November 22nd, 2014

The 22BR as General-Purpose Varmint Cartridge

Richard Franklin (who operated Richard’s Custom Rifles prior to his retirement), has built scores of varmint rifles, in many different calibers. One of Richard’s all-time 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:

For more info on the 22BR for varminting, read our 22BR Cartridge Guide

Permalink Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
November 20th, 2014

LSU Develops Shooting System for Disabled Marksmen

Story by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog.com
The NRA Foundation is proud to support Louisiana State University’s Mobile Marksman Project, a system developed by the LSU Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Program to help high-level quadriplegics to participate in the shooting sports. The nearly $2,200 grant funded the 2014 system, the team’s final design iteration.

Mobile Marksman disabled quadraplegic software LSU

Mobile Marksman disabled quadraplegic software LSUCreated in 2009, the Mobile Marksman Project is a manually-controlled shooting platform that allows handicapped hunters to aim and fire a mounted firearm with head-tracking software and a small tube that is activated with a puff of air.

Capstone Design Instructor Capt. Dave Giurintano and the Mobile Marksman team worked with high-level quadriplegics to address system requirements and create a lightweight, portable system that is simple to use and enjoy. Recent additions include recoil-absorbing legs and a rail-mounted camera that displays the crosshairs and target on a high-resolution digital screen.

“It has been our profound pleasure to have a hand in working on it, to extend the hunting and shooting experience to everyone, regardless of physical disability,” said Garen Armbruster, Mobile Marksman Team Leader.

Mobile Marksman disabled quadraplegic software LSU

Established in 1990, The NRA Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that raises tax-deductible contributions in support of a wide range of firearm-related public interest activities of the National Rifle Association of America and other organizations. These activities are designed to promote firearm and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills, and to educate the general public about firearms.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
November 16th, 2014

Chuck’s Dazzling Dasher Duo — A Pair of Beauties

Forum Member Chuck L. (aka “Ridgeway”) has created a handsome duo of 6mm Dashers for competitive benchrest and varmint matches in Pennsylvania. Both guns are built on Kelbly Panda RBLP actions, with Bartlein 8-twist barrels, and Shehane Laminated Tracker Stocks. However, the two rifles are not exact twins, as you can see. One, which we’ll call the Big Dasher, is built on a Shehane ST1000 Tracker stock. The other gun, the Small Dasher, sports Shehane’s “Baby Tracker” stock — a design used with great success by Richard Schatz. The Big Dasher, optimized for 1000-yard competition, also has a slightly longer freebore — 0.136″ vs. 0.104″ for the Small Dasher.

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Chuck tells us: “I don’t get out shooting competition as much as I want due to time and family, but when I do compete, I shoot a Groundhog match at Southfork Rifle Club in Beaverdale, PA. Info on Southfork Club events can be found at Southforkrifleclub.com. The Southfork match is basically a 100-, 300- and 500-yard match with one sighter the entire match and 5 shots at each yardage for score. The Small Dasher, with the shorter ‘Baby Tracker’ stock, was set up for the Southfork Rifle Club’s ‘Light Unlimited’ class which has a 13.5-lb max weight.” (Editor: ‘unlimited’ is a misnomer for a weight-limited category.)

Chuck adds: “The Big Dasher with the heavy ST-1000 stock is set up for 1000-yard benchrest matches in Light Gun class. I hope to shoot a couple 1K matches with it at Reade Range in southwest Pennsylvania. I am still in load development for this rifle since it was just finished in January. One ironic thing is, it shoots the same load I’m shooting out of the lighter gun rather well. The only difference between the two chambers is the freebore is roughly thirty thousandths longer on the 1K gun (Large Dasher). I will also shoot this at Southfork in the ‘Heavy Unlimited’ class.”

