Coyote Hunting Gear – SIG Echo I Reflex Thermal Scope -by Ed Hale

Yes Persistence pays but just not yet. I’m tryin’ in daylight.

Night hunting with thermal scopes can be very effective. One such thermal scope on the market that I have seen but not yet tested is the SIG Echo I for around $1150 instead of $3000 to $9000  for other brand models.

Sig Sauer ECHO1 1-2x Thermal Reflex Sight w/Batteries, Graphite, SOE11011

You can see the SIG Echo 1 at the SIG Pro shop in Epping/ Exeter NH.

If I can get one to test I will write an article. See NHFG for requirements for night hunting below. 


Night or day you can make mistakes!

Here is a website that may help us all.

Good Hunting!


F Class Competition with Savage Precision Rifle photos with Leupold Gold Ring Scopes

Shooting regularly, aka burning powder is the only way to close the gap to the winners circle many say. And it needs to be done with focus to maintain the best parts of your shooting skills while working on your weak spots and reloading concerns.

This July we competed with the Savage M12 Palma in .308 Winchester seen at left with a 30 inch barrel with the Leupold VX-6 7- 42 x55mm scope both the rifle and scope are tested. This Leupold VX-6 is just unbelievable! To the right is the Savage Ashbury Precision Rifle in 6.5 which we tested as well. Search for these rifle articles in the Search Box by Palma and Ashbury. Pictured is Jason Hale – Competitive Editor

Savage Ashbury Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor – Just Arrived


Good Shooting This Spring! Can’t Wait!

2018 © All Rights Reserved.

A Quick Walk with Ruger American 6.5 Creedmoor and Ruger M77 African in 375 Ruger

OK, it’s August and it is time to get the cobwebs out of my Gun Safe.  My two most accurate rifles for the price are the Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor ( around $400 retail) and my Ruger African M77 in .375 Ruger ($900 retail). Today I am about to shoot them when I met fellow rifleman Joe Chicarello shooting his bull barrel .22 Long Rifle. I am sure he was having a great time and nearly done shooting when I arrived at our club range. Joe was easy to talk to and we resonated on shooting and safe handling practices. He has a Browning .223 that he has yet to shoot due to a scope ring issue. I hope you get the rings soon Joe! I invited him to check out my Ruger Rifles. He has never shot any of them so after putting a round down range in the larger bullseye at 50 yards off the Caldwell bench rest with the 6.5, I invited him to try it. I said, it does kick a bit more than the .223 so my bullet hit the center target just off the dead center by a half inch. I put three rounds in the clip with an open bolt and got Joe ready to try it, again at 50 yards, but to shoot a smaller target in the upper right corner. The scope was my Leupold VX-3, a superior hunting scope ready to hunt anywhere in the world

So he shot and I put  my binoculars on it and grinned. Joe it is dead center in the bull, I said excitedly. Kicks more than I expected, he exclaimed. So I put a neoprene pad on his shoulder and he fired again. Just that one hole there, I observed. How did the pad work? I asked. Much better, he added. You’ve got another shot left Joe. So he took aim again and fired. He said, “maybe I wiggled on that one!” Accordingly, I observed that same one hole there. Lets take a look Joe  and see what’s up. The range was made cold and we walked to the target.

Arriving at the target, here we are looking for strays but when we looked close enough there was one tri-cloverleaf hole in the upper right target. All the time Joe said, I’m a bit shakey.  I assured him that was not the way the bullets saw it,and congratulated him on such fine shooting.

In my testing this rifle a year ago, I shot 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards with other hand loads in the Ruger American and was thinking these were hand loads too but not so. They were right out of the Hornady Precision hunter box which features ELD-X™ bullets (Extremely Low Drag) that I used this past summer in a different rifle where I popped 8 inch balloons at 1000 yards at the NH Sig Sauer Academy with my son Jason.

Then I shot a .375 Ruger light hand load (2200 fps) of speer 235 grain heads out of the stone cold gun and it hit 1 7/8 high from the dead center. I invited Joe to try but he said he was done. Perhaps a bit fearful, I dunno. Doesn’t kick any more than my T/C Encore muzzleloader with 100 grains of Pyrodex I said. Nope, Joe wasn’t ready.

So I proceeded to put 2 more shots in the center bullseye using the same aiming point. If you look close you can see my first shot from the 6.5 in the center bull as well.

All said and done that was a nice short walk in the park (range) and made a new friend I too. I asked his permission to use his name in this article. Of course, he said.

Good Shooting!

