May 26th, 2018

Build Your Own Rifle with Affordable Howa Barreled Actions

Howa 1500 Mini action barreled sale action HACT trigger Brownells deal

Right now, Brownells is running a big sale on Howa Barreled Actions, in a wide variety of chamberings. You may want to pick up one of these barreled actions, which start at $259.99. We like Howa actions — they are smooth, and they feature an excellent two-stage trigger. Howa also offers a unique Mini Action, which is great for a small-caliber varmint rig.

Howa Barreled Action Basics

The above video shows the basics of the Howa barreled actions, which are offered in Mini, Standard, and Long Action versions, with dozens of chamberings, from .204 Ruger all the way up to .300 Winchester Magnum. If you’re not familiar with Howa barreled actions you should be. Each barreled action comes with Howa’s Lifetime Warranty and is guaranteed to deliver sub-MOA performance at 100-yards when using premium factory ammo. The Howa 1500 barreled action also features a crisp two-stage trigger, three-position safety, 70° bolt throw, M16-style extractor, two-lug bolt design and a flat bottom receiver with an integral recoil lug.

Howa 1500 Mini action barreled sale action HACT trigger Brownells deal

Howa Barreled Action Project Videos

Brownells has created a series of helpful videos showing how to put together an accurate rifle using a Howa barreled action. We think this is a sensible, cost-effective option for a varmint rifle, or entry-level tactical rig. Not counting optics, you should be able to assemble a good shooting, general-purpose rifle for under $700.00.

1. Long-Range Precision Rifle Build
Here the Brownells team puts together a nice tactical rifle in an MDT modular aluminum chassis made specifically for the Howa 1500 action. Attached, AR-style, to the back end of the chassis, is a Luth-AR adjustable buttstock also sold by Brownells. An EGW Picatinny rail is fitted to the action for mounting a Nightforce optic. As you can see in the video, the entire build takes less than 10 minutes. Using this Howa 1500 heavy-barreled action, you can save hundreds over the cost of a factory tactical rifle, and we bet the accuracy will be better than you’ll get with some popular brands. We’ve seen heavy-barreled Howas shoot well under 1 MOA.

2. Hunting Rifle Build
In this video, Brownells puts together a general-purpose hunting rifle using the Howa 1500 barreled action. This was attached to a Hogue Overmolded stock with internal aluminum bedding block. Fitted to the top of the action is an EGW Picatinny Rail with a Sig Sauer scope in Leupold rings. As with the Precision Rifle build above, the entire assembly process took less than ten minutes. This was done with a standard-length Howa action, but the same procedure could be used with the Howa Mini Action, or a Long Action. NOTE: No separate bedding compound was used here. That’s an option that would extend build time significantly.

Check out the Prices for Howa Barreled Actions
Here are some of the Howa Barreled Actions currently in stock at Brownells. NOTE: This is just a partial sample — there are many other varieties:

.223 Rem, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Grendel, Mini Heavy Barrel, $389.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 26″ Heavy Barrel, $429.99
7mm-08, Std Cerakote, $579.99
7.62×39, Mini Light Barrel, $259.99
.308 Win, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $289.99
.308 Win, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $299.99
.30-06 Sprg, 22″ Sporter Barrel, Cerakote, $349.99
.300 Win Mag, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $279.99

Howa Barreled action sale Brownells PRS HACT Trigger

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May 25th, 2018

Dept. of Interior May Open 248,000 Acres for Hunting and Fishing

Secretary Interior Ryan Zinke Wildlife Refuge Hunting Fishing
Report based on Press Release from U.S. Department of Interior

Continuing his efforts to increase access to public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has proposed opening more than 248,000 acres to new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 30 National Wildlife Refuges.

Opportunities include places like Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois and Wisconsin, and deer hunting in Philadelphia at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge being proposed for the first time. The proposal also outlines expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 136 national wildlife refuges. If finalized, this would bring the number of units of the National Wildlife Refuge System where the public may hunt to 377, and the number where fishing would be permitted to 312.

“As stewards of our public lands, Interior is committed to opening access wherever possible for hunting and fishing so that more families have the opportunity to pass down this American heritage,” Zinke said. “These 30 refuges will provide incredible opportunities for American sportsmen and women across the country to access the land and connect with wildlife.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) proposal would open more new acres to hunting and fishing than in the past and takes steps to simplify regulations to more closely match state hunting and fishing regulations. The changes would be implemented in time for the upcoming 2018-2019 hunting seasons.

Secretary Interior Ryan Zinke Wildlife Refuge Hunting Fishing

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion in economic activity in communities across the United States in 2016 according to the USFWS’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101 million Americans pursue wildlife-related recreation — such as hunting, fishing and birding. The Refuge System is an unparalleled network of 566 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas.

