Hunting and the shooting sports are under attack from forces trying to ban all ammunition containing lead. A coalition of anti-hunting groups has been trying to get the EPA to ban traditional ammo with lead in the bullets. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has been leading efforts to fight back, and protect your ability to use traditional rifle, pistol, and shotgun ammunition.
NSSF, the NRA, Safari Club International (SCI) and the Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) have filed a joint brief supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rejection of a second attempt by a Center for Biological Diversity (CBD)-led coalition of anti-hunting groups to ban traditional ammunition. The CBD’s first attempt to ban the use of lead ammunition for hunting was denied by EPA in 2010 on the grounds the agency did not have the authority to regulate ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. This decision was subsequently upheld by a Washington, D.C., federal court that dismissed CBD’s challenge. In 2012, the CBD and 100 other organizations filed a second, nearly identical submission that EPA rejected. CBD again sued and the case again was dismissed by the same federal court. The intervenors (NSSF, NRA, SCI, and ABR), have filed legal briefs arguing that CBD should not be able to circumvent procedural and jurisdictional requirements by resubmitting virtually the same petition less than two years after the submission of the first one. NSSF argues that CBD’s repetitive petitions and lawsuits constitute an abuse of administrative and judicial resources.
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If you are looking for a premium-quality hunting scope, with a wide magnification range, here is a great opportunity. Leica has just discontinued the Leica ER Scope Series. These are excellent optics that will be sold on “close-out” basis through EuroOptic.com. These Leica ER Scopes will be offered by EuroOptic for as much as $600.00 off the regular price, with target turret models available for as little as $1179.00. These scopes all include Leica’s Lifetime Warranty. According to EuroOptic: “Quantities vary and there will not be any more once they are gone”.
Leica ER Rifle Scopes are rugged, bright, and precise. Each Leica ER Rifle Scope is designed for field use, with a long tube for easy mounting and eye relief to spare – perfect for large caliber hunting rifles. Choose from the Leica ER 2.5-10×42, an all around scope with a wide field of view for quick acquisition, or the Leica ER 3.5-14×42, a higher magnification scope with an optional ASV elevation turret.
Nosler has introduced a new 6.5mm (.264 caliber) hunting cartridge, the 26 Nosler. Nosler will initially offer 26 Nosler cartridge brass, and then, eventually, 26 Nosler loaded ammunition.
This new cartridge is designed to be a speedy, flat-shooting hunting cartridge, with performance exceeding a 6.5-284. This is possible because the 26 Nosler is a big, long cartridge with plenty of “boiler room”. Length from base to neck/shoulder junction is 2.33″ for the 26 Nosler, compared to 1.91″ for the 6.5-284 (and 2.04″ for a 7mm Rem Magnum). The 26 Nosler has a 35° shoulder angle and a magnum-size 0.534″ outside rim diameter.
The 26 Nosler cartridge can drive the Nosler 129 grain, AccuBond® LR bullet at 3400 fps. Zeroed at 350 yards, the 26 Nosler has a Point Blank Range of 0-415 yards. Loaded with the 129gr Accubond, the 26 Nosler retains as much velocity at 400 yards as a .260 Rem produces at the muzzle. This makes the 26 Nosler a “quintessential deer, antelope and long-range” cartridge according to company CEO/President Bob Nosler.
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.
We did try one of these bags, and it worked pretty well for prone shooting with bipod. The rear bag-rider of an Eliseo Tubegun settled nicely on the bag, and yes we could “Pump it Up” to add firmness, and raise the rear. Likewise it was simple to bleed air from the bag, lowering the bag-rider. Yes you could adjust the bipod leg height instead (raising/lowering the front relative to the rear), but it was faster and easier to make small changes with air pressure. This item will not replace a heavy sand bag for a serious F-TR shooter. However, for a tactical competitor who needs to move rapidly from one position to another, this patent-pending MOA Tactical Bag makes sense. It is a durable, well-designed product that can shave many pounds off your load-out weight (compared to a heavy sandbag).
Though this is marketed toward “tactical” marksmen, we think the MOA Tactical Shooting Bag would also be handy for hunters who walk long distances in the field. Hunters need to be concerned about weight as well. The air+pellet-filled MOA bag offers a lighter alternative to a bunny-ear bag or heavy sand sock.
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For many years, the Varmint Hunters Association (VHA) has produced an excellent print periodical, The Varmint Hunter Magazine. Along with hunting stories, the magazine features articles about precision reloading and methods for accurizing rifles. The Varmint Hunter Magazine is available by subscription, and you can also purchase back issues through the VHA Online Store.
Right now the VHA is offering two FREE digital editions of The Varmint Hunter Magazine. Can’t beat that price. Click the links below to view (or download) the latest Winter 2014 Edition (Issue #89) and/or the previous Fall 2013 Edition (Issue #88). These digital eZines can be read on your computer or by most mobile devices. But since these are complete magazines, it make take a minute or two to download the full PDF files (be patient).
