My hunting lease has seen a 10x increase in the number of hogs since the drought ended. As such it was not uncommon for the blasted pigs to show up just before prime time or spook off deer in the middle of a hunt. So a couple years ago I started fooling around with airguns to run these pest off without ruining the hunt. I first had a highly modified Crosman CO2 gun that was not reliable due to all the modifications. I found a local Texas Company in my hometown that was making these really powerful and accurate air rifles call AirForce Condors. I bought one of their Condor models in .25 caliber and began reading up on how to make the gun more accurate, more powerful and less noisy. So I settled on a different barrel (.257)with an added noise shroud, a ultra high pressure tank (3650 psi) and a different valve and hammer to make it all work. This is what all that looks like: Now that I introduced the gun I will get back on subject. The nice thing about air is you can tune the rifle to produce the FPS you desire, in my case that would be 1050fps. Knowing my barrel is a 1:16 Twist, stability is optimized at this speed with a bullet of 80gr and .625" long. Here is a bullet i pulled from a hog last weekend that was shot at 128 yards, it is a 80gr NOE Ranch Dog hollow point:
The bullet was sticking out the far side shoulder backwards! They say the proof is in the pudding so here it is. I got to the lease and went out Friday morning to deer hunt but I always take the Condor just in case Miss Piggy wants to party. At 9am the pigs show like clockwork and I was able to get 2 shots off before they decided they were dying and left. Neither pig went more than 20 yards and they were shot at 117 and 128 yards:
The bullet above came from one of these pigs. Friday evening I go back to the blind. At 4:30 a group of young pigs come to the feeder and are spooked by the feeder going off. Over the next 30 minutes I shoot two hogs with my air rifle and see several deer at the feeder but nothing on my hit list. I recovered one of the hogs Friday night and found the other later about 50 yards from the feeder:
What's cool is I got this hunt on video. These two pigs were also shot at 117 yards (under feeder) and 128 yards (back of feed pin):
I can't say this was my best hunt ever because Saturday I went to the Emergency room with a severe sinus infection. However, Sunday I recovered enough to go back out and shot another young pig with my airgun, unfortunately my aim was off. Finally, I used my GSP (Rosie) to track the shot pig in hopes she could locate it down in the thicket on the side of the ridge. Well sure enough she found it and 4 or 5 others in the thickest mess of briers and horns you have ever seen. I worked myself down and through the thicket and circled the dog and the hogs she had bayed. They came running right toward me and stop as soon as they saw me in front of them. At this point this big spotted Sow busted out of the thicket running down the ridge to my right. I had my AR at the ready and was able to take down the big sow as it ran through a clearing. Man that was exciting!
If you have the support equipment, these types of rifles can be had for $500. Mine has been customized and cost twice that. The prices are coming down though as more states are allowing Deer and other game to be taken with them. You also have to weigh the savings on powder/brass and primers.
Like everything else, it depends on what your asking. The support equipment such as carbon fiber tank/ hoses and fittings run a couple hundred dollars used. Then the gun itself cost around $1000 to build. Then there is the casting equipment for another hundred and the scope and battery back for $500. Then there is the cost of the lease of $2000 and corn and feeders for another $500. Then the protein for $450 and gas getting there is $75 a trip. Oh and Electricity of $400 a year. Lets not even bring up the cost of camo and the blind and lets not forget the camper. He11 this gun cost over $30,000.