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

Hand-Loaded Nosler AccuBond LR 142 grain in Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor

The G1 ballistic coefficient for this bullet is .719. The fact that it exceeds 0.7 is world class long range capable of delivering game killing energy at over 600 yards for the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Tech Talk – It has been said that the bullet has a secant o-give and needs more room away from the lands when chambered than your normal bullet but having said that, it does not take from accuracy on bullet jump.

A few days ago, I loaded up some Nosler AccuBond LR’s in 142 grain with IMR 4350 and W760 Powder specified by Nosler in my almost new Ruger American. I used 41.5 grains IMR 4350 and 40.5 grains of W760 powder, max loads. I selected the powder because they were among the fastest at the muzzle and geared for delivering lots of energy at longer ranges.

The cases were Nosler Custom and the primers were CCI BR2’s. Cartridge overall length followed the Nosler Manual of 2.805 and they fit the Ruger magazine perfectly and fed perfectly.

First IMR 4350 cold shot with the Ruger American was 1 inch higher than subsequent  4 shots. Accordingly, I eliminated the cold barrel shot from the group. If I included it the spread was 1 1/8 inch and if I eliminated it the spread was 7/8 inch.

Estimated velocity out of the 22 inch barrel was around 2670 fps after subtracting 60 fps and the 2 more inches in the Nosler manual using a 24 inch barrel compared to the 22 inches of the Ruger.

The W760 Powder shot 1 3/16  five shot group with an estimated velocity of 2610 fps accounting for the shorter 22 inch barrel.

Examination of the primers looked normal and extraction was easy. These loads were terrific.

The results indicate that this grouping for IMR 4350 is terrific for shots in a 6 inch circle at 600 yards. Further that the energy for deer suggests 650 yards where 1000 ft-lbs was calculated and the velocity was 1802 fps. Windage at 90º moved the bullet 28 inches at 10 mph crosswind. That is a lot! Quartering crosswind of 14 inches. The shooter would have to adjust for the crosswind or get closer to the game, a much better scenario.   At half that distance 325 yds the shooter would only be off by 6 inches in a 90º wind and have elk killing energy of 1500 ft-lbs.

Below is the Ruger American Predator. A great affordable rifle for anyone!

The Scope was a Leupold VX-3. See them at https://www.leupold.com/search?q=vx3


In a perfect world, early morning and just before dark usually offer little wind for those longer shots.

Killing game cleanly is the name of the game!

Good Hunting!

© 2017






Sandpit Deer Tracks and Stuff…

Why do deer go into fields and sand pits at night? It’s a deer nightclub in October! A place to be seen and smelled. Putting face to inter-digital gland cent and track size is a tell-all about prep for mating come the end of October. The inter-digital gland is located between the hooves of deer.

Image result for interdigital gland images


Sandpit or gravel like open areas are places I can go in early October to see who is in the neighborhood for bucks and does. Which doe still has yearlings still tagging along can be discerned. And just how big and wide is that track, how rounded or not can tell me that a big buck is hanging around. I am no great whitetail hunter who gets a deer in NH every year but when can, I try to put 2 and 2 together.

My twin brother at left and I did just that  a while back! He was shooting a 300 Win Mag and I was shooting a .338 Win Mag, my African Safari Rifle back then. Needless to say both deer fell right there! My nephew swears that the .338 hit the deer so hard that some of its hair stuck in the tree…on end.  Maybe so!  I shoot big guns very well, besides, no one wants to borrow the .338 so I don’t have to worry about abuse. When I go north I like the hand-loaded .375 Ruger slowed down. Big 230 grain bullets in heavy brush! In open areas the 6.5 Creedmoor, or .270 works fabulous.

Last year my buck was arriving at 2 AM so that didn’t work well. And there were too many hunters pushing the deer to new areas, like behind homes.

I believe whitetail deer use these open sandy areas to leave track size/shape and an inter-digital scent to say who they are to the does and to the potential bucks competing for mating rights.

Check those sandy areas out!

© 2017

New: Primos Trigger Stick or Bog-Pod? Updated

Don’t Own one yet! Maybe today for that steady shot! This from youtube.

I examined the mono-pod, bi-pod and tripod styles at Bass Pro in Hooksett, NH. See my video below.

The Red head was light in weight but cumbersome to open each length but once set it looked solid without further tests and under $40. My primary concern was weight and not cumbersome to set up. It failed the cumbersome part.

The Bog-Pod was strong and looked durable, had a bag to put it in with large white letters saying BOG-POD so big that the shoulder bag looked as much white as black. The bag? Not good in the deer woods by my account..too much white like a deer tail.

My Choice was the Primos bi-pod Gen 3! Not heavy, easy to set up instantly.  Just pull the trigger on the bipod and your pod legs extend by gravity. Let the trigger go and the height is set. Cant mount a camera on the bi-pod at $130.00 but you can on the tripod at $160.00 and carry more weight.

You decide whats best for your hunting situation!

Good Hunting!

© 2017

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!


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