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Specifications for the Dasher Duo:

Small Dasher (13.5-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with approximately .104 freebore and a .264 NK. (No way of knowing exactly since it freebore was done in a separate operation by Kelbly.) Components are: Shehane Baby Tracker stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ LV barrel at 26 ¾”, Kelbly Rings, Weaver T36, Jewell trigger. The barrel was chambered by Kelblys and the stock was bedded, glued and balanced by a shooting buddy (Forum Member johara1). I clear-coated the stock with auto urethane. Total weight is 13 lbs., 4 ounces.

Big Dasher (1K Light Gun, 17-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with a .136 freebore and .264 neck (PTG Reamer). Components are: Shehane ST-1000 stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ HV 5R barrel at 28″, Shehane +20-MOA rings, Nightforce NXS 12-42x56mm, Jewell trigger. The barrel work, pillar installation, and bedding was done by Dave Bruno. The stock was clear-coated by Chuck with auto urethane. Chuck also made the rear butt plate and balanced the rifle. Total weight: 16 lbs., 13 ounces.

Dasher Case-Forming: Neck-Turn then Fire-form with Bullets Hard in Lands
To fireform, I turn my cases down to fit the chamber and stop where the false shoulder makes snug contact with the chamber. Fire-forming rounds are loaded up with a 29-grain charge of H4895 or Varget and a 108gr Berger bullet seated hard into the lands about 0.020″ past initial contact with the rifling. It takes about three firings to make a nice clean Dasher case with a sharp shoulder. I anneal about every 3-4 firings. I have many cases that have about 10+ firings on them and they are still shooting well. The primer pockets are a little looser, but still hold a primer.

6mm Dasher case fire-forming fireform

Both Dashers Group in the Ones at 100 Yards
My main bullet for both rifles is the 107gr Sierra MK, loaded with Reloder 15 powder, Lapua cases and CCI 450 primers. My main load for the Small Dasher is 33.0 grains of Reloder 15. This load shoots in the ones at 100 yards. For the Big Dasher, I’m still working on a load, although the same 33.0 grain load shoots in the ones in the heavier gun as well. I’m still looking for more velocity and my ‘max’ node. So far, I’ve gone well above 33.0 grains of RL 15 without pressure signs, but that load produces vertical at 100 yards, so I’m going to tinker with the load until I see pressure or it starts to shoot.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 4 Comments »
November 15th, 2014

Hunting Tip: How to Plot Your Cold Bore Point of Impact

Commonly, hunters won’t have the ability to fire one or two fouling shots before heading out on a hunt. Therefore it’s important that a hunter understands how his rifle shoots with a “cold bore shot”. Both the point of impact (and possibly velocity), may be different with a cold bore than with a barrel that has been warmed and fouled with a series of shots. In this video from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), you’ll learn how to determine your cold bore point of impact (POI) for a rifle that just been cleaned, as well as the cold bore POI with a barrel that has already been “fouled in”.

SGT Joe Hein of the USAMU shows how to plot cold bore POI with both a clean bore and a fouled bore. Note that the “cold bore” shot from a fouled barrel was closer to the follow-up shots than the cold bore shot from a clean barrel. This is typical of many factory barrels. SGT Hein provides a simple way to understand your rifle’s cold bore performance. Hein’s advice can keep you from missing that long range shot at that big buck on opening day. A little time spent on the range before that critical first shot will help ensure you have meat in the freezer this season.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 5 Comments »
November 13th, 2014

Aoudad for Dad (and Son) — The Pilants Hunt Texas

If you’ve ever visited the Sierra Bullets booth at the NRA convention or SHOT Show, you’ve probably encountered Carroll Pilant, a very knowledgeable fellow who serves as Sierra’s Media Relations Manager. Carroll loves what he does, and he’s a true firearms enthusiast. Recently Carroll had the opportunity to hunt Aoudad and a variety of other exotic game species in Texas. Joining Carroll on this Aoudad adventure was his son Hunter Pilant.

