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October 25th, 2021

Bargain Finder 318: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Grizzly — Massive Site-Wide Shooting Products Blow-Out Sale

grizzly bullets.com blow-out sale gunsmithing tools stocks safety gear discount
Big Blow-out Sale on Stocks, Tools, Safety Gear and more

Grizzly Industrial has long been known as a great resource for shooting-related supplies from barrels to gunsmithing tools. Now through October 31, 2021, Grizzly is running a major reloading, shooting and gunsmithing Blow-Out Sale. Save up to 80% on cleaning supplies, 68% on safety equipment, 30% on shooting gear and more. It took us nearly an hour just to go through all the deals and it’s not hard to fill up your shopping cart with many great bargains. There are also many specialized gunsmithing products on sale, including barrel vises and chamber reamers.

2. LockedLoaded.com — M&P 15-22 Sport .22 LR, $379.99

.22 LR rimfire AR M&P 15-22 Smith wesson
Accurate, reliable .22 LR rimfire AR-type rifle at excellent price

We like .22 LR AR-type rifles. With these rimfire “black rifles” you can enjoy NRL22 matches, and also cross-train with low-cost ammo. The popular Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport is now on sale for just $379.99 at LockedLoaded.com. This rifle has full-size AR15 ergonomics and boasts removable Magpul MBUS front and rear folding sights. With the 10″ M&P Magpul M-LOK handguard, you can easily fit lights, bipods, and other accessories. This is a fun gun at a very attractive price.

3. Natchez — Rimfire & Pistol Ammo Sale, Top USA Brands

ammunition sale
Finally — good deals on a variety of USA-made ammo

Ammo is slowly showing up in stores and online but usually at increased prices. That’s why we were pleased to see a major ammunition sale over at Natchez. You’ll find a wide variety of rimfire and pistol ammo on sale from major U.S. manufacturers including American Eagle, CCI, Federal, and Remington. There are no quantity limits, and some ammo types qualify for FREE shipping (with $250+ order).

4. Cabela’s — Wicked Ridge Invader X4 Crossbow, $399.99

Wicked Ridge Invader X4 Crossbow Package
Enjoy extended hunting seasons with Crossbow, this is a fine example

Modern crossbows are accurate and effective. And in many areas, there is a special extended hunting season for bow hunters. A great option is the Wicked Ridge Invader X4 Crossbow Package. The Wicked Ridge Invader X4 Crossbow Package delivers excellent power and accuracy. This advanced crossbow can launch arrows at 360 fps with up to 107 ft/lbs of energy. With 11″ WRX laminated limbs, this bow gives hunters big performance from a compact design that measures just 15″ wide when cocked. Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz recently took a deer with a cross-bow — perhaps you can too.

5. EuroOptic — TriggerTech AR or Rem 700 Triggers, $139-$149

 EuroOptic TriggerTech Special Edition Triggers
Popular AR and Rem 700 triggers at big savings

If you have a Remington 700-style bolt action or AR-platform rifle and are looking for a precision trigger, check out these TriggerTech Special Edition Triggers. Featuring TriggerTech’s Frictionless Release Technology™, this drop-in trigger has a true zero-creep break with extremely short over-travel. This trigger is extremely reliable because changing the pull weight does not affect hammer force so you get dependable primer strikes at every pull weight. TriggerTech’s Frictionless Release Technology provides very consistent pulls, shot after shot.

6. MidwayUSA — Walker’s Razor Earmuffs w/ Free Walkie Talkie

walker earmuffs
Electronic Muffs with handy Walkie Talkie

Hearing protection is essential, but so is communicating with those around you. You get vital audio protection plus communication capability with these Walker’s Razor Earmuffs with Free Walkie Talkie. With a 23 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), these Walker’s Razor earmuffs offer a low-profile design and handy sound controls. Along with the muffs, right now you get a BONUS full-featured walkie talkie unit allowing you to communicate via wireless radio. This handy transceiver boasts 22 channels and features Push-to-Talk (PTT) technology.

7. Amazon — Plano 52″ All Weather Rifle/Shotgun Case, $124.32

plano rifle case sale
Very sturdy, weatherproof, wheeled gun case

Traveling with a shotgun or rifle means having a quality case that protects your valuable firearm. If you’re in need of a new case for your next hunting or match trip check out the 52″ Plano All Weather Rifle/Shotgun Cases. With a 51.5″ internal length, this is long enough for many benchrest, F-Class and PRS rifles. You can also fit two hunting rifles inside (see photo). This all-weather case is strong, tough, and seals out moisture. With a Durashell Plus outer shell, this case is relatively lightweight yet durable. If you need a shorter case check out the 36″ Plano All Weather Rifle/Shotgun Case for $76.90, a very good deal.

8. Amazon — Caldwell Lead Sled 3, $99.99

Caldwell Lead Sled 3 sale
Good for hunting rifle Sight-In, now $60 less than other vendors

You need a stable platform for sighting in that hunting or varmint rifle, and then testing loads. For decades folks have used one-piece metal rests for this task. One of the more affordable, yet functional options is the Caldwell Lead Sled 3. This Sled is designed to hold sandbags, making it very stable even with heavy recoiling big game loads in light rifles. The Lead Sled 3 fits hunting-style fore-ends in front and has a shock-absorbing pad in the rear. Nice features include 4″ of front elevation adjustment, a micro rear elevation adjustment, and non-skid feet. The $99.99 sale price is a great deal — this very same Lead Sled 3 costs $159.99 at MidwayUSA. The weight sack shown in photos sells separately for $16.99 on Amazon.

9. Creedmoor Sports — Hi-Lux XTC Service Rifle Scope, $475.00

rifle scope sale
Top choice for Service Rifle optic now on sale

Specifically designed for CMP and NRA Service Rifle competition, the Hi-Lux XTC 1-4x34mm Service Rifle Scope boasts sharp, bright lenses and very reliable scope clicks. This optic conforms to all CMP/NRA Service Rifle rules. The Hi-Lux XTC features a front objective parallax control that adjusts from 15 yards to infinity. Having adjustable parallax is critical in minimizing parallax error, making this a good choice for AR platform Service Rifles shooters.

10. Midsouth — Berry’s Tri-Can Ammo Carrier, $21.99

berrys tri-can carry case ammo
Very Handy New Product has Three Clear-Top Compartments

The Tri-Can Utility Box Carrier is on sale now at Midsouth. Choose either black containers or tan containers for the same $21.99 price (31% off the previous price). This Berry’s Tri-Can is a handy, versatile organizational tool that simplifies range trips. The tough injection molded plastic base and lids, rubber seal gaskets, and cam-lock latches keep contents safe. The Tri-Can boasts a strong, handy carry handle. The Tri-Can is made up of three translucent-lid containers with three internal compartments. If you need even more capacity, MTM offers a 5-can Ammo Crate system for $35.66.

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October 23rd, 2021

Saturday at the Movies: Affordable Rifle Reviews

affordable optics rifle review savage Axis ii mdt guns america
Image courtesy Guns America Digest Savage Axis II Review.

Many of our regular readers are serious competitors who own top-end benchrest, F-Class, Palma, and/or Service Rifles. Such full-custom match rifles can easily exceed $5500 with optic. These premium rifles are a source of pride and competitive success. But many shooters also want something more affordable for fun rimfire matches, plinking, or varmint work. And that’s the focus of this story — good quality rifles that won’t bust your budget.

affordable optics rifle review savage Axis ii mdt guns americaVideo Reviews of Affordable Rifles
We recently found an interesting YouTube Channel that specializes in affordable rifles and scopes. This channel, appropriately named Affordable Optics and Rifle Reviews (AOFF), has 170+ helpful videos online, many with over 100,000 views. The testers are based in Canada, so they offer a perspective that’s a bit different than that of most American gun vloggers.

