Muzzleloader 2014

It has gotten so that our early KY Muzzleloader Season has become a dry run for Rifle Season here at camp. We do not have any Yutes at camp anymore, now that Angus is hunting on his own as an adult. So this past weekend was like a dress rehearsal, getting all the bugs worked out. I am sure that if a serious buck had walked out in front of us, he’d have been hanging on the pole, but normally early ML weekend has been a good time to get the gear in order, get our heads wrapped around the job at hand and straighten out stuff around camp.

Friday was a hectic mess. Over the past couple decade or so, I have gotten the whole Deer Camp thing down. I have the license situation all figured out. Everybody’s ammo is down at camp weeks before. All those things you might leave behind at home are pre-positioned. This time, however, Angus ran into some trouble getting his muzzleloader straightened out, and we went clear up to last weekend working on getting it sighted in. Murphy was watching. We got down to camp and could not find the ammo can with the possibles bags. I started to head back to town, and was walking KYHillChick through a thorough search of the basement, the garage — anywhere we might have left the box. I was almost back to Berlin before I decided the box had to be with us. I called back to camp, and another thorough search produced the box.

Saturday was an odd situation. I cannot say exactly when I have seen the weather reports, even the live radar, be so fouled up on predicting rain. When we left camp for our stands, there was no rain showing in the area, but rain popped up just north of us and moved in shortly after first light. We had rain all morning and between that and the wind our morning hunts were dismally poor. In the afternoon, the rain started shortly after we left for our stands and continued until dark.

It was overall remarkably quiet both Saturday and Sunday.  On the Opener, I heard a shot about once every 7 minutes.  On Sunday, I heard fewer than 10 shots all morning until about 0900, and then it sounded like everyone unloaded their barrels at once and went home in disgust.

Sunday was a bit better. It was about 8 degrees warmer than had been predicted. Even before first light, I was getting deer walking by. After the sun came up a half dozen deer came by the stand. They were all doe, nothing I wanted to shoot, but the good news was that they never fully busted me. I had a couple of them snort, but then they turned around and came by the stand anyway. It made me feel good– no stray stink on me.

SuperCore finally decided that he could not take any more, and busted a cap on a doe that was part of a small herd of 7 coming out of Skunk Hollow. The smoke cleared, the deer had fled. He and Angus searched Skunk Hollow for the deer and any blood sign to no avail. From his description, it sounded like the doe had turned into the shot and the bullet had gone either over her back or in front of her.

The really great news out of all this was that Angus got three hunts under his belt and managed to set up a ground blind and get in and out of a treestand without anyone else around to help.

The other really great news is that the deer are back. Some years our resident doe just leave. The food plots and bedding areas stop getting fresh sign and we just do not see anything until fall. This year, they stayed away longer than usual, but they seem to be back on our ridges, and are beginning to hoover up the acorns. Things are on track for a good year.


Local History

I tell everyone that my place is in Neave, Kentucky, but I’m really closer to Browningsville. It is just that no one ever heard of Browningsville, Kentucky. Neave? Neave is the reason my zipcode reads Falmouth, which is way the heck over in another county instead of Brooksville, the county seat. The story goes that a guy named Holton started a stage service between his store at the crossroads in Neave and Falmouth and used that to leverage getting the mail. Of course this all goes back to the Civil War and before. In the 1870’s Neave and Browningsville were thriving places. Browningsville had a post office, a mill, a school and two doctors. Then the two doctors got to arguing one night over a bill, and one shot the other dead. That was pretty much it for Browningsville. It fell off the map in the 1890’s. When I first came along in 2001, they were just tearing down Holton’s Store in Neave. Nothing ever happens in Neave. The largest part of the population all reside in the Neave Methodist Cemetery. In fact the last major event I could find was from ’63 when the commandant of the military district of Cincinnati reported that a company of free blacks had shown up at camp, having all volunteered at Neave. He remarked on their fine deportment and impressive will to fight. There was an Afro-American family living near Neave when I got there, but they got bored and moved on over a decade ago. I am not even going to mention Ely. It was just over on the next ridge. It showed up on a 1850’s railroad map and never again. My buddy O.T. said he remembers the remains of a store, but that’s it.

