Pulled Whistlepig

Groundhogs are common airgun quarry. They are a pest species, and as such, many are shot and left for the coyotes. It’s a real shame, because if you prepare them right, they are darn tasty!

Tender meat, easily mistaken for beef!
Tender meat, easily mistaken for beef!

Begin by cleanly harvesting with a headshot. This will keep the meat from being tainted and having that gamey taste everyone talks about. Remove the feet, skin it out, remove the head and entrails, and rinse well. Trim away excess fat, and remove all the scent glands found near the back legs and armpits.

Soak the carcass in salt water overnight. Discard water. Pat dry. The meat is ready to cook, or for even better flavor, allow it to age a couple days more in the fridge between 32*F and 38*F.

Preheat your oven to 200*F. Add some beef stock to a dutch oven. Better than Broth or beef bullion cubes and water can be substituted. Dry red wine can be added for additional flavor. I add enough liquid to cover the meat. Place the lid on the dutch oven and put in the oven. You’ll want to start this early in the morning, I recommend at least 8 hours at 200*.

After at least 8 hours, remove the dutch oven and pour most of the liquid out. This can be saved to make gravy. I leave about a quarter to half inch of liquid in. Turn the oven up to 250*F, throw on your favorite seasonings, replace the lid, and throw it back in for another hour or two, or until the meat readily falls from the bone.

Debone the meat, serve with gravy, BBQ sauce, or steak sauce. Add your favorite side dishes. Your stomach will growl the next time you see one of those pesky whistlepigs!

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Bit by the tuning bug again!

Many thousands of pellets have flown downrange since I’ve written here. In that time, I’ve purchased a Beeman QB78 and converted it to PCP. It has topped out as a 33 FPE monster, but I’m not here to write about that right now. I made the mistake of picking up and shooting my B3-3 the other day and decided I needed to go back to my springer roots.

I have break barrels and underlevers, so I decided it is time to get a side lever. Do you know how hard it is to find an affordable side lever? Diana seems to be one of the few companies still making them, but I don’t like to spend over $400 on an air rifle when I can have fun tuning three or four for the same price. Luckily for me, Mrodair had a side lever more in my price range.

Today, I received a B5, a Chinese spring piston AK-47 looking thing. Mine is in .22 and is almost all wood and metal construction. The only plastic I see on this airgun is the sides of the folding stock and some grip material to make the side lever more comfortable. Like most guns from overseas, there was cosmoline and some unknown oil everywhere.

My new B5 in .22
My new B5 in .22

I ran a couple patches through the barrel and a shop rag over the exterior and loading area. I then mounted a dovetail to picatinny rail and topped it all with my UTG 4×32 AO scope. I decided to test it out initially with CPHPs to work out the bugs. The cocking was the smoothest out of the box I’ve ever experienced with a cheap springer.

Then I took aim and squeezed the trigger. Must be on safe. No, it isn’t on safe. I took aim again and squeezed the trigger, this time much harder. Much, much harder! This thing must have the heaviest trigger in the world, I’d guess it broke around 15 pounds. If I don’t do something about this trigger, my finger is going to look like Quagmire’s arm after he discovered the dirty side of the internet! (If you have a devious sense of humor look that up on YouTube)

After a few dozen shots, I decided it was time to get a benchmark on accuracy before I tear it down, chop it up, and tune it. Most of my Chinese airguns really like RWS Hobby pellets, so I decided to use these for testing. I set up a grid target at 10 yards and took my favorite seated position. If you click on the picture in this post, you’ll notice I circled the group in red.

A half inch group at 10 yards with the worst trigger I’ve ever squeezed and no tune! I’ve got a real diamond in the rough here and I’ll be sure to update this site as I make progress.

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Installing Chairgun Pro on Linux

If you are serious about shooting airguns accurately, you know the value of ballistics software. One of the most popular applications out there is Chairgun Pro. It is available for Mac, Windows, Android, and IOS. What about us Linux users?

First, I’d recommend installing on Android or IOS if you have devices that run those systems. It is a great portable tool to have handy. The desktop version has a lot more functionality, so let me show you how to get it up and running on Linux.

To begin, you will want to install Wine, the Windows compatibility layer for Linux from your distribution’s software repositories. For Ubuntu based systems, you will open a terminal and type the following:

sudo apt-get install wine

Assuming your installation of Wine goes trouble free, the next step is to download Java for Windows. I used version 6 update 43, found here: http://www.oldapps.com/java.php. Your browser might warn you about downloading this. I’ve used that download for a long time safely, but your mileage may vary. It probably wouldn’t hurt to run a virus scan on it.

I then downloaded the latest version of Chairgun Pro for Windows from here: http://www.hawkeoptics.com/chairgun.html.

We now have everything we need for our installation. I extracted the Chairgun Pro installer into my download folder:

All files in my download folder.
All files in my download folder.

The next step is to launch the Java installer and answer all the prompts until Java is installed.

Installing Java for Windows
Installing Java for Windows

Once Java is installed, we are ready to install Chairgun Pro. Launch it’s installer and answer the prompts until it is installed. I go ahead and answer yes to creating a desktop icon so I can have convenient access to it.

The Chairgun Pro installer
The Chairgun Pro installer

At this point, I now have a desktop icon that I can double click any time I want to do range functions with my pellet rifles:

Creating a range card for my B-3 on Linux
Creating a range card for my B-3 on Linux.

Keep in mind that this software is virtually worthless without a chronograph. I recommend the Shooting Chrony F1, I’ve had mine for 12 years and it is still running strong. There some smartphone apps out there, I’ve played around with them, and found them to be fairly unreliable. Several people have found DIY ways to make chronographs as well, so that may be a route you would look into if you don’t wish to shell out just under $100 for a F1.

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