Hunter’s: Practice on Paper Deer Without Bullseye’s

Birchwood Casey Eze-Scorer Whitetail Deer Folded 2 Targets

This is a Birchwood Casey Deer target and will show your hits as yellow as seen above. You can order on-line $12 for 2 targets with extra kill zones. Locate it with your favorite search engine.

This one comes in a 2 pack with extra vitals and should last more than one season.

Deer Vitals are outlined. A medium deer will have a 17 to 18 inch deep chest. A large deer will have an 18 to 20 inch chest. By shooting just below the midpoint and tight behind the front leg you are in the heart/lung vitals. Read the article at Chuck Hawkes below. What is missing here perhaps is that if you can see a shape or tuft of hair in the kill zone to aim at then even better, focus on it as your target. Remember, aim small miss small.


Maximize your Flintlock Rifle Hunt Setup

Got my trusty flintlock rifle right? Flintlocks, despite all the movies that show them firing each and every time, need to be attended to in order to maximize the odds that the rifle will fire the charge in the barrel and send the round ball on its way.

I bought into that trusty stuff. Seeing a beautiful Longrifle can do that.

I have fired perhaps 60 rounds from my Lancaster Flintlock and a number of times the either the priming powder did not go off or when it did, the main charge did not. This was mostly my fault.

Since my rifle is new, it is likely my own newness too that needs adjustment.

Research on the internet has lots of advice. What I have done is located several sites that espouse the same things in the set-up of your lock in the deer woods. You only have one real chance to ensure the rifle fires and send the bullet on its way.

1. Keep your lock clean and lubricated.

2. Ensure your flint is tight in the clamp, clean and sharp and even (parallel) with the frizzen. If not you must knap the flint face with a brass rod to sharpen it and make it parallel with the frizzen face. If your leather wrap on the flint is too thick then the leather will absorb energy. Many, including me now use a lead wrap that you can hammer out of a lead round ball. The lead will conform to the flint and hold it in place just as the leather does but will not absorb the hammer energy. This delivers more energy of the flint to strike the frizzen and more sparks result.

On an empty gun, I observe the sparks from the flint to see that they are sent to the powder pan in quantity.

3. The rifle, most flintlock hunters say, needs to be shot just before the hunt and swabbed once without lubrication, maybe a little spit on a cleaning patch.  This is like shooting with a seasoned barrel and the bullet will not encounter lubricant which can change the point of impact.

4. Use a pin to clean the touchhole shaft after you load a round.

5. Don’t over fill the clean pan with powder.

If you shoot to practice it is wise to run a spit cleaning patch after every shot. I have just adopted this clean after each shot method and I like it.

And you can end up shooting like this shot below at a paper deer at 50 yards. I used a large post like tree in the woods to brace the rifle. See the 50 cal Round Ball hole dead center in the lungs just above the heart. The other holes are from different caliber rifles in a previous year. I will try to use a  monopod or bi-pod to shoot or find a good tree to brace.

This image of a deer was about 75% of life size. I do recommend buying these paper archery targets of deer and shooting them with no bullseye to focus on. I think that 40 to 50 yards is my limit without a bi-pod. This is the most common shooting distance encountered here in Northern New England and New Hampshire.

Good Shooting!

© 2017

How Much Bullet Energy to Kill Moose? Some thoughts!

For years I keep reading about the need for 2500 ft-lbs bullet energy to kill a Moose cleanly. I shot my moose with a .375 Ruger but it was not broadside it was face on, taking out just one lung.  The bullet traveled the whole length and lodged in the hide at his rear end.  It took another round from my partners .308 and then a finishing shot from me to the spine. Yet there is story after story of rifle calibers in the 6mm, .270 and 7mm, .308 Winchester lower recoil class that kill cleanly every year (broadside double lung shots) with less energy than the 2500 ft-lbs that so many have fallen in line with. The key to killing a full grown moose is for the most part, accurate bullet placement and adequate penetration ,Jack O’connor would argue, to reach the vitals of the heart/lung area. Jack killed Moose at 200 yards with his 130 grain .270 Winchester. Others have taken moose out to 400 yards with the .270 Winchester. I would avoid that one if possible.

Based on penetration, the Sectional Density of a bullet is a tell all for penetration as long as the bullet design is geared to “stay together and mushroom”. Do you need a big powerful bullet to kill moose? Some think so but I don’t, especially with today’s bonded, copper etc. bullets and the partition style. I do ascribe to the 1500 ft-lbs for Elk but the 2500 ft-lbs is perhaps now disproven for moose. The key to remember is to try for broadside shots whenever possible and avoid quartering shots that need to travel far to vitals. A double lung hit is a sure bet on all big game.  If you want to take those quartering shots, then yes, more power is needed to reach the heart lungs. I did that with a 800 pound Bison and my 375 Ruger and Nosler 260 grain AccuBond he fell like a stone at 100 yards taking out heart, lungs and the far shoulder. Nuff said.

Go shoot a big moose with your deer rifle! It’s been done for decades! Just shoot em in the heart lungs area such as a double lung hit and that moose is yours. Of course if you have a bigger gun like I did, no problem.

Good Hunting!



One Shot One Kill applies to Hunters too. Use a Bipod or Tripod!

Yes it is a sniper credo but it also applies to serious hunters. After the first shot in the field or woods, every animal knows. And if your game animal was not hit or vitally hit on the first shot you will rarely have a second shot. Color your animal gone or likely lost!

Ok how to improve?

First only take shots that are within your capability?

How do you know this?

By practicing and learning your limits. The kill zone of heart and lungs of a large whitetail buck for example is 8 inches but a doe is often much smaller and more like a 6 inch kill zone. I keep my shots in that zone when practicing off hand. My max range for off hand is about 50 yards. If I have time to brace against a tree or use shooting sticks, like I did in Africa, my confidence grows to 300 yards or more.

So finding a brace, such as shooting sticks or pods, helps make that first shot count!

When I take a stand and can see longer than 50 yards then I will employ a brace like shooting sticks or a bipod or monopod. My hunt in North Carolina a few years back placed me in a sorghum field with a 380 yard view. I had a spike buck on day three cross the field at nearly 300 yards. You can see my monopod in the photo below.

I had a monopod firmly strapped to my stand and took that spike with my Savage 7mm Rem Mag. I was meat hunting after 3 days of seeing not one deer!  If I didn’t have that pod, I would have been forced to pass on that shot. I hit the buck near top of the lungs and he fell like lightening but a moment later it stood and I placed a second shot just a few inches lower and put him in my freezer.

I have a Harris Bipod that is useless in northern NH hunting and the mono-pod walking stick which is nice but I think a larger lightweight telescoping bipod or even the tripod is a better answer, such as the bog-pod by Battenfield Technologies, Inc.

Bog Gear Bog-Pod Shooting Stick SB-2 Sportsman's Bipod 735544

I show this brand because it so well thought out! Check it out at your local sporting goods store.

Make that first shot a kill shot like this Red Hartebeest below taken with bow.

Good Hunting!

© 2017

Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard Coming Soon

Vanguard® Weatherguard™

Above the Weatherby® Vanguard® Weatherguard™ is coming to New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine On-Line in 6.5 Creedmoor, one of my favorite cartridges. I chose this rifle to test for several reasons but it all boils down to value!  High quality and accuracy (guaranteed MOA accurate with Weatherby cartridges or top names) at a very acceptable cost. At an MSRP of $750 (much less at retail) this rifle appears to have it all. We shall see! Accordingly, we will put this rifle through its paces for accuracy and dependability for the all weather hunter.

Good Hunting! Check back soon!


Subsonic or Low Noise 22LR Ammo

Over the years the neighbors moved in from the city, right? And If they hear even a supersonic 22 LR go off with a cracking sound then your neighbors are complaining. As a kid I had a bolt 22 that would take 22 short, long or long rifle. I need another one!

My backyard garden had chipmunks and red squirrels chewing on my plants and my house. What to do? I have had it! My bb gun is a pain-in-the-backside to pump and shoot every time.

I bought some subsonic ammo that wont make that cracking sound of breaking the sound barrier. This ammo speed is less than the speed of sound which at sea level is around 1120 to 1130 fps in the 60 to 70 degree F range. As temp goes up so does the speed needed to break the sound barrier. Ammo in the 1000 fps range is adequate. The problem then becomes one of diet in your particular rifle or pistol. Semi-Autos can be finicky and not eject and feed the next round so you need to experiment or shoot just one at a time, which is fine with me. The key is accuracy! At 25 yards I can hit the head of a chipmunk with a steady rest with Aguila SuperExtra subsonic 40 g heads.

But I really want to know what is out there so I tried CCI Quiet but my Marlin 22LR semi won’t even shoot them. There are video’s that say they work fine but you got to have a rifle that shoots them. Pistols are by their nature much louder so you may need hearing protection there for sure.

Next is 22LR Low Noise Ammo – This ammo is sold by many manufacturers like CCI Quiet, Remington and Winchester among many in the low-noise 770 fps or less

Here is a video series below on YouTube. The Ruger 10/22 seems to shoot well with many or bolt or lever action.



Experimentation is best but accuracy is key!




Most Read Article: The .270 Winchester vs. the 6.5 Creedmoor by Ed Hale

My rifle article has the shooting world by the tail and read by tens of thousands around the world from New England to Alaska, and in South Africa. They just can’t get enough of it!!.

So here it is again below. Enjoy!!

The .270 Winchester vs the 6.5 Creedmoor- by Ed Hale

Smith & Wesson to Sponsor 2017 NRA World Shooting Championship




Matt Spafford, Smith & Wesson Corp.




Smith & Wesson to Sponsor 2017 NRA World Shooting Championship


SPRINGFIELD, Mass., (September 13, 2017) – Smith & Wesson Corp. announced today that it will return as the Silver Sponsor for the 2017 NRA World Shooting Competition on September 14-16 at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Glengary, WV. The NRA World Shooting Championships are a unique shooting event, in which both professional and amateur shooters must only use pistols, rifles and shotguns provided by firearms manufacturers.


Matt Buckingham, President of Smith & Wesson, said, “Competing with manufacturer-supplied firearms presents a unique challenge for professional shooters, and allows amateur shooters to compete without the significant investment in equipment that would otherwise be required.  The NRA World Shooting Championships are a great way for new shooters to get a taste of the different shooting sports, and we are pleased to be able to support the NRA and help bring such a fun, diverse event to the shooting community.”


Professional and amateur shooters from around the world gather to test their skills at multiple disciplines, including pistol, rifle, shotgun, and combined firearms sports. There are two divisions, Professional and Amateur, consisting of 12 stages and 3 days of competition with a prize table worth over $250,000. The NRA Two-Gun Stage of the match will feature the Performance Center® M&P®15 Competition rifle, as well as the Performance Center® M&P®9 Pro Series® pistol for shooters to compete with during the stage.  Professional Shooters Doug Koenig and Jerry Miculek of Team Smith & Wesson will be competing at the event.


For more information about the 2017 NRA World Shooting Competition, please visit


For more information about Smith & Wesson, please visit



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




To Shoot a Charging Bear with a S&W Model 69 in 44 Magnum?

Have you practiced hitting  a 3 inch ball (the size of a bears brain) coming at you, undulating up and down at 20 miles an hour? I took some shots yesterday with the Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat 44 magnum at just a  stationary target and I could only get one bullet, the first shot, in the kill zone out of 5 shots. See Video below.

But that was just initial practice. Serious practice with a moving target over time would be best. And you or I might reach the conclusion that we are not up for that task.

I saw a video where someone used a 1911 pistol in 45 ACP place more than one bullet in the brain kill zone however the 45 ACP is not Brown Bear medicine and would not likely penetrate the skull before the bear reached your body.

Brown bear experts suggest that a 12 gauge shotgun with slugs and 00 buckshot are best in brown bear country.

But on black bear here in New England the S&W Model 69 for general use on deer in regular gun season or bear is just fine say for an archery bear hunt where the bear is climbing the tree you are in and you want more protection than spray repellent.

So where does that leave us in our testing with the SW Model 69 Combat Magnum? I like the confidence I feel with a pistol in 44 Magnum on my hip and will share more on my carry of it in the deer woods this fall.

Note: during deer Muzzleloader or Bow season, you must have “license to carry permit with you” in addition to your muzzleloader/archery license or leave your pistol home.

Open Carry it during “regular”gun season if you like but if concealed under a jacket you need a “conceal carry permit”. When in doubt call NH F&G to get any questions answered before hitting the woods. Unless you have a conceal carry permit, you must unload your pistol while in a vehicle just like your rifle or shotgun. Bone up on pistol laws.

I have a conceal carry permit and you should too, see your local police department.

A concealed gun on you without a conceal carry permit is against NH Law so be aware.

Be Safe! Good Shooting!


Thompson/Center’s World of Muzzleloading Series 2 Now on YouTube




Matt Spafford, Smith & Wesson Corp.



Thompson/Center Arms releases “World of Muzzleloading Series 2” on YouTube


SPRINGFIELD, Mass., (September 11, 2017)– Thompson/Center Arms today announced that it has released it’s new “World of Muzzleloading Series 2” instructional videos on YouTube, hosted by Gregg Ritz of Outdoor Channel’s Hunt Masters. Updated for 2017, the “World of Muzzleloading Series 2” YouTube series provides current techniques, product recommendations and insights to help educate viewers on how to hunt safely in the field using today’s muzzleloaders.


Gregg Ritz of Outdoor Channel’s Hunt Masters, said, “For the last three decades, I have been pursuing big game around the world with a muzzleloader and have fired countless rounds at the range. A large portion of my hunting career has been spent using a muzzleloader and I am excited to be able to share my knowledge of the sport to help both new and experienced hunters enhance their skillset with a muzzleloader.  The “World of Muzzleloading Series 2” provides tips and techniques for those new to the sport, as well as plenty of refresher knowledge for experienced muzzleloading enthusiasts.”


Thompson/Center Arms has been known as America’s Master Gunmaker® since 1967 and has been producing muzzleloaders since 1970. Thompson/Center Arms manufactures a diverse line of muzzleloaders suitable for every level of shooter, ranging from the affordable T/C® Impact! to the premium T/C Encore® Pro Hunter XT.


Danielle Sanville, Brand Manager for Thompson/Center Arms, said, “Thompson/Center has a long history of innovation in the firearms industry and our products have been trusted by hunters across North America for over 50 years. The “World of Muzzleloading Series 2” was designed to help those looking to get involved in the sport, as well as to offer tips and tricks to those who are experienced with a muzzleloader and looking to hone their skills. We hope this video series helps inspire our customers to get out and enjoy the sport of muzzleloading.”


To view Thompson/Center’s “World of Muzzleloading Series 2” videos, click here.


For more information, follow Thompson/Center Arms on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, or visit the website at

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