Saturday Stuffs Madness

It has been a while since I went hells blazing, stuffs to the wall crazy, so I figured it was time …

There And Back Again
I spent last week in Calgary, which explains why the site experienced a severe slowdown. Thursday and Friday marked the first time in over 150+ days (8 months) that I did not post something. That was a hell of a run; I suppose it had to end sooner or later.

Flying sucks. Everything stinks about flying from the airport parking experience, to get a boarding-pass, to security, to sitting next to overweight folks that have no business buying a single seat. It all makes for a crap experience. For this trip I had to go from Atlanta to Salt Lake City to Calgary, and returned via Minneapolis/St. Paul to Atlanta. Four different airplanes; 2000 sky miles. Glad to be home.

Now Drinking
I am sort of a homebody; I am not much for traveling unless it is with my wife. With three kids, that is just not something that occurs frequently these days. When I do travel, it is almost exclusively for work. If I had to pick a favorite part about traveling, it would have to be having the opportunity to sample different local beers. While I was in Calgary, I was able to enjoy 4-5 different beers, my favorite of which of Big Rock Honey Brown Lager. The Big Rock Black Amber Ale was a very close second.

New on Blu
While I was out of town, two new Blu-rays arrived – Never Ending Story and Clash of the Titans. Unfortunately it looks like both movies received absolutely nothing in the way of extras, which is extremely disappointing. We watched Never Ending Story for family night tonight. My youngest son was really into it, although he did not know what was going on except there was a really bad wolf. My oldest was pretty much soured on the whole “making him watch another stupid movie” routine. Thankfully my middle boy decided the movie was pretty good, even if he tried to play it off as a ho-hum experience.

Gaming Backlog
MLB 10: The Show arrived earlier in the week, but I have not had a chance to crack it open yet. I have not even come close to finishing Heavy Rain, and of course WKC:I is also uncompleted. FFXIII arrives next week, so I better get going. Or get eBay’ing.

I should have plenty of comments on these games over the next few days. Something video gaming related to make you stand up and clap your hands. Sorry; I think you get the point.

While I was in Canada, all hell broke loose in PS3 land. I guess I should be thankful for small favors. Non event for me, but from the best I can tell, there are some seriously pissed folks out there. Time heals all wounds? This too will pass.

Chrony In Action
Today was truly a blessed day; 60 or so degrees. Sunny, blue skies. I was finally able to get my Chrony setup for a few rounds from the Beeman R1 .22 Long and my Beeman R7. The good news is that I was able to get the shots to register. This was a huge improvement over my first experience, which was a non starter. I still do not know what I am doing, but it looks like my R1 is blazing at around 713.85 FPS while the R7 was cracking at 574.75 FPS. As the weather turns nicer, there will be a whole lot more of this for your airgun reading pleasure. I just hope the weather holds so I can break out the Chrony again and see how the Marauder fares.

Bring on Sunday!

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Thinking about my next airgun purchase.

Airgun purchase cannot be a casual affair. At least not for me. Quality adult airguns are expensive, and by the time you add on the expense of a quality scope and scope mount, you have some serious cash invested in a purchase. My inventory (probably better stated as my collection) is currently fairly simple – Beeman R7 .177, Beeman R1 .22, and Beeman R1 .20 Carbine.

Beeman is doing something a little unusual (at least to me) with their 2009 options. Option 1 is a Double Gold, which includes a mounted scope and muzzle brake, but does include open sights or drill-outs for open sights. Option 2 includes a scope mount and muzzle brake, but once again no open sights or the option to mount sights at a future date. In other words, the first two options are for airgunners that are always going to use scopes – with these two options it is not possible to add on open sights at a later date. Option 2 is the HW equivalent of the Beeman gun (i.e. a Beeman R1 is a HW80).

I have been looking at several different guns for my next purchase, but my top two are just not available. I would like an R7 in .20 caliber, but I want it with open sights for the flexibility of going scope or sights. 99% of my shooting will always be with scopes, so I probably just need to get over myself, but I am a picky SOB. As I said, adult airguns are expensive, so prudence with purchases is in order. Unfortunately it does not look like the HW30S (R7 = HW30S) is offered by Beeman in the .20 caliber.

