October 23rd, 2014

Varmint Hunter Magazine — Get Free Digital Editions

VHA varmint hunters associationFor 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 Fall 2014 Edition (Issue #92) or the previous Summer 2014 Edition (Issue #91). 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).

Fall 2014 PDF Summer 2014 PDF
Varmint Hunter Magazine FREE Varmint Hunter Magazine FREE

VHA varmint hunters association

Permalink - Articles, Hot Deals 4 Comments »
December 22nd, 2013

Varminters Debate Holding-Off vs. Cranking Elevation

Leuopold Varmint Hunters' ReticleA varmint shooter’s target is not conveniently placed at a fixed, known distance as it is for a benchrester. The varminter must repeatedly make corrections for bullet drop as he moves from closer targets to more distant targets and back again. Click HERE to read an interesting Varmint Forum discussion regarding the best method to adjust for elevation. Some shooters advocate using the scope’s elevation adjustments. Other varminters prefer to hold-over, perhaps with the assistance of vertical markers on their reticles. Still others combine both methods–holding off to a given yardage, then cranking elevation after that.

Majority View–Click Your Scope
“I zero at 100 yards — I mean really zero as in check the ballistics at 200 and 300 and adjust zero accordingly — and then set the scope zero. For each of my groundhog guns I have a click chart taped into the inside of the lid of the ammo box. Then use the knobs. That’s why they’re there. With a good scope they’re a whole lot more accurate than hold-over, with or without hash marks. This all assumes you have a good range finder and use it properly. If not, and you’re holding over you’re really just spraying and praying. Try twisting them knobs and you’ll most likely find that a 500- or 600- or 700-yard groundhog is a whole lot easier than some people think.”
– Gunamonth

“I have my elevation knob calibrated in 100-yard increments out to 550. Range-find the critter, move elevation knob up…dead critter. The problem with hold-over is that it is so imprecise. It’s not repeatable because you are holding over for elevation and for wind also. Every time you change targets 50 yards, it seems as if you are starting over. As soon as I got completely away from the hold over method (I used to zero for 200), my hit ratios went way up.” — K. Candler

“When I first started p-dog shooting, I attempted to use the hold-over method with a 200-yard zero with my 6mm Rem. Any dog much past 325-350 yards was fairly safe. I started using a comeups table for all three of my p-dog rifles (.223 Rems and 6mm Rem). 450-yard hits with the .223s are fairly routine and a 650-yard dog better beware of the 6mm nowadays. An added benefit (one I didn’t think of beforehand) with the comeups table (elevation only), is that when the wind is blowing, it takes half of the variables out of the equation. I can concentrate on wind, and not have to worry about elevation. It makes things much more simple.” — Mike (Linefinder).

“I dial for elevation and hold for wind. Also use a mil-dot reticle to make the windage holds easier. For windage corrections, I watch for the bullet strike measure the distance it was “off” with the mil-dot reticle, then hold that much more the other way. Very fast once you get used to it.” — PepeLP

Varmint Hunting ScopeMinority View–Hold-Over is Better
“I try to not touch my knobs once I’m zeroed at 200 meters. Most of my varmint scopes have duplex reticles and I use the bottom post to put me on at 300 meters versus turning knobs. The reason I try to leave my knobs alone is that I have gone one complete revolution up or down [too far] many times and have missed the varmint. This has happened more than once and that is why I try not to change my knobs if at all possible.” — Chino69

“I have been using the hold over method and it works for me most of the time but the 450 yards and over shots get kinda hard. I moved to a 300 yard zero this year and it’s working well. I do want to get into the click-up method though; it seems to be more fool-proof.” — 500YardHog

Compromise View–Use Both Methods
“I use both [methods] as well — hold over out to 250, and click up past that.” — Jack (Wolf)

“I use the target knobs and crank-in elevation. I also use a rangefinder and know how far away they are before I crank in the clicks. I have a scope with drop dots from Premier Recticle and like it. No cranking [knobs] out to 600.” –Vmthtr

Permalink Optics, Shooting Skills 7 Comments »
October 27th, 2013

Simple, Inexpensive ‘Pogo Stick’ Rest for Hunters

varmint shooting restForum member RidgeRunner has devised a clever shooting support for field use. He calls it the “Pogo Stick”. It’s simply welded stainless rod with a two-pronged base, and a ‘U’-shaped cradle that adjusts for height along a vertical shaft. RidgeRunner tells us: “It is very solid and made from stainless steel so it won’t rust under sweaty hands. The rifle hook, or support, slides up and down the main stem and secures with the knob. It has two prongs you tramp into the ground and is VERY stable. It is shiny, but I have been using this one since about 1983, and I can’t say I have noticed it spooking any whistlers. Before I had an actual bench to shoot off of, I used it to sight-in rifles. I would lay down and use a sand bag under the butt stock. Worked just fine.”

