Shooting the Air Venturi Wing Shot air shotgun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Venturi Wing Shot
Air Venturi’s Wing Shot air shotgun is a serious new player in a very small field.

Air Venturi Wing Shot Review

This report covers:

  • Description
  • Shooting impressions
  • Trigger
  • Sights
  • First and second test
  • Test with bullets
  • Ammo
  • Third test
  • A good 25-30-yard wing gun
  • Summary

Today I begin a report on the Air Venturi Wing Shot air shotgun. This is not only a new product, it may be the first air shotgun I have tested that is really worthy of that title. We shall see as this test unfolds.

This isn’t the first report on the Wing Shot. You were treated to an early look by guest blogger and Pyramyd Air employee, Derek Goins. Today we start a detailed examination.

Description

The Wing Shot is a .50 caliber gun. It is smoothbore, and has a screw-in choke tube at the muzzle that reduces the bore size by 0.07 mm. We will see today what that does to the shot pattern.

It is 43 inches long and is shaped like a fine shotgun. My shooting buddy, Otho, is a shotgunner and the first word out of his mouth when he saw the gun was, “Wow!” He likes the Turkish walnut buttstock and the general feel of the gun. He felt it was perfect for him when he shouldered it.

Air Venturi Wing Shot Otho
Otho patterns the gun at 15 yards.

The Wing Shot is 43 inches overall and weighs 7.25 lbs. That’s on the heavy side for a smallbore shotgun (28 and 32 gauge and .410 caliber), but it doesn’t seem to slow it down. The balance seems about right — very neutral, front and back. The barrel is 22 inches long. The gun loads via a sliding breech cover that slides forward to load a shotshell and back to seal the breech. When you slide it back you must hear the breech cover click into place over the o-ring or the breech isn’t sealed. I failed to do that once and the breech blew open with the shot. No damage was done, but it alerted me to the need to close the breech tightly.

Air Venturi Wing Shot sliding breech
The breech cover slides forward to load. Place the shotshell into the trough and push it forward as far as you can. Be sure to close the breech cover all the way. That o-ring at the back seals the breech.

The gun cocks with a lever on the right side. Pull it straight back to one of two possible stops. The first stop is low power and all the way back is high. I am only interested in high power in this report, so that’s all I’m going to test.

It isn’t easy to cock this gun. Most adult men can cock the lever to the low power setting, but when the gun is new about half the men I sampled could not cock it to high power.

That changed after the gun had about 30 shots on the action. Then the cocking effort became smoother and everyone could cock it all the way. It now has around 60 shots on it and it is much smoother than when it was brand new. I expect it will continue to smooth out as it is used, because that’s the way these things usually work. But it is still a hard-cocking airgun.

These are the things new buyers need to know. This gun particularly is going to break in before your eyes in just a few shots. Don’t condemn it before that happens!

Shooting impressions

The gun is loud. It is a .50-caliber big-bore airgun, after all. It is much louder than any smallbore pneumatic you have heard, but not so loud that you need hearing protection when shooting outside.

There is some recoil when it fires. That recoil varies with what projectile you are shooting. The heavier the projectile, the harder the kick. At its hardest, it has perhaps half the recoil of a medium-weight .410 shotgun.

Trigger

The trigger is hard to evaluate, because you don’t notice it when shooting in the shotgun mode. Fortunately I also shot it with .50 caliber bullets off a bench and can tell you that it’s 2-stage and breaks crisply at 5 lbs. 11 oz. It feels like a lot less than that because of the crispness. It is non-adjustable.

Sights

This is a shotgun and real shotguns that are meant for wing shooting don’t have sights. They have a bead up front that you use to cover the game in flight and that’s it. The bead on the Wing Shot sits atop a low ramp. It is large and obvious. I acquired it very quickly after bringing the gun to my shoulder.

