National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) takes place on Saturday, September 27, 2014. 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, click the link below.
September 23rd, 2014
September 21st, 2014
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:
Video found by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
September 9th, 2014
One of our favorite Ruger bolt-action rifles is now available in a caliber better suited for varmint hunting. The versatile Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, previously offered in .308 Winchester only, is now chambered in .223 Rem / 5.56 NATO. This newest version of the Gunsite Scout Rifle features a hybrid chamber that shoots both 5.56x45mm NATO and .223 Remington. This rifle is light and compact. With a 16.1″ barrel, it weighs just 7.1 pounds without optics.
The .223 Scout Rifle is offered in both right- and left-hand versions, both with a 10-round detachable box magazine. You can choose either an all-stainless version ($1099.00 MSRP), with SS receiver and SS barrel, or a dark version ($1039.00 MSRP) with matte black alloy steel action and barrel. The bolt offers Mauser-style controlled round feed, with a lever-style safety on the rear of the bolt shroud. The rifle features a 16.1″, 1:8″-twist rate, barrel fitted with flash hider which can be removed to attach other 1/2-28 threaded barrel accessories. Interestingly, the magazine for .223/5.56 Scout Rifle is dimensionally the same as the mag for the .308 Scout Rifle. The .223/5.56 mag employs a plastic insert to feed the smaller cartridge properly.
American Rifleman Field Test of .223 Rem Scout Rifle
Adjustable Length of Pull Through Buttpad Spacers
Ruger Scout Rifles feature a Mini-14-style protected, non-glare, post front sight and receiver-mounted, adjustable, ghost ring rear sight. The forward-mounted Picatinny rail lets you use a variety of optics including LER scout scopes that allow “both eyes open” target acquisition. Ruger provides scope rings for mounting conventional scopes on the integral M77-style mounts built into the Scout Rifle receivers.
September 7th, 2014
Forum member Thomas Haugland from Norway has produced an excellent video that covers practical field shooting skills for hunters. In his video, Thomas (aka ‘Roe’ on Forum and Sierra645 on YouTube) shows how to verify his zeros from bipod and 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!”
Thomas has produced many other quality videos for his Sierra645 YouTube Channel. On his “Langholdsskyting” YouTube Channel, you’ll find 30 more nicely-made videos (in both English and Norwegian) about hunting and precision shooting.
September 2nd, 2014
Hunting season is right around the corner. For many of us, that means liberating a rifle that sits in a safe most of the year, grabbing a box of cartridges, and heading to the wilds. But this “once a year thing” carries with it potential risks.
It is all to easy to grab some rounds that may look right, but which are, in fact, a slightly different chambering. Likewise it is possible some hunting rounds got put in the wrong box after last year’s hunting trip. Be very careful when you get ready for a hunting trip — check the headstamp, cartridge dimensions, and bullet diameter of all your rounds. If you make an ammo selection mistake, the consequences can be disasterous, as this story reveals.
The .223 WSSM and 6mmBR Disaster
The following is an account of just such a mistake that could have resulted in death or dismemberment. Fortunately, the shooter was not hurt, but the rifle was completely destroyed.
Couldn’t happen to you? How many times have we emptied our pockets of cartridges and dropped them into a plastic container on the shooting bench? How many times have we set down to a marathon reloading session, loading several calibers in a row? How many times have we put the wrong bullets, cases or primers into the incorrect container? My point is that even the safest of us can make a mistake. So, look at the picture above and take a bit more time when you reload your ammunition at home or chamber a round in the field. It might save your life.
Story and photo © Dr. Jim Clary, All Rights Reserved.
July 14th, 2014
Here is a simple but effective product that can benefit varminters and game-hunters. The slip-on, padded RRR (“triple R”) gun rest cushions your rifle on any surface and helps eliminate noise when shifting the gun from one shooting position to another. The RRR slip-on rest is made of neoprene (wet suit material) with a built-in, thick Armaflex foam cushion on the bottom. This $19.95 sleeve protects the finish of your rifle, while providing a cushioned layer between your rifle and the supporting surface.
Hunters will appreciate how the RRR slip-on rest quiets the gun when the forearm is placed on supporting surface (watch video). The padded, neoprene covering acts like a sound deadener. With the RRR in place, the rifle forearm doesn’t clang or rattle, even when you set the gun on a metal frame or hard surface.
Video Shows RRR in Use in the Field
This padded sleeve works great when shooting from a truck, providing a padded surface when aiming from a truck mirror or door frame. Likewise, the RRR rest works well in the field when shooting from a tree-limb, or a boulder.
The patented RRR slip-on rest fits rifle stocks from 1¼ inches to 2¼ inches wide, and will not interfere with your scope. Installation is easy — after unloading the rifle, simply slide the RRR over the barrel and fore-end, with the RRR logo on top, so that the cushion section is under the rifle stock.
► The RRR slip-on rest cushions your rifle. This helps to keep the shot from going high even when the rifle is placed on a hard surface.
July 12th, 2014
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)
Grass Was Too Tall at First Location for Prone Shooting.
Little Missouri National Grassland
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.
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.
Zoomed Image Shows Individual Prairie Dog Mounds.