“Ensuring public lands are open for multiple uses supports local economies and provides important opportunities for recreation. Further, this proposal means that families and individuals across our nation will be better able to participate in our nation’s tradition of hunting and fishing. We appreciate Secretary Zinke and the Interior Department for advancing this priority, and we will continue to work to improve access to public lands for our sportsmen,” said Senator John Hoeven.

Secretary Interior Ryan Zinke Wildlife Refuge Hunting Fishing

“Hunters, anglers and shooting sports enthusiasts play a crucial role in funding the management and conservation of North America’s wildlife,” said USFWS Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “We are providing sportsmen and women with more access to our national wildlife refuges and streamlining regulations to more closely align with our state partners. And that’s good news for our customers.”

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Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
May 23rd, 2018

Field Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

On LongRangeHunting.com, you’ll find a good article by Shawn Carlock about wind reading. Shawn is a veteran law enforcement marksman and a past USPSA national precision rifle champion. Shawn offers good advice on how to estimate wind speeds and directions using a multitude of available indicators — not just your wind gauge: “Use anything at your disposal to accurately estimate the wind’s velocity. I keep and use a Kestrel for reading conditions….The Kestrel is very accurate but will only tell you what the conditions are where you are standing. I practice by looking at grass, brush, trees, dust, wind flags, mirage, rain, fog and anything else that will give me info on velocity and then estimate the speed.”

Shawn also explains how terrain features can cause vertical wind effects. A hunter on a hilltop must account for bullet rise if there is a headwind blowing up the slope. Many shooters consider wind in only one plane — the horizontal. In fact wind has vertical components, both up and down. If you have piloted a small aircraft you know how important vertical wind vectors can be. Match shooters will also experience vertical rise when there is a strong tailwind blowing over an up-sloping berm ahead of the target emplacements. Overall, Shawn concludes: “The more time you spend studying the wind and its effect over varying terrain the more successful you will be as a long-range shooter and hunter.”

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
May 20th, 2018

Suppressors — Why You Still Need Hearing Protection

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB
Silencer-equipped AR photo courtesy The Silencer Shop.

OK, you’ve paid the tax stamp and acquired your new suppressor (aka “silencer” or “moderator”). Do you still need to wear earplugs or muffs? Absolutely. Even with that expensive new “can”, your rifle could be generating over 140 decibels (dB) of noise — about the same as as an unmuffled 9mm pistol shot. That’s loud enough to create permanent hearing loss with repeated exposure.

Firearms Are Loud: 140 dB to 175 dB

Audiology group ASHA explains: “Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.] Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB

Suppressors, On Average, Reduce Noise Levels about 30 Decibels
In an article for Ammoland, gunwriter Sam Hoober says that you can expect about 30 decibels (dB) of noise reduction from the average suppressor: “Looking at a few different products, SilencerCo attests their suppressors reduce the sound pressure of a 9mm gunshot to anywhere from 125.7 dB to 131.5 dB, depending on the model. Advanced Armament Co, another popular supplier, attests a 23 dB to 33 dB reduction or down to 127 dB. Liberty Suppressors, another manufacturer, attests a reduction of 24 dB to 38 dB, depending on model and other factors. In short, we can presume something on the order of 30 dB of attenuation as an average.”

Using that 30 dB number you can quickly discern that you’ll still need hearing protection — good hearing protection — when shooting any suppressed firearm (even a .22 LR). “Spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly”. Source: NRA Blog.

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true. or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB


The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
May 20th, 2018

Tikka T3 — Video Reviews of Popular Hunting Rifle

Tikka T3 Review new zealand hunting scotland varmint rifle

The Tikka T3 rifle is very popular with hunters around the globe — for good reason. These rifles offer smooth-running actions, easy sub-MOA accuracy with good ammo, crisp triggers, and ultra-reliable detachable box magazines. The Tupperware stocks aren’t super-rigid, but they are comfortable and easy to handle. If you are looking for a hunting rifle, the Tikka T3 is a smart choice, offering good performance for the price (which starts at less than $580.00 for the T3 Lite version). The T3 series is offered in a wide selection of chamberings, from .204 Ruger up to the large magnums.

Here are two good Tikka T3 video reviews, the first from New Zealand, the second from Scotland. Both reviewers are experienced hunters who explain why the T3 is well-suited for hunting applications. In the first video, Mitch of BushBrothersNZ reviews a T3 with polymer stock and stainless barrel chambered for the .270 Win. Mitch focuses on the T3’s controls and functions, with particular attention to the operation of trigger, safety, and bolt.

In this second video, David, a hunter and wilderness skills teacher from Scotland, demonstrates the features (and remarkable accuracy) of a factory Tikka T3, chambered in .223 Remington. With David’s handloads, this rifle has grouped just over an inch at 250 yards, as shown near the end of the video.

