When we think of air guns and hunting, it may be a scenario in our minds of a tin with pellets, a pump or break-action air rifle and an unlucky squirrel or two in the game vest.
Move over, tradition: Today’s air rifles involve things like calibers, pneumatic tanks and legal regulations among state wildlife agencies to allow them for hunting big game animals and predators.
If you’re not aware of these changes in your state or aren’t keeping up with what’s going on with the wildlife agencies, you may be behind the curve. Big bore air guns are a thing now, whether you prefer tradition or can roll with changes, and customers will be asking about them.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is the latest state to approve regulations allowing big bore, pre-charged pneumatic air guns for big game animals, turkeys, alligators and furbearers. The department’s commissioners approved their use in spring, then put that on hold for more detailed study, and at the commission’s August meeting approved the weapons for the 2018 hunting season.
Here’s what is in effect for the Lone Star State:
For big game, turkey and alligator; .30 caliber minimum shooting either a minimum of 150 grain bullet at 800 fps at the muzzle or any combination of projectile weight and speed that produces at least 215 foot/pounds of energy at the muzzle.
For Furbearers; A minimum of .30 caliber is required.
“We are very excited by the TPWD’s rule changes regarding the use of big bore air rifles and look forward to being able to pursue game with the rifles we manufacture here in our home state of Texas,” Cameron Brinkerhoff, Director of Marketing for AirForce Airguns, said in a press release.
“Following our success demonstrating the capability of big bore air rifles with the Arkansas Fish & Game Commission, we started working closely with representatives from TPWD. During the evaluation process TPWD officials successfully harvested multiple whitetail deer using the AirForce Texan in .30 caliber. These new regulations will expand opportunities for existing sportsmen and create opportunities for new hunters to get into the field.”
Texas joins Tennessee, Michigan, Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia to allow big bore air guns for big game hunting. The AirForce Texan has also been popular for taking non-game animals and predators such as feral hogs and coyotes in multiple states, including Texas.
What’s Big Bore?
If you’re thinking about air rifles, the first things that come to mind probably are BBs, .177 caliber pellets and maybe .22 pellets for some break-action rifles like from Gamo and Sig Sauer.
These big bore air rifles, though, push pellets in .30, .35 and .457 caliber with pneumatic air. The air rifle’s tanks are pre-charged. The rifles could shoot balls or bullets, factory-made or home-poured. The .457 Texan, according to AirForce Airguns, pushes more than 500 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
That’ll leave a mark, as they say.
If you’re thinking about adding big bore air rifles to your retail establishment, obviously you’d want to study up on what’s needed before ordering stock. Talk with your reps, find out what’s involved, maybe ask customers in your area if they’ve heard about any interest, and possibly even do a Demo Day at your store or a range to help Joe Lunchbucket learn more about your store and the air rifles.
Featured image: AirForce Airguns Texan air rifle
Here’s a video that may shed some more info: