October 25th, 2017

Father and Son Hunting Adventures — Rifle and Gear Options

Hunting gear 1701 father son hunter hunting
Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

One of the most memorable things a father and son can do is go hunting. Time spent in the field together builds bonds that last a lifetime. A young man will remember those special fall hunts he did with his Dad. And as he grows into maturity, that same young hunter will carry cherished memories forward all his life, along with an appreciation for wildlife and the outdoors.

Hunting gear father son hunter hunting
Father and son deer hunting photo courtesy SportsmansGuide.com.

There are many elements to a successful hunt — location, game activity, weather, stalking skills, and yes, a little bit of luck. You can’t control the weather (or the whims of whitetails), but you can increase your odds of success with the right gear. Here are some items that will help a father and son on a hunting adventure this fall.

A Boy’s First Centerfire Hunting Rifle

We’ve found a great choice for a young man’s first centerfire rifle — at a great price. Right now the Howa Mini Action Youth Model in 6.5 Grendel is just $349.99 at Whittaker Guns. This special Youth model has a shorter stock with 12.5″ length of pull. Weighing under 5.7 pounds with a light-contour 20″ barrel, this rifle is light enough for a young man to carry easily. Add a discounted scope, and you can have the whole rig for under $550.00 complete.

Hunting gear 1701 father son hunter hunting

Hunting gear 6.5 Grendel Howa Rifle Mini Action father son hunter huntingYes a young man could start off with a big .30-06 shooting 200-grain bullets. But we think it’s wise to begin with a smaller, lighter-recoiling caliber. There are countless cartridge choices, but the compact 6.5 Grendel offers a good balance of power and accuracy with moderate recoil. The 6.5 Grendel boasts ballistics superior to the venerable 30/30, so it is capable of taking whitetail deer and other medium-sized game. Recoil is milder than a 30-caliber, and the accuracy is excellent. Factory hunting ammo is available from Federal, Hornady, and Alexander Arms.

Great Gear Items for a Father and Son Hunting Trip

Here are some recommended items that our staff owns or uses. All selections cost less than $100.00. If you have a family hunt planned, check out these useful items. The Remington pack carries both your rifle and your gear. The electronic muffs provide hearing protection while still allowing conversations. The walkie-talkies let you communicate with your base camp even miles away.

Remington Twin Mesa Day Pack

This comfortable Remington Pack provides lots of capacity on the inside, plus a special harness system for toting your rifle. That keeps your hands free for your rangefinder and binoculars. The pack is mesh-lined for comfort and has nicely padded hip belt and shoulder straps. Five outside pockets hold small items securely. Priced at $73.53 with free shipping, this pack is a good choice for a hunter’s carrying system.

Howard Leight Electronic Muffs

These Howard Leight Electronic Muffs are Amazon’s #1 Seller in the Safety Ear Muffs category. These offer 22 dB sound protection with the ability to still hear conversations and range commands. For regular use, we do recommend running plugs under these muffs for higher effective NRR.

Bog-Pod Shooting Sticks Bipod Hunting

We’ve used Bog-Pod shooting supports on varmint hunts. They’re great for down-angle shots from a ridge or kneeling shots to get above terrain obstacles. Bog-Pods adjust from 17″ to 39″.

Motorola 2-way 22 Chanel Radios

Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola MH230R Two-Way Radio is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios.

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October 1st, 2017

Help for Hunters — Video Explains Terminal Ballistics

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

It’s hunting season, and we know many readers will be pursuing a prize buck this fall. But how will your hunting load perform? That depends on shot placement, energy, and terminal ballistics.

You’ve probably heard the term “Terminal Ballistics”. But do you really know what this refers to? Fundamentally, “Terminal Ballistics” describes the behavior of a projectile as it strikes, enters, and penetrates a target. Terminal Ballistics, then, can be said to describe projectile behavior in a target including the transfer of kinetic energy. Contrast this with “External Ballistics” which, generally speaking, describes and predicts how projectiles travel in flight. One way to look at this is that External Ballistics covers bullet behavior before impact, while terminal ballistics covers bullet behavior after impact.

The study of Terminal Ballistics is important for hunters, because it can predict how pellets, bullets, and slugs can perform on game. This NRA Firearm Science video illustrates Terminal Ballistics basics, defining key terms such as Impact Crater, Temporary Cavity, and Primary Cavity.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

External Ballistics, also called “exterior ballistics”, is the part of ballistics that deals with the behavior of a non-powered projectile in flight.

Terminal Ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits its target.

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September 29th, 2017

Hunting 101: How Hunters Can Stabilize Their Shooting Positions

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand
For hunters in a tree stand, SFC McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestandTeam USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail is one of the world’s best smallbore rifle shooters. He is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In a USAMU video, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

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August 10th, 2017

Is Bullet B.C. Important When Hunting? (Answer: It Depends)

Sierra Bullets Deer Hunting BC Ballistic Coefficient bullet
Game image courtesy OutdoorNebraska.gov/deer.

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
Judging by the calls I’ve had through the years, I think some shooters might be placing too much importance on Ballistic Coefficient (B.C.). The best example of this comes from a call I had one day. This shooter called wanting the ballistic coefficient of one of our Sierra bullets. After I told him he seemed a little disappointed, so I ask him what his application was. Long range target, deer hunting in the woods? Talk to me.

