Coywolf got your Venison? Updated with Fox Pro Inferno Electronic Calls

Back several years ago I wrote that Coyotes are evolving into Coywolf’s as evidenced by DNA research. In this evolution which some say began in the early 1900’s, the wolf began mating with coyotes as their territory overlapped in the Great Lakes and today the Coyote hybrid is found across the Northeast US. Toronto has packs of them in the downtown. It is not the small 20 to 30 pound animal any longer. A male can weight up to nearly 60 pounds. During the late fall you can see Coywolf tracks intermixed with deer tracks. My friend and I were stalked in Vermont by an almost black large Coywolf until it saw us and turned tail. We were scouting without our rifles. After that we carried our guns. These animals roam through our town in southern NH at night, my friend has them recorded on his new Ring doorbell. Better yet go hunt for them. See NHFG requirements. They are very smart and learn fast. Check my search engine for Coyote articles as there are several articles with tips and calls etc.

I will be hunting them…Carry a pistol too.  I have not had the success I expected with a cheap electronic caller, it wasn’t loud enough, had few vocalizations and the remote worked to near 100 yards but needed Line of Sight,

So being near Christmas, A friend and I went to Cabela’s and researched some electronic calls. Cabela’s had the Lions share of FoxPro Electronic Calls and accessoried.  I wanted the sounds to be realistic, lots of switchable vocalizations such as those of distressed prey animals and Coyote vocalizations. I found that for $199, I could get the Fox Pro Inferno and perhaps get value for  my dollar. This was the mid range price point. See image below.

FOXPRO Inferno Digital Game Call

I had it out in the woods last night and boy was it loud! The remote worked fabulous and had a orange back lit screen. It was about 15ºF at dusk but no coyotes came in. Just the same I was impressed as was a friend who tagged along. We will keep you informed as winter progresses and our hunts continue.

 

© 2017 All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard 6.5 Creedmoor with Nosler 142g Long Range AccuBond

On December 8, 2017, it was a cold 40 degrees, cloudy, however, the air was amazingly still. It was “bugging me” that the last test (a few days ago and an earlier article) for 100 yard groups for this Weatherby® Vanguard® Weatherguard® rifle was windy and the 1.75 inch lateral spread may or may not have been caused by wind. The 50 yard group was very tight, around 3/8th of an inch. Accordingly, I had to know if it was the wind or rifle at 100 yards but I had no more Hornady bullets left. The next best thing was my Nosler’s.

I had powder and a some 142 grain Nosler Long Range AccuBonds, so I gave them a close look and loaded some in Nosler Custom Brass for the 6.5 Creedmoor with CCI Benchrest Primers (BR2). This is like the best of the best of the best, some might say.

Research began with a hot long range hunting load using Reloader 15 powder. I loaded 36.5 grains at a COL of 2.801 inches and 81% load density volume. The Nosler Manual tested a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2635 fps with a 24 inch barrel. Not super fast for sure, ,low recoil, but with a ballistic coefficient (BC) of over 0.7 (G1)  it didn’t have to be so fast because most spitzer bullets have much lower BC’s and lose velocity rapidly due to increased air friction.

Most technical folks like to talk about killing energy for deer at around 1000 ft-lbs energy. This round can kill a deer at 725 yards (1000 ft-lbs at 1785 fps per JBM Calculations) if you know the distance, wind, altitude etc. and the shooter can stay within a  3 to 4 inch kill radius and the bullet can shoot an MOA or better at 100 yards.

Target #1 below at 100 yards with 1.25 inch group. Yes, the first shot was from a cold shooter, me and a cold barrel. Many say the cold shot idea from a cold barrel is more myth but I digress.

Target #2 was shot 5 minutes later than Target #1 resulting in a 9/16 inch group.

Ok, so the average of the 2 groups are 0.9 inches. The bottom line is that this Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard rifle shoots sub-MOA with this load, bullet, COL and powder.

Accordingly,  this would be a great cartridge and load on an elk out to where energy crosses 1500 ft-lbs (2200 fps) more or less, which is about 350 yards. Most experienced hunters stay within their capability with is often around 300 yards or less unless you practice at those longer ranges in field conditions and use a rangefinder.

The Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard has a high Monte Carlo stock to align my eye with the scope and does not punish me as it has a very forgiving recoil pad with the 6.5 Creedmoor.

A match made in a hunters heaven. All I can say is, go buy this rifle for Christmas and give Nosler LRAB’s a try!!

Good Hunting! Practice, Practice Practice.

© 2017 All Rights Reserved

 

Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard 6.5 Creedmoor (Out of the Box) at the range with Leupold VX-6 and Hornady Precision Hunter Ammo

The Weatherby® Vanguard® Weatherguard® rifle is affordable with retail around $750 or less, is weather resistant with Weatherguard coating, advertised as MOA or better out of the box and easy to carry in the field. It weighs around 7.25 lbs bare naked and 8 lbs with Leupold’s VX-6 3-18x44mm scope, my go-to test scope and hunting scope. Scope mounts are sold separately and are only for this rifle. The Vanguards internal magazine holds 3 cartridges and the 24 inch hammer forged Weatherguard coated Barrel is a mat finish. Typical barrels are 22 inches so yo get a bit more energy with the extra 2 inches.

The innovative fluted bolt includes 3 gas vent ports (seen above) in the event of a case failure thus venting gas safely. I have never had a case fail but hey you never know. The action works as smooth as I have experienced in more expensive rifles. The safety is a two position lever, located to the right rear of the bolt seen below and shown in the Fire position.

 

The Vanguard Trigger is a 2 stage (creep free) trigger that can be adjusted down to 2.5 lbs. My test rifle trigger pull weight is around 3 lbs 6 oz or so and breaks cleanly and consistently as advertised.

I am using the Hornady Precision Hunter 143 grain ELD-X bullet as my standard for off the shelf accuracy. I just love this Precision Hunter ammo.They fly true and proven at close range at 50 yards to 1000 yards in an accurate rifle.

The recoil pad is thick and soft thus reducing felt recoil substantially.

FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • SUB-MOA accuracy guarantee (.99” or less 3-shot group at 100 yards when used with Weatherby® factory or premium ammunition)
  • Adjustable Match Quality, Two-stage Trigger
  • Fluted Bolt Body
  • One-piece Machined Bolt Body
  • Fully Enclosed Bolt Sleeve
  • 3-Position Safety
  • Cold Hammer Forged Barrel
  • Integral Recoil Lug
  • Hinged Floorplate

STOCK:

  • Monte Carlo Griptonite stock features pistol grip and forend inserts
  • Right side palm swell

BARREL AND METALWORK:

  • 24-inch barrel
  • #2 contour
  • Tactical Grey Cerakote for exceptional weather and corrosion resistance

Below is first group 3/8 inch at 50 yards, very windy conditions up to 15 mph and swirling. I tried to shoot in the wind lulls.

Below is a 6 shot 100 yard group using the same ammo as in the 50 yd group above, again with 15 mph winds and swirling. The spread 1.75 inch spread is very likely wind driven but the core 4 shots are huddled at less than 3/4 inch. Will try again at some point as I am out of ammo. Experiences of Vanguard owners on the Weatherby website are all very exuberant.

This core group of 3/4 inch is what I would have expected with the 50 yard group so tight. The wind likely played a role in the lateral spread.

I was very pleased with how easy yet snug the bolt moved as I worked the bolt. The Rifle handled smoothly and the trigger was crisp.

What made me want to shoot and test this rifle was, first, its Weatherby name, I like the Comb on a Weatherby since I placed a large scope on this rifle it raised my cheek correctly.

I remember years ago when Roy Weatherby built a 300 Winchester Magnum rifle for John Wayne. See photo below

If John gets one, you know they are good. Today the rifle is made by Howa of Japan and the attention to detail is visible.

This is a hunters rifle and I believe it can handle far off places like Alaska in the frozen north with a measure of its rugged reliability as well as the plains of Africa and the 6.5 Creedmoor can easily handle Elk size game at long ranges to 400 yards or so or deer at 700 yards.

The rifle comes in many calibers from .223 to 300 Wby Mag.  http://www.weatherby.com/vanguardr-weatherguard.html

This is an “affordable” and highly reliable rifle I would want under my Christmas tree. Check it out at your local Sporting Goods Store!

 

Reloading Tech: Wiring up a 6.5 Grendel

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

I hope all spent time with family and friends, and most importantly realized that we all have so much to be grateful for!

I’ve had the PressureTrace™ II system for a few years now and I’ve found it handy in examining the pressure characteristics of my reloads.  It’s been particularly handy in determining the pressure differences between two projectiles of the same weight using the same powder charge.  I’ve only used the system on my bolt guns up to now. I finally wired up my new 6.5 Grendel AR pattern rifle build, the details of which I can share in another post.

In terms of published data there still isn’t that much out there compared to other cartridges, but new data is coming out all the time.  In my estimation Alexander Arms® produces the best factory ammunition for the 6.5 Grendel since it was Bill Alexander who spear headed the design of the round.

Factory 123 gr Lapua Scenar Load

I wanted to use the Alexander Arms factory loads to compare against my loadings for my Grendel.

Since I had some time off yesterday and it was raining, I decided that I would get some load testing done under cover with the range all to myself.

Conditions:
Temp: 42ºF
Baro. Pressure: 29.83
RH%: 97%
Equipment:
Pressure Trace II System
Magnetospeed Chronograph

***CAUTION The data presented below is by no means meant to represent data published via SAAMI approved testing or test methods, and may not reflect the true pressure; this pressure testing is only meant as a comparative tool***

If you are curious as to what a Pressure Trace system is, check out the vendor website at Shooting Software

The barrel I am currently running is a Shilen Stainless Match HBAR 20″ 1:9″ twist featuring a rifle length gas system.  Its worth noting that most bullets in the 123 gr weight aren’t optimal in a 1:9″ twist barrel due to marginal theoretical stability, with the exception of the Hornady 123 gr Match ELD projectiles.

On to the data:

SAAMI MAP (Max Average Pressure): 52,000 psi

Pressure readings I’ve collected from Factory Alexander Arms 123 gr Scenar rounds following an estimated offset of 13000 psi added to original pressure value measure by the pressure trace system.

I’ve chronographed these rounds in 75-80ºF outside temps and they are cruising at about 2510 fps ±10fps out of the 20″ bbl, which is a fair amount faster than at 42ºF as we see here, so I think my estimation on the offset was correct. My aim is to establish the summer time pressure readings of the factory loads as my working maximum pressures.

Pressure readings from IMR 8208 XBR with a 26.5 starting load (not shown here) in 0.5 gr charge increments out to 28.5 gr (also not shown because of pressure signs of previous loadings.

Its clear that I’ve reached high pressure characteristics and any increase in charge weight would unnecessarily strain the Grendel and could eventually approach an unsafe condition.  I now believe I’ve established a safe maximum of 26.0 gr of IMR 8208 XBR, at least in these low temps. Surprisingly the charge to pressure correlation peaked at a lower charge weight than I would have expected based on published data out there for a similar weight projectile.  Published IMR loads with the 123gr Sierra Match King peak at a maximum charge of 28.5 grains (compressed).  I may have to re-adjust the charge downward during the summertime temps to stay consistent with pressures if I decide to stay with this load.  This is another reason why it’s always smart to back off by 10% (I started 7% from max). That being said, this is an accurate powder with 3/4″ groups.  I’ll likely study other powders as well for comparisons sake, such as Hodgdon CFE223 and Accurate 2520, both known for velocity production.  There is little data on CFE223 use, this is where the PressureTrace™ II system will shine, now that I have a baseline.

26.5 gr 8208 XBR 123 gr Hornady ELD Match vs Factory Alexander Arms 123 gr Lapua Scenar

Based on the images above, the Alexander Arms rounds are close in appearance to when I’ve fired them in the summer time, so these marks may be more associated with chambering.  One thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes just chambering a round produces some ejector swipe marks.  I think the marks on the reload to the left suggests that I should back off to 26.0gr and call it a day.

If your range has a covered firing position and it’s raining out, get outside and work your craft and understand your gun/ammunition combination, you just might have the range all to yourself

Look out for a companion piece to this article, as I purchased a 24″ barrel made by Satern Barrels and sold by Brownells, testing will commence with this shortly using the pressure trace system.

Until next time….

See you at the range!

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved.

TargetVision Camera

Nearing the end of the competition season I became frustrated with the number of opportunities I had to practice a the 600 yard line.  One of the drawbacks to a 600 yard range in New England is the proximity to civilization.  Tracking your hits at such a long distance requires a spotter or someone to pull targets for you in the pits.  You HAVE to know you’re on the target.  This makes shooting/practicing by yourself a non-starter for safety reasons.  I wrote to the folks over at TargetVision and asked if I could do a review out of my own curiosity and for our readership.  They liked the idea and shipped a unit over for us to take a look at.

They sent over the LR-2 unit for us to review, which retails for $649 and is good for targets up to a mile away, wow!!  They do have other offerings for reduced distances, so take a look at the website to see what unit would better suit your needs.

When I opened the exterior cardboard box, I remarked to myself about the high quality of the carrying case for the camera system.  In the pic below, you can see that this case will protect your investment.  One of the little things that the folks over at TargetVision thought of is to ensure that the system doesn’t turn on in transit, so they taped the power switch in the off position.

From targetvisioncam.com Website:

The LR-2 is a fixed lens, portable, battery powered, wireless target camera system that can be viewed from a phone or tablet.  This target camera has a range of one mile and a run time of 12 + hours. TARGETVISION is the perfect companion for long range shooters, competitive shooters, and people who are looking for a more interactive and entertaining shooting experience.  This unit is able to clearly see .17 caliber bullet holes (and larger) at any distance up to a mile.  TARGETVISION consists of two pieces, the camera/transmitter and the receiver.  The camera sits down range about 10-15 feet from the target and can be moved within that range to adjust the field of view.  The receiver sits next to the shooter on the ground or shooting bench.

External antenna is not required to go one mile, but optional.

NO CELL OR WiFi SERVICE REQUIRED!

NO SKEW CORRECTION REQUIRED!

MADE IN TEXAS.  

Instructional Videos 

APP Video 

Hardware

Specifications

  • Resolution: 1280 X 960
  • Pivotable Camera
  • Batteries: Rechargeable Lithium Ion
  • Band: 2.4GHz
  • Weight: 13 lbs.
  • Hard Case Dimensions: 16.00″ x 13.00″ x 7″ (IP67 Rated)

In the Box

  • TARGETVISION Camera
  • TARGETVISION Receiver
  • Waterproof, Crush-proof, Dust-proof Custom Hard Case
  • 12V DC Charger
  • 2 Tripods

 

Serious protection for that hardware!

I was impressed with the quality so far and couldn’t wait to get it out to the range, but before I did, I inspected the system and made sure to charge both the Transmitter and Receiver. After the charge up, I was ready for some range action.  It was some time until I could find an opportunity to get out and take it for a spin, but I eventually got out to the 600 to use the system.  Set up was ridiculously easy!  You set up the camera/transmitter unit off to the side about 10 feet or so away, connect to the WiFi network and center the target in the camera view by making final adjustments to the ball/socket style camera lens.  After that, you head back to your equipment, confirm the image in your smartphone/tablet, and start shooting.  I had this gear up and running in 15 minutes.  See the TargetVision video below:

Below are the images from my set up at the Nashua Fish & Game Club.

Simple as 1, 2, 3!

Marking your shots is a breeze with this system.  So after set up and watching my rounds impact down range, I’m officially hooked. Guaranteed after I pick up one of these, that next season will show a marked improvement in my accuracy at distance.  The image below is from a photo I took and exported using the TargetVision app functionality on my iphone.  I am thoroughly impressed with this camera rig.  This gear gets a solid A in my book!

Not bad, but this isn’t an F-Class Target.

The bottom line is if long range shooting is on the menu, get your hands on a high quality target camera system like this one and as they say at TargetVision, “Never Lose Sight”!

See you at the range!

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved.

S&W New Model 686 and 686 Plus Revolvers are Purpose-Built for Competition

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:
Matt Spafford, Smith & Wesson Corp.

1-844-772-5159

media@smith-wesson.com

 

New Model 686 and 686 Plus Revolvers

Join Performance Center® Brand of Firearms

New Model 686 and 686 Plus Revolvers are Purpose-Built for Competition

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., (November 6, 2017) – Smith & Wesson Corp. announced today the launch of two new Performance Center revolvers, the Model 686 and Model 686 Plus, to the company’s line of competition firearms. The new Model 686 and 686 Plus revolvers feature premium Performance Center enhancements for a competition-ready package, such as a speed release thumbpiece for quick reloads, interchangeable sights, and a Performance Center tuned action.

Tony Miele, General Manager of the Performance Center, said, “When we began designing these revolvers, we wanted to develop an out-of-the-box solution for those seeking a revolver for competition shooting. Equipped with a speed release thumbpiece, tuned action, and unique visual appearance, these new revolvers have attractive features for both new and seasoned competitive shooters.  The new Performance Center Model 686 and 686 Plus feature Performance Center enhancements that provide an excellent foundation for shooters looking to customize and gain a competitive edge in the shooting sports, or for those who are new to the sport and looking for an excellent competition-ready value.”

The new Performance Center Model 686 and 686 Plus revolvers feature a stainless steel frame, cylinder, and barrel with a matte silver finish. Built for competition, these revolvers include a Performance Center speed release, interchangeable orange front sight, and a Performance Center tuned action. These revolvers also feature a unique visual design, including an unfluted cylinder, vented ribbed barrel, and a chromed custom teardrop hammer.

Chambered in .357 Magnum and .38 S&W Special +P, the new Performance Center Model 686 revolver is equipped with a 6 round cylinder and 4-inch barrel, while the Performance Center Model 686 Plus revolver features a 7 round cylinder, 5-inch barrel and features a cylinder cut for moon clips. Both Performance Center Model 686 and 686 Plus have an MSRP of $966.

All Smith & Wesson products are backed by a limited lifetime warranty and lifetime service policy.

For more information about the new Performance Center Model 686 and 686 Plus revolvers, including spec sheets and images, please click here.

For more information on Smith & Wesson products, please visit www.smith-wesson.com

About Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson Corp. is a provider of quality firearms for personal protection, target shooting and hunting in the global consumer and professional markets. Smith & Wesson is world famous for its handguns and long guns sold under the Smith & Wesson®, Performance Center®, M&P®, Thompson/Center Arms, and Gemtech® brands.  Through its Manufacturing Services Division, Smith & Wesson Corp. also provides forging, machining, and precision plastic injection molding services to a wide variety of consumer goods companies. For more information on Smith & Wesson, call (800) 331-0852 or log on to www.smith-wesson.com.