Thomas Haugland, a Shooters’ Forum member from Norway, is a long-range target shooter and hunter. He has created an interesting video showing how to gauge wind velocities by watching trees, grass, and other natural vegetation. The video commentary is in English, but the units of wind speed (and distance) are metric. Haugland explains: “This is not a full tutorial, but rather a short heads-up to make you draw the lines between the dots yourself”. Here are some conversions that will help when watching the video:
.5 m/s = 1.1 mph | 1 m/s = 2.2 mph | 2 m/s = 4.5 mph
3 m/s = 6.7 mph | 4 m/s = 8.9 mph | 5 m/s =11.2 mph
When we first ran this video a couple years back, readers were amazed at the off-hand, rapid-fire shooting skills of this young, German hunter, armed with a Sauer 202 rifle.
Check out this video of a young German hunter, Franz Albrecht Öttingen-Spielberg. Shooting off-hand with a Sauer 202 bolt action, he makes multiple kills on wild boar running at full speed. Half way through the video, a pack of boar crosses right to left, running fast. You need slow motion to see all Franz’s hits as he engages one animal after another. He doesn’t hit with every shot, but a quick count shows that nearly half his shots, fired rapid-fire from a standing position, were solid takedowns. Notice how Franz “leads” his prey, moving the muzzle from right to left along the animals’ path.
Slow-Mo Video Reveals Knock-Down Power of 7mm Rem Magnum
Near the beginning of the video, slow-motion footage reveals bullet trace, and the bullet’s impact on a running boar. The shot takes the boar right at the top of the shoulder and the animal goes down in a heap. This is impressive shooting. The video shows what is possible with a skilled marksmen, a powerful cartridge (7mm Rem Magnum), and an accurate, smooth-cycling bolt gun.
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Today is Thanksgiving. After partaking in the traditional Turkey Day feast, we know many of our readers will find time during the holiday to head to the range. A Thanksgiving Day shoot is a fun excursion, and a great way for young and old family members to share time together. For all you T-Day marksmen, we offer a special turkey target. This was created by our friend and Forum member Pascal (aka “DesertFrog”).
We’ve packaged the turkey target along with five (5) other varmint/animal-themed targets for your shooting pleasure. These are all offered in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format for easy printing.
Program Promotes Family Hunting Opportunities
Speaking of turkeys and families going shooting together, we’d like to give a plug for the “Families Afield” program. A joint effort of the Nat’l Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), and National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the “Families Afield” program works to expand the opportunities for young hunters with adult mentors. The goal of the program is to increase the number of young people getting involved in hunting. For every 100 adult hunters today, only 69 youth hunters are coming up to take their place. “Families Afield” works to reverse that trend. Several states that were restrictive to youth hunting have signed into law “Families Afield” legislation. These new laws make it possible for young hunters and their families to enjoy hunting traditions together. CLICK HERE to learn more.
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Never had a chance to hunt prairie dogs in the American west? Then check out this video. Dan Eigen (aka “Walleye Dan”), host of the We Love It Outdoors Television series, head to South Dakota for some varmint hunting. Dan teams up with Varmint Hunter Association President Jeff Rheborg to patrol some South Dakota Dogtowns where things get serious. In the video, you’ll see p-dog hits at distances from 70 yards to roughly 450 yards. The hunters were shooting from portable, wood-topped swivel rests, using AR-platform rifles on X-type sandbag rest. (Rifle zeroing session is shown at the 5:30+ mark.)
Multiple cameras were employed so you can see both the shooter’s POV and close-ups of the prairie dogs downrange. Watch the shooters having fun with a prairie dog cut-out and some Tannerite at the 9:00-minute mark. This guys are having a grand old time sending critters to Prairie Dog Heaven — we think you’ll enjoy the video.
Prairie Dog Hunting Starts at 2:00 Time-Mark in Video:
NOTE: This video actually covers three sequences: 1) Three-gun training; 2) Prairie Dog Hunting; and 3) Coyote Hunting. We’ve embedded the video so it plays back the Prairie Dog segment from 2:00 to 15:15. If you wish, you can slide the controls forward or back to watch the other segments.
