The Savage A17 17 HMR rifle is one of our favorite new products of 2015. The model we tested proved very reliable and quite accurate with the new 17 HMR ammo developed by CCI expressly for the A17. While the factory A17 stock is not bad, the Length of Pull (LOP) was a bit short for a full-sized adult and the short, narrow fore-arm was less than ideal when used with a front rest or sandbag.
Now, thanks to Boyds Gunstocks, there are some good stock options for the A17. Boyds has introduced Savage A17 replacement gunstocks in multiple styles: Savage Classic, Featherweight Thumbhole, Heritage, Platinum, Prairie Hunter, Pro Varmint, and Varmint Thumbhole designs. Five of these styles are shown in the photos above. For field use, we like the Varmint Thumbhole because it has a comfortable grip and a longer, straight fore-end that works well with either sandbags or bipod. For target work, we favor the Pro Varmint stock ($129.00). This stock features a relatively straight toe on the buttstock that is very steady on a rear bag.
Boyds plans to offer a variety of options for their Savage A17 stocks. These will include new custom wood options, custom length of pull, and an adjustable comb. In addition, as with other Boyds stocks, a wide selection of laminated wood colors are available. Boyds recently released eight new laminate wood color options including Sage, Prairie Wind, Ripple Timber, Ripple Forest Camo, Ripple Blaze, Ripple Royal Jacaranda, Ripple Sky and Ripple Zombie.
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Click Map to launch interactive webpage with info for all 50 states.
Going hunting this year? Need to find out about hunting licenses, deer tags, local regulations, and the best hunting areas? Then visit WheretoHunt.org. This website has an interactive map of the country. Simply click on a state to find the info you need. For all 50 states, the NSSF has compiled information about hunting license and permits, where to hunt, hunter education classes, laws and regulations and more. For each state you’ll also find a link for required applications and license forms. Have a safe and productive hunt this year.
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If you’re thinking about acquiring a 17 HMR rifle, you should read the 17 HMR Two-Gun Comparison in our Gun of the Week Archives. This two-gun shoot-out compares the performance of a Volquartsen 17 HMR semi-auto and a Ruger 77/17 bolt-action. Glen Robinson, the owner of both rifles, has done some serious comparison testing with both guns, trying out a half-dozen varieties of 17 HMR ammo. The overall results may surprise you. The semi-auto out-shot the bolt gun by a significant margin, with all types of ammo tested.
Comparing the Qualities of the Two 17 HMR Rifles
By Glen Robinson
While the Volquartsen proved to be the more accurate of my pair of 17 HMRs, I still enjoy owning both rifles. Each gun has its strong points and weak points.
Ruger Strong Points: From any angle, the Ruger 77/17 is a nice-looking rifle with classic lines. I like the gray-finish stainless barrel — it goes well with the gray laminated stock. With the addition of the aftermarket sear, the trigger is crisp and the bolt function is smooth. The action is strong and dependable. The conventional “open rear” action allows you to clean “normally” with a bore guide, cleaning rod, and patches/brushes. I feel I can do a better job of cleaning with the Ruger than with the boresnake on the Volquartsen.
Ruger Weak Points: Accuracy is somewhat disappointing. The best 100-yard group the Ruger has shot was about 0.82″ and the gun averages well over 1.25″ for 5 shots. In fairness, I haven’t done anything exotic in terms of bedding the action/barrel, and I would expect that an aftermarket barrel, perhaps combined with a barrel pre-load (up-pressure) pad, could improve the accuracy.
Volquartsen Strong Points: The Volquartsen is a well-made, accurate, dependable rifle. The gun cycles very reliably and requires very little maintenance. To clean it, just pull a boresnake through the bore. The gun exhibits very nice machining, and the VX-5000 stock rides steady on a front sand-bag, even though it’s only about 1.75″ wide. Even without any tweaking the trigger is very good, and the pull weight is fine for varminting.
Volquartsen Weak Points: The VX-5000 stock is not ideal for bench work — the comb is a bit too high, though I like the feel of the vertical grip. This stock profile is really more suited for silhouette shooting, but this stock seemed to be the best option offered by Volquartsen that could be used for both paper-punching and varminting. The receiver design limits your options for barrel cleaning.
Conclusion — The Volquartsen Takes the Prize
Having shot both rifles extensively, if I had to pick one gun, it would be the Volquartsen. The Volquartsen is much more accurate and it offers much faster follow-up shots. For varminting the Volquartsen would be superior, no question about it. I’m happy I bought the Volquartsen and the VX-5000 stock. It is a fun, versatile gun that lives up to the accuracy claims.