© 2017

Memorial Day, the Mystic Precision MPOD Bipod, and the Leupold Gold Ring Competition Scope for F-T/R Match

First, a reminder for this Memorial Day weekend, which is likely to be full of barbecues, parades and perhaps a frosty beverage: Never forget!  Just a reminder dad, I will never forget.

Image courtesy of Associated Press

My kids and I are looking forward to the parade this Memorial Day weekend to honor our soldiers, but it means so much more than that.  I did not serve, but my father along with the rest of my family, has a rich history of putting on the uniform for this country since the American Revolution.  I take these holidays seriously, as that was how I was raised.  With my kids, I do my best to explain the meaning of remembering those that, when their country called on them, ran towards harm instead of away from it.  Some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.  It’s because of them that I get to punch holes in paper for fun and nothing is headed back in my direction.  Thank you, thank you, thank you dad and those who have served this country.

Mystic Precision MPOD Bipod

Load testing will continue with the Nosler bullets, but in the mean time, I have a match coming up this weekend and will be using my current match load of the Sierra 175 TMK’s which I have to use up.  I started long range rifle competitions using my standard Harris S 6-9″ Bipod.  It worked well to start out, but one of the downsides to using this basic bipod was that you couldn’t track your shots and the bipod would often sink into the position (dirt/grass/sand) which lead to fighting elevation changes in the middle of a string of fire.

I decided that it was time for an upgrade for future competitions. 

After a lot of research on F-Class bipods, I settled on an economical lightweight design from Mystic Precision.

It’s a Canadian company, but the bipods are actually manufactured right here in the USA,  at Evolution Gun Works in Quakertown, PA.  I have my first match this weekend.  I will report back on what the differences are with this bi-pod.

From Mystic Precision’s website:

MPOD Design:  Make a super light bipod with the stability and tracking of a pedestal rest

A winning design: Winner of the 2013 Individual FTR World Championship used the MPOD.  Multiple NRA records in Team and Individual set.  Several Members of the US National FTR team currently shooting with the MPOD

Improved geometry to reduce the effects of torque during recoil for consistent tracking and follow through despite the chambering. Has been successfully used on larger caliber boomers including the 50BMG

Easy to operate with large range of movements to account for varied terrain.  The lowest height is 4 1/2 inches suitable for bench work and raised berms when shooting prone. At full elevation, you have 7 3/4 inches to the mounting lug.  This range is wider then the Harris 6-9 bipod.

Cant feature is now added for quick leveling on uneven ground.  And the Cant will not shift during recoil as is common with most other bipods.

Easy to install and remove – Solid with great repeatability and accuracy potential.

Stability increasing with increased pod height which is opposite to a number of designs.

Keep finished weight as low as possible – 12.8ozs installed, yet strong enough to support heavy rifles and big boomers.  Easily supported rifles weighing 50lbs.

I’ve also mounted and plumb leveled the Leupold Gold Ring VX-6 7-42 X 56mm scope with 34mm tube for it’s first test.

I am excited to have the target fill up more of my scope at the higher magnifications.

I’m used to no higher than 25X magnification and First Focal Plane reticles that obscure the target more than necessary, so this should be a real treat.

Having that much magnification can be a real benefit if mirage isn’t too bad.  Local range conditions for the match look good, mid 60’s and 2 mph winds from the south.  We’ll see if that holds; field conditions could be completely different.  I’m going to re-zero and confirm my come-ups for dialing to 600 yds the morning of the match.
I will post my scores for this weekend’s match, share a few thoughts, and post a few photo’s of the bi-pod and scope mounted at the range.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!!

See you at the range.

© 2017


Testing Begins Soon On The Gold Ring Leupold VX-6 7- 42 x 56mm Scope

OMG, This Leupold Scope, created in part by competitive long range shooters, is worth more than any of the hunting rifles I own and designed specifically for long range such as F-Class Competition with ultra precision.

MSRP is $2700 but I have seen it advertised for just under $2000. Is it worth the price?

At NH Rifleman Magazine we are serious about testing it.

If you are serious about winning Long Range Competitive Rifle shoots, this is one may likely bear your attention.

A superior scope is an investment in winning. A simple fact of Competition, that superior equipment and attention to detail is essential. The VX-6 product line is based on the Zoom ratio of 6 to 1. A turn of the dial takes you on an optical ride from 7 power and zooms you to 42 power magnification in just a twist.

Its 56mm Objective lens allows mega amounts of light inside and it is transmitted by its very large 34mm tube for maximum image quality.

It has shipped from Leupold yesterday and should be here soon.

