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December 24, 2008

Shooting: Not Just for the Guys.....but the Girls, too!

Shooting is a load of fun. It is family-friendly, statistically safer than every contact sport on the books, and helpful in establishing discipline and maturity in younger shooters. But for some reason, shooting has always been seen as a male-dominated pursuit. Perhaps it is because of the history of mankind where the men did the hunting and the women the gathering, but never-the-less, it is a common perception.

There have been famous women shooters. The most prominent that comes to my mind is Annie Oakley, one of the stars of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. That woman grew up supplying meat to restaurants, and they really liked the game she brought in because the birds were all shot in the head. That's right.....while on the wing! She was so good, that Sitting Bull, the Sioux chief, adopted her. One European noble allowed her to shoot a cigarette out of her mouth at one of the shows! In other words, the girl could shoot!

There are many notable women shooters in today's sport as well. If you'll check out the Olympic shooting team, you'll run across some of them. It is amazing the dedication they put into their sport, and the discipline it takes is more than I think most shooters can manage.

But to get your daughter, girlfriend, wife, or femal acquaintance shooting with you, consider the fashion aspects of shooting. Almost all the women that I know consider how they look when shooting, and to some extent that applies to their armament as well. And in the world of airguns, pink is in!

Popular Pink Airguns 

In the link above, you will find some popular airguns offered with pink accessories. And can you believe it? The Daisy Red Ryder is one of them! If Ralphie, the star of "A Christmas Story" had been a girl, they could still have made the movie! Complete with a pink buttstock and forearm, the tradition lives on for the female members of your family! So entice the gentler gender into enjoying the sport of shooting with you by supplying her with a gun that complements her desire to look good while enjoying herself around us fellows. But be warned.....even without practice, she is liable to outshoot you!  Don't laugh! It's happened to me!

As the holiday season winds down, remember those who don't have the chance to get out and shoot. Take them with you for a special memory that they will cherish for quite some time. Show them the fun and enjoyment that you get from shooting, and invite them along as often as possible. Train up the next generation of shooters so that our sport has good representatives for the future. 

Merry Christmas from Airgun Depot! 

December 22, 2008

THE CAN MANGLER: EAA DROZD 2 BLACKBIRD

Yes, the all-caps title to this blog entry tells you in advance what this BB gun is capable of. The new Drozd 2 Blackbird from EAA, with the sleek, all-black military look, and the new arrangement of bulk CO2, has the improved ergonomics for those who want to send lots of rounds downrange.


 

Since the introduction of the first Russian-made Drozd airgun, with its bright yellow casing and limited CO2 capacity, folks have been clamoring for a higher-fill, more-shots-at-a-time version straight from the factory. For a time, many developed their own answers to the bulk-fill issue, and many paintball-style arrangements were pressed into service for the shooting pleasure of their owners. However, this Drozd 2 version is factory-designed to help eliminate the need for drop-down bulk CO2 tanks, arranging the 88gr CO2 source so that it points towards the rear of the gun. There is also an adaptor to allow the use of 3 normal sized 12 gr powerlets, all at the same time.

First, a look at the operating features of this gun:

In the pic below, you see the on/off switch, located near the selector/fire switch, which controls the number of rounds the gun shoots with each squeeze of the trigger. You can set it for single rounds, 3-round bursts, or 6-round bursts, depending on just how much you want to mangle the target you are shooting at!


 

To load the BB's, first disconnect the power cord from the upper part of the gun. You don't want the bottom portion dropping out when you push the release button, thus causing the lower portion  to dangle by the power cord.

 

 

Press the button at the bottom of the rear grip. This will allow the lower portion to drop out of place. It weighs more than you think, so be sure to hold onto it and don't let it hit the floor or ground.

 


As seen below, the lower portion will slide out. Th front portion of the grip, towards the barrel of the gun, has a flip-open top that allows you to load BB's in the reservoir provided. Load up to 400 rounds (the owner's manual mistakenly says 200 rounds) and close the top of that grip before replacing the lower assembly back into place with the upper portion.

 


The CO2 can be loaded while the magazine is in or out of the gun. It's easier with the magazine out, and removing the rear section that assists you in shooting from the shoulder allows you to load all 3 sockets with the smaller 12 gram powerlets. As mentioned above, you can elect to use an 88 gram source if you wish.

 

 

 


The rear sights on this gun are functional and adjustable, and work just fine for the purpose of can-mangling and target acquisition. This gun isn't a marksman's kind of weapon.....it isn't meant for precision target work or long-range sniping. It is for the pure fun of close-range target annihilation, shattering clay pigeons and ventilating cans with gusto! There is a picatinny rail in the event you wish to add a scope base of some kind for a reddot sight, laser, or low-power scope.

 


To add power to the gun, you need 6 AA batteries. They go into the gun through a port located just under the muzzle of the gun. Follow the directions as to which side accepts the batteries in which position.

Once you've added CO2 and BB's to the gun, plug the power cord back into the upper portion of the gun. Turn on the power switch which, if on, will glow red.

