September 2nd, 2014

Hunters — Be Careful When Selecting Ammo For Your Fall Hunt

hunting safety kaboom rifle cartridgeHunting season is right around the corner. For many of us, that means liberating a rifle that sits in a safe most of the year, grabbing a box of cartridges, and heading to the wilds. But this “once a year thing” carries with it potential risks.

It is all to easy to grab some rounds that may look right, but which are, in fact, a slightly different chambering. Likewise it is possible some hunting rounds got put in the wrong box after last year’s hunting trip. Be very careful when you get ready for a hunting trip — check the headstamp, cartridge dimensions, and bullet diameter of all your rounds. If you make an ammo selection mistake, the consequences can be disasterous, as this story reveals.

The .223 WSSM and 6mmBR Disaster
Report by Dr. Jim Clary
Under most circumstances, shooters don’t have to worry about chambering the wrong cartridge into the wrong rifle. After all, the cartridges are well marked and we all know which rifle we are shooting on any given day. In many cases, incorrect cartridges cannot be chambered — larger cases will not fit in smaller chambers, for example. No problem! That being said, I can tell you that even an experienced, careful and normally safe shooter can make a mistake.

The following is an account of just such a mistake that could have resulted in death or dismemberment. Fortunately, the shooter was not hurt, but the rifle was completely destroyed.

Last year, a friend purchased a Savage Precision right bolt, left port, single shot bolt action in 6mmBR Norma. It was an incredible prairie dog gun and he spent the summer burning powder and busting dogs. In October, he purchased a stainless steel Browning A-Bolt Varmint in .223 WSSM. The weather in the upper Midwest turned sour by the time he got the brass tuned up and he only got to fire it a few times before he was “socked in” for the winter. Thus, he spent his evenings loading ammo for the spring thaw.

During a break in the weather, he grabbed both rifles and a couple of bags of .223 WSSM and 6mmBR cartridges and headed to the range to check out his new loads. In case you are not familiar, the 6mmBR is smaller in diameter and a mite shorter than the .223 WSSM. Because of this, it will chamber in a .223 WSSM, but the .243 caliber (6mm) bullet is too big for the .22 caliber bore. That is what happened to my friend.

The rest is history — when he squeezed the trigger, all hell broke loose. The entire bottom of the rifle blew out, including the magazine assembly. The explosion actually cut the stock into two pieces. However, the bolt held and amazing as it may seem, the .243 bullet was “swaged” right out of the .223 barrel.

223 WSSM 6BR blow-up
6mmBR (left) and .223 WSSM (right) cartridges above the remains of Browning A-Bolt rifle.

One Small Mistake Is All It Takes
Now, realize that my friend has been shooting all manner of firearms, safely, for over half a century. He is meticulous, thorough and conscientious in his approach to reloading and shooting. However, he made one mistake. He put some lose 6BR cartridges in a baggie as he packed up from a prairie dog hunt last summer, without noticing that the baggie was marked .223 WSSM in black marker. Then, when the break in his winter weather came, he grabbed the bag, believing it to be the WSSM cartridges and didn’t check the head stamp.

Couldn’t happen to you? How many times have we emptied our pockets of cartridges and dropped them into a plastic container on the shooting bench? How many times have we set down to a marathon reloading session, loading several calibers in a row? How many times have we put the wrong bullets, cases or primers into the incorrect container? My point is that even the safest of us can make a mistake. So, look at the picture above and take a bit more time when you reload your ammunition at home or chamber a round in the field. It might save your life.

Story and photo © Dr. Jim Clary, All Rights Reserved.

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September 2nd, 2014

For Hunters — Four Deer Rifle Combos Starting at $485.00

Hunting season is right around the corner. If you don’t own a worthy deer-hunting rig, there are many affordable options available. You can often save yourself $100.00 or more by purchasing a “turn-key” deer rifle package — a hunting rifle combo complete with rings and rifle-scope.

Deer hunting rifles package American Hunter

The American Hunter magazine website recently published a guide to affordable package hunting rigs. Jon Draper spotlights Four Off-The-Rack Deer Rifle Combos from Howa, Mossberg, Ruger, and Savage. Two of the four rigs, the Mossberg and Savage entries, come in at under $500 including scope/rings. Next up is the Ruger American Rifle, priced at $679.00 MSRP with 3-9x40mm Redfield Revolution scope.

The priciest entry is Howa’s Hunter Zeiss Walnut Package. MSRP is a not insubtantial $1103.00 for the Howa package, but this includes a premium-quality Zeiss Terra 3-9x42mm optic. The Howa also has a very nice two-stage 2.5 to 3.8-lb HACT trigger* that we prefer to the triggers on the other three, lesser-priced rifles.

To learn more, CLICK HERE to read the American Hunter Deer Rifle Combo article.

Deer hunting rifles package American Hunter


* HACT stands for Howa Actuator Controlled Trigger. Howa’s HACT assembly is a trigger and sear unit that works like a two-stage trigger. This allows the shooter to take up trigger creep before squeezing through. HACT trigger pull weight adjusts from 2.5 to 3.8 pounds. We like the lower weight for varmint rifles shot from prone or portable benches, while we prefer the heavier pull weight for a carry rifle.

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September 2nd, 2014

New Book Challenges Media Misconceptions of the NRA

Chip Lohman book NRAOur friend Chip Lohman, Editor of NRA’s Shooting Sports USA magazine, has authored an important new book, NRA the Rest of the Story. It’s about the NRA, but it is definitely NOT a political treatise. Rather it examines all the myriad things the NRA does — from safety seminars for kids to running the National Matches at Camp Perry.

Chip explains the “mission” of his new book: “Having worked in NRA’s Youth Program Division and now within the shooting sports community, I’ve wanted to help offset misconceptions in the news about our sport and the people that make it special. By creating a short, inexpensive book that can be passed along by a friend, perhaps some balance can be added to misleading media ‘sound bites’ about the shooting sports and firearms.”

Share the Book
Chip hopes shooting sports enthusiasts will “pass the book along for others to read, especially those who may be on the fence about firearms. For every book sold, I can give two away.”

Chip Lohman book NRA

“From a multi-faceted man (Marine, teacher, sailor, and editor) comes this many-sided little book that sparkles with bits of information about the NRA’s history and current mission. No polemics, just useful nuggets of data that the publics would be unlikely to encounter otherwise.

This book will not change the minds of dedicated anti-gunners, but it could make the difference in the hands people who want to get the story right, but are too busy to do the research themselves.

– Dr. Judy Tant, National Pistol Champion

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