Tikka Fox HuntingTikka Fox Hunting

David uses his rifle primarily for fox-hunting (often done at night). He employs a variable-power scope with an illuminated reticle to target his night-time prey. David offers many tips for predator hunters. He prefers an extra-high Harris bipod. With the bipod’s legs fully extended, he can assume a comfortable and solid sitting position. The rifle is supported on his shoulder and on the bipod, leaving both of his hands free. Being able to support the rifle without gripping it is a major advantage, David explains. This frees his hands to search for animals with binoculars or scan distances with his rangefinder.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
May 11th, 2018

Hunting Prairie Dogs in South Dakota with Dan Eigen

South Dakota Varmint Hunting Safari

South Dakota Varmint Hunting SafariNever had a chance to hunt prairie dogs in the American west? Then check out this video. Dan Eigen (aka “Walleye Dan”), host of the We Love It Outdoors Television series, head to South Dakota for some varmint hunting. Dan teams up with Varmint Hunter Association President Jeff Rheborg to patrol some South Dakota Dogtowns where things get serious. In the video, you’ll see p-dog hits at distances from 70 yards to roughly 450 yards. The hunters were shooting from portable, wood-topped swivel rests, using AR-platform rifles on X-type sandbag rest. (Rifle zeroing session is shown at the 5:30+ mark.)

Multiple cameras were employed so you can see both the shooter’s POV and close-ups of the prairie dogs downrange. Watch the shooters having fun with a prairie dog cut-out and some Tannerite at the 9:00-minute mark. This guys are having a grand old time sending critters to Prairie Dog Heaven — we think you’ll enjoy the video.

Prairie Dog Hunting Starts at 2:20 Time-Mark in Video:

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May 9th, 2018

Free Cookbook for Wild Game from Mossberg

Free wild game cook book recipes venison cooking hunting mossberg

Here’s a nice freebie for the hunters out there. Mossberg has created a free digital cookbook with some excellent recipes for elk, venison, and other wild game. This recipe collection is called Wild Game Gourmet: The Ultimate Mossberg Cookbook.

Kirstie Pike of Próis Hunting Apparel for Women created Mossberg’s wild game cookbook. Kirstie walks you through everything you need to know with 10 easy-to-follow recipes that even non-expert guy cooks can handle. Kirstie is not only passionate about her hunting, but also her cooking, “There is nothing like harvesting your own game and creating fabulous food that is healthy and organic. I love to create recipes that are not only flavorful, but also easy enough for any night of the week.”

The Wild Game Gourmet Cookbook includes:

— Ten easy-to-follow recipes
— In-depth preparation detail for each recipe
— High resolution photos to accompany each recipe
— Suggestions on altering recipes to suit the game you have on hand
— Tips on meat storage, general food preparation, and more…

Here is one of the recipes from Mossberg’s Wild Game Gourmet:

Free wild game cook book recipes venison cooking hunting mossberg

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May 7th, 2018

New BDX Electro-Optical System Shows Hold-overs in Scope

SIG Sauer BDX ballistics Data exchange Bryan Litz Doc Beech Laser Rangefinder hold-over

SIG Sauer and Applied Ballistics showed off impressive new electro-optical technology at the NRA Show in Dallas. Bryan Litz says “SIG Sauer’s Ballistics Data Exchange (BDX) is game changer. Imagine lazing a long range target, and having your exact fire solution (hold-over) automatically projected into your scope based on your ballistic profile.”

BDX takes target range info from a SIG Sauer Laser Rangefinder, calculates a ballistic solution using Applied Ballistics software, then displays the hold-over info directly in the optic (via a wireless BlueTooth connection). Just dial and shoot. Put the calculated BDX dot on the target and shoot. This ground-breaking BDX technology enables key ballistic hold-over information to be exchanged wirelessly among BDX-enabled Electro-Optics products.

You can buy this as a package with scope and LRF, starting at just $700.00 for scope and rangefinder. To our surprise, these scopes have a normal form factor. They look completely “normal”, with no clunky receiver boxes or extra turrets. BDX riflescopes aren’t bulky or heavy even though they include built-in electronics, level, and inclination detection.

“Rangefinding riflescopes of the past have had two major shortcomings: they are either big, boxy and heavy, or extremely expensive. The … BDX system packs advanced ballistics technology into a simple platform that looks just like the rangefinder and riflescope [hunters use] today. It is extremely simple to use. Range a target, put the digital ballistic holdover dot on target, pull the trigger — just connect the dot.” — Andy York, President, SIG Sauer Electro-Optics.

SIG Sauer’s Ballistics Data Exchange (BDX) is an integrated system of devices that talk seamlessly to each other, sharing data. Applied Ballistics says this system be expanded in the months ahead. “This system will be comprised of scopes, rangefinders, binoculars, and more. BDX will even be able to ‘talk’ to Kestrels and Garmins as well as SIG Sauer smart-scopes. This is only the start, over the next year you will see increasing levels of tech becoming available.”