As it turned out, he hunted deer in open timber. He very rarely shot beyond 100 yards. I pointed out to him that, under 200 yards, B.C. has little impact. Let’s compare a couple of bullets.

Let’s look at the trajectory of a couple of bullets and see how they compare. The .30 caliber 180 grain Round Nose #2170 RN and the 180 grain Spitzer Boat Tail #2160 SBT. The round nose has a B.C. of .240, while the SBT is .501. Starting both bullets out of the muzzle at 2700 FPS [with a 100-yard ZERO], at 200 yards the #2170 RN impacts 4.46″ low while the #2160 SBT impacts 3.88″ low. That’s a difference of only 0.58″ in spite of a huge difference in Ballistic Coefficient. If we compare out at 500 yards, then we have a [significant drop variance] of 14.27″ between these two bullets. [Editor: That difference could mean a miss at 500 yards.]

Distance to Your Prey is the Key Consideration
In a hunting situation, under 200 yards, having a difference of only .58” isn’t going to make or break us. But when elk hunting in wide open spaces it could mean everything.

The next time you’re choosing a bullet, give some thought about the distances you will be shooting. Sometimes B.C. isn’t everything. If you have any questions, please give the Sierra Bullets technicians a call at 800-233-8799.

sierra bullets ballistic coefficient hunting BC bullet logo customer support

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October 31st, 2016

Position Shooting Tips for Hunters — How to Stabilize Your Shot

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

Team USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail is one of the world’s best smallbore rifle shooters. He is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In this excellent short video from the USAMU, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

Last but not least, McPhail shows some clever treestand tricks. McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. (That would be the left arm for a right-handed shooter). This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand. The second half of the video shows how this works.

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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.

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November 25th, 2010

Holiday Hunt — 6mmBR for Deer

Forum member Jerry S. posted this story yesterday in our Shooters’ Forum. It shows that, with the right bullet and good shot placement, the diminutive 6BR is more than enough cartridge for deer.

I decided to try something different this year. Instead of dragging out my trusty .44 Smith or the 6.5×55 Remington 700, I took my 6mmBR Norma Prairie Dog rifle deer hunting. We got a lot of wet sloppy snow the week before the opener and had a freezing drizzle on the first morning. I decided to hunt close to the house since my old bones couldn’t handle the trip to my normal hunting stand.

I set the 6mmBR P-dog rifle up on my shooting bench and began the long, cold wait. The deer trail I was watching is about 180 – 230 yards from where I was sitting.

Buck Lined up in Cross-hairs
At about 2:30 this afternoon, I was watching some does feeding along the trail and looked away for a minute then looked back and saw a third deer moving up behind them. A quick check in the spotting scope showed horns and I got behind the rifle. There is no safety on my P-dog gun so it wasn’t loaded and I quickly chambered a round. The does stepped into the woods and the buck stopped for a minute and looked right at me. I centered the cross hairs on his chest and touched the trigger. I could hear the impact as he leaped straight in the air and hit the ground running into the woods.

6mmBR and .338 Win Magnum

I figured it was a good hit, so I poured a cup of coffee and relaxed for a bit to let him tire out and drop. After my coffee, I picked up my 6.5×55 and went out to where he was shot. I was 190 yards from my bench and there was no blood. He was headed toward a swamp south of me so I figured I’d cut him off and see if I could cut his trail farther into the bush. I hadn’t gone ten yards when I came across a good blood trail.

Deer blood trail

I followed it for a few more yards and found him crumpled up. He had only gone 25 yards from where he was shot. While I was looking at him and taking photos, two more deer showed up. You can see one standing on the other side of my rifle.

Deer staring at hunter

My buddy brought his 4-wheeler over and helped me drag it to the house where we skinned it out. The bullet had taken the top off the heart and he was totally bled out. All in all, it was a successful hunt, and the 6mmBR did its job.

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March 23rd, 2010

Redding Adds 358/25 WSSM Dies for Indiana Hunters

Redding Reloading Equipment has responded to the requirements of Indiana Deer Hunters with the addition of the 358/25 WSSM to their line of regular production “Custom Series” reloading dies. The following 358/25 WSSM dies are available: full-length sizing die, neck-sizing die, and a 3-die deluxe set including both full-length and neck-sizing dies plus a seating die with crimp.

Redding 358/25 WSSM dies

This 358/25 WSSM wildcat cartridge has gained favor as an alternative to standard handgun calibers under Indiana’s hunting regulations, which allow the use of cartridges with a bullet diameter of .357″ or larger and a maximum case length of 1.625” during Indiana’s firearms deer season. The 358/25 WSSM can be used in both bolt action and modern sporting rifle styles. The round produces effective terminal ballistics on whitetail deer.

For more info or to order a current Redding catalog contact: Redding Reloading Equipment, 1089 Starr Road Cortland, NY 13045, or visit Redding-Reloading.com.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Reloading 6 Comments »
April 17th, 2009

Deer 1, Hunter 0 — Or Why You Should Practice Before the Hunt.

Should you sight-in your rifle and practice shooting before you head off into the woods on your deer-hunting trip? Yes, indeed. In the video below we don’t know whether the unlucky hunter’s scope wasn’t adjusted correctly, or maybe he was just a miserable marksman. Many of you may have seen this video before, but it’s still pretty amazing. NOTE: If you are at work, you may want to turn down your volume before launching the video.

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