Hunting

Volquartsen Custom Scorpion .22 LR Pistol Review

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The .22 rimfire pistol market is one of variety. From inexpensive plinkers to tricked out, high performance raceguns, I don’t know of a market that offers the discerning consumer more choices in terms of fit, finish & quality. In contrast to a few years ago, .22 rimfire ammunition has started to make a comeback in areas where it was scarce for quite some time, and that has made taking these rimfire pistols back out to the range much more of a possibility. Gone are the days of 99 cent Winchester White boxes of 50 rounds like I remember, but .22 LR still offers good performance and practice options at a far reduced price compared to full size centerfire ammunition. As mentioned before, there are many different tiers of .22 LR pistols. The Volquartsen Custom Scorpion is definitely securely placed in the top-tier of .22 LR handguns; it is a lightweight .22 LR Pistol designed for high performance and is equally at home in the competition arena, or out in the field.

The Volquartsen Custom Scorpion can mount many optics such as this Burris Fastfire

Back in March I did an interview with Scott Volquartsen of Volquartsen Custom about their business. I came away impressed with their commitment to quality as well as to their employees & customers. Scott stated that Volquartsen had worked to make the finest rimfire handguns and rifles for competition and other uses that money could buy. We spoke about potentially having me test a handgun, and after NRA Show 2015, we spoke about what my desires would be if I was contacting Volquartsen to purchase a custom .22 LR handgun. I told Scott that if I were to call and order one, I would want a handgun that could fill a couple roles: competition & handgun hunting. I am a fan of hunting with handguns, and many .22 pistols simply aren’t precise enough for small game hunting. I have also thought about getting involved in rimfire competition, and would want a handgun that could fill dual roles. Scott suggested their Scorpion line, with a 4.5” barrel, the 1911 style VC Target frame, and Fiber optic front sight with the Volquartsen Target rear sight. The handgun would be fitted with all Volquartsen internals and would have an accessory rail on the top if I desired to mount any optics.

The Competition Bolt is coated in a variety of finishes for superior performance.

The Scorpion is a combination of the Lightweight VC Target Frame and the LLV Upper. It comes standard with the Volquartsen Competition Bolt. The Volquartsen Competition Bolt is CNC Machined and ground for superior tolerances, fit and finish. It features the SureStrike Firing Pin and the Exact Edge Extractor to ensure reliable feeding & function. The bolt is also offered with four different coatings, Diamond Like Carbon, Chromium Nitride, Titanium Nitride and Titanium Carbo-Nitride. The example I have here has the Diamond Like Carbon Coating. I can attest to the reliable functioning of the bolt and pistol, as I put a little over 3,000 rounds of various brands of .22 rimfire cartridges through the pistol in about a months time with not a single malfunction. This was with extremely minimal lubrication and almost no cleaning aside from wiping the bolt with a soft cloth.

The VC Target Frame and LLV Upper combine to make the Volquartsen Scorpion

The VC Target Frame is manufactured by Volquartsen, and is offered with a MKIII style grip angle or a 1911 style grip angle. The example I have is the 1911 style frame. It is CNC-machined from aluminum alloy and with a 6oz base weight, is very light and handy. You can get the frame in a variety of finishes & colors, with the Black, red, blue and OD green frames being Type III hard anodized and the Silver frames being NiB coated. The VC frame is fitted with all Volquartsen internals, including the Accurizing Kit with Extended bolt release, CNC Machined Target Trigger, Wire EDM Cut Target Hammer and target sear. It also sports a CNC machined disconnector, extended safety and in the MKIII models, a spring-loaded magazine ejector for positive ejection of spent magazines. Volquartsen has eliminated the magazine disconnect from this frame as well. Their trigger is outstanding, with minimal take-up and an adjustable overtravel stop. The manual lists the trigger pull weight at 2.25 lbs and I found this to be true, with the average over 10 trigger pulls reading between 2.25 and 2.3 on my Lyman trigger pull gauge. I cannot say enough good things about the trigger on this pistol.

The Volquartsen Target Rear with Fiber Optic Front presents a fantastic sight picture

The LLV Barreled receiver/upper is hard anodized & CNC machined. The receiver and barrel shroud are precision machined as one piece from aluminum alloy. An integral picatinny rail is machined into the top of the receiver for easy mounting of any of the optical sights available on the market today. It is fitted with a precision stainless steel barrel that is machine-honed and lapped and is available in either 4.5” or 6” lengths. The standard configuration LLV comes with 1/2 x 28 muzzle threads with either a thread protector, or with their LLV compensator.