Carroll Pilant Auodad hunting texas

Carroll has authored an account of his Texas hunt for the Sierra Blog. Here’s a sample, with some photos. The full story also covers Javelina hunting. CLICK HERE to read to full story.

Aoudad Hunting in Texas by Carroll Pilant
Aoudad, also known as Barbary sheep, have been a passion of mine for the last few years. I saw my first wild Aoudad back in 1973 or 1974 while I was working on the U Ranch. The U Ranch was part of the King Ranch in Balmorhea, Texas. The ranch headquarters sets at the base of the Barrilla Mountains — rugged territory. Aoudad had been stocked in some of the high fence areas for hunting purposes along with many other exotic game animals such as Nilgi, Ibex, Blackbuck. Many escaped from the game ranches and thrived in the arid Texas and New Mexico country that is very similar to the areas they originated from. Texas classes them as exotic or non-game animals and they can be hunted year-round. For $48 you can purchase a 5-day nonresident special hunting permit good for all the exotics.

Two years ago, a good friend of mine in Fort Stockton, Texas arranged for me to hunt in the Glass Mountains on a nearly 400-square-mile ranch. I harvested my first Aoudad and that really whetted my desire to take a larger one.

My son, Hunter Pilant at Starline Brass, had already volunteered to go with me…. That would give us a little father / son time together. We were both busy and it put us scrambling at the last minute trying to get ammo loaded, rifles zeroed … and the vehicle packed. The rifle I chose to take was my Remington 700 in 7mm Magnum with the #1940 175 grain SBT bullet. Hunter was using a Savage in .300 RSAUM with the #2160 180 grain SBT. Aoudad are tough animals and can soak up a lot of lead, so you need to use a tough bullet.

We were lucky the first day hunting in that we had Aoudad right off the bat. We watched about 20 Aoudad (with three rams) feeding right under a cliff at about 1200 yards. About an hour of driving through really rough terrain finally put us in an area where we could come in from above. Guesstimating at where they were below us, Hunter went several hundred yards to my left and I just worked my way to the edge of the ledge above the cliff.

Carroll Pilant Auodad hunting texas

A quick plan was devised. Hunter would slip up to the edge of the cliff and hopefully they would be feeding below him. When he shot, we hoped they would come past me heading to the higher elevation. We were watching Hunter as he slipped up to the edge and I kept checking to my right, when I noticed a ram come over a ridge and start working his way down into a canyon out of my sight. I was afraid to shoot because it would spook the group Hunter was looking for. Since I had already taken animals the last two years, I wanted Hunter to get a chance. The ram I was watching disappeared into the canyon. I waited for him to come out but was afraid he had went down it rather than coming back up on my side. All of a sudden, he popped up over a point out in front of me at about 200 yards.

Photo of Hunter Pilant, the author’s son and hunting partner on this trip.
Carroll Pilant Auodad hunting texas

I got my rifle ready and decided to wait until I just had to shoot, hoping that Hunter would find the main group and get a shot. Hunter spotted a ram and shot. The ram I was watching whirled and started to run back the way he had came. I had a foot-wide gap in the cedar that I could shoot through and at the shot, I heard the bullet thump and he disappeared over the edge. CLICK to Read Full Story

Permalink Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
November 13th, 2014

Nice Compact 22BR Varminter from Idaho’s ‘Boltfluter’

Winter storms are raging in many areas of the country right now, and we know that many of our readers are holed up inside. To help delay the onset of “cabin fever”, we’re offering some nice outdoor photos from Forum member Paul Fakenbridge (aka “Boltfluter”) up in Idaho.

22BR Varmint Rifle Pro-Precision Rifles Boltfulter

One of Fakenbridge’s favorite rifles is a suppressed 22BR varminter with a 22″ barrel. All-up weight is 12 lbs. including bipod and suppressor. He uses this compact rifle on varmint excursions up in Idaho. Paul’s 22BR features a Rem short action in an H&S Precision PSS stock. The scope is a Leupold 12x40mm FX-3 (fixed power) in Warne Q/R rings. Paul notes: “In my .22BR the 75gr A-Maxes travel right at 3000 fps (with a 22″ barrel). My ‘go-to’ powder is IMR 8208 XBR with CCI 450 primers.” For those considering a build with a similar cartridge, Paul adds: “I think you will be pleasantly surprised.”

