July 2007 Barnes Bullet-n
|Randy Brooks Message:|
July is a doldrums month for hunters. It’s getting too hot to hunt prairie dogs, and jackrabbits are hunkered down in the shade. The good thing about July is that pronghorn season begins next month (August 15th in Wyoming).
While most pronghorn permits were sold earlier in the year, surplus tags are still available in the Cowboy State—and a few other states, as well. That means there’s still time to plan a pronghorn hunt.
If you’ve never hunted these western antelope, you have a real treat in store. The main reason I like hunting prairie “goats” is that I can (and often do) bring family members along. My daughters Jessica and Chandra learned to hunt and shoot at an early age. They began accompanying me on pronghorn hunts when they were five years old. They learned how to stalk by practicing on pronghorns.
Pronghorn hunts make great family affairs. The weather is usually mild, and there’s plenty of game to see. There’s no need to wear youngsters out climbing mountains or negotiating miles of rough terrain. A good binocular or spotting scope lets you select a likely trophy from the seat of your truck. Next, identify a route that’ll keep you out of sight, then leave the truck and start walking. Invite your son, daughter or grandchild to accompany you, so he or she can share in the stalk.
Approaching eagle-eyed antelope on foot (their vision is equivalent to an 8x binocular) can be a real challenge. Remember that youngster’s height advantage. He (or she) is shorter than you are, and—with a little instruction—should have less trouble keeping out of the pronghorn’s sight.
Another good thing about pronghorn hunting is it’s not terribly expensive. If you own a pickup truck or SUV (four-wheel drive is good, but not absolutely essential), you can successfully hunt antelope on a fairly tight budget. Licensed guides aren’t required—and even without a guide’s service, pronghorn are generally so plentiful you’ll have little trouble seeing several bands. You’ll need permission to hunt on private land, but this shouldn’t be a problem if you contact the rancher in advance.
Regardless of your stalking skills, long shots are always a possibility. Work up an accurate, flat-shooting load and practice with it at 300 yards or more.
If you’re anxious to hunt big game, don’t wait for deer season to roll around. Start planning for an August pronghorn hunt—and bring your family along.
When summertime comes and we begin doing outdoor things, my mind always takes me back to when I was young. I always looked forward to camping and fishing with my parents. We did a lot of that.
We also did the Disneyland trips and a few other things, but camping trips were the best. Basically, I remember just running around camp, getting in the water and getting super dirty. I loved the campfire, the food and just staying in our little camp trailer. One of my very favorite camping trips was when we pulled our camp trailer to Yellowstone. I will always remember how I felt when I first saw Old Faithful and all the other beautiful sights Yellowstone Park offers. When we weren’t camping, I liked to get with my friends or cousins and sleep out in our house trailer parked next to our house. It felt like we were camping.
A lot of the time we went to Strawberry Reservoir, about a two-hour drive from home, and stayed in our cabin. My mother heated the cabin and cooked our meals on an old, coal-burning stove. The cabin had no running water inside, and we had to use the outdoor toilet 25 yards away from the cabin. To me, even that was great! I really treasure all those good times in the outdoors, and wouldn’t have wanted things any different than they were.
I don’t remember ever being afraid of wild animals coming around, probably because my family didn’t discuss wildlife as a potential danger. At least, I don’t recall any such discussion. I do remember one time at Yellowstone when we had a picnic set out on the ground. My mother noticed a bear watching us, so she quickly packed up the picnic items and we all returned to the car.
In Utah, just a few miles from my home, an 11-year-old boy was recently attacked by a black bear. The boy had been sleeping when the bear tore through the family tent and dragged the screaming child away—still in his sleeping bag—then mauled him to death.
I can’t even imagine how his parents and family must feel. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time the bear had clawed a tent in the same camping area. Some men had seen the bear earlier that day, but were able to avoid him. They called wildlife officials to tell them about sighting the bear and where he was last seen. Shortly afterward, the boy and his family decided to camp in the same area, unaware of the bear issue.
Unfortunately, wildlife officials didn’t make it to the site that day, and the bear returned with a vengeance. No one knows what caused this attack. There was no food in the tent and probably no one will ever know why the bear behaved this way. Thankfully, the bear was found a short time later and killed.
Many years ago when I was hunting in Alaska, I remember reading about a man who experienced the same kind of incident, but miraculously survived after nearly bleeding to death.
Be aware of your surroundings and potential hazards or threats when hiking and camping outdoors, especially when young children are in your party. Report anything out of the ordinary to the local game & fish department. As our population increases and we spend more time in territories that are home to wild animals, unfortunately, we will experience more of these episodes.
