Hunting with a .50 caliber air rifle?


March 27, 2005, 11:42 PM

Saw this on another thread..I don't know anything about these things, just curious about how they might stack up to powder powered rifles.

Single Shot .50" caliber Dragon precharged air rifle. Beautiful hardwood chequered stock. Rubber butt pad, cocking bolt, built-in air pressure gauge and quick-fill receptor port. Rifle has no open sights. A scope and mounts of your choice can be shipped with the rifle or installed at PSI. Number #1 choice for big game hunting enthusiasts.
Single Shot 50 caliber Dragon precharged air rifle. No. 1 choice for big game hunting enthusiasts.
New stock provides sturdy performance you can rely on!

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March 28, 2005, 08:33 AM
Interesting rifle there.

Under the specs, I noticed that velocity "varies". That could be a BIG factor, especially if pressure bleeds off over longer periods of time (as I've found to be the case with some .22 pellet guns).

Even if a real thumper/penetrator though, it would still not be legal for "game animals" in Tejas due to being an air gun. Lots of folks don't know it, but even though the old Benjamin .22 pellet guns may kill Jack rabbits quite dead, they are not even legit here for quail ...

In some other places, I can see how there might be a decent market for the .50 air gun, especially if they can get (and keep) the fps up into 4 digits.

Ohen Cepel
March 28, 2005, 08:40 AM
I bought several of the "Big Bore .44's" which are actually 45 cal when I was overseas.

It's about the same power as a 45ACP when fully loaded. Power will decline as you shoot it, but you probably won't need more than 2 shots anyway.

It's not quite though so expect some noise.

March 28, 2005, 08:46 AM
This is incredible!

This got me to thinking last night.

If the seals on these monster air rifles are durable, they could prove to be the ultimate survival and SHTF rifles out there.

All you'd need is lead shaped into .50 caliber pieces. No powder, no primers, not even any percussion caps or hunks of flint to come up with.

Just lead, and a lot of elbow grease to pump the tanks full.

Wow..........just wow......


March 28, 2005, 11:12 AM
Except that they tend to be more complex and more fragile than traditional guns. I'd rather have a flintlock.


March 28, 2005, 11:48 AM
Number #1 choice for big game hunting enthusiasts.

In the words of some limey somewhere:

Not bloody likely.

brad cook

March 28, 2005, 02:14 PM
Lewis and Clark carried an air rifle with them on their trek across what is now the United States. You can read about it here. (

March 28, 2005, 03:42 PM
I found the following with a little searching.


March 28, 2005, 03:46 PM
And a whole page of hunting images....

March 28, 2005, 10:25 PM
I guess you could hunt with one of those LITTLE airguns if you want...

Seriously, these are not like firearms. I wouldn't consider them good firearm substitutes. Even the monsters are still operating in the hundreds of foot-pounds instead of the thousands you'd get from a typical centerfire. They're a bit like black-powder arms, but even that comparison isn't completely accurate.

That doesn't mean they aren't effective, just that you need to understand their limitations.

March 28, 2005, 10:47 PM
Now another question for the hunters of our forum...How would you feel about airguns being allowed for standard hunting seasons if they meet minimum standards of fps for a humane kill? How about allowing them during "muzzleloader" season? Maybe bring a little different blood into the hunting community?

I think that in Texas certain "nongame" animals like hogs and coyotes can be taken with anything, how about allowing deer to be taken with airguns that are large enough? Here's a really big airgun from the same thread started by JohnKsa (Mr. smartaleck trying to make us look silly). I think this airgun is big enough to take deer with. From my recollection, 20 mm is about .80 caliber, about the size of colonial era muzzle loaders.

700 pound Buffalo taken with the 20mm pushing a 1005 grain bullet. The bullet squarely punched ribs on both sides and was found just under the hide.

March 29, 2005, 01:22 AM
JohnKsa (Mr. smartaleck trying to make us look silly).You sound just like my boss! :D :D

TX allows hunting of any non-game animals with airguns. That includes feral animals such as hogs, exotics (imported), and a few other species such as mountain lions, rabbits, prairie dogs, and coyotes.

I believe that CA allows turkey hunting with airguns, but generally speaking, airguns and airgun hunting are not well understood and therefore airgun hunting is illegal in most places.

I find it ironic that I can legally shoot a mountain lion with an airgun but not a squirrel...

Art Eatman
March 29, 2005, 11:48 AM
As long as there is reliability for a clean kill, I don't see any difference between air, black powder or smokeless powder as the means for propelling a bullet.

