Varminter.com recently released a First Hunt Report on the new Savage A17 rifle. Savage’s new semi-auto .17 HMR has caused quite a stir. Accurate and affordable, the Savage A17 is also the first .17 HMR to feature a delayed blow-back action. We think the A17 may be the most important new rimfire rifle of 2015, so we were pleased to see that Eric Mayer, Editor of Varminter.com, put the new semi-auto Savage through its paces.
Mayer wanted to see how the new Savage would perform, accuracy-wise, and he also wanted to see how the A17 fared in the field. Mayer achieved one-MOA accuracy with the Savage A17 using the latest CCI-brand ammo, and he demonstrated the A17 is wickedly effective on ground squirrels. Here are some highlights from Varminter.com’s Savage A17 First Hunt Report:
Here’s an interesting product, offered by Creedmoor Sports. The innovative MOA Tactical Shooting Bag (MOA TSB) combines plastic pellets with an inflatable, inner air chamber to provide a very lightweight (and adjustable) rear support for your rifle, when shooting prone. Designed for “tactical” shooters, we think the MOA bag would work equally well for hunters and varminters. Costing $59.95, the MOA inflatable bag is priced competitively with basic rear sandbags, but it weighs much, much less than a leather or cordura bag filled with sand.
These MOA bags are built tough, with a durable inner air bladder, surgical-quality tubing, and rugged outer fabric. To help stabilize the bag, lightweight polymer (plastic) pellets are used inside. The air pump then inflates the air bladder to the degree of hardness/softness you prefer. An air valve allows you to deflate the MOA bag for more compact transport and storage.
Magpul caused a stir with its surprise introduction of an advanced stock for Rem 700 actions. Now Magpul has followed that with a product that could be even more successful — a tactical-style reinforced polymer stock for the popular Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle.
Priced at just $139.95, Magpul’s new Hunter X-22 stock features tactical styling and adjustable ergonomics. Like Magpul’s Hunter 700 stock for the Rem 700, the new X-22 stock offers adjustable length-of-pull (LOP) via spacers, plus adjustable comb height via optional Cheek Riser Kits. To ensure compatibility with all Ruger 10/22s, the Magpul X-22 stock features an innovative reversible barrel tray that fits heavy bull barrels as with as thinner, factory-contour barrels. Fitted with M-LOK accessory slots and a rubber buttpad, Magpul’s new Hunter X-22 will be offered in four colors: Black, Gray, Dark Earth (Tan), Olive Drab (Green). See all four colors below:
On LongRangeHunting.com, you’ll find a good article by Shawn Carlock about wind reading. Shawn is a veteran law enforcement marksman and a past USPSA national precision rifle champion. Shawn offers good advice on how to estimate wind speeds and directions using a multitude of available indicators — not just your wind gauge: “Use anything at your disposal to accurately estimate the wind’s velocity. I keep and use a Kestrel for reading conditions….The Kestrel is very accurate but will only tell you what the conditions are where you are standing. I practice by looking at grass, brush, trees, dust, wind flags, mirage, rain, fog and anything else that will give me info on velocity and then estimate the speed.”
Shawn also explains how terrain features can cause vertical wind effects. A hunter on a hilltop must account for bullet rise if there is a headwind blowing up the slope. Many shooters consider wind in only one plane — the horizontal. In fact wind has vertical components, both up and down. If you have piloted a small aircraft you know how important vertical wind vectors can be. Match shooters will also experience vertical rise when there is a strong tailwind blowing over an up-sloping berm ahead of the target emplacements. Overall, Shawn concludes: “The more time you spend studying the wind and its effect over varying terrain the more successful you will be as a long-range shooter and hunter.”
Share the post "Field Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting"
On April 9, 2015, the California Fish and Game Commission (CFGC) adopted regulations to ban the use of traditional lead-component ammunition for all hunting in the state by July 1, 2019. The Daily Caller reports: “In a unanimous vote, the Commission opted to phase out lead bullets, which hunters’ groups are calling a de-facto ban on hunting in the state.” The new regulations will be implemented in multiple phases, starting with the 2015 hunting season. These tough new regulations were issued pursuant to legislation passed in 2013 by the California legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is worried that California-style ammo bans will be adopted in other states. To some observers, California’s ban on lead-based ammunition was designed more to reduce gun sales and halt hunting than it was ever intended to help the environment. The NSSF has shown that the elimination of traditional lead ammo will do little, if anything to improve the environment in any meaningful way. What such bans WILL do is raise the cost of ammo and make it more difficult to hunt. The NSSF explains: “Anti-hunting groups use the supposed harm caused by traditional ammunition as a wedge issue to further their ultimate political agenda of banning hunting across the country.” The NSSF has provided the real facts via an infographic and the YouTube video embedded below.