While this “Pogo Stick” rest was created for varmint hunting, it would work well for hunters of larger game, in terrain where the prongs could be set in the ground. The whole unit is small enough to carry easily in a day-pack. It sets up in seconds, and it stays in position by itself, unlike shooting sticks, which normally require a firm hold with one hand.

Yep, that’s one big Pennsylvania groundhog in the photo below. RidgeRunner reports: “This old boy has been giving me the slip for a couple weeks. I finally got a 52gr A-Max in him before the hay got high enough to hide him again. This sucker weighed 15 pounds. My heaviest to date I believe. The rifle is a Tikka 22/250 with a 4-16X Weaver 1/8-MOA dot scope. Nice and light for carry, nice and accurate too.”

Pennsylvania Ground Hog Rifle

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 11 Comments »
April 9th, 2012

New High Impact .177 and .22 Pellets from Gamo

Here’s a interesting new ammo option for air rifle shooters. Gamo Outdoor USA has introduced new Bone Collector® lead pellets featuring dome tips and grooved skirts. Gamo claims that the rounded nose and grooved skirt makes these pellets more aerodynamic (with a higher ballistic coefficient), so they retain more energy at longer distances. That’s good news for Airgun varmint hunters. The .177 pellet weighs 7.56 grains while the larger .22-caliber version weighs 15.43 grains. Gamo claims that the high weight-to-caliber ratio and higher BC gives Bone Collector® pellets “more terminal penetration than standard lead pellets” and a stable flight trajectory. MSRP is $8.95 per tin (150 pellets/tin in .177 and 100 pellets/tin in .22). Whether the Bone Collector pellets really live up to the marketing hype remains to be seen, but it’s still good to see some new offerings among pellet-makers.

Dome Top Gamo Bone Collector Pellets

RWS Superdome pellet .22Nothing New Under the Sun?
While Gamo is claiming that its domed and skirted pellet design is an innovative new aerodynamic design, sharp-eyed Bulletin reader Julio from the UK points out the the Gamo Bone Collector is a dead-ringer for the RWS Superdome pellet, which has been available for quite some time. Check out the photos and you’ll see the similarity.

The RWS Superdome is available in three sizes: .177, .22, and .25. The Gamo Bone Collector pellets are a bit heavier in .22 caliber: Gamo’s .22-cal Bone Collector is 15.43 grains compared to 14.5 for the .22-cal Superdome. But the RWS .177-cal Superdome is 8.3 grains compared to 7.56 grains for the bone Collector. And Gamo has nothing to match the jumbo 31.0 grain .25-caliber Superdome.

RWS Superdome pellet .155

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 2 Comments »
January 22nd, 2012

SHOT Show: Stukey Sturdy Shooting Bench

Stukey Shooting Bench

If you want a good, solid portable bench that doesn’t wobble, or move unpredicatbly from shot-to-shot, consider the Stukey Sturdy Shooting Bench. No it doesn’t spin, and it doesn’t have an attached seat. But the very simplicity of the Stukey bench is why it works so well. The legs lock up absolutely solid, and there is no attached seat to bounce the bench. As Royal told us: “I don’t like hookin’ my butt to my reticle”. If you have a seat attached to your bench, a slight movement of your body on the seat can impart a wobble to the bench top. That’s no good if you’re trying to shoot 1/4-MOA groups or hit varmints at very long range. As Royal says: “You’re never going to tag that 900-yard prairie dog is you have any wiggle in your bench. It just translates to too many minutes of angle out there.” Makes sense.

The Stukey bench has a patented leg attachment system — a floating nut plate/socket/collar arrangement that assembles quickly without tools. The patented connection provides a rock-solid lock-up between the legs and frame. And these benches are strong — check out the photo of Royal’s pick-up truck supported by four of his benches.

Stukey Shooting Bench

Currently, the Stukey bench does not have adjusting leg heights. However Royal says that the triangle leg design accommodates most terrain. He just takes a level with him into the field and adjusts the bench orientation until the top is not tilted. Stukey benchtops have cut-outs on both sides, so they fit both right- and left-handed shooters. Simply move the seat to your preferred side. Total bench weight is roughly 65 pounds (30 lbs. for the top and 35 lbs. for the legs.) For more info, visit Royal’s website, www.ShootingBenches.com. The Stukey bench costs $545.00 (without shooting stool).

