A while back, John Siebel, creator of the Varmints for Fun website, put together a 6-6.5×47 Varminter with a Lilja 10-twist barrel and BAT RBRP three-lug action. Richard Franklin smithed the gun using a Model 10 Varminter stock, one of Richard’s own stock designs.
Varmint Loads with 75gr and 87gr V-Maxs
Our Forum readers have asked for recommended 6-6.5×47 Lapua loads for the lighter bullets. Well, John has some useful load data that should provide excellent starting points for 75gr and 87gr projectiles. John writes: “The 75s and 87s will be my main groundpig/varmint rounds. I have worked up loads for all of them but I need to work on the 95s to fine tune them for the egg shoot. I used CCI 450 primers for all loads. They have shown to reduce ES greatly. This case has a small primer pocket and I reasoned with the slower burning powders I wanted to get my velocity as high as possible. I had plenty of H414 and N550 … so that’s what I tried. Velocities and case fullness seemed to be pretty dang good.”
John favored Vihtavuori N550 for the 75 V-Max, while H414 was his powder of choice for the 87gr V-Max. John found these two powders offered near 100% fill density. There are other good powder choices for these bullets. For pure accuracy, you may want to try the 80gr Berger Varmint bullet — it has shot superbly in our 6BRs.
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Barrett Firearms Mfg., famed for its big .50-cal sniper rifles, just introduced a new line of ultra-light hunting rifles. Barrett’s new Fieldcraft rifles feature carbon/Kevlar stocks and light-contour barrels. First unveiled at the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville this weekend, Barrett’s new Fieldcraft rifles are expected to go on sale in the fall of 2016.
So why is Barrett now building ultralight rifles, the “polar opposite” of a 32-pound Model 82A1? The answer is that many of Barrett’s top execs are avid hunters, and they wanted a rifle that was accurate, yet easy to carry in the field. Company President Chris Barrett explained: “Even though we are known for making the world’s finest military-grade rifles, we love to hunt. Recently we introduced the Barrett Sovereign shotgun line, and now we have created the ultimate hunting rifle.” All the new Fieldcrafts are designed to be as light as possible for each specific caliber. The goal is to allow the rifle to be carried further and longer in the field.
Fieldcraft actions are scaled for each family of chamberings. The high-precision stainless steel barrels are machined to ideal contours and lengths for the specific application and caliber. Initial Fieldcraft rifles will be available in select, popular chamberings and will include left-hand models. In the future, Barrett plans to offer additional calibers and configurations.
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If your local shooting club wants to attract new members, and provide a new form of competition, consider starting a series of groundhog (varmint) matches. These can employ paper targets, metal silhouette-style targets, or both. Groundhog matches are fun events with straight-forward rules and simple scoring. You don’t need to bring windflags or load at the range, so a Groundhog match is more “laid back” than a registered Benchrest match. Normally there will be three or four rifle classes, so you can compete with a “box-stock” factory gun, or a fancy custom, as you prefer. Many clubs limit the caliber or cartridge size allowed in varmint matches, but that’s just to protect reactive targets and keep ammo costs down. In this article, Gene F. (aka “TenRing” in our Forum), provides a basic intro to Groundhog matches, East-Coast style.
Groundhog Matches Are Growing in Popularity
Though Groundhog matches are very popular in many parts of the country, particularly on the east coast, I’ve found that many otherwise knowledgeable “gun guys” don’t know much about this form of competition. A while back, I ordered custom bullets from a small Midwest bullet-maker. He asked what type of competition the bullets would be used for, and I told him “groundhog shoots”. He had not heard of these. It occurs to me that perhaps many others are unfamiliar with this discipline.
Groundhog matches have grown rapidly in popularity. There are numerous clubs hosting them in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, as well as other venues. They are usually open to the public. Most Eastern clubs have five to twenty cement benches, and overhead roofs. At this time, there is no central source for match schedules. If you’re interested in going to a groundhog match, post a query in the AccurateShooter Forum Competition Section, and you should get some info on nearby opportunities.