There are still a few houses in Browningsville. The last structure to be built was an outhouse in 1991 for a church reunion picnic. The mill was abandoned ages ago, and in recent memory a bear took up residence in the basement. It is probably the same bear that used to come by my place every year and pester my sumac bushes. Even he’s moved out. Still, I like to go down to W.T. Browning’s Store in Browningsville in Neave and sit around the stove on old lawn chairs and swap stories with the likes of O.D., O.T who owns the mower shop, O.P. my neighbor, and the few others that come in. Dubya, the proprietor, is a gentleman and lets us take our time shopping, sometimes coming in after breakfast and not leaving until near lunch.  Just by the way: do not confuse W.T. Browning’s emporium with the store at Browning’s Corner.  That’s a whole different thing.

My land lies between Yellow Willow Creek and Pity Creek. I thought for a long while that it was called Willow Creek, but I was corrected several years ago. Willow is the larger branch that runs up to the east towards the Fish and Game Club. O.T. told me that my branch was called Pity Creek, because a widow lady had raised 10 kids in a frame shack down in the bottoms. He said the shack is still there, but I have not seen it.

My road used to be one of the main roads leading to Browningville. The pavement ends at my mailbox. You can still see signs of it snaking along my ridge, and if you follow the track long enough, it crosses Willow Creek at a ford and eventually ends up running into the main road to Powersville. Word is the family that owned my place had relations over on the next ridge and kept the road open so they could all travel to church in the same wagon. A similar fate was met by the segment that used to run to Browningsville. Today, if I want to go to Browningsville, I have to travel halfway to Neave.


An Experiment

This is an experiment. I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head for 25 years or more. Back in the 90’s I started playing with the idea of simulating acorns dropping from trees as an attractant to deer. Deer hear acorns falling, and the go to investigate, right? My first experiments were with acorns and rocks shot from a slingshot from my treestand. Nothing. I suspect the problem was two-fold. First, the sound of the slingshot probably a put-off, and secondly there was the extra motion of shooting it.

A view from the Stand at Campground

Let’s fast-forward about 10 years. When the kids were small I’d have them up in the treestand with me, and invariably they’d have to pee. Rather than send them down the ladder, I’d just have them whizz off the stand. Invariably we’d end up seeing deer. That gave me the idea that it was okay to pee off the stand myself, and I became a major whizz and a major pro-whizz. You might have called me a revolutionary. At the time, folks were promoting pee bottles and ziplock bags. Here I was letting fly.

A few years ago, it dawned on me: Why was it I seemed to see deer shortly after doing a #1 off the stand? It finally hit me, when I remembered my experiments with acorns. I have an hypothesis: deer are attracted to the sound, because it is similar to the sound of acorns falling out of trees.

So here’s the idea I’d like y’all to test: Get a bottle. It can be a squirt bottle, a sports bottle, anything that can put out a stream of water. Fill it with plain water. Some time over the season, give it a squirt and see what happens. Practice with it to make it sound like acorns falling on the leaves. I find a short squirt with a little loft gives the best sound kind of like . . . well, you know. Anyhow, give it a try and let me know how it works. Just remember that you heard it from me first.


Son, This is a Muzzleloader

I had a job to do. Angus is going deer hunting on his own this year. However, we still had not gotten his muzzleloader together. We were all down for a camp-out this past weekend. Sunday afternoon, after Moose and MooseMama left with their friends, Angus and I sat down to take care of things.

The rifle is an early 80’s Lyman Deerstalker with a stainless barrel. It is a half-stock, percussion rifle of the standard Hawken variety with double triggers. Last year, I started to get it ready for Angus, and the ramrod stuck. After trying everything (soaking in pentrating oil, freezing, you name it) I got the ramrod removed by a ‘smith. Afterwards, it was one of the rifles I prepped with Dyna Bore Coat over the summer. The problem with the ramrod was caused by the crud ring that forms in the barrel by Hodgdon Triple-7. Yeah, I knew there might be a crud ring. Yes, the patch was a little tight going down. Yeah, I know all about it . . . NOW! Where were y’all last year?