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »
September 18th, 2009

IBS 600-Yard Nationals in Pierre, SD — Hall, Davis, & Schatz Battle

Sam Hall did it again. The 2008 IBS National Champion and 2008 Shooter of the Year captured his second straight National Championship, winning the 2-Gun Grand Agg shooting a standard 6BR in both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) classes. It was an impressive victory in challenging conditions at the Varmint Hunter Assn. (VHA) range in Pierre, South Dakota. But this was a very close match. Mike Davis, runner-up in the Grand Agg, tied Sam in 2-Gun points, but Sam was awarded the title based on 2-Gun Small Group tie-breaker. Richard Schatz was just one point behind Sam and Mike. All three men shot superbly and any of the three could have won it all. Davis won the HG Overall Agg (with Hall second), while Schatz won the LG Overall Agg, with Hall again placing second. Both Davis and Schatz shot 6BR Improved cartridges in both LG and HG — Davis shooting the 30°-shoulder BRX, while Schatz campaigned a 40° Dasher. Rodney Wagner (6BRX) and John Griswold (6 Dasher) tied with 27 points in the 2-Gun overall, with Wagner earning 4th place overall on the tie-breaker.

Horrendous Conditions on Friday — Many DQs
Sam Hall said the conditions on Friday were “horrendous” with 25 to 35-mph gusts. Conditions were among the worst ever seen by the VHA rangemasters, and a third of HG competitors (17 of 48) DQ’d because the wind blew shots off paper. Luckily, conditions moderated for the Saturday relays, with mild 10 mph winds. Regulars at the VHA range said Saturday’s conditions were “about as good at it gets in Pierre.”

Sam Hall IBS 600 yard champion Sam Hall IBS 600 yard champion

Complete Results are posted under Long Range Match Results on the IBS Website.

Equipment — Still dominated by 6BR and 6BR Improved
A quick look at the equipment lists for both LG and HG classes showed the 6mm as the preferred caliber, with a 6mm Dasher or 6mm BRX the most popular cartridge (though Hall won it all with his standard 6BR). Despite the windy conditions, the mid-sized cases such as the 6-6.5×47 Lapua couldn’t outshoot their smaller brothers. Notably, Sam Hall used a plain vanilla 6BR to win LG Agg with a 2.852″. Shooting a 6BRX, Mike Davis won HG Agg with a 2.492″, with Hall’s 6BR only .054″ behind.

LG Equipment List
IBS 600-yard Benchrest

HG Equipment List
IBS 600-yard Benchrest

Calibers: 17 of the top 20 in LG shot 6mms, mostly Dashers (but Hall won LG with a standard 6BR). There was one .22 and two 6.5s. In HG it was pretty much the same story, 16 of 20 using 6mms, with a couple 6.5s, a .308 Baer and a 30 BooBoo (not “39” as stated in equipment list).

Barrels: Sam Hall won LG Group Agg with a Broughton button-rifled barrel, but otherwise cut-rifled barrels from Brux, Krieger, and Bartlein dominated the Top 20 in both classes. In HG, Mike Davis shot a Brux to finish #1. NOTE: Sam Hall had a Lilja barrel on his second-place, 28-lb Heavy Gun, not a Brux as shown on the official equipment list.

Bullets: Sam Hall used Spencers in LG, and Steve Shelp shot BIBs in his 30 BooBoo Heavy Gun. Otherwise it was “all yellow box”, with Berger filling the Top 10 equipment rankings for both LG and HG. It’s fair to say Berger Bullets dominated the match.

Powder/Primers: Alliant Reloder 15 and CCI 450s (usually pushing Berger 6mm bullets) composed the preferred combo in both LG and HG. Sam Hall did use CCI BR4s, however. Rodney Wagner was the only Dasher shooter to use Hodgdon Varget, but he finished fourth overall in the 2-Gun Aggregate.

Optics: While ace shooters Sam Hall and Mike Davis both used Leupold Competition Scopes in both LG and HG classes, Nightforce scopes, (mostly 12-42 BR models) dominated the Equipment Top 20 lists. To our surprise, there were only a couple March Scopes in the Equipment Top 20 in HG, and just one in LG.

Stocks: Shehane (D & B Supply) stocks were used by 8 of the Top 10-ranked LG Shooters, and 5 of the Top 10 in HG rankings. The Trackers, both ST 1000 and MBR Tracker, remain hard to beat. We did see some “true maxies” in this match.

IBS 600-yard Championship

Hall Reveals Shooting Secrets in Home-Made Video
If you’re interested in 600-yard competition, or just want to shoot more accurately and consistently from the bench, you should watch a video Sam Hall put together last year. Because of wind noise, the audio is pretty bad at first, but be patient. Sam delivers some invaluable advice in the video. His tips on body positioning, gun-handling, and follow-through can earn you some points in your next match.

YouTube Preview Image
Permalink - Videos, Competition No Comments »