For todays’ Saturday at the Movies feature, we feature five of our favorite rifle reviews from the AOFF site. These videos are good starting points if you have been considering any of these rifles. Most are multi-purpose rifles that could be used in a tactical match or on a hunt.

1. Savage 110 Precision vs. Ruger Precision Rifle Comparison

These two rifles are direct competitors in the $1300-$1400 market range. The Savage combines the proven model 110 action with a modern Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) chassis. The latest Gen 3 Ruger Precision Rifle comes with a new, free-float M-LOK handguard that provides greater front scope clearance. The Ruger Precision MSR buttstock attaches to an AR-style buffer tube on a left-folding hinge, and the stock adjusts for length of pull and comb height. We have shot both rifles. We like the balance and accuracy of the Savage, but prefer the adjustable butt system on the Ruger.

2. Bergara B-14 vs. Tikka UPR Rifle Comparison

In this interesting comparison video, AOFF tests the Bergara B-14 HMR and the NEW Tikka UPR, both of which could be called cross-over rifles. You can hunt with them or shoot a tactical match. AOFF notes: “Both are GREAT rifles. In our previous reviews on these rifles, both showed great accuracy and performance out to long range (we brought them to 750m).” The Bergara B-14 runs about $1000 USD while the Tikka currently sells for about $1400.

3. Savage Axis II Precision Rifle in MDT Chassis

This video showcases the Savage Axis II Precision, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Priced at $899.99, this rifle offers good performance for the price. It’s a good starter rig if you want to try a PRS/NRL competition, but it can also serve well as a hunting rifle. With adjustable comb and adjustable LOP, the MDT chassis offers good ergonomics. AOFF writes: “A great option for those who are looking to get into long range shooting, but aren’t looking into remortgaging there home to do so.” AOFF says the Savage Axis II is one of the best affordable, chassis rifles on the market because it combines an accurate barreled action with a nice MDT chassis. For more info, read this very thorough Savage Axis II review in Guns America Digest.

4. MDT XRS Modular Chassis System for Tikka T3x

AOFF tested the MDT Chassis with Tikka T3x Varmint in .223 Rem and .308 Win. AOFF states that this MDT Chassis offers good value: “This is not a ‘cheap’ rifle stock, although it IS one most can afford.” The XRS Chassis is designed for shooters who want the ergonomics of a traditional-shaped rifle stock with the benefits of a modern precision rifle chassis system. The MDT XRS Chassis is constructed from a full-length CNC machined core of 6061 aircraft grade aluminum with external textured polymer panels. It is available configured for a variety of short actions including Rem 700, Tikka T1x/T3x, Savage, CZ 457, Howa 1500, and Ruger American.

5. Winchester Wildcat .22 LR Rifle

The Winchester 22 has earned very positive reviews from owners, and it is a true bargain. AOFF reports: “This Winchester rifle proved to be a fun little rifle to shoot and plink with. As light as it is, with minimal recoil makes it a pleasure to shoot. This rifle retails for $230 USD making it not only fun but affordable. Mind you it isn’t perfect. The short stock with the short grip are two … things we found that should be improved on the Winchester Wildcat 22.”

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October 23rd, 2021

FREE Zeiss Hunting App — Ballistics, Weather, and GPS Tagging

Zeiss ios apple android hunting App mobile

iPhone/iPad Hunting App (iOS) | Android Hunting App (Google)

KEY FEATURES: Ballistics Solver, GPS Tagging, Weather Forecast, Field Notes with Photos

Hunters, here’s a great FREE mobile APP for both Apple and Android systems. The ZEISS Hunting App offers many practical functions: full-featured ballistics calculator, field notes with photo archive, compass function, GPS tagging for documentation of hunting experiences, and a detailed weather forecast service. The Hunting App is offered as a FREE download for Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad) mobile devices.

Three Minute Video Explains Zeiss Hunting App Features:

The Zeiss Hunting App integrates multiple useful features — ballistics solver, compass, GPS tagging, hunt history. The “Field Notes” function can record a wide variety of info — you can save photos, record your shots and hits, log animal sightings during the hunt, and even plot game locations on a map. Zeiss explains: “This allows users to optimally record events, the game population in the hunting territory, and their own hunting experiences.” Shots can be tagged via GPS through the shooter’s and the target’s position, and then displayed on a map. The Field Notes hunt diary shows all entries in chronological order.

Zeiss ios apple android hunting App mobile

Full-Featured Ballistics Solver
The integrated ballistic calculator allows hunters to easily customize the settings to suit their favorite cartridges. You can enter your own data, or choose bullet/cartridge info from a database containing over 7000 ammunition types from a variety of manufacturers. The ballistics solver can be programmed for for current weather conditions (temp/humidity), and the angle (inclination) of the shot.

Zeiss ios apple android hunting App mobile

Weather Functions
The weather tool offers a Five-Day Forecast, and you can choose multiple locations. In addition to the current location, users can also display the weather for their hunting areas of choice. The weather forecast includes temperature, precipitation, wind direction, wind speed, humidity, and air pressure. (Note: For precise ballistics solutions, you must input the ACTUAL conditions at your shooting location).

This video explains how to define a hunting zone and set GPS location tags on the map:

Hunt Log and Photos
The Field Notes function can do many things. You can log all your shots and hits, and you can plot game sightings during the hunt. Events can be augmented with photos and GPS data. With the Field Notes mapping function, you can even locate game populations in the hunting territory. A compass and automatic night mode round off the list of smart features.

Zeiss ios apple android hunting App mobile

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October 22nd, 2021

Can’t Use Lead-Core Hunting Bullets? Try Nosler E-Tips

Nosler eTip lead free unleaded no-lead hunting bullet copper solid Barnes TSX

In some areas of the country (California in particular), hunters are now forbidden to use bullets that contain lead. If you need a lead-free projectile for your deer rifle, consider Nosler’s E-Tip projectile. This has plenty of penetrating power and retained energy while complying with laws requiring “unleaded” ammunition. An “expansion chamber” behind the green polymer tip helps ensure reliable expansion with 95% weight retention. The video below shows a .30 caliber, 180gr lead-free ‎E-Tip‬ impressively power through TWO 12-inch blocks of Ballistics Gel at 100 yards. This was fired from a .308 Winchester.

Watch 180gr eTip Penetration and Expansion in Ballistic Gelatin:

Nosler eTip lead free unleaded no-lead hunting bullet copper solid Barnes TSX

Nosler claims the E-Tip (“Expansion Tip”) bullet has advantages over other solid copper hunting bullets: “Unlike the competitor’s one-piece designs, Nosler E-Tip bullets will not blow the petals off at extreme velocities nor will the low end expansion ever be questioned, as the minimum impact velocity is set at 1800 fps for standard calibers.” One hunter, posting on Facebook, gave the E-Tip high marks: “I have had the opportunity to take a pig with a 130 gr E-Tip from my .270 and they work flawlessly. My son took two pigs with his .300 Win Mag and 165gr E-Tips and they worked flawlessly as well.”

This video illustrates the design and construction of the Nosler eTip Bullet:

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October 19th, 2021

How Altitude Affects Bullet Ballistics (Drag and Drop)

altitude ballistics zeiss LRP S5 318-50 FFP scope
Photo shows the new ZEISS LRP S5 318-50 first focal plane (FFP) scope.

“A bullet launched at a higher altitude is able to fly slightly farther (in the thinner air) for every increment of downward movement. Effectively, the bullet behaves as if it has a higher ballistic coefficient.”

It’s hunting season, and a good friend is heading to the high country of Colorado next week to pursue elk. He recently zeroed his rifle in California, at a range just a few hundred feet Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL). He wondered if the higher altitude in Colorado could alter his ballistics. The answer is a definite yes. However the good news is that free ballistics calculators can help you plot reliable drop charts for various shooting locations, high or low.