I hope you all are enjoying your summer and gearing up for the fall season! Be watching for the Barnes DVD “Bullet Myths Busted” to arrive in your mail if you’ve ordered a copy. If you haven’t yet ordered your copy, do it now. I can assure you, you will not be disappointed.
Have a great summer!!
With all the different types of cases on the market, how do you choose the right case?
This is a question I hope to answer in this month’s tips.
I’m going to focus on rifle cases for this discussion. Lets start by listing a few.
The most commonly used cases are those offered by Winchester, Federal and Remington, but there are several less common brands such as Weatherby, Lapua, Black Hills, Cor-Bon, Starline, Hornady, Nosler, Bertram, Norma, and Dakota to name just a few. Some of these cases are nickel-plated. Military cases are available to those who own rifles chambered for military cartridges like the very common .30-06, .308 Winchester, or .223 Remington.
With all the available choices, which brand do you choose?
All load data on the market lists the brand of the case used in building the load. This is a good place to start. If you change to another brand, you’ll get different pressures and velocities. In fact, there is a good chance you will get slightly different pressure and velocities by simply changing to a different lot of brass, even though it’s from the same manufacturer. For this reason, I recommend re-working the load if a new lot is purchased. While all brands must fall within SAAMI specifications, each brand will have its own tolerances. This means all brands should work (feed and function) properly in rifles chambered for a particular cartridge, such as the .30-06.
Nickel-plated cases appeal to some shooters. The shiny chrome-like exterior makes for a very pretty load. However, because these cases are plated, they’re likely to have less capacity than a regular brass case. Consequently, they produce higher pressures with the same charge. I suggest caution when reloading with these cases. Each month I receive many calls from folks seeing high pressures when they use nickel-plated cases.
In addition to producing higher pressure, these cases will provide fewer reloads. Because nickel and brass don’t expand at the same rate, the plating may flake away from the brass. When this happens, the cases should be discarded. Nickel cases also scratch very easily during resizing. Extra lube or even a special sizing wax is suggested to help with the resizing process when you reload these cases.
Military cases also have less capacity because they typically have thicker walls. Again, this can lead to higher pressures, so caution is recommended. These cases often have crimped-in primers, which are difficult to remove. What does this mean to the reloader? More case preparation is required! I’ve broken several decapping pins while sizing and depriming military cases. In fact, I’ve broken the entire decapping and expander ball assembly when working with military brass. If you work with military surplus cases, plan on having spare parts available.
Crimped-in primers also create other problems. New primers can’t be seated until you ream out the primer pocket with an inside-the-case-mouth chamfering tool. Another option is to use a special primer-pocket swaging die. I got mine from RCBS. It comes with components that will handle both large and small primer pockets. You can also use the inside case mouth chamfer portion of the RCBS Trim Mate Case Prep Center to remove the military crimp. This is the preferred method in our ballistics lab.
The upside is military cases are cheap, if not free. I regularly find them on the ground at my local shooting range, and consequently I have a large supply. Even if I throw them away later, I feel good about cleaning up the mess others leave. Please pick up your brass and targets at the shooting range, even if you don’t reload. It’s the right thing to do.
So what are the differences from brand to brand? Some are thicker. Some are harder or softer, and some have a nickel-plating. None are bad choices. You can use any brand you prefer—but keep in mind that you may have to alter the load slightly to prevent pressure issues. For this reason, we don’t recommend mixing several different brands for a given load. The photos shown here of various cases illustrate some of the differences between brands.
My personal preference is to use either Winchester or Remington brass cases. Why? They are available almost everywhere, and they sell for a reasonable price.
Thanks again to Barnes! This is an Arizona bull I shot in 2006. I used the new 165-grain MRX bullet in a .300 Short Magnum rifle. One shot at 400 yards dropped him in his tracks. I have been reloading and shooting X-Bullets since you first came out with them, and this new bullet is also great. I shot the bull through the shoulders. The bullet was recovered against the skin on the far side of the animal. Excellent penetration!
2 lb. wild boar meat, cut in 2″ cubes. Then marinate in buttermilk and tenderizer for one hour. Wash thoroughly.
1/4 c flour
1 tsp. each of salt and pepper
3 tbsp. bacon fat
1 diced onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 cups meat stock
1/2 tsp. sage
1 cup sherry
3 stalks diced celery
4 diced carrots
salt and pepper
Coat wild boar in flour mixed with salt and pepper. Heat fat in a deep pan and brown meat on all sides. Add vegetables and garlic and cook 5 minutes longer. Add stock or water with herbs and cook covered, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the toughness of the boar, until meat is tender. Last, blend vegetables in meat juices, add sherry, and serve.
