The “Holy Grail” of prairie dog shooting is dispatching a dog at ultra-long-range — the farther the better. Here we recount the quest of Forum member VolDoc to nail a Prairie Dog at 1000+ yards with a Savage .20-caliber rifle. If you’re a fan of the “Terrific 20s”, or have an interest in ultra-long-range varminting, you’ll enjoy this story. VolDoc, a dentist by trade, is a seasoned Prairie Dog Hunter who has made many trips to the P-Dog fields in Colorado with his hunting buddies. But until recently he had never managed to nail a P-Dog at 1000 yards with a .20-caliber rifle. Nor, as far as we can determine, had any one else. But VolDoc did it — accomplishing a verified Prairie Dog kill at 1032 yards, possibly the longest recorded with a .20-Caliber rifle.
Modified Hart-Barreled 20BR Savage Does the Job
Shooting Prairie Dogs at extreme long range takes highly specialized equipment. To make his 1032-yard kill shot, VolDoc used a modified Dual-Port Savage chambered in 20 BR. The stock was geometrically-uniformed and pillar-bedded by smith Kevin Rayhill, who fitted a 28″ Hart barrel with a Rayhill muzzle brake. VolDoc loaded his 20BR with 55gr Berger BT LR Varmint bullets (0.381 G1 BC) pushed by a stout charge of Hodgdon Varget.
It took good conditions, and patience to make the successful 1000+ yard shot. Voldoc explains:
“We were out on the Colorado prairie at daylight and the conditions were perfect. The sunrise was at my back and we had about a 10 mph tailwind. I looked through my Leica Geovid Rangefinder Binos and the Prairie Dogs were out for breakfast. I quickly ranged the targets and found a group at about 1,050 yards.
My first shot was very, very close. I added about four clicks up and a couple of clicks left for windage and let another go. That shot threw dirt all over, but the dog didn’t even flinch. On the fourth shot, I saw the dog go belly up and kick its final throws. My quest for the 20-Caliber 1,000-yard Prairie Dog had become a reality. We confirmed the distance with our lasers at 1,032 yards.”
Voldoc’s Accurate Arsenal
In our report on VolDoc’s successful 1K Prairie Dog quest, we spotlighted two of VolDoc’s other accurate varmint guns. First, fans of fine wood will love VolDoc’s switch-barrel, drop-port Stiller Diamondback rifle. The wood on this gun is stunning. The custom stock was crafted from 40-year-old English Walnut to match the profile of a Shehane ST-1000. The rifle has three barrels with three different chamberings: 6BR Brux 1:8″-twist HV; 6BRX Krieger 1:8″-twist HV, and 6mm Dasher Krieger 1:8.5″-twist fluted straight contour (no taper). The scope is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm, with 2DD reticle.
VolDoc’s “Go-To” Prairie Dog Rifle — Big Orange Crush Dasher
Next, check out VolDoc’s “Big Orange Crush” rifle. This features a stainless Nesika ‘J’ action in a painted fiberglass Shehane ST-1000 stock. Originally a 6BR, the gun is now chambered as a 6mm Dasher with a .271″ no-turn neck. The barrel is a 1:12″-twist Krieger fited with Vais muzzle brake. Big Orange Crush shoots 87gr V-Maxs into bugholes at 3,400 fps, according to VolDoc. He tells us that “The barrel now has more than 3,000 rounds down the tube and exhibits little throat fire-cracking and no loss of accuracy. I can’t explain why, it just hasn’t deteriorated yet. This rifle is my best-ever ‘go-to’ Prairie Dog rifle.”
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A varmint shooter’s target is not conveniently placed at a fixed, known distance as it is for a benchrester. The varminter must repeatedly make corrections for bullet drop as he moves from closer targets to more distant targets and back again. Click HERE to read an interesting AccurateShooter Varrmint Forum discussion regarding the best method to adjust for elevation. Some shooters advocate using the scope’s elevation adjustments. Other varminters prefer to hold-over, perhaps with the assistance of vertical markers on their reticles. Still others combine both methods–holding off to a given yardage, then cranking elevation after that.
Majority View — Click Your Elevation Knob
“I zero at 100 yards — I mean really zero as in check the ballistics at 200 and 300 and adjust zero accordingly — and then set the scope zero. For each of my groundhog guns I have a click chart taped into the inside of the lid of the ammo box. Then use the knobs. That’s why they’re there. With a good scope they’re a whole lot more accurate than hold-over, with or without hash marks. This all assumes you have a good range finder and use it properly. If not, and you’re holding over you’re really just spraying and praying. Try twisting them knobs and you’ll most likely find that a 500- or 600- or 700-yard groundhog is a whole lot easier than some people think.” – Gunamonth
“I have my elevation knob calibrated in 100-yard increments out to 550. Range-find the critter, move elevation knob up…dead critter. The problem with hold-over is that it is so imprecise. It’s not repeatable because you are holding over for elevation and for wind also. Every time you change targets 50 yards, it seems as if you are starting over. As soon as I got completely away from the hold over method (I used to zero for 200), my hit ratios went way up.” — K. Candler
“When I first started p-dog shooting, I attempted to use the hold-over method with a 200-yard zero with my 6mm Rem. Any dog much past 325-350 yards was fairly safe. I started using a comeups table for all three of my p-dog rifles (.223 Rems and 6mm Rem). 450-yard hits with the .223s are fairly routine and a 650-yard dog better beware of the 6mm nowadays. An added benefit (one I didn’t think of beforehand) with the comeups table (elevation only), is that when the wind is blowing, it takes half of the variables out of the equation. I can concentrate on wind, and not have to worry about elevation. It makes things much more simple.” — Mike (Linefinder).
“I dial for elevation and hold for wind. Also use a mil-dot reticle to make the windage holds easier. For windage corrections, I watch for the bullet strike measure the distance it was “off” with the mil-dot reticle, then hold that much more the other way. Very fast once you get used to it.” — PepeLP
Minority View–Hold-Over is Better
“I try to not touch my knobs once I’m zeroed at 200 meters. Most of my varmint scopes have duplex reticles and I use the bottom post to put me on at 300 meters versus turning knobs. The reason I try to leave my knobs alone is that I have gone one complete revolution up or down [too far] many times and have missed the varmint. This has happened more than once and that is why I try not to change my knobs if at all possible.” — Chino69
“I have been using the hold over method and it works for me most of the time but the 450 yards and over shots get kinda hard. I moved to a 300 yard zero this year and it’s working well. I do want to get into the click-up method though; it seems to be more fool-proof.” — 500YardHog
Compromise View–Use Both Methods
“I use both [methods] as well — hold over out to 250, and click up past that.” — Jack (Wolf)
“I use the target knobs and crank-in elevation. I also use a rangefinder and know how far away they are before I crank in the clicks. I have a scope with drop dots from Premier Recticle and like it. No cranking [knobs] out to 600.” –Vmthtr
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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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In the world of varmint cartridges, it’s all about speed. Higher velocity delivers flatter trajectories, and more dramatic impacts on critters. To achieve higher speeds, handloaders have experimented with many extreme wildcats — big cases necked down to a smaller calibers. Here we present what may be the most extreme wildcat cartridge of all, the .17 Incinerator — a .50 BMG necked down to .17 caliber. Created by Ammo-One, a custom cartridge company, the .17 Incinerator offers blistering performance. The special lathe-turned 33gr projectiles* exit the barrel at 5883 Feet Per Second — that’s over Mach 5, five times the speed of sound.
Mach 5 is 3836.35 mph at sea level, which equates to 5626.64 Feet Per Second (FPS). The remarkable .17 Incinerator achieves this stunning velocity by burning over 230 grains of powder in a highly modified .50 BMG case. The velocity of this cartridge (still well over Mach 5 at 100 yards) delivers an incredible amount of energy on target. A hit literally vaporizes a varmint, as you can see from the image below.
It takes a special barrel to shoot the .17 Incinerator. Kent Wilson of Ammo-One, who helped develop this extreme wildcat, explains: “The speeds are so great we had to use a custom 3-groove, polygonal-rifling 1:20″-twist barrel to keep the bullets from disintegrating on launch. The polygonal land/groove geometry reduces bullet engraving, which also helps keep the bullets in one piece. Also we must use solids — regular jacketed bullets can’t handle these speeds”.
Even More Speed — the .17 Incinerator Improved
While the .17 Incinerator is commercially available, there is an even more extreme “Improved” version of this case, with a radical 50-degree shoulder that yields even greater case capacity. The .17 Incinerator Improved (17 IN-IMP), shown below, can hold 20 grains more powder, promising velocities approaching Mach 5.5 or 6189.3 FPS. Now that’s really cookin’!
*Because of the ultra-high velocity generated by the .17 Incinerator, solid bullets must be used. Conventional jacketed projectiles would disintegrate before they reached the target.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Midsouth — Labradar Chronograph and Accessories
Midsouth Shooters Supply is now carrying the advanced Labradar chronograph. This unique unit allows you to measure your shots without having to set up a tripod and skyscreens downrange. When you start using a Labradar, you’ll never want to go back to old-style chronographs. You can also purchase the Labradar from Bruno Shooters Supply. Price is $559.95 from either vendor. NOTE: Very soon Labradar plans to offer Bluetooth functionality, allowing you to control the machine remotely with your mobile device. This functionality will come via new software — the Bluetooth transceiver is built-in to all current Labradar units, so you can buy one now and use Bluetooth later (when the software is released).
2. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99
This RCBS Kit has everything a new reloader needs: single-stage press, powder measure, scale, powder trickler, priming tool, cartridge tray, “rocket” chamfer tool, case lube and more. This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, on sale for just $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supplies. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you may want to add an additional, large heavy press, but this will get the job done. For the combined package, with all the tools one needs to hand-load quality ammo — this is a stunningly good deal at $199.99.
3. CDNN — Browning Maple X-Bolt Medallion, $849.99 with Rebate
CDNN Sports has some of the nicest modern Browning rifles we’ve seen. These deluxe Maple-stocked X-Bolt Medallion Rifles are now on sale for $899.99, marked down from $1519.99. Plus, through March 31st, you can get another $50.00 off with a Browning Rebate. The machine-engraved receiver features a polished blued finish, and is glass bedded into the stock. The free-floating barrel is high-gloss blued, hand-chambered and finished with a target crown. The bolt has a 60° lift and the trigger is adjustable. The stock is a high gloss AAA maple with rosewood fore-end and pistol grip cap. These are very nice rifles that any shooter would be proud to own. This Editor has ordered one as a gift to a family member — that should say something.