Suunto AltimeterThe question has been posed: “What effect does altitude have on the flight of a bullet?” The simplistic answer is that, at higher altitudes, the air is thinner (lower density), so there is less drag on the bullet. This means that the amount of bullet drop is less at any given flight distance from the muzzle. Since the force of gravity is essentially constant on the earth’s surface (for practical purposes), the bullet’s downward acceleration doesn’t change, but a bullet launched at a higher altitude is able to fly slightly farther (in the thinner air) for every increment of downward movement. Effectively, at higher altitudes, the bullet behaves as if it has a higher ballistic coefficient.

Forum member Milanuk explains that the key factor is not altitude, but rather air pressure. Milanuk writes:

“In basic terms, as your altitude increases, the density of the air the bullet must travel through decreases, thereby reducing the drag on the bullet. Generally, the higher the altitude, the less the bullet will drop. For example, I shoot at a couple ranges here in the Pacific Northwest. Both are at 1000′ AMSL (Above Mean Sea Level) or less. I’ll need about 29-30 MOA to get from 100 yards to 1000 yards with a Berger 155gr VLD at 2960 fps. By contrast, in Raton, NM, located at 6600′ AMSL, I’ll only need about 24-25 MOA to do the same. That’s a significant difference.

Note that it is the barometric pressure that really matters, not simply the nominal altitude. The barometric pressure will indicate the reduced pressure from a higher altitude, but it will also show you the pressure changes as a front moves in, etc. which can play havoc w/ your calculated come-ups. Most altimeters are simply barometers that read in feet instead of inches of mercury.”

As Milanuk states, it is NOT altitude per se, but the LOCAL barometric pressure (sometimes called “station pressure”) that is key. The two atmospheric conditions that most effect bullet flight are air temperature, and barometric pressure. Normally, humidity has a negligible effect. It’s important to remember that the barometric pressure reported on the radio (or internet) may be stated as a sea level equivalency. So in Denver (at 6,000 feet AMSL), if the local pressure is 24″, the radio will report the barometric pressure to be 30″. If you do high altitude shooting at long range, bring along a Kestrel, or remember to mentally correct the radio station’s pressure, by 1″ per 1,000 feet.

Trajectory of Bullet fired at Sea Level

Trajectory of Bullet fired at 20,000 feet

You can do your own experimental calculations using JBM Online Ballistics (free to use). Here is an extreme example, with two printouts (generated with Point Blank software), one showing bullet trajectory at sea level (0′ altitude) and one at 20,000 feet. For demonstration sake, we assigned a low 0.2 BC to the bullet, with a velocity of 3000 fps.

To learn more about all aspects of Exterior Ballistics, Hornady has a useful discussion of External Ballistics including the effects of altitude and temperature. To dig deeper, Sierra Bullets has a comprehensive Exterior Ballistics Resource Page with multiple sections from the Sierra Manual (4th and 5th Editions), including:

Section 3.0: Exterior Ballistic Effects on Bullet Flight
Section 3.1: Effects of Altitude and Atmospheric Conditions
Section 3.2: Effects of Wind
Section 3.3: Effects of Shooting Uphill or Downhill

Example from Section 3.0: “When a bullet flies through the air, two types of forces act on the bullet to determine its path (trajectory) through the air. The first is gravitational force; the other is aerodynamics. Several kinds of aerodynamic forces act on a bullet: drag, lift, side forces, Magnus force, spin damping force, pitch damping force, and Magnus cross force. The most important of these aerodynamic forces is drag. All the others are very small in comparison when the bullet is spin-stabilized.”

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October 16th, 2021

Father and Son Hunting Adventures — Great 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

Mossberg Patriot Youth Super Bantam

Here’s a good choice for a young man’s first hunting rifle. The Mossberg Patriot Youth Super Bantam features adjustable length of pull spacers. This provides a shorter stock that can later be extended. This allow the rifle to be grow with young shooters. This special Youth Model has a shorter stock with 12.5″ length of pull (LOP). Weighing under 5.7 pounds with a light-contour 20″ barrel, this rifle is light enough for a young man to carry easily. The Mossberg Patriot youth is offered in a wide variety of chamberings including .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08, .350 Legend, and .308 Win. Among those offerings we think the .243 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor might offer the least recoil, with still plenty of terminal energy for deer hunting. This rifle retails for $519.00 including scope.

Mossberg Patriot Youth Super Bantam

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 Allen pack carries both your rifle and your gear. The electronic muffs provide hearing protection while still allowing conversations. The SIG Kilo LRF provides vital ranging data. And the walkie-talkies let you communicate with your base camp even miles away.

Remington Twin Mesa Day Pack

This comfortable Allen Hunting 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 $97.49 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″.

sig sauer kilo 2200 bdx laser rangefinder

Hunters need to know distance with precision. A compact Laser Rangefinder (LRF) will help you spot and range your prey. The excellent SIG Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX has super-fast ranging, and can transmit ballistics data to a BDX-enabled scope.

Motorola 2-way 22 Chanel Radios

Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola T100 Two-Way Radio is an Amazon Favorite in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios.

As an Amazon affiliate, this site can earn revenues through sales commissions.

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October 10th, 2021

WhereToHunt.org Offers Vital INFO for Hunters

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF
Click Map to launch interactive webpage with info for all 50 states.

Going hunting soon? Need to find out about hunting licenses, deer tags, local regulations, and the best hunting areas? Then visit WheretoHunt.org. This website has an interactive map of the country. Simply click on a state to find the info you need. For all 50 states, the NSSF provides information about hunting licenses and permits, where to hunt, hunter education classes, laws and regulations and more. For each state you’ll also find a link for required applications and license forms. Have a safe and productive hunt this year.

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF
Photo courtesy National Hunting and Fishing Day.

On the WheretoHunt.org website, click a particular state on MAP, and resource links will load at right:

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF

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October 8th, 2021

The Three Amigos Are Now Two — Remembering Kelly McMillan

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win
The Three Amigos in New Mexico (L to R): Kelly McMillan, Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers.

Three years ago nearly to the day, Kelly McMillan, Derek Rogers, and Paul Phillips enjoyed the fellowship and satisfaction of a successful New Mexico Antelope hunt. But sadly, Kelly passed away on June 1, 2021 from rapid, unexpected medical issues. Yesterday, October 7th, 2021, Paul Phillips posted: “Three years ago today. This hunt with Kelly McMillan and Derek Rodgers was a great memory. I miss Kelly.” Yes Paul, scores of us who counted Kelly as a friend and colleague miss him, and think of him often.

In memoriam Kelly McMillan

This isn’t your typical hunting story, because these weren’t your typical hunters. Derek Rodgers is the reigning F-TR World Champion, and past King of 2 Miles. Paul Phillips is the 2019 King of 2 Miles and a member of the Silver Medal-winning F-TR Team McMillan at the 2018 Nationals. The third hunter, Kelly McMillan, needs no introduction. The past owner of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Kelly was a leading figure in the gun industry for decades. He also supported many top rifle shooting teams. This story helps us remember Kelly and all he did for the shooting sports.

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

In October 2018, these three friends got together for a very successful hunt in New Mexico, Derek’s home turf. All three bagged an impressive Antelope, with Paul Phillips dropping the biggest buck of all. Derek made the longest shot, hitting his buck at an impressive 510 yards, verified by laser rangefinder.

Paul Phillips posted: “Our New Mexico Antelope hunt with Kelly McMillan and Derek Rodgers was a success. To hunt with these two icons was definitely on my bucket list. I shot my buck at 389 yards in an 18-mph wind through a barbed wire fence.” It was a big trophy buck, measuring 84 3/8 inches.