 


In addition to being able to choose how many shots you want with each pull of the trigger, you can also select the speed at which the BB's are fired. The air gun will cycle 300, 450, and 650 BB's per minute.

During the shooting fun, you'll probably experience a jam when a BB gets stuck in the magazine. Just pop open the jam clearing mechanism located at the bottom of the lower grip, then replace it to clear the jam. Using good quality BB's will help in avoiding jams in this gun. In addition, if you are shooting at any surface that good conceivably cause a ricochet, be sure to use shooting glasses. In the following pic, we were shooting at aluminum cans in the mud of the yard where no ricochet hazards were present.

 


My oldest son enjoyed the gun immensely, and helped me mangle the can in the next pic. All of this was done on just one load of 3 CO2 cartridges and one magazine of BB's. It was very cold outside, in the 'teen's and 20's, so we would step out, shoot the target, then run for the inside of the house for warmth. Don't ask me why he doesn't have his coat on....I really don't know why! He's a teenager!

 


To heighten the enjoyment you receive from this BB gun, take a look at some of the added accessories that are available. There are Mock Suppressor Kits and Drozd Blackbird Bulkfill Kits available from Airgun Depot that will up the fun quotient quite a bit! 

To get an idea of how much fun this gun is to shoot, take a look at the video featuring the pistol version of this Drozd BB gun.

http://www.airgundepot.com/eaa-drozd.html 

Currently selling for less than $300 dollars, there is an immense amount of shooting fun in this package. So grab some AA batteries, some CO2, BB's, and the Drozd 2 Blackbird, and have a ball!

 

 

December 16, 2008

Long Range Shooting: With an Airgun?

This post will be short, but have two interesting links in it that will aid in you, the shooter, understanding just what your airgun is capable of, as well as introduce you to a fun event that is just getting started in the airgun world.

First, an interesting post from a gentleman named Harry who lives in Australia. Harry is an excellent shot, and if you read through all the posts he has made in the past on some of the airgun forums, you'll quickly find out how knowledgeable he is in understanding how ballistics work, and how to most effectively use your smallbore airgun at extreme ranges. Harry is known for his research into just what you can accomplish with a smallbore airgun at ranges of 100+ yards. He has taken small game such as rabbits and starlings at extreme ranges of 100+ yards with regularity, because he has shot, and shot, and shot, and studied how his gun works at such ranges.

Let me link you to an interesting post he made concerning leveling the playing field between a .22 caliber PCP and a 10m match rifle like the FWB 300S in .177 caliber. Read over the post and notice how Harry takes into consideration the apogee of each caliber rifle's pellet flight. With such information at his command, Harry is able to  produce amazing shot patterns at 71 yards with a 10m match rifle!

Here's the link:

Apples to Oranges

Inside this link, you'll find two additional links to further discussion on the subject. Increase your fun factor in shooting airguns by extending the ranges you shoot at, trying to master them in such a way that what seems impossible to the average shooter falls well within your ability.



Now, on to the bigbore airguns. Just how far is it feasible to use a bigbore? If you are into silhouette shooting, then there is a new organization that has just held its second match of long range bigbore airgun competition. L.A.S.S.O. (Longrange Airgun Silhouette Shooting Organization) is the brainchild of Eric Henderson, an airgun hunter who wanted to extend the use-able range of his airguns and to challenge airgun shooters the world over. Eric has set up a shooting event that has steel rams with pie-plate sized kill zones at extreme ranges of 100-350 yards, with the intent of allowing the shooter 2 shots within a 30 second time period. The intent is to simulate hunting conditions, and the competition is fierce.

In the link below, you'll see a pictorial of the Second Annual L.A.S.S.O. shoot, with Brian Cook winning for the second year in a row. You'll also see some very interesting airguns, most made by Dennis Quackenbush, with others of homemade design competing right along with them. The categories are .25 caliber and under for the smallbore long range shooting, and .308 and larger for the bigbore long range shooting.

LASSO Results

And last but not least, if you have broadband, here is a 9 meg video of a shootoff between the winner, Brian Cook, with his homemade rifle, and Johnny Magness who is using a Korean bigbore. In the above link, look near the bottom of the page and you'll find a link to this video that will amaze you at how well these bigbore rifles perform in long range silhouette shooting.

So, what is your airgun capable of? You'll never know until you get out there and try it! Be safe and considerate of others in your efforts to increase your airgun knowledge, but do stretch your shooting muscles a bit and reach out further for more fun from your airguns. And don't forget to get the best of your gear here at Airgun Depot, from guns to ammo.

December 08, 2008

Gamo's Hunter Extreme

The Gamo Hunter Extreme is aptly named.....it is indeed an extreme airgun meant for the adult shooter. Let's take a look at this powerhouse from GamoUSA, Inc.