Question: I have booked a hunt in Alaska this September. I have reloaded for years and started using the Triple Shock two years ago. This is absolutely a great product! I was loading for a 7mm STW and the performance was unbelievable.
In Alaska, I’ll be hunting large black bear and blacktail deer. Our outfitter requires us to carry a rifle of at least .30 caliber. I’ve recently read positive articles about the MRX bullet. I am using a Remington 700 Mountain Rifle in .30-06 chambering. Would the correct choice be a 180-grain MRX, or would you recommend something else? Again, I will be building my own reloads and testing them at the range throughout the summer.
In addition to good shot placement, it’s important for the bullet to perform so the bear is taken down—hopefully with one shot. If this is the bullet you would recommend, do you have reloading data for a particular round you’d suggest? I have been advised that the 180-grain is best (articles in American Hunter). I have the third edition of your reloading manual, but this does not include the new MRX. Thanks for any help you can give me.
Answer: Bullet selection is always a popular topic for discussion. I like to look at the worst-case scenario, and choose a bullet accordingly. Most black bears weigh 300 pounds or less, but you mentioned hunting large black bear. For this, I’d recommend a bullet heavy enough to travel the length of the animal, just in case a “tail-pipe” shot is required. For your bear hunt, I recommend the 180-grain TSX or MRX for the great penetration these bullets provide.
We have a high-speed video that shows the TSX and MRX bullets expanding within the first inch of penetration. This means you’ll also get great expansion on light-skinned game like blacktailed deer. Click here to view the high-speed video
I will be sending you the requested load data shortly.
Question: Help, help, help!
I tried the 168-grain TSX in my Remington Titanium .30-06. Even with my 66-year-old eyes I got 0.75-inch groups at 200-yards. That gives me a 7×57 and a .30-06, both of
which shoot just over ½-inch three-shot groups at 200 yards with TSX bullets.
Now, here’s my problem. I tried the 53-grain TSX in my .223 Ruger, but even though one group measured 1.25 inches at 200 yards, all the other cartridges I loaded trying to find an accuracy load would not chamber. I tried setting the bullets back farther into the case, but still couldn’t chamber the loaded cartridges, as the bolt would not close. I used Federal brass that had been fired once, full length resized and neck trimmed. The cases were from a lot of brass that has always chambered perfectly when using Sierra bullets. What is happening? Your suggestions? Should I try a different brand of brass?
Answer: There are several things that can cause a loaded round not to chamber. Cases may be too long and require trimming. Another possibility is that the previous load may have been too hot, causing the case head to expand so far the cases should be disposed of and replaced. Try chambering a few sized, unloaded cases to verify the cases aren’t the issue.
You may be over-crimping, which creates a bulge in the neck. Try backing the entire die off a few turns, then thread the seating stem back down until the desired bullet depth is achieved. If this proves to be the problem, re-adjust the die to provide for less crimp.
Finally, you may need to seat the bullets deeper still, so they don’t jam into the lands.
These are the most common causes of loaded rounds not chambering. Thanks for the great question.
He won Walker’s All Sport Glasses.
My name is Robby Severance, and I’m from Edmond, OK. Here is a photo of a nice eight-point buck I shot using a 180-grain Barnes Triple-Shock from my Winchester Model 70 .300 Winchester Magnum. The buck was 316 yards away and dropped like a sack of potatoes. I used to buy factory ammo loaded with your bullets, but now I have started reloading. The performance from the factory ammo was so wonderful that I wanted to start using TSX bullets in all my rifles. Thanks for the wonderful products.
Gerber Freeman Caping Knife
Here’s a piece of advice for those who know what a caping knife is for, and how to use it: Never try to explain it to non-hunters, because they just won’t get it. And whatever you do, don’t show them your Gerber Freeman Caping Knife….arguably the finest fixed blade option ever designed to make efficient work of caping out your trophy.
You get excellent control of the stainless steel drop point blade. So the risk of damaging the prized hide is greatly reduced. The full tang construction is clad in a lacquered pear wood handle, which is as beautiful to see as it is to use in the field.
Named for the savvy man who designed it, Jeff Freeman, this caping knife belongs in the hands of hunters who aren’t the least bit confused or conflicted about why they hunt, or what they aim to accomplish in the field.
Finger guard and grooves for added grip
Full tang blade with lanyard hole
Lacquered pear wood handle
Overall Length: 6.73”
Length of Blade: 3.59”
Weight: 4.2 oz.
Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless
Handle Material: Stainless Steel with pear wood onlays
Blade Style: Drop Point
Sheath Material: Ballistic nylon with molded plastic insert
Blade Type: Fine
Retail Price: $40.00
Visit our website atwww.gerbergear.com.