September 25th, 2016

Shilen Actions, Barreled Actions, and Complete Rifles

Shilen Actions Complete rifles barrel nut Savage Remage

Did you know that Shilen Rifles Inc. offers barreled actions and complete rifles? And that Shilen offers a Savage-style, barrel-nut system for its Rem-clone actions? After several years of development, Shilen now offers custom actions ($950.00), barreled custom actions with triggers ($1500.00), and complete rifles ($3200.00 and up).

Shilen Actions Complete rifles

The new Shilen custom actions are CNC-milled from high-grade stainless steel. Two types are offered — the multi-shot DGR (Repeater) or the single-shot DGV (Varminter) action. Both actions will be offered in most common bolt faces and both right-hand and left-hand actions are immediately available. The DGR and DGV actions have a 1.350″ diameter with 8-40 scope base mounting screw holes, and an 0.300″ pinned recoil lug. The spiral-fluted bolts feature a floating bolt head with an interchangeable bolt handle knob. These actions feature a footprint similar to the Remington Model 700. Both DGR and DGV actions will accept many aftermarket components crafted for Rem-700 style actions, including triggers and bottom metal.

Barreled Actions with Barrel-Nut System for Easy Barrel Exchanges
Along with the stand-alone DGR and DGV actions, Shilen is offering barreled action assemblies, chambered and ready to drop into Rem 700-inletted stocks. The actions are fitted with Shilen match-grade barrels and Shilen triggers. The barrels feature a 1-1/16″x20 barrel thread and are attached to the action by a barrel nut. This Savage-style barrel nut system simplifies headspacing, allowing easy swapping from one barrel to another. With the simple barrel-exchange procedure, you can shoot multiple chamberings with a single action/rifle. For example, shooters can change from a .223 Remington to a .204 Ruger or a .22-250 to a 6mm BR in a matter of minutes.

Complete Rifles with McMillan Stocks
With Shilen’s complete rifles, buyers can choose their chambering, and select barrel and stock configuration. Shooters can choose between a sporter weight wood stock or a variety of McMillan fiberglass stocks. With all complete rifles, the entire package is delivered in a quality gun case and Shilen even includes table mat, cleaning rod, bore guide, jag, bore brush, and cleaning patches. For more info, call (972) 875-5318 or email comments@shilen.com.

Shilen Actions Complete rifles

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
September 24th, 2016

Norway Hunting Video — A Visual Feast

Norway Fjord Hunting Skorpen

Today, September 24th, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. To help mark that event, we’re reprising a story from Europe that showcases the beauty of nature that can be experienced on a hunting trip.

Norway Fjord Hunting SkorpenIf you need a break from your hum-drum day at the office, how about taking a virtual vacation to Norway, where you can explore the scenic mountains in the Fjord region?

Forum member Kenneth Skorpen (aka “Sal”) has created a cool video of a deer-hunting trip he took in Norway. He didn’t bag a buck on this trip, but the walk in the Fjordland mountains took Kenneth through some spectacular scenery. (At the 11:25 time mark you’ll see an amazing sunset over the Fjord.) Kenneth did encounter a doe that had fallen down the mountain, and apparently broken its neck (14:35 time mark). The terrain is very steep, and Kenneth observed that: “I feel fortunate to be able to do this, but I also feel very tired in my legs. Did you know that the hares around here have shorter left legs due to the steep hills?”

More Hunting/Shooting Videos from Norway
You can watch more interesting hunting and shooting videos from Norway on Kenneth Skorpen’s Streken Vertebrae YouTube Channel. Here are some links:

And here is another Skorpen video showcasing beautiful Norwegian landscapes. This was filmed during a February rifle testing session with targets at 1100 and 1400 meters. You’ll see some stunning snow-capped scenery here, starting at the 4:30 time mark.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
September 24th, 2016

Two Great Books for Hunters by New Zealand’s Nathan Foster

Nathan Foster Practical Guide Long Range Hunting Cartridges Hunting Rifles

Today, September 24th, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. If you are a serious hunter (or aspire to be) here are two resources you should definitely add to your library. Written by a lifelong New Zealand hunter with a wealth of field experience, the Practical Guide to Hunting Cartridges tells you what you need to know about hunting cartridge performance. In no-nonsense terms, this book reveals how various rounds actually perform in a wide variety of game species. Nathan’s first book, The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Rifles, is a classic — one of the best books ever written on choosing and using a hunting rifle. We recommend booth books highly.

If you really want to learn about long-range hunting, listen to a pro like Nathan Foster who has spent decades in the wild, harvesting over 7500 head of game. His classic guide to Hunting Rifles analyzes what you need in a hunting firearm and compares various action/stock/barrel/scope options. This book also provides some practical stalking and shooting tips for hunters. Nathan’s 415-page companion book on Hunting Cartridges guides you through the process of choosing cartridge and projectile(s) for your hunts. 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. This book represents years of first-hand research, testing scores of calibers/loads in the field.

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 these two books:

Nathan Foster Practical Guide Long Range Hunting CartridgesFor 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.


Nathan Foster Practical Guide Long Range Hunting CartridgesAbout 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.

Nathan runs Terminal Ballistics Research, a small company in Taranaki, New Zealand, that conducts cartridge and projectile performance research. Nathan also operates a long-range shooting school. Nathan is also the creator of MatchGrade Bedding Products.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
September 22nd, 2016

September 24th (Saturday) is National Hunting & Fishing Day

National Hunting and Fishing Day Hunt Fish Open House

National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) takes place on Saturday, September 24, 2016. The annual celebration serves as a reminder that conservation succeeds because of leadership and funding from hunters, shooters and anglers. National, regional, state and local organizations will run thousands of “open house” hunting- and fishing-related events around the country. Events will include Fishing Derbys, Hunting Expos, Wing-shooting tournaments, and much more. Over four million Americans will participate. For information on NHF Day, visit www.nhfday.org. To find NHF Day events in your state, click the links below.

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
 
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Bass Pro Shops
Cabela’s
International

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
September 17th, 2016

Kristy Titus Explains How to Prepare for a Hunt

Kristy Titus NRA Women Hunting guide

As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show, is a certified instructor has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.

Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting. With no two hunting situations being the same, we must train to be adaptable and make the most of every opportunity. The most important aspect of hunting success, ultimately, is the person behind the rifle. So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”

Other NRAwomen.TV videos featuring Kristy Titus include: Rifle Fit (LOP, Cheek height, Eye Relief, Grip); Sight Picture, Natural Point of Aim, and Positional Shooting.

Kristy Titus NRA Women Hunting guide

“When it comes to bolt-action rifle fit, there is no ‘one size fits all’,” says Titus. “When picking out your rifle [consider options] after the purchase to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.”

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
September 15th, 2016

Awesome Deal on Howa 1500 Mini Action Rifle in .223 Rem

Howa Mini Action 1500 .223 Remington Rem Cabelas Bargain 16Stalkup code

Here is a great deal on a great little rifle. Right now at Cabela’s you can get the Howa 1500 Mini-Action in .223 Rem for just $314.99 with Coupon Code 16STALKUP. The rifle (with black synthetic stock) is already on sale, marked down to $349.99. That discount code gives you another 10% off. That’s a bargain — other vendors are charging $515.00 or more for this rifle. We actually “walked through” the online ordering process ourselves to confirm that the discount code works (see below). Note, you order online, but the rifles must be picked up in a Cabela’s store.

Howa Mini Action 1500 .223 Remington Rem Cabelas Bargain 16Stalkup code

The Howa 1500 Mini Action is nearly an inch shorter than a Rem 700 short action, making for a nice, compact carry-around varminter (OAL length is just 41.5″). Your Editor checked out the Howa Mini Action Rifle at SHOT Show. The bolt opens and closes VERY smoothly (way better than most mass-produced bolt guns). The two-stage HACT trigger is excellent — it’s plenty light, with a crisp release and no annoying spring-loaded blade in the middle. I like it MUCH better than standard Remington, Ruger, or Savage triggers.

The standard Howa Mini Action rifle weighs 6 pounds without scope. This particular model comes with a 22″ barrel, black synthetic stock, and 10-round detachable box magazine. The Howa Mini on sale at Cabelas.com is a .223 Remington, but other chamberings are available at a higher price if you shop around. Howa offers Mini Action rifles in .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62x39mm.

Permalink Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
September 12th, 2016

Wood Furniture Transforms Black Rifle — Home DIY Project

ar15 wood stock Lucid Brownells

The rear stock and grip (shown above) come from the commercial LUCID AR Stock Kit. But Forum member Brian V. custom-made this one-piece walnut forearm.
ar15 wood stock Lucid Brownells

Forum member Brian V. (aka “Carbide”) wanted a new look for his “modern sporting rifle”. He was tired of looking at black plastic (or FDE, OD green) and aluminum components on his AR15. So he decided to fit wood “furniture” on the rifle. He ordered a wood butt-stock and fore-arm set made by Lucid, but he didn’t like the two-piece fore-arm of the Lucid stock set. He decided he could build something better than the commercially-available, Lucid-made wood fore-arm.

ar15 wood stock Lucid Brownells

Lathe-Turned Custom Walnut Sleeve in Front
So Brian took his existing AR tubular fore-arm and epoxied a walnut sleeve to it. With a lathe, Brian then turned the walnut sleeve to his desired dimensions: 2.250″ diameter in back and 2.200″ diameter in front, so there’s a little taper. Brian says “I could have gone a little thinner.” The wood fore-end was then sanded and stained to match the Lucid-made rear section. Brian says “the stain is not quite a perfect match, but but it looks a lot better.”

Does Brian like his new wood-stocked AR? Absolutely. He says the conversion makes the gun more user-friendly: “The wood is warmer to carry in winter and quieter.” He adds that the wood sleeve added about four ounces of weight to the fore-end, but that did not affect the handling.

We think this is a good “do-it-yourself” project that could be done by many of our readers. You can simply install the Lucid stock set or customize the front end like Brian did. Either way, you end up with a good-looking rifle that feels better in your hands.

LUCID AR15 Wood Stock Sets Are Sold by Brownells.com: CLICK HERE to ORDER.
ar15 wood stock Lucid Brownells

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
September 5th, 2016

Get Important Hunting Information at Wheretohunt.org

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF
Click Map to launch interactive webpage with info for all 50 states.

Going hunting this year? Need to find out about hunting licenses, deer tags, local regulations, and the best hunting areas? Then visit WheretoHunt.org. This website has an interactive map of the country. Simply click on a state to find the info you need. For all 50 states, the NSSF has compiled information about hunting license and permits, where to hunt, hunter education classes, laws and regulations and more. For each state you’ll also find a link for required applications and license forms. Have a safe and productive hunt this year.

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
August 28th, 2016

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 »
August 27th, 2016

How (and Why) To Use Binoculars with a Tripod

Everybody knows that powerful spotting scopes work best when mounted to a stable tripod or otherwise secured to a steady mount. Yet when most folks use binoculars, they never even think of using a tripod, despite the fact that tripod adapters are available for many premium binoculars. A serious hunter should learn how to glass with tripod support. With binoculars offering more that 8X magnification, you can really benefit from a steady mount. In this article, Mark Boardman of Vortex Optics, an experienced hunter, explains the benefits of using a tripod with high-magnification binoculars.

Vortex Binoculars

READ FULL ARTICLE with More Tips for Hunters

Vortex Binoculars

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics No Comments »
August 26th, 2016

Reference Guide for Factory Ammo Includes 190+ Cartridge Types

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 5. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 190 cartridge types from 17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). There are over 1,400 tables with ballistics data for nearly all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the United States (as of 2013, the publication date). Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficient.

