Deer Hunters Sight-in for Max Point Blank Range by Ed Hale

If your rifle is scoped with a single crosshair it is valuable to sight in your rifle at Max Point Blank Range (MPBR) for hunting so that all you need to think about is taking the shot, in most cases. MPBR is the maximum distance that your rifle bullet will fall three inches below the point of aim or rise above point of aim by three inches. By using the JMB ballistics program for Trajectory below you can calculate bullet drop and rise if you know bullet speed, the ballistic coefficient of your bullet. Set the target height at 6 inches and the vital zone radius at 3 inches in the spaces provided in the calculator. At the last part of the calculator check the box for Elevation correction for Zero Range and the box for Zero at Max Point Blank Range. Hit Calculate. The results will show the height of your bullet at its highest (three inches) and the MPBR distance where it is 3 inches low. The Savage 11/111 7mm Rem Mag with Nosler 140 grain E-Tips I am testing has a MPBR of 294 yards and the bullet reached its 3 inch max height at around 140 yards.

Typically at 100 yards the bullet will hit the target at 2.5 inches high or so and peak at around 140 to 150 yards for a fast spitzer bullet traveling above 2800 fps.

At 25 yards your bullet will hit the bullseye. At 50 yards it will hit an inch high so if your shooting in the thick stuff your bullet will be right on target and the deer will never know what hit ’em. Or if you have to shoot farther you are good to go by staying in the Vital area.

Give it a try!

Good Hunting!

Ed’s Deer Hunt tips during the Rut- CWD Update for 2016

It is when we do what we are supposed to, out of good habits, that success comes our way. But we don’t always practice what we preach, me included. So we redouble our efforts and they can pay off. Sometimes!

Deer’s Primary Detector is Smell! 

So watch your wind carefully.So watch your wind carefully. Yes I said that twice. Or be above it. You can never be too scent free. Deer do not need to see or hear you to get out there. Smell is all it takes. Clothing and you favorite smell ridden hat does most of the betrayal. Keep your clothes scent free and in a plastic bag with scent killer or pine/fir needles

Keep getting detected by squirrels? They chatter a warning!

My guess is that you are not wearing face camo or a face mask. Get a face mask pronto because deer aren’t stupid and depend on other animals to sound the alarm. For years, I never figured that one out. With a camo mask I have squirrels feeding within feet of me.

What if you get on your deer stand and it is very windy?

This is not a good time to see deer while on stand as they often hunker down in very windy deer woods. At some point high wind may drive them to be in fields or small clear-cuts so they can see with their eyes too. Stay mobile and I believe still hunt (slow movement watch steps)  is the best option into the wind. During the rut, by walking in the wind, you can sometimes smell a deer and its tarsal glands. Keep gun at ready. Never take safety off unless game is in view and it is safe to shoot. For Safety; Discuss options with hunting partners in advance.

What if wind is blowing where you want to still hunt? Change your position to hunt into the wind. Or get above the wind in a tree stand. 

Wind is swirling during your hunt? This means that wind can give away your position. But use it to your advantage by staying clean, wear scent killer, while on stand place estrous scent (only if during rut) nearby to overcome your smell. (Never on your clothes)

Note: 2016 – NH Fish and Game no longer want you to use urine based scent as they believe Chronic Wasting Disease elements called prions can be present from unregulated deer farms. Look for Synthetic non-urine based scents while this CWD issue is of concern.

I drew a big buck toward me by being clean and placing doe in estrous and mature buck scent 20 yards apart with me in the middle. The buck was bedded 150 yards away in a thicket. All that buck knew was that there was a rutting buck with an estrous doe in that bedded bucks bedroom. He was madder than heck that another buck was in his turf and came to investigate. I shot him at 40 yards in his bedroom.

Let scents do some work for you during the rut.

While you do your best to minimize your own scent, place estrous scent in the wind column where you want bedded bucks to smell it. Place your ground stand laterally 90 degrees 50 to 100 yards away if hunting on ground.

Bowhunting? Use a spray bottle after you are in your tree stand. At 4 mph the wind will blow 1 mile in 15 minutes, a half mile in 7.5 minutes etc. Trust me, the bedded bucks that are 200 yards away will smell that spray scent in 1 minute and use its ears to hear any activity. Follow up with a soft grunt call to peak his curiosity. Don’t overdue the grunt call. Less is more.