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.
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Thomas Haugland, a Shooters’ Forum member from Norway, is a long-range target shooter and hunter. He has created an interesting video showing how to gauge wind velocities by watching trees, grass, and other natural vegetation. The video commentary is in English, but the units of wind speed (and distance) are metric. Haugland explains: “This is not a full tutorial, but rather a short heads-up to make you draw the lines between the dots yourself”. Here are some conversions that will help when watching the video:
.5 m/s = 1.1 mph | 1 m/s = 2.2 mph | 2 m/s = 4.5 mph
3 m/s = 6.7 mph | 4 m/s = 8.9 mph | 5 m/s =11.2 mph
When we first ran this video a couple years back, readers were amazed at the off-hand, rapid-fire shooting skills of this young, German hunter, armed with a Sauer 202 rifle.
Check out this video of a young German hunter, Franz Albrecht Öttingen-Spielberg. Shooting off-hand with a Sauer 202 bolt action, he makes multiple kills on wild boar running at full speed. Half way through the video, a pack of boar crosses right to left, running fast. You need slow motion to see all Franz’s hits as he engages one animal after another. He doesn’t hit with every shot, but a quick count shows that nearly half his shots, fired rapid-fire from a standing position, were solid takedowns. Notice how Franz “leads” his prey, moving the muzzle from right to left along the animals’ path.
Slow-Mo Video Reveals Knock-Down Power of 7mm Rem Magnum
Near the beginning of the video, slow-motion footage reveals bullet trace, and the bullet’s impact on a running boar. The shot takes the boar right at the top of the shoulder and the animal goes down in a heap. This is impressive shooting. The video shows what is possible with a skilled marksmen, a powerful cartridge (7mm Rem Magnum), and an accurate, smooth-cycling bolt gun.
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If you really want to learn about long-range hunting, listen to a pro, a man like Nathan Foster who has spent a life-time in the field. Nathan has just released a new book: The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Cartridges. You can trust what Nathan says. He has spent decades in the wild, harvesting over 7500 head of game. Nathan’s richly-illustrated, 415-page resource guides you through the process of choosing the best cartridge and projectile(s) for your hunts. The book begins by explaining the key principles of of long-range hunting. Then Nathan examines the pros and cons of various cartridges so that the reader can select the best cartridge and projectile to get the job done.
Nathan is truly a hunting expert. Nathan has spent thousands of hours in the field and he knows the subject cold. Unlike some outdoor writers, Nathan doesn’t pull punches — he tells the unvarnished truth about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s what Nathan says about his new book:
After many months of writing, it is now done, 415 pages of research, each bullet repeat-tested in the field, my research scrutinized by veterinarian surgeons [and] industry peers. It was truly an immense undertaking.
For several years, I have received two types of email. The first question is which is the right rifle for me? The second question is which is the right cartridge? My first book dealt with the accurate rifle. This second book deals with long range hunting cartridge selection. I firmly believe that there has been a huge gap in education regarding optimal long range hunting cartridge performance. In many instances, both hunters and bullet manufacturers do not understand what’s required to achieve goals. Many times, the wrong tools are used for long range hunting. This book seeks to remedy these problems.
In the Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Cartridges, I start with the fundamentals of game killing — but from the perspective of the long range hunter (also encountering close range shots). This section is not politically correct in any way, as after the study of anatomy, I explore worst case scenarios in as much depth as ideal shot placement.
The second section of the book is a study of projectile design. I wanted to get right down to the finer details of the long range hunting bullet in this section, exploring manufacturers, manufacturing techniques, and ways in which the end user can perform preliminary testing as well as bullet modifications.
The third section explains how to select a long range hunting cartridge. The system I have used here is based on a selection method I developed over the years to help clients worldwide. This method takes individual circumstances into consideration rather than a one size fits all approach. It is a system that relies on plain common sense based on research.
The fourth section of the book is the cartridge section. Cartridge information is presented in a set format with Pro/Con summary tables. In many instances I have included my own load notes. I have also included notes regarding how to approach close range shots with each of our long range cartridges.
Book Buyer Comment: “Nathan has ‘hit it out of the park’ with his 2nd book, The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Cartridges! This is definitely the ‘go-to’ manual for decision-making for hunters around the world. Where else can you fine such a wealth of information on bullet selection for a particular cartridge based on the weight of the animal you intend to pursue. This allows the hunter to make an educated decision on the best cartridge for a particular game species or to load that round, up or down, to cover a variety of game species in their location.” — Jim Moseley, North Carolina, USA
About the Author: New Zealander Nathan Foster lives and breathes what he teaches. An expert in the field of terminal ballistics, Nathan has taken over 7500 head of game, and has field-tested a vast number of cartridges and projectiles. Nathan’s first book, The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Rifles, is widely recognized as one of the best books ever published on the subject. The new book goes into greater detail on specific cartridges. Nathan’s website includes an outstanding online cartridge knowledge base with over 60 detailed cartridge profiles. CLICK HERE for Cartridge INFO.
