Airguns are not limited to what they used to be: guns for training children on gun safety. These days, airgun technology is advancing to the point where we can shoot heavier projectiles faster than ever before out of production rifles. Because of this, they are a great option to take out hunting! This Texan LSS .50 CF will produce up to 800 ft./lbs of energy, which is as much as a .357 Mag or 44 Mag in some cases. Yes, this is hard to believe, but not when you are holding a 600-grain slug in your hand.
What Can I Do With A 50 Cal Air Rifle?
I want to begin by warning you that this is not a backyard friendly, neighborhood air rifle. I know that some people like to shoot in the confines of their backyard against the cedar fencing that keeps nosy neighbors out but do not attempt to with this 50 caliber rifle. Not only do you risk dangerous ricochets, but you WILL shoot through your fence. I found that most mid-weight slugs will penetrate about 10-12 inches of solid pine when fired at maximum pressure.
The Airforce Texan LSS .50 CF was designed to be the ultimate hunting air rifle. Yes, I know some of you cringe when reading that statement, but we airgunners are no more nutty than an avid bowhunter or pistol hunter, so open your mind a little. As mentioned, this rifle can produce up to 800 foot pounds of energy using just lead and the air that you breathe. Coupled with respectable velocities reaching 1,100 FPS, the large diameter .510 caliber soft lead projectiles wreak havoc once they enter tissue. They even pack enough energy to smash bone. This makes for quick and humane kills.
Local Laws And Airgun Hunting
Put simply, I do not know each state’s status on the legality of airgun hunting… It is still a relatively new sport. Typically though, shooting varmints, coyotes, and feral hogs is largely unregulated and opportunities can be found there. However, my home state of Idaho has just revised their laws last year, making airguns a legal method of take for any game animal. I expect that we are not the first or last state to make this change. If hunting is an interest of yours, please consult your state’s Department of Game and Fish (or whatever they call themselves in your home state) to make sure that your activities are within the law.
Rifle vs Firearm
Ok, now to discuss the firear…. I mean rifle. Because the Texan LSS .50 CF is an air rifle, and consequently NOT A FIREARM, this 50 caliber rifle can be purchased by anybody with enough funds and shipped directly to their home address. Because the Texan LSS .50 CF is not a firearm, that means that the baffle system that it features is not a firearm suppressor, thus no aspect of it can be controlled or regulated by the ATF. Ah, yes… a glimpse of the original American dream.
How is the Texan LSS Different?
The Texan LSS .50 CF is the heaviest and longest model of the Texan that is offered by Airforce Airguns. This is because of the maximum 34″ barrel length with the addition of a barrel shroud and removable baffle stack. Yes, the Texan LSS is longer and heavier than the Texan, Carbine, and SS model, but it is also quieter than all of them while maintaining the highest velocities possible using the longest available barrel length. For those of you who do not know, big-bore airguns are very loud: so loud that hearing protection should be used. With the barrel shroud and baffle stack on the LSS, I would compare the sound to that of a suppressed, subsonic 300 blackout (IE very quiet). I have no sound meter numbers to prove this, but I would guess that the LSS is safe to shoot without hearing protection.
Looking at the Texan LSS .50 CF
Starting at the back of the gun, you will find a metal butt plate with a rubberized pad that clamps onto the rear of the air tank. This air tank is either aluminum or carbon fiber depending on which you buy. In this case, my Texan LSS is equipped with a carbon fiber bottle that handles higher pressures of 3625 PSI (compared to 3000 in the aluminum). This bottle screws into the rear of the action of the gun and has a fill valve and pressure gauge located on either side. At the end of the bottle, the new and improved TX2 valve faces the breech. The cocking handle on the right side of the gun lays flat against the receiver and is held in a closed position with a powerful magnet. When operated, the breech and loading tray are exposed. To load, simply drop a slug on the loading tray and push it forward to contact the rifling inside the barrel and pull the cocking handle toward the user to shut the breech. Each time you work the cocking handle, the safety is automatically reset in the “on” position. The final aspect of this gun is the tuner located on the left side of the receiver. This is exposed when the gun is cocked and it can be adjusted to change the spring weight of the striker; allowing you to tune this gun for a specific weight projectile or for accuracy by reducing excess vibration upon firing.
There are numerous 11mm dovetail mounts located on the Texan LSS. Mainly, the optic rail up top and 4 located on the barrel shroud at 12, 3, 6, and the 9 O’Clock position which could be useful for adding attachments.
The Trigger is a very impressive 2-stage unit with a pull of 2.5 pounds as measured with my Wheeler Trigger Pull Gauge. There is no grit or slop in this trigger, and it breaks consistently at the same pull-weight. The user can also adjust the trigger shoe vertically to fit them most ergonomically.