Video found by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Roy Bertalotto is an author, precision shooter, varmint hunter and part-time gunsmith. On his website, RVBPrecision.com, you’ll find many interesting feature stories, including “how-to” articles. One project that caught our eye was Roy’s clever rotating-top shooting bench. Simple to build from low-cost components, Roy’s bench design features a raised center section that traverses on rollers. This allows you to move your rifle through a wide arc without having to move your front rest or rear sand bag. Roy’s bench can be built for a fraction of the cost of the big, heavy carousel-style varmint benches. This would make a nice, winter project for anyone handy with simple tools. For a set of plans and list of materials, send email to Robert: RVB100 [at] comcast.net.
This picture shows a conventional front pedestal rest used with a benchrest type rifle. As you can see, the top swivels, allowing a tremendous sweep of the varmint fields.
The swiveling top moves on metal rollers. These roller devices are available from Trend Lines, or Woodworkers warehouse. Two are required at the front of the movable top.
Below is a close-up of the pivot point.
A conventional folding table leg (from Woodworkers Warehouse) is used in the front. In the rear, Roy’s table uses a single leg fabricated from tubing and aluminum angle iron. This creates a tripod. The three-legged design provides more room for the shooter, and is easier to set up on uneven ground.
Photos courtesy Roy Bertalotto.
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Weatherby now offers a sub-MOA accuracy assurance on many of its rifles. As shown below, the VANGUARD® Series 2 RC (Range Certified) Varmint rifle comes with a SUB-MOA guarantee as well as a factory-shot target signed by company President Ed Weatherby himself. Other Weatherby “RC” Rifles, such as the new Mark V Ultra Lightweight RC, offer the same guaranteed performance. All RC rifles are guaranteed to shoot SUB-MOA (a three-shot group of .99-inch or less) with specified Weatherby factory or premium ammunition.
Range Certified rifles are tested at Weatherby’s modern indoor range. Range technicians mount premium optics, bore-sight, and test fire each rifle to determine the most accurate load using the Oehler Research 83 Ballistic Imaging System. After testing, the rifle is cleaned and packed (minus optics) with the target signed by Ed Weatherby. Each rifle sports a special RC engraved floorplate.
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If you really want to learn about long-range hunting, listen to a pro, a man like Nathan Foster who has spent a life-time in the field. Nathan has just released a new book: The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Cartridges. You can trust what Nathan says. He has spent decades in the wild, harvesting over 7500 head of game. Nathan’s richly-illustrated, 415-page resource guides you through the process of choosing the best cartridge and projectile(s) for your hunts. The book begins by explaining the key principles of of long-range hunting. Then Nathan examines the pros and cons of various cartridges so that the reader can select the best cartridge and projectile to get the job done.
Nathan is truly a hunting expert. Nathan has spent thousands of hours in the field and he knows the subject cold. Unlike some outdoor writers, Nathan doesn’t pull punches — he tells the unvarnished truth about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s what Nathan says about his new book:
After many months of writing, it is now done, 415 pages of research, each bullet repeat-tested in the field, my research scrutinized by veterinarian surgeons [and] industry peers. It was truly an immense undertaking.
For several years, I have received two types of email. The first question is which is the right rifle for me? The second question is which is the right cartridge? My first book dealt with the accurate rifle. This second book deals with long range hunting cartridge selection. I firmly believe that there has been a huge gap in education regarding optimal long range hunting cartridge performance. In many instances, both hunters and bullet manufacturers do not understand what’s required to achieve goals. Many times, the wrong tools are used for long range hunting. This book seeks to remedy these problems.
In the Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Cartridges, I start with the fundamentals of game killing — but from the perspective of the long range hunter (also encountering close range shots). This section is not politically correct in any way, as after the study of anatomy, I explore worst case scenarios in as much depth as ideal shot placement.
The second section of the book is a study of projectile design. I wanted to get right down to the finer details of the long range hunting bullet in this section, exploring manufacturers, manufacturing techniques, and ways in which the end user can perform preliminary testing as well as bullet modifications.
The third section explains how to select a long range hunting cartridge. The system I have used here is based on a selection method I developed over the years to help clients worldwide. This method takes individual circumstances into consideration rather than a one size fits all approach. It is a system that relies on plain common sense based on research.