How BDX (Ballistics Data Exchange) Functions — Software and Hardware
How does BDX work? First download the SIG BDX App for Android or iOS. Then pair the KILO BDX rangefinder and SIERRA3BDX riflescope, and set up a basic ballistic profile. Once you are in the field, range your target as you normally would, and the KILO BDX rangefinder will utilize onboard Applied Ballistics Ultralight™ to instantly send your dope to the scope via Bluetooth. Using your basic ballistic profile, the ballistic solution is calculated for your target and will instantly illuminate on the BDX-R1 Digital Ballistic Reticle with windage and elevation holds in the SIERRA3BDX riflescope. A blue LED on the riflescope power selector indicates that the BDX system is paired, and when the reticle has received new ballistic holdover and windage data from the rangefinder.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
May 4th, 2018

Access 10+ Years of Shooting Industry Magazine for FREE

Shooting Industry magazine back issue digital archive gun mag

Looking for some interesting reading material? How about ten-and-a-half years of Shooting Industry Magazine? One hundred twenty-five issues of this popular magazine are available online in Shooting Industry’s digital archives. The latest May 2018 issue was just released. CLICK HERE to read the latest issue, which is available for FREE online (along with all back issues for the past ten years). NOTE: If you have any trouble with the Chrome browser, access the archives with this link using a different browser, such as Firefox: https://shootingindustry.com/digital-version/

Shooting Industry magazine back issue digital archive gun mag

Get Free Digital Magazines, 2008-2018

You can access, for free, ten years of Shooting Industry back issues, plus all the recent 2018 issues. CLICK HERE for the full index of all Shooting Industry back issues for the past decade (2008-2018). The newest issues are at the top, and you can scroll down all the way to 2008. Here are some highlights:

In the September 2017 issue there is an informative article on varmint and predator hunting. This talks about popular equipment for both coyote hunting and prairie-dog safaris.

Shooting Industry magazine back issue digital archive gun mag

And in the January, February, and March 2018 issues you’ll find Shooting Industry New Product Showcases. These monthly, multi-page articles highlight dozens of new rifles and shooting products introduced in recent months.

Shooting Industry magazine back issue digital archive gun mag

The March 2018 issue also has an interesting article on long gun sales trends. As you might expect, there is an over-supply of AR-platform rifles, which has led to deep discounting by some manufacturers. One vendor lamented: “That [MSR] market is flat-lining… the bottom has really dropped out of the market”. Shotguns remain the top home defense choice. In the bolt-action rifle market, 6.5 Creedmoor rigs are hot sellers, with sales of both competition and hunting rifles in this chambering. For the general hunting market, .30 Cals remain popular: .308 Win, .30-06, and big .300-class magnums.

Shooting Industry magazine back issue digital archive gun mag

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May 3rd, 2018

Volquartsen Straight-Pull Summit .22 LR Rifle

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video

Ever shot a straight-pull (aka toggle-link) action rifle? We like these action types, which were developed for Biathlon competitors who needed to shoot fast, but were not allowed to use semi-auto actions. The biathlon-style toggle action features a lever on the side of the action. Pull the lever back with your index figure to open the bolt, then push forward with your finger to close the bolt*. It’s fast and efficient. With some practice, you can cycle the action in a couple of seconds — nearly as fast as a semi-auto.

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video

The Volquartsen Summit .22 LR rifle is based on a concept originally developed by Primary Weapons Systems. Designed for both competition shooting as well as small game hunting, this unique rifle features a straight-pull, toggle-style action with a Ruger 10/22 profile. That means you can run 10/22 magazines, swap into stocks inletted for the 10/22, and even use after-market 10/22 barrels. The CNC-machined receiver features an integral 20 MOA Picatinny Rail. The Magpul stock adjusts for length of pull. Weight is 5.8 pounds, so this is easy to carry in the field.

The Summit features a lightweight carbon fiber-wrapped barrel, threaded 1/2×28 at the muzzle to be suppressor-ready. One of our favorite features on this little rifle is the trigger — which has a light, crisp 1.75-lb pull weight. Watch the video above to see the Summit .22 LR in action. The tester, 22 Plinkster, was impressed with the rifle’s ease of use and accuracy. The Summit delivered a 0.277″ group at 50 yards, shot from the bench.

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video

Tech Analysis of PWS-designed Action as used in Summit

Check out the Summit at NRA Show in Dallas
Volquartsen will have the new Summit straight-pull rifle on display, along with a wide variety of rimfire firearms, at its booth at the NRA Annual Meetings in Dallas this week. The Exhibit Hall opens May 4, 2018. You’ll find Volquartsen at booth #2520.

Big Names at Volquartsen Booth at NRA Show
Volquartsen has invited a number of notable shooters to the NRA Show, including 22Plinkster, who did the video review of the Summit included in this story. Here is the list of celebrity guest appearances at the Volquartsen booth (#2520) this week:

Friday May 4, 2:00 – 3:00 pm — 22Plinkster will be there to discuss all things rimfire. 22Plinkster has a great YouTube channel that boasts over 472,000 suscribers.