First and second test

My first 2 tests didn’t go so well, but in retrospect that was good for all of us. I had been given early experimental shotshells that performed variably. Although the gun is rated to shoot faster than 1100 f.p.s., all my early shots were in the 700 f.p.s., region. Of course it is very difficult to chronograph a shot column in flight and I managed to hit the chronograph skyscreens a couple times, but those early shots weren’t good. However, toward the end of that testing, after about shot number 30, things changed dramatically.

Air Venturi Wing Shot chronograph
I chronographed the gun several times. After it broke in, the velocity was over 1100 f.p.s on the first shot. It remains over 1000 f.p.s for 3 shots.

Now that the Wing Shot is broken in, I fill it to 3000 psi. Then I start shooting. On one string I got 1156 f.p.s on the first shot and 1106 f.p.s. on shot number 2. Shot 3 went out at 1049 f.p.s. and shot 4 dropped to 783 f.p.s. And that is the way the gun has performed ever since this time. I tested it again several times and the result was always the same. The first 3 shots are powerful, then there is a quick dropoff in velocity on shot 4.

The low initial velocity I told you about was the gun breaking in. It was probably also the fault of the prototype ammo I was using. I shot about 40 of those prototype shells, and their performance was variable so I’m not reporting it.

Test with bullets

I also shot the gun with .50 caliber 210-grain Air Venturi Balle Blondeau bullets at 50 yards. Yes I did remove the choke before doing this.

I used the front bead and the top of the receiver as my aiming reference. The bullets landed 3 feet low, but I put 10 of them into 7-inches at that distance, which isn’t bad. I think out to 35 yards I could keep a bullet in the kill zone of an animal like a Javalina or even a small wild pig. Forget scoping the gun — it wasn’t designed as a big bore rifle. Only the high-drag design of the bullets I used kept them flying straight and grouping together.

Ammo

The Wing Shot uses shotshells that are consumed when fired. They cannot be reloaded. They are made to break up as they pass through the choke, which is where you get the excellent short-range patterns you are about to see.

The shells are currently offered with either number 6 or number 8 shot. Each shell holds about 120+ grains of shot inside the 130+-grain shotshell. There are 50 shells in a box. That makes the ammo expensive, but for what this shotgun can do, it may be worth the cost. I will explain that at the end of the report.

Air Venturi Wing Shot shotshells
The shotshells are designed to break apart in the gun’s choke.

To make a comparison, a .410 low velocity shell launches 1/2 ounce of shot at around 1200 f.p.s. One-half ounce is about 219 grains, so the Wing Shot shotshells have about half as much shot at the .410 shell. Half the shot going just as fast means the Wing Shot is the most successful air shotgun to ever come to market.

Third test

The third test I conducted was the one that really told me what I needed to know. I had production shotshells to test and things went much better! Now I could really pattern this gun, and when I did, the results were amazing!

I couldn’t believe it, but I got a decent 9-10-inch pattern at just 10 yards! Try doing that with your .410. Even with a cylinder-bored gun you aren’t going to get a pattern that open at that distance, I don’t believe. I did this several times and always got the same results.

Air Venturi Wing Shot 10 yards
At 10 yards the pattern spread out to between 9 and 10 inches. The Hobby pellet tin is for scale.

Otho and I discovered that the test gun shoots low and a little to the left. We were able to adjust our hold to compensate.

At 15 yards the pattern opened up to a full 12 inches. That is phenomenal. And the pattern is even, with no open spots for a pigeon or dove to slip through.

Air Venturi Wing Shot 15 yards
At 15 yards the pattern spread out to a full 12 inches. This is a hunting pattern! Again, the Hobby tin is there for scale.

I thought the pattern would continue to open fast, but it didn’t seem to. Because at 20 yards it was only about 16 inches wide and still very even. No birds lost there, either.

Air Venturi Wing Shot 20 yards
At 20 yards the pattern opened to about 16 inches. Some shots were off the bull when it was stuck to the cardboard box. They don’t show here. This is still a good hunting pattern! I’m showing this target upside-down, as the gun patterned a little low.