The last detail to take note of on the Texan LSS 50 is the removable baffle stack at the muzzle of the gun. This unit houses two very large baffles, keeping the pressure and noise exiting the muzzle to a minimum as it redirects the air back and into the barrel shroud.
Shooting the Texan LSS .50 CF
There are some unique tools that are required for shooting a PCP airgun such as this one. You will need a compressor or pump of some kind and possibly a scuba tank for easy refills in the field. Thankfully, I was hooked up with a Daystate 4500 PSI compressor through Airguns Of Arizona that allowed me to fill a scuba tank and do all of my testing at the range. Eric, with Varminter Magazine, was also a big help and wealth of knowledge on this subject; supplying me with tools, scope mounts, and other miscellaneous items in order to get from unboxing to shooting as quickly as possible. As with most shooting activities, it’s always best done with friends.
I have two different weight slugs from Mr. Hollowpoint; 350 and 500 grain hollowpoints that I am testing. Because this is a true .50 cal of the .510″ diameter, these are .510″ slugs. I not only wanted to test the accuracy of each of these, but I wanted to see what velocities these two different weight classes reach, how quickly my shot velocity drops, and what kind of terminal performance they offer. For all of my shooting, I chose to place my target at a distance of 50 yards due to having a zero with the 350 grainers that matched up at both 25 and 50 yards with an additional 10″ needed to reach 100 yards.
For my first test, I examined accuracy and noted velocity with a ProChrono Digital chronograph. On this test, I filled the tank on the gun to maximum pressure after each shot. The 350-grain slugs were slightly less accurate than the 500 grainers, but they came out of the barrel at almost 100 feet per second faster, yielding less drop to further ranges. Both slugs showed a very small extreme spread with the 500 grainers only having 3 FPS variation across 5 shots! Because of the cost of the projectiles and the difficulty of obtaining more due to the Corona Virus outbreak, I chose to stick with 5 shot groups for the remainder of the tests. Below, you can see the results of the “topped off” test.
The next thing that I wanted to find out was how many shots I could get on one full tank before I saw the velocity drop below what I deemed ideal. Of course, for this test, I filled the tank to 3625 PSI and went to shooting. After examining the results, I lost less than 100 FPS across 5 shots with both weight class slugs. However, vertical stringing is exhibited and the 350 grainers were apparently more susceptible. After shooting 5 shots, I finished with a fill pressure of 2400 PSI shooting the 350-grain slugs and 2500 PSI shooting the 500-grain slugs. You can see the results of the “no fill” test below.
There is a myriad of different weight .510 cal projectiles out there that I wish I could get to play with; ranging from ~145 grains up to ~600 grains. I am told that the 145-grain projectiles can reach speeds of up to 1,100 FPS! These “light” bullets will still yield 389 ft/lbs of energy at that velocity. Compared to the 605 and 677 ft/lbs that my testing showed the 350 and 500-grain bullets to put out respectively. Talk about mind-blowing for an airgun!
- Power adjustment: None, self-adjusting
- Max fill pressure: 3625 PSI (carbon fiber cylinder)
- Single shot
- 9.3 lbs
- 54.25″ total length
- 34″ barrel
- .50 caliber (0.510″)
- Trigger: two stage, adjustable for position
- Safety: automatic on cocking
- 490cc air tank volume
- up to 1,100 FPS
- 11mm dovetail rail for mounting optics
- up to 800 ft/lbs energy
- $1,254.95 MSRP
By testing Airforce Airguns’ Texan LSS .50 CF, I proved that I can have fun with a 50 cal, no matter what type. I had a blast shooting this airgun because the recoil alone is a contradiction in your brain, making you question everything that you may have thought you knew about what an airgun could be. I proved that the receiving end of the pellet also brings a ton of energy with it by taking it on several, successful hunting trips. I have killed two turkeys with it and a handful of varmints, with a black bear on deck. (Stick around to read that story when it finally happens!)
Besides having a ton of fun shooting stuff with the .50 CF, I also had a great experience just shooting the gun. The trigger is much better than I had hoped it would be, the gun is surprisingly quiet, and it’s more ergonomic than it may appear. I have heard other people say that they aren’t partial to the way the cheek rest feels because it is too wide being on the bottle, but this isn’t a complaint that I developed.
From my accuracy testing, I can’t say that the Texan LSS .50 CF is the most accurate airgun that I have ever used… But, my results are with two different slugs out of a whole slew of offerings. I have no doubt that with some searching, I could shrink those groups further. Even so, for taking large game like bear, deer, and even elk, I would be very comfortable shooting out to 100 yards, or further in some scenarios. Some of you may even be able to make an ethical shot beyond that. Long story short, 10/10 doctors would have fun hunting with this gun.