4. Amazon — Ammo Can/Gun Case/Range Bag System, $44.99
This Plano 1612 X2 Range Bag System combines a plastic ammo can-type container with a two-pistol hardshell case, both enclosed in a durable, padded fabric cover with many pockets. This handy system lets you keep pistols in a separate locked compartment while still accessing ammo, muffs and other gear from the main compartment, which can also be secured with a padlock. This is a clever, versatile design, and owner reviews have been very positive:
“The perfect range bag. It comes with a nice gun case, more pockets than shown, plenty of storage for earphones, several boxes of ammo and room to spare. Would buy again!” — Nate K
“The problem with most range bags is that they are range ‘bags’. This is an ammo can with pockets for all your other gear. No more ‘saggy baggy’!” — MPowers
5. Sportsman’s Guide — 1000 Rds 9mm Ammo, $204.99 delivered
Everyone can use a 1000-round case of 9mm Luger Ammo. This Sellier & Bellot 124gr FMJ brass-cased ammo feeds and functions well. We’ve checked around and this $204.99/1000 price is one of the best deals on brass-cased 9mm ammo this week (for SG members, the cost is $194.99). Plus you can get FREE shipping with CODE SH2656 at checkout. We have shot this ammo in Glock, H&K, Sig Sauer, and S&W pistols. Rated at 1080 fps, this 9mm ammo was very reliable, and the boxer-primed cases are reloadable.
6. Cabelas — Simmons 20-60x60mm Spotter, $49.99 with Rebate
Let’s be realistic — this 20-60x60mm Simmons is NOT a great spotting scope. The sharpness is nowhere near as good as you’d get with a $1000+ spotter. However, you can now get this unit for under fifty bucks with manufacturer’s rebate. Cabela’s Sale Price is $59.99 and Vista Outdoor is offering a $10 Rebate. For basic work, such as viewing pistol targets, or spotting hits out to 250 yards, this bargain basement Simmons should suffice. Read the owner reviews — they have been surprisingly good. This scope will also work for general recreational use. Hard to beat for fifty bucks.
7. Amazon — 34 dB Noise Rating Ear Muffs, $17.45
These 34 dB NRR earmuffs provide excellent sound protection without being too heavy and bulky. At at $17.45, they are a great bargain. The lower section of the muff is trimmed for a narrower profile — that helps with rifle and shotgun stocks. The headband is adjustable and has comfortable padding. These Pro For Sho Muffs have earned a 4 1/2 star consumer rating, with over 1,600 Amazon customer reviews. NOTE: These fit pretty tight. If you have a very large hat size you might want a different brand.
Here’s a good deal on the new Lyman 50th Ed. Reloading Manual. Our Forum members have rated this as the best Loading Manual for starting hand-loaders. This 50th Edition, the first to be produced in full color, includes more load data, and covers more cartridges than ever before. New Cartridges Include: 17 Hornet, 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5-284, 26 Nosler, 28 Nosler, 300 Blackout, 300 RCM, 338 RCM, 450 Bushmaster, 458 SOCOM, 50 Beowulf. Amazon has the Softcover version for $19.99 and Hardcover for $23.99. Notably, Lyman donates $1.00 to the NRA for every Lyman 50th Edition Reloading Handbook sold during the first year of publication.
9. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $16.45
Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 2300 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.74, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.
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CZ offers good “bang for the buck” in both rimfire and centerfire rifle line-ups. We’ve always liked the CZ 455 rimfire rifles — especially as fitted in Manners stocks. For 2017, CZ has introduced some interesting new options including a great looking new Model 557 Varmint rifle. Here we’ve embedded a couple videos that cover the new offerings. New CZ 2017 Firearms LINK.
New Model 557 Varmint
The new CZ Model 557 Varmint rifle features a new, ergonomic stock with a heavy contour 25.6″ barrel. The newly-designed walnut stock features a palm swell, laser-cut stippling, and a flat fore-end. This makes the rifle excellent for shooting off a bench with a front rest. The 557 Varmint is chambered in .308 Win or .243 Win. We suspect most purchasers will get the .243 Win version for use in the varmint fields. Note however, the 6mm barrel has a 1:10″ twist so you can’t shoot the heavier 95 to 110-grain 6mm bullets. Potentially, the .308 Win version could be a budget F-TR rifle, with the right bipod set-up up front. The 1:10″ twist of the .30-Cal barrel allows it to shoot bullets up to about 200 grains, making it suitable for long-range competitions.
CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer
The 455 Precision Trainer was designed to provide the same look and feel as a full-size tactical rifle while allowing for more economical training. Using a Manners Composite T4 stock, the Precision Trainer wears a new camouflage paint scheme this year. The stock itself has multiple layers of carbon fiber and fiberglass hand-laid in high temperature epoxy resins. This rifle is known for good accuracy, making it a good choice for target work as well as rimfire tactical games. This is offered in both 20″ and 24″ barrel versions. The 24-inch model has a heavy barrel that tapers to the muzzle, differing from the standard .866″-diameter Varmint barrel profile.