What’s wrong (or right?) with this picture? Does the “F” in F-class stand for “Fauna”? Look carefully at this Bisley Range photo taken by Australian R. Hurley while looking downrange through his March 8-80X scope. The photo was taken earlier this year at the Bisley National Shooting Centre in the UK.
The Story Behind the Photo
British shooter T. Stewart reports: “I was there when this photos was taken. All I can say was that Mr. Hurley was firmly reminded that should said deer accidentally jump in front of his bullet … he would spend five years “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure”. That morning we had five deer moving across the targets, literally blocking the V-Bull. Since we were on the 900-yard Firing Point, and elevated for such, obviously the bullet would pass well above them. But they do NOT move or flinch at the noise or passing bullets since they are not hunted on the Bisley Ranges. Earlier this year we saw a herd of 20 or so deer grazing slowly across the Range.”
More Fauna Findings…
Apparently Bisley is not the only place were “the deer and the antelope play”. In Canada, on the Connaught Ranges near Ottawa, Ontario, shooters often encounter a variety of wildlife. William McDonald from Ontario says: “Animals are a common sight on the Range. Along with deer we see geese, turkeys, and coyotes on a daily basis.”
Likewise, E. Goodacre from Queensland, Australia often sees ‘Roos on his home range: “I shoot at Ripley, Australia, and shooting is regularly interrupted by kangaroos. Our last silhouette match was delayed by an hour while 30 ‘Roos dawdled across — silly buggers!”
R. Hurley wasn’t the first fellow to view deer through his F-Class rifle’s scope. After seeing Hurley’s photo from Bisley, B. Weeks posted this image, saying: “Been there, done that!”
Here’s an interesting new technology for you hunters — color-shifting camouflage clothing. Cabela’s exclusive “ColorPhase” camo gear is temperature-sensitive. As the temperature declines, ColorPhase clothing migrates from greens to browns and then to grays. This is achieved with a unique, rapid-reacting, temp-sensitive die. According to Cabela’s, ColorPhase camo is printed with “rapid-change, temperature-activated dye.” Under normal conditions, ColorPhase camo will begin changing colors at 65 degrees Fahrenheit. So, with the cooler temperatures in the late hunting season, the gear should better match the grays and browns that dominate late October and November This would allow hunters to better blend in with their surroundings. At least that’s the theory….
Watch Video to Learn More about ColorPhase Camo Clothing
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Recommended Books about Hunting
There’s no shortage of good hunting-related reading material. Here are some of the best books written about hunting. You can find all these titles on Amazon.com. Many are offered in eBook format as well as printed versions. Click on the link(s) below to preview a sample from each book.
Hunting season is here — and we know many of our readers will soon head to the woods in pursuit of deer, elk, or other game. To make a good shot, it’s wise to rest your rifle when possible. In this video, methods for stabilizing a rifle in the field are demonstrated by Forum member Thomas Haugland, who hails from Norway. Thomas focuses on practical field shooting skills for hunters. In this video, Thomas (aka ‘Roe’ on Forum and Sierra645 on YouTube) shows how to verify his zeros from bipod and then he demonstrates improvised field rests from the prone, kneeling, and sitting positions.
Thomas explains: “In this video I focus on basic marksmanship techniques and making ready for this year’s hunt. As a last check before my hunting season, I got to verify everything for one last time. My trajectory is verified again, the practical precision of the rifle is verified. I also practice making do with the best [improvised] rest possible when an opportunity presents itself. After getting knocked in the face by a 338LM rifle during a previous filming session, I had to go back to basics to stop [flinching]. I include some details from bipod shooting that hopefully some hunters will find useful. Fingers crossed for this years season, good luck!”
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Hunting season is here in many parts of the country. If you need a good, yet affordable scope for your hunting rig, look no further. Midsouth Shooters Supply is running a super sale right now on Vortex scopes. You can get a 4-12x44mm Crossfire II Vortex scope for just $169.99 with free shipping. Or, if you want something lighter and smaller, consider the 3-9x40mm Crossfire II. It’s a mere $149.99, again with free shipping.
If you’re concerned about the durability/longevity of these bargain-priced optics, consider this — these Crossfire scopes, like all Vortex optics products, are backed by the Vortex lifetime “VIP” warranty:
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In Tennessee, when you order a take-out pizza, you get a cardboard shooting target at no extra charge. Nashville, Tennessee-based Hunt Brothers Pizza has come up with a clever idea to promote pizza consumption among the hunting and shooting fraternity. They’ve put targets on the boxes — what a cool idea.
Hunt Brothers offers cardboard pizza boxes with five red and black bullseyes printed on the back. Now your used empty pizza boxes can do more than just take up space in the trash can. This is a pretty smart idea we think — it’s a great example of clever “dual-use” packaging. Hopefully pizza parlors in other locations nationwide will follow suit someday….