Look for more on this scope soon…

Good Shooting!

What is all the Hubbub in Variable Riflescope Choice – First or Second Focal Plane

Up to just recently, you and I have heard little about this. Why? Because the choice in hunting scopes has always been made by the manufacturer as second focal plane in the rear of the scope after the erector lens’ where the reticle (crosshairs) does not magnify or shrink with the image as you turn the magnification dial, only the target enlarges.

See Images and website below by looking for images of first vs second focal plane.

Second Focal Plane works to the advantage of many hunters that are shooting small targets such as distant prairie dogs or exacting long range bullseyes at known distances in competition like F- Class because the crosshairs do not thicken and cover the bullseye center.

The downside is that the reticle crosshair hash marks in Mils or MOA lose their true meaning unless set at a specific power setting but for F-Class or game that has been ranged with a rangefinder, who cares, we know the distance.

If the reticle (crosshair) is put in the front of the scope ahead of the erector magnification lens system, called first or front focal plane, the lens will magnify/enlarge the crosshairs as the magnification dial is turned and the hash marks are accurate at any power in Mils or MOA. The benefit in holdover on a target with unknown distances can be seen in that way as your mil/MOA marks are accurate like in a moving shooter situation and unknown distances such as tactical situations. Below is a great discussion by Leupold at GunTalk.TV.

Hope that helps! From a scenario such as a long range hunter with a laser rangefinder or F- Class then shooting Second Focal Plane makes sense. If you shoot tactical and unknown distances and need the hash-mark to be accurate and don’t care if your crosshair gets larger then shoot First Focal Plane.

Good Shooting!

Skinner Bog Maine Russian Boar Hunt:TC Pro Hunter with Nosler E-Tips and a Leupold Scope by Ed Hale

It was Monday February 6th, 2017 at near noon when I left for my Maine Russian Boar hunt. It took me a bit over 3 hours to get to Dixmont, Maine, were Skinner Bog Hunt Park is located. I promised my friends at Nosler that I would “take” a Russian boar with Nosler E-Tips and gave me a chance to shoot the TC Pro Hunter Single shot rifle in 30-06 Springfield with my favorite scope, a Leupold VX-6 3-18 x 44mm

Skinner Bog Hunt Park

Skinner Bog Hunt Park is owned and operated by Jeremy Bilodeau who has a passion for hunting Whitetail deer as well as his hunt park operation which has game animals such as the Russian Boar, mixed wild boar breeds, Red deer, Sika deer, Fallow deer and Elk. Give Jeremy a call at the website if you want more info or to book your own hunt.

When I arrived, I was greeted by Jeremy at the main camp and taken to my bunk area where I spread out my gear and relaxed before dinner.

Here is a shot of the living area wall back at camp with all of the family whitetails taken.

All deer on the walls were taken by Jeremy and his 2 sons. Food and drink was provided for by the lodge and was treated to a first night steak dinner and some grilled wild pig along with Asparagus and Scalloped Potato. The wild pig was a cross breed from the park and delicious.

I was to hunt the larger 400 acre park in the morning for a long standing wild group of very wary Russian boar. We got out to the park on his large side by side 4 wheeler. Temperatures were hovering in the 12 to 16 degree range so we bundled up. I was shooting the TC Pro Hunter Single Shot in 30-06 Springfield with Nosler E- Tips, the E is for Expanding. An all gilding copper bullet that Expands on contact and stays together.

I thought I was well prepared until we started “still hunting” on a fluffy 3 inches of new snow on frozen compressed ice snowpack underneath, except I was not very still. My boots were not able to grip the snowpack and it was like I was on an undulating skating rink where I slipped and fell many times. Just a week earlier Jeremy and his client put up a nice Russian boar in the same area we were hunting, hoping to cut fresh tracks. We covered many acres of what should have been prime bedding area and came up with not one new track. But there are at least 25 animals in the half square mile park. Of course we could see where the animals had been just days before, but you can’t eat tracks as my dad used to say.  Jeremy suggested we take a break, concerned for my slipping and sliding and I said directly; “I’m fine…don’t need a break.” I was determined to not let the slipping get the best of me and continued our hunt in hopes seeing new sign. My pride was perhaps bruised more than I was.  We stopped off at the deep woods guest cabin that sleeps 6,  to see inside it and make sure the scope was still on.

Sure enough it got banged enough to shoot 9 inches to the right, at 100 yards. A few adjustments and we were back on target.

Ok, nuf’-o-that,  we decided to have some lunch and shift gears to a different spot in the park. Jeremy rustled up a pair of Trex™ Ice traction slip-on’s (below), and that did the trick.