My reason for writing this is two-fold. First, I wanted to give y’all the method I used for introducing Angus to the rifle. This will be his first time out on his own as a deer hunter and as a smokepole hunter at that. Second, I wanted to give you my impressions pre- and post- Dyna Bore Coat.

I did not take pictures, because this, above all discussions a father has with his son, is one of those deadly -serious things. I would put it between chainsaws and electric winches. The subtleties of front-stuffers is something they do not teach in Hunter Ed. Furthermore, when it is going to your son’s life on the line, it is a good thing to keep this sober and solid. Vince Lombardi started with “This is a football.” My spiel was something along those lines, and despite Angus, having been shooting front-stuffers since he was a wee one, was glad for the refresher.

We sat down with two kitchen chairs and a low table in the shade, looking out towards the pond. I arrayed the various pieces of equipment and explained them. I had Angus fill his flask, I handed him three bullets and bade him remove 3 primers from the tin. I explained that we would first fire three half-strength loads. The first load went off without a hitch. On loading the second, I stopped him in the middle of getting the bullet started and showed him how he was starting to point the barrel at his head. That was a quick lesson. I don’t think I will have to show him that one again. On the next round, I explained the necessity of doing all actions associated with starting the bullet and ramming it home in precise smooth movements– no half-efforts. The bullet is started with a single hit on the starter. The ramrod is forced down the barrel in one motion. For cleaning we used a spit patch sent down twice.

On the second, I stopped him after he had presented the rifle and set the trigger, and had him work the action to drop the hammer without firing and to return it to half-cock. No problems there.

By the third round, he had everything down. We moved from 60 grains to 90 grains. On this rifle and this bullet this is still not a full-house load, but for deep woods and close ranges, it is perfectly deadly. Angus loaded, stood, presented arms and gave fire flawlessly. Two more rounds, and we called it quits. By this time the barrel was getting a little grimy and so we gave it one more spit patch and put it away, mission accomplished. The young man did just fine. He has already become quite smitten with the rifle. I agree. It is a beauty, and frankly I am no happier than when I am in my stand in October with my TC Hawken.

Next weekend, we will both fire for effect at targets.

In regards to the Dyna Bore Coat, the results on this rifle were just short of miraculous. The crud ring was non-existant. Oh sure, it has to still be there, but it does not stick to the barrel. The patch just nocks it loose. In one instance, I wanted to experience what Angus was feeling, and it was perfectly smooth going down. I also noticed that the spit patch was considerably more dirtly on the first pass than the second. In the past, true with my own Hawken as well, the first and second patches were much closer in griminess. That tells me the Dyna Bore Coat is keeping more of the Triple Seven from adhereing to the barrel.

One other kudo: I bought some new Remington #11 primers this year and misplaced them before I could get down to the farm. I found a tin of Remington’s from 2009. They were just as good as new. Angus had good solid ignition on all his shots. On the other hand I tried some Winchesters last year and they were abysmal– two hits on each primer to get a spark. I went out last night and bought some more Remingtons along with a fresh pound of Triple Seven.


Asking about H4895


Campfire Ranger
Loc: Indiana     
Hello shaman,

I seen your post regarding H4895 on the Gunwriters section and on your website.

I’m brand new to reloading. Only have two cartridges: 223rem and 308win. I’m looking to simplify my reloading by only stock one powder if possible.

What can you tell me or what have you found out about H4895 that you like it over the others?

I have some Varget which seems to be a 24hourcampfire favorite as well as some Blc-2.

Appreciate your feedback and help that you can provide.