Looking for an affordable “Truck Gun”, or a light-weight, “carry-around” varmint rifle? Consider the Howa Mini Action series. With receiver (and bolt) that are nearly an inch shorter than regular short actions, these Mini Action rigs weigh just 5.7 pounds without optics. This makes for a nice, compact (and very shootable) varmint package.
The Howa Mini Action rifles come with 10-rd detachable box magazines and an adjustable HACT 2-stage trigger. Synthetic stocks are offered in black, OD green, and Kryptek Highlander camo colors. You can buy a complete Mini Action rifle package, including 3-9x40mm Nikko scope, for under $590.00.
Barreled Actions Available from Howa
If you are looking to build your own project rifle, you can purchase Howa Mini Barreled Actions separately. When fitted with a #1 contour lightweight barrel, the Mini Barreled action weighs just 3.77 pounds. Barreled actions are currently offered in .223 Rem and .204 Ruger chamberings. Lightweight and heavy barrels measure 20 inches, while standard barrels are 22 inches long.
Video Shows Features of Howa Mini Action Rifle:
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Verizon announced last week that Verizon FiOS will no longer carry the Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel. These channels offer Shooting USA, NRA All Access, NRA Gun Gurus, and American Rifleman programming, plus many hunting TV shows. If you’re a subscriber to Verizon FiOS, you’ll be losing access to the most popular shooting and hunting TV shows.
“Our partners, advocates and viewers of outdoor lifestyle programming are very disappointed with Verizon’s actions,” said Jim Liberatore, CEO and President of Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks. “It should concern all Americans that one company can silence the only relevant voice of an entire industry with the flip of a switch.”
Verizon claimed that the move was a response to rising content costs. Verizon suggested that FiOS customers view other cable channels (such as Discovery or History) to find “similar content”. That’s not really a solution in our view. Other “mainstream” cable channels do not provide the same kind of content for hunters, sport shooters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. On mainstream channels there is nothing like Shooting USA, which covers major shooting matches and SHOT Show.
If you are concerned about loss of the Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel, you can call Verizon FiOS at (800) 837-4966, or email Verizon FiOS. Ask Verizon to restore the Outdoor and Sportsman Channels to the FiOS TV programming mix. You can also switch television content providers. Time-Warner, Direct TV, and Dish Network still offer the Outdoor Channel. CLICK HERE for more info on switching to a new television provider.
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If two barrels are better than one, then why not three? That’s the thinking behind the exotic new BD14 from Blaser, unveiled at the 2014 IWA Show in Germany. This “bockdrilling” three-barrel firearm works as a shotgun, large-caliber rifle, and small-caliber rifle all in one. Even with all those barrels, the BD14 is relatively light, at 3.3 kg (7.26 lbs) without optics. That makes this a nice, carry-around gun for stalking. As you’d expect from Blaser, the twin triggers are crisp and precise, with a pull weight of just 1.43 lbs (650 grams). The front trigger is for the large-caliber rifle barrel, while the rear trigger works both the shotgun and small-caliber barrels, via a tang-mounted selector. Sorry, we don’t yet have a USA-market price on this example of gun-making exotica, but you can bet it will be expensive.
Here’s what Blaser USA has to say about its unique three-barreled BD14:
“The ‘Bockdrilling’ is, put simply, an over/under (O/U) rifle-shotgun combination with a smaller caliber rifle-barrel… on the side. The barrel arrangement [allows] for an extremely slender receiver, making the BD 14 exceptionally huntable.
The brand new Vertical Block Lockup…has been filed for patent. It combines an extremely compact and solid block lockup in a closed system within the monoblock with the comfortable handling of a classic break-action rifle.
The double lock permits, if needed, a rapid second shot, the front trigger always releasing the large rifle-caliber. The … barrel selector actives the shotgun barrel when in position ‘top’ and activates the smaller rifle caliber in position ‘bottom’.”
Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Here’s something you don’t see every day — a bolt-action, repeating, double rifle. This amazing twin-barreled bolt-gun has a closing mechanism that locks two separate bolt bodies into the chambers of the right and left barrels. Yes there are two firing pins, two ejectors, two extractors, and two triggers. We’re not sure how one jumbo camming system closes two bolts, but there might be a geared center shaft rotating both right and left bolt bodies at the same time (but in opposite directions). Perhaps one of our gunsmith readers can explain how this system works.
This Rifle Has TWO Barrels and TWO Bolts
Just $78,000 at “Half-off Pricing”
This unique firearm, chambered in .416 Remington, was sold a few years back on Gunbroker.com for $78,000. That astronomical sum is just half the original cost, according to the seller. Crafted by Fuchs, this double rifle has 22″ barrels and weighs 11.5 pounds. Deep-chiseled, full-coverage engraving decorates the receiver. So, if you have a cool $78 grand to burn you can acquire a very rare firearm — we doubt if you’ll find another one of these anytime soon.