Friday May 4, 3:00 – 4:00 pm — Team Volquartsen shooters Cheyenne Dalton and Cole Busch talk about rimfire steel shooting

Saturday May 5, 11:00 – 12:00 pm — Fox News commentator and best-selling author Katie Pavlich will discuss Second Amendment issues.

Saturday May 5, 1:00 – 2:00 pm — Multi-time world champion shooter KC Eusebio will answer questions about action shooting.


* Biathlon shooters cycle their Fortner toggle actions even faster, using their THUMB to close the bolt. This allows them to get the index finger on to the trigger blade faster. The whole process takes maybe a second — as fast as you can say “snick-snick”. To use the thumb effectively, you need a stock with a more vertical pistol grip. The Magpul stock on the Summit moves your thumb a bit too far back to use comfortably to close the lever without shifting the hand.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 2 Comments »
May 1st, 2018

Wind Wizardry for Varminters — Keep the Wind at Your Back

Varmint Hunting varmint safari wind war wagon trailer longmeadow game resort
This impressive war wagon hauls varmint hunters around the Longmeadow Game Resort in Colorado.

When you’re on a varmint expedition in the Western states you can bet, sooner or later, you’ll encounter serious winds. Here’s some advice on how to minimize the effects of cross-winds on your shooting, and easily improve your percentage of hits. In essence, you want to use your ability to change shooting positions and angles to put the wind behind you.

A benchrest or High Power shooter must operate from a designated shooting position. He must stay put and deal with the wind as it moves across the course, from whatever direction it blows. By contrast, a varmint hunter can move around and choose the spot that provides the most favorable wind direction. In most cases you’ll get the best results by moving your shooting position so the wind is at your back. This will minimize horizontal wind drift. Once you’re in position, use wind flags to direct your fire in line with the prevailing winds. A varminter who calls himself “Catshooter” explains:

The String of Death
I remember the first time I was on a dog town in the Conata Basin, in the Badlands area of southwestern South Dakota. Along with two other guys, I drove out for 21 days of shooting, and I never saw wind like that before. If all four tires of our vehicle were on the ground, the weather man said these were “mild wind conditions”.

After the first four or five days, we got smart. We would park the truck on the up-wind side of the town so the wind was at our back. Then we took a piece of string on a 3-foot stick, and set it in front of the shooters, and let the string point at the mounds that we were going to shoot.

For the rest of the trip, we didn’t have to deal with wind drift at all. We just shot the dogs that the string pointed to. We started calling our simple wind pointer the “String of Death”.

We were hitting dogs at distances that I would not repeat here (with benchrest grade rifles). After the first time out, I always took a wind rig like that.

Photos by Chris Long, taken during Chris’s Wyoming Varmint Hunt with Trophy Ridge Outfitters.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
April 24th, 2018

North Dakota Grasslands Prairie Dog Adventure

North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

Adam Scepaniak, of The Guns and Gear Store, has written an interesting story about Prairie Dog Hunting in North Dakota. If a P-Dog safari is on your “bucket list”, you’ll want to read the full story in the Sierra Bullets Blog. Adam provides many tips that can help you plan a successful prairie dog adventure.

Prairie Dog Hunting in North Dakota with Sierra Bullets (Excerpt)
It’s that time of year where lots of men and women point their vehicles westward and try to push the limits of their rifles on prairie dogs. I was a part of this group of people just a few days ago while in northwestern North Dakota. CLICK HERE to Read Full Story.

North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safariLittle Missouri National Grassland
Once my hunting party arrived at the Little Missouri National Grassland in North Dakota we immediately began scouting for prime prairie dog towns. There is a certain amount of strategy involved in choosing a prairie dog town … for several reasons. For one, you should try to always stay “above” the prairie dogs.

Small objects like rocks, cactuses, and prairie vegetation can easily obstruct your view if you’re shooting prone on a level plane. We encountered this in the first small prairie dog town we stopped and shot at. The prairie dog town was very visible while walking and standing, but once we laid down with our rifles on bipods the two-foot prairie grass became a severe obstruction. We shortly moved on because the small town became quick-studies to our shooting.

North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

The second prairie dog town we hunted was at the base of a small ridge with a dried, cattle creek at the bottom. This area offered better shooting opportunities because we were above most of the prairie dog holes, and if we were not above them, a deep ravine separated us from the prairie dogs removing any obstructions from our rifle scopes which was our previous problem. This area had its own disadvantage though because of some other wildlife present. There were approximately fifty head of cattle in our close vicinity grazing, which was to no surprise because many ranchers utilize the National Grassland for grazing. We had to wait for the cattle to leave our area as to not have an incidental hit due to a rare ricochet. As the sun passed over the horizon we decided to return to this spot the next morning, but would change our shooting position to increase our advantage.