Share the post "California Regulations Ban Hunting with Lead-Component Ammo"
So, are you feelin’ lucky? The NRA is running a big contest right now through June 30, 2015. The NRA’s new Six Shooter Sweepstakes gives you a chance to win scores of valuable prizes. The Grand Prize is your choice of a 25-Gun collection, a Dodge Ram Truck, or a Brown Bear Hunt. There are numerous other prize packages as well. Overall 600 winners will be drawn and the NRA promises: “All prizes must be awarded”.
The NRA’s Six Shooter Sweepstakes is part of an effort to sign up new NRA Members. However, you don’t need to join the NRA to enter the contest, and existing NRA members may enter as well. You do have to supply your name, street address, and email address.
Here’s the Fine Print
Share the post "Big NRA Sweepstakes — 600 Winners — No Cost to Enter"
In most parts of the country it’s still too early for a prairie dog safari. Spring has barely sprung, and the critters haven’t come out to play. If you are missing the fun of a prairie dog hunt, here’s an arcade-type shooting game that lets you blast the critters to your heart’s content. Just use your mouse to move the crosshair and click to shoot. A hit on a can is worth one point, a hit on a prairie dog is worth two.
Hint: Try re-centering the crosshair after each shot — that way you never have to move more than halfway across the screen when the p-dog pops up. Go to it and have fun!
WARNING: LOUD AUDIO with SHOOTING NOISES!! If you click on this link, a page will load and very loud audio starts running automatically. If you are at work, turn down your speakers!
NOTE: When the new page loads, if you click “Play Game” the loud talking will stop.
Share the post "Practice Varmint Hunting with Free Online Shooting Game"
This article originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog
Get the Sierra Bullets tech staff together and you have an impressive brain trust, with a vast amount of knowledge about all things shooting- and hunting-related. We asked a variety of Sierra Bullets staffers, all avid hunters, about their favorite hunting venues. Here are their answers to the question: “If you could hunt anything, anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you hunt?”
In the above video, a spokesman for Horus Vision explains how and why scopes can experience zero shift. First, just cleaning the gun can cause a small shift in point of impact. Second, when you re-tighten rings and ring bases, this can cause a change in zero. Horus recommends that you use a torque wrench to confirm that you maintain the same torque settings each time. The same goes for action screw tension — tensioning your action screws can shift the point of impact.
Other factors that can cause a change in zero:
Dramatic ranges of temperature will change your zero, because the air density affects the velocity of the bullet. With increased temperature, there may be a higher velocity (depending on your powder).
Gun Handling and Body Position
You rifle’s point of impact will be affected by the way you hold the gun. A “hard hold” with firm grip and heavy cheek weld can give you a different POI than if you lightly address the gun. Even when shooting a benchrest gun, the amount of shoulder you put into the rifle can affect where it prints on paper.
Type of Rifle Support — Bench vs. Field
Whenever you change the type of rifle support you use, the point of impact can shift slightly. Moving from a bipod to a pedestal rest can cause a change. Similar, if you switch from a mechanical rest to sandbags, the gun can perform differently. That’s why, before a hunt, you should zero the gun with a set-up similar to what you would actually use in the field — such as a rucksack or shooting sticks.
Transportation of Firearms
Even if you don’t mishandle your weapon, it is possible that a shift of zero could occur during transport. We’ve seen zero settings change when a tight plastic gun case put a side load on the turrets. And in the field, if the turret knobs are not covered, they can rub against clothing, gear, storage bags, scabbard, etc. If the knobs turn, it will definitely move your reticle slightly and cause your point of impact to be off.
Share the post "Horus Video Explains Sources of Zero Shift in Rifle Scopes"
The IWA Outdoor Classics trade show, aka “Euro SHOT Show”, opened today, March 6th, in Nuremberg, Germany. For the next four days (March 6-9), 1383 exhibitors will show their products at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre. This is a hugely popular event — last year’s IWA Outdoor Classics trade show attracted 39,244 visitors from 117 countries, and attendance should be even higher this year. IWA is Europe’s biggest combined trade show for the hunting, shooting, and civilian/military security industries. And this year, IWA Outdoor Classics was coordinated with EnforceTac, a two-day Law Enforcment/Security trade show held in Nuremberg March 4-5, 2015.