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

This book can be helpful when choosing ammo for a hunt. You can quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various types of commercial ammo. In addition, this book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig, as you can compare factory load options.

Book Purchaser Reviews
“The data contained in this book is invaluable. If you don’t understand momentum vs. energy, MER and MEPBR, this book will help you gain an understanding. If you don’t know what the Taylor Knock Out (KO) Index is, this book will enlighten and inform.” — Daryl ID

“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
August 25th, 2016

FREE Printable Hunting Practice Targets

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Summer is almost over. That’s means hunting season is coming soon. To help you prepare for your fall hunts, NRABlog.com has created a set of color practice hunting targets. You can hone your skills on a trio of bucks, three gobblers, or three wild hogs.

Each target features three red bullseyes, centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Click on each image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

As the NRA Blog says: “Print out the turkey target, grab your shotgun, and head to the outdoor range. Or, try your hand at deer and hog while zeroing your rifle.”

RIght-Click Each Image to Download Printable PDF File:
hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Permalink Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
August 3rd, 2016

Truckloads of Tikka T3s on Sale at EuroOptic.com Right Now

Tikka T3 sale inventory closeout reduction discount truckload

Looking for a great price on an excellent hunting rifle? Here is the Tikka Deal of the Decade. EuroOptic.com has received nearly 3,500 Tikka T3 rifles, which will be sold at deep discounts as part of an inventory clearance program by Beretta, Tikka’s parent company. The Tikka T3 is a good, stout rifle with a smooth, 3-lug action, crisp trigger, and quality barrel. Accuracy is typically well under 1 MOA (for three shots). T3 barreled actions also are a good “core” for a tactical build. The strong T3 action handles detachable magazines, and fits a variety of third-party stocks such as McRees Precision G7 and G10 chassis systems.

Our friend Jason Baney of EuroOptic.com tells us: “We have two tractor-trailer loads of Tikka T3 rifles (about 3500 units) dropping here today…and the sale prices are amazingly low. I am sure it will take a day or so to get all the rifles in the system, then they will show in stock. Everything currently showing on our site should either be in stock or coming in stock this week. Feel free to order/backorder through the link below, or give us a shout.”

LINK to TIKKA T3 RIFLE LIQUIDATION SALE

Tikka T3 sale inventory closeout reduction discount truckload

Models shown above are just part of the Sale Inventory. Nearly all Tikka T3 models are on sale.

Permalink Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical 2 Comments »
August 1st, 2016

DIY Hunting Rifle Upgrade — 6.5 Creedmoor Ruger American Rifle

Ruger American Rifle Predator 6.5 Creedmoor Boyds Stock inletting bedding

The NRA’s American Rifleman showcased an interesting project this week — an upgraded Ruger American Rifle Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor. The video below shows how a laminated wood stock from Boyd’s Gunstocks was adapted for the Ruger. A Boyds Prairie Hunter model in gray laminate was selected. This was custom-bedded to the Ruger’s action using Brownell’s Acraglas.

Ruger American Rifle Predator 6.5 Creedmoor Boyds Stock inletting beddingAll Ruger American Rifle models employ dual aluminum V-Blocks to support the action. These fit slots in the underside of the action. Boyds makes its own version of these V-Blocks which were installed in the Boyds stock to secure the action.

Project leader Joe Kurtenbach says the size, shape, and geometry of the Boyds V-Blocks is very accurate, so they fit the Ruger action well. To further support the action, Acraglas bedding compound was applied to the inside of the stock, after release compound was applied to the barreled action. With this DIY bedding job, the Boyds laminated stock is definitely an improvement over this original “Tupperware” factory stock.

Ruger American Rifle Predator 6.5 Creedmoor Boyds Stock inletting bedding

DIY Bargain Hunter Upgrade
American Rifleman states: “The Ruger American has some great features—hammer-forged barrel, reliable action, crisp trigger — but many would not consider the molded, polymer stock to be among them. Luckily, there are aftermarket options to enhance the rifle’s utility and aesthetics. A durable, attractive stock from Boyds Gunstocks and some DIY action bedding, using Brownells Acraglas, is the next step in the precision-driven hunting rifle build.”