This Location Offered a Nice Overlook.
North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

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April 22nd, 2018

The .220 Swift — History of a Great Varmint Cartridge

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

A History of the .220 Swift Cartridge

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading HodgdonThis cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1935 in their model 54 rifle. A year later, it was added as a standard cartridge in the model 70. What might not be common knowledge to some reloaders is that the prototype for the Swift was developed in 1934-35 by Grosvenor Wotkyns by necking down the 250 Savage case, but in the end, Winchester chose the 6mm Lee Navy case for the foundation for this cartridge.

This cartridge was far ahead of its time and for that reason it received a lot of bad press. We’ve all read the horror stories through the years. Many of those stories were just simply repeated from previous articles even the wording was just slightly different. So how bad was the Swift? Let’s take a deeper look.

Some of the early Swifts had soft barrel steel and some of the rare ones even had barrels that were .223 in bore size. This stemmed from the fact that the .22 Hornets prior to the end of World War II were .223 in bore size and some of these barrels were chambered in the Swift. It was rumored that the Swift peaked in pressure far too quick. I’ll bet they did with a turkey extra full choke barrel.

Burn rates of powders were limited at that time as well, so the Swift was limited in its true ability due to that. It was almost like building a funny car for drag racing when only kerosene was available.

One of the longest lasting black eyes was that it shot barrels out so fast. If you get the barrel branding iron hot and fail to clean it often this can happen. Common sense will go a long ways here. Keep the barrel as cool as you can and properly clean it every fifteen rounds or less will go a long way to improving accuracy life of a Swift.

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

So what is the real truth about this cartridge? I’m glad you ask. I’ve been shooting the .220 Swift for over 43 years now. It is one of the best varmint cartridges I’ve ever owned. It is not hard to load for, it doesn’t suddenly peak in pressure and it isn’t the barrel burner that you’ve heard. Hodgdon powders once reported a Remington 40-X with over 3,000 rounds of full power loads averaged .344” for five, 5-shot groups. My findings have been the same. It isn’t as hard on barrels as it has been made out to be.

I’ve also read that down loading it slightly will help in barrel life. This is true, but if you buy a thoroughbred you want him to run. Barrels are threaded on the end for a reason. If you have enough fun to shoot out a Swift barrel, just rebarrel it.

The bottom line is enjoy the .220 Swift for what it was meant to be. The popularity of the Swift has slipped in the last twenty years and few factory rifles are now available in this caliber. There is no reason for this and I know the Swift will always have a strong and loyal following.

Sierra Bullets 220 Swift Cartridge Guide

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
April 13th, 2018

Forum Member Carves Superb Maple Hunting Stock

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota
Believe it or not, this is the first stock Brett M. carved by hand. We’d say he did a darn good job!

AccurateShooter Forum member Brett M. from Minnesota (aka Spitfire_er) recently completed a handsome laminated maple gunstock. This beauty wasn’t produced with a stock duplicator. It was made the old-fashioned way — by hand. After laminating three sections, Brett carved the complete stock with hand tools. You can see the entire carving process, start to finish, in Brett’s time lapse video.

MUST-SEE time-lapse carving video. Every second is one minute in real time. This 15:54 video shows 15.9 hours of carving! Brett says the whole job took nearly 20 hours:

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett MinnesotaHandsome Maple Blank Was Lumber Yard Return!
Brett reports: “Here’s a stock I carved up over the past year or so. I found this wood as a return at a lumber yard about 7-8 years ago. I asked the guy in the yard about it and he said it had been returned because it had too much figure for the job the customer was working on. First thing I thought was “That would make a nice stock!” I finally got around to finishing it a couple months ago.

I fit it around a 1917 Enfield in .338 WM that I purchased a while back. I usually do all the work on the receiver and barrel, but this one was done up in an OK fashion already.

This stock was almost completely made using hand tools over the course of about a year. This is a piece of laminated 1x8x1″ maple that was glued together. After it sat for about eight years, I finally got around to carving it up. This stock design/shape was from my own ideas and was carved as I went along. It turned out pretty good.”

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
April 10th, 2018

How Hunters Aid Wildlife and the Environment

Hunting facts conservation NSSF infographics

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has developed a series of infographics to help the public, particularly non-hunters, better understand hunting and hunters. According to the NSSF, nearly 80 percent of today’s population approves of legal hunting, yet misunderstanding of hunting and hunters persists. These NSSF infographics help explain how wildlife is strategically managed with regulations, seasons and permit rules, all with hunters’ support. Hunters also directly support land preservation via programs financed through licensing fees and firearms excise taxes.

Hunting facts conservation NSSF infographics

By ensuring sustainability of species, hunters help the continuing health and vitality of the natural world. To help illustrate this, NSSF spotlights things “You may be Surprised to know about hunting,” highlighted in these informative infographics. Click the graphics below to learn more about each topic.