22BR Varmint Rifle Pro-Precision Rifles Boltfulter

When he’s not hunting varmints, Boltfluter operates Pro-Precision Rifles, LLC which offers bolt fluting, bolt finishing, and barrel fluting (including AR15 barrels). Boltfluter also sells and installs bolt knobs and muzzle brakes. Shown below are two helical-fluted bolts with custom-machined bolt knobs. Very nice work by one of our Forum members…

fluted helical Pro-Precision Rifles Boltfulter

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
November 12th, 2014

Howa Snow Camo Package Rifles for Winter Hunting

Snow is already on the ground in many Northern states. But hunting season is still open in some areas. So, that’s your excuse to buy a nice, new Howa hunting rifle with a special full hydro-dip winter camo covering. Right now, Legacy Sports International is offering the Howa Hogue Snowking combo, and the Howa Blackhawk Talon Snowking combo. These exclusive models have been extremely popular when offered in the past.

Howa 1500 Snow Camo Snow King Pistol Creek Outfitters Frank Church Wilderness Elk Hunting Salmon River Idaho

Howa Snowking models feature a Howa 1500 action with 22″ barrel, fitted in either Hogue or Blawkhawk Talon stocks covered with King’s Snow Camo designs. The Howa Hogue Snowking combo comes with a Nikko Stirling Gameking 4-16x44mm Mil-Dot scope, and King’s Snow Camo Hogue over-molded synthetic stock. The Howa Blackhawk Talon Snowking combo comes with the same Nikko 4-16x44mm Mil-Dot scope but with a King’s Snow Camo Blackhawk Talon stock. Available chamberings are: .223 Rem, .243 Win, .22-250, .308 Win. If you want one of these special edition Howas, order through Bill Hicks Company, 1-800-223-0702.

Packages Include:
- Howa rifle with new HACT™ 2-Stage Trigger System.
- BLACKHAWK® Talon™ OR Hogue® Overmolded™ Stock in Kings® Snow Shadow™ Camo.
- Color Matched Nikko Stirling Gameking 4-16×44 scope with LRX Range-finding Reticle.
- Color Matched Scope, Rings and One Piece Base (Mounted and Bore Sighted before shipping).


2014 Elk Hunting Photos from Pistol Creek Outfitters (Frank Church Wilderness, Idaho).

Pistol Creek Outfitters Frank Church Wilderness Elk Hunting Salmon River Idaho

Pistol Creek Outfitters Frank Church Wilderness Elk Hunting Salmon River Idaho

Pistol Creek Outfitters Frank Church Wilderness Elk Hunting Salmon River Idaho

Photos copyright 2014 jnpshields, all rights reserved.
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »
November 3rd, 2014

Building an AR? Check Out Zediker’s Book Before You Start

AR15 Varmint rifle AR gunsmithing robert whitley

AR15 construction guideMany 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, $34.95). To order, visit www.creedmoorsports.com or call 1-800-CREEDMOOR.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
November 2nd, 2014

How to Zero Your Hunting Rifle the Easy Way

We are in the thick of hunting season. If you need to re-zero your favorite deer rifle, here is a dead-simple way to zero your rifle in two or three shots. The method is based on the principle of moving your cross-hairs to the point-of-impact (POI) of your first shot. You’ll need a good set of rests that will hold the gun steady while you (or a buddy) clicks the scope.

After bore-sighting, fire one round at the center of the target. Then place the rifle so the center of the cross-hairs is exactly on your original point of aim. Next, without disturbing the gun in any way, dial your turrets so that the center of the cross-hairs moves over the center of your group. That’s it. You’re now zeroed. Having a helper steady the gun as you click the turrets will make this “no-math” method work more effectively.