How Matches Are Run — Course of Fire and Scoring
Unlike NRA High Power Matches, there is no nationwide set of standard rules for Groundhog matches. Each club has their own rules, but the basics are pretty similar from club to club. Paper groundhog targets are set at multiple distances. There are normally three yardages in the match. Some clubs place targets at 100, 200, and 300 yards. Other clubs set them at 200, 300, or 400 yards. At my club in Shippensburg, PA, our targets are placed at 200, 300 and 500 meters.
The goal is to score the highest total. The paper targets have concentric scoring rings. The smallest ring is normally worth ten points while the large ring is worth five points. The course of fire varies among the various clubs. Most clubs allow unlimited sighters and five shots on the record target in a given time period. Only those five shots on the scoring rings are counted, so that with three yardages, a perfect score would be 150 points. Tie breakers may be determined by total number of dead center or “X” strikes; or, by smallest group at the farthest distance.
Types of Rifles Used at Groundhog Matches
The same benchrest rigs found at IBS and NBRSA matches can be utilized (though these will typically be put in a ‘custom’ class). Though equipment classes vary from club to club, it is common to separate the hardware into four or five classes. Typical firearm classes can include: factory rifle; deer hunter; light varmint custom (usually a limit of 17 lbs.with scope); and heavy varmint custom (weight unlimited). Some clubs allow barrel tuners, others do not. Scope selection is usually unlimited; however, some restrict hunter class rifle scopes to 20 power. Factory rifles usually cannot be altered in any way.
Good, Simple Fun Shooting — Why Groundhog Shoots Are Popular
Forum member Danny Reever explains the appeal of groundhog matches: “We don’t have a governing organization, or have to pay $50 a year membership just to compete in matches. Sure the rules vary from club to club, but you adapt. If you don’t like one club’s rules, you just don’t shoot there. It’s no big deal.
There are no National records, or Hall of Fame points — just individual range records. If you want to shoot in BIG matches (with big prizes), there is the Hickory Ground Hog Shoot among others. If competition isn’t your bag, many clubs offer mid-week fun matches that you can shoot just for fun. You shoot the same targets but with a more relaxed atmosphere with no time limits.
The best part is you don’t have to shoot perfect at every yardage. You always have a chance because in this sport it really isn’t over until the last shot is fired. Typically ALL the entry money goes to the host club, with much of the cash returned back to the shooters via prizes. Junior shooters often shoot for free, or at a reduced rate. The low entry cost also encourages young guys to get involved who don’t have $4000 custom rifles or the money to buy them.
There isn’t a sea of wind flags to shoot over or to put up and take down. If the range has a couple of flags so much the better, but after all it is a varmint match. No pits to spot shots and slow things down either. If you can’t see your hits through your rifle scope or spotting scope well you are in the same boat as everybody else. That’s what makes it interesting/ sometimes frustrating!
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Never 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 2:00 Time-Mark in Video:
NOTE: This video actually covers three sequences: 1) Three-gun training; 2) Prairie Dog Hunting; and 3) Coyote Hunting. We’ve embedded the video so it plays back the Prairie Dog segment from 2:00 to 15:15. If you wish, you can slide the controls forward or back to watch the other segments.
Video found by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Will you be heading to the varmint fields this summer? Proper planning is key to a safe, satisfying, and productive varmint holiday. Of course you’ll be busy reloading, but you should make a check-list of all the gear and supplies you need. Bring a variety of rifles if possible — you’ll need to switch off as one barrel gets hot, and the chambering that works best for your close shots may not be ideal for those longer shots out past 400 yards. Here are some tips from our Forum members that can help you shoot more effectively, and avoid problems on your varmint hunt. Here’s one key tip: at your shooting station, put a strip of surveyor’s tape on a tall stake to show the wind direction. Then shoot in the direction the wind blows. This will minimize the effect of cross-winds.
From PatchHound: “The gear you bring will make or break a trip out to Prairie Dog land. A lot has to do with where you going and how far you are from [civilization]. For starters, bring lots of water. It will be hot in Wyoming in a few more weeks but it don’t hurt to bring warm clothes in case it snows. It’s best to wear leather boots unless you’re real good at dodging cactus while walking around. Good sunsceen will save the day too. [What you need to bring] really depends on whether you’re shooting on some friendly ranch or 100 miles in the middle of [a wilderness area]. Good survival gear is a good thing to have for the latter!”
