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Benjamin Marauder's First Squirrel Hunt


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#1 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:23 PM

I finally was able to visit the lone permission I currently have to do some ground squirrel hunting. I got up early on Saturday morning, dressed in my camo, grabbed my .22 Marauder and got out in the field at around 6:15am. I set myself up in amongst the only sapling Black Walnut trees on the property that would allow for adequate cover and did my best to blend in with my surroundings. And so you all understand how difficult it is to hunt the squirrels on this particular property, there is very little cover to block any movement from the view of these squirrels. Besides the area I was hiding in, there is no natural cover tall enough to conceal an approach of any kind. Even crawling on one's belly would take an excruciating amount of time to cover even ten feet and the squirrels would most likely end up getting a visual on you due to the extreme alert nature of these particular ground squirrels. The reason I say they are "Alert" is because they have been hunted (at least every weekend) since I had last been there and had become extremely sensitive to any foreign movements in their surrounding areas and easily went into "panic mode". Anyway, due to the conditions, the closest shots presented to me that day were at 55 yards. The first squirrel (the smaller of the two in the photo) was at 55 yards and only it's head was above the entrance to it's burrow. I lined up the shot, allowing for distance and windage and very carefully eased back on the trigger. Bam! Right in the noggin. It flopped up out of it's burrow and onto the ground, twitched a couple of times and it was lights out! :good: A few other squirrels popped up at 100, 110 and 120 yards between scoring hits. I haven't quite figured out my holdover yet and even though my shots were straight, they were either just a few inches short or long. But as soon as I get those holdovers figured out, those squirrels will be in big trouble. Finally another squirrel presented a perfect side profile at 65 yards. I took aim and since I wasn't sure if I ranged him quite right, I brought the impact point down just about an inch and fired. Another hit! The squirrel went down and never twitched. The pellet went in around the shoulder and out the other side. It must have hit something vital because the squirrel dropped dead upon impact. Both shots on these squirrels were complete pass throughs, as I could see the pellets kick up a small cloud of dust behind the squirrels after impact. I am very impressed with the Benjamin Marauder. I was able to hunt a couple of other days there while I was in the area and shot (3) more ground squirrels (at 30, 45 and 65 yards) and (2) gophers (at 10 and 20 yards) but didn't get any photos of those. All ground squirrels and gophers I shot were immediately plastic bagged and fresh frozen (with fur on) and will be taken to help feed rehabilitating hawks and owls at a center that is near the hunting grounds. All in all, it was a good time and very challenging. I can't wait to get out again soon! :DAttached File  1.jpg   43.25KB   8 downloads

#2 Brant

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:31 PM

Nice shooting. What scope are you using? Mil dot? That and a rangefinder are pretty unbeatable for these curvy trajectory airguns.

#3 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:44 PM

Thanks. I'm currently using a Leapers 4-16x50 Mil dot scope with an illuminated reticle and adjustable objective. I do also use a rangefinder (inexpensive Simmons model) and the Chairgun Pro app for my iphone and once I get the range, I input it into the app and take a look at where I should be holding the impact point on my reticle when I am not quite sure if I'm calculating my holdover/under properly. The main problem with using the rangefinder on this property is that there was scattered Mustard weeds and terrain changes that if the rangefinder hit it, it would mess up the reading and made it difficult to get accurate ranges when the squirrels were near, or behind those obstructions. I highly recommend to anyone hunting with an airgun to download the Chairgun Pro app and use it. Chrony your airgun with the pellet you intend to use to record your average FPS, choose that pellet in the application (if it is listed) and enter the velocity to get ranges for your targets at varying distances. It really helps too. :D

#4 Brant

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:01 PM

Owning 3 Hawke scopes I am a Chairgun afficienado but I use for all of my shooting. I have the Marauder .25 w/ HDD and it is a very accurate gun. I started shooting some cast solids in my AF Condor and I push the 43s and 58s to 120+ yards. The 58s get about 100 fpe at the muzzle (with the 18" barrel) but the BCs are so much higher than pellets. The 43 grains shoot right at 1000 fps with an fpe of 95 but with a BC of .085 they retain about 65 fpe at 100 yards. Once you shoot a solid cast 43 grain you will never touch another Eun Jin.

