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.
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If you’ve been considering the new Nightforce SHV scope for a hunting application, head over to LongRangeHunting.com. There you’ll find an in-depth field test of the 4-14x56mm SHV by Nicholas Gebhart. This is a very thorough review — Gebhardt checks every feature of the scope and comparison tests the SHV against the more costly Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x50mm. Gebhardt even put the SHV scope in his freezer for a weekend to ensure there was no fogging.
Overall, Gebhardt was very pleased with the SHV: “Optical clarity, image brightness, contrast and resolution were all extremely good.” The tester also liked the MOAR reticle in his scope. He didn’t think it was too “busy” though he thought the hold-over lines would benefit from numbers: “Nightforce’s MOAR was easy to use and provided a clear sight picture for engaging small targets. The line thickness is perfect for both precise shot placement and visibility. My personal preference however would be for the even hash marks to be numbered for the entire lower portion of the reticle.” Gebhart noted that the SHV’s side parallax knob had yardage marking numbers that proved accurate (and handy to use) — most other scopes just have lines.
Nightforce SHV vs. Nighforce NXS
How did the new SHV stack up against the NXS in a side-by-side comparison? Gebhardt was impressed with the $995.00 SHV, saying it held its own with the pricier NXS model: “I took about 30 minutes to evaluate the optics of the SHV and see how it compared to an older Nightforce NXS 3.5-15X50. Both of these scopes are made in Japan but given the price differential, I expected to see some difference in the optical quality. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any optical difference between the two except for a very slight possibility of a brighter image with the SHV.”
Nicholas Gebhardt has been an active hunter primarily pursuing mule deer, antelope, coyotes and prairie dogs since he was old enough to legally hunt. Nicholas is also a precision rifle competitor and a Captain in the Montana National Guard.
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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.”
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The NRA Outdoors Long Range Hunting/Shooting School returns to the Queen Mountain Ranch in Evanston, Wyoming for three sessions (two in May and one in June). The Long Range Hunting One course teaches proven long range shooting techniques for long-range hunters. There are still a few spots offered for the May sessions, and a June session just openeed. Cost of the class, which includes meals and accommodation, is $2,000.
Video Shows 2013 Long Range Hunting/Shooting School
The Course will cover: Ammo selection, Range Estimation, Zeroing, Ballistics, Effects of Weather, Reading the Wind, MOA and other Reticle Calibration, Bullet placement on big game for high kill percentage, Alternate Shooting Positions, trigger control, Spotter Skills, When to engage a moving target. The course will also cover some general topics, such as: Firearms maintenance, Range Safety, Rifle Building, and Scope Theory.
“The success of the first NRA Outdoors Long Range Hunting/Shooting School was a result of the combination of our excellent instructors [and] the first-class facilities at the Queen Mountain Ranch that made this class unlike anything else in the industry and a must for any serious western big-game hunter and shooter,” said NRA Outdoors President Greg Ray. The course offers access to a wide variety of terrain from the base location of Queen Mountain Ranch: “We have 1 million acres of terrain spread out over Wyoming and nearby Utah. We have all the angles covered: high desert, mountains, cross canyon and all points in between.”
Available Course Dates
May 22-25 (1 spot open) (2 days of instruction)
May 26-29 (3 spots open) (2 days of instruction)
June 19-22 (14 spots open) (2 days of instruction)
Exact curriculum will be provided before the school starts along with the announcement on details of a shooting competition (at the request of 2013 students) at the end of the course!
Course fee of $2000.00 per student includes:
Airport Pickup (Salt Lake City)
Lodging at Queen Mountain Ranch
Majority of optics gear
2 days of instruction
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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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