View Full Image | Printable Version

View Full Image | Printable Version


View Full Image | Printable Version

View Full Image | Printable Version

How Wildlife Is Thriving Because of Guns and Hunting from NSSF on Vimeo.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
April 9th, 2018

Shooting Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

Norway Hunting Snow

Thomas Haugland, a Shooters’ Forum member from Norway, is a long-range target shooter and hunter. He has created an interesting video showing how to gauge wind velocities by watching trees, grass, and other natural vegetation. The video commentary is in English, but the units of wind speed (and distance) are metric. Haugland explains: “This is not a full tutorial, but rather a short heads-up to make you draw the lines between the dots yourself”. Here are some conversions that will help when watching the video:

.5 m/s = 1.1 mph | 1 m/s = 2.2 mph | 2 m/s = 4.5 mph
3 m/s = 6.7 mph | 4 m/s = 8.9 mph | 5 m/s =11.2 mph

More Interesting Videos from Norway
There are many other interesting videos on Haugland’s YouTube Channel, including Game Stalking, Precision Reloading, Shooting Fundamentals and Tips on how to use a Mildot Reticle on a scope with MOA-based clicks.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
April 8th, 2018

Leupold Offers Free Podcasts on Hunting and Shooting

Leupold Stevens Core Insider Podcast audio hunting shooting radio show

At a time when we are surrounded with live video of all sorts, it’s remarkable that on-demand audio broadcasts (aka “podcasts”) are increasing in popularity. A podcast is like a radio show that is available 24/7, at your convenience. These days, you can download free podcasts on a vast variety of subject areas, including precision shooting and hunting.

CLICK HERE for All Leupold Core Insider Podcasts »

One of the newest gun-oriented podcasts comes from optics-maker Leupold & Stevens (“Leupold). Oregon-based Leupold recently launched its “Core Insider” podcast series. These podcasts will deliver optics info, industry intel, tech tips, hunting advice, and tactical training guidance. Leupold’s Core Insider podcasts stream via iTunes and Spotify, and can also be accessed directly from Leupold.com. From the Leupold Podcast Home Page, you can either stream the podcasts live or download for later listening.

Premiering at SHOT Show 2018, the Leupold Core Insider covers a wide variety of shooting and hunting topics. On episode features Leupold team members Kyle Lamb and Buck Doyle discussing long-range shooting, while another episode covers the latest predator hunting tactics.

Here’s Episode 2, Long-Range Shooting. Click image to launch Leupold Ep. 2 Podcast Page:

Leupold Stevens Core Insider Podcast audio hunting shooting radio show

Among the regular Core Insider Podcast hosts is Leupold’s president and CEO, Bruce Pettet. “Our consumers are some of the most dedicated hunters and shooters in this industry – just like so many Leupold team members, both here in Oregon and across the nation,” Pettet said. “We want to reach out to our audience directly and deliver the kind of content they’ve been asking for…”

There are eight current Leupold Core Insider Podcasts. Click links below to access:

Leupold Stevens Core Insider Podcast audio hunting shooting radio showEpisode 1: Epic (Hunting) Moments with Fred Eichler
Episode 2: Long Range Shooting with Kyly Lamb and Buck Doyle
Episode 3: Emerging Trends with Randy Newberg
Episode 4: Understanding Whitetail with the Drurys
Episode 5: Welcome to the Core — Tim Kennedy
Episode 6: Trendsetters — Women Who Hunt
Episode 7: Predator Hunting with Jeff Thomason
Episode 8: Relentless Determination — Battlefield to Business

Access Leupold Core Insider podcasts from iTunes or Spotify. You can also get Core Insider podcasts on Leupold.com. Core Insider videos can be found at YouTube.com/LeupoldOptics.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics No Comments »
April 5th, 2018

Hickory Groundhog Shoot In North Carolina This Weekend

hickory groundhog shoot vail north carolina larry willis

The Hickory Groundhog and Egg Shoot, the richest varmint shoot East of the Mississippi, is just two days away. Now in its 38th year, the popular Hickory Shoot will be held this Saturday, April 7, 2018 starting at 8:00 am. The event is hosted the first Saturday of April each year by Larry Willis of Bull’s Eye Sporting Goods, (704) 462-1948. The basic entry fee is just $25.00 per gun. That’s cheap for a chance to win a bundle of cash, plus valuable prizes such as Shehane stocks and Nightforce optics.

The Hickory Groundhog and Egg Shoot is the best event of its kind in the Southeast. Yes, conditions can be challenging (with mirage and switchy winds), but you can win big. In years past over $7,000 worth of prizes and cash has been awarded. Shooters can also compete in an Egg Shoot for cash and other prizes. The event is held near Hickory, North Carolina.

hickory groundhog shoot vail north carolina larry willis

Hickory Shoot Course of Fire
The normal course of fire consists of three sets of paper groundhog targets at 100, 300, and 500 yards, and NO Sighters. They do have a bench for handicapped shooters that can not get down in the prone position. Most competitors will shoot at the head at 100 yards because the points are higher. At the longer distances, 300 yards and 500 yards, most shooters go for body shots on the paper groundhog target. The Hickory employs “worst-edge” scoring, meaning if you cut a scoring line you get the next lower score.