Trex™ Ice Traction Device (05831)

Renewed and refreshed Jeremy led me to a different area. It wasn’t long as we pushed through the spruce, we could see legs of animals ahead of us. Jeremy said “Red deer” as they melted into the backdrop. I heard them but did not see them.  As we moved along we heard a grunt, then another; a parade of Wild boar, both large and small were moving away at about 50 yards. Jeremy, earlier stated that several Russian  boar are here as well as mixed breeds. I wanted a Russian boar to write about and serve to my friends and family for dinner!

Jeremy and I followed from a safe distance and the boar began to root around oblivious to us. We got into position for a shot in the first available opening but all we could see was the back end of the boar. Then the big Russian swapped ends and headed straight at us. We froze momentarily in hopes it would not see us, then like a dart the boar went left quartering away at 35 yards but the smaller boar were milling around, and the equally large boar was nearby making a shot impossible.

Then, two more small inquisitive boar came up behind us so we gave them plenty of room, knowing we would end up in a better shooting position anyhow.

The smaller boar were bold as all get-out, not sure what they would do, so we move away.

Finally in the thick spruce the Russian boar was alone and we were in  position just 15 yards away and was broadside. Jeremy whispered; “Clear!” I was already aiming and ready. Boom! I could see the tissue tight behind the boars shoulder give a puff and ran away to the left and down an opening where, in just 30 yards, it collapsed. Perfect Shot Ed!, said Jeremy! We high fived a few times as she collapsed just 30 yards down a small hill. It was a mad house of all the boar grunting that stood around it and in a protection circle and the other big Russian was popping his teeth as a warning.

We stayed at a distance to ensure the boar was indeed dead for a few minutes and then went into recovery mode back at camp with a 4 wheel vehicle and a plastic toboggan. We got the big Russian all loaded up and away from the other boar and found a spot for a photo shoot with the boar, my TC Pro Hunter Rifle, Leupold VX-6 Scope and the Nosler 30-06 with 168g Copper E-Tips that brought this Russian boar down in a hurry.

Now the process of skinning and quartering is underway below. Look at all that fat!

Here is where the Nosler E-Tip, (E for expanding) all copper bullet did on entrance. The bullet encountered the thick skin on the shoulder called the “shield” and the E-Tip opened (expanded) on the shield as it punched through the ribs with a quarter size hole on entry. The bullet shredded the lungs and took a chunk from the heart and exited with a golf ball size hole. And not a trace of the copper to be found!!! Wow! Now that is a bullet! I will be feeding some of this to my little grandkids and feel confident that there are no lead fragments as it is all copper and resists fragmentation.

Jeremy suggested we leave the halves to cool in the 16 degree weather.

I used a power reciprocating saw with a new blade they call the Ax. Did a fine job cutting bone! Look at that fat marbling will ya!

It is Thursday, I killed the boar on Tuesday afternoon.  I cut up half of the boar during the Northeaster Blizzard we were having here in New Hampshire. In the blizzard I heated up the grill and barbecued these puppies in Balsamic and Fig Vinegar, salt and pepper till crispy and about 140 or so internal temp. Look at those snow flakes!

So after all those  driven miles, all the falls in the snow and slick ice woods at Skinner Bog in Maine, here is the dinner I created;

Grilled Balsamic Russian boar chops with Broccolini , Crisp Apple and Bread Stuffing and Newfoundland Partridge Berry /Blueberry Jam on the side. Wow! And a Stella Beer to wash it down. Magnificent!!! The fat was blackened and crispy, meat tender and very flavorful and non gamey. Restaurant quality!

Thanks so much Jeremy, It was a blast! I will be back!!!

A big hat tip to my friends at Nosler and the E-Tip, Thompson Center for such a fine rifle and Leupold for its famous VX-6 3-18x44mm scope.

Good Hunting!

Copyright © 2017






Sight- In with Leupold VX-6, Nosler E-Tips and TC Pro-Hunter for Russian Boar

I moved my best scope, Leupold’s Gold Ring VX-6 3-18x44mm to the TC Pro Hunter using Weaver Grand Slam style bases and a quick detach ring.

Shooting in very cold weather created a situation that I could not control with the levers as they were hard to tighten and became loose at the range at 15ºF, and could be banged loose on branches in the heavy woods.

Accordingly, I went to my NH  Bass Pro shop and found Warne Scope Mounts in Steel (Made in the USA) for a 30mm scope tube. It was almost impossible to find out of regular hunting season… but I did.