The fourth section of the book is the cartridge section. Cartridge information is presented in a set format with Pro/Con summary tables. In many instances I have included my own load notes. I have also included notes regarding how to approach close range shots with each of our long range cartridges.
Book Buyer Comment: “Nathan has ‘hit it out of the park’ with his 2nd book, The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Cartridges! This is definitely the ‘go-to’ manual for decision-making for hunters around the world. Where else can you fine such a wealth of information on bullet selection for a particular cartridge based on the weight of the animal you intend to pursue. This allows the hunter to make an educated decision on the best cartridge for a particular game species or to load that round, up or down, to cover a variety of game species in their location.” — Jim Moseley, North Carolina, USA
About the Author: New Zealander Nathan Foster lives and breathes what he teaches. An expert in the field of terminal ballistics, Nathan has taken over 7500 head of game, and has field-tested a vast number of cartridges and projectiles. Nathan’s first book, The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Rifles, is widely recognized as one of the best books ever published on the subject. The new book goes into greater detail on specific cartridges. Nathan’s website includes an outstanding online cartridge knowledge base with over 60 detailed cartridge profiles. CLICK HERE for Cartridge INFO.
Kirby Allen of Allen Precision Shooting, www.apsrifles.com, has developed a .30-caliber jumbo-sized magnum he calls the 300 Raptor. The 300 Raptor (center in photo) is based on Allen’s 338 Excalibur parent case (far right in photo), necked down to 30 cal with shoulder moved forward to increase case capacity. Allen states: “This is the largest capacity and performance .30 caliber magnum on the market that can be used in a conventional sized receiver.”
Shoot 200s at 3600 fps
Performance of Allen’s new 300 Raptor is impressive. Allen claims that “200gr Accubonds can be driven to nearly 3600 fps, 230gr Berger Hybrids to 3350 fps, and the 240gr SMK to right at 3300 fps. These loads offered case life in excess of 6-7 firings per case and many of my test cases have over 8 firings on each case so they are not an overly hot load showing the potential of this big .30 caliber.”
To showcase the new cartridge, Allen built up a prototype rifle with a McMillan A5 stock, Raptor LRSS Action with extended tenon, and a Jewell trigger. The first 300 Raptor Rifle is currently on its second barrel, a new 30″, 3-groove 1:9″-twist Lilja in a custom APS “Raptor Contour”. This distinctive dual-fluted contour runs full-diameter almost to the end of the stock, and then steps down and tapers to the muzzle, where a beefy Medium 3-port ‘Painkiller’ Allen Precision brake is fitted.
Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Many of our readers use AR-type rifles for Service Rifle matches, varmint hunting, 3-Gun competition, or defensive use. AR-platform rifles can be configured in a multitude of ways to suit the application. But if you plan to put together your own purpose-built AR rifle, how do you get started?
For AR Do-It-Yourselfers, we suggest reading Glen Zedicker’s book, the Competitive AR-15 Builders Guide. Following Zedicker’s New AR-15 Competitive Rifle (2008), the Builders Guide provides step-by-step instructions that will help non-professional, “home builders” assemble a competitive match or varmint rifle. This book isn’t for everyone — you need some basic gun assembly experience and an aptitude for tools. But the AR-15 Builders’ Guide provides a complete list of the tools you’ll need for the job, and Zedicker outlines all the procedures to build an AR-15 from start to finish.
Along with assembly methods, this book covers parts selection and preparation, not just hammers and pins. Creedmoor Sports explains: “Knowing how to get what you want, and be happy with the result, is truly the focus of this book. Doing it yourself gives you a huge advantage. The build will honestly have been done right, and you’ll know it! Little problems will have been fixed, function and performance enhancements will have been made, and the result is you’ll have a custom-grade rifle without paying custom-builder prices.”
The Competitive AR-15 Builders Guide is not available from most large book vendors. However, Creedmoor Sports has plenty of copies in stock (item BK Builder, $29.00 on sale). To order, visit www.creedmoorsports.com or call 1-800-CREEDMOOR.
