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Finding All the Pellets

Q: What’s the best way to remove shot from a game bird while you’re cleaning it? I never seem to find all the pellets. A friend of mine almost broke a tooth when he bit down on one.—L.S., Roanoke, VA

A: Whether you’re cleaning a light-meat bird or a dark-meat bird, it’s tough to find all the hidden pellets.

One method is to use the point of a sharp knife to make a small “X” cut on each pellet entry hole; then probe around for the pellet with tweezers. The presence of feathers driven into the meat often indicates a pellet. Be sure to remove all the bits of feathers, since they’ll impart a bitter taste.

If you have meat that is riddled with pellets, put the meat in a pot and cook it until the meat falls off the bones. Then methodically pull it apart in small pieces to be used in a soup. —Jim Zumbo, Hunting Editor


Q: The varmint rifles that I currently use are chambered in .222 Remington, .22/250 Remington and .243 Winchester. However, I’m considering obtaining a rifle in 6mm Remington. I would like to try it with the heavy 105-grain A-MAX, or a similar bullet, for long-range shots at woodchucks (roughly 500 yards). What do you think of this cartridge/bullet combo? Also, I’ve heard that the 6mm isn’t as accurate as the .243. Is this true? —K.K., Candor, NY

A: I think you should consider the 6mm Remington cartridge. Though the .222 and .22/250 cartridges are plenty accurate, they tend to run out of steam short of the 500-yard marker. We occasionally hear that the .243 Winchester is more accurate than the 6mm Remington, but such statements are not reliable. The issue has been definitively tested and was reported in “Testing the Twist Myth” [Shooting, November 2003].

The 6mm Remington may offer you an advantage because of its somewhat greater case capacity. It allows for heavier charges of slow-burning powder to be used with 105-grain bullets.

Reread the above-mentioned article, particularly noting the accuracy-producing (or reducing) relationships of different rates of twist with heavier, and longer, 6mm bullets. By matching a barrel with a specific rate of twist to a specific bullet, you will more likely achieve the degree of accuracy for long shots at small targets. —Jim Carmichel, Shooting Editor


Q: I’m in the market for a new spotting scope and have run into a dilemma. Many of the models I’m interested in are advertised as “body only.” Does this mean I’ll have to purchase an eyepiece, or is it usable out of the box? —N.M., via e-mail

A: Anytime the word “body” is used in reference to spotting scopes, you can bet they come without eyepieces, which must be purchased separately. For starters, you can choose between scopes that have a permanently attached eyepiece (usually zoom) and scopes that accept interchangeable eyepieces. In the latter case, a typical manufacturer will offer a variety of eyepieces that can be used on as many as a half dozen different bodies. The body options may include straight or angled viewing, various sizes of objective lenses and either standard or high-definition optics.

Interchangeable eyepieces come in a variety of fixed powers, such as 20X, 24X, 30X, 40X and 60X (some of which may have wide-angle fields of view), and with variable-power capability, such as 15-45X and 20-60X. —Bill McRae, Optics Expert

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