A good 25-30-yard wing gun

What we have in the Wing Shot is a good 25-30-yard wing gun. That’s something we have needed, because the .410 is too much gun for closer distances like 10-15 yards. The firearm shotgun pattern is so dense at that distance that it will tear birds apart. But each individual shot (I mean just one piece of the shot) from the Wing Shot hits just as hard as one shot from a .410. There is just less of it in the shot column, and it spreads into a good pattern at that range.

The naturalist John James Audubon was a hunter and wingshooter par excellence. Though there is a conservation group that uses his name today, Audubon actually shot thousands of birds for his art studies. What would he have given for a shotgun that could be used effectively at such close range? Those of you who are wingshooters know what I’m saying.

Summary

This was just our first look at the Wing Shot air shotgun. I showed you the velocity, measured the trigger-pull, talked about the need for a break-in period, gave you the accuracy with a bullet at 50 yards and showed you several shot patterns. That’s a good start. I think the world has its first useful air shotgun.

Air Venturi Wing Shot can in flight
With apologies to Dr. Pepper, Otho sent this can into orbit at 10 yards.

49 thoughts on “Shooting the Air Venturi Wing Shot air shotgun: Part 1

  1. BB
    I think I’m impressed. Half the recoil of a .410 is good news. The pattern is great. And I bet a bird could still be taken at 40-50 yards.

    I would like to at least shoot one some day. Pretty cool stuff. I like it.



    • GF1,

      I would strongly recommend that you not attempt such a range with this gun should you have the opportunity. What you will find is the pattern has opened to such an extent that you may hit a dove with only one or two pellets, only wounding it.

      Just let him land and shoot him with the Marauder.


      • RR
        Yep your probably right but one way to find out would be to pattern the gun out at 50 yards at a paper target.

        If you hunt with a shot gun a person should always pattern a shell to find its effective range.

        And at 50 yards my .25 caliber pops starlings. Literally they make a loud pop when I hit them with it. It’s loud enough when it hits that if your in a neighborhood somebody would think its a .22 rimfire round going off. And you know what the bird looks like afterwards.




        • If circumstances were in favor of me getting one I’d start trying to dig up as many reloading possibilities as could be found. It looks like they have a good selection of alternate ammo but I never found the shells. I know you could turn something out on one of those lathes that cou be effectively reloaded.
          If I were in your situation I’d probably jump all over it and never look back.


  2. Shooting the Air Venturi Wing Shot air shot gun will require patient, practice and a very good shot to shoot birds on the wing! I like it and want one! Description close to a shotgun and similar to a trap shot gun! Some will shoot very good with it right off from the get go! And SOME WON’T GET IT DONE! Sempr fi!


    • J.Lee,

      You sound like a shotgunner. Yes, this is an exciting new concept in scattergunning. It’s a close,range gun with excellent performance. It will take some learning, just like a .410 does when a 12=gauge shooter picks it up.

      B.B.


  3. So, if the shells are designed to fragment as they pass the choke.
    If you shoot them without the choke, maybe you can
    A:
    Get an accurate velocity on the single projectile
    B:
    A shell similiar to the glaser safety slug that fragments in the target, and delivers it entire energy in the target.

    Just a thought..


  4. Wow, this gets more exciting the more I learn about it. Just as I feel like I’m starting to understand what I want to do with smallbore airguns, the market for big-bores starts exploding and now there is this.

    May AV sell a crapton of the things and lead a new field of choices, to keep me perpetually anguished at what to do next! 🙂


  5. Sorry to see that Dr pepper meet a horrible end. Is that not an imperial sugar can? I used to have a supplier that brought back the real good stuff from Dublin Tx. The standard stuff in the store here is not the same.