IWA even features an indoor Archery Range. For many years, the Archery Range (located in Hall 5) has been a popular gathering place where exhibitors and visitors can practice their skills and learn about the latest archery products up close and personal.
About the IWA Outdoor Classics Trade Show
What is now the IWA Outdoor Classics trade show began 42 years ago as Germany’s national product show for gunsmiths and gun retailers. That product show started modestly in 1973 with less than 100 exhibitors. Over the past four decades IWA Outdoor Classics has grown into a massive event, drawing the major players in the hunting, security, and shooting sports industries. In the firearm universe, the IWA event is second only to America’s SHOT Show in importance. This video (produced in 2013) shows IWA highlights from the past four decades:
Photos by IWA NürnbergMesse
Share the post "IWA (Euro SHOT Show) Opens Today in Nuremberg, Germany"
Below is the top half of a Walmart ad intended to sell hunting rifles and accessories. We’re pleased that Walmart still stocks guns, ammo, and gear on its shelves. But look carefully at the fellow in the tree-stand. He’s got some nice camo clothing, but a few items are missing that might help this hunter in his quest to take home a buck. Apparently Walmart’s ad-makers aren’t too experienced with shooting.
Advertisement scan provided by B. Carlson.
Share the post "What’s Wrong With This Picture? — WallyWorld Advertising Fail"
The number of women target shooters, hunters, and gun owners has increased dramatically since the start of the new millennium. Consider this, women now comprise 19% of hunters. That’s an 85% increase since 2001. Women are also more important as a purchasing segment of the the shooting market. Women gun owners spend nearly $1300.00 per year on guns and shooting accessories, $870 of that on firearm purchases. That number has gun-makers paying attention — even if some of you guys spend more than that each year just on powder!
Jessie Duff, sponsored by Taurus and Weatherby
Women are definitely becoming a more important segment of the hunting/shooting world. This is a good thing. The larger the “fan base” for the shooting sports, the less political pressure there will be to close ranges and restrict the activities of target shooters and hunters.
Click either image to see a full-size “Girl Power” Infographic.
Share the post "Move Over Guys, the Ladies Are Coming…"
In her latest video, Kirsten Joy Weiss shows off the 300 AAC Blackout, a popular .30-caliber cartridge for AR-platform rifles. Kirsten explains the advantages for the 300 BLK for hunters as well as those using an AR for self-defense. The 300 BLK is popular with suppressor owners because it works well with heavy bullets launched at subsonic velocities.
Reasons to Shoot a 300 AAC Blackout:
— You can use your current AR Bolt, Bolt Carrier, Buffer, and Magazine. The only part you need to change is the barrel.
— 300 BLK conforms to state hunting regulations which may require a cartridge larger than .22 Caliber. The 300 BLK shoots .308 caliber bullets.
— Lapua now sells 300 AAC Blackout brass so no case-forming is required. Just load and shoot.
— You can shoot light bullets supersonic or heavier bullets subsonic. The subsonic capabilities of the 300 BLK make it ideal for use with a suppressed AR.
— With a .30-caliber bore and a modest powder charge, barrel life is outstanding with the 300 BLK.
— You can make 300 BLK cartridges from fired .223 Rem brass, which is plentiful and cheap.
— The .300 BLK performs well with some very accurate powders, such as Hodgdon H4198 and IMR 4227.
The 300 AAC Blackout was created by Advanced Armament Corp. and Remington primarily for the military as a way to shoot .30-caliber bullets from the M4/AR15 platform while using standard magazines. As explained by Robert Silvers, AAC’s R&D Director: “Now there is a way to shoot 30 caliber from your AR while still using normal magazines with full capacity. Even the bolt stays the same, and all that changes is the barrel.” For more information visit www.300aacblackout.com and download the 300 BLK Cartridge Information Guide (PDF).
SAAMI, the industry standards organization, adopted and standardized the AAC 300 Blackout in 2010. The SAAMI diagram for the 300 BLK is shown above. Lapua now makes 300 BLK cartridge brass.
300 BLK for 3-Gun Competition
The 300 AAC Blackout has been touted as an important new hunting round, but we see it more as a specialized “rule-beater” 30-cal option that lets 3-Gun competitors “make major” with a low-recoil cartridge that also offers long barrel life. For those who need to run a .30-caliber cartridge from a standard AR15 platform (as opposed to the AR10), the 300 AAC Blackout makes some sense. But for hunters using a bolt gun, there are any number of tried and true options, such as the 7.62×39, .30-30, and, of course, the .308 Winchester (7.62×51 NATO).