It is a split ring in right and left halves.

Product Details

The directions were great as I already had a Wheeler Fat Wrench with a T-15 tip. All I had to do was set the torque to 25 in-lbs for the screws and I was done. Cost $59.00 but I did not shop around as I wanted them now.

What I had not purchased for the VX-6 was scope covers, so I went ahead and fitted the scope in the BassPro store with Butler Creek Flip Open Scope Covers. The front 44mm lens took a 53.3mm cover.

Butler Creek Flip-Open Objective Scope Cover, Size 31 (1.998-Inch, 50.7mm)

and the rear lens took the 42.2 mm lens cover with the red lever.

Product Details


I have had great success with all  my other scopes with Butler Creek covers but it is best to bring your scope with you and fit it right there.

I tested the E-Tips, Scope, Mounts and Covers today at the range and was shooting off the shelf Nosler E-Tips at 100 yards. I was  pleased as punch shooting between one and two inch groups. At 50 yards, where most of my shots at Boar should be, I wasn’t gonna burn more powder and bullets to split hairs.


If you get snow in your barrel, what then? Use a single piece of elect tape to cover your barrel muzzle or buy latex finger cots at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Like a small condom for your rifle barrel.

Method #2 bring a bore snake in your backpack if you have to clean the bore in the field due to mud or snow.

My TC all Rigged up

Bring on those ornery Russian Boar tuskers…

© 2017



New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine winning Ruger, Hornady and Leupold Combination by Ed Hale

New Hampshire Rifleman’s winning combination is the Ruger American – Predator Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor winning Hornady bullet and winning Leupold VX-6 3-18x 44mm CDS scope.

The Rifle

The rifle that won my value driven pocket book is the Ruger American for under $400 dollars yet shoot sub-Minute of Angle at 100 yards as my Test Rifle. Not long ago it took a few thousand dollars to shoot groups like that. Adjustable Trigger, floating barrel and so much more that you have to read the spec sheet below.

In particular I have tested two of the rifles, one in 243 Winchester and the other in 6.5mm Creedmoor in the Predator series. Both shot sub MOA out of the box and both were in the $400 price range. Exceptional performance from these rifles was uncanny. I bought them both but later sold the .243 as recoil was similar to the 6.5 Creedmoor and it delivered more energy punch hands down. Wow! Accuracy? We got it!

The Cartridge

The 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge is just slightly smaller than the .308 Winchester yet with a 143 grain bullet at 1000 yards it beats the long standing military champ .308 or 7.62 NATO in both trajectory and wind deflection. As a first time 1000 yard shooter, I was able to break 8 inch balloons at 1000 yards. If you couple that with an Extremely Low Drag Bullet you have a fabulous combo for Target, as that was the original intent of the cartridge, but what about Hunting? The 6.5mm Creedmoor can handle a wider array of big game bullet weights than the 6mm/243 Winchester. I suspect the 6.5 will in time overshadow the 6mm at least as a big game hunting round as it delivers a bullet in the .270 Winchester class with the mild recoil of a 6mm. Of course bullet velocities are a bit slower. The .270 Winchester is still a faster bullet as is the 7mm Remington Magnum but at a higher cost of recoil as well.

The Bullet

Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X™ in 143 grain with new Heat Shield™ Tips Patent Pending with AMP® Advanced Manufacturing Process. Mushroom design as low as 1800 fps and stays together out of the barrel. ACCURATE-DEADLY-DEPENDABLE

In testing by Hornady, the Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X™ Extremely Low Drag Bullet has a very impressive G1 Ballistic Coefficient of .625/ G7 BC .315 for hunting at any distance within the delivered Energy Envelope for the game hunted such as 1000 ft-lb for deer 1500 ft-lb for Elk size game. Click the video below.


The Target


The Scope

Leupold VX-6 3-18x44mm Side Focus CDS see the VX-6 video below


The most expensive item was the scope. The VX-6 is unparalleled in quality and zoom and has dual erector springs that are vital in a far off hunt. This scope raises the bar in optical quality. You can spend more, but you will likely not get more dollar for dollar.  It is a scope for all time, near or far it is my best scope to date. It’s versatility, reliability was nearly unimaginable just a few years back.  Retail $850 to $1430 and worth every penny. Leupold Scopes are All American Made!

A perfect 10 combination for a big game hunter for deer, elk and African Plains game with low recoil. And my grandkids can shoot it!

Put a Ruger American-Predator Rifle Combo under your Christmas tree!

Good Hunting!

© 2016