The other airgun that I have my eyes on is an R1 .177 Carbine, but much like the HW30S, Beeman does not offer the HW80 .177 as a Carbine, which is really a damn shame because I love the size of a Carbine.

So where does that leave me? I am currently looking at several different options for my next airgun purchase.

Option 1: HW50S .22
I have had my eye on an HW50S for a long time, and a .22 would bridge the gap nicely between my R7 and R1s. A .22 version of the HW50S may not be the best power plant for the HW50S, but I like the larger calibers. I think this would be a great addition for backyard plinking and pest control.

Option 2: HW80 .177
I may go this route and pursue a Carbine barrel directly from Beeman or as an aftermarket add on (i.e. second-hand; used; yellow forum classifieds).

Option 3: Chrony and Scope Upgrade for the R1 .20 Carbine
If I cannot get what I really want, I may just go in a completely different direction and hold off on a purchase. I do not have a Chrony, a quality shooting bench and bags, and then some. I could also use a better scope on my R1 .20 Carbine

Instead of buying a new airgun, I could just invest that money in some quality items that would help me further enjoy my current collection.

Option 4: HW97 or HW77
I think either gun would be a good way to get into field target, plus both would be great for paper punching. I have three problems with this option. First, which airgun would I get; they both seem so similar. Second, how do I decide between a .20 HW97 and .177 HW97? Finally, I do not shoot field target, so this is probably just an overly optimistic purchase.

Option 5: Go PCP
I am not going to go into a lot of detail here. I just do not think I am ready to take the PCP plunge (what some airgunners call going to the “dark side”). It is in the back of my mind, and I keep reading reviews, and am strongly considering a .22 Benjamin Sheridan Marauder, which would be the perfect way for me to enjoy backyard shooting without disturbing the neighbors.

So there you have it. Five different options, but none are convincing enough to make me move one way or the other. It is always therapeutic getting this on “paper” but I just cannot make up my mind. More to come later.

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Backyard weekend pest control.

For your reading enjoyment, backyard pest control is back. A weekend recap of the highs and lows ob backyard springer pest control Beeman style.

Saturday
I took out a destructive chipper at about 20 yards (maybe 23) with my .22 Beeman R1. Of course most casual readers may find chipmunks cute and cuddly types, but the fact is these varmints are plenty destructive, digging up the back yard, and under the foundation of the garage apartment.

Sunday Part 1
Earlier this afternoon, I was switching between the disappointing GA/Ohio St. elimination game, and the Dover race; periodically checking the back yard for varmints. A starling kept making an appearance, but everything I tried to get a zero on the flying rat, it always managed to fly away. So I would go back to the game, and eventually the Dover race; I see no comeback for the Dawgs.

At the first pit stop, lap 31, I decided to check the backyard for varmints. The starling was back. He looked like he was sunning himself, which I thought was a little unusual, because usually they are constantly moving, head bobbing up and down looking for food. I quickly load a Crosman Premier into the .22 R1 and figured the varmint was at about 20 yards. Lined up the crosshair of the ELITE 3200 at 12 power square on his head. Fire! Direct hit and a pass through; I could hear the resounding “thuck” of a clean hit, and then the distinctive sound of pellet on rock (some broken stonework was a few yards behind my target). The varmint dropped like a rock. When I looked at the starling, the pellet hit the top of the back of the head, and passed through at the front of the lower part of the upper breast. Lots of blood; direct hit, easy kill. The power of .22 Beeman R1 is plenty overkill for a starling.

No pictures. Dead is dead; no point in stirring up trouble.

Sunday Part 2
One of the neighbors complained about my shooting. This was the first time anyone has complained, and at the time I was shooting the Beeman R7. Apparently I am sending their dog into the nut house; neighbor complained that she has to give her dog a pill whenever I am out shooting.

This turn of events sort of sucks. Not sure what to do next. I will probably lay off shooting for a week, and then talk with the neighbor to come up with a good time to shoot that would not bother her dog. Good grief; the things I do.

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Beeman R1 .22 returns to action.

Yesterday I spent some time re-mounting my replacement Bushnell ELITE 3200 to my beloved .22 R1. The R1 had been out of action for a good 7-8 weeks while I waited for Bushnell to do the needful with their warranty repair. And the needful they did; as I wrote yesterday, I have a brand spanking new ELITE 3200 on the R1. Color my happy!