09/27/14 10:08 AM Re: H-4895
Loc: Neave, KY
I think there is somebody here that claims to put Varget on his cornflakes. I’m kind of that way with H4895

Start here, and let me know if you need more info.
Making the switch to H4895

I’ve used H4895 in both 308 and 223 REM. In just about all cases (223 REM, 308Win, 30-30 WIN, 30-06, 76.2X54R, 35 Whelen), I’ve seen H4895 be an accurate performer with moderate recoil. The one round I don’t use it with is 25-06. It works, but it was somewhat anemic in the velocity department. I’m the kind of guy that does not want to push any envelopes. I get a new chambering, I load up starting loads (5%off MAX or thereabouts) and if the load is accurate enough for hunting, I stop right there. I figure that it saves rifle barrels, saves powder, saves my shoulder, and if I wanted to push envelopes I’d transfer to the mailroom.

I had one 308 WIN rifle that was not accurate at all with H4895. I switched to Varget and got good results. I went back this year and tried H4895 after I’d treated the barrel with Dyna Bore Coat and now it shoots the best ever with H4895. Go figure.

If you don’t mind, I’ll post this conversation on my weblog. I need to do a piece on H4895, and this would be a good start.

Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries Lighthearted Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer

  09/27/14 10:32 AM Re: H-4895
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 1572
Loc: Indiana     
No problem with posting on your blog. That’s where I originally found info on H-4895. I like your idea of using lighter chargers of H-4895 while keeping bullet weight up. The recoil programs I use show it recoils around 243wn levels.

Hodgdon website for youth loads drop bullet weight down to 125-130gr. While that may make sense in other caliber, it doesn’t make sense for 308win. Why not drop loads down to 30-30win or 300savage as it makes more sense since the bullets where design to still expand at those reduce velocities.

09/27/14 11:05 AM Re: H-4895
Campfire Guide

Loc: Neave, KY
It’s amazing how much a 5% off-MAX load does to the recoil.
I have a 35 Whelen that shoots like a 358 WIN
I have a 308 WIN that shoots like a 300 Savage
I have a Mosin Nagant that shoots like a 30-30.

It’s great.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries Lighthearted Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer

 09/27/14 12:50 PM Re: H-4895
Campfire Ranger
Loc: Indiana     
I seen that you’re not keen on the idea of 223rem for deer hunting?

It seems pretty popular here on the ‘campfire. Never hunted deer with 223rem so I can’t comment on its effectiveness.

09/27/14 01:59 PM Re: H-4895
Campfire Guide

Loc: Neave, KY
I actually started working up a 223 load for deer, and was intent on doing it, but I got sidetracked by other projects. I finally realized after a few years that I hadn’t done anything with the 223 project and realized I had lost interest.

Can it work? I’m sure. Am I going to do it? Prolly someday. Am I hot on the idea? Last year I got a 25-06. I load it to shoot like a 257 Roberts (see a pattern here?) I’m going to slowly work my way down. I figure 35 Whelen was my high-water mark. By the time I’m 90, I’ll probably have given all the 30-06’s to the grandkids and be singing the praises of 223 REM.

Right now, my interest is in getting all my 358 pistols and rifles shooting cast lead. I hope to convert my Whelenizer to a 35-Rem-ish pump shooting 200 gr hard cast.

Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries Lighthearted Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer

  09/27/14 02:24 PM Re: H-4895
Campfire Ranger
Loc: Indiana     
Hmmm, not sure if you noticed this or not but I’m seeing a trend here on the campfire of people being divided into two camps.

One side is taking a larger centerfire rifles then downloading for their purposes.

The other side uses smaller centerfire rifles then handloads premium bullets if they want to increase performance to take smaller size medium game.

I can see the merits of both views. Yes, I can see your pattern smile

In handguns, I’m trying my hand at down loaded 44mags to 44specials. Will see how that goes. I’ve tumbled about 100 once fire 44mag brass I shot earlier this month. Now I’ve got to deprime, etc.

09/27/14 02:46 PM Re: H-4895
shaman Online content
Campfire Guide

Loc: Neave, KY
Yes! That’s the spirit. The 44 mag brass will last longer, and you don’t erode the throat the way you would using 44 Special in a 44 Mag chamber.

For me, it comes down to cost mostly. A 300 MAG downloaded to 30-06 levels is a HECK of a lot cheaper to shoot over the long haul than a 30-06 pushing up into 300 WM territory. I can use cheap bullets too.

