My interested was first sparked in shooting and hunting with big bore air guns about three years ago when I saw a picture of a 400 plus pound wild boar taken with a big bore air rifle by a good friend of mine. Up until that time, my knowledge of air guns was probably pretty typical of most hunters. I’d used pump up air rifles to hunt rabbits and squirrels with as a youngster and cut my shooting teeth on a Daisy BB gun, but I was totally in the dark on big bore air rifles.
My love affair with air guns grew quickly and so did my experiences. I began shooting a .25 caliber PCP air rifle ( charged via a scuba or carbon fiber tank) made by Airforce Airguns and was amazed at the power and accuracy of the little rifle. I used it for small game hunting and even took a few grouse with it up in Colorado this past year while we were guiding our archery elk hunters. This was not the .177 or .22 caliber pump ups I remember shooting years ago. I began hunting hogs with custom made .308 and .45 caliber big bores a couple years ago and after that I was really hooked! I then became Hunting editor for Airgun Hobbyist magazine, the only print publication in the country devoted to shooting and hunting with air guns.
My learning curve was really steepened as I was subjected to all type of new air rifles and knowledge by veteran air gun shooters.
While I enjoyed shooting the lighter calibers, my fascination with the big bore rifles, most of which were produced in limited numbers by custom gun makers, grew exponentially. There were a few “production” models on the market at the time that offered .357 calibers but none that measured up to my expectations of a hunting rifle for big game. Don’t be tricked by some of the Youtube videos you might have watched of hogs being taken with little .22 or even .177 caliber air rifles. Yes, with a perfectly placed shot, hogs can be killed with these diminutive little bullets but the practice is neither ethical or effective.
Enter Airforce Airgun’s “Texan” the first production big bore air rifle capable of producing 500 foot pounds of energy and grouping .45 caliber bullets at 100 yards with the accuracy of most centerfire rifles. I had the opportunity to shoot and critique the prototype of this awesome big bore last summer and from my first session at the range, I was hooked.
The rifle pressures up to 3,000 psi. via the tank and deliverers 3 very strong “hunting” shots or several more lighter or “target” shots between charges. To date I’ve harvested several wild boar and even an aoudad sheep with the rifle. I feel entirely confident shooting big game out to 100 yards and in the hands of an expert, I am positive this distance could be stretched a bit rather. The bullet I hunt with is made by Hunters Supply and weighs a whopping 350 grains.
Consider that most deer rifles shoot bullets weighing 150 to 180 grains. With the big bullets comes the increased in energy and the Texan delivers enough pressure from the compressed gas chamber to easily propel these big projectiles.
So if you are like me and thought you had been exposed to just about everything in the shooting world, consider learning more about these big bore air rifles; their popularity is growing in leaps and bounds.
The magazine Airgun Hobbyist www.airgunhobbyist.com is a good place to begin your journey. Check out these heavy hitter big bores at www.airforceairguns.com.