The Beeman HW97's, in the blue laminate stocks, are absolutely beautiful air rifles. Both visually, and performance wise. I picked one up a couple of years ago in .20 caliber. I also have an R9 in .20 caliber. I cannot tell any difference in accuracy between the two, even though the R9 is a break barrel and the HW97 is an under lever. When I do my part, they will both easily do half inch groups at 40 yards with the Beeman FTS pellets.
The Rekord trigger is second to none, and a real pleasure to use. The hands down favorite pellet in this gun is the Beeman FTS 11.2 grain dome head pellet. A close second, is the JSB 13.6 grain Exact. Taking ground squirrels at 60/65 yards is almost too easy. I run a Bushnell Legend 5x15x40mm mildot scope on the rifle. The power is set to 8X.
The picture up above is from the first time I hunted with her. The area I chose to hunt that day was a canyon that was maybe 400 yards long by 75 yards wide at its widest point. It was full of old downed oak logs, and piles of deadfall, from three and four hundred year old oak trees.
It was perfect ground squirrel country. They love to build their dens under the old logs, and in and around the piles of deadfall. I slowly hunted my way up the canyon, picking off squirrels as I went. The pellets connected with authority, and dropped the squirrels in their tracks.
I'm a big fan of the .20 caliber in medium power springers, and have been very satisfied with the performance of the .20 cal. on California Ground Squirrels.
Here are some numbers from my particular rifle.
Average Velocity: 20 shot string, FTS pellet - 701 fps
Extreme Spread: 15 fps
Standard Deviation: 5
That is within a few fps of the performance of my R9 in .20. On average, my HW97 is just a few fps faster than my R9. The extreme spread on the R9 is less, but it has several thousand more pellets through it than the HW97 does. I expect the HW97 to get even better over time, as I shoot it more.
I'm at 7000 feet in the mountains of Northern Arizona, so I would expect to see a slight increase in velocity as I get closer to sea level where I hunt.
If you want a really nice performing under lever air rifle, check out the Beeman HW97's in either beach or blue laminate stocks. You really can't go wrong.
It was a nippy early Spring morning, and I was slowly hunting my way into a long canyon that gradually sloped uphill. The canyon was anywhere from about 50 to 150 yards wide in places. The grass was just starting to green up, and the trees were starting to show signs of sprouting new leaves.
I like to hunt uphill, zigzagging back and forth as I go. I find I get a lot more shooting that way. If I hunt straight up the canyon, I'll miss a lot of shot opportunities on squirrels that have built their dens along the edges and sides of it. By zigzagging, I cover all the bases.
It was a good mornings hunt. I was dropping squirrels on a regular basis, and marveling at the power and accuracy of the Beeman HW97 .20 cal. It loves the 11.2 grain FTS pellets. It was now late in the morning, and by this time, I had dropped a good number of ground squirrels and decided to head back to my rig for some lunch.
As I was hunting my way back, I spot a ground squirrel on a hillside munching on one that I had killed on the way in. This guy is gorging himself on one of his close relatives. This is quite common actually. I've even found them eating infant cottontail rabbits.
I was shooting my .20 cal. HW97 with the blue/grey laminate stock. I call her Blue Velvet. I laser the muncher and get 43 yards. The gun is sighted in dead on at 40 yards, so it's basically a center hold.
I let the crosshairs settle on the furball's chest and launch a Beeman FTS. There's a nice loud "THWACK" and the squirrel tumbles over backwards. A few seconds later it starts rolling down the hillside.
As it's rolling down the hillside, another squirrel comes out of nowhere and starts chasing and biting on it's tumbling cousin. This guy then suddenly stops biting the very recently deceased relative, runs back up the hill to the first furball, and starts to pig out on it the same as the first one.
I already know the range and the hold, so I just replicated the first shot. Got the same exact result, even including a third squirrel running over and chasing, and biting on cannibal Number 2 as it's tumbling down the side of the hill.
Number 3 also spits it's close relative out, runs back up the hill and starts getting up close and personal with the original squirrel h'ordourve. I'm game, so I us the same routine as on cannibals 1 and 2, with almost the same result. This time number three catches a pellet square in the chest and starts the down hill roll. However, this time there was no cannibal number 4. Bummer.
One of the real advantages of hunting with a good quality, "modern adult a airgun" is, when fired, it doesn't spook other animals in the area.
I gathered up the cannibals and a few other squirrels for a photo op, and called it a day.
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