From Stoner25mkiv: “I’d suggest an adjustable bipod if you are going to do any walking. A laser rangefinder is a huge asset. Have a fanny pack or backpack for extra ammo, water, bore-snake, etc. when you go on your walkabouts. We also take a couple pivoting benches, heavy movers’ pad/blanket, sandbags (Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag) for shooting from near the vehicle. Boonie hat for blocking the sun, sun glasses, sunscreen. High leather boots.
Anyway, on to the rifles…consider bringing a 17 HMR, .223 Ackley bolt gun, .223 Ackley AR, and a 243 WSSM. Some years the 17 HMR isn’t removed from its case. We had a couple windless days and the 17 was lots of fun. I’d walk into the dogtown and then lay down and wait. After five minutes or so I’d have dogs within easy rimfire range, and out to as far as I’d care to stretch the rimfire. 275 yards was about it.”
From CTShooter: “The .204 [Ruger] is a laser beam and good to 400 yards easy. Forget the rimfire! Do you have a portable bench that pivots? Bring bipod, binocs. Bring a LOT of water. I have a milspec sniper shooter’s mat/drag bag with shoulder straps. It is good to carry everything when you want to wander off and shoot prone with bipod. Here’s a view through my 6BR in ND.”
From RJinTexas: “In most of the locations that we’ll be shooting we’ll usually set up a minimum of 200 yards from the edge of a major dog town. We’ll start by working over the close-in dogs and shooting our way out, some of these towns may run in excess of 500/600 yards deep. I believe that a rimfire will put you at a distinct disadvantage. The only rimfire that will somewhat work is the 17 HMR and you can reload for your 204s for close to the cost of HMR ammo and you’ll be less apt to be under-gunned. Your 204 will work well out to 300/400 yards unless the wind is blowing hard. We classify a 10-mph crosswind as a very calm day and what makes it a little more challenging is that it is usually also gusting. I only took my 17 HMR once, I’ve since even quit taking my 17 Mach IV because when the wind blows hard it range is limited to around 200 yards. Gusting wind will play havoc with 25gr pills.”
From Wes (P1ZombieKiller): “[For my first PD trip] there are so many things I was not ready for. The one thing that I did bring (that no one told me about) was a canopy. I’m glad I did. Even though the weather was [near perfect], I know that sun can humble you real fast. With my pop-up canopy, I could shoot all day without getting killed by the sun. You had to tie the canopy down real well or the wind would blow it across the pasture.
We sat on shooting benches that pivot 360°, and are fast and easy to set up. Most all shots were 175-250 yards. I just felt comfortable at that range. It was more fun for me to be able to film the hits, and the camcorder I was using just did not get good video past 350 yards. The digital zoom distorted the image too much. I knew I would only get this one chance to film my first P-dog outing, and I wanted to get it on film for [posterity].” To learn more about P1’s first Prairie Dog Trip, visit his Website.
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Here are some great rifle-centric landscape images courtesy of Nightforce Optics. Perhaps these “gunscapes” will encourage you to grab your rifle and head out into the woods this weekend. These images are part of an ongoing series of rifle photos posted on the Nightforce Facebook page. Can you identify the optics, and any of the locations? To see a full-screen version of each image, just click on any photo, and a larger version will load.
CLICK Any Image for Larger View
This is NOT a Photoshop job — that’s the actual view through a Nightforce scope of a deer. Photographer (and rifle-owner) Brandon F. says: “Ya’ll might enjoy this picture of a Fort Hood white tail… 400m away.”
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St. Thomas Groundhog Shoot, Report by Jonathan Trivette
Nestled at the base of a mountain in south-central Pennsylvania is the St. Thomas Sportsmen’s Association. On a cool Saturday morning you’ll find some of the area’s best shooters at the monthly Groundhog Match. The match attracts shooters from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and of course Pennsylvania.
It may not be the longest-yardage match in the area, but it can be the one of the toughest. The range is sloped up the mountain a little so the winds can be very tricky. Often times the three wind flags at 200, 300, and 400 yards will all be blowing in different directions.
A Class for Everyone
St. Thomas’s Groundhog match has five different classes: Heavy (Unlimited) Custom, Light Custom, Heavy Sporter, Light Factory Sporter, and an AR Class. The Heavy Custom is any gun over 17 pounds while Light Custom is any gun up to 17 pounds. The Heavy Sporter is any factory gun that has a heavy/varmint barrel on it. The Sporter class is any factory rifle that has a light profile barrel on it. And the AR class is any AR style rifle. CLICK HERE for Match Rules.
Groundhog Match Format
Signups start at around 7:00 am the day of the match. During sign-up you’ll choose a bench from the 20 available benches. The cost is $15 per gun and you can shoot as many guns as you would like. I’ve shot as many as four different guns but that makes for a busy day. For the Heavy Custom and Light Custom you will shoot 5 shots for score at 200, 300, and 400 yards. In the Heavy Sporter class you will shoot 5 shots for score at 100, 200, and 300 yards. In the Sporter and AR class you will shoot 3 shots for score at 100, 200, and 300 yards.
The Targets feature a groundhog with scoring rings on the left side and 5 practice rings on the right side. Shooters get as many practice shots as they want, subject to a time limit. The three relays run 6 minutes, 6 minutes and 9 minutes respectively.
The match is very well-organized yet has a “laid-back” feel. The first relay starts at 9:00 am and the match is usually over around 1:30 pm. There’s a covered picnic table area for socializing with fellow shooters while waiting on your relay. They have doughnuts and coffee in the morning and usually have some very good chili and hot dogs (for lunch) in the concessions area.
Groundhog Match Results April 16, 2016
On Saturday the weather was perfect and conditions were very good early on. However, by the time the last relay rolled around, mirage made it difficult to see. Ben Brubaker obviously had less trouble than most finishing 1st (143.02) and 2nd (143.02) in the Heavy Custom Class and 1st (144.04) and 3rd (142.04)in the Light Custom class using a 6mm Dasher in both classes. Bob Daron won the Heavy Sporter class with a score of 144.04 followed by Fred Kaminsky with a 142.06. Sporter class proved to be a family affair, with the Bollinger brothers, Glenn (87.01) and Bob (83.02) finishing first and second. We had one junior shooter on Saturday, 7-year-old Lydia Funk. The talented yound lady shot a 68 in Sporter class with her .223 Rem.
You may have missed the first Groundhog Shoot of the year, but there are several other chances for you to get out and test your skills against some of the best shooters in the region. St. Thomas Sportsmen’s Assn. has one shoot a month until October on the second Saturday of each month. Don’t think you have to be a professional shooter to come to these matches. Take it from me as I started shooting these matches about five years ago with a $270 Savage sitting on top of homemade sand bags. The guys here are great to shoot with and are always willing to help out a fellow shooter. They made me feel right at home and always helped me when I have any questions. I started doing this to become a better shooter for deer hunting. I continue to do it because I fell in love with the sport. So if you are looking for something to do on the second Saturday of the month come out and test your shooting skills and enjoy the fellowship of like-minded shooters.
CREDIT: We want to thank Jonathan Trivette for supplying this story and the photos. We welcome reader submissions such as this.
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Varminter.com recently released a First Hunt Report on the new Savage A17 rifle. Savage’s new semi-auto .17 HMR has caused quite a stir. Accurate and affordable, the Savage A17 is also the first .17 HMR to feature a delayed blow-back action. We think the A17 may be the most important new rimfire rifle of 2015, so we were pleased to see that Eric Mayer, Editor of Varminter.com, put the new semi-auto Savage through its paces.
Mayer wanted to see how the new Savage would perform, accuracy-wise, and he also wanted to see how the A17 fared in the field. Mayer achieved one-MOA accuracy with the Savage A17 using the latest CCI-brand ammo, and he demonstrated the A17 is wickedly effective on ground squirrels. Below we’ve provided highlights from Varminter.com’s Savage A17 First Hunt Report.