  6. B.B.

    Does the hard cocking effort diminish between the third and fourth shots? Are 3 shots really enough?
    Can anything be done to make the trigger better/lighter? You mentioned that it is non-adjustable, why?
    Also why have the lower power setting? Airsoft?
    Thanks,
    -Y


    • Yogi,

      The hard cocking is caused by the strength of the hammer spring. It never changes. As the gun wears in, the rough edges of the hammer wear smooth and cocking becomes easier — to a point. Then it stops getting any easier.

      I don’t understand the question — Are 3 shots enough? Three are what you get with the shot moving faster than 1000 f.p.s. If you can tolerate 700 f.p.s., there are 6 shots, minimum.

      The trigger is better than the trigger on some of my firearm shotguns. Don’t concern yourself with thew trigger. This is not a benchrest rifle — it’s a shotgun. Heavy triggers are no problem, as long as they are crisp and consistent.

      I guess the lower-power setting is there for folks who want more shots per fill. That is something I still need to explore.

      Airsoft? Never! This gun could kill someone if loaded with airsoft BBs.

      B.B.


      • BB
        I thought about thisin the morning and forgot to ask.

        Ok you know how on a pcp gun if you turn the power down whatever way that may be for that type of gun you have you usually get more shots per fill.

        Well here are two things I thought about might happen if you use the lower power setting.
        (1) more shots per fill.
        (2) possibly a tighter pattern.
        I believe and this all depends on how much that first cocking position reduces the velocity. Probably would be a better choice to use the lighter #6 shot shell. But I bet it tightens the pattern.

        That would give you the benefit of possibly shooting rats or other pests around or in a barn. Just a thought. Just because it’s a shot gun doesn’t mean that you have to shoot things flying.

        So I ask maybe if you could chrony one of whatever shot shell you have and and pattern one at 20 yards on the lower power setting. That way we have a idea if there could be multiple uses for the gun or if it does have sufficient power to do that at the lower setting.



          • BB
            Ok good. That was one of things we use to do was use the low brass shot gun shells with the lighter shot for up close shooting pests. We wasn’t worried about how it looked afterwards. For pesting you want just the opposite of like when your shooting game birds or sqerrials or rabbits. You don’t want the meat tore up.

            I’m seriously thinking about getting one of these air shot guns. Let us know if the sound quieted down more on the lower power setting. I’m not worried about noise where I’m at now. But quieter still has its benefits. Oh and if the recoil is reduced more also on that lower setting.



      • Reb
        You took the words right out of my mouth.

        In the state of Illinois we can’t use a gun that shoots bullets to hunt. All were lucky enough to use is bow and arrow or shot guns with shot gun shells or slugs. Well I think black powder guns too. So we have to use a plug to allow for only 3 shots and you better have that plug in there if a game warden shows up.




            • This thing seems to be a perfect Turkey gun!
              Somebody’s gotta get a politician or two on our side..I can only consider it if I can use it and that’s probably not happening anytime soon in this state, I guess this is how our European friends lament the outlawing of firearms over there.


              • Reb
                With you there. With in the last few years they now allow big bore air gun hunting in the state of Missouri where I work..

                So I have been considering big bores for a while. Maybe this air shot gun would be a good double duty big bore with the choke removed.


                • I tolerated the weather up there for a few years but was much younger.
                  I’m glad someone is able to do it!
                  I’d love to have a good excuse to help fan the flames but when powderburning gets that much easier I have to give un



  7. BB,

    An interesting gun; I hope it takes off, and that some other manufacturers get on the bandwagon. The air shotgun has been left behind for too long. It would be nice to see some other makers throw their hat in the ring. Thanks for the info.

    take care & God bless,
    dave


  8. I really like this gun!
    I’m sure it’s report more resembles a shotgun and the price reflects that of a rather nice one, but being only a single shot that requires reloading for any subsequent quarry cuts way down on it’s flexibility.
    Throw in the fact that airguns have still not been fully embraced by many states and this gun has a long row to hoe.
    I’ll probably have a shotgun before hunting season rolls back around but it’ll most likely burn powder.


