Three New Survival Rifles from Airforce
Escape Review by Tom Gaylord, April 2014 airgunhobbyist.com
You know them for their powerful sporting PCPs, but in 2014 AirForce Airguns is bringing three new survival air rifles to market—the Escape series! Say survival these days, and people imagine the Hollywood image of zombies and world-ending comets. Neither of which has ever happened in all of recorded history. Yet, each year there are hundreds of real events all around the globe that thrust millions of people into real survival situations. Earthquakes, fires, floods, tornados, tsunamis, blizzards and hurricanes are all too real and kill thousands of people who aren’t prepared to last until help arrives.
Survival means you have the ability to hold out (eat, drink, stay warm and safe) for at least 3 days until emergency services get organized. And it can often be much longer than that—just ask anyone from New Orleans. In a real survival situation, you aren’t going up against lions, tigers and bears (oh, my!) unless you live in a zoo or in places like the Pacific Northwest. But you may have a chance to hunt deer, feral hogs (especially in the South and Southwest!) and other food animals.
Ton Jones, star of the popular Auction Hunters TV show, was raised in the high desert of southern California, giving him an appreciation for wildlife and the real outdoors. One of the things he does is present survival training at sporting goods venues around the nation. As part of his presentations, he likes to show people the equipment he has learned to trust. Until now, an airgun was missing from his equipment because there wasn’t one that did all he wanted. That’s where the Escape comes in.
On a hunting trip last year with AirForce owner John McCaslin, Ton mentioned the lack of a survival airgun and asked John if putting a longer barrel on the TalonP air pistol might boost its power significantly. John agreed, and the Escape rifle series was born!
Expect some recoil
Two more EscapesThe other two Escape rifles have shorter barrels, so their power is less than the Escape but still more than the Condor. The EscapeUL has an 18-inch barrel that’s also thinner to further reduce weight. The rifle weighs just 4.25 lbs. by itself; yet in .25 caliber, it outputs up to 79.46 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. It’s several inches shorter and several pounds lighter than a Condor, yet produces about 15 foot-pounds more muzzle energy. The EscapeSS has a shrouded 12-inch barrel inside a long frame that’s filled with three high-tech plastic baffles. They’re a tight fit inside the frame of the gun, and a Belleville washer keeps tension on them so there’s no rattling sound. While the EscapeSS has a reduced report, don’t think of it as the perfect backyard plinker for suburbia. Unless you also shoot .22 rimfire in your backyard, treat this little rifle like it belongs in the field! With a maximum power above 55 foot-pounds (the same as the TalonP pistol), the .25-caliber EscapeSS is a serious hunting airgun. Those baffles in the frame just take some of the edge off the report.
Speaking of calibersI’ve reported only the performance of the .25-caliber rifl es. The .22 rifles are lower in power because the heaviest pellets in that caliber are much lighter than those in .25. The Escape in .22 shoots a 32.4-grain Eun Jin pellet at 971 f.p.s., for a muzzle energy of 67.85 foot-pounds. Expect the other two rifles to perform similarly.
Bottom lineThese three air rifles are not for casual shooters. A Condor gives more flexibility, and a Talon SS is better suited to suburban shooting. These three are for shooters who want to get off the grid and avoid ammo shortages, high prices and every other civilized encumbrance. For those who want to just grab it and go, here are three affordable choices for serious airgun hunting.