Share the post "Why Shoot a 300 Blackout? Kirsten Provides Some Answers"
Nosler has just introduced a new cartridge, the 28 Nosler. This new 7mm hunting round delivers magnum-class velocities in a cartridge that fits a standard action. The 28 Nosler is capable of launching a 160gr Accubond at 3300 fps. The 28 Nosler uses the same parent case as the 26 Nosler, introduced in 2014. Designed for a maximum COAL of 3.340″, the 28 Nosler will operate in a standard action that is lighter (and more compact) than a magnum action.
The 28 Nosler offers serious knock-down power for the long-range hunter. The factory 185gr Accubond load retains over 2000 ft/lbs. of energy at 600 yards, and remains supersonic well past 1000 yards. Nosler factory ammo will be offered with 160gr and 185gr bullet-weight options.
Previewing the 28 Nosler:
For hand-loaders, Nosler will also offer 28 Nosler cartridge brass. It will be interesting to see whether some F-Class competition shooters experiment with the 28 Nosler (and heavy match bullets) as an alternative to the .284 Winchester or short magnums (WSM or RSAUM).
28 Nosler Ballistics
Share the post "The 28 Nosler Unveiled — a New High-Velocity 7mm Cartridge"
Our readers wanted more information on the $259.95 Magpul Hunter 700 stock, so here it is. We got our hands on the new product. The polymer shell is strong and stiff — not like the “Tupperware” plastic stocks you’ll find on some factory offerings. The stock comes standard with a flush bottom plate. However, for $70 more you can get a polymer magwell unit that allows use of new MagPul 5-round and 10-round magazines. The stock features an anodized aluminum V-block that allows easy installation of a Rem 700-footprint action.
CLICK Photo to See Full-Screen Image:
But perhaps the most important element of this stock can’t be shown in photos. INSIDE the stock is a metal “skeleton” that extends from the middle of the fore-end back into the grip. This skeleton, an important design innovation, gives the stock great strength and rigidity. It is sort of like a race car with a tube chassis under the body work. We suspect Magpul is working on a patent.
Share the post "Magpul’s Hunter 700 Stock — Impressive Offering at $259.95"
Gear Report by Kip Staton Magpul jumped feet-first into the bolt-action precision rifle market by dropping a teaser video of their Hunter 700 chassis/stock system. Feast your eyes on this video that shows Magpul’s new chassis system in action:
The Hunter 700 (MSRP $259.95) is built around a ruggedly anodized aluminum bedding block, and utilizes a standard Magpul SGA cheek riser and spacers (from the shotgun line). It also features forward M-LOK slots, as well as multiple points to mount swivel studs and QD sockets. Weight is a svelte 2.9 pounds, and the system is compatible with factory Remington 700 bottom metal. And that’s not all.
By removing a spacer in the stock, end-users can convert the rifle to feed from the company’s new steel/polymer Bolt Action Magazine Well, which accepts standard AICS pattern magazines. MSRP for the conversion is an impressive $69.95, and that price even includes a mag. But — hold on — it gets even better (look at the photo carefully).
Yup. It feeds from PMAGs. New, AICS-compatible PMAGs. The PMAG-5 7.62 AC is a fully-featured polymer magazine, with an anti-tilt follower and MSRP of $34.95. Interestingly, the magazine holds five (5) rounds to comply with hunting regulations, but the follower features a trimmable, pre-scored stop that allows users to increase capacity by a single round for other purposes.
Magpul promises that this is just the beginning for their precision rifle accessory line, hinting at a larger-capacity PMAG-10 7.62 AC in the future, as well as other calibers. Anybody running AICS pattern mags (and that’s quite a few serious precision rifle guys) should be stoked about these new products.
About the Writer
Kip Staton is a freelance gun writer based in North Texas, and loves to blog about news within the firearms industry and his perceptions on marksmanship at KipStaton.com. He served as the weekend range manager of the North Texas Shooter’s Association from 2010-2012, at which point he began performing sales consultations for a major online firearms retailer. Currently, Kip is a content marketer, copywriter and digital strategist for an award-winning Dallas marketing agency.
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.
Share the post "Hunting Tip: How to Plot Your Cold Bore Point of Impact"
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 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 Texasby 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.
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.
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
Share the post "Aoudad for Dad (and Son) — The Pilants Hunt Texas"
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
Put 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.
Share the post "How to Zero Your Hunting Rifle the Easy Way"
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.
Among 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.