I took the new Umarex Gauntlet pcp air rifle in .22 caliber along as my small
game gun on a recent trip to South Africa. I used the rifle to shoot pigeons,
doves, geese, crows and other small game in between big game hunts.
We mostly did spot and stalk, but this was my first hunt for African Game with
the AirBolt, and I was trying to control the variables as much as possible. But
as it turned out, I had some impala and a troop of baboons come through,
but no warthogs.
Doves and Pigeons
A couple guys on the farm had asked me to bag a few pigeons or doves if I
had the chance, and I decided to bring the Umarex Gauntlet along with me to
take some opportunistic shots if thing were slow. I knew that both speckled
pigeons and red eye doves come into water in sporadically in the morning,
and with the low sound signature and distance
I could see from the high stand, thought I could shoot a few birds without
spooking game. As it turned out, I shot a few red eyed doves (yes, I was
calling them pigeons), which are a larger bird reminding me very much of
collared doves. I shot five and missed one, but was please with the accuracy
and consistency of the rifle.
One morning I sat overlooking a sheep feeder hidden away in some tall bush
that I'd turned into a natural hide by cutting and strategically positioning
some branches to form a small enclosure. My intention was to get on a flock
of Guinea fowl that often (but not always) passed by during the day. I sat
about three hours, and had a couple small warthogs and a troop of vervet
monkeys come in, but nothing I wanted to shoot with a small bore rifle.
The sound of cawing crows surrounded me but none were in sight, until a big
black bird drifted in and landed on the side of a feeder. I lined up the shot
and placed the crosshairs on the birds head, and at 65 yards the hit was true
and the crow rolled over.
On my last evening of an almost two-week hunt, we set up a blind using some
hay bales from which I’d wanted to shoot Guinea fowl on video.
Andrew and I headed to the hide late in the afternoon, and pushed the flock
of Guineas that came through almost every evening before going to roost.
We waited, but they were spooked and not coming back. But just as we were
about to give up, three Egyptian geese flew in. I lined up on one of the two
big males and dropped him with a body shot. These birds, the doves/pigeons
and the Egyptian geese are both pest species because of the numbers and
where they go to feed. However, in this case I was hunting them for the table
The Umarex Gauntlet in South Africa
Pest Birds: Pigeon, doves, and Geese!
I use a prototype of the soon to be released Umarex Gauntlet to do some pest control and small game shooting on a recent trip to
the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Umarex Gauntlet Air Rifle
- 10-shot repeater
- 3,000 psi, 13 cu. in. removable tank
- 1,150 psi regulator means consistent
- Incredibly quiet - fully moderated
- Adjustable Single-Stage Trigger
- Height adjustable cheek piece
- 11mm Dovetail rail
- Bolt action
- Easy foster quick-disconnect fitting
- Pressure release key
- Includes 1 (10 shot) rotary magazines
and 1 single shot tray
The Gauntlet PCP hunting rifle that combines a high shot
count with consistent shot strings, while providing and
excellent power and accuracy profile. The rifle uses an
1150 psi regulator which results in optimized air usage that
reduces shot to shot variability while improving accuracy,
and the amount of shots per charge on its 3000 psi tank.
When the tank needs to be refilled, you can either refill the
tank via the standard Foster quick connect fitting or
unscrew the tank and switch it out.
As long as the pressure gauge is in the green, your shots
will stay consistent. The .22 caliber gun I used got around
55-60 shots per fill, and was generating just under 900 fps
using the JSB exacts 15 grain pellets.
A couple features I really appreciated with this gun worth a
call out are that it comes with both a single shot tray and a
10-round rotating magazine. When I am traveling with a
magazine fed gun to hunt, I always feel better having a
back up in case the magazine gets lost or broken, which
Ive had happen more than a few times over the years.
The other thing I like is that the fully-moderated barrel,
which quiets the gun substantially.
Part of my small game hunting on this trip would be done
from blinds and stands where I was out for larger game, but
would take smaller species if the opportunity presented.
But for this to work (which it did), the small game gun
needed to be quiet so as not to spook incoming quarry.
|The Umarex Gauntlet makes a great little small game
gun based on performance: consistent accuracy, power,
reliability and a high shot count. But to get a gun that's
this feature rich at such an affordable price is truly a
I was shooting pigeons and doves out of the blind overlooking the watering
hole with quiet precision!
A red eyed dove walking in towards the watering hole. This large bird is very
much reminiscent of the collared doves I shoot back in Arizona.
I found the Gauntlet ergonomic and that it shouldered well. The
adjustable stock ensured a good fit, a solid and reproducible
cheek-weld, which allowed me to achieve accuracy and consistency.
A few of the birds from the morning shoot, six shots resulted in five
head shot birds and one clean miss.
A small group of Egyptian geese landed in a pasture close to the blind
we'd set up to hunt Guinea fowl from.
Lining up the sixty five yard shot, Andrew told me to put the pellet in the
front white patch on the lead bird.
On the hit, the bird jumped several feet in the air, hit the ground and
rolled over, anchored to the spot!
Set up over a sheep feeder, I watched as a troop of monkeys cam it to raid the feeder. As they
left, I heard a caw and this big crow glided in, and a second later dropped to a head shot.
These big crows are very tough, and I was impressed by how cleanly it dropped!
By: Jim Chapman