When you need ammo fast — lots of ammo, it’s hard to beat a progressive reloading press for output. We use progressive presses to load handgun ammo and .223 Rem cartridges for varmint safaris. With good dies, and proper press set-up, today’s progressive presses can produce surprisingly uniform and accurate ammo. No, you won’t see Benchrest Hall-of-Famers loading PPC cartridges on progressives. However, if you need 1000 rounds for your next prairie dog adventure, you should consider getting a progressive. Below you can see a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP configured to load .308 Winchester in bulk.
Proper Brass Prep
Just like a good paint job requires good prep work, great rifle ammo requires good brass prep. In order to make sure your rifle loading goes smoothly, make sure to perform the following brass prep steps:
Clean the brass (tumble, ultrasonic, etc.)
Inspect brass for cracks, deep dents, etc.
For military brass: de-prime, ream/swage primer pockets, size with small-base sizer die (small base usually optional).
Measure brass length — if too long, size and then trim.
Final inspection before loading.
Cleaning primer pockets may be something you’ll consider (I don’t clean primer pockets except for rare cases or match ammo).
Smooth and Steady Pace
Since you’re loading rifle ammunition on a progressive, you’re already saving a load of time, so there’s no need to rush things! Attention to detail is super-important for safety and for good results. Always keep an eye on powder level (goes down FAST) and what’s happening at each station.
The Right Press and Press Setup
Look for a heavy-duty, well-built press that will stand up to rifle loading. You’ll also want to make sure your powder measure will have the proper capacity (~25 grains for .223, ~50 grains for 308). If you are bulk reloading, ensure you have enough stations for sizing, charging, powder check, bullet feed, bullet seating, and (optional) bullet crimp.
More Ultimate Reloader Resources for Users of Progressive Presses:
National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) takes place on Saturday, September 28th. 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. An estimated four million Americans will participate. For information on NHF Day, visit www.nhfday.org. To find an NHF Day event near you, click the link below.
The updated Second Edition of the Cartridge Comparison Guide is now available. The Cartridge Comparision Guide is the product of many years of labor by Andrew Chamberlain, a Utah-based hunter. Andrew says his Guide “compares every factory available cartridge from the 17 calibers up to the 50 caliber cartridges”. (Sorry, most wildcat cartridges are not covered.) Chamberlain’s Guide also compiles cartridge data from major ammunition manufacturers such as Barnes, Federal, Hornady, Norma, Nosler, Remington, Sierra, Swift, Weatherby, and Winchester. It shows the optimal velocity achieved for each bullet weight and calculates bullet energy, recoil, and powder efficiency.
The Cartridge Comparison Guide provides data for thousands of cartridge/bullet/velocity combos. Charts provide cartridge ballistics including downrange energy. The Second Edition adds 90 more pages devoted to ballistics. The Cartridge Comparison Guide offers a firearms lexicon, plus Appendices covering Cartridge Selection for Game Animals, Bullet Selection/Design, Bullet Expansion, Wound Channel Characteristics and more. In the Second Edition, there is expanded coverage of factory-loaded hunting ammo. The book now provides “100% coverage of all handgun and rifle cartridges produced in the USA by at least two minor factory load sources or one major factory load source.”
New Content in Second Edition of Cartridge Comparison Guide
The Cartridge Comparison Guide (2nd Edition) costs $32.95 plus shipping and tax. This is more pricey than the $24.99 First Edition (which is still for sale), but the latest Cartridge Comparison guide offers considerably more content. Here’s what’s new in the Second Edition:
Addition of Shotgun Ammunition (Both Slug and Shot loads).
Momentum Calculation for all Rifle, Shotgun and Handgun loads.
Integration of Shotgun Slug Ammunition with Center Fire Rifle Data Tables.
Factory Load Summary Added (Shows manufacturers and loads produced).
One factory load and one hand load for every bullet weight available in each cartridge.
Over 90 pages of additional ballistics content (roughly 35% more than in First Edition).
The Cartridge Comparison Guide has been awarded the POMA Pinnacle Award for Excellence. (POMA, the Professional Outdoor Media Association, is the trade association for outdoor writers).
Great Resource for Hunters
The Cartridge Comparison Guide’s author wanted to help hunters select the “right cartridge for the job.” Chamberlain states: “This started as a personal project to gather information on the more popular cartridges commonly used for hunting. I began comparing cartridge performance, versatility, bullet selection, powder efficiency, recoil generation vs. energy produced, standing ballistic data for different environments, etc.” Chamberlain adds: “I wanted to find the best all-around performing cartridge and rifle that a guy on a budget could shoot.”
Giant Cartridge Poster for Computer Wallpaper (1665×1080 pixels)
Here’s a great illustration of hundreds of cartridges and shotshell types. For dedicated reloaders, this would work great as desktop “wallpaper” for your computer. CLICK HERE for full-size image.
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