Choice of Gun and 6.5 Creedmoor Chambering
For this project, American Rifleman’s Joe Kurtenbach selected one of his favorite cartridges, the 6.5 Creedmoor. Introduced in 2007 by Hornady, the accurate, flat-shooting 6.5 Creedmoor has proven very popular with both hunters and tactical/PRS shooters. The Ruger American Rifle Predator was chosen for its affordable price, reliable action, and Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger.

In this video, Kurtenback explains how and why the 6.5 Creedmoor chambering and Ruger American Rifle were chosen for the Precision Hunter rifle build project.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
July 31st, 2016

A Shotgun Fit for Royalty — Westley Richards 12 Gauge SxS

Westley Richards 12 gauge shotgun Princess Diana Spencer Princed Charles wedding shotgun gift

Here is some eye candy for fans of fine firearms. Made for the 1981 nuptials of Lady Diana Spencer and HRH Prince Charles, this Westley Richards & Co. side-by-side, 12 gauge shotgun was engraved by the Brown Brothers with gold crests and floral accents. The British royal seal and other heraldic emblems of the couple are included in the decoration. This amazing piece is now in the NRA Museum Collection.

Westley Richards 12 gauge shotgun Princess Diana Spencer Princed Charles wedding shotgun gift

Princess Diana’s Westley & Richards Shotgun
It’s not an uncommon practice for people who like firearms to be given one for a big occasion, such as a graduation or a birthday. Today’s GOTD was given to a very special person on a very special occasion that took place 35 years ago today. This 12 gauge Westley Richards side-by-side shotgun was given to Lady Diana Spencer when she married Prince Charles on July 29, 1981. The gun was engraved by the Brown Brothers — Paul and Alan — and features a variety of artistic elements, including the royal seal and the couple’s wedding date.

Westley Richards 12 gauge shotgun Princess Diana Spencer Princed Charles wedding shotgun gift

Westley Richards 12 gauge shotgun Princess Diana Spencer Princed Charles wedding shotgun gift

Photos courtesy NRA National Firearms Museum, www.nramuseum.org.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
July 28th, 2016

Norma Cartridge of the Month: 6.5×55 Swedish

6.5x55 Swede Swedish Norma Cartridge of the Month Norma USA

Cartridge of the Month Norma USAIf you haven’t checked out NormaUSA’s website, you should. There you’ll find Norma’s Cartridge of the Month Archive. This great resource provides a detailed history of popular cartridges, along with a discussion of these cartridges’ hunting and target-shooting uses. There are currently 26 Cartridge of the Month articles, the latest featuring the mighty .500/.416 Nitro Express cartridge.

Also on Norma-USA.com you’ll find information on Norma cartridge brass, bullets, powder and factory ammo. The site also offers a video archive plus links to Norma Reloading Data.

Here is a selection from 6.5×55 Swede Cartridge of the Month Article:

History of the 6.5×55 Swedish

A mild cartridge by modern standards, the 6.5×55 has impressive credentials in both the hunting field and in competition. It was developed jointly by Sweden and Norway in 1894 – one of the very first smokeless, small-bore rounds for military rifles. When Sweden boosted 6.5×55 performance in Mausers, Norway stayed with original loads in the less robust Krag. The 6.5×55 defended Scandinavia for most of a century thereafter. In 1990 the National Rifle Association of Denmark, Norway and Sweden renamed this cartridge the 6.5×55 SKAN and standardized its specifications. Still hugely popular among moose hunters there, it has also excelled in 300-meter free-rifle competition.