Anatomy of a Hickory-Winning Rig — Brady’s Record-Setting 6BR
If you wonder what kind of rifle can win the big money at the Hickory Shoot, have a look at Terry Brady’s 42-lb 6BR. In 2010, Terry won the Custom Class in the Hickory Shoot, setting an all-time record with a 99 score. Terry was shooting a straight 6mmBR rifle, purpose-built for Groundhog shoots, which have no weight limit in Custom Class. The fiberglass Shehane Tracker stock was stuffed with lead shot from stem to stern, so that the gun weighs nearly 42 pounds with optics.

hickory groundhog shoot vail north carolina larry willis

Hickory groundhog shoot groundhogRelays Run Like Clock-Work
The shoot is run very smoothly, with one relay shooting while the next relay waits outside the shooting area, ready to go. Once a relay is done, shooters grab their items and exit on one end of the shooting platform while the next relay comes in from the other end. The relays move through in rapid succession.

You must quickly set up and get ready because as soon as the target pullers get back they are ready to shoot. When the fire command is given you have two minutes to get your three shots off at that distance. When the cease fire is called you quickly grab your gear and get off the shooting platform because the next relay is coming in.

How to Get to the Hickory Shoot

Permalink Competition, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
April 4th, 2018

“Left-Coast Compliant” Bullpup from KelTec — Clever Design

KelTec RDB-C bullpup rifle .223 Rem 6.5 Grendel

KelTec offers a semi-auto bullpup rifle which it claims is “Left Coast Compliant”. Presumably, this “featureless” rifle can be sold in California because it does not have a pistol grip, or other “evil” features disfavored by gun-phobic California politicians. This rig, the KelTec RDB-C “Hunter”, has been offered in .223 Remington and 6.5 Grendel*.

We actually like the looks of the new KelTec RDB-C, which was first introduced in 2016. The ergonomics seem sensible, and this rifle should be easy to stow and transport. KelTec also says that the cartridge ejection system is user-friendly: “[The] downward shell ejection system eliminates the side ejection disadvantage of ordinary bullpups. The result is brass and gas that eject out of your line of sight making it a truly ambidextrous, high performance rifle for everyone.”

KelTec also includes a gas pressure control with the RDB-C. This lets you control the cycling rate to suit different types of ammo. That’s smart. KelTec explains: “The RDB is also adjustable for a wide variety of ammunition and makes for an excellent suppressor host.”

KelTec RDB-C bullpup rifle .223 Rem 6.5 Grendel

KelTec RDB-C bullpup rifle .223 Rem 6.5 Grendel

6.5 Grendel Version Tested in 2016
*When the RDB-C rifle was introduced in 2016, KelTec listed 6.5 Grendel as a chambering, along with .223 Rem. One YouTube video shows a 6.5 Grendel RDB-C reviewed and then test-fired. Watch video at 14:00 time-mark. However, this 6.5 Grendel chambering is NOT currently listed on KelTec’s website.

KelTec RDB-C bullpup rifle .223 Rem 6.5 Grendel

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 4 Comments »
April 3rd, 2018

Doom to Small Varmints — 2000 Rounds of 17 HMR for $339.00

Bulk 17 HMR ammo deal

For blastin’ small varmints (such as ground squirrels) out to 200 yards or so, it is hard to beat the little 17 HMR rimfire cartridge. Yes there are much more powerful centerfire varmint rounds, and the newer 17 WSM rimfire offers more velocity, but the 17 HMR offers a winning combination of accuracy and affordability, plus there are many excellent 17 HMR factory rifles with a variety of stock options. We like the Savage A17 with thumbhole stock. Volquartsen also makes fine 17 HMR rigs, including this rifle belonging to Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann. Dustin says this rig has shot half-MOA groups at 100 yards with CCI A17 ammunition.

Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR varmint Rifle

For Those Serious Varmint Safaris — 2000 Rounds of 17 HMR
Fans of the 17 HMR who shoot a lot of rounds during varmint season should rejoice at this latest offer from Midsouth Shooters Supply — 2000 rounds of Hornady 17 HMR V-Max for $339.00. That’s a very good deal that works out to $8.47 per 50-round box. This Hornady ammo typically sells for about $11-$12 per box ($11.69 at MidwayUSA), so you can see this is a very attractive offer. 2000 rounds may seem like a lot, but we’ve shot up to 400 rounds in a single afternoon on a West Coast Squirrel Safari.

Bulk 17 HMR ammo deal

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »