 30-30 Winchester Adequate for Deer?

Well, millions of dead Deer are proof that the 30-30 is more than adequate for any Deer that walks this planet.

The 150 and 170 Grain bullets carry enough punch to do a Deer in at ranges out to around 200 yards. But generally accuracy suffers from most lever action rifles when shooting that far. But there’s good news for us Lever Action hunters. It’s called Hornady LeveRevolution ammo and it’s going to change the way a lot of us lever action folks hunt deer!

Speaking of the new Hornady Leverevolution ammo, this ammo is simply awesome. This has made my old Glennfield 30-30 into a 200 yard plus deer rifle. Not only are they accurate out to 200 yards plus, they hit like a freight train. On our Special Antlerless day several years ago, I took a large Doe at 188 steps. At the shot, she took off and ran 20 yards and did a cartwheel and it was over that quick!

For those of you who haven’t heard about the LeveRevolution, they are a polymer spire pointed bullet designed to be used in tubular magazines. The tip is soft and collapses. Hornady and a few Gun Writers have been reporting exceptional accuracy out to 250 yards with these new rounds, but I haven’t shot my old 30-30 out that far yet.

I would never classify the Thutty-Thutty as an Elk or Grizzly Bear round, but they have fallen to the 30-30. I’ve read stories about some Black Bear guides in Canada who prefer the 30-30 over a shotgun because of the quick handling characteristics and short range stopping energy of the 170 grain bullet.

Hunters using the Winchester 30-30 have several choices when it comes to ammo.

Remington offers the 125 grain Accelerator and most ammo manufacturers offer both the 150 and 170 grain factory loads. Until I started using the Hornady LeveRevolution ammo, I’d always preferred the Remington 30-30 170 grain bullets over the 150 grain ones. I experimented with both early on and found the 170 grain bullets to be more accurate plus they hit with a lot more kinetic energy than the 150 grain bullets. This means deeper penetration and more knock down power.

For several years, I used the Remington 170 grain hollow points. These were deadly Deer takers! I stopped using them when I shot a large 8 point at about 80 yards. I later found the fragmented bullet on the far front leg, a few inches above the “elbow”, where it had broken the bone. I wasn’t crazy about finding pieces of my bullet even if it had went through the buck and busted his leg on the far side. I went back to the 170 grain soft nosed bullets.

Many so called “Professional Gun Writers” over the years have put down the little Thutty Thutty, saying things like it wasn’t adequate out past 75 yards, that it wasn’t accurate enough for deer hunting, etc. It was obvious that they had never shot a 30-30 or had just borrowed one in order to write an article.

I have a theory of why blunt tipped bullets in rounds like the 30-30 Winchester kill deer better than what many Gun Writers would like.

I believe that a blunt tipped bullet, be it a round nose or flat nose, delivers more of its kinetic energy upon impact than spire tipped bullets. Even the poly tipped bullets have to penetrate a certain depth before the start expanding and delivering their load of kinetic energy. Truth be known, many of spire pointed bullets use up the majority of their kinetic energy in the dirt on the other side of the animal.

Blunt tipped bullets are also known to penetrate deep. Couple this with the shock due to the sudden impact of a blunt tipped bullet and you have a recipe for a quick kill on a game animal.

Whether you contemplating buying a rifle for a first time hunter, or buying a rifle for yourself, don’t count out theWinchester 30-30 and the Rifles it is chambered for. They’re perfect for the first time hunter or the Old Fart who just wants a lighter hunting rifle. Put a quality scope on the top of the rifle and you’ll have a life long rifle that will bring home the Venison if the shooter does their job!

MDM ‘Buckwacka’ Muzzleloading Rifle Review

img_6541I bought my Mellennium Designed Muzzleloader “Buckwacka” .45 caliber black powder rifle about 3 years ago. I had previously owned and shot a few inline muzzleloaders since “coming over” from the traditional black powder rifle. Yet, when I shot those rifles and carried them afield, I never felt like I was shooting a ‘real’ rifle plus most of them left something to be desired in the way they shot and operated.

The Search For My Perfect Muzzle Loading Rifle Begins

I loved hunting with traditional black powder rifles. I loved everything about them except the occasional misfire. Heck, I never minded cleaning them! I resisted buying an inline black powder rifle for many years. However, being an deer hunter first and foremost, I finally gave in and started looking at inline muzzleloading rifles.

I figured that if I was going to use an inline black powder rifle, then it should be a flat shooting rifle. It should also be able to take advantage of modern technology but be a simple to operate rifle as well.

And just as important, it should feel like a rifle and not a toy.

I looked at all the rifles on the market at the time. I either borrowed my friend’s black powder rifles or handled all the latest offerings at the local Sporting Goods stores.

I finally found the Millennium Designed Muzzleloader’s ‘Buckwacka’ model in .45 caliber. It’s called the ‘Nitro Magnum’. I ordered the model with a Stainless Steel barrel and action with the Mossy Oak Breakup stock.

One reason I went with the .45 instead of the .50 caliber is because of the lighter bullets that can be used with the .45. Lighter bullets mean flatter trajectories. However, I didn’t want to go so light as to affect bullet performance on Deer. I still wanted some power when the bullet arrived on target. Especially if that target was 150 or 200 yards away.

The Millennium Designed Muzzleloader’s Buckwacka that I ordered has a maximum load of 150 grains of black powder or Pyrodex (according to the paperwork that came with my rifle). The same as the .50 calibers. I’ve noticed lately that the MDM website states that the .45 now has a maximum load of 200 grains while the .50 calibers are still at 150 grains of black powder or Pyrodex.

Pro’s and Con’s of the Buckwacka

buckwackabreakdownOne of the things I really like about the Buckwacka is that it’s a simple design. It’s based off of the break open action of the H&R Rifles and Shotguns that many of us had as our first “real” hunting guns. (the photo is courtesy of MDM Muzzloaders)

My Buckwacka Nitro Maganum has a 25 inch stainless steel barrel. It takes a 209 Shotgun primer that slips directly into the breech plug. This I like a lot. You don’t need some silly disks, special nipples or other contraption to prime the rifle and make it shoot. Just put a 209 in the breech plug, close the breech and you’re ready to go.

The gun breaks down easily for cleaning. Ray Charles could break this gun down and clean it! The simplicity of this design is lost on many of today’s gunmakers. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a black powder rifle go ‘Boom’. The way some of these new guns are being designed, you’d think it was rocket science!

My rifle came with Williams Fire Sites. These were neat ‘Glow’ sites, but I had no intention of ever using them. I knew from day one that I would be putting a scope on this rifle. I decided on a 3×9 Bushnell rifle scope. I had to remove the rear site because it hit the bell of my rifle scope.

I have been watching the new Nikon BDC rifle scope and really like the looks of it. One may find their way on my MDM muzzleloader before next season!

One thing that I dislike about my Buckwacka is that is doesn’t come with a side hammer. This is a must have if you’ll be mounting a scope on the rifle. In fact, I would rather have the side hammer than the Williams Fire Sites. I wish this was an option when ordering the Gun. The side hammer can be purchased from MDM for an additional $12.95.

When using a scope, the hammer can be hard to get your thumb on. The side hammer makes this a snap.

The Buckwacka also comes with a Limited Lifetime Guarantee. Another PLUS in my book.

Shortly after I bought the rifle, I had to call the company to ask which bases to use for the scope, since my gunsmith was having problems finding a matched set. I think I talked to a guy named Craig (although I’m not 100% positive) and he was very helpful and friendly. This counts for a lot when you need to talk to someone who knows the guns!

Matching A Bullet To The Buckwacka

img_6628It made no sense to me to use an inline black powder rifle only to stuff it it pistol bullets or heavy conical type bullet!

I wanted a pointed bullet with a good ballistic coefficient. Why use an modern inline muzzleloading rifle and stay with a mini-ball type bullet that was designed for rifles made 150 years ago? If I was going to give up my ole smoke pole, it was going to be for something that made sense and would take advantage of the latest technology in bullet manufacturing.

The bullet I finally settle on was the Hornady SST 200 grain .45 caliber bullet.

With the Hornady SST bullets, the MDM Buckwacka turned in solid 1.25″ groups at 100 yards. On some days I would get some groups that were tighter, but overall I can count on tight groups day in and day out.

I sighted the gun in with a 100 grains of Pyrodex. I use the 5o grain pellets. They’re quick and involve no mess. Another technology advancement for muzzleloading rifles!img_6627

I have since started using 3 of the 50 grain pellets. I’m not sure what my group sizes are because I haven’t shot it for groups with the 150 grains of Pyrodex, but my bullets were right on when I fired test shots at targets set up at 75 and 100 yards from a clean, cold barrel.

Hornady SST 200 Grain .45 Caliber Bullet Performance

Right off the bat, I’m going to tell you that the Hornady SST 200 grain .45 caliber bullets are the most devastating bullets I’ve ever used.

The first year I had the Buckwacka, I shot a Coyote at about 80 yards. It looked like the Ole Boy had been in a bad car wreck!

This year, I shot Deer at about 70 and 90 yards. The 8 pt. buck I shot first was staring at me when I dropped the hammer. The bullet went between the left should and neck at an angle – breaking the neck and lodging somewhere in the back of his body cavity.

When I field dressed the buck, it looked like I had shot this ole boy with a modern centerfire rifle. The inside was literally soup. Total devastation.

When I skinned this deer, the wound channel was so large, I started to take pictures. However I thought better of it because I know some people wouldn’t appreciate these pictures. Trust me when I say it was very impressive!

The antlerless deer I shot was the furthest. It was nearly broadside when I shot. It was a rather small deer so the bullet didn’t have room to really expand before exiting.

When I skinned the Deer, the exit wound under the hide was about the size of a tennis ball. Very impressive for a 200 grain bullet on a small target. The exit hole in the hide was more than double the size of the entry hole in the hide.

I feel a lot of the effectiveness of this bullet is due to pushing it out of the barrel with 150 grains of Pyrodex, but I’m equally sure the damage would be impressive with 100 grains also.

Summary

This is an simple, accurate and reliable blackpowder rifle. It has few moving parts and no extra parts you must carry around to make it shoot. No special nipples or special caps to carry.

Anyone who’s hunted with black powder rifles for any length of time know’s how easy it is to forget caps or other essential gear. I’ve never understood why some of the blackpowder gunmakers keep designing and making guns that you have to carry extra parts with to make them shoot.

That’s one thing that appealed to me about the MDM Buckwacka. Simple and accurate. I have all I need to make the gun shoot in my speed loader. I can shoot several times without cleaning the barrel and when I get it home at the end of the Season, it’s easy to take down and clean.

This rifle would be an excellent rifle for small framed hunters as well. There’s no doubt in my mind this rifle with 70 grains of Black Powder or Pyrodex would be lethal on Deer, especially with a 200 grain or lighter bullet. I’d choose the Hornady SST for this loading also.

For people who hunt Western Big Game like Whitetails, Mule Deer and Antelope, your long range muzzleloading rifle has arrived, it’s called the MDM Nitro Magnum Buckwacka in .45 caliber! This also goes for you Eastern hunters sitting over open fields and clear cuts. This would be the gun if I had to hunt in a Shotgun or Muzzleloader only state like Iowa. There is no shotgun out there I’d rather have than my Buckwacka! You don’t have to be limited to 100 yard shots any longer!

Best of all, the Buckwacka feels and shoots like a “real” gun!