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We’ve chatted with Richard Franklin of Richard’s Custom Rifles, and he mentioned that one of his favorite varmint rifles is a 14-twist, 22BR built on his model 11 stock in laminated Black Walnut and fiddleback maple. Richard says the rifle is versatile and deadly accurate out to 400 yards. Richard uses a Leupold 8.5-25x50mm LRT with varmint reticle.
“This is my light walking varminter. It’s built on a blueprinted SS Remington 700 short action and chambered as a no-turn 22 BR for Lapua brass. The bolt handle is a Dave Kiff replacement and I’ve fitted a Jewel BR trigger with bottom safety. Barrel is a Lilja, 1:14″ # 6 contour with a muzzle diameter of .750″. I shoot the 40gr V-Max in the rifle at 4000 FPS. Its tough on hogs if you don’t try them too far. 400 yards is about the max with it. Accuracy is outstanding and with Roy, Mike, my grandson and myself shooting this rifle I don’t believe it has missed more than 3 hogs out of over 100 shot at this summer. This rifle is carried in a ceiling rack in the truck where its handy and is used by the first person that grabs it when a hog is sighted if we are moving between setups. The Varmint reticle on the Leupold is nice for quick hold-overs as you change distances.”
Detail of Model 11 Stock (Different Rifle in Birdseye Maple)
22BR Rivals 22-250 Performance
With bullets in the 40gr to 60gr weight range, the 22BR gives up very little in velocity to a 22-250, despite burning quite a bit less powder (30-32 grains for the 22BR vs. 35-38 grains for the 22-250). With a match-quality chamber, the 22BR will probably have an edge in accuracy over a 22-250, and you should experience longer barrel life. Here are some recommended 22BR loads for 40-60gr bullets:
As a member of the World Champion Team USA F/TR squad, Paul Phillips regularly competes (and wins) at 1000 yards. Paul is also a long-range hunter. Here’s his story about developing his ultimate long-range hunting rifle. Chambered for the .338 Lapua Magnum, this rig is accurate out to 1800 yards.
The Long-Range ChallengeBy Paul Phillips
Being an avid big game rifle hunter, my goal was to build the most accurate long-range hunting rifle possible that would still be light enough to carry. My thought was to use the same type of high-quality components as what I used on my US F/TR Team Rifle, except in a bigger caliber — a caliber that would have plenty of knock-down power at very long ranges. After extensive research, including both ballistic data analysis, as well as discussion with top gunsmiths and champion long-range shooters, I chose the .338 Lapua Magnum. My past experience from being a member of a USMC Scout Sniper Platoon and a shooting member of two World Champion U.S. F-Class F/TR teams, I knew that this rifle was more than capable of performing the task. After establishing that the rifle had half-MOA accuracy at 600 yards, we wanted to see how far the rifle could maintain sub-MOA accuracy, to see what the cartridge and rifle could achieve. Could this gun shoot sub-MOA at a mile? That was our challenge.
Rifle Components and Gunsmithing
My rifle was built on a Stiller Tac-338 single-shot action. It has a 30″, 1:10″-twist Brux barrel, a McMillan A-5 stock with Magnum fill, a Sinclair Bipod, and a Remington X-Mark trigger set at two pounds. The rifle wears a Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope in Nightforce rings on a +40 MOA rail. I chose David Tooley to install the barrel, custom brake, apply a Cerakote dark earth finish and bed the stock. After speaking with Mr. Tooley in great length, I chose his no-neck-turn match .338 Lapua chamber specifically designed for the 300 grain Berger Bullet. This rifle weighs 17 pounds and, with the muzzle brake, it recoils like a standard .308 Winchester.
Load Development and Accuracy Testing
I used the 600-yard range at the Midland County Sportsman’s Club. If I was going to have any chance of hitting small targets at a mile, I would need to find a load that could produce half-minute (0.5 MOA) or better accuracy. I found an accurate load that gave me consistent half-minute groups that chronographed at 2825 FPS. My load consisted of Lapua brass, Federal 215M Primer, Alliant Reloder 25, and Berger 300gr Hybrid OTM bullet. With the Berger 300-grainer’s listed 0.419 G7 BC, this load would be good enough to reach 1880 yards before going subsonic. This load’s calculated energy at one mile is 960 ft/pounds. This is similar to a .44 magnum pistol round at point-blank range.