So many people spend gobs of money for performance that only manifests itself on the far side of the deer. I’ve never been all that invested in making the forest floor fly.

BTW: I stepped outside, and someone just handed me a nice AR-type in 223, and I shot a magazine into the pond . Don’t worry, there’s a berm to catch the strays. Anyhow, I noticed that I was making plumes of spray every bit as high as shooting my buddy’s 300 Win Mag last fall. Hmmmm. Makes you think, donut?
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries Lighthearted Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer

  09/27/14 03:07 PM Re: H-4895
Campfire Ranger
Loc: Indiana  

I didn’t start hunting until I was 30. Didn’t grow up in a hunting family or one that really believe in firearms so it wasn’t until an adult that I tried it. Got in with some guys from my ex-wife. Didn’t learn a darn thing about hunting other than pay my lease money and sit in a deer stand for 14hours.

While I definitely enjoyed the venison, waiting all year to shoot one deer during a two week firearms season didn’t do much for me.

Now I like shooting! Since I don’t have anyone to really show me the ropes to hunt, I figure I’d try my hand at varminting. Just ask some farmers, etc. and go shoot some ground hogs. Figure expand from there if possible.

So for me, I think a bolt actin 223rem would have more merit than my 308win.

I can get cheap once fired Lake City brass, and bulk bullets for 223rem on the cheap. The 223rem is meager on powder which helps in these trouble times.
Yes, I can definitely relate to cost and being cheaper.

Figure about the biggest think I’d ever hunt would be whitetail and possible pigs/hogs. My current thought process is just load up a premium bullet such as tsx for 223rem for those times and in the mean time have cheap fun shooting the hell out of my 223rem.

I figure I might eventually get around to downloading the 308win to 300savage levels but what I’m going to hunt with it? I have no connections here in Indiana and it’s only whitetails.

So while I like the 308win and think it’s a great round, it has limited uses for me. Kind of disappointing but probably the truth for right now.

 09/27/14 05:03 PM Re: H-4895
Campfire Ranger
Loc: Indiana     
Step out to see if I could get some horseback riding in, no luck! smile

No to play devil’s advocate! : D

If you take out the long range requirement for varmints and coyote, one could pretty much make do with a 22lr.

As easterners, we don’t have gophers/ prairie dog colonies needing 300yr shots

If one still wanted to hunt coyotes, the 308win can definitely handle that. And 308win is definitely better on hogs and deer than 223rem.

Plus if one handloads, one can always tone down those 308win loads to 300savage and not lose too much effectiveness

Yesterday at 04:55 PM Re: H-4895
shaman Online content
Campfire Guide

Loc: Neave, KY
. . . and in IN, 308 WIN will be legal for deer, but .223 won’t.

BTW: While you’re figgerin’, look at the 30 cal Speer TNT for coyote.

Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries Lighthearted Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer

  Yesterday at 05:42 PM Re: H-4895
Campfire Ranger
Loc: Indiana     
Yes, indeed! I seen Indiana game commission has proposed allowing high power rifles for deer hunting of 24caliber or larger. Not sure if it passed or not.

I’ll take a look at those 30 cal Speer bullets for coyotes! Thanks for the heads up!

Hornady’s 150gr round nose looks like the perfect option to download my 308win to 30-30 levels. The 30-30’s max load of 2300fps is the 308win starting load for the 150g RN! So I’m happy camper! smile


UV Killer Redux

tmp3F9It was 6 years ago this month when somebody on the Deer & Deer Hunting forum started asking for opinions on UV Killer. I gave my opinion, and cross-posted it back here on my weblog. I did not realize this was going to be the prelude to the most turgid, controversial period in this weblog’s history. I certainly didn’t realize that 6 years later, my original post on this subject would be getting over 50 hits a day.  The fact that you all are hitting on those posts still today are testament. It still kind of galls me how something so obvious would slip our attention. We think of ourselves as rational people.