Derek nailed his Antelope at 510 yards with a .308 Win fitted with a suppressor. As dusk approached, despite blustery wind and rain, Kelly dropped the third Antelope with a great 230-yard shot from a broken tree crotch. Paul noted: “All three bucks had their own challenges and funny story. All three hunts required team work with stalking, communication.” The three hunting buddies all had top-quality rifles built with McMillan stocks of course.

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

For long-range hunting you need to have your drops absolutely “spot-on”. Paul posted: “When you do a 30-45 minute stalk… you need to have all your ballistics perfect or they get away. We were glad that we had a practice day before the hunt to confirm our zeros and verify our ballistics.”

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

Kelly noted: “Paul Phillips scored this nice 80″+ buck in New Mexico. It was Paul’s first antelope.” The .338 LM rifle featured a Stiller TAC338 action, Bartlein 20″ barrel, McMillan A5 Stock, and Nightforce ATACR scope. In the Facebook video, Paul talks about making the shot, directly into the wind.

Both of Kelly’s Amigos — his hunting partners — were profoundly saddened by his passing. They miss him, as do all of us who knew Kelly.

Derek Rodgers wrote of his friend and hunting partner: “It is difficult to tell you how deeply saddened I feel about the loss of Kelly. What started as a shooting relationship quickly became a close friendship so many years ago. It was a privilege to know Kelly on a personal level and I will never forget his generous, caring nature and the never-ending kindness he had for others. He will forever be missed.”

Paul Phillips posted: “I have no words to express how saddened I am … we lost an icon in the shooting industry. Kelly McMillan was not only a great friend but the most generous and giving man I knew in the industry. There is not enough space to write about everything he did for competitive shooters, military snipers, hunters, and shooting enthusiasts. You were one-of-a-kind Kelly and I will forever remember your friendship and how big an advocate you were for shooting sports. R.I.P. my friend.”

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October 7th, 2021

SIG Kilo 2200 BDX Laser Rangefinder — under $350 for Hunters

Sig Kilo 2000 LRF laser rangefinder one mile

Hunting season is here. Time to organize your gear before heading to deer country. If you don’t have a quality, compact Laser Rangefinder, here’s a great deal. The 7x25mm SIG Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX Rangefinder is now on sale for under $350.00. This is an accurate LRF that ranges deer-sized targets at long distances quickly. The scan mode is fast and very effective. The unit is compact and light — a bonus for hunters.

This SIG LRF sold for over $500.00 when it was introduced. Now you can save 30%, with the Kilo 2200 BDX selling for just $346.99 at Amazon, with Free Shipping. Given its performance, that’s a steal. (With very similar performance, the SIG Kilo 2200 BDX is less than half the price of SIG’s Kilo 2400 BDX, $799.99 on Amazon.) We have tested a variety of LRFs from Bushnell, Leica, Leupold, Sig, Swarovski, and Zeiss. This SIG Kilo 2200 BDX will run with anything in the sub-$500 price range. If you are looking for a small LRF that can fit in a shirt pocket, this Kilo 2200 BDX is a good choice. Glass is good, controls are good, ranging capability is good. Light-Wave DSP Technology enables the Kilo 2200 BDX to range extremely fast. Scan mode refresh rate is an ultra-fast 4 times per second. The unit’s “smart” OLED Lumatic Display automatically runs bright in full sunlight, while dimming down to low levels at dusk and dawn.

And the BDX (Ballistic Data Xchange) capability is a big bonus if you have a compatible SIG Sauer BDX riflescope. This rangefinder can communicate with BDX scopes or phone Apps, providing ballistics solutions. Using Bluetooth, the built-in BDX system sends an illuminated holdover dot to any Bluetooth-enabled SIG Sauer BDX scope. Even with a conventional scope, the SIG Kilo 2200 BDX rangefinder will communicate with a free ballistics App on your mobile device.

Sig Kilo 2000 LRF laser rangefinder one mile

SIG Kilo 2200 BDX Verified Buyer Reviews

Read the reviews on Amazon. 87% of verified buyers gave this SIG LRF Five Stars:

Five Stars: “I spent a lot of time agonizing over which rangefinder to purchase, and I’m glad I went with this one. I’ve easily ranged objects out to 1300 yards. Pairing it with the Sig Sauer BDX App and imputing some ballistic and wind data shows me MOA adjustments both in the App and directly in the rangefinder while I’m ranging.” (Review by A. Kirzner, June 2020)

Five Stars: “Amazingly fast and accurate readings. The fact that they pair with Bluetooth to the ballistics App on my phone makes long range shooting much easier.” (Review by Eric A., May 2019)

Five Stars: “Quick to acquire target, easy to use, red reticle works great in low light conditions.” (Review by Brian C., October 2019)

And here is a review of the previous model, the SIG Kilo 2000: “It’s small — palm-sized. If you’re a backcountry shooter and every ounce counts, you can wear this unit around your neck all day long. In my experience and opinion, the Sig Kilo 2000 is an amazing laser rangefinder at a very reasonable price. When it comes to the raw function of a laser rangefinder, to give accurate, repeatable distance measurements within your target range, the Sig Kilo 2000 blows away anything even remotely close to it in its price range.” (Review by Verified Customer, July 2016)

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October 3rd, 2021

Sunday GunDay: 6-284 for 600-yard Steel Silhouette Game

Editor’s Note: This story was first published many seasons ago. In the interceding years, equipment has evolved — actions, optics, front rests and so on. But this rifle remains very competitive in the 600-yard silhouette game, and it remains a wicked weapon for long-range varminting.

The 6-284 may well be the “ultimate” 6mm cartridge, if speed AND accuracy are considered. While it burns a lot more powder than a 6mmBR or 6 Dasher, it also delivers a lot more velocity. Our friend John Southwick, owner of this week’s featured 6-284, can push 107gr SMKs past 3400 fps — velocities no 6BR, 6BRA, or 6 Dasher can touch. He normally dials that back to 3200 fps or so, but that’s still well beyond the limit of a 6 Dasher even a 6mm Creedmoor. John’s gun is more than a speed demon of course — it’s a hyper-accurate match rifle that has claimed many Varmint Silhouette wins. At his club, when John and the Black Borden come out to play, everyone else is usually competing for second place.

Building the Borden Black Beauty
John tells us: “I chose the 6-284 mainly because it appeared in the winning equipment lists of 1K BR matches, and it was becoming very popular with long-range varminters. Skip Talbot had also used a 6-284 to set an IBS 1000-yard record (subsequently lowered in the last decade). Norma and Lapua offered quality 6.5-284 brass, so case-forming would be easy. I wanted a fairly light-recoiling rifle, and after much research I came to the conclusion that a high-BC 6mm bullet driven at 3200+ fps would meet my needs.

I was looking for a very high performance long-range target/bench rifle, primarily to use in 600-yard matches at my local club (Ojai Valley Gun Club), and possibly 1000-yard bench matches, plus occasional varmint hunting. I wanted to have a rifle that was built by a prominent gunsmith. I chose to work with Jim Borden of Borden Rifles for several reasons: his rifles had set world records, his reputation was excellent, and his rifles often showed up in the winning equipment lists of IBS and NBRSA sanctioned shoots. Also I had decided that I wanted a Nesika-actioned gun. I was impressed that Jim had designed one of the Nesika’s key features – Borden Bumps. Likewise, I liked the Bald Eagle front rest, and found out that Jim contributed to its design as well. This gave me confidence that Jim understood every element that goes into precision rifle performance.

Loading for Accuracy
My match load consists of Norma 6.5-284 brass, 51.0 grains of Alliant Reloder 22, Fed 210m primers, and Sierra moly-coated 107gr MKs, seated about .010″ into the lands. This runs about 3250 fps from the 28″ barrel. Case necks are turned to .0133″ wall thickness for a .270″ loaded neck diameter. I use a .268 or .269 bushing, and bump the shoulders back each time. I set the “bump” so that, with firing pin removed, I can just feel the case in the chamber when closing the bolt. My loaded rounds typically show no more than .0015″ runout on a NECO concentricity gauge. I credit the low run-out in large part to the custom inline seating die and shoulder-bump neck-bushing die Jim made for me.

How the 6-284 Shoots
The rifle has fulfilled all my expectations. It is a superbly precise and accurate rifle, as long as I do my part in steering the gun and feeding it consistent, quality ammo. I haven’t done a lot of 100-yard group shooting, just enough to test loads. Typically the rifle easily puts five shots into half-MOA or less at 600 yards. I’ve logged several 3-shot groups between 1.06″ and 2.2″ at 600 yards. I’ve been told that kind of accuracy would be competitive in a 600-yard BR match. But most importantly, I have confidence the gun will hit where I aim. Our Ojai club uses half-size silhouette targets. This gun’s ability to pick off the relatively small steel targets, even in some of the worst conditions imaginable, is nothing short of amazing. At times it seems I’m launching 107gr silhouette-seeking guided missiles.”

Borden 6mm-284 SPEC SHEET

Borden Long-Range Rifle, 16.5 lbs

Nesika ‘K’ Action, 1.70″ diam., Right Bolt, Left Port.
Hart 28″, 1:9″ twist, .920″ at muzzle, cryo’d with .272″ neck diam. and 1.5° throat.
McMillan MBR stock, Borden texture finished, pillar-bedded, with action also glued in.

Nightforce 12-42x NXS,
NP-R2 reticle, 20 MOA ramped scope base, Leupold Mark IV rings.

A Special Brand of Silhouette Shooting

John’s rifle is a purpose-built gun, optimized for one task — hitting little half-size silhouettes at very long distances, at a shooting venue that demands serious wind wizardry. At Ojai, even though matches commence early in the morning, it’s not unusual to have a 10 mph wind blowing left to right at the firing line, no wind at the mid-course flag, and a swirling variable wind at the targets. To make matters worse, the little critters sit on top a ramped berm. When the wind switches to 6 o’clock, it can rise right in front of the target, sending shots high. Despite the often-wicked conditions, John and his Black Borden have excelled at the varmint matches — he’s the “smart-money” bet to win on any given weekend.

John reports: “The rifle has really proven itself at the 600-yard silhouette match at my local club. We shoot ten targets per match, usually three “matches” or relays per day. Targets are half-size NRA Hunter Pistol metallic silhouettes: 1 Ram, 2 Turkeys, 3 Pigs, and 4 Chickens (note, these are larger than the mini-silhouettes in the above photo). The Ram counts one point, Turkey two points, Pig three points and the Chicken counts four points. The Chickens have a “hit zone” roughly .6 MOA at 600 yards–about 3.6″. Trust me, that can be challenging, particularly in shifting winds. Unlike conventional silhouette matches, we shoot F-class fashion from the ground, using bipods or pedestal rests. That’s easier than shooting off your hind legs of course, but our targets are much smaller than standard high-power silhouettes.”

The Black Borden was the rifle to beat at Ojai for many years. John held the record for the most “cleans” (no misses) for the event, and he was the annual Champion for many years, including five years in a row. One year he won the championship in the very last match. John noted: “Thankfully, the gun was humming and I made the right wind calls. I picked up enough points in the final shoot to win the series for the year.” Yes, John’s flat-shooting Borden 6-284 had done its job once again.

Long-Range Silhouette Match Strategy and Techniques
In competition, John says watching the conditions, and minimizing mental mistakes is key: “I keep things pretty basic. Our varmint silhouette matches allow 20 minutes for sighters and 10 shots on target (one per animal). We usually get in three “matches” or relays per event. I try to wait for a favorable condition, then take a few sighters and adjust the scope as needed. If the condition holds steady, I’ll try to run my targets before the wind changes.

At the Ojai range, it is vital to watch the wind flags and heed your spotters’ calls. I’ve seen the wind go from 7mph right to 10mph left from one target to the next. That’s nearly a foot and a half of horizontal change for my gun. If there is a major change, I will try to wait it out. If the shift is small, I may hold off a bit. Scope corrections are a last resort; while you’re dialing, the wind may switch again.”

Technical Report from Jim Borden, Gunsmith

Borden 6-284 rifleWe set up John’s 6-284 as we would for 1000-yard Light Gun competition. We’ve also built some of these rifles in 6MM BR for use in 600-yard competition. For John, we used a Borden/Nesika Model K 1.70″ diameter action as the beginning basis of the rifle. The timing and cocking-piece system for this rifle has the Borden improvements to improve firing pin energy and lock time. The action was pillar-bedded and glued into a McMillan Tooley MBR pattern stock. The stock blank was gel-coated and then epoxy-finished with a texture.

About the Muzzle Brake — We normally blend the brakes into the barrel to make the transition smooth and unseen. John preferred to have the brake larger than the barrel so that it could also be used on future barrels.

9-Twist Barrel — The barrel is a 1:9″-twist Hart HV pattern 28 7/8 inches long. Our 6×284 reamer has a .272″ neck diameter. It is throated with a tight cylindrical section followed by the 1 ½ degree throat. Chambering of the barrel was done utilizing our proven Benchrest chambering techniques. The method of chambering ensures that the body, neck and throat of the chamber align concentrically with the bore and grooves of the barrel. [Editor: With a 6BR or 6 Dasher, we’d definitely recommend an 8-twist barrel to shoot 105-107 grain match bullets. However, with the extra velocity of the 6-284, the 9-twist Hart worked great for John.]

NOTE: Borden Rifles now produces its own excellent Borden Custom Actions, which have won National Championships and set World Records. Nesika actions are now sold by Nesika Firearms.

Ojai Valley Gun Club

Situated in the Coastal Mountains behind Ventura, California, the Ojai Valley Gun Club is a
beautiful place to shoot. And the Hwy 33 route up to the range offers stunning views.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
September 30th, 2021

How to Succeed When Hunting — Tips & Tactics from Kristy Titus

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

As part of NRA Women TV, hunting guide Kristy Titus hosts a series of videos that explain important strategies and shooting skills for hunters. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show, is a certified instructor who has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In these videos, Kristy discusses demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt. She also explains preparation for a hunt, including fitness training.

Click each link below to watch other Kristy Titus Hunting Videos.

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

Kristy Titus preparing for hunt positional shooting hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

Kristy Titus follow up shots hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting ethical shots position

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

“When it comes to bolt-action rifle fit, there is no ‘one size fits all’,” says Titus. “When picking out your rifle [consider options] after the purchase to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.”

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

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September 29th, 2021

Get Ready for Hunting Season with Realistic Game Targets

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Hunting season has started in many parts of the country… or will very soon. Before you head out to the hunting fields, you may want to practice your shooting on specialty paper targets designed expressly for hunters. Here is a selection of game targets which can help you achieve success this hunting season.

Realistic Game Targets with Marked Vital Zones

Serious hunters may prefer to practice with photo-realistic game targets with animal profiles that look like the real thing. Champion offers realistic “X-Ray” game animal targetss. These X-Ray targets display the bone structure and heart/lung position of game animals. These are popular with hunters, as are Champion’s Critter Targets Set with 5 different realistic animals in a 10-pack. CLICK HERE to view X-Ray Animal Targets and Critter Targets.

Animal deer target Birchwood Casey realistic deer buck
Unfortunately this large ELK X-Ray target has been discontinued, but you may still find it in some stores. CLICK HERE to view large version.

Animal deer elk target Birchwood Casey realistic deer buck

Birchwood Casey offers a Realistic Deer Target that shows the vital Hit Zone. The target comes with four (4) replaceable Shoot-N-See overlays. A target twin-pack with the overlays is $7.60 at Amazon.com.