NEW .30-Caliber Model 527
The new Suppressor-Ready Model 527 is equally happy shooting steel or taking down hogs. Chambered in .300 Blackout or 7.62×39mm, it’s got enough knock-down power for small to medium-sized game at shorter ranges. Built on a short .223-length action, the CZ 527 features a classic American pattern stock, a sporter-weight, hammer-forged barrel, a single set trigger, and a recessed target crown. Made to be used with optics, the American version ships with 1″ steel scope rings.
More CZ Rifle News from SHOT Show 2017
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It’s officially Spring — the Vernal Equinox took place this Monday March 20, 2017. For many shooters, the coming of Spring means that it’s time to head out to the varmint fields. Here are five items that can help ensure successful spring varmint adventures.
Five Great Products for Varmint Shooters
1. BarrelCool In-Action Fan
Busy Varmint shooters may expend hundreds of rounds in a day. That’s tough on barrels. One way to extend your round count is to use the ingenious BarrelCool device. This little yellow gadget fits in your action with a blower tube that goes into the chamber. A small electric fan blows cooling air through the barrel. It really works — folks who’ve purchased the Barrel Cool and run temp strips on their barrel say the BarrelCool can significantly reduce the time it takes to cool down a hot barrel.
In the past, folks have tried various methods to cool barrels: water flushed through the bore, CO2 tanks, even battery-operated fish pumps. BarrelCool is a simpler, less costly, and much handier solution. Priced at $34.99, this small device can potentially can save you money by extending barrel life. To see how Barrelcool works, visit BarrelCool.com. There you’ll find video demos of BarrelCool units in both bolt-action and AR-type rifles.
2. Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag Sandbag
On most varmint hunts we spend most of the time shooting from a portable bench with a pedestal-type rest (we like the SEB Mini). But it’s nice having a big, heavy X-Type sandbag rig also. These four-chamber designs, such as the Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag, allow shooting from a truck hood or any flat surface. Some rifles with narrow fore-ends really benefit from the firm “hug” provided by these “butterfly” style sandbags. We like the 15″ Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag, currently $53.10 at Amazon. Durable and well-made, it will provide years of service. Forum member Stoner24mkiv likes a Bulls Bag for shooting from a vehicle. He also suggests: “[take] an adjustable bipod if you are going to do any walking. Have a fanny pack or backpack for extra ammo, water, bore-snake, etc. when you go on your walkabouts. Bring a Boonie hat for blocking the sun, sun glasses, sunscreen. High leather boots.”
3. Scope with Built-In Laser Rangefinder
The Burris Eliminator III is an impressive piece of electro-optical technology. With a push of a button, a built-in laser rangefinder senses the distance to your target and the Eliminator’s microprocessor instantly calculates the required hold-over based on your load’s ballistics. The calculated aiming point is then displayed in the reticle with an illuminated red dot on the vertical cross-hair. Just put the red dot on the target and make the shot. Easy as that. If you are working a large prairie dog field and constantly moving near to far and back again, this scope is really handy. Laze, adjust aim with the dot, and squeeze the trigger. Its that simple. We’ve used this scope out to 500 yards on small steel targets and it worked flawlessly.
4. Bulk .22 Cal Varmint Bullets — Under $50.00 for 500
Right now Midsouth Shooters’ Supply is running a special on Varmint Nightmare XTreme Bullets. Available in both hollow point (HP) and lead-tip soft point (SP) styles, you can get these bullets for under $50.00 for 500. The .224 55gr Flat Base Soft Point variety is on sale this week for just $42.92 for 500 bullets (that works out to just $8.58 per hundred). We’ve loaded these in .223 Rem, 22 Dasher, and 22-250 cartridges and they worked well (considering the really low price).
5. Low-Fouling Power for High-Volume Varmint Loads
For high-shot-count varmint safaris, you want a clean-burning powder that minimizes barrel fouling. While there are many great powders for the .223 Rem, we like Hodgdon CFE 223 for our high-volume varmint loads. This powder really seems to keep barrels cleaner. Originally developed for U.S. rapid-fire military systems, CFE 223 incorporates a proprietary chemistry named “Copper Fouling Eraser”. Based on tests with extended shot strings, Hodgdon claims that, by using CFE™223, match shooters, varmint hunters, and AR shooters can maintain accuracy for longer periods, with less barrel-cleaning time. You may want to check it out.
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Federal has created an award-winning Bullet Breakdown Video (below) that demonstrates how various hunting bullets perform in ballistic gelatin. This and other videos are found on Federal Premium Ammunition’s YouTube Channel. The Bullet Breakdown Video features four bullet types used in Federal Ammo: Nosler Ballistic Tip; Sierra GameKing; Trophy Bonded Tip; and Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullet. (Note: you may want to turn down the volume before playback.)
Federal’s high-resolution, slow-motion video-graphy helps demonstrate which loads are the best for specific uses. The ultra-slo-mo footage provides a detailed view of each bullet penetrating ballistic gelatin blocks. These blocks closely mimic animal tissue and clearly display performance characteristics.
“The Bullet Breakdown Video is a great tool for hunters trying to decide on ammunition type,” said Federal’s Jason Nash. “Properly preparing for the hunt is crucial-and not all bullets are made the same. The bullet is the one link between hunter and game and can be the difference between success and failure. This video helps show hunters how different bullet construction affects terminal performance[.]” For more info, visit www.FederalPremium.com.
