Daystate Wolverine .303 - hot air or hot stuff?

Uploaded by fieldsportschannel on 24.09.2012

The Daystate Wolverine .303 has got people talking - Some say 'it's awesome'. Others
point out that, in order to own this work of Dr Frankenstein the UK you need to have
a fire arms certificate - and if you have an FAC why on earth would you bother about
air when you can have powder? Well today we want to find out if this beast is worth howling
about. Instead of putting it in the hands of an air gunner, we're giving it to a rifle
reviewer who hasn't been air gunning since he was in shorts.
The last time I shot an air rifle, I was 15 years old and then as soon as I got my hands
on a .22 Rimfire I saw the light and that was it. That was the very last time and that
was 35 years ago and now I am faced with a 30 calibre air rifle which is brilliant. So
I am looking forward to this.
Tim certainly likes the look of the Daystate, but before we see if it does the job, what
about applications. To put it bluntly - what's the point of it?
Quite a few plus points for the .303. Beyond 150 yards these are very, very safe. The pellets
just fizzle out and very, very low ricochet so very inherently safe, soft, malleable pellets.
Secondly the ammunition is a bit cheaper than the .22 Rimfire. Apparently there are some
police forces who are steering people towards an FAC air rifle, because they feel it is
safer than a .22 or a .17 HMR.
The biggest worry for Tim is animal welfare. Not the fuzzy kind peddled by the antis. Tim
wants to see his animals drop to the shot and he knows his rifles will do exactly that.
If you are going to kill an animal, make sure you kill it with plenty of power. But air
rifles have moved on an awful lot over the last 35 years. So we need to look at these
types of air rifles again and see what they are capable of.
So Tim is willing to give the Wolverine benefit of the doubt... However - he wants to do a
quick couple of comparison tests between his .22, a .17HMR and this .303
First up penetration...
We have got 5 bits of wood here. They about 15mm wide. Let’s see how deep the bullets
travel into the wood. So the .17 has gone through 60mm plus of wood. The .22 has gone
through 45 say 50mm. And the .303 Wolverine has gone nearly through 30mm of wood. What
that tells me is that the Wolverine .303 has a lot better knock down power than the actual
.22. The .22 with a rabbit tends to go straight through a rabbit whereas a Wolverine I suspect
will actually stop in the rabbit itself which is very safe and I suspect it will knock the
rabbit over a lot better than the .22 Rimfire.
Next, let's look at accuracy. Here are some targets he prepared earlier..
Comparing the Rimfires to the .22 Wolverine. This is a .17HMR 17 grain bullet at 50 yards
we achieved about .6 of an inch grouping. There were very windy conditions today so
not the best conditions to check the grouping. The .22 Rimfire 40 grain bullet, we achieved
about 1inch grouping at 50 yards which is quite respectable. The .303 Wolverine in fact
we have actually got 10 shots here - very, very windy and whilst we got 2 slight fliers,
most of the shot went into the middle there. So I think as the day went on the actual Wolverine
improved quite a bit. So I am very happy with the accuracy of the .303.
So far, the Wolverine seems to pack a punch and it is pretty accurate - delivering all
that energy where it counts - but what about the real thing? Well, Tim has a couple of
myxamotosis sufferers that we can use for the last test.
First up it's the .22 - then the .303.
This is the rabbit shot with the .22 Rimfire. We have got an entrance wound there which
has actually come straight through. You can just see that which is standard for a .22
at about 50 yards. With the impact the rabbit moved quite a bit so I was quite surprised
on that. But that is fairly normal penetration exit wound for a rabbit. On the .303 once
again we have got an entrance wound there, but it has actually come out the other side.
What is interesting is that the rabbit didn’t actually move. The pellet went straight through.
I would have thought with the knock down power of the .303 this rabbit perhaps fall straight
over the bag. But is stayed still and the bullet went straight through it. Interesting
observation, nothing scientific about this, just interesting to see how a rabbit reacts
to a heavier bullet. In this situation it went straight through it. The next thing we
need to do is go out into the field at night time and knock a few bunnies over and see
actually what happens with the .303.
OK - Tim fires up the beast - his now infamous V8 Rabbiting vehicle. It does twice as many
miles to the gallon as the Daystate does to an air fill...
All eyes are on the Wolverine tonight - and to start with Tim's friend Matt will be shooting
with Tim driving and lamping. Rabbit number one is hit hard and drops - a good start but
how is that pellet behaving?
Just shot a rabbit about 35 yards away with the .303. The entry wound here has gone straight
through the front shoulder. At the moment we can’t find any exit wound what so ever.
So what we do is get the knife out and have a quick look inside the chest cavity and see
if there is actually anything in there. The pellet has actually gone through the rabbit.
In fact we have had a closer inspection and it has actually gone through the other side.
So on this occasion the pellet went straight through the rabbit at about 35 yards. Which
is slightly surprising, because it has taken the shoulder out and I would have thought
the pellet would have perhaps mushroomed a bit more than that, but it has gone straight
through the shoulder, straight through the chest cavity and out the other side. But it
was an instant kill. A job well done.
As we move across the farm Tim spots a fox - not an animal he'd chose to shoot with the
.303 but thankfully Matt has also packed his .243... just in case. The animal is on the
move but has one last glance back in our direction. The vixen drops.
Fortunately as ever foxes tend to, if they are running away, they always have a last
look and it looked round in front of this tree here and we managed to shoot it. We are
using, tonight on foxes, 75 grain VMax at about 3.5 feet per second. We like the VMaxes
as they do expand very, very quickly, fragment causing huge, huge trauma to the body and
that stops the animal straight away. It is instant death and that is what we are trying
to achieve here.
The rabbits aren't playing tonight. The ones we do see are too far for the Daystate - however
before calling it a night this bunny provides a nice close shot.
Here we got a rabbit not very far away. I think about 15, 20 metres away and once again
we have got quite a large entrance wound, on the other side of the animal on this occasion
the pellet went straight through the neck, it was a great shot by Matt. Ok yes here we
go. So the pellet has passed through the neck and out through the lower part of the jaw.
Which is slightly surprising because you have got some hard neck bone tissue there and also
at the bottom of the jaw here - I can feel it now. That is all very hard bone and the
pellet has gone straight through and out the otherside. I would have though an air rifle
pellet would have mushroomed out and stopped and just cause quite a big exit wound, but
there is nothing there. So it has actually gone straight through.
We haven't had the volume of rabbits we had hoped for this evening but Tim's certainly
got a feel for this the big question is would he consider the Wolverine as a serious
pest controlling contender??
I suppose I have got to look at it from a person who likes the smell of gun powder.
It performed, we shot 3 or 4 rabbits and every single time the pellet went straight through
the animal and actually on 2 occasions we didn’t actually get a complete kill straight
away, which is slightly concerning. If has been a .22 Rimfire I think on both those occasions
I would expect the rabbit to be dead. With a .17 HMR it would definitely be dead because
of the explosive nature of the air rifle. It is a beautifully built air rifle. Beautiful
bit of wood here, but after a night out shooting, I think I will stick with my .22 Rimfire and
my .17 HMR. But it has been a very, very interesting night out with the .303 Wolverine.
It's not for Tim, but it is an exciting addition to the world of fieldsports, it's a calibre
feared by enemies of the British army right up to when NATO introduced the limper-wristed
556, and thank goodness there are British companies out there who are working to revolutionise
the sometimes staid old world of airguns. For more information about the wolverine and
the Daystate range go to