Big bore airguns “Git-R-Done”!

By B.B. Pelletier

A lot of airgunners are fascinated with big bore airguns. Like, “How can a .45-caliber rifle shoot a 225-grain “pellet” over 600 feet per second on just AIR? Believe it or not, it’s possible – and so are many other supposedly unbelievable things.

For starters, did you know that these same guns will often group in one inch at 50 yards? They not only develop crushing power, they also deliver that power precisely where it’s needed to “Git-R-Done”!

Big bore airguns are over 400 years old
There were 20-shot repeating air rifles in the Austrian army before the year 1800. They were 50-caliber monsters capable of killing a man at 100 yards. At that time, a firearm could not reliably hit a man-sized target at more than 50 yards – on a good day (except from the target’s viewpoint, I suppose). Firearms were all single shots that took about 20 seconds for a well-trained man to load, while the 20-shot Girandoni repeater could dump its whole magazine of 20 balls in less than a minute!

You would have paid a king’s ransom (the equivalent of $30,000 – $50,000) for one of those old guns – even for the single-shots that were more available than the military Girandoni. Yet, today, you can buy a modern big bore single-shot for $500-600. Check out the Big Bore 909S from Sam Yang. It delivers around 200 foot-pounds of power and shoots HUGE .45-caliber lead bullets.

If .45 isn’t big enough for you, there’s always the .50-caliber Career Dragon. Check out the article on this website that shows accuracy and velocity with a test gun. The Dragon is a bolt-action and looks more conventional, while the Big Bore 909S has a sliding breech for loading. Both rifles deliver about the same power, with the accuracy edge perhaps going to the Dragon.

Big bores and repeating mechanisms are not a good match
As it turns out, a big bore is one gun that you DON’T WANT as a repeater. The 9mm Career Ultra was a seven-shot lever-action repeater, but the pellets that fit in it were lightweight. It also allowed single loading, but the mechanism was sized for the smallish repeating pellet and proved too cumbersome to accept serious bullets. On the other hand, the 9mm Career single-shot loads and shoots real pistol bullets more than twice as heavy.

The Big Bore 44 and the Career Dragon are single-shots rifles, and the airgun equivalent of muzzleloaders. They’re PERFECT for shooting pellets or bullets of your choice. The article about the Dragon even mentions that. That puts YOU in the driver’s seat to discover the best combination for power and accuracy. Use commercially cast bullets or cast them yourself.

Let me know if these guns stir your pot the way they do mine, because there is a lot more to talk about. Oh, yeah, and there are more big bores on this website, too. Who will be the first to post all of them as a comment to this message?

11 thoughts on “Big bore airguns “Git-R-Done”!”

  1. Love your blog. Regarding the article, you mentioned that you don’t want a big bore repeater. Can you expand on this?

    Also are the Girandoni still around any more as collector guns?


  2. Yes, I can expand, and I will do so in another blog. There are several reasons I don’t like big bore repeaters, and your mention of the Girandoni tells me that you already know of one big bore repeater that WAS successful, so I will need to elaborate in my answer.

    Yes, there are Girandonis in airgun collections. I even saw one sold at an airgun show a few years ago. It went for $3,500 which is perhaps one-third its true value.

    Visit Dr. Beeman’s website to read all about Girandoni airguns at this address: http://www.beemans.net/Austrian%20airguns.htm


  3. I have a Big Bore 44 by Sam Yang and it is impressive. I mounted a scope on it which required removing parts on the rear sight and filing down the front. I sighted in at 40 yards and the accuracy is unbelievable. The power not to shabby either. I shot it through two 2×4’s using a 180gr. 44cal. black powder pistol bullet made by Bufflo Bullets.

  4. Now that’s an air rifle!

    Thanks for your feedback on the Big Bore 44. I’m happy to see that you are getting such good accuracy with it.

    I found some cast .45 ACP bullets in a gun store that did pretty good. They were 185-grain hard lead, so they bumped up the velocity just a bit.


  5. Posting late…hope you still check your blog.
    What kind of velocity do you get with various balls, pellets out of the 909 44? The site lists 720fps but I am interested in real world tests. Any info would be helpful.

  6. Your question on real world velocities of the 909S is too good to waste. I will answer it in a posting this coming week. In case you are ready to make a purchase based on my answer, though, let me tell you that I got a highest velocity of 762 f.p.s. with a 125-grain Buffalo bullet, when the rifle was set on the highest power setting.


  7. bb

    How is the recoil in these big bore rifles. On first thought I thought it would be pretty strong because of the heavy pellet (more like bullet) but now I realized it is a pcp rifle which usually dont recoil any. Just curious.


  8. The information regarding the 909 double tube is correct. The velocity of the box with a .143 grain round ball is 723 fps and after Leroy got done building it some it added another honest 200 fps now pushing over 900 for at least 3 shots with the same ball. And after 10 shots still pushing over 700 fps.

  9. I just purchased a 909S and am in the process of getting the stuff together to charge it from an SCBA tank so I have not yet fired it. I am looking forward to that day and the day the one year warranty runs out so I can get Leroy to tune it up for me.

  10. Jim,

    Congradulations on your purchase of the 909S. I know alot of us would like to hear from you with your impressions about the gun.

    However, you posted to a bog written 5 years ago. There a just a few of us that are watching them for current posts.

    Please join us at the current blog, written Monday through Friday, by B.B. assisted by his wife. /blog//

    Looking fwd to seeing your post there about the S909. Perhaps some of the regulars can help you get the most from it, if you repost your comments on the current blog.

    Mr B.

  11. I really have been wanting one of these for quite awhile.

    If I had known about them in 2005, I would probably have a collection at this point.
    Anyhoo, for anyone who gets stuck looking at a post made to a blog entry this old…. APRIL FOOLS!

    And please accept my sincere apologies for making you work on this most sacred of national holidays. 😀

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