The LLV Compensator mates perfectly with the LLV upper and tames the mild .22 LR recoil to almost nothing.

  My example has the LLV Compensator which functions very well and tames the already mild recoil of the .22 Rimfire down to almost nothing. The pistol runs well with a suppressor too, as you can see in the video. You can also choose any number of sight options, such as Hi-Viz front and Tritium rear, Hi Viz Front and Target rear, or Volquartsen Target sights. You can also opt to not have sights installed and simply use electronic optics.

Grip options for the VC Target Frame include Volthane Target Grips or Laminated Wood Target grips for the MKIII style grip angle, and Aluminum Grips or the Hogue Monogrip for the 1911 Style Grip angle. My example sports the Hogue Monogrips. They were very comfortable and made the gun easy to handle, especially after many hundreds of rounds downrange in a single session. This whole package comes in at under 2 lbs.

Multiple brands & types of ammo were used in the evalutation

At the range, I found the Scorpion to be incredibly accurate and fast. From close-up shooting on multiple steel targets as fast as possible, to 45, 55 and even 60 yard shots on an 8” steel plate, the Volquartsen Scorpion delivered. I fired many different brands & loads through the Scorpion over the test period, and the pistol functioned flawlessly with every single one. I used CCI Mini-Mag .22 LR hollowpoint 36 grain, Winchester Super X .22 LR round nose 40 grain & Aguila .22 Pistol Match 40 grain LRN. Also mixed in there were some Winchester 40 grain Dynapoints during the suppressed fire. At about 25 yards, the CCI Mini Mags were the most accurate for me, with groups of 0.58” being common.

It seems my particular sample really likes the lighter weight 36 grain bullet of the Mini-Mag. The rest of the ammunition didn’t shoot as tight groups for me, but all were well under an inch from a rest at between 25-30 yards. I had the most fun doing rapid fire steel drills on multiple 8” steel plates from 15 yards. It is REALLY fun to run this pistol fast.

Groups like this one (minus those two flyers from a previous group; the sticky fell off) were commonplace with the Volquartsen Scorpion at 25 yards

The Volquartsen Custom Scorpion is really an outstanding .22 pistol. The combination of high quality features really make for a handgun that is a cut above the rest in the rimfire pistol world. When I spoke with the folks at Volquartsen, I said that I would want a pistol that would be equally at home out in the field hunting small game as it would be in the competition arena. This pistol really delivers. It is eminently customizable to fit your needs, and  you can tell the people at Volquartsen really care about the desires of the customer. Every question/request I had was answered in a timely manner and with a high degree of detail and explanation. With a price range between $1,175 and $1,236 depending upon chosen options, it is definitely in the higher range of .22 pistols, but you are getting a high quality, high performance handgun that will definitely last you a lifetime.

Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Super High Quality .22 LR Pistol intended for competition or target shooting use.

Target Market: Shooters who need a .22 LR pistol for competition or small game hunting.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • High quality internals
  • Light weight
  • Superb Trigger & Sights
  • Optics Mounting Options
  • Fantastic Customer Service
  • Support a family-run firearms business

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

  • Black, Red, Blue & OD Green Type III Hard Anodized
  • Silver is Nickel Boron (NiB)
  • Target Grips
  • Aluminum Grips
  • Various Options for Compensators
  • 1911 style or MK III Style Grip Frame

Price point:

MSRP = Between $1,175 and $1,236 depending upon chosen options. This is a custom pistol.

I need it now! Availability: You can purchase the Volquartsen Custom Scorpion directly from Volquartsen Custom. 

Pros:

  • Custom built to the user specifications
  • Uses high quality components for the internals
  • Trigger is AMAZING.
  • Coated Competition Bolt almost eliminates the need for lubrication.
  • Reliability over 3,000 rounds with almost no cleaning whatsoever is amazing in a .22 rimfire pistol.
  • Accuracy is top-notch even at long distance.
  • Worked fantastic with a .22 LR suppressor. Very very quiet and accurate. Also, the sights can be used with the suppressor attached.

Cons:

  • It is definitely in the upper end price range for .22 LR pistols. However, this isn’t really a “con” as it IS a high quality custom .22 LR pistol intended for the highest levels of rimfire competition.