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In this excellent video from SilencerCo.com, NFL Pro Bowl Tackle Fletcher Cox works with LG Outfitters to stalk and harvest Nilgai Antelope using a suppressed rifle. “Nilgai are pretty special animals — they’re from India. Originally brought down by the King Ranch in the 1930s, they’ve just gone nomadic and they’re all over South Texas.” — Leeroy Gonzales, LG Outfitters.
Click below to watch the video.
“Hunting goes back to the way you approach things. You’ve gotta have a game plan.”
As all committed hunters know, the majority of the hunt is in the preparation. Selecting your gear, choosing the perfect location, waking up before dawn, posting up to patiently wait…
Fletcher Cox is all too familiar with putting time and effort into perfecting his craft and honing the execution. As a Pro Bowl defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, Cox knows that dedication and practice make for the best possible outcome.
Fletcher Cox confirms his Zero before the hunt.
Only the split-second trigger pull is the actual act of the harvest. The rest? That’s the game plan. Here (1:42) Fletcher Cox makes a successful shot on a Nilgai: “We got meat on the ground boys…”
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signs orders. Photo courtesy Ducks Unlimited.
On his first official day as the 52nd Secretary of the Department of Interior, Ryan Zinke issued his first two secretarial orders benefitting the sportsmen and outdoor communities. Zinke invited various members from the sportsmen’s community for the signing ceremony of the secretarial orders that help expand public land access, as well as opportunities to hunt, fish and recreate across the country.
“Today’s actions by Secretary Zinke are a clear indication that sportsmen and women around the country will have a voice at the Department of Interior,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “Providing places for all Americans to hunt, fish and recreate is vitally important, as hunters and anglers are North America’s greatest conservationists. I want to thank Secretary Zinke for his strong commitment and look forward to working with him in his new capacity at the Department of Interior.”
Order 3346 overturns the lead ammunition and fishing tackle ban on Fish and Wildlife Service lands, waters, and facilities, but does not apply to waterfowl hunting. Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting since 1991, and Secretary Zinke’s orders do not affect waterfowl hunters on public lands. The second order, 3347, directs bureaus and agencies to immediately identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded. The order also requests the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council to provide recommendations on enhancing and expanding access on public lands and improving habitat for fish and wildlife.
Secretary Ryan Zinke, who hails from Montana, is an NRA member and an avid outdoorsman. He served as a U.S. Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008, retiring at the rank of commander.
Secretary Zinke was confirmed with bipartisan support by the Senate on March 1, 2017 with a vote of 68 to 31. Before joining the Department of Interior, Zinke was elected to Congress in January 2014 after a 22-year career with the U.S. Navy. During his term as U.S. Representative from Montana, he has served as a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and has been a strong advocate of keeping public lands open to public use.
by Gavin Gear, UltimateReloader.com
Norma is known for its high-quality brass and ammunition. I’ve used Norma brass for precision reloading in calibers like .30-06 with great results. Recently, I saw that Norma had announced a new addition to their Professional Hunter lineup of ammunition: in 6.5 Creedmoor! I thought I should try some out with the Ruger Precision Rifle, and that’s what I’ll cover in this post.
As you saw in the video, this ammunition behaves more like match ammunition than it does hunting ammunition — I really wish it was deer season! Here are the chronograph results:
With an SD of 13.7 FPS, this ammunition is very consistent in terms of velocity. It’s not surprising that the first four shots went into a .5″ group. This new ammunition is built around the Swift Scirocco II 6.5mm Bullet, and here’s more info about this precision-oriented hunting projectile:
Caliber: 264, 6.5mm
Bullet Diameter: 0.264
Bullet Weight: 130 Grains
Bullet Length: 1.350″
Bullet Style: Polymer Tip Spitzer Boat Tail
Bullet Coating: Non-Coated
Sectional Density: .266
This is certainly a great choice of ammunition if you are hunting medium game with a rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Can’t wait to sit down again with this ammunition to see if I can get that 3/8″ 5-shot group I know this ammo is capable of! If you want to try this Norma 6.5 Creedmoor Professional Hunter ammo yourself, you can purchase this excellent ammunition at Midsouth Shooters Supply.
The IWA Outdoor Classics trade show, aka “Euro SHOT Show”, opened today, March 3rd, in Nuremberg, Germany. For the next four days (March 3-6), 1455 exhibitors will show their products at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre. This is a hugely popular event — last year’s IWA Outdoor Classics trade show attracted 45,530 trade visitors from 115 countries, and attendance should be even higher this year. IWA is Europe’s biggest combined trade show for the hunting, shooting, and civilian/military security industries. And this year, IWA Outdoor Classics was coordinated with EnforceTac, a two-day Law Enforcment/Security trade show held in Nuremberg March 1-2, 2017.
IWA even features an indoor Archery Range. For many years, the Archery Range has been a popular gathering place where exhibitors and visitors can practice their skills and learn about the latest archery products up close and personal.