Just to give you a brief history, the original post went up in September 2008. It came to the attention of a representative of ATSKO, the company that makes U.V. Killer. In a comment to the post, ATSKO said:

Dear Shaman,
If you believe your readers would be interested in a two sided discussion of U-V-Killer and the science of deer vision, I will try to engage in a conversation.
In any case it would be only fair to direct them to where the dvd and book and hundreds of references in juried periodicals are all available at no cost.
Dan Gutting, Atsko Inc.

One of the UV Tests

One of the UV Tests

That got the ball rolling. We traded email. ATSKO sent me some material. I tested according to their directions and got wholly negative results. I reported all this on D&DH and the weblog. ATSKO asked me to do additional tests. The more I progressed in this, the more I found that not only could I barely find any camo material that fluoresced in the UV light they provided, but when I did, the solution would not dull the shine significantly. About half-way through, I got word from D&DH that if I wanted to continue my position as a pro-staffer, I’d have to refrain from posting actual test results on their site, and that in the future, I would have to frame my comments about UV Killer as opinion. Meanwhile, from the basement laundry room, I was realizing the UV emperor was running around starkers.tmp3F5

It was not until quite some time later in all this– the whole affair lasted quite some months–that it hit me:

1) We put UV-fluorescing dye into clothing to make them whiter and brighter for us– for our eyes.
2) We do not see in UV. If we can see it, it ain’t UV.
3) The whole idea of fluorescence is that certain chemicals absorb light at one end of the spectrum and then reflect it back at another. A red shirt absorbs sunlight in all parts of the spectrum and only reflects it or re-radiates it back out in a color we see as red. In the case of a UV dye, it absorbs UV and radiates it back as some color WE can see. Zinc Oxide is an example.  It is the stuff they put in the heavy sunblock lifeguards put on their noses.
4) Deer probably see in the UV part of the spectrum, but it makes no difference to the issue. The clothing in question is radiating in the visible part of the spectrum, not UV.

Do you understand? It took me a while. I was so accustomed to thinking inside the box that ATSKO had set up, I did not see basic goofiness of the whole contention. Eventually ATSKO stopped asking for tests, and I bundled up the stuff they sent me and shipped it back.

The Shamanic Clown Suit

The Shamanic Clown Suit

In 2011 I found an article about reindeer and UV, and that was the corker. Researchers had found that reindeer had UV sensitivity, but the point of it was that it gave the deer the ability to see things like white wolf fur as darker on a field of snow. If this was extrapolated to whitetails, it would mean that whitetails would be scared more from the absence of UV, and spraying yourself with UV-suppressing chemicals would make you an ominous dark blob.

Clown Suit-- what the deer see

Clown Suit– what the deer see

It is funny. It has been six years, and still I get close to 50 reads a day on the original post. I went back a few weeks ago and edited in an update. The affair got me interested in deer vision in general and as of this moment, if you Google “What do deer really see?” the first image you get is a picture of my son, Moose, in his hunter orange poncho.

It changed my hunting too. Somewhere along the way, I made the boast that I would wear a flo-orange clownsuit and put up a neon sign that “Danger: Hunter.” The neon sign never came about, but I did score a nice matching set of bibs and a quad parka that are a complete eyesore. I have been hunting in them since 2011, and really see no difference in my hunting luck.


How Many Shots to Sight-In a Rifle, REALLY

I’ve in the midst of sighting in a bunch of deer rifles.  I changed out a good number of scopes over the past year, and now 30-some years of experience is coming to bear.  In general I can say that  I have been on the paper with the first shot and it has taken about 15 shot to be confident with each rifle.  Angus is just starting out with his WIN 670, and it has taken him 40.  Both those numbers seem high for a seasoned veteran.  I said I had over 30 years of experience. I did not say they were all good.

First off, I would invite you to go back and read the last time I wrote on this subject.

How Many Shots. . .

I am not going to say I was wrong back in 2006.  However I do see room for refinements.

Refinement #1:  I find no greater aid to being on the paper the first shot than owning a bore-sighter.  I find as I get on in this that doing my own bore-sighting really helps.  I bought my bore-sighter about the same time as I write the  2006 piece, and I did not know at the time how much it helps. If you are reading this with interest, you need one.