On Saturday, April 16, the American Suppressor Association (ASA), in partnership with Brownells, will host the Iowa Suppressor Rally, a public suppressor shoot at the Big Springs Shooting Complex near Searsboro, Iowa. The event will celebrate the enactment of Iowa House File 2279, which legalized firearm suppressors in Iowa on March 31st. Rally organizers will provide all firearms, ammunition, and, of course, suppressors.
The rally is free and open to the public. All guns and ammo will be provided at the rally; attendees are asked to leave personal firearms at home or in their vehicles. The Rally will allow Iowans to sample firearms equipped with suppressors from Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC), Dakota Silencer, Gemtech, Sig Sauer, Silencerco, and Yankee Hill Machine.
“After three years of hard work alongside the Iowa Firearms Coalition and the NRA, Iowans will finally be able to use suppressors to protect their hearing while enjoying the shooting sports,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the ASA. “This rally [will] show the people of Iowa why we have all fought so hard to legalize suppressors in The Hawkeye State.”
“Iowans can now enjoy the same freedom as those in many other states and countries,” said Brownells CEO Pete Brownell. “I suffer from hearing loss myself. Being able to dampen the noise associated with firearms will help protect the hearing of all Iowans who shoot, including future generations of Iowa gun owners.”
Suppressors (obtained in accordance with Federal law) are now legal to own in the vast majority of American States. CLICK HERE to learn more about obtaining a suppressor.
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McMillan Fiberglass Stocks has unveiled some interesting new Spring offerings. First, McMillan now offers some really cool “Transition” camouflage finishes for hunting and tactical stocks. These Transition Camo Paint Finishes are handsome, distinctive, and very effective in the field. In addition, McMillan is adding three new hunting and sporting stocks to its collection of fiberglass rifle stocks.
Transition Camo Series Paint Finish
The Transition Camo Series, McMillan’s newest paint finish, mimics the spray patterns favored by tactical marksmen and hunters. The highly-durable paint McMillan uses provides an industrial-grade, non-slip pebble finish similar to that found on power tools and industrial equipment. This tough, durable polyurethane paint is suitable for harsh conditions. The Transition Camo Series is currently available in three (3) color combos: Woodland Transition, Desert Transition, and GAP Transition.
McMillan New-for-2016 Hunting and Sporting Stocks
Game Warden / Adjustable Game Warden
The Game Warden stock shares the same streamlined design and A-3 vertical pistol grip as McMillan’s popular Game Scout rifle stock, but the new stock features a larger fore-end which accepts larger contour barrels up to a #8. This is an ambidextrous stock which can be inletted for Remington type and Sako right-hand and left-hand actions. The stock is available with a fixed comb or with either of the optional integral cheekpieces. The Adjustable Game Warden accepts only Remington type actions.
The Game Hunter stock combines the most popular features of McMillan’s hunting and sporting stocks and fits Remington-type actions. The stock has a high, Monte Carlo-style cheekpiece similar to the McMillan Hunter stock and an A-3 vertical pistol grip from McMillan’s popular Game Scout stock. The Game Hunter’s fore-end accommodates large contour barrels up to #8. The higher cheek comb allows for the use of scopes with larger diameter objectives. Available in right-hand only.
Game Scout X-Bolt
The Game Scout has been McMillan’s #1 selling hunting stock for two years running. McMillan’s new Game Scout X-Bolt is the only aftermarket stock made for the Browning X-Bolt action and its unique floorplate. This X-Bolt Game Scout is available for both short and long actions and can accommodate barrels up to a #5 contour.
About McMillan Fiberglass Stocks
McMillan stocks carry a lifetime warranty and are manufactured in the United States. McMillan Fiberglass Stocks is a leading manufacturer of premium custom fiberglass stocks for hunting, competition, tactical, and OEM markets. McMillan is located in Phoenix, Arizona. For more info, visit www.mcmillanusa.com or call 877-365-6148.
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Ever find yourself sitting in an airport, bored out of your gourd? Well here’s how to make good use of your time — listen to a gun-centric Podcast. There are a number of interesting Podcasts for shooters and firearms fans. A Podcast is like an old-fashioned radio show, but delivered over the internet. You can listen “live” or save the Podcast file for later review. That’s great when you’re on an airplane and don’t have a web connection. Download some Podcasts to your smartphone before you get to the airport and then you can play them back during your flight.
