The Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle
Umarex USA continues to bring economical air guns to the American consumer that perform well beyond the expectations of the average shooter. A great example of what is available to the small game hunter and pest shooter is the new Ruger® Blackhawk® Air Rifle.
Available in two variations, the gun I received was the more powerful of the two. There is a version that features extremely easy cocking, and only shoots around 490 fps with the average .177 caliber pellet. However, as a hunter, I almost always opt for the more powerful versions as long as the shooting behavior is manageable and the cocking effort within the realm of reason.
If the Blackhawk Air Rifle looks familiar, it should. It is based upon the venerable Diana Model 34, an air gun that is a classic. This Blackhawk Air Rifle features a synthetic, ambidextrous stock that is comfortable for both right and left-handed shooters. The fiber optic open sights make target acquisition easy and quick, handy for when your shooting opportunity on a nervous squirrel or rabbit calls for a fast shot. Or, if you are like me and prefer a scope for finer shot placement, the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle comes with a 4×32 scope and mounts included.
My first opportunity to use the new rifle was on a pest control situation. If ever there was a pest, it would be the European starling. They rob my bird feeders, kill my bluebirds, and generally take over the best nesting sites that our native birds need in order to survive. So at every opportunity, I take them out!
I had finished sighting in the open sights on this air rifle and had it leaning against the kitchen door to do duty as my bird feeder gun. Some serious snow had fallen within the last evening, and birds were flocking to my feeders for an easy meal during the bad weather. Sure enough, the starlings started showing up to ruin the party, acting like the avian party crashers they are. I eased outside to do something about the situation, and with a single shot, the starling party was over. And one of them didn’t go home!
Having successfully proved the use of this air gun for pest control, I moved on up to small game hunting. Squirrel season is still open here in Kentucky, and I had a new camouflage chair I wanted to try out. Setting up in a likely spot, I chose the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle as my armament for the day. It didn’t take long for a large fox squirrel to climb up to a dining perch in a tree and begin working on a nut it had found under the snow. With a properly placed shot, the squirrel came tumbling down. The Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle and RWS Superdome pellets made a lethal combination for this tree rodent!
Most air gun shooters like to keep an air gun around that is capable of handling larger pests. The possum and raccoon come to mind in this category, and though I would hesitate to take on a large raccoon with the smaller .177 caliber air rifle, a possum provided no challenge to the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle. I have issues every year in regards to what animals are going to move into my old barn, and this possum had to go. Coming out in the open at the wrong time of day earned this pest a shot to the head, ending the issue of where it would live for good. The power provided by the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle proved more than it could handle, and the accuracy provided by the rifle put the pellet exactly where I needed it to go.
If I had any suggestions for Umarex USA in regards to this rifle, I would opt for a slightly longer scope rail to allow the use of the longer-based 1-piece mounts that are so popular among air gun shooters. These style mounts provide some serious clamping surface on the dovetails, a greatly desired feature for spring-piston air guns. The current rails only allow the shorter-style 1-piece mounts.
I can recommend the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle for most game and pests that range in size from the possum on down. The air gun has the accuracy needed, is pleasant to shoot and practice with, and will provide many hours of shooting fun and enjoyment for its owner. Give one a try and see if you don’t agree!