About the IWA Outdoor Classics Trade Show
What is now the IWA Outdoor Classics trade show began 44 years ago as Germany’s national product show for gunsmiths and gun retailers. That product show started modestly in 1973 with less than 100 exhibitors. Over the past four decades IWA Outdoor Classics has grown into a massive event, drawing the major players in the hunting, security, and shooting sports industries. In the firearm universe, the IWA event is second only to America’s SHOT Show in importance.
2016 IWA Show Highlights:
Photos courtesy NürnbergMesse.
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6.5 Creedmoor (right) shown with .308 Win (left) and .243 Win (center) for comparison.
Though most popular for competition applications (PRS and XTC), the 6.5 Creedmoor is also a capable hunting cartridge. This month Norma spotlights the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge and outlines the game-harvesting capabilities of Norma 6.5 Creedmoor factory ammunition.
Origins of the 6.5 Creedmoor
Dave Emary, senior engineer at Hornady, asked fellow competitive shooters about their “wish list” for a mid-sized round with long-range potential. It needed to offer efficiency, good ballistics, fine accuracy, and reliable feeding from a magazine. To achieve these goals, Emary necked the .30 T/C to .264 caliber (6.5 mm). The shoulder on this case is well to the rear, so long bullets with high ballistic coefficients can be used in short actions. The efficient Creedmoor case and its modest powder charge deliver hard hits on big game while keeping recoil modest.
Hunting with the 6.5 Creedmoor
by Wayne van Zwoll
I learned about the 6.5 Creedmoor by way of a rifle from Todd Seyfert at Magnum Research. The Remington 700 action wears a carbon-fiber barrel with a Krieger stainless core. GreyBull Precision added a stock and a modified 4.5-14X Leupold scope. Its 1/3-minute elevation dial is calibrated specifically for 130-grain boat-tail spitzers at Creedmoor velocities. “Spin the elevation dial to the distance in yards, and aim dead-on.” said GreyBull’s Don Ward. Prone with a sling, I was soon banging steel at 500 yards.
By the charts, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a superb cartridge for deer-size game. But I caught only a late elk season with this new rifle. The 6.5×55 and .260 had taken elk for me; surely the Creedmoor would as well. Alas, the close shot I’d wanted, to ensure precise bullet placement, didn’t come. When on the final evening Don and I spied a bull far off, there was no approach. “Your call,” he shrugged. “The air is dead-still.” I snugged the sling, prone, and dialed to the yardage. Ribs spot-lit by a sinking sun, the bull paused. Craaack! The animal spun, sprinted and fell. That shot was twice as long as any I’d ever attempted at elk.
Whitetail hunting with a Ruger 77, then a trip to sub-Saharan Africa with a T/C Icon, kept the 6.5 Creedmoor in my ammo pouch. The T/C dropped a Vaal Rhebok at 250 yards, in stiff wind (photo below). Shorter pokes on a variety of game produced consistently quick kills. I found the Creedmoor’s limit with an eland.
A high ballistic coefficient helped a Creedmoor bullet slice stiff wind 250 yards to this Vaal Rhebok.
Since then, I’ve seen several animals brought to bag by the 6.5 Creedmoor. And I’ve used it in a variety of rifles on paper and steel targets to 1,200 yards. It has become one of my favorite cartridges for deer-size game. Its mild report and recoil make it easy to shoot accurately. It seems an inherently accurate cartridge too. I’ve punched half-minute groups from production-class rifles. The proliferation of hunting loads for the 6.5 Creedmoor includes none better than Norma’s 130-grain Scirocco. This sleek, polymer-nose bullet, with its 15° boat-tail and a G1 ballistic coefficient over .550, flies very flat. In expansion and penetration tests, it opens reliably down to 1,750 fps, and drives straight and deep. A bonded bullet, it stays in one piece after high-speed impact, routinely retaining more than 80 percent of its original weight.
Here’s a very sweet deal on a handsome Winchester hunting rig with detachable box mag. Right now Cabelas.com is offering $170.00 off a Winchester XPR. Plus there’s a $50.00 Mail-in Rebate. That reduces your net cost for the rifle to $349.99. That’s a great deal for a rifle with a smooth bolt action (with 60° lift), nice trigger, and detachable box magazine. This XPR is offered is a wide variety of chamberings including: .243 Win, 7mm-08, .270 Win, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, .300 WSM. The rifle has nice controls — two-position safety, bolt-release button, and cocking indicator. The action comes drilled and tapped for scope mounts. GO TO DEAL PAGE.
Button-rifled, free-floating steel barrel with recessed target crown
Smooth nickel-Teflon-coated bolt
Vias camouflage composite stock with textured panels
M.O.A. adjustable trigger system
QUICK REVIEW: We’ve shot this rifle, and we like it much better than most entry-level hunting rigs from other USA manufacturers. The ergos are good, the action runs smoothly and feeds reliably. A verified buyer states: “No frills hunting rifle that is extremely accurate. Winchester wanted their piece of the pie in the entry level rifle market and they seemed to nail this one. Shoots sub-MOA with cheap factory ammo. I would put this a step ahead of the Ruger American and the Savage Axis and a step below the Tikka T3, but it’s also cheaper than the T3.” We agree 100% with that assessment. If you’re looking for a basic hunting rig, this is a very good buy at $349.99 (after rebate).