Our friends at the NRA Blog have researched Podcasts for fans of the shooting sports. It turns out that Podcasts are more popular than ever: “The Great Podcast Renaissance is upon us! Podcasts have been around for about 10 years now. It’s easier now than ever for anyone and everyone to make their own podcast, which is why the number of podcasts and variety of show topics have greatly increased.”
The Gun Girl Radio Podcast is hosted by our friends Julie Golob and Randi Rogers, both top action shooting competitors. Julie served with the U.S. Army before embarking on her professional shooting career. Randi has been a champion in various shooting disciplines including Cowboy Action and 3-Gun.
2. The Firearms Radio Network
With more than a dozen different podcasts, the Firearms Radio Network (FRN) offers a large range of audio programming. Whether you’re a tactical shooter, or a handgunner, or a hunter, you’ll find something of interest. This network also offers a regular podcast dedicated to hand-loading. Here are some of our favorite FRN podcasts:
3. Tom Gresham’s GunTalk
Tom Gresham’s GunTalk is the only nationally-syndicated radio talk show about firearms, shooting and gun rights. It is available as a live radio broadcast as well as recorded podcasts. Each week Tom host notable guests from the firearms industry and shooting sports.
4. Hunt Talk Radio
Randy Newberg’s Hunt Talk Radio covers hunting politics, access to public lands, and conservation topics. Expert hunters and guides join Randy each week, sharing their field skills and stalking tips.
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There’s a chap in New Zealand who has produced some of the most valuable (and well-researched) books on hunting you can buy. Nathan Foster’s Long Range Hunting series of books is a gold mine for rifle shooters seeking verified, first-hand knowledge of the performance of hunting cartridges, plus expert “how-to” advice on field skills, stalking, marksmanship, and ballistics.
Right now, Foster’s company, Terminal Ballistics Research (TBR), is offering Easter Special discounts on its most popular book titles. For starters, as a Easter weekend promotion, you can get 15% off the Practical Guide To Long Range Shooting in paperback or eBook format. This book is chock-full of information that will benefit competition marksmen as well as long-range hunters. You’ll find good advice on use of BDC and Mil-dot reticles, plus extensive sections on ballistics.
Other TBR books by Nathan Foster are on sale as well:
Improve Your Hit Ratio by Using Wing Flags
It’s not unusual for varmint hunters to invest $3,000.00 in a custom rifle, pay thousands more for spotting scope and laser rangefinder, and spend countless hours loading ultra-precise ammo. Yet, when they head off to the prairie dog fields, they’ll omit an essential piece of gear that can make the difference between a hit and a miss.
We’re talking about windflags. Many casual shooters, varmint hunters, and even some “tactical” shooters disdain windflags as gadgets suited only for the accuracy-obsessed benchrest crowd. In fact, windflags are just as important for the varminter as for the benchrest competitor. You may think that you can easily notice a major wind shift. But consider this, a change from a light 2.5 mph left breeze to a 2.5 mph right is a 5 mile per hour switch. That is enough to make you miss a prairie dog even at just 200 yards.
Here’s a chart that shows the effect of a 5 mph full-value (i.e. 90-degree) wind change at various distances. The values assume a typical .250 G1 BC varmint bullet launched at 3500 fps at a 3″-wide critter (center hold).
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on windflags. Even a bit of surveyors’ tape on a post is better than nothing. A simple windflag, placed at your shooting station, helps minimize the effect of cross-winds. If you align your shooting position so the breeze is at your back you can shoot with greater confidence even in high winds. Watch the way the windflag blows, and shoot at the dog mounds that are directly downwind.
Our friend Boyd Allen offers another tip: “When you go varminting, be sure to bring some kind of portable target stand. Accuracy or zero problems are much easier to diagnose and remedy if you can set up a target at 100 yards. A simple wood, A-Frame design, hinged at the top, works well, stores flat, and is easy to build.”