The long tenure of this cartridge spanned the post-war wildcatting era. Unfortunately for shooters keen to make something new of the 6.5×55 hull, its head diameter is .01 greater than that of the 7×57 (and the .270 and .30-06). The rim is thicker too. At 2.16 inches, cases mike .15 longer than the .308’s and .08 shorter than those of the 7×57 – though as originally loaded, its overall length (3.15 inches) exceeds that of the 7×57. In fact, it falls just 0.1 inch shy of the finished length of the 7mm Remington Magnum! In my view, the 6.5×55 merits at least a mid-length action, such as on Melvin Forbes’s New Ultra Light rifles. Shorter (typical .308-length) actions require deep bullet seating that throttles performance.

6.5x55 Swede Swedish Norma Cartridge of the Month Norma USA

You’ll look hard to find a better deer cartridge than the 6.5×55. Francis Sell, woodsman and rifle enthusiast whose book on blacktail deer hunting has no peer, favored the 6.5×55. Hunters coming of age in a magnum culture might question the round’s bona fides on animals as stout as elk and moose. But at modest ranges, with bullets like Norma’s factory-loaded 156-grain Oryx, it’s a sure killer. Modest recoil makes rifles pleasant to fire (read: accurate in hand!) and fast on follow-ups. In Africa the 6.5×55 – and similar 6.5×54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer – felled much bigger game than moose long before anyone necked down the .375 H&H! While its compact case won’t let the Swede match the likes of the .270 ballistically, it is a fine all-around choice for big game in the Lower 48.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
July 24th, 2016

A Short History of the .220 Swift Cartridge

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

A History of the .220 Swift Cartridge

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading HodgdonThis cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1935 in their model 54 rifle. A year later, it was added as a standard cartridge in the model 70. What might not be common knowledge to some reloaders is that the prototype for the Swift was developed in 1934-35 by Grosvenor Wotkyns by necking down the 250 Savage case, but in the end, Winchester chose the 6mm Lee Navy case for the foundation for this cartridge.

This cartridge was far ahead of its time and for that reason it received a lot of bad press. We’ve all read the horror stories through the years. Many of those stories were just simply repeated from previous articles even the wording was just slightly different. So how bad was the Swift? Let’s take a deeper look.

Some of the early Swifts had soft barrel steel and some of the rare ones even had barrels that were .223 in bore size. This stemmed from the fact that the .22 Hornets prior to the end of World War II were .223 in bore size and some of these barrels were chambered in the Swift. It was rumored that the Swift peaked in pressure far too quick. I’ll bet they did with a turkey extra full choke barrel.

Burn rates of powders were limited at that time as well, so the Swift was limited in its true ability due to that. It was almost like building a funny car for drag racing when only kerosene was available.

One of the longest lasting black eyes was that it shot barrels out so fast. If you get the barrel branding iron hot and fail to clean it often this can happen. Common sense will go a long ways here. Keep the barrel as cool as you can and properly clean it every fifteen rounds or less will go a long way to improving accuracy life of a Swift.

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

So what is the real truth about this cartridge? I’m glad you ask. I’ve been shooting the .220 Swift for over 43 years now. It is one of the best varmint cartridges I’ve ever owned. It is not hard to load for, it doesn’t suddenly peak in pressure and it isn’t the barrel burner that you’ve heard. Hodgdon powders once reported a Remington 40-X with over 3,000 rounds of full power loads averaged .344” for five, 5-shot groups. My findings have been the same. It isn’t as hard on barrels as it has been made out to be.

I’ve also read that down loading it slightly will help in barrel life. This is true, but if you buy a thoroughbred you want him to run. Barrels are threaded on the end for a reason. If you have enough fun to shoot out a Swift barrel, just rebarrel it.

The bottom line is enjoy the .220 Swift for what it was meant to be. The popularity of the Swift has slipped in the last twenty years and few factory rifles are now available in this caliber. There is no reason for this and I know the Swift will always have a strong and loyal following.