With my +40 MOA scope rail, my 100-yard zero ended up with the elevation at the bottom of the tube and the windage just 2 MOA left of center. This left a full 65 Minutes of Elevation — enough to get out to 1800 yards. This gave me the capability to aim and shoot from 100 yards to 1800 yards with a projectile that is still supersonic at 1800.
Hitting a 10″ Balloon at One Mile
For a one-mile target, I chose a balloon inflated to 10″ in diameter. The balloon would be a challenging, reactive target that would show up well on video. I teamed up with a fellow long-range shooter, John Droelle and friend Justin Fargo to attempt this feat. Using my known 600-yard Zero, my ballistics program showed my come-up for 1783 yards to be 53 MOA. After two sighters that measured 4 inches apart, I adjusted up one minute from my spotter shot and nailed my 10″ balloon at one mile. This video was recorded with my iPhone attached to my 25-power Kowa spotting scope, so it may seem a lot closer than it really is. Below is a video of the shot. Needless to say I achieved my goal and was very excited.
Watch Hit on 10″-Diameter Balloon at One Mile with .338 Lapua Magnum
After my balloon shot, I let my friend Justin Fargo, a novice shooter, try his skills. Justin told me that he had never shot past 100 yards using a common deer rifle. Surprisingly, Justin not only kept all his shots under 1 MOA, he hit the 9-inch white circle in the middle of the target. This bullet hole measured only 4.3 inches from the center of where he was aiming. Truly amazing! The target below shows Justin’s shots at one mile. Note that All the hits are located within the 24-inch black circle.
What I Learned — With the Right Equipment, Even a Novice Can Make Hits at a Mile
The above results demonstrate that even a novice shooter with a high-quality, custom rifle and match-grade ammo can make extreme long range shots with great accuracy. It is very important to understand the ballistics of the bullet and the effect of wind drift to make precision, first-shot hits on your target. It is also important that you know your target, backstop and beyond when making these shots. To date, I have shot approximately 40 shots at a mile in calm conditions while averaging 3-shot groups between ½ to 1 MOA (1 MOA is about 18.5″ at that distance). My next experiment is to see how well these bullets perform traveling at subsonic speeds out to 1.5 – 2 miles. Stay tuned!
Special thanks to the following people that helped out with this project: Geoff Esterline, David Tooley, Dick Davis, John Droelle, Ray Gross and Bryan Litz.
Editor’s Comment: The point of this article is to show the kind of accuracy a precision rifle system can achieve, consistently, at extreme long range. Though this rifle will do duty as a hunting arm, Phillips is not advocating that a .338 LM be used to harvest animals at the full limit of its supersonic range. Because winds are hard to predict at extreme long range in a hunting situation, Phillips cautions that the practical distance at which he would shoot game with a rig like this is much, much shorter.
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Forum member RidgeRunner has devised a clever shooting support for field use. He calls it the “Pogo Stick”. It’s simply welded stainless rod with a two-pronged base, and a ‘U’-shaped cradle that adjusts for height along a vertical shaft. RidgeRunner tells us: “It is very solid and made from stainless steel so it won’t rust under sweaty hands. The rifle hook, or support, slides up and down the main stem and secures with the knob. It has two prongs you tramp into the ground and is VERY stable. It is shiny, but I have been using this one since about 1983, and I can’t say I have noticed it spooking any whistlers. Before I had an actual bench to shoot off of, I used it to sight-in rifles. I would lay down and use a sand bag under the butt stock. Worked just fine.”
While this “Pogo Stick” rest was created for varmint hunting, it would work well for hunters of larger game, in terrain where the prongs could be set in the ground. The whole unit is small enough to carry easily in a day-pack. It sets up in seconds, and it stays in position by itself, unlike shooting sticks, which normally require a firm hold with one hand.
Yep, that’s one big Pennsylvania groundhog in the photo below. RidgeRunner reports: “This old boy has been giving me the slip for a couple weeks. I finally got a 52gr A-Max in him before the hay got high enough to hide him again. This sucker weighed 15 pounds. My heaviest to date I believe. The rifle is a Tikka 22/250 with a 4-16X Weaver 1/8-MOA dot scope. Nice and light for carry, nice and accurate too.”
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