Looking for a very high-quality hunting scope that won’t break the bank? The German-crafted Zeiss Conquest DL has won many awards, yet it’s half the cost of super-premium European brands. For general performance, durability, and glass quality, many experts say the Conquest DL sets the “benchmark” for the “upper middle” end of riflescopes. Here is a very revealing review of the Conquest DL by British lady hunter Ginny Langton.
Ginny explains: “Even when the visibility has been bad, early in the morning, very cloudy and a bit foggy, the image is really clear and really bright… which has made for a much easier and clearer shot for me. I have found that using the [ASV bullet drop compensator] even when it’s bitterly cold is really straight-forward. Even when you’re fumbling around with gloves on, it’s very easy to find the buttons and the functionality of the scope is very, very good. The great thing about the DL scope is its versatility — I could use this scope all over the world.”
In a recent comparison review, gunwriter L.P. Brezny rated the 3-12x50mm Zeiss Conquest DL one of the best hunting scopes under $1000. Brezny states: “As a second option on my list of five top hunting scopes for big game that are under a grand stands the Zeiss Conquest DL Hunting Scope in 3x12x50mm. Here you have an illuminated reticle [extra cost], ultra-refined German glass, and a side focus knob with the Z-Plex reticle. In most cases what is in this optic, in terms of quality, is often found at a much higher price.” This German-made Conquest DL retails for $999.99 on Amazon.com (non-illuminated) or $1299.95 with illuminated reticle.
The entire Zeiss riflescope line is available from Europtic.com. Call (570) 368-3920 and ask for Jason Baney and request the best price. Tell Jason that AccurateShooter.com sent you.
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The U.S. House of Representatives. in a decisive 242-161 vote last week. passed H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act. Because the SHARE Act is the most important pro-sportsmen and pro-hunting legislation in a generation, this legislation was a top priority for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Twelve Democrats joined the Republican majority to ensure passage. Only four Republicans voted against the SHARE Act. All attempts to amend the legislation with unfavorable provisions were defeated. Favorable amendments were passed. Read the NSSF press release.
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.”
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To mark its 200th Anniversary, Remington is giving away 200 guns (rifles, pistols, and shotguns). Starting in March 2016, there will be a monthly drawing each month through the end of the year. To enter Remington’s 200-Gun Sweepstakes, submit a photo or a short video, along with a brief description of the experience shown*. The subject of your submission can be hunting, shooting, or some experience in the outdoors. Below are three recent contest submissions. CLICK HERE to ENTER CONTEST.
Enter Up to Ten Times for More Chances to Win
The Remington 200-Gun Sweepstakes runs from February 6, 2016 through December 31, 2016. The Sweepstakes Period is divided into ten (10) separate entry periods (each called a “Monthly Entry Period” even though the first Monthly Entry Period is longer than a month). You can submit a new entry each month, i.e. one (1) entry per person during each Monthly Entry Period, for a maximum ten (10) entries during the entire Sweepstakes Period.
In some parts of the country, hunters are now required to use lead-free bullets. Expect restrictions on lead-based ammo to become more widespread in the years to come. Recognizing this, Lapua has upgraded its line of Naturalis bullets. Fitted with a distinctive green polymer tip, Naturalis bullets employ lead-free 99% copper construction. A hollow cavity provides reliable, uniform expansion, and the solid copper bullet body offers excellent knock-down power and weight retention.
The latest lead-free Naturalis bullets boast less drag and enhanced expansion. These third-generation Naturalis projectiles have been streamlined for better aerodynamics. In addition, Lapua has lowered the velocity threshold for consistent expansion by roughly 100 fps. This significantly broadens the velocity range in which the bullets will reliably expand.
Naturalis bullets feature extremely high weight retention, as demonstrated in the video above. (Note: the video has graphic sequences showing game flesh). The mushrooming of the bullet starts immediately on impact. The expansion process is started by the green polymer “valve” at the tip of the bullet, leading the bullet to expand symmetrically and without fragmentation. Watch the video for a demonstration of Naturalis bullet performance in ballistic media and game animals.
Naturalis lead-free bullets are available as components for handloaders, or loaded into Lapua factory-made cartridges. The Naturalis bullet line ranges in weight from 90 grains (6mm) up to 250 grains (9.3 mm). Bullets are offered in most popular calibers: 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, .308 (7.62mm), 8mm, .338, and 9.3 mm. Naturalis bullets and factory ammo are available from major retailers such as Grafs.com.
