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  • September 30, 2008

    Going Long With The Uselton Warbird and Swarovski Z6-1


    The rifle I used for my Colorado mule deer is a Uselton Warbird Mountain Light chambered in the screaming hot 7.82 Lazzeroni Warbird. For those unfamiliar with the cartridge, it is a .30-caliber magnum that, in my rifle, sends a 150-grain bullet downrange at 3,715 fps. To put it in perspective, when it hit my mule deer at 450 yards the bullet was going as fast as it would have been when exiting the muzzle of a .30-06.  The bullet shot through both lungs and broke the off-shoulder of the buck before exiting. The deer took half a step forward then sank to the ground.

    The scope I used was a Swarovski Z6, specifically the new 2.5-15X56 that is equipped with what Swarovski calls its Ballistic Turret. The turret gives the shooter a quick way to adjust their zero for a variety of distances. I’ll give a more detailed account later, but the way it works is that after setting the zero you want—in my case 2.3 inches high at 100 yards, which translated into a 325-yard zero—you feed some data into a ballistic calculator. The information that comes back allows you to configure a series of color-coded indicators on the scope’s elevation knob for other points of impact. I set mine up with 400-, 500- and 600-yard zeros.

    The good news is that the process looks more complicated than it is to use. The better news is that it actually works. My chief complaint with most reticles with multiple aiming points is that they are visually complicated and require way too much thinking for a hunter to use under field conditions. Not so this system. Assuming you have time to accurately range your target dialing in the proper amount of elevation is easy.

    —John Snow

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  • September 29, 2008

    Kessler Canyon: Colorado Mule Deer Hunting At Its Best-2


    Just got back from Colorado last week from a very successful hunt at Kessler Canyon, which is located about an hour outside of Grand Junction in the western part of the state.

    The country there is stunning. The lodge is located in a valley that is loaded with sagebrush and willows and has a clear, cold stream that runs down its center. Drift a fly across any of the deeper pools and chances are you’ll be rewarded by a strike from a native cutthroat.

    The lodge itself is the finest hunting camp I've ever seen. I like roughing it in the back country as much as the next person, but this hunt was the exact opposite of that. The food, the sleeping areas, the atmosphere and, most importantly, the guides were all first class. The hunting was very hard: up at 4 a.m., back into camp by 9:30 at night, with not enough time to sleep in between. But that made coming back to the lodge for dinner and a drink all the more sweet.  The operation is managed by husband-and-wife team Dave and Jamie Massey, who do an excellent job making sure that both the hunting and the hospitality are second-to-none.

    Rising 3,000 feet on either side of the valley floor are the canyon’s steep walls. Up top you’ve got a relatively flat mountain with a series of ridges that spill off to either side. If you viewed a satellite photo of the high country, the top of the mountain would look like the body of a centipede with a series of ridges going off on either side forming like legs.

    Most of time we were hunting we were running up and down and around those ridges, looking for mule deer. The habitat is amazing—the deer have plenty of food, water, bedding cover and escape routes. The only thing that forces them off the mountain is the snow, which usually pushes them to the canyon floor at some point in late October or November.

    We saw a lot of deer, glassing over dozens of animals while trying to locate a good buck. With the amount of animals we saw I knew it was just going to be a matter of time.

    Unlike with borderline bucks, there was no need to take a second look at this animal’s antlers. He’s got everything you could want in a mature deer. He’s tall, wide, blessed with deep forks, good mass and is very symmetrical to boot.

    The shot was a long one—450 yards to be exact. But the rifle, cartridge and optics I was using were ideal for this kind of country and that kind of shot. I’ll post some more details in a bit.

    —John Snow

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  • September 26, 2008

    Picture of the Day: 157-inch Kentucky Whitetail-2


    Jon LaCorte finished up a very successful hunt in Kentucky after arrowing this outstanding 150-class buck. I've got a hunt in the same area in November—it will be a rifle hunt—and even though I was pumped up before, seeing a deer like this sends my adrenaline level into overdrive.

    This buck came from western Kentucky, which has turned into one of the primo whitetail spots in the country.

    —John Snow

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  • September 26, 2008

    Soccer Mom Loses CCW Permit-7


    Pennsylvania resident Meleanie Hain is fighting to get her concealed-carry permit back.

    This from the Lebanon Daily News:

    On Sept. 11, Hain created a stir among other
    parents when she wore her weapon — a loaded Glock 26, about the size of
    an adult hand — in a holster to her 5-year-old daughter’s soccer game
    at Optimist Park in Lebanon, also known as Southwest Park.

    Although she did not break a law by carrying the weapon openly,
    she is now facing the loss of her concealed-weapons permit. But she is
    not giving up without a fight.

    “I’m just a soccer mom who has always openly carried (a
    firearm), and I’ve never had a problem before,” she said. “I don’t
    understand why this is happening to me.”

    Dustin has an in-depth round-up.

    —John Snow

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  • September 25, 2008

    Rock River Arms Entry Tactical-1


    Here’s a better view of the RRA Entry Tactical I just got. The scary thing about this photo is that this is the least cluttered of my three workbenches. My reloading bench is piled high with so many components, gauges and other gizmos that I barely have room to pull the lever on my press.

    Another of my favorite tools, for working on ARs at any rate, is in this picture. It is the lower receiver vise block I’m using to secure the rifle in place. It slips into the magazine well and clamps into your vice. Creates a super-steady platform for working on your favorite “evil” gun.

    —John Snow

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  • September 25, 2008

    AR-15 Cleaning Rod Guide-0


    This tool certainly falls under the “how did I live without it” category. I’m not sure how many different types of cleaning rod guides are out there (I’ve got a half dozen scattered around my workbench) but this model from JP Enterprises is certainly the best made of the lot. You can get the from JP’s web site or at Brownells. It costs $35.

    Its fit is perfect. The machined tube slides into the upper of an AR with just a bit of resistance and thanks to two rubber O-rings stays put and makes a tight seal...

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 24, 2008

    Pink Is The New Black-7


    Speaks for itself. This gets my vote as the ultimate tool for recruiting new shooters.

    —John Snow

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  • September 23, 2008

    Huge Arizona Mule Deer-0


    There are different reports going around about this monster buck that was recently shot, most of which are in what could charitably be called quasi-English.

    But the story here is the picture. This is an amazing deer. For those interested, here’s a quick synopsis of the tale behind the hunt.

    The buck, dubbed Houdini, had been on the radar screen of a number of hunters for a couple of years. He made the mistake of showing up at a water hole twice in the three days.

    According the one report, the buck is 41 inches wide, has 15 points on one side and 16 on the other and gross scores 322.


    —John Snow

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  • September 23, 2008

    Alberta Mule Deer-0


    The hunt reports are starting to pour it. Outdoor Life publisher Eric Zinczenko just returned from Alberta where he shot this stud of a mule deer.

    He was hunting with Mike’s Outfitting and he and his guide, Chris, put a stalk on this buck on day two. Eric used the hunt to christen a new rifle—a Bansner Ultimate One chambered in .270 WSM. The rifle is a tack-driver, turning in half-inch, three-shot groups.

    This was plenty of accuracy for this hunt.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 17, 2008

    Hunters: The Real Green Warriors-9


    With all the Palin bashing that has erupted among the Coastal Elite, and the corresponding horror being voiced about hunters (“Did you hear? Sarah Palin has shot hundreds of wolves from an airplane!”), there was a worthwhile op-ed that ran in the Washington Post about the green values of hunters.

    Steve Sanetti, the head of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, expressed very eloquently the eco-friendly nature of our passion:

    [ Read Full Post ]
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