Refinement #2:  Shooting @ 100 yards.  Back in 2006, I did not see a whole lot of difference between sighting in at 25 yards, 50, or 100.  There is truth there, but honestly, if you get to trusting your bore-sighting job, you can start at 100 yards.  25 or 50 will help you get your windage figured out, but you need to stretch out a bit to get elevation right. I’ll mention more on this later.

Refinement #3: I resist making adjustments to the scope before I really have a grasp of where the rifle is grouping. That means more than 2-3 shots.

Refinement #4: A huge lesson I’ve gradually come to learn is how much wind seems to influence my success.  Our situation a the farm is such that we get a lot of wind, and this is especially so in the fall, right about the time we do the bulk of our work. The maximum wind deflection on a 30-06 bullet at 100 yards may be less than an inch, but that does not take into account the wind deflection on the shooter, the rifle, etc.  Even north of 300 lbs I get blown around a lot.  We had one day of shooting this  fall that was pretty much a write-off. What we need to do is put up a 100 yard range that is oriented 90 degrees from our current N/S range. On days when we start getting a serious E/W wind, we need to switch orientation instead of trying to bull through it. If we had tried to do all our sighting-in work in dead-calm, I think we’d be done now with twice as many rifles and half the ammo.

I wrote recently about the influence of cheap scopes has had on my life.  I’m not going to say that my penchant for bargain basement scopes has seriously affected my shooting over the years, but it has complicated the sighting-in process.  Having sighted-in my first $270 scope, I can tell you that a scope that does an honest and consistent 1/4″ adjustment at 100 yards per click is a big deal.

Now let me reflect on what I had right back in 2006, and why I will never be an expensive scope snob.

The guys standing in line at Wally World the night before the Opener were not THAT far off.  If you have a new, properly bore-sighted rifle you can probably hit a pie plate at 50 yards.  Is that enough to go lobbing $2 a round bullets at Elk out West? No.  Is it enough to put a whitetail down from your treestand out to 50 yards?  Probably– depends on who did the bore-sighting. I’m not saying it is a good idea, but it is not all THAT bad either. The treestand helps. Shooting at 50 yards helps. You are not going to be THAT far off.

Another thing that got me to thinking as I pondered the 2006 article was all the see-thru mounts I’ve taken off rifles over the past decade.  I dislike see-thru mounts intensely, however, those tall mounts have a distinct benefit if you want to be a goober with your scopes.  Let’s just say you have an ‘Ought-Six you want to sight in. You put a $30 scope on it with see-thru mounts.  You use whatever is on sale– 150 grain, 180-grain, Heck!  You don’t know grains from beans.  You go get a refrigerator box and put it out 25 yards from picnic table and start blasting.  Later on, you move the box out into the field and shoot at 50 yards.  Madness?  A fools errand you say?  Stupidity? A booger eating moron?

30-06 with seethru mount

30-06 with seethru mount

Not really.  I was playing around with PointBlank software the other day while I was bored, and I figured out something.  If you add an extra half-inch to the height of your scope and sight in dead-on at 50 yards, what happens is that  you are about an inch or so high at 100 yards, dead-on again somewhere out past 150 yards and then. . .

” . . . so I just held on the top of the deer’s shoulder and pulled the trigger. The deer dropped like he was pole-axed.”

Ever heard that?  Well, it is conceivably true.  Assuming you’ve got things sighted in at 50 yards, anything out past 150 or so yards is going below the crosshairs. If you place the crosshairs on the deer’s back, the bullet will hit somewhere on the deer out to . . . well, it may be 300 yards, 350, somewhere pretty far out.  If you are pulling this stunt, you probably don’t know anyway.  The See-Thru sights actually help the situation a little because it increases the parallax and forces the rifle to shoot higher at 50 yards. What’s more, you can put any round you find in Walmart into the chamber and be fairly close by putting it dead-on out to 150 and holding it on the deer’s back out beyond that.   I tried it with a bunch of bullets for 30-06 and 270WIN inside PointBlank.  30-30 WIN works too, but somewhere out beyond 200 yards, the bullet passes under the deer’s chest.