Animal deer target Birchwood Casey realistic deer buck

FREE Printable Game Targets from the NRA

To help you prepare for your fall hunts, NRABlog.com has created a set of color practice hunting targets. You can hone your skills on a trio of bucks, three wild hogs, or three turkeys. Each target features three red bullseyes, centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Click on each image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

Right-Click Each Image to Download Printable PDF File:

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
September 28th, 2021

Hodgdon Closes GOEX Black Powder Production Plant in Louisiana

Hodgdon Powder Goex black powder camp minden closure

Hodgdon Powder Company, on 9/27/2021, announced that it would be shutting down the GOEX Black Powder production center at Camp Minden in Louisiana. This was the last remaining black powder factory in the United States. This could mean “hard times ahead for traditional muzzle-loading and BPCR shooting” (source: NAMLhunt.com). Here is the official announcement on the Hodgdon website:

“Effective immediately, Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc. has made the decision to cease manufacturing operations at the company’s Camp Minden, Louisiana site while evaluating strategic options for the black powder business.

The business will wind down operations while an evaluation process on the future of the black powder business takes place. Strategic options for the GOEX and Olde Eynsford brands of black powder, along with the manufacturing capabilities, will include a potential sale of the business. All affected employees will be retained through December 31, 2021 to assist in an orderly closing of the site and receive severance commensurate with their years of service to the company.

The Hodgdon Powder Co., Inc has been honored to have been a part of the GOEX Powder legacy and sustains a fond appreciation for sporting customers who have enjoyed shooting GOEX powders.”

Hodgdon Powder Goex black powder camp minden closure

Ironically, the GOEX logo states “The Tradition Continues”.
With this announcement, GOEX might be gone for good.

Here is a related report by the NRA’s American Rifleman:

The closure eliminates the only domestic source of blackpowder in the United States. According to a company press release, Hodgdon will evaluate “strategic options for the black powder business”, including a potential sale of the company.

GOEX Powder has a long, storied history that starts in 1802 with the building of a blackpowder plant on the Brandywine River in Delaware by E.I. Du Pont de Nemours. Production expanded with the building of the Belin plant in Moosic, Penn., in 1912, and the facility supplied military blackpowder during both world wars, as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars. In the 1970s, the Belin plant was incorporated into the GOEX family, and production moved to Minden, LA, in 1997. [In 1969] GOEX was purchased by Hodgdon Powder Company [which] spent years updating equipment at the Minden facility, enhancing employee safety and blackpowder quality.

Despite Hodgdon’s efforts, the GOEX facility at Camp Minden has a history of manufacturing incidents stretching back to 1998, including a June 2011 incident where 1,000 pounds of blackpowder exploded. The latest incident at GOEX occurred on June 18, 2021, when an explosion required the evacuation of 15 employees inside the facility. Nobody was injured, but the plant observed a 24- to 48-hour waiting period to ensure that nothing else at the facility ignited.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
September 27th, 2021

Weatherby Introduces Backcountry 2.0 Ultralight Hunting Rifles

Weatherby ultralight carbon backcountry 2.0 rifle titanium action
Light is Right — Weatherby’s Backcountry 2.0 rifles weigh as little as 4.7 pounds (before optics).

Here is good news for backcountry hunters. Weatherby’s new Backcountry 2.0 carbon-stocked hunting rifles weigh well under 6 pounds before optics. There is even one titanium action model series that weighs just 4.7 pounds. The 2.0 series now offers both standard steel receivers or even lighter titanium receivers. And Backcountry 2.0 Carbon models are equipped with a new carbon fiber stock that is the lightest in the industry — weight a mere 20 ounces for standard actions. For further weight savings, some models feature a tensioned carbon fiber-wrapped barrel. But all that high-tech doesn’t come cheap — MSRP for the titanium action carbon barrel model is $3749.00!

Ultralight Carbon Stock — Weatherby’s new Blacktooth stock features a Carbon Link™ bedding system which engages the recoil lug and distributes recoil throughout the stock without the weight of a traditional aluminum bedding block. This makes the overall stock lighter and stiffer.

Weatherby ultralight carbon backcountry 2.0 rifle titanium actionREAD Weatherby Backcountry 2.0 Field Test by Peterson’s Hunting

Along with the new ultra-light elements, these Weatherbys have premium Mark V features: 54-degree bolt lift for fast cycling, fluted bolts, TriggerTech triggers, and Cerakote finish on metal parts. All the Backcountry 2.0 series rifles have a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee.

Weights for Backcountry 2.0 Models range with chamberings:

Backcountry 2.0 – 5.3 lbs (.308 Win) to 6.2 lbs (.257 WBY MAG) (MSRP $2499.00)
Backcountry 2.0 Ti – 4.7 lbs (.308 Win) to 5.6 lbs (.257 WBY MAG) (MSRP $3349.00)
Backcountry 2.0 Carbon – 5.8 lbs (6.5 Creedmoor) to 6.6 lbs (.257 WBY MAG) (MSRP $2999.00)
Backcountry 2.0 Ti Carbon – 5.3 lbs (6.5 Creedmoor) to 6.6 lbs (.257 WBY MAG) (MSRP $3749.00)

Weight Saving Secrets — How Weatherby Achieved Such Light Weights
GunsAmerica Digest reports: “A huge amount of the weight savings comes thanks to the updated carbon fiber Blacktooth stock by Peak 44. This stock uses what they call their Rock Solid Carbon Link bedding system which eliminates the need for a metallic bedding block. The Blacktooth stock weighs less than 20 ounces. The Backcountry 2.0 [series adds] both a carbon fiber stock and either fluted #1 MOD-profile or #2 MOD-profile carbon steel barrels or #4 MOD-profile BSF carbon fiber-tensioned barrel to achieve these light weights.” READ GunsAmerica Review.

Weatherbuy ultralight carbon backcountry 2.0 rifle titanium action

To mitigate recoil Weatherby developed its new 3DHEX® recoil pad — the gun industry’s first production 3D-printed pad. The 3DHEX’s three-dimensional honeycombed design extends the duration of the recoil pulse — taking away the sharp kick. Weatherby explains: “With the same amount of recoil spread out over a much greater time period, felt recoil is greatly reduced[.]” Backcountry 2.0 rifle recoil is also reduced by factory-fitted Accubrakes, contoured to match barrel profile.

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September 25th, 2021

Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day

2021 National Hunting Fishing Day license where to hunt

Today, September 25, 2021, is National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD). We’re proud to recognize how important hunting is for millions of Americans — as a source of food for families and as an important connection with nature and the outdoors. The NFHD website has helpful resources for hunters, and in this article we provide links for Where to Hunt, How to get Hunting Licenses, and Hunter Education.

This month we hope some of our readers can take new shooters afield and introduce them to hunting. Many hunters receive their first introduction to hunting from family or friends as a tradition passed down from generation to generation. There are over 9.2 million hunters in the United States. Join the millions of dedicated hunters to enjoy a fulfilling experience in the outdoors.

2021 National Hunting Fishing Day license where to hunt

National Hunting and Fishing Day

hunter education national hunting fishing day

To have a successful hunt you must first get to areas where game thrives. Finding the right places to hunt is essential. The NSSF offers a nationwide Where-to-Hunt database of hunting areas. You can click on a particular state, then specify the specicies you wish to hunt. This is a very useful resource.

hunter education national hunting fishing day

In most states, when hunting game animals, you’ll need a hunting license and/or zone permit. The Federal Fish & Wildlife Service has state-by-state listing for hunting licenses on FWS.gov. Click the box below to learn how to get hunting licenses in your region.

hunter education national hunting licenses fishing day

For all hunters, whether they have mentors to guide them or not, the most important first step into the woods begins with a state-certified hunter education course. Click the box below to see hunting education opportunities around the nation.

hunter education national hunting fishing day

Game Resources — To learn more about different game species, click these NSSF links:

Game Animals Resources | Game Birds Resources


2021 National Hunting Fishing Day license where to hunt

FREE Printable Deer Hunting Target

To help you prepare for a fall hunt, here is a free, printable Deer Practice target. Hone your skills on a trio of bucks with a red bullseye centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Right-click the image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 25th, 2021

Twenty Tips for Hunters to Have a Safe and Successful Hunt

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day. To help the avid hunters among our readers, here are Twenty Tips that can help ensure a safe and successful hunt. These tips have been compiled from our AccurateShooter Hunting Forum, with help from Hunting Editor Colton Reid (who has already been out hunting this month). Some items are preparatory — such as working with maps, sighting in the rifle, and improving physical fitness. We also talk about equipment — having the right gear, from proper boots to a GPS for multi-day hunts.

Of course there are entire volumes written on hunting, but these 20 Tips can benefit all hunters. Follow these suggestions and you should have a safer hunting experience with greater likelihood of success. If you liked these pointers, you’ll find two dozen more helpful hints on the NSSF Website.

hunting fishing day Hunting guide

Preparations Before The Hunt

1. Map Your Hunt and Notify Others — Before your hunt, make a plan and notify friends and family members about WHERE you are going and your intended return date and time. Print out a Google Satellite map and locate landmarks and trailheads. Mark where you plan to park your vehicle and give a copy of this map to friend and/or family members. A hunter may injure himself by falling off a rock, or tumbling in a creek-bed. After that kind of injury the hunter may be confused or unable to walk. If you get stranded in the wilderness, you want trusted persons to know where you are. So, before you leave on a trip, provide a map to a friend or family member. Show them where you will leave your vehicle, and where you expect to be every day of your hunting adventure.

2. Licenses and Permits — Make sure you have a valid hunting licenses and all the necessary tags. Begin this process with ample time before your intended hunt(s). The NSSF adds: “If you are crossing state or national borders, find out about any special considerations you must take care of. Border crossings can mean knowing about firearm transport laws or Chronic Wasting Disease-related regulations.”

3. Work on Your Fitness — On a multi-day hunt you may be trekking many miles. You need to be in good shape. If you are out of shape you may be putting yourself in a precarious situation, particularly if you underestimate the terrain difficulty. As the NSSF says: “Not being able to handle the conditions lessens your chances of success, can turn a great experience into an agonizing one and can endanger your health.”

4. Do Your Homework — Study the area you will be hunting. Talk to other hunters. Look at satellite photos. Get a real sense of the walking and terrain challenges. For a multi-day hunt, MAKE a PLAN. The NSSF states: “Eliminate surprises. Learn as much about where you will be staying, the area you will be hunting, what the weather might be like and what you need to bring[.]”

5. Rifle and Ammo — Make sure your rifle is sighted-in and your ammo is tested. Sight-in your rifle with the ammo you plan to use on your hunt. CLICK HERE for 4-Shot Sight-in Method. After sighting-in from the bench, confirm your zero by shooting from typical hunting positions (kneeling and with forearm supported on a rock or post).

hunting rifle sighting in target

6. Shooting Positions — Practice the shooting positions you will use in the field. Practice sitting, kneeling, and prone positions. You should also practice with shooting sticks, using your day pack as a rest, and with a bipod. Try to have a rock-steady rest before taking your shot.

Hunting Positions

7. Back-Up Irons — If possible, select a rifle with back-up iron sights. While modern scopes are very durable, they can and do fail (glass can crack). If you’ve invested a lot of time and money in your hunt, back-up iron sights can keep you in the game even if your riflescope fails.

8. Communications and GPS — Bring a GPS if you are in a wilderness area far from civilization. It’s a good idea to bring a cell phone, but you may not have coverage if you’re quite a distance from populated areas. A smart-phone also doubles as a digital camera to record your trophies. For navigation and safety, consider getting Garmin inReach Explorer+. This high-tech handheld unit features interactive SOS, connecting you to the GEOS 24/7 search-and-rescue monitoring center. They also allow you to send and receive text messages, no matter where you are, via advanced inReach satellite technology. Yes you can communicate even if you are miles from the nearest cell tower.

9. Select Good Gear — Make sure you have GOOD BOOTS that are comfortable — you’ll spend a lot of time on your feet. You may want a pack with harness for your rifle so you have both hands free. On a multi-day trip, make sure you can carry enough water, and that you will stay warm enough at night. Good practices for backpacking apply to multi-day hunts.

10. Make a Gear Checklist — Create a complete checklist of the gear and supplies you need. That includes arms, ammunition, rangefinder, binoculars, proper clothing (including spare clothes), hunting accessories, sleeping gear (on multi-day hunts), toiletries, medications. Don’t forget a good first aid kit — lots of bad things can happen during any wilderness trip. You can cut a hand, break an ankle or worse.

During The Hunt

11. Have a Plan — know where you plan to go and when. Try to be where you want in the early morning and early evening hours when deer are likely most active.

12. Take Your Time — If you spot a deer and get too excited and don’t take your time you may spook him. Go slow and glass. If possible, wait for the animals to bed down and relax. Then work out the best way to approach your prey. Remember, “You get so few opportunities, don’t screw it up!”

13. Glass More, Walk Less — Let your eyes do the walking — get good binoculars and use them. With their heightened senses of smell and hearing, deer/elk are able to spot you way better than you can spot them. If you are walking around a lot, chances are you are getting spotted by your prey.

14. Riflescopes Are Not Binoculars — Never use a riflescope as a substitute for binoculars. The temptation to do so is real, but when one does this, one is by definition pointing the muzzle of the gun at unknown targets. We like binoculars with built-in rangefinders. When glassing at long range, try supporting your binoculars on your pack.

hunting scopes binoculars Zeiss Colton Reid

15. Be Sure of Your Target before Shooting — Every year during whitetail season, farmers are forced to spray-paint their cattle or risk having them “harvested” by hunters who don’t bother confirming the species in their sights. Hunters with “buck fever” can make mistakes. When in doubt, don’t shoot.

hunting scope deer rifle

16. Know When to Unload — When finished hunting, unload your firearm before returning to camp. You should also unload your gun before attempting to climb a steep bank or travel across slippery ground.

17. Bring Hearing Protection — While pursuing and stalking your prey you’ll want full sensory use of your ears. But when you’re finally ready to take the shot, slip in hearing protection. A shot from a large-caliber hunting rifle can exceed 170 decibels. Unprotected exposure to noise from a SINGLE 170+ dB shot can cause permanent hearing damage. (Source: ASHA.org). If you make a follow-up shot, you double that noise hazard. Therefore a hunter with a non-suppressed rifle should have hearing protection available.

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

You can keep a pair of quick-insert plugs on a cord around your neck. Or, get a lightweight neck band with earbuds, such as Howard Leight Quiet Band QB2HYG, 3M Safety Band, or Sellstrom Band, all with a good 25 dB Noise Reduction Rating. You can keep these lightweight bands around your neck, for quick deployment before you shoot.

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

“Once a hunter is successful, the REAL work begins.” — Colton Reid

18. Harvesting the Animal — When dressing your animal, be careful with the meat. You’ll want very sharp knives. Some hunters prefer knives with replaceable, razor-sharp blades. Don’t rush the task. Make sure you don’t get moisture or dirt on meat. The three spoilers of meat are heat, moisture, and dirt.

19. Pace Yourself When Packing Out — If you DO succeed, and bring down a big buck, will you be able to dress the animal and carry out the meat? Always be prepared to hike out with extra weight. If you are successful, make sure not to waste the meat you worked so hard for. Choose a pack that can help you carry a heavy load. Remember, this is not an insignificant challenge — you may be carrying 60 to 100 extra pounds in addition to your other gear. Again, take your time. Rest as needed. Don’t hurt yourself.

20. Remember to Enjoy the Experience — Our Hunting Editor, Colton Reid, offers this sage advice to all hunters, but particularly to novices: “Have fun, and appreciate your hunt, whether you bag a buck or not. It is a privilege to experience the wilderness and to get away from the city. Enjoy it while you’re out there. And keep your spirits up. You may get tired, but remember that ‘comes with the territory’. At the end of the day, yes you may be exhausted. And you may want to quit and go home. But stay positive, stay focused. Be patient, the experience is worth it.”

hunting fishing day Hunting guide
CLICK HERE for Hunter Training/Mentoring Programs State-by-State.

Prepare For Your Hunt — Get Fit and Practice Positions

As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.

Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”

Visit WhereToHunt.org

There’s a great online resource for hunters that will help you find game locations in your state and ensure you have all the proper permits and game tags. WheretoHunt.org features an interactive map of the country. For all 50 states, the NSSF has compiled information about hunting license and permits, where to hunt, hunter education classes, laws and regulations and more. For each state you’ll also find a link for required applications and license forms.

Click Map to Get State-by-State Hunting INFO
Where to Hunt hunting license game location

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September 24th, 2021

Practical Shooting Skills for Hunters — Field Rests

Field rest hunter hunting hunting day stalk stalking rifle resting

Thomas Haugland HuntingTomorrow, September 25, 2021, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Hunting season is here — and we know many of our readers will soon head to the woods in pursuit of deer, elk, or other game. To make a good shot, it’s wise to rest your rifle when possible. In this video, methods for stabilizing a rifle in the field are demonstrated by Forum member Thomas Haugland, who hails from Norway. Thomas focuses on practical field shooting skills for hunters. Thomas (aka ‘Roe’ on Forum and Sierra645 on YouTube) shows how to verify his zeros from bipod and then he demonstrates improvised field rests from the prone, kneeling, and sitting positions.

Thomas explains: “In this video I focus on basic marksmanship techniques and making ready for this year’s hunt. As a last check before my hunting season, I got to verify everything for one last time. My trajectory is verified again, the practical precision of the rifle is verified. I also practice making do with the best [improvised] rest possible when an opportunity presents itself. After getting knocked in the face by a .338 Lapua Magnum rifle during a previous filming session, I had to go back to basics to stop [flinching]. I include some details from bipod shooting that hopefully some hunters will find useful. Fingers crossed for this years season, good luck!”

How to Stalk Game — Tips from Thomas
If you liked that video, here is another valuable video from Thomas. In this “How to Approach Deer” video, Thomas explains the basics of a successful stalk. If you are headed into deer country this fall, definitely watch this video.

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September 24th, 2021

Best Guide for Factory Ammo — .17 HM2 to .700 Nitro Express

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

The fall Hunting Season is here. Do you plan to use factory ammo in your hunting rifles? Perhaps you buy bulk centerfire ammo for your AR15 or varmint rifle. Then this book can definitely benefit you.

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 6. This resource lists over 2,600 different loads for 200+ cartridge types from .17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). In this updated-for-2020 Sixth Edition, there are over 3,000 tables covering virtually every caliber and every load for all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the USA. Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficients up to 1,000 yards.

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Ammo & Ballistics 6 helps you select ammo for a hunt — quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various commercial ammo. This book can also help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig.

Verified Book Purchaser Reviews
“Outstanding reference guide for shooters and ballistic enthusiasts alike. Has data on velocity, energy delivered, Taylor KO index, windage and elevation on numerous loadings for hundreds of [cartridge types]. Each cartridge has all dimensions labeled (i.e rim, case length, neck, etc.), and has an informative description of the cartridges history/relevance.” — S. Step, 2017

“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe

Ammo & Ballistics 6 contains data and illustrations on virtually every sporting cartridge sold in the USA. This 2020 Edition covers 200-plus cartridge types from .17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express.

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September 23rd, 2021

Safari Club Int’l Convention — January 2022 in Las Vegas

SCI Safari Club International 2022 Convention Mandalay Bay hotel las vegas

SCI Convention Returns to Las Vegas in 2022
Safari Club International celebrates 50 years of defending the freedom to hunt. The International Hunters’ Convention returns to Las Vegas in 2022. The Convention will run January 19-22, 2022 at the Mandalay Hotel complex. This is the world’s largest hunting convention, and should attract thousands of visitors. Convention seminars will cover the full spectrum of hunting, fishing, shooting and outdoor adventure.

The SCI Convention has 320+ exhibitors registered currently. These will include gun-makers, optics companies, gear manufacturers, outfitters, and top hunting resorts. Outdoor industry companies will showcase the latest products — from firearms and accessories to optics, ammunition, archery, gear and equipment. Other offerings include furs, jewelry, furnishings, and outdoor clothing.

CLICK HERE for MORE SCI 2022 CONVENTION INFO »

SCI Safari Club International 2022 Convention Mandalay Bay hotel las vegas

SCI auctions offer exclusive firearms, once-in-a-lifetime hunts and adventures, and fine artwork. Proceeds from SCI’s auctions support SCI Foundation’s conservation and education programs.

Established in 1971, SCI will mark its 50th year at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, January 19-22, 2022. Exhibits and daytime activities will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The host hotel will be Mandalay Bay, a 43-story luxury resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

SCI Safari Club International 2022 Convention Mandalay Bay hotel las vegas

This year’s lineup of guest speakers includes top pro-hunting political voices Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump Jr.; other special guests include Craig Morgan, Edward Byers, and Jim Shockey.

SCI Safari Club International 2022 Convention Mandalay Bay hotel las vegas

“We are pleased to be able to bring the SCI Convention back to Las Vegas in 2022,” said W. Laird Hamberlin, SCI CEO. “We know our exhibitors and members will look forward to being a part of this special event[.] This year we will be celebrating 50 years of SCI defending the freedom to hunt with the convention of a lifetime. From our lineup of special guests to our top-drawer exhibitors from around the world, the 2022 SCI Convention will be one for the record books.”

This video shows highlights from Past SCI Conventions

About Safari Club International
For 50 years, Safari Club International (SCI) has been the leading defender of the freedom to hunt and supporter of wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI is the only hunting rights organization with a Washington, D.C.-based international advocacy team and an all-species focus. SCI mobilizes our 152 chapters and affiliate network representing 7.2 million hunters around the world. SCI’s sister organization, the SCI Foundation, supports research, management, and rural communities in North America, Africa, and Central Asia.

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September 22nd, 2021

How American Hunters Promote Wildlife Conservation

National hunting fishing day wildlife conservation habitat preservation tags licensing
This Saturday, September 25, 2021, is National Hunting and Fishing Day.

There are over 9.2 million hunters in the United States. The fees paid by hunters are essential to support conservation efforts and to protect/maintain habitats.

These infographics explain the vital role that American hunters play in protecting wild species in North America. Currently 60% of state Fish & Wildlife Agency funding comes from excise taxes and licensee fees paid by hunters and anglers. The system has provided billions of dollars for conservation over the past nine decades. Since the late 1930s, hunters, target shooters and the firearms industry have been the nation’s largest contributors to conservation, paying for programs that benefit America’s wildlife.

National hunting fishing day wildlife conservation habitat preservation tags licensing

CLICK to Load full-screen Infographic (Easier to Read)

National hunting fishing day wildlife conservation habitat preservation tags licensing

GAOA outdoors act hunting
Deer hunting photo courtesy SportsmansGuide.com.

The Pittman-Robertson Act generates $700 million annually, which is distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to state fish and game agencies across America.

National hunting fishing day wildlife conservation habitat preservation tags licensing

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