Sierra Bullets 220 Swift Cartridge Guide

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July 22nd, 2016

CCI Offers Lead-Free .22 LR Ammo with Copper Matrix Bullets

Copper-22 CCI varmint HV ammo 1850 fps polymer ammunition compressed matrix

Now there is a new type of “lead-free” rimfire ammo that can be used in areas where lead is prohibited. CCI’s new .22 LR Copper-22 ammunition features hollow-point bullets made from a compressed copper + polymer matrix. This is a speedy round — Muzzle Velocity (MV) is a blistering 1850 FPS, very fast for a .22 LR round. CCI claims accuracy is excellent. We look forward to testing this new Copper-22 rimfire ammo to confirm CCI’s speed and accuracy claims. Running at 1850 FPS, this looks like it could be a very effective varmint round.

Copper-22 Ammo Features & Benefits:

  • Non-lead bullet suited for plinking, target-shooting and small game hunting.
  • 21-grain hollow-point bullet, with compressed copper-polymer construction.
  • Legal to use in California and other zones where lead is prohibited.
  • 1,850 FPS muzzle velocity with excellent accuracy.

The Copper-22 projectile is constructed from a unique mix of copper particles and polymer compressed into a potent, 21-grain bullet. This non-lead bullet is suited for plinking, target-shooting and small game hunting. Shipments of this Copper-22 ammo (CCI part No. 925CC) are now being delivered to dealers. For more info, visit www.cci-ammunition.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 5 Comments »
July 12th, 2016

The Silent Varminter: Squirrel Hunting with Anschutz Air Rifle

Anschutz Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter airgun air rifle moderator squirrel hunting

Can you hunt small varmints with an air rifle? Indeed you can. At reasonably close ranges, a .177 pellet has sufficient “knock-down” power, and the near-silent operation of the air rifle keeps your prey from being alerted. Our friends at Varminter.com recently tested the Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter, which features an integral, custom-tuned moderator. Overall, this is a very accurate, very high-tech solution to pesky squirrels (and other small furry pests).

Here’s the report: “We spent a couple of hours out in the field with the Anschutz Black Air Hunter, and took seven ground squirrels that NEVER heard the shot. This rifle is unbelievably quiet, and VERY accurate. I simply put the crosshair on the back of the eyeball, touched the super light trigger, and dropped them in their tracks. Tomorrow, we hunt a small orchard near some farm animals, and I think this rifle will really shine. Tom got some decent video, but we need a bit more out in the field for the full hunt report, so there will be more to come!”

The Anschütz 8002 Black Air Hunter is a PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) air rifle in .177 caliber. This nice rig features a very comfortable, ergonomic stock with adjustable cheekpiece and buttplate. Best of all, the Black Hunter is wicked accurate. Varminter.com reports: “It took [just] three shots to sight-in, and proceeded to shoot bug holes at 25 yards the next 10 rounds.”

Anschutz Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter airgun air rifle moderator squirrel hunting

Anschutz Black Air Hunter Product Description

The new Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter is designed for varmint hunters and target shooters who want an accurate, quiet, versatile, and urban-friendly air rifle. Based on the 8002 S2 match rifle, the Black Air Hunter boasts the excellent balance/ergonomics of a world-class 10 meter match rifle. But the Black Air Hunter has other key features you won’t find on typical competition airguns.

The match barrel is fitted with an advanced moderator made by Tactical Solutions. This non-removable unit is smaller, lighter, and considerably quieter than the counterparts from Europe. Tactical Solutions engineered this moderator to control the sharp crack associated with pre-charged pneumatics. And yes, it works — the Black Air Hunter is VERY QUIET.

As shown here with Leupold scope, the rifle weighs just under 10 pounds:
Anschutz Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter airgun air rifle moderator squirrel hunting

The fully-adjustable beech stock has a moisture-resistant rubberized coating that provides a secure grip in cold or damp conditions. An aluminum accessory rail under the fore-end allows sling or bi-pod mounting. The cheek piece and butt plate offer a wide range of position options, and can also be upgraded or changed to suit the shooter’s preferences.