During the Rut. If you are overlooking a field where deer are feeding, let the deer themselves pull bucks from cover. Don’t betray your location unless a buck you are interested in shooting is walking away. If so, a single grunt can turn a buck back towards you. Grunt calls work. It is best to have a soft callng grunt device and a louder device.

Best for last:

Grunt, rattle and beat the heck out of trees to call in aggressive bucks. Check on line for videos for techniques. I killed a nice 8 point with that technique and a 800 pound bull moose.  And watch that wind!

moose down ed oliver

Good Hunting!





VX-6 Boone and Crockett Reticle – Leupold Ballistics Aiming System on Savage 11/111 Long Range Hunter

Experimentation with the Boone and Crockett™ Big Game Reticle is best when a long-range place to shoot out to 400 to 600 yards is available. I did not have that, but went through the exercise with some known information. But I still need a long distance range to proof the work.

a zero to 600 ad


The key to properly using this reticle is to have a laser rangefinder.

Accurate distances mean accurate trajectory once your bullet has been sent downrange at those longer distances. First the VX-6 comes with triangle markings on the zoom ring for some bullet speed groups called Group A and Group B and C cartridges. A large white triangle on the Power Dial is near 18x is designated for bullets muzzle velocities 3000 fps and a small triangle mark on the power dial for slower bullets. Group C cartridges are for very fast bullets 3100 fps to 3400 fps like 7mm RUM and .270 Wby and are sighted in at 300 yard zero verses 200 for A and B groups but use the larger triangle on the power dial at 18x.

The Savage 11/111 Long Range Hunter in 7mm Rem Mag I am testing with the VX-6 and Nosler 140grain E-Tip is in “Category A”  thus it required the shooter to zero the rifle at 200 yards shown above. My range limitation was 150 yards so to estimate the 200 yard zero i used JBM on-line software. I knew the speed of the bullet as I chronographed it already at 2950 fps and are sub-moa accurate.

My 7mm Rem Mag when zeroed at 200 yards is 2 inches high at 150 yards. With this setting and not changing point of aim I am at Max Point Blank range to 270 yards and will stay within a 3 inch radius. At this point the bullet is falling fast and to kill game at 300 yards needs to use the next cross-bar below. At 150 yards as point of aim using the 300 range cross-bar places the bullet nearly 5 inches high and will strike the target 6 inch kill area at 300 yards based on the JBM data of bullet drop at 300 yards. Proof is actually shooting at 300 yards to confirm the bullet placement.

The next bar below is supposed to be the 400 yard bar but because my bullets drag and speed is slowing, it strikes the target at only 335 yards for a kill shot based on drop data from JBM. This bullet at this point is “falling like a rock” due to the effects of gravity squared and accelerating the bullet drop. Accordingly, distance accuracy with a laser rangefinder is an absolute must.

Max Point Blank Range (MPBR) Zero 

The method of Calculating Max Point Blank range all by itself takes the Boone and Crockett reticle out of use as the rifle needs to be zeroed at its maximum zero range of 250 yards with the main cross hair based on the 2950fps and BC of the Nosler 140 grain E-Tip. With this method the rifle has a MPBR of 294 yards. For most of us wanting to shoot long range that is all we need as long as a steady rest is available.

If I was shooting prone position at a test range that was in the 400 yard to 600 yard category the B&C reticle would offer proved solutions to where the lower long distance crosshairs of 400 and 500 yards will fall.

Wind Drift

The two largest factors in long-range accuracy, given that you have a steady rest, is bullet drop and wind drift. The most unpredictable is “wind drift” of your bullet. At a MPBR of 294 yards with a 10mph wind will move your bullet 5 to 6 inches left or right from center per JBM data. A 5 mph wind will push the bullet laterally 2.9 inches in keeping with the 3 inch radius you are trying to keep to. The good news is that wind in the early dawn and dusk where you expect to see game is often negligible.

Hunter Ethics

Having gone through the exercise, the bottom line is hunter ethics. If you have not shot or practiced or proved your crosshair use of B&C at these longer ranges then you should pass on the shot. As I said in an earlier article, that buck may be within your range another day. Patience is a virtue a good hunter learns. We all want a clean kill and a promise to yourself to abide by that is important.

Hunt Where The Deer Are!

If you want to maximize your chances of seeing deer during deer season, then hunt where the deer are. Below is the QDMA Deer map at both the national level, state level and by county to see deer density. In New Hampshire, state wide there are less than 15 deer per square mile in most parts of the state according to the QDMA map below. The further north you go there is even less per square mile. The coast of NH is where the deer density is highest along with hard to hunt heavily posted land.

Deer hunters bring dollars to many far reaching towns. As the deer population is strictly managed at very low levels in some states, hunters find other places where game is more abundant and managed equally for hunting opportunities. QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association) is an organization that brings deer science to the forefront. I am not a member at this time but will consider a future opportunity.

NH Fish and Game provide a Hunter Harvest Summary that tells of where the deer are by past harvest records.



Tree Stand Shadow Man

It is August and a great time to place your tree stands for hunting.  I was doing some research and found that this QDMA hunter placed a human silhouette in his stands by cutting it out of a 4×8 T111 panel. It helped in both hiding himself from a rear approach and got the deer to accept the camo form later to be replaced by the hunter. More, that he piles brush in the rear of his stand so that deer must cross in the visible range.



On the .375 Ruger Guide Gun a Reader Writes…

On the .375 a Reader Writes…I have recently acquired a .375 Ruger GG,Guide Gun and was wondering if you’d be kind enough to share load data? I’ve read your reviews on this cartridge and some of the loads mentioned. I would greatly appreciate your assistance in getting started, especially with reduced power practice loads.

Kind regards,


Ed wrote back:

Congratulations! You have the rifle that can take the Planet’s game, if you reload, from rabbits to elephant. I can honestly shoot full power loads Nosler or Hornady 260 or 300 grain loads in my t-shirt when standing or using African shooting sticks and I am an older man. The gun pushes more that it kicks. Using the best recoil pad helps to reduce felt recoil up to 50 to 70%. Reduced Load data is hard to find or in fact for some loads non-existent. Are you familiar with .375 H & H Magnum “reduced load” data by Hornady? If so, that data may be helpful like it was for me. Unfortunately, I cannot share exactly what worked in one rifle that may not work in another one. The heartening part I found was that taken in baby steps, I never had a problem in working up a load and you shouldn’t either. I killed a red deer doe at 190 pounds on the hoof at 50 yards with the 225 flat nose with a starting load. She went 20 feet and piled up with a hole in her heart the size of my thumb and it exited the doe. There was so little recoil and the report was without the mighty crack of the rifle that my guide 200 yards away never heard the gun go off. It was like I was shooting my muzzle loader.

Mid-power loads are already published. Look into the Speer 235 grain Hot Core as a mid load and extrapolate starting loads, if you are so skilled.

It is when I am at the bench hunched over the rifle and locked in so-to-speak that can hurt, so I use a Simms Limbsaver® shoulder pad and a Pachmayr Decelerator® recoil pad to make the felt recoil so tame. You have found a great rifle and cartridge. Wow is it accurate! Enjoy! Good Luck! You will be just fine if you are a veteran reloader.

Good Hunting!



Hunting Ammo and Bullet Fragmentation by Ed Hale

I provide this thought provoking article for your education and mine on choosing your hunting bullet.  Outdoor Life, in the article below, has more on the lead in rifle bullets used to kill deer and other big game for food. Man has been killing and consuming wild game shot with lead for hundreds of years. We  are still here, but can we do better? 

Also, below is a Power Point Presentation on the Minnesota Study regarding lead fragmentation. Lead fragments have been found as far away as 18 inches from the wound with some high speed bullet types. Most slow muzzle loader or shotgun show no lead particles.The DNR report has x-ray images that you can see with your own eyes.

Prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you don’t want lead in your game meat you can shoot rifle bullets without lead in them. This is a 100% guarantee of “no lead” Or shoot a shotgun slug or muzzle loader that is slow enough not to fragment.


Shoot bullets whose lead is bonded to the jacket and is proven to retain most of its weight. Bonded bullets are new on the hunting scene in the past decade and add to the value of a controlled expansion bullet that often provides an exit wound and a blood trail.

The  Nosler’s E-Tip : E in E- Tip® is for Expansion and retains virtually 100% of its copper weight, curles into a perfect mushroom, and leaves no copper in your barrel or the game you hunt.

On the Nosler AccuBond; I have killed game with the Nosler AccuBond® and find that it is true to its name and holds a high weight retention.

I hear good reports for high weight retention for Barnes Bullets made of soft copper and mushroom well but find that they leave copper in some of my rifle barrels not a big detractor just scrub your barrel well and more often.

The Hornady InterBond® bullet is a bonded lead core to the copper jacket and has high weight retention as does the Swift Scirocco® a bonded bullet that uses pure copper for the jacket and not gilding copper. Pricing of bullets for hunting are a little more for bonded and copper but they are worth it! Here is a chart of cost per shot using a .270 Winchester as an example. Note: Winchester makes a copper bullet not included here, maybe another article. 

Screenshot (159)

It looks like copper is slightly more per shot but data shows that they retain the most weight of the two types bonded vs copper and fully mushrooms or petals. Both bonded and copper stay together often leaving an exit wound for a blood trail. But only copper leaves no lead fragments in your meat! Choose you Bullets…WISELY!




Make Use of Your Bear

Bear season is around the corner in September here in New Hampshire. Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for meat, fur and lubricating/protection oil/grease for your gun metal and leather and for cooking and frying and so much more.

Bear Meat

Bear meat like pork contains the Trichinella parasite thus the meat must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. I have eaten bear bear burger in chili and found that to be excellent. I am not a large fan of the meat per se but when cooked correctly and at the right temperature it is a great protein meat. I would use my pressure cooker to exceed the temperature needed and to tenderize it.   See from


Bear Fur Rugs

Bear fur rugs are excellent if initially cared for after the kill by salting the hide and fast processing by a taxidermist.

Bear Grease & Oil

My brother was interested in making a bear grease years ago from a New Hampshire bear he killed and it worked well for leather and lubricating his rifle. The key for making the grease or oil is slow processing at lower temperatures so as not to cook/fry the fat at all. Here is a Wild Edible blog that provides the details.

Hunters for centuries used bear grease to lubricate and protect metal from rust and to soften and protect leather. Some say it is a great cooking grease too but I have never used it.

Bear Grease has been used for centuries by Native Americans and Settlers for

  • Waterproofing and conditioning leather
  • As a lubricant and anti-rust agent for metal and gun parts
  • Oil and grease for pastry making and for frying.
  • Making Soap
  • A great fire starter.
  • Medical; for Dry or Chapped Skin
  • For light as in lamp oil

The great part about rendered bear fat as a grease, the experts say, is that it does not require refrigeration but can be frozen too. Bear oil can also be part of the render process and it remains as an oil at room temperature.

So there you have it! Try doing more with your bear this year! © 2015




Rifle and Shotgun State of the Art Recoil Reducing Pads

I just penned a very short article on muzzle brakes and believe that they are necessary on very large bore rifles such as .338 Lapua Magnum and the 50 Caliber’s but having said that, the best recoil tamer is a “state-of-the-art” recoil pad such as those tested and proven to significantly reduce recoil. I have tested Limbsaver™ SVL® and Packmayr Decelerator® slip-on type or precision-fit replacement pads. I have not only tested them, I use them every time I go afield or to the range. These pads can and do reduce felt recoil up to 70%. Yes that means that you can shoot a 30-06 and have it feel like recoil from a .243 Winchester. An investment here is for a lifetime of easy shooting! So go get one!

Below a slip-on version and I own one and love it!

New from Limbsaver is the Airtech shown here as a slip-on with up to 70% recoil reduction. I have tested other Limbsaver pads and will ask to test this one. I am already a believer in the Limbsaver products for rifle and for Bow and Arrow so Check them out.





Muzzle Brakes?

The muzzle brake I have on the Savage 11/111 has not been tested yet, with the muzzle brake on, because – with a hunting jacket and the state of the art recoil pad on it – tames the rifle recoil enough for me. Rest assured… I will test it. But the noise (Decibel) level from the rearward gas that comes out of the brake requires the use of hearing protection else damage to your hearing is inevitable. Muzzle Brakes cost $300 or more to install. Hearing aids for hearing loss can cost up to $4000.

I have never owned a rifle with a muzzle brake due to the noise factor alone. Maybe the Savage Brake will change my mind. The value of the brake on the Savage is that with a twist it is turned on or off. On a cold deer stand day the use of ear muffs can be warm ears. A nice thing. If you plan to use the brake while hunting with others near you. I don’t recommend it. You may lose your friends in a hurry.

On the other more positive hand, if on a deer stand alone, it can be a large recoil reducing aid, if you are wearing ear protection and help you make that shot of a lifetime. It is up to you. Be safe out there…

muzzle brake