The Hunter Extreme is a big rifle, with a length of 48.5". The stock is solid and hefty, giving this air rifle the feel of a much bigger firearm. It weighs 9lbs. or more, but balances well. The shroud over the barrel adds a little extra length to the barrel, giving the shooter more leverage to cock the gun. And you will need the leverage! This baby needs nearly 60 lbs. of cocking effort, and I use two hands to ensure I don't accidentally let go of the barrel when cocking. With as strong a spring as this gun has, the results of the barrel snapping shut under full spring power could be disastrous to the well being of the gun, and the shooter! So be careful, and use two hands.


 

Now, looking at the gun, you will see a nice stock with pressed checkering in strategic places such as the handgrip area immediately behind the trigger, and on the forearm.

This airgun comes equipped with a 3-9x50 Illuminated reticle with the center dot at the junction of the crosshairs. I found this scope to work just fine on this gun, but be sure that when you open up the package and take the gun out to shoot it, you first tighten down all the screws on the scope rings and scope base, and also check the stock screws to ensure that the gun is firmly in place in the stock. These areas are the major contributors to inaccurate shooting right out of the box.

The trigger group on the Hunter Extreme is all metal, with the safety inside the trigger guard just in front of the trigger. It is convenient and works well, and is a snap to disengage when your target is ready to be shot.

The trigger is somewhat stiff at around 4 lbs. according to the spec sheet. It does have an adjustable second stage, but for this review I left everything in factory condition. One complaint I have about the Gamo trigger is that if you aren't used to it, you can pinch yourself with it since the trigger blade sweeps up when you squeeze the trigger.  This is true of almost all of Gamo's spring-piston guns that come to mind.

On the receiver you will find the velocity ratings printed on the metal. They claim 1250 with lead ammo (the lightest available), and 1650 with Gamo's PBA ammo, an ultralight round developed by Gamo to increase velocity. While shooting the Hunter Extreme, I tried Gamo Hunter, Gamo Match, Chinese Domes, Gamo PBA, and Crosman Premier pellets. It was an extremely cloudy day, and my chronograph was giving me intermittent readings due to the cloud cover and sun. However, I did get a pic of this chrony reading shooting an 8.3 gr lead pellet:

 

 

I was unable to get a chrony reading of the PBA ammo, but have no doubt that it was in the 1500-1600 fps range. Since the lighter pellets were breaking the sound barrier, these shots sounded like I was shooting a .22 rimfire in my backyard. Good thing I live on the edge of town and have understanding neighbors!

The accuracy tests I performed were done under less-than-ideal conditions. There was a 15 mph crosswind, and the temperature was in the low 30's. Shivering doesn't help my accuracy any at all, and with the previously noted crosswind, I kept the range down to about 18-20 yards for this quick test.

Surprisingly to me, the PBA ammo was the most accurate at the tested range. This hasn't been my experience in the past, but I try and report it like it happens. The Crosman Premiers weren't anything to write home about, but the Chinese domes delivered the second best group in the crosswind I was having to deal with during testing.

Next is a pic of the Chinese dome target.

The Gamo Hunter Extreme represents the upper range of power that is currently available in spring-piston airguns. With that extra power comes some conditions that the shooter must realize beforehand. There is recoil, though not unmanageable. The secret is to learn how the gun likes to be held. Since every shooter is different, each shooter will need to experiment with different holds to determine how to get the best accuracy from their gun. You will also need to try different types of ammo in order to find the best round for your gun. Don't be surprised if your gun likes the cheaper ammo....enjoy the savings! But do try several different kinds.

Next, get used to this gun. It is big, long, and requires some sincere effort to cock it. It's built big for big, adult shooters. This gun is not a candidate for the first time airgun shooter, or the young or smaller-stature shooters.  

For a hunter, this gun represents a very good option for taking game up to the size of a fox, though I would tend to use a larger caliber such as a .22 with this powerplant. Rabbits and squirrels aren't going to like you very much if you hunt them with this gun, since a well-placed shot from you will signal their rapid demise.

Here is a full list of the specifications of this gun:

  • Velocity: 1600 feet per second (fps) with PBA, 1250 fps with Lead
  • Single Shot
  • Break Barrel: Single Cocking System
  • Automatic Cocking Safety system
  • Barrel: Jacketed steel bull barrel
  • Cocking Effort: 58 lbs
  • Trigger: Second Stage adjustable
  • Manual Safety
  • Accuracy: TBA
  • Trigger Pull: 3.74 lbs
  • Barrel Lenght: 18 in
  • Stock: Fine selected grade of beech hardwood
  • Butt Plate: Ventilated rubber pad for recoil absorption
  • Cheekpiece: Raised Montecarlo
  • Checkering: Laser Engraved
  • Scope Ramp: Raised Rail
  • Scope: 3-9x50 Illuminated center Mil dot Reticle
  • One piece solid mount
  • Weight: 9 lbs
  • Length: 48.5’’
  • Ammunition: Any .177 Pellet
  • Caliber: .177
This gun is currently selling for $479.90 at Airgun Depot. It comes well-packaged and ready to go, and represents Gamo's commitment to viable hunting airguns for the consumer.

 


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