When I sent the ELITE 3200 in for repairs, I only removed the scope rings from the Beeman Sportsmatch 5039 adjustable high mount, leaving the base mount in place. I cleaned the R1 and put it away for future days. After inspecting the ELITE 3200, I setup the R1, and pulled out some Blue Loctite 242 and mounted the ELITE 3200 to the R1. The world was a better place; my R1 was almost ready to return to action.

After giving the Loctite some time to take, I decided it was time to take this favorite dog for a hunt, and hunt some beer cans she did. I grabbed the nearest tin of Napier Power Hunter pellets, and started out shooting at about 20 yards. It only took me about three shots to realize that I was missing everything in sight, and had no idea what sort of adjustments were called for to correct my zero. I had to get out some cardboard and place it in my shooting area in order to get a better fix on my zero. Turns out that I was off my crosshair to the left by a good six inches. It took a little fiddling around with the windage adjustment, but I finally started shooting the shit out of some beer cans. The good life! Talking about stress relief. Plinking is a great hobby. As I was packing up for the night, I smiled, and thought to myself that I really missed this R1.

Today is kind of a nasty, dreary, overcast sort of a day, which is not really good for a fun time outside. I plinked a little this morning, and will probably plink some more after this is posted. During my morning session, I did not go after any varmints; spared a starling, chipper, juvenile tree rat, and even had some possibilities with a crow. The tree rat should have been removed because it was rummaging around on the garage apartment, but about the time I was ready to squeeze the trigger, my two-year-old son spooked the varmint by yelling for his daddy to “Shoot that nasty rat!” Of well; the bastage will surely be back.

I did not have a good line of sight on the starling, so I decided to leave well enough along, and I really want to make sure I am confident in my zero before going after smallish critters like chippers. Those varmints have to go; digging all around the foundation of the garage apartment. Destructive son of a guns.

It was optimistic to think I could have shot the crow. There has been some crow activity of late in the neighborhood, and I kind of look out for them while running. One was being chased by a mockingbird, and landed on the utility pole by the garage apartment. I was just a casual observer, and watched the crow for about 30 seconds before he took off, with the mockingbird in hot pursuit. I don’t think I would have shot; they really need to repopulate the area before I go after such a noble trophy.

After spending the last few weeks shooting the R7 and .20 R1 Carbine, both with inferior glass, I really appreciated the ELITE 3200. Very crisp crosshairs, picks up a good deal of light, and everything is clear and vibrant. If they were not so gosh darn expensive, I would get another ELITE for the Carbine. It deserves as much.

Happy Saturday!

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Bushnell ELITE 3200 Returns.

Well, it took about seven weeks, but I finally have an update on my scope issues. Today a brand spanking new Bushnell ELITE 3200 arrived courtesy of Brown.

When I sent in the scope I was not sure what to expect. Would Bushnell honor the warranty? When they say that the dots on the glass was the result of user error? Would they actually repair the scope, or would they send me a refurbished unit?

Honestly, I did not expect to receive a brand new replacement scope, complete with all original package materials in an unopened box. This is a nice bonus because I messed up the matting on the sunshade. Not enough clearance for cocking an R1. Oops.

The other nice thing about the new replacement is that I now have all the original package materials in case I decide to sell the scope at a later date.

I have been very pleased with the scope, and now I am extremely happy with Bushnell’s customer service. No questions asked replacement in the first year is superb customer service.

Now for a decision. Do I put the ELITE 3200 on my R1 .22 and get it back in action, or do I give it a go on the Carbine? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

See Bushnell ELITE 3200 goes under the knife for reference material.

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Pest control, Beeman R1 .20 Carbine style.

Today was a banner day for best control. While the weather was great yesterday, I was stuck in the office most of the day, so I did not have an opportunity to work out my .177 R7 or .20 R1 Carbine (.22 R1 is currently sans scope, so it is not in the rotation). I told my wife that I thought I earned some trigger time, and while she agreed, it was raining so that pretty much put the brakes on that idea.