#5 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 04:16 PM

What recommendations would you give that might give me a little more velocity while not hogging up more air? I'd really like to get my .22 Marauder tuned up so that my 18.1 JSB's are giving me around or over 30 FPE at the muzzle. I haven't tried adjusting the velocity metering screw since I adjusted it 1/4 turn CCW a while back. I suppose I could turn that up another 1/4 to 1/2 CCW turn and see what results I get. The main thing I want to keep a constant is being able to get 30 good shots out of a fill without dropping my PSI below 1800 to 2000 PSI. One of my biggest fears in tuning my Marauder without consulting others that have done so with success is messing with the adjustments and then having it not perform as well as it did before. The fewer adjustments I have to make the better. Currently I'm getting an average of 840 FPS with the 18.1 JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets for the first 15 shots or so which gives me around 26 FPE. I really love hunting with this air rifle though and eventually I know I will purchase a .25 caliber one as well for bringing down some of the larger sized small game with ease and perhaps even venturing up into the smaller sized medium game. Now I wish I had just started with PCP's and not purchased my springer and nitro-piston air guns (even though I like them too). :D

#6 Brant

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 04:21 PM

Well I haven't tuned my Marauder except for adding the HDD. There are plenty of recommendations (on the yellow forum) for using the standard internals to boost performance. Obviouisly there will be a little tradeoff but the HDD could make that up and allow you to keep the same shot count and tune for a moderate power boost.

#7 CBR400RR

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 08:27 AM

Nice job sounds like you had fun. In my experience you don't really need cover for ground squirrels as long as you’re wearing clothing that blends in with your surroundings and you can get setup before the squirrels get up. I have been sitting 5-10 feet from dens before not moving at all and had squirrels come out and just sit there starting at me or looking around. It's not until I moved that they ran away, so if you were to lay on the ground sighted in on a den and you didn't move you can pop them as they come out of there den.

#8 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 08:57 AM

Thanks, it was lots of fun. It was also a good deal of just sitting and waiting for something to happen (which explains the ability to see some gophers popping their heads out and eventually getting shot). There used to be hordes of ground squirrels on this particular property which is only about 9 to 10 acres, but since the owner/caretaker gave myself and another guy that rents on the property permission to keep the ground squirrel populations down (as in hopefully she won't have to deal with them anymore) the squirrels are more difficult to find and get close to. Since I was visiting my folks and new I wasn't going to be able to get back up there for a while I would get up on Saturdays early in the morning, set up, sit and hunt until lunch; then go eat and walk back to my spot and sit and hunt some more. I would spend about 10 hours out there being patient and picking a squirrel off every now and then. When the wild mustard plants used to be real tall I would put on some camo and just sit out in the field. Like you mentioned, they would pop up no more than 10 to 15 feet from my position, which sometime gave me an easy shot but most times, once they saw me move it would send them running. Right now I'm just using a pair of homemade shooting sticks but will eventually get a bipod for my Marauder to make those prone shots easier and effective.

#9 CBR400RR

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 09:12 AM

I have just laid on dirt in cammo and picked them off, I dont use a bipod or sticks, just off hand, laying, sitting or kneeling. Sometimes when laying i use my camo camelback to rest my gun on.

#10 Air Rifle Hunter

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 09:43 AM

I've taken a few off hand shots anywhere from 20 to 35 yards with the Marauder. However, the further out the shot is, it seems the more help I require to keep my aim steady. You must have a good deal of experience and be a pretty good shot. It sounds like I need a lot more practice until I get that good. :)

#11 CBR400RR

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 09:51 AM

I have been shooting for a long time but only a few years with air guns. The farthest kill I have gotten was around 105 yards seated in the dirt, Most of my kills are between 36 and 100 yards but it depends on what I'm hunting as I have found different animals seem to notice you at different distances. It also helps I have 20-15 vision I guess combine that with a great gun, great scope, laser range finder, crono and Hawkes BRC program it makes long range shots a lot easier.

#12 CBR400RR

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 12:54 PM

I also try to shoot my spring gun too as it's a lot harder to get good groups then it is with a PCP gun and I feel it makes me a lot beter shooter. If I can get good gropus with a spring gun then it's a lot easier to do with a pcp. I have taken birds at a lasered 72 yards with my TX 200 MKIII so far and I think target shooting and hunting with diffrent guns makes you a better all around shooter.




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