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If you were challenged to hit a quarter (i.e. a 25-cent piece) at 800 yards, how would you respond? Well here’s the story of a man who did take that challenge, and proceeded to put a bullet right through the quarter. Forum member Randy D., aka “Birdog”, provides this entertaining account of how his friend Junebug drilled a quarter at 800 yards one Tennessee evening….
Hitting a Quarter at 800 Yards
Story and photos by Birdog
A friend from Indy visited the DOME last summer and returned home telling stories of eggs at 800 yards. He called me back and said his friends did not believe it and wanted to know if I could hit a quarter out at 800 and mail it to him.
Well, I had finally got the time for that challenge last Sunday. My friend Junebug came over and I told him about a new challenge. Junebug is sort of like Voldoc and does not like to be told it can’t be done and set his sights on the quarter. George Clay had his sleeved 700 6XC with 115gr DTACs and Bug had his Diamondback 6 BRDX and 103gr Vapor Trail bullets.
Junebug and Shayne. The quarter was at back fence row on left of photo, 80 yards short of a half-mile
Early to mid-afternoon is not the time for precision 800-yard shooting as the mirage was terrible and the wind was gusting in the high humidity and 95 temps. We took a few shots and got close but no HIT.
I told Junebug to go home and load some shells and come back at 7:00 and I believed we could make it happen. After 7:00 pm is the best time to shoot as the mirage disappears and the wind goes to zero. We met again at 7:00 and had Shayne Halliburton as witness. I took a few shots then Junebug took a few zeroing shots on metal. He was not satisfied with the grouping so he switched brass.
He had some new Hydro-formed brass that had never been fired. He took three sighters on the metal plate and the first two made two little black spots that were touching. Followed with a third shot that almost touched the first two. Darkness was setting in and I told Bug he better try the quarter now. Through my March scope I could barely see the bright quarter and my 1/16th dot completely covered the quarter.
Junebug moved the Diamondback to the quarter and touched her off. A half second later the bright spot on the black paper was gone. I jumped up and did a dance and war hoop and the Bug jumped up for a high five. Now we hoped we could find the quarter. Luckily it jumped out in front of the backer less than five feet and Bug found it immediately.
Junebug’s Rifle Specifications
Stock: Zebra-painted stock (Shehane ST1000 we believe)
Action: Stiller Diamondback
Scope: March 10-60x52mm with 1/8 MOA clicks
Cartridge: 6mm BRDX (6mmBR Norma 40° Improved similar to Dasher)
Bullet: 103-grain Vapor Trail
Gunsmith: Barrel smithed by Tim Claunch, Memphis, Tennessee
Here’s an item of interest to hunters (and maybe a few F-Open shooters). Nosler has just introduced a new magnum-type cartridge, the 30 Nosler. Sharing the same parent case as the 26 and 28 Nosler® cartridges, the 30 Nosler® has the case capacity to launch big 30-caliber bullets at impressive velocities (3000 FPS for a 210-grainer). Nosler says the 30 Nosler combines the best qualities of other 30-cal magnums: “The 30 Nosler® easily meets the velocity of the 300 Weatherby, headspaces on the shoulder like a 300 RUM, has an efficient powder column like the 300 WSM and fits in the same standard length action of a 300 Winchester Magnum.”
30 Nosler Will Function in a Standard Length Action
The 30 Nosler has a C.O.A.L. of 3.340″ allowing this cartridge to be operated in a standard length action for lighter weight and shorter bolt throw when compared to magnum-length actions.
The 30 Nosler is a SAAMI-standardized cartridge so there will be standardized dimensions for brass, dies, and chamber reamers. Nosler will support this new cartridge with Nosler Brass, Trophy Grade™ Ammunition and a series of M48 hunting rifles. The initial offerings in Nosler’s Trophy Grade™ Ammunition will be:
Nosler® Trophy Grade™ Ammunition: 180gr AccuBond® 3200 fps
Nosler® Trophy Grade™ LR Ammunition: 210gr AccuBond® LR 3000 fps
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