The rain forced my planned ribs cookout into the comfortable confines of the kitchen via the Jenn-Air. While cooking I looked at the window and saw a big, nasty brown rat. The dreaded scum was foraging in the yard in the light drizzle.
I am like – “Oh crap! Look at the size of that rat!” I do not have an airgun on hand, so I quickly grab get the Carbine out of storage, and frantically gather up some JSB Exacts. My pulse is racing and I am worried that the rat is going to be gone in the 30 or so seconds it takes me to gather up my gear and quietly open the window in the half batch just off the kitchen.

I figured I did not have much time before the rat spooked so I quickly sighted in the varmint, and figured I was looking at ~20 yards. Careful … careful … deep breaths. Pulse was still racing as my heart was pounding. Steady. Lightly on the trigger … gently squeeze. The Carbine let loose hell’s furry. The rat drops instantly. A few seconds later the rat had enough life in it that it started to do the two step, but quickly decided it was ready to let go of this world. Just to be safe, I put in a second shot to bring its life to a close.

Not too terribly graphic, but click at your own risk …

My wife agrees that the R1 Carbine just earned its keep!

I thought that would be the end of the story, but instead, several other opportunities were presented to the Carbine. As I have mentioned before, the chipmunks are making a mess of the yard and digging perilously close to the garage apartment foundation. I took out one at ~27 yards, and a couple of hours later the Carbine rang true with a second ~27 yard instant kill thanks to the JSB Exacts.

As if that were not enough, a couple more varmints presented shots of opportunities, but I am going to save those stories for another day.

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JSB Exact .20 Mini-Report

Today is just a downright nasty rainy, thunder storming kind of day, so no real opportunities for outdoor activities. I wanted to feed my Beeman R1 Carbine some of the JSB Exact .20 pellets I just picked up from Straight Shooters, so I setup shop in the kitchen bathroom window, and waiting for a break in the daylong downpour.

When a moment of opportunity presented itself, I opened the window. Shooting from a rested position (hand rested on windowsill) at about 60’ I started sending pellets towards the cans setup in my plinking station. It only took me three shots, and several windage clicks (.5-1” to the right) to achieve a nice center in the bottom of the can. I assume the windage adjustment was necessary to compensate for the differences between the JSB Exact Diabolo pellets and my normal Carbine shooting fare, Benjamin Sheridan Cylindrical pellets.

I only took another 15-20 shots before the next deluge started, but it was readily apparent that the Exacts and the Carbine are a perfect fit. When I did my part, I made nice (although somewhat rough) hole-in-hole groups. Getting very consistent groupings from the Carbine at 20+ yards is always a challenge, but decent results are always very satisfying.

Early days, but I am very pleased with the Exacts.

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Carbine Friday (or great weekend for shooting).

Yesterday was an absolutely brilliant day. Sunny; low 70’s; very light breeze. A perfect day for taking off from work a little early. I got out of the office at 4PM; but hey, I will take it. After picking up a few cold ones (see thread below), I cruised by the park and headed home. Lovely day for a walk. Everyone, including the dog, had a great time, really soaking in the wonderful spring weather.

After having a delicious supper of homemade salsa and delicately spiced shrimp fajitas, it was time to take the Beeman R1 .20 Carbine out for a plinking session. It took me a few warm-up shots and after a few windage adjustments (shots were off to the left), the Carbine showed its true colors. I spent about 30 minutes knocking down beer cans and putting dime, nickel, and quarter sized groups in the bottom of old Coors Light cans.

I am biased, but to say the shooting session was fantastic would be disrespectful to the Carbine and the understatement of the day. Time and time again, the Carbine put the Benjamin Cylindrical pellets wherever I pointed the gun. This was the perfect example of the gun being more accurate than me. The R1 is an interesting gun because proper technique is a must in order to get decent results. There are lots of topics on various boards about hold sensitivity, and to some degree I buy into the hype, but at the same time I think it is really all about learning how to use your airgun. To get the most out of an R1 (or any airgun for that matter) you must learn its tendencies.

The R1 is known to be hold sensitive, and for the most part the pundits are probably right, but to some degree I think “hold sensitive” is a code for “learn some technique” or be disappointed. I have learned that my best results come from a sitting position, with the gun resting on the palm of my left hand, and my hand resting on my knee. Yesterday at about 60 to maybe 66 feet I achieved some of the best results to date with the Carbine. I should have taken pictures, but I was enjoying myself too much to bother stopping to snap some historical reference points. Maybe next time.

