TO THE WOODS!

From: Meridian, ID:

I’ve been patiently awaiting the wisdom of old age to descend upon me in my “Golden Years” but so far, all I’m really sure of is the multiplication tables through the number six.

***

Fall is nearly here, and a young (and old) man’s fancy turns to – what else? – hunting. Archery season for deer/elk is around the corner. This coming Saturday, as a matter of fact. But since I’ve never gotten in to hunting with a bow and arrow(s), it doesn’t mean much to me. Not that I bear any ill will to those who do. Quite the opposite, they are, by and large, much better hunters than I. They generally have more patience, they are better sneakers, and they pretty much have to be much better trackers. (That’s because one almost never knocks down a deer or an elk with an arrow…they usually are able to run off for 100 yards, and often more. The hunter has to be able to follow a blood trail through the forest.) I think the popular camouflage hunting clothing was originally created and sold to bow hunters…the ones who have to get within 50 yards of the animal they are after. Turkey hunters, nowadays, are also big into camo outfits. Of necessity, I’ve always assumed, although I must admit I’ve always thought of turkeys as some of the dimmest lamps in the woods. (I think the brightest ones must be wolves and coyotes…but, again, I don’t have a lot of personal experience on which to base my opinions.)

No, I’ve never felt as though I have a tremendous advantage over elk and deer because I use a rifle. Else how explain the fact I’ve never taken an elk? Well, for one thing, I am now of an age that I have better sense than to hike miles into the wilderness and look for them…physical limitations mean that I confine my elk hunting – and deer hunting, too – to places where a flat (or downhill) walk will get me back to the pickup within a mile. But the truth is I didn’t care for long hikes in mountainous terrain even when I was younger and in better shape. I may never get a wall-hanger trophy rack, but I figure the ones who come to the flatland first will taste pretty much the same as those old mossyback bulls.

(Winchester Arms Model 94.)

(Winchester Arms Model 94.)

In keeping with the approaching season, I went out to the desert yesterday with a neighbor to sight in my deer rifle, a 7mm Magnum (Remington). It is the only real high-power rifle I’ve owned, although before it came into my possession I was successful in taking several deer with my “cowboy” rifle…a 30-30 Winchester, Model 94. I don’t think Winchester makes them, anymore. That’s hard to believe, I know, given their status as an American “icon.” Or near-icon, at the very least. The rifle went out of production in 2006, but is now being made again in Japan and imported to the U.S. by a company in Utah. (There is something near sacrilegious about such a turn of events, don’t you think?) I was also surprised to learn that the Winchester company didn’t use the term “30-30” when they first started making the rifle…they called it a .30 Winchester Center Fire when they first made the version that would accept a cartridge. Or, .30 WCF. When the Marlin company came out with its similar rifle, it was the one that got the “30-30” designation, following the convention that the first number was the caliber and the second number indicated the grains of powder in the case, and as a means of differentiating it from the Winchester product. Over the years – and probably much to the consternation of the Marlin company – the term “30-30” came to be almost universally understood to mean a Winchester. Before it stopped making them in 2006, the company had sold more than 7 million. That’s quite a popular shootin’ iron, pardner.

As to the target plinking, yesterday, I discovered my Remington was very close to the proper elevation at 200 yards, which means that for the past year or so I may have been hitting a bit high on targets inside that distance. A surprise for me, since I normally zero the scope at 100 yards. I was also hitting a bit to the right, but that might have been due to a quartering tail wind from the left. Two hundred yards is quite a ways out there (especially when one has to walk there and back every few minutes to change target) and it doesn’t take a whole lot of wind to blow a bullet off course a bit. I don’t know how a scope can change from one hunting season to the next, but, believe me, they can. It is just plain foolish to go out hunting, thinking that the rifle was “shooting pretty good” last year…it must still be good.

I also shot my Ruger .17 HMR “varmint” rifle while in the desert. Again, it was very close to the perfect elevation at 200 yards, a strange thing considering it was last sighted in at 50 yards. All I can say is, “Storage does strange things to rifle scopes.” And before you pass it off by saying I was just probably holding too high on the bullseye, I’ll tell you that I shot twenty rounds…all of which struck the target at the elevation of center-bullseye. I’m not Davy Crockett by a long shot, but I’m not going to make the same “jerk” twenty times in a row. Guaranteed.

***

(Tanks have the right of way on pretty much any road.)

(Tanks have the right of way on pretty much any road.)

On the return trip from the desert, Todd and I met a short convoy of National Guard tanks and armored personnel carriers, en route from the base at Gowen Field to the training area south of town. We were glad the tanks were not after us…they make the very earth tremble. Which leads me to ask, “How can ground squirrels sleep through that kind of earth-shaking racket?” If you were trying to catch a few winks in your underground den, wouldn’t you be curious enough to poke your head up for a minute or two when a monster is approaching? Hmmm…well, come to think of it, maybe not, eh? I am continually perplexed at these little creatures. Four months above ground (during the daytime) and 8 months underground, night and day. It is just a strange, strange life cycle, isn’t it? I can hardly wait until they show up again next spring.

***

Our local boys, the Boise State University Broncos, take on the Ole Miss Rebels this evening in Atlanta, Georgia. The casino prognosticators have come out with a “mixed” spread…from about 9 points to 11 points, with Ole Miss the favorite. No surprise there. Still, over the past several years, BSU has whipped up on a few “powerhouse” favorites, and, naturally, we are all hoping it will happen again tonight. Unfortunately, we don’t have quite the same team we had in those “glory” years…or, maybe we do. And this will be the night they show us, eh? All I know is a win over Ole Miss would be quite the “kick-start” to our season. We’ll be watching. Go Blue!!

 

Bud

 

7 Responses

  1. Jerry Howard says:

    I sight my 7mm in at 200 yds. and it is around 1 1/2 in. high at 100 yds. Of course our muzzle velocity and the ballistic coefficient of our bullets is different but I wouldn’t think it would be much different at 100 yds. 1 to 2 inches high at a hundred. It is getting close and I am getting excited!

    • Bud Larson says:

      Hi Jer, Yah…on Hornady’s website they say one of their 7mm 139 gr. bullets (they have several models with the same weight) has a muzzle velocity of 3,240 fps. Zeroed at 200, it is 1.1 inches high at 100 yards and 5.5 inches low at 300. Sounds pretty close to what you’re getting. Are you reloading yours?
      I think if I get to the range before Montana, I’ll just zero at 100 and compensate for the 6.5 inch drop at two. (Shorter walk to the target. :-))
      I won’t be shooting anything beyond 200, anyhow. (Most likely. But I forgot about elk. Hmmmm. Maybe I’ll rethink that 100-yard zero.) Later, Ol’ Bud

  2. Jerry Howard says:

    Yes I reload my 7mm. I use 140gr Combined Technology Silver Ballistic tips. They go through the chrono at 3,000 fps. I could probably load it to around 3,200 fps but the load I use is really accurate for my rifle. It is around 3/4 inch with a 3 shot group from a bench at 100 yds.

    • Bud Larson says:

      Hey, Jer, I’ve been looking at Hornady’s line up in 7mm Mag. Their MSRP on the various bullets they use goes up to over $60 bucks (box of 20) for a 139 gr “GMX” bullet. Other styles can be had for $38 something. A GMX must be one super special bullet! If I switch from Remington’s 150 gr Core-Lock, which are the ones I’ve always used (and which they no longer offer) to 140 grain, I might try some Hornady, since I like their “little” bullets so much. I didn’t check ballistics on the different bullet styles, yet. Later, Ol’ Bud

  3. Ron Boy says:

    Hey Bud!
    Nice to see the blog again. Now my life is complete again. I remember the hunting days and have such fond memories of fun times with favorite people. You and Jer have become pros at the rifle and shooting aspect of hunting. The hunting on flat land makes a lot of sense to me now also. What were we thinking???? Have a great day, Ron boy

    • Bud Larson says:

      Hey, Ron, Oh, yeah! I am now a BIG fan of flat-land hunting! Even so (as I mentioned in the post), I try to keep walking to a minimum. Walking out to that 200 yard target and back, for example. I’m flattered you put me in the same “pro” bag with Jerry, but I know I don’t belong there. He has definitely made himself a pro in all things guns!
      Oh, yeah…we weren’t thinking! We were young! Remember?? Love ya, Ol’ Bud

  4. Jerry Howard says:

    Those Remington Core-lock bullets are great value. My cousin shot an elk years ago with a 270. We found the bullet on the far side just under the skin. When I weighed it I found it had retained 92% of it weight. I can’t remember what grain bullet it was. Elk are really tuff animals I use bigger bullets for elk. But in the end it is all about shot placement.

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