Monday, January 26, 2015

Rat hunting gun, part 2

I wrote about a rat hunting rig that I assembled, and this is the 2nd generation rat hunting rig attempt.

This is based on a .177 calibre pellet gun, the Umarex Octane.  It's a break barrel rifle, you charge it by folding the barrrel forward towards the trigger.  It's a fairly powerful air rifle, boasting a 1400fps rating, and although it claims to be quiet and silenced, my experience with this gun is that it's not much quieter than a .22 rimfire, which is what I've shot tens of thousands of times.

Mounted on that gun is an ATN Spartan MK 410 night-vision scope, and on top of the scope is a small infrared flashlight that improves the vision through the night vision scope.  The flashlight has a dull red glare that is visible down range.

I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg, and I chose this particular scope and gun combination to keep the cost of a night-vision gun as low as possible.  Total the two cost about $800, but the rats were getting wise to the visible light/laser combo that I was using, and I wanted to be able to take out more of them.

The gun itself is very heavy; and with the long barrel, it's hard to shoot offhand.  Out of the box it seemed well assembled, and attaching and zeroing the scope was fine.  But the night vision was substantially less useful than I wanted it to be.  At 2.5x magnifcation, the scope really doesn't qualify as a scope, and it didn't lend itself to distance shots.  I sighted the rifle in at 25 feet, figured out what the drop was for 50' (the longest shot) and started using it.

Between the weight of the rifle and the weight of the scope, this thing weighed in at something that felt like 10lbs.  Which isn't a lot unless you're having to keep it precisely still enough to hit something about the size of a 50 cent piece.    I did manage to kill about 50 rats, but I didn't ever get a second shot at a group of them.  this rifle is loud.

I kept having shots go someplace other than my aim point.  I finally figured it out:  This isn't a rifle.  It's a smooth bore gun, and while I was able to make hits, I never felt like I could consistently make the shot.

One of the bolts holding the scope on the rail broke, and ATN didn't respond to my email (other than with a "we will respond to you in 24 hours" - and then nothing.  The flashlight ceased operation on the 4th day, and I'd had enough.

I sent both the gun and the scope back.  The gun back because the stock was too long (and I'm a big guy) and it just didn't fit my body; i couldn't tuck the butt into my shoulder and see the scope.  The loudness of this gun and the lack of rifling made it inaccurate, and that's really the kiss of death for me with a weapon.  I want the gun to be more accurate than I am.

I sent the scope back because of the broken mount bolt and malfunctioning spotlight, lack of magnification and a general feeling that ATNs customer support sucks.   I'd also like a solution that allows me to use the rifle in daylight without having to remount and zero a scope on it every time I switched.

I'm working on version 3 of this gun, which will be using a standard telescopic site with a night vision clip-on of sorts.