I think the difference yesterday was that I further refined my shooting technique. I really concentrated on follow-through, doing my best to keep my eye (via the cheap Center Point scope) focused on the target. I think it really helped. I have found the Carbine has a tendency to really “jump” after a shot, and my first instinct to correct this behavior is to really clamp down on the gun preventing it from moving. The “jump” also causing a blinking reflex to kick-in; both result in poor follow-through technique. I guess you can call that hold sensitivity, but I digress.

Yesterday it all came together for the perfect shooting session. I am not saying that it took me this long to get decent results with the Carbine. Instead I am saying that Friday’s session was by far the most rewarding to date, and gives hope for many more to came as I further refine my technique. Here’s to future days!

The rest of the weekend promises more of the same. It is 40-ish right now, but 72 is the predicted high, with Sunday being almost the same. My wife has inquired about shooting some, so getting out the R7 will be a priority. Of course, as is always the case when fun lurks around the corner, work (the office kind), soccer (middle son has a game today), and a ton of indoor and outdoor honey-do items need to be knocked out first.

Happy Saturday!

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Ultimate Guide to Squirrel Hunting?

Just for the “what the heck” aspect of it, I ordered “The Ultimate Guide to Squirrel Hunting: Everything You Need to Know to Hunt This Popular Game Animal” by Bob Gooch. The book was out of print, but via Amazon, I found a seller (kbooksusa) that could get me a “like new” condition hardback for $7.52 + shipping.

In The Ultimate Guide to Squirrel Hunting, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the critter Americans love to hate—and hunt. There are concise descriptions of the differences between the Abert’s squirrel and the fox squirrel, and the sluggish western gray squirrel and the faster, feistier eastern gray squirrel. Maps show the ranges of these animals, and profiles explain where they live, what they eat, and how they move.

I doubt the author covers airguns; a Beeman R1 is certainly a worthy way to take down one of these pesky tree rats that decides to raid a birdfeeder. The book also covers cooking.

Could be entertaining. Seriously. Squirrels and feisty in the same sentence, much less book? Good stuff is sure to follow.

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Beeman R1 Carbine Varmint Deterrent

I have not done much lately in the way of varmint patrolling, however I did take one misbegotten shot at a raider taking advantage of my generosity in one of the feeders. Black oil sunflower seed attracts all short of adventuresome types, so varmints are a foregone conclusion, however it does not mean that one must put up with the side effects of trying to attract song birds. The raider had a bad day, and while he ended up being a runner, it was not really the fault of the R1 .20 Carbine. As I said, the shot was really ill-conceived, and I forgot to hold over one mildot to account for the short distance. Still, there is a certain satisfaction knowing that a raider shall not return again to steal some seed.

Last weekend was some beautiful weather; sunny, upper 70s. The perfect weather was the stuff of spring legend, which was really a nice change from the dreary snow from the previous week. I used the break in the weather for an opportunity to give my R1s a go. I took some target practice from ~37 yards (sitting; using my knee as a rest), and while the shots are not all that remarkable, there is plenty of potential if I ever decided to get serious or use a bench rest.

Beeman R1 .22

Beeman R1 .22

From bottom left, clockwise: RWS Super Dome, Napier Power Hunter, RWS Superpoint Extra, RWS Meisterkugeln. The scan is not that great, but the RWS Superpoint Extra pellets won the day, hitting 7 shots in a quarter area. The Napier Power Hunter pellets also did pretty well. Considering that the cheat Center Point scope is usually sighted for ~17-20 yards, I thought I did decent.Beeman R1 Carbine .20

Beeman R1 Carbine .20

From bottom left, clockwise: Beeman H&N Match, Beeman Kodiak Double Gold, Benjamin Cylindrical, Beeman FTS Double Gold. Results were fairly mixed, but it was my last shooting session, and I just switched from contacts to glasses. By a wide margin I prefer contacts when shooting. The Kodiak Double Gold pellets have potential if I tuned my Carbine to their pleasure, but the FTS Double Gold had a couple of really nice groups, and I suspect that the Benjamin Cylindrical pellets have a ton of potential.

If I could figure out how to pull it off, I would love to try a R1 Carbine .22 Ram. Now that would be an interesting gun!

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