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As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show, is a certified instructor has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.
Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting. With no two hunting situations being the same, we must train to be adaptable and make the most of every opportunity. The most important aspect of hunting success, ultimately, is the person behind the rifle. So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”
National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) takes place on Saturday, September 26, 2015. The annual celebration serves as a reminder that conservation succeeds because of leadership and funding from hunters, shooters and anglers. National, regional, state and local organizations will run thousands of “open house” hunting- and fishing-related events around the country. Events will include Fishing Derbys, Hunting Expos, Wing-shooting tournaments, and much more. Over four million Americans will participate. For information on NHF Day, visit www.nhfday.org. To find NHF Day events in your state, click the links below.
Hunting season is right around the corner. That means its time to inspect all your hunting gear, including your scope set-up. A proper scope installation involves more than just tensioning a set of rings — you need to consider the proper eye relief and head position.
In this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a hunting or tactical rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many hunters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.
Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.
Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)
2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.
3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.
4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.
Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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If you’ve never visited the NRA Whittington Center outside Raton, New Mexico, it is well worth a visit. This new HD video shows the features of this unique facility where marksmen can shoot from 10 yards to two miles. Drone video footage gives you a “birds eye view” of the scenery and the ranges.
This is an excellent video. Well worth watching, with impressive aerial photography.
The Whittington Center hosts many major matches each year. Along with the training and range facilities, the Whittington Center has comfortable, modern cabins and RV camping zones for extended stays. Founded in 1973, the Center offers ranges for every kind of shooting discipline, along with a shotgun center, firearms museum, specialized firearms training, guided and unguided hunts, plus an adventure camp for younger shooters.
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If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 5. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 190 cartridge types from 17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). There are over 1,400 tables with ballistics data for nearly all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the United States (as of 2013, the publication date). Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficient.
This book can be helpful when choosing ammo for a hunt. You can quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various types of commercial ammo. In addition, this book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig, as you can compare factory load options.
Book Purchaser Reviews
“The data contained in this book is invaluable. If you don’t understand momentum vs. energy, MER and MEPBR, this book will help you gain an understanding. If you don’t know what the Taylor Knock Out (KO) Index is, this book will enlighten and inform.” — Daryl ID
“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe
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This is one of the finest shooting videos we’ve ever seen. Set in the scenic Fjordland of northern Norway, this high-quality 15-minute video is part Nat Geo travelog, part ballistics lesson, part gear review. We wish we had the opportunity to join Ulf Lindroth and Thomas Haugland on their remarkable shooting adventure. This video was originally created for Great Britain’s Fieldsports TV Channel.
This is an outstanding video, recommended for anyone interested in long-range hunting.
Long range shooters Lindroth and Haugland traveled to the Arctic Circle to field test a new .338 LM Blaser R8 (in GRS stock) fitted with a Zeiss Victory V8 4.8-35x60mm scope. (Ammo is Norma-brand .338 Lapua Magnum). The video shows how they confirm the ballistics of the Norma factory ammo in the Blaser R8 rifle system.
Ulf and Thomas initially test out the system confirming drop at multiple yardages, and then use the rifle for practical accuracy. Ulf says: “If you know your hunting will demand a long shot, and you want to push the limit but still be sure to make the first-shot kill… If you want to do an ethical hunt, if you want to push that limit, you have to do [this kind of testing].”
Ulf Lindroth (above) observed: “We shot [at 808 meters] observed the misses, clicked our way into the target, and now we have the true drop at that distance… in this air pressure, in this temperature. From there we can start working to find our TRUE trajectory. And when we have THAT… we can get serious about some target shooting.”
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Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann has been busy up in Wyoming slaying varmints. On his Facebook Page, Dustin wrote: “I’ve been helping some ranchers out with their prairie dog infestation in Wyoming. The 17 HMR Volquartsen Custom is amazing! The Meopta Sports Optics R1r is super nice as well. Can you guess how many prairie dogs I eliminated in two days?” (Facebook users post guesses HERE.)
Dustin says the effective range of the 17 HMR is farther than one might expect: “I made hits out to 300 yards. 200 yards was easy as long as the wind wasn’t too bad.”
Dustin was very impressed with the 17 HMR cartridge: “Never paid it much attention before now because the ammo is five times more expensive than .22 LR and I mostly target shoot. However, for prairie dogs, the 17 HMR is amazing!” Dustin is now a fan of the speedy rimfire round. Consider this — Hornady’s 17 HMR ammo pushes a 17gr V-Max bullet at 2550 fps, twice as fast as typical .22 LR rounds.
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