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The 146th National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia from April 27-30, 2017. This four-day event will be attended by over 80,000 patriots, feature 800+ exhibitors, and include a jam-packed schedule of seminars, workshops, special events and celebrity meet and greets. In and around the convention hall there will be 15 acres of firearms, shooting and hunting gear, and other exhibits. There will also be an on-site airgun range. For more information, including event tickets, visit www.nraam.org.
If you haven’t attended the NRA Convention before, this 2016 video offers a preview:
There will be nearly 700 Exhibitors displays products at the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits. You can see products from big name companies such as Berger Bullets, Leupold, Nightforce, Nosler, Redding, Remington, Ruger, Savage, Smith & Wesson, and Winchester. You can also meet with top hunting guides and outfitters.
The National NRA Foundation Banquet will be held April 27th in the Thomas Murphy Ballroom, Georgia World Congress Center Building ‘B’. The NRA-ILA Leadership Forum is slated for April 28th in Hall A3, Georgia World Congress Center. With the recent changes in the American national leadership, the ILA Forum should be popular this year.
Hank Williams Concert
Lifetime NRA member and multi-Platinum hit-maker and outdoor enthusiast Hank Williams Jr. will take the stage at the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits Saturday, April 29th! This is always a sell out event, so don’t wait to buy your tickets.
Location of NRA Annual Meetings in Atlanta:
Firearms Policy for the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings
During the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, lawfully carried firearms will be permitted in the Georgia World Congress Center and the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center in accordance with Georgia law. However, firearms are not allowed in the remainder of the CNN Center, including the food court and shops. When carrying your firearm, remember to follow all federal, state and local laws.
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A little work with the hand axe, after a trip through the band saw…
A while back, Forum member Preacher crafted a nice varmint rifle for fellow Forum member Dave 0. (aka “Waskawood”). But rather than buy an off-the-shelf stock, Preacher crafted this stock all by hand, starting from a laminated blank panel. He calls this stock project his “Axe Job”.
CLICK for Full-size Photo
This stock is being used on a prairie dog rifle, chambered for a 17-caliber wildcat, the 17 VHA, which is based on an H&K 4.6x30mm parent case. With about nine grains of 300 MP pistol powder, the 17 VHA drives 20-grainers at about 3850 fps. (SEE details at end of article).
The ‘Axe Job’
Report by Preacher
I like carving with the laminates because all the lines are right there in front of my eyes, so it’s easy to follow along and get it just right, until it’s pleasing to the eye. I never use a template, I just keep checking the lines as I go along. I have all the needed equipment to power build one of these, but I really enjoy the time spent on the hand work. From start to completely ready-to-install, I’ll have about six (6) weeks into one of these stock projects. A lot of that is drying time for the clear coats.
The majority of the laminated blank panels I use for my gunstocks are purchased directly from Cousineau Wood Products or from Rutply.com. You have to buy at least four full panels at a time, all the same color, but that will yield eight (8) stocks. Seems like I have a little over $150.00 in a blank large enough to start making a full-sized, benchrest-style stock.
A little work with a chisel…
A little work with a rasp. (Before I was rich and famous and could afford really good rasps, I used a good old horse shoe rasp.)
A little more work with the chisel…
Preacher’s Advice on Carving Your Own Stock
The one main advantage of being older that dirt, and tormented with MS the past 40 years, is lots of free time to enjoy what ever I can do these days, as long as I can set down to do it, and I can make a lot of wood chips setting down.
Any one can do this if they have the time to devote to it. All it takes is time and a good eye for details. I made a lot of firewood over the years, until I got the hang of it. Most all those problems were inletting, and screw hole spacing. Get those right the first time and you’re on your way….
A little more work with the rasp…
A few coats of Auto clear has it about buttoned up…
Micro 17 VHA Wildcat
Here’s the finished rifle built by Preacher for Dave, using the ‘Axe Job’ stock. Dave tells us: “Preacher chambered the rifle for the 17 VHA, a wildcat based on the H&K 4.6x30mm MP7 PDW case necked down to 17 caliber. There are numerous articles in the Varmint Hunter’s Magazine about it. This efficient little round shoots 20gr ballistic tips at 3850+ fps. That’s not too shabby for ‘nine point something’ grains of pistol powder.”
“My intentions for my 17 VHA rifle are to plop down in the middle of a PD town with my swivel bench and shoot prairie dogs. I also thought it would be a nice platform to test the accuracy of the cartridge. If I like the little round as well as I think, I plan to build a more practical rifle that I can carry. I really want to thank Preacher for his patience with me through this project, as it was my first custom build.”
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H.R. 788 will help States build and maintain shooting ranges with Federal funding assistance.
Federal Legislation has been introduced that will help build and maintain shooting ranges. H.R. 788, the Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017, was introduced in Congress by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and a bipartisan group of 23 co-sponsors. The provisions of H.R. 788 will help States fund public shooting ranges with Federal Firearms Excise tax revenues.
“This legislation [H.R. 788] would provide state fish and game agencies more flexibility to use Pittman Robertson excise taxes dollars raised from the sale of firearms and ammunition to enhance existing public shooting ranges and to build new ones to meet the growing need for additional places for target shooters to participate in their sport,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior V.P. and General Counsel. “Public shooting ranges provide hunters a place to sight-in rifles and shotguns before hunting seasons, for people to take firearm safety and hunter education courses, and for recreational target shooters to enjoy their sport.”