Our Rating: 9.5 AMAZING!95

 

 

Visit Volquartsen Custom for more information and to place an order!

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Johnny Stewart Wireless Preymaster Digital Caller

Johnny Stewart Wireless Preymaster Digital Caller

Electronic calls are very effective for predator hunting, especially with a remote control. Being able to start and stop the calling with the push of a button instead of calling with a handheld blow-in call frees up the hunter's hands to utilize gear, aim a firearm, or eat a sandwich. Also, the predator's will be trying to locate the source of the sound, and being in a advantageous shooting position thats within sightline of the caller and surrounding area will help prevent being spotted and spooking your quarry away.
The Johnny Stewart Wireless Preymaster Digital Caller gives the user the ability to choose from 12 different calls using 3 memory card pairs. The caller comes with rodent distress, squealing bird, meadowlark, bobcat in heat, high pitched cottontail, canine puppies, yellow hammer, coyote pup distress, canine pups, kid goat distress, pleading chicken, and whitetail fawn distress.

Johnny Stewart Wireless Preymaster Digital Caller

The memory cards in the remote must match the cards in the caller, all you have to do is insert cards into the A, B, and C slot respectively on both devices. You can also play two sounds at once by simply pressing call button on the remote, and then another. While this is somewhat unorthodox and might not coax your skittish coyote to come running, the right combination may just be the sweet harmony that does the trick. High pitched cottontail and whitetail fawn distress combined sounds like a two course meal in theory, but to me sounds busy and unnatural. However canine puppies and coyote pup distress will give the impression that multiple young yotes are gathered in one spot and the urge to investigate could be irresistible.
The range on the caller's remote is advertised to reach up to 250 yards, but this is really under the best conditions. I found the farthest Ive had the remote work, on fresh batteries, was about 150-200 yards with a clear path to the receiver. With heavy cover or trees, expect a more limited range for the remote. You can still however start the call you want and then walk to your shooting position thats out of range, you just have to hoof it back to stop the call or change it to another sound.
Overall I've gotten quite a bit of use of the Preymaster Digital Caller, and it has called in it's share of coyotes when the right sound is chosen. Another benefit is that Johnny Stewart produces different memory cards that you can order to replace sounds in your Preymaster, so if crows are what you are after, you just buy different cards and insert them into the remote and receiver.
While the Preymaster seems to be discontinued, you still maybe able to find one in the clearance aisle of your sporting goods store. For the price, I would recommend this caller for the beginner or casual predator hunter.

Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  A rugged, dependable unit that will satisfy the needs of the most dedicated predator caller, yet is affordable and easy to operate for beginners as well.

Target Market:  Predator Hunters

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Wireless remote with a range of 100 yards (under optimal conditions it can reach up to 250 yards).
  • Remote control transmitter is durable and has a water resistant keypad with raised buttons
  • The base unit holds three memory cards for a total of 12 sounds. All previous
  • Backwards Compatible with older memory cards for PM-1, PM-2 and PM-3 Preymaster units.
  • The base unit will continually play sounds until it is shut off or until batteries run out.
  • Clip on the back of the base unit for attaching
  • Mount on the front to hold the included speaker
  • 110+ db rating
  • 10' extension cord is included (so that you can elevate the speaker while you keep the base unit on the ground.)
  • Total weight: 2.3 lbs.

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Green Only

What others are saying?:

"Update from 2009 review: I have had very bad luck with the unit in temperatures under 25F. Quite often I found myself getting up from position to go back out to the caller to tinker with it to get it to turn on. For whatever reason, I found that when I had this problem that I had to turn the unit off, remove all the cards, reinstall them, and turn the unit back on. Sometimes several times. I also found that the on/off switch in colder temps would not turn the unit on. Basically, in the late season, this unit is undependable to me when the coyotes are the most nervous. Not a good mix. That's too bad, I really like Johnny Stewart sounds. Went with a Foxpro Spitfire and haven't had any issues yet including using it in single digit temperatures." Craig Travis, MidwayUSA Review

Price point:

I need it now! Availability:  Discontinued but check local hunting shops

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Remote lets you stop calling/resume
  • The volume control button is located on the side and there is also a lanyard loop to make it easier to carry in the field.
  • Play two sounds at once

Cons:

  • Plastic body has weakpoints
  • Not as loud as other digital calls
  • Headphone jack connecting speaker to unit body is susceptible to bending / breaking

Score: 6.0 Okay

 

 

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