  9. B.B.

    I have to take issue with something that the PA site says about this gun ….
    #8 shot is NOT good for hunting tree rats ! Even #6 is a bit on the thin side , but can work . Penetration gets questionable with #6, with a lot of the shot stopping in the meat . #5 is about perfect . Most of it stops under the skin on the far side .
    This is based on high brass shells .

    twotalon


  10. Looks like too much fun to keep off of my wishlist. Unfortunately, the first item on the list is a wish for enough money to buy the rest off the stuff on the list. I guess I’ll start by buying the Dr. Pepper and hucking rocks at it.


    • Im with you! I was blessed with a one in a lifetime opportunity to get a dream air rifle and had to fix the family vehicle! I kick myself so bad id like to drive the stinkin thing off the road! (Sans family, of course..)


  11. The concept is certainly intriguing but I don’t know about the practicality of a gun that you have to go back the truck to fill up after 3 shots. They need to work on getting more full power shots per fill.


  12. I’m excited to see a “real” air shotgun. That said, I’m very disappointed in the price of the shells. One of the many reason we brag on an airgun is the cost of ammo is usually cheaper than even the 22LR. When I can buy 20ga shells at less than half price than the shells for this gun, that is a red light for me. There is no primer, no powder and less shot. No brass and less plastic material. I think that was one of the down falls of the Gamo Viper Express. Yes I know it’s not a powerful gun, but I thought it would be neat just for wood bees and other “pests”. But the ammo is just too high and that has been echoed on blogs everywhere. I’m not trying to throw water on the fire, as I hope this gun tests well. I just think they “miss” it when ammo is they high. Yes I know how high .410 ammo is. But unlike this ammo, the .410 can be reloaded and the price comes way down. I think air shot gun makers need to consider designing a gun that can shoot ammo that can be reloaded.


    • I still like the Viper, always have! Matter of fact I started toying with the idea of a twin piston double cocker like B.B.’s Whiscombe for more punch. It wouldn’t be near as powerful but …


      • I understand Reb. I know it’s not powerful, but sometimes I still think about getting one and “reloading” it. I’ve watched several videos on how to do it. Just some people get mixed results. I’ve even seen where one company makes aluminum shot shell to reload your own. They sell the wad punch, hulls and shot measure (and show you how to make your own measure if you’d like). Neat stuff. Reb, what is the range with yours?


        • Never got one but I’m keeping my eye out for a good deal on one. I’d probably wind up shooting pellets for the most part but I’d shoot it.
          I’m glad yours is satisfying!


  13. BB,

    How big is the air reservoir? Looks comparable to a Marauder, so 30 or so pumps for 3 shots? I know, you probably filled it from a scuba bottle, but just wondering.

    I haven’t shot a .410 since I was a kid, and have never taken a bird on the wing with one, though I never got much practice with it either. Disappointing that the cost of the hulls is so high, hope that comes down a bit to make it worthwhile. I do agree about dove shooting at close range with a firearm, and that is one place this gun might be worthwhile.



      • BB
        Really over a hundred pumps from 2000 up to 3000 on your Marauder.

        When I hand pump mine with the Benjamin hand pump it was right at 85 pumps from 2000 to 3000.

        I wonder if the hand pumps are different or if you are using the full up and full down of the stroke when you pump. If you stop short it takes more pumps.

        I know you know that already. Just seems odd that yours takes over a hundred strokes too top off at those pressures.


  14. BB,

    Dunno, I only shoot down to 2500 or so, and it’s about 30-40 pumps back up to 3000 from there. So, does the Wingshot reservoir drop to 2000 psi after 3 full-power shots?


  15. Could it be used for Skeet, or is the range to limited? I’d love to shoot skeet with an air shotgun. I gather I’d be gassing it after every 3rd shot, but lugging a bottle around is a small price to pay for quiet shooting.


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