:), Art

November 18, 2007, 07:19 PM
Yea this thread is old; I found it while searching for .50 caliber info for my up-coming custom .50 air rifle putting out 400fpe.
My .45 air rifle has proven to be plenty for deer-sized game; the .50 is for the bigger, tougher stuff.
I will continue to travel to where it is legal to hunt different big game animals and document the results until I have over-whelming video evidence of the effectiveness of the big-bore airgun.
I got news for you, fellas. It only took around 240 foot pounds of energy to drive a 255 grain .45 with a .32 meplat to punch right through this ram. He didn't go far at all. I'm using the 219 grainer next time for more speed and a bigger wound channel since penetration doesn't appear to be a concern with this combo.

Harve Curry
November 18, 2007, 07:41 PM
I've been facinated with big bore air rifles since I read about Lewis & Clark have a pair of them on their expedition. That article was in a NRA American Rifleman magazine 20 some years ago.

Butcher 45,
Please tell about your rifle.
What kind of noise is there?
What FPS do you shoot?
What is involved in loading and charging your rifle?
How long does a charge last?

November 18, 2007, 10:48 PM
You can spend the next hour and a half finding out just how little you know about modern airguns. :D

November 19, 2007, 01:44 AM
Harve Curry asked;

"Butcher 45,
Please tell about your rifle.
What kind of noise is there? It is louder than a .22lr but probably not quite as loud as a .38 or right close to it.
What FPS do you shoot? My rifle is a production Korean Sam Yang 909 that has been modified with a power/trigger tune. I have only done one run of serious chrony testing and there were a couple of things I needed to fix on my rifle at the time (o-ring and screw the barrel on all the way!). I imagine I'll get close to 15-20 fps more than the following results I had that first time;
144 grain roundball 856fps
180 BBC BP Pistol Bullets 780fps
205 grain conical 745fps
219 grain WFN-type .32 meplat Cowboy bullet 725fps
230 grain MaxiBall 690fps
255grain WFN-type .32 meplat Cowboy bullet 650fps
265grain Colt .45 standard Lyman #452190 635fps

What is involved in loading and charging your rifle?
There are two methods; the easy way and the hard way. We'll start with the hard way as everyone as this is the ticket to un-limited free air. Tha hand pump. It's basically a bicycle tire pump on steroids that enable you to pump up your air reservoir (with more than just a little effort) to it's approximate 3000psi fill. The easy way is with a scuba tank with a special yoke attached that enables you to easily fill your tank in seconds.

How long does a charge last?

The small-bore .22's and .25's get around 20-40 shots off a fill. The big-bores start out at around 4-7 power shots depending on the load.
The average scuba tank will only completely fill your gun a few times before your rifle's reservoir will need to be "topped-off" with the hand pump. I keep a pace of shooting a four shot group then re-filling to avoid burning myself out and over-heating the pump. Saving up for a carbon fiber tank that holds 9 times the air of a scuba and is much lighter to boot!
This rifle is about half as powerful as many of the custom made big-bore airguns out there; a friend of mine holds the world record for the largest land animal taken with an airgun. He killed a bison weighing about 2000pounds by putting two 510grainers through the lungs.
My rifle displays amazing consistency and accuracy. Four shots of 230grain MaxiBalls go 680, 690, 690, 684, then the fifth shot is about 660 for a nice finisher (won't need one after the first two at most). I was going to go out and show what this rifle is capable of accuracy-wise but I got out to the spot late and daylight savings time snuck-up on me. I had time to shoot only two groups.
The 35 yard group measured .5 center to center; the 50 yard group mesured .9 center to center. These were shot from the sitting position off of my Stoney Point Steady Stix.
I have no doubt that after a good day of shooting groups off the stix I will soon accomplish .5 inch 50yard and 1.25 inch 75 yard groups (those are my goals, anyway). This is using a compact 4X32mm scope.
This rifle is a handcaster's dream. As soon as your boolit's are cool enough you pick them up and load them right into the breech, close it, cock the bolt, and shoulder. You know what to do from there.
I'm going after coyote in a couple of days; got a partner to call them in for me (with a 12 gauge in case "big kitty" shows up).
Those Barnes rifles are like the "Fantasy Knife" of the airgun world. Best way to describe it. Way over-priced wall-hangers/bench rifles that you have to wait a few years to get. Would you go hunting with something like that? I'd be afraid of getting it wet or scratching it.
If you aren't happy with the rifle he sells you after your three year wait I believe you are SOL.

oklahoma caveman
November 20, 2007, 01:16 PM
looks as tho they are fairly accurate to

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