Since 1937 almost $11 billion has been raised for wildlife conservation through the Pittman-Robertson excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition. States are permitted to use some of those funds for hunter education courses and for public shooting ranges under a restrictive formula that has largely discouraged state agencies from building and enhancing public shooting ranges. H.R. 788 will help states use Pittman Robertson revenues by increasing the limit on Federal funding of shooting ranges from 75 to 90 percent. This means states could begin work on range facilities with 10 percent State-supplied funding, instead of the current 25 percent. It would also allow Federal Excise funds to be made available and accrue for five years for land acquisition or range construction.
In addition, the legislation would limit frivolous lawsuits arising from the use of Federal land for target practice and encourage Federal agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities for maintenance of ranges on federal lands.
Story by NRAHuntersRights.org and NRAblog.com
Shown above is the Belfast Wildlife Area rifle range in Kindards, SC. Belfast was the first public, unmanned shooting range opened and paid for completely with funds raised by NRA Grants and the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program … an act made possible through Pittman-Robertson grants. Several other state Natural Resource Departments have followed suit.
Legislative History: The Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act was previously introduced as H.R. 2406, the SHARE Act (Title II), and the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act in the last Congress, as well as a stand-alone bill H.R. 2463 in the 113th Congress.
Photo Credit: Top photo shows Mainville Sportsman Club (PA) and Union Co. Sportmen’s Club (PA), both sites of IBS Matches.
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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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The 45th Annual Safari Club International (SCI) Convention is underway now at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The big event opened February 1st, and concludes Saturday the 4th. Over 20,000 hunters and sportsmen are expected to attend this year.
$10 Million in Auction Items This Year
The SCI show is famed for its fund-raising auctions. At this year’s Convention, over $10 million worth of exotic firearms, once-in-a-lifetime hunts, and fine collectibles will be auctioned. Net proceeds from the auctions are used by SCI to promote conservation and game management efforts worldwide. Here’s a past auction item, a Krieghoff Double Rifle valued at $84,000. This ‘Legends of the Hunt’ double rifle, chambered in .470 Nitro Express, is custom engraved by master engravers Michael Oke and Andreas Scholz. The stock is exhibition-grade Turkish walnut with ebony pistol grip and fore-end tip. There are gold barrel bands and gold accents on the express sight blades and double triggers.
Over 1000 Exhibitors from 33 Countries
This is a huge event, with over 1000 exhibitors from 33 countries and six continents. Notably, hundreds of top guides and outfitter services are showcased in the Outfitters Hall. The SCI convention also features many firearms manufacturers and custom gun builders. In the Gun Maker’s village prestigious European gun makers and engravers display their work.
The SCI convention boasts “the largest display of wildlife art at one venue anywhere in the world” according to Ammoland.com. The work of 55 artists and 110 taxidermists will be on display.
Hunt of a Lifetime — What Would You Hunt and Where?
A couple seasons back, Sierra Bullets asked its staffers about their dream hunting destinations. The Sierra techs, all avid hunters, were polled about their favorite hunting venues. Here are their answers to the question: “If you could hunt anything, anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you hunt?”
The Great American Outdoor Show (GAOS) is the world’s largest consumer showcase of firearms, hunting products, fishing equipment, and outdoor gear. Starting February 2, 2017, the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania hosts the big Outdoor Show for nine (9) full days. This is a huge event, with 650,000 square feet of guns, gear andmore. If you’re into shooting, hunting, or fishing and live in the Northeast, you should try to attend. Adult Tickets start at $14.00 and you can get FREE Admission with purchase of an NRA Membership
1,000+ Exhibitor Booths
New Firearms from Leading Gun-Makers
500+ Outfitters and Charterers
200+ Outdoor Seminars
Attendees can visit over 1,000 exhibitor booths featuring firearms, hunting gear, camping equipment, fishing tackle, archery products, and even boats and RVs. The booths cover 650,000 square feet of exhibit hall space! In addition, the giant Outfitter Hall at the Great American Outdoor Show, one of the largest in the country, hosts nearly 500 outfitters, boat captains, and charterers.
Over 200 Seminars Hosted by Outdoor Experts and Noted Guides
The 2017 Great American Outdoor Show will feature more than 200 seminars from leading outdoors experts, covering hunting, birds of prey, self-defense tactics and strategies, fishing demos from angling experts, and much more. This year’s notable presentations will include:
Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey: From Vietnam to Hollywood
Jim Shockey – Big Game Hunting Worldwide
Cole McCulloch – Long Range Hunting & Shooting Principles
Alan Probst – Coyote Trapping Techniques
Rick Fetrow – Venison Processing
Ashley Van Houten – Proper Fletching Techniques
For the full Outdoor Show Seminar schedule and list of exhibitors, visit GreatAmericanOutdoorShow.org. The Show’s website also list celebrity appearances and special events, which will include the NRA Country Concert with Dustin Lynch and Granger Smith, fundraising dinners, archery competitions, product demos, and much more!
SHOW HOURS AND DATES
Saturday, Feb 4: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, Feb 5: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Monday-Friday, Feb 6-10: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Saturday, Feb 11: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, Feb 12: 10:00am – 5:00pm
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