Click-to-Initial POI Zeroing Method Demonstrated

Simple Sight-In Procedure
scope zeroing procedurePut the center of your cross-hairs on the target and take one shot. Then reposition the rifle in your bags so the center of the reticle is back on the center of the target. Make sure the rifle is secure in this position (have a friend hold the rifle if necessary). Now, using your elevation and windage knobs (while looking through the scope), simply click the center of the cross-hairs to the middle of the bullet hole — without moving the rifle. You are moving the center of the reticle on to the bullet hole. Take a second shot. The second bullet hole should now be in the center of the target. Repeat the process if needed with a third shot. This procedure works at any distance.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
October 31st, 2014

Get FREE Classic Hunting Books — Downloadable as PDFs

Are you looking for some outdoors-oriented reading material? Do you enjoy classic hunting adventures from around the globe? Then log on to the NitroExpress.com Forum. There you’ll find links for literally hundreds of vintage hunting stories, and even complete books, such as Teddy Roosevelt’s classic African Game Trails and Good Hunting, plus the wonderful book African Campfires by Stewart E. White, one of Roosevelt’s close friends and hunting companions.

CLICK HERE for Hundreds of Vintage Hunting Books and Articles | Alternate Link

Theodore Roosevelt Good Hunting Theodore Roosevelt Good Hunting

Theodore Roosevelt Good HuntingAmong the downloadable titles are The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo (leaflet edition) by Lt.Col. J. H. Patterson, the true tale that inspired the Hollywood movie, The Ghost and the Darkness, staring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. The online version of the Man-Eaters of Tsavo book (right) is a shorter, 140-page edition created for Chicago’s Field Museum, which purchased the skins of the lions from Patterson and put them on display.

You’ll find scores of classic adventure tales, recounting hunts in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. You’ll doubtless find something of interest, whether it be Bear Hunting in BC, Chamois Hunting in Bavaria, Reindeer (Caribou) Hunting in Iceland, Jaguar Hunting in South America, or Dangerous Game Hunting in Africa. Hundreds of articles, all scanned from original texts and saved as PDFs, are available for downloading — and they are all free for the taking. Many of these works feature handsome original illustrations, as shown below.

Theodore Roosevelt Good Hunting

Permalink Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
October 25th, 2014

Resources for Hunters — Websites and Classic Hunting Books

Webyshops.com, a leading online vendor of optics, range gear, and hunting accessories has prepared a helpful guide for new hunters. This “how to” article Before You Start Hunting provides basic information on preparing for a hunt, finding a hunter education class, choosing appropriate gear, and selecting a safe, approved area for hunting.

Hunting Affiliation Groups
There are many good organizations dedicated to promoting hunting and preserving our hunting habitats. These groups all offer valuable information for hunters:

Ducks Unlimited
Mule Deer Foundation
National Wild Turkey Federation
Pheasants Forever
Quail Forever
Rabbits Unlimited
Safari Club International
Squirrels Umlimited
Varmint Hunters Association
Whitetails Unlimited

Recommended Books about Hunting
There’s no shortage of hunting hunting-related reading material. Here are some of the best books written about hunting.

Hemingway on Hunting by Ernest Hemingway

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting by Jim Posewitz

Meditations on Hunting by Jose Ortega y Gasset

Eating Aliens: One Man’s Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species by Jackson Landers

It’s Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It by Bill Heavey

The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food by Jackson Landers

Whitetail Nation: My Season in Pursuit of the Monster Buck by Peter Bodo

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
October 21st, 2014

Shooting Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

Norway Hunting Snow

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

More Interesting Videos from Norway
There are many other interesting videos on Haugland’s YouTube Channel, including Game Stalking, Precision Reloading, and Tips on how to use a Mildot Reticle on a scope with MOA-based clicks.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »