Alaska Hunt – What Caliber and Cartridge is Best?

A great digression as a winter storm hits New England! Campfire fodder!

I suggest as do Alaska experts that the 30-06 Springfield is proven in Alaska but I believe it to be an absolute minimum for Bull Moose and Brown Bear.  Like I hunted in Africa, I believe you should be able to shoot it off hand, handle the recoil and know how to cycle your bolt open and closed and place repeat bullets in a pie plate at say 70 to 80 yards. I did that with a .338 Win Mag and 250 grain bullets on my African Safari.

Alaska is a land of potential dangerous game! Use a rifle caliber that is in stock at the local stores in Alaska if possible. I hear .308, 30-06, 12 gauge shotgun and .22 LR are most common, but it might pay to check and take ammo precautions if your baggage is lost, like have a box ordered and waiting at the local Alaska store of your brand and special caliber.

The .308 or 6 mm/.243 Win or the new 6.5 Creedmoor I love is fine for black tail deer however if you are on an island with deer and bear, the .308 or 6mm is a “not so good” choice if a bear wants you and your downed deer. A 30-06 with 180 or 200 grain heads would perhaps be a better choice. Bigger bores and magnums are recommended if you can handle it. “Bears think that your shot is like ringing the dinner bell!”

Shot placement is everything! If you cant handle your rifle recoil then Alaska is perhaps not for you!

In Brown bear open country, a 30-06 or better a  300 Win Mag with an expanding bonded bullet is Ok. I prefer the .375 Ruger with Nosler AccuBonds or Partitions in at least 260 to 300 grain heads. I do like the .338 Win Mag as well.  I shoot these very well in my Ruger M77. Further that you would be wise to have a Mauser style bolt with a claw extractor to ensure guaranteed chamber feed and removal when hunting dangerous game.

In close quarters like in tag alders where shots are less than 25 yards a pump 12 gauge shotgun with slugs. “In a brown bear charge, you must make the first shot, a brain shot count to turn out its lights.” I would not recommend that kind of close quarters hunt, but it can happen with wounded bears say some experts.

Recoil management has come a long way so use recoil pads that can absorb recoil up to  50%. Get some!

Don’t forget a sidearm like the 44 magnum with 240 grain solid semi-jacket bullets and update your Will if you are Brown Bear Hunting or fishing near Brown Bear.

Good  Hunting!

© 2018

 

New Hampshire Coyotes Soon Begin Looking For A Mate – Take Advantage

The experts say ( I am not one) that female vocalizations can draw Coyotes to your set up in January/February. I have given that a try and mix it with Coyote locator vocals and prey distress calls but it does not happen every time.

Use of electronic calls are very effective as  is having some decoy movement as in a motorized battery operated device. Get your NH 2018 Hunting License on-line and go for it.

I found solid advice here at this website: https://allpredatorcalls.com/coyote-hunting-101/

Most popular gun used is the AR-15 in .223 during the day.   I called NH Fish and Game today. It IS legal to hunt Coyote with more than 5 rounds in your center-fire clip (e.g. .223 rounds) after deer season only in daylight hours in New Hampshire. If you have questions for F&G please call.

From the F&G site: “Here’s how to contact your local Conservation Officer (CO): call Fish and Game’s Dispatch Office at (603) 271-3361. From December through September, the line is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closed from noon until 1:00 p.m.); Saturday and Sunday, 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. The Dispatcher can relay a message to your local Conservation Officer.”

It is also legal to hunt in southern NH areas with center fire rifle in those Deer season shotgun towns in daylight after deer season. 

NHFG site 2018 says;

Coyotes

  • No closed season.
  • Night Hunting: Coyotes may be hunted at night from Jan. 1 through March 31. Lights may be used, except from a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or OHRV. Coyote night hunters are restricted to shotguns, .22 caliber rimfire, muzzleloaders, or archery equipment in those towns with special rules.
  • Electronic calling devices are legal.
  • Written landowner permission, filed with the local conservation officer, is required to hunt coyote at night or to place bait for coyotes.
  • Baiting is not permitted on ice-covered public waters.
  • From the close of the bear baiting season through December 15, baiting for coyote will be restricted to the use of meat, animal parts, carrion, or fish only.

Good Hunting! Send any Photos to us and we will post!

 

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!

 

Felt Recoil: A progression of purchases for the would-be deer and elk hunter. Enter the 6.5 Creedmoor

There are a number of questions to ask yourself as you make a rifle purchase, invariably felt recoil is a significant factor among many others. For young and female hunters and shooters, if it ain’t fun to shoot, the desire will wane in a few outings. The 6.5 Creedmoor is a real all around big game cartridge and is low in recoil and fun to shoot!

Historically, the BB gun and Pellet Rifle begin the progression and have no felt recoil, are fun to shoot, and take small game like squirrels.

Next is the .22 Long Rifle with very little recoil and fun to shoot and can take game up to Coyote.

The .223 is next and geared more for target and varmint/coyote and home defense and has a felt recoil of well under 10 ft-lbs making it easy and fun to shoot. Under strict circumstances it can be used on deer, but I do not recommend it as a deer rifle cartridge.

The .243/6mm is what I call a great starter first deer cartridge as its felt recoil with an 80 grain bullet is very tolerable, fun to shoot and accurate. You can shoot up to 110 grain bullets with a bit more felt recoil and kill deer out to 300 yards. The problem is that the purchase is another in a stepping stone effect toward a real big game rifle.

In 30 caliber a great starter rifle is the 30-30 for close hunting here in the Northeast under 100 yards as it has a low felt recoil but later gathers dust in my closet for more power. I do not consider the 30-30 a real all around big game rifle.

Enter the 6.5 Creedmoor, an outstanding target rifle and what I believe is a real big game hunting rifle cartridge with a low felt recoil of just over 10-12 ft-lbs. Shooting this rifle standing, a 12 to 14 yr old kid can shoot it and handle the low recoil and make a very fine long term Big Game investment and be used in the off season as a tack driving target rifle and varmint cartridge.

Handloading makes the 6.5 a best investment as you can load down to .243 like recoil and work up.

Next is the .270 Winchester which is a very fine hunting cartridge. But if you already own a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, you don’t need a .270 as the 6.5 replicates it already out to over 500 yards with a 140 grain bullet on deer and elk. Now if you already own a .270 and handload your ammo, then you will never purchase a 6.5 Creedmoor unless you are also a target shooter like me in the off season. The Creedmoor will shoot ultra tight groups that you can rarely shoot with the .270 Winchester and do it with much less recoil. The 6.5 Creedmoor in today’s hunting rifles can shoot holes in holes.

In any rifle you can add a new state-of-the-art recoil pad and cut 50% of the felt recoil. I highly advise that! Accuracy improves dramatically when shooters are comfortable with the felt recoil. In closing, I highly recommend the 6.5 Creedmoor in your favorite rifle for any hunter at ages 12 and over especially if you hand load. And I am a Nosler AccuBond and E-Tip fan too as they stay together in game.

Good Hunting!

© 2017

The WHITETAIL RUT IS ON!!

Each year I wait to hear those words but the hunters like me are in RUT too. They are out buying equipment, ammo, arrows, broadheads, scent killers and soaps a sure sign the hunters are in full rut. On the deer side, the first does are coming or near coming into estrous.

The bucks are going bonkers in anticipation!

Years back I found a spot where a young buck was working a deer trail scraping his small antlers on small saplings. I placed a scrape with multiple scents and never saw any deer use that trail again.

Less is often better.

I could have made a mock scrape and put just one drop of scent in it. Trust me the deer can smell it!

One of the things that I sometimes forget to take into account is that the doe’s are on the look out for potential mates too and walk leaving her inter-digital gland scent saying who she is. She can be spooked out too and leave the area taking the buck with her.

You gotta find where the deer are my friends. I have been out scouting and found very little recent deer activity except in one spot where a very big buck track was seen on the edge of a clover field. Big tracks are very rare to belong to a doe.

I am guessing the doe’s are feeding there at night and the buck is on the lookout for an estrous doe. This is a place I have been before so I know.

WATCH THAT WIND!!!!!!

This is a place to study especially early morning and at dusk.  Got to get into the woods and intersect them without giving yourself away with too much human scent. Yea watch the wind and thermals on hillsides for morning updrafts and afternoon down drafts. If you are caught in a morning updraft thermal say at 7AM, that buck above is gonna smell you. Best to be in place always before light for a morning hunt. And in place by 2 pm or so for an afternoon hunt.

Still hunt when there are lots of other hunters! They bump deer!

Don’t over hunt a spot!

More….

© 2017

 

Muzzleloader Season for Whitetails : T/C Encore Pro Hunter Rifle with Muzzleloader barrel

tc-pro-hunter

Here in New Hampshire Muzzleloader season is almost upon us and it is tough to just get to see deer in my sights. I want the gun to go boom on the first shot! The T/C Encore does that with a flair. I wrote a series of articles on this rifle last year. see below. Check it out! Enjoy!

My  T/C Encore Pro Hunter Rifle can swap to a Muzzleloader barrel. And last year I used a 30-06 barrel on a Russian Boar hunt. Read it below.

http://www.nhrifleman.com/?s=skinner&submit=Search

I swapped back to the muzzleloader barrel for the coming whitetail hunt here in New Hampshire beginning October 28.

Use your favorite bullet. See history of articles below on this TC Encore.

http://www.nhrifleman.com/?s=TC+Encore&submit=Search

Good Hunting!

© 2017

TC Venture in 6.5 Creedmoor – Out of the Box at 100 yards

First three shots from this brand spanking new TC Venture right out of the box, for a 3 shot group below using Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X in 6.5 Creedmoor measure 7/16 inch at 100 yds. Wow! And I know that I can do better for grouping  all from a gun that is advertised as MOA accurate. This is Sub-MOA Accurate. Wow! What is Weathershield™? See video below that says “way better than stainless steel” !!!

Spec’s from T/C website:

My first target at 100 yards with a 4.2 lb trigger that can be adjusted 3.5 to 5 lbs.

My bench setup below with very crisp and clear Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x36mm. Nice!!

This rifle has a synthetic clip that holds 3 shots and can be easily removed from the rifle in a snow or wet rain filled cold day where your body shivers. I would order a spare clip and have on hand. The bolt opens and closed a bit more snug than some bolts, but many will find that an advantage. I like the weaver bases already mounted.

The safety is a two position on/off lever at the top rear of the bolt.

Overall I give this rifle an A+ “out of the box” for price and quality for a USA product.

It has posts for a sling and is easy to carry. With a MSRP of $578 how can you go wrong.

More soon…

© 2017