for extremely open terrain where I prefer both partners of a two-man team
to use a rifle, when calling with a partner I like to have one guy using
a shotgun (usually the person doing the calling) and the designated shooter
ready with a rifle. A shotgun really shines for getting those "low-flyers"
that seem to come busting through your stand with little warning, which
you get a lot of when you hunt heavy cover.
I became interested in a combo gun when I started finding myself hunting alone in heavy cover more often and getting better at calling coyotes in closer to my position (which I challenge myself to do before shooting). I had been shooting shotguns at predators for most of the 2001 season before investigating the combo gun option. It seemed like I always had a rifle when I would've done better with a shotgun, and when I had the shotgun, it seemed like Id always get a couple of easy-takers that were just outside the shotgun range. Since I usually call alone, I thought having both a rifle and a shotgun would be great, but having to manage two separate firearms was out of the question. Obviously a combo gun would be quite the ticket and I did some serious consideration.
There wasn't a lot of real-world information available about using combo guns for predator calling, so I felt like I was taking a bit of a "leap" when I finally decided to order the IZH-94 sight-unseen. There are several different Rifle/Shotgun Combo guns available to sportsmen made by other manufacturers such as Crossfire, Savage, Tikka and others with prices ranging from $500 to $1700. In making my decision to place the order I figured that 90% of the coyotes I see are within 100 yards... even if it shot a 3" group, worst case, that would still be Coyote-Accurate. I was also able to justify my purchase as a "back-up" or "loaner" gun for guests that may not have a suitable firearm to use.
of the single-shot action is that a quick follow-up shot can be difficult
to execute quickly. I decided to go with a larger caliber of rifle for
more of a one shot, knockdown punch. Particularly in heavy cover, I
find the .223 to be somewhat lacking and prefer something in the .243Win
range, and so I chose the 6.5X55 Swede caliber, long renowned for its
flat shooting and accuracy (and because it was on sale!) The Combo gun
was ordered from CDNN Investments,
and it was shipped to my Local FFL the next day.
IZH94 Models and Specifications:
IZH-94 Over&Under Rifle Combo
|12/24" - 3-308||40.3"||14.3"||1.8"||2.5"||8|
|20/24" - 3"-22 MAG||40.3"||14.3"||1.8"||2.5"||7.5|
|20/24" - 3"-22 LR||40.3"||14.3"||1.8"||2.5"||7.5|
|Caliber of IZH94||Rifling rate of twist||Rifling groove||Rifling land|
My first impression when I opened the box: "Glad I didn't pay 450$ for this brute..." reflecting the exterior finish quality of Russian arms. Once I got past appearances and shouldered it, my impression shifted to the better as the balance felt quite "natural", lending itself to the kind of gun you can acquire and follow targets with ease.
fit on this rifle was very tight for the first 100 rounds, particularly
when breaking open the action, it has since loosened up to be "just
right", which is not unusual for firearms, in my experience. The
IZH94 is available in both a nice Walnut and a cheaper Beech wood as
furniture options. The Walnut added 35$ to the base price, so I chose
to use the beech wood. While the fit of the wood is Excellent, the aesthetic
finish of the Beech wood is medium-poor when you compare to something
like a fine Browning or Remington stock. The metal finish of the barrel
is more of a plum color (typical of Russian Armament) than a traditional
dark blue that you would expect from say a Remington. Again its not
a function issue, merely a fashion issue. The upside of this is that
you wont be hesitant of camouflaging the combo gun with paint.
Additional Parts/Equipment Used:
At the Range:
I went to the Range to sight in the scope and then did some preliminary load testing for the rifle. The scope is a Tasco EXP 1.5-5X x 32/44 oval objective. The beauty of this scope is its 5" eye relief which matches to the short scope rail for perfect eye alignment as well as plenty of scope-bite clearance for those hard hitting shotgun loads you'll be using. Beware: this gun is a "bench magnet", I had lots of people stopping by the bench admiring/inquiring about the combo gun.
#4Buck in both 2¾" and 3" were tested, and it should
be noted that the 3" shells tend to kick REALLY hard. A recoil
pad is highly recommended. The Shotgun Pattern seemed to be rather spread
out for buckshot and a full choke. This is probably as much an advantage
as anything for the closer shots, and since anything beyond 30 yards
is more likely to get a Bullet rather than Buckshot, not a major concern.
Rifle Ammunition loads Tested:
In the Field:
As of this writing, I have taken 1 gray fox and 4 coyotes with the combo gun. Unfortunately for this report, all were taken using the shotgun barrel, so I cant yet give any data on the terminal effects of the 6.5X55 load I developed for this gun. Bullets from 85grn to over 150grn are available including thin-skinned varmint bullets and heavy jackets for larger game, regardless a relatively "fur friendly" combination can be obtained in this caliber. As with most shotgun predator shooting, putting a second round of buckshot into the critter is recommended, even if it appears that you hit-em-hard the first time, this is also why I recommend using the 3" shells, even though they do kick rather hard.
The short overall length and medium weight of the IZH94 combo gun make it easy to carry through heavy brush and over rough terrain. The gun shoulders and points very easy for fast target acquisition and steady shots. The triggers are far enough apart that you will not get confused as to which trigger you need to pull for your intended barrel of choice. I highly recommend a pair of shooting sticks, as a bipod probably wont mount properly, and if a low-flyer comes blasting through your ambush set up, you can raise the gun and the shooting sticks will fall out of the way and not obscure your swing to get on the critter before he ducks back out.
Final Thoughts and Recommendation
EAA Baikal IZH94 At 250$ new for the model/caliber I purchased, is an
interesting and useful addition to your collection of Hunting Tools.
This combo gun is definitely worth serious consideration as it shoots
well and offers a new flexibility/dimension in Predator Hunting. The
ultimate test of course is: "If I had to do it all over again,
would I ?" The answer to that is an instant YES
and on a scale of 0-5 with 5 being "Drop what you're doing and
Go out and buy it now" and 0 being "run away without looking
Cost of Project:
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