My previous varminting best was a 275-yard shot near Mobridge, South Dakota on a separate prairie dog hunting trip. With more experience and better reloading, Here in North Dakota I was able to make a solid hit on a prairie dog just over 400 yards which made me ecstatic! For a central Minnesota, shotgun-raised guy, I was pretty happy that my bullet selection and hand-loading ability produced a 125-yard improvement.
Once we cleaned and cased our rifles for the journey home we had shot a little over 200 rounds of my Sierra® reloads. This was a lot less than previous prairie dog trips I have been a part of, but our hit percentage was substantially higher as well. Traveling into a new area meant a lot more scouting and experimentation for us as a group. In future trips or hunts of your own, it can be very beneficial to schedule an extra day just for scouting[.]
July 11th, 2014
Etymotic Research now offers its GSP•15® Electronic Earplugs in a smaller form factor. This gives shooters some of the best “wearable technology” on the market. These small, electronic earplugs protect the user from loud shot and blast noises, while at the same time allowing normal conversations. The active circuitry in GSP•15 earplugs allows for natural hearing when sound levels are safe. (Natural hearing is automatically restored when hearing is not at risk.) In this respect, these small earplugs do the job of a much larger, bulkier pair of electronic ear muffs.
GSP•15 plugs have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 25 dB, better than many electronic muffs. And these plugs are small, light, and comfortable. Using the company’s bean-sized Quiet Sound Amplifier® outer case, the latest GSP•15 earplugs fit great. A variety of tip shapes/materials are provided.
GSP•15 plugs pack impressive engineering inside a small package. High-sensitivity microphones, high-definition balanced-armature drivers, and advanced signal processing combine to deliver high-fidelity, natural sound. And, like the original model, the new GSP•15 earplugs come with a wide selection of ear-tips, with custom molds an available option.
“Hearing loss is preventable,” says Dr. Patricia Johnson, audiologist and hearing conservation specialist at Etymotic. “Etymotic has been providing the world’s only truly flat-attenuation in passive earplugs for over 25 years. We’re pleased to launch this new version of GSP•15 electronic earplugs that lets wearers hear naturally when sound levels are safe, but be protected when it counts.”
GSP•15s Work Well for Hunters — Providing Protection AND Amplification
July 2nd, 2014
American Rifleman TV begins its new season tonight, July 2, 2014, on the Outdoor Channel at 6:30 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET. This week’s episode features the S.A.A.M. Hunter Training Program at the FTW Ranch in Barksdale, Texas. At this facility, ARTV staffers learn the basic principles of long-range precision shooting as part of the S.A.A.M. Safari Course. In the Rifleman Review segment the new Remington R51 is featured, and in the “This Old Gun” segment you’ll see the infamous handgun that started World War I: the FN Model 1910.
Watch Preview of 2014 Season Opening Episode of American Rifleman TV
American Rifleman TV is the on-screen version of the National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman magazine. American Rifleman Television covers firearms, the shooting sports, and gun rights issues. “ARTV is part of the larger American Rifleman brand,” said Editor-in-Chief Mark A. Keefe IV. “It’s a show about guns- we teach the history of them and the people who use them.”
June 20th, 2014
Here’s a handy product with many uses for hunters and shooters. The Sack-Ups Knife Protector roll-up pouch is made from silicone-treated synthetic fabric. The pouch protects blades and tools while helping to prevent rust. (Since leather retains moisture, you don’t want to leave blades in leather sheaths.) While Sack-Ups roll pouches were designed for knives, they can be used to hold other shooting items, such as bolts, loading dies, or expensive tools. The synthetic fabric wicks away moisture. (Nonetheless, we recommend that steel items receive a light coat of a good corrosion-inhibiting oil before long-term storage.)
The protective pouch has a flap over the top and tie cords to secure the pouch when it is rolled up. Available from Amazon.com (and other online vendors), the model 802 6-slot Sack-Ups Knife Pouch retails for about $14.00, while the 10-slot knife pouch costs $18.49 on Amazon.com . Larger 12-, and 18-slot Sack-Ups Roll-up Knife Pouches are also offered. For example, the model 801, shown below, holds a dozen knives or tools up to 5″ in length.
June 13th, 2014
This month Ruger is introducing a new varmint version of its popular Ruger American Rifle (RAR). The RAR “Predator” model is offered in six (6) different chamberings: .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. All have 22″ free-floated, medium-contour barrels except the .308 Win, which has an 18″ tube, making it a very handy truck gun.
Gun writer Ed Head got his hands on one of the new RAR Predator rifles, chambered in .223 Remington. He reviewed the Predator for the DownRange.TV blog. The reviewer liked the compact 6.62-pound rifle, which features a molded polymer stock and hammer-forged 1:8″ twist barrel. Ed Head liked the short-throw bolt, and he praised the crisp trigger. Accuracy, as tested, was not that impressive — 1.224″ on average at 100 yards. But the tester noted that some types of ammo shot much better than others. So, conceivably, with handloads, this gun could shoot well under 1 MOA. Shooting at steel targets, the tester “managed to shoot 1.5-inch groups at 100 yards, 2.5-inch groups at 200 yards, and 7-inch groups at 300 yards, all with the Lake City ammunition.”
May 31st, 2014
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.
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.