The Black Air Hunter runs a .177” caliber pellet at 580 fps, which allows for quiet yet precise training and target shooting in an urban environment. There are more powerful air rifles, but they will be noisier and you may have concerns with down-range energy. With its ultra-low noise signature, the Black Air Hunter is well-suited for use in urban settings.

Anschutz Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter airgun air rifle moderator squirrel hunting

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
July 9th, 2016

Summer Adventure: A North Dakota Prairie Dog Safari

North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

Adam Scepaniak, of The Guns and Gear Store, has written an interesting story about Prairie Dog Hunting in North Dakota. If a P-Dog safari is on your “bucket list”, you’ll want to read the full story in the Sierra Bullets Blog. Adam provides many tips that can help you plan a successful prairie dog adventure.

Prairie Dog Hunting in North Dakota with Sierra Bullets (Excerpt)
It’s that time of year where lots of men and women point their vehicles westward and try to push the limits of their rifles on prairie dogs. I was a part of this group of people just a few days ago while in northwestern North Dakota. CLICK HERE to Read Full Story.

North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safariLittle Missouri National Grassland
Once my hunting party arrived at the Little Missouri National Grassland in North Dakota we immediately began scouting for prime prairie dog towns. There is a certain amount of strategy involved in choosing a prairie dog town … for several reasons. For one, you should try to always stay “above” the prairie dogs.

Small objects like rocks, cactuses, and prairie vegetation can easily obstruct your view if you’re shooting prone on a level plane. We encountered this in the first small prairie dog town we stopped and shot at. The prairie dog town was very visible while walking and standing, but once we laid down with our rifles on bipods the two-foot prairie grass became a severe obstruction. We shortly moved on because the small town became quick-studies to our shooting.

North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

The second prairie dog town we hunted was at the base of a small ridge with a dried, cattle creek at the bottom. This area offered better shooting opportunities because we were above most of the prairie dog holes, and if we were not above them, a deep ravine separated us from the prairie dogs removing any obstructions from our rifle scopes which was our previous problem. This area had its own disadvantage though because of some other wildlife present. There were approximately fifty head of cattle in our close vicinity grazing, which was to no surprise because many ranchers utilize the National Grassland for grazing. We had to wait for the cattle to leave our area as to not have an incidental hit due to a rare ricochet. As the sun passed over the horizon we decided to return to this spot the next morning, but would change our shooting position to increase our advantage.

This Location Offered a Nice Overlook.
North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

Zoomed Image Shows Individual Prairie Dog Mounds.
North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

My previous varminting best was a 275-yard shot near Mobridge, South Dakota on a separate prairie dog hunting trip. With more experience and better reloading, Here in North Dakota I was able to make a solid hit on a prairie dog just over 400 yards which made me ecstatic! For a central Minnesota, shotgun-raised guy, I was pretty happy that my bullet selection and hand-loading ability produced a 125-yard improvement.

Once we cleaned and cased our rifles for the journey home we had shot a little over 200 rounds of my Sierra® reloads. This was a lot less than previous prairie dog trips I have been a part of, but our hit percentage was substantially higher as well. Traveling into a new area meant a lot more scouting and experimentation for us as a group. In future trips or hunts of your own, it can be very beneficial to schedule an extra day just for scouting[.]

Little Missouri National Grassland is a National Grassland located in western North Dakota. At 1,033,271 acres, it is the largest grassland in the country. Within its borders is Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The Little Missouri National Grasslands was once a part of the Custer National Forest, but is now a part of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands, a National Forest unit consisting entirely of National Grasslands. A predominant feature of the grassland is colorful and beautiful badlands, a rugged terrain extensively eroded by wind and water. It is a mixed grass prairie, meaning it has both long and short grass.

The boundaries of the grasslands on certain maps can be misleading. Within the boundaries of the national grassland are significant portions of state-owned and privately-owned land, much of it leased by cattle ranchers for grazing.

The grassland is administered by the Forest Service as part of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands from offices in Bismarck, ND. There are ranger district offices in Dickinson and Watford City.

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