Rifle Scopes in the Field. Part II
We must always remember it is the individual trained shootist who determines if the game is brought home-not just spending thousands for a wall hanger to impress people. The right person-the right rifle – the right scope, and now for consideration are the accessories.
The two most popular firearm sources by mail order: www.natchezss.com and http://www.sportsmansguide.com/ will give the reader a vast selection of firearm supplies and ammunition. However many other sources are available as walk in stores, such as: Cabala’s, Gander Mountain and local services. Explore all your local options since this web site reaches the entire USA readership as well as foreign countries.
There is a difference in modern military rifles requiring for the most part military scopes and mounting rings. Hunting rifles are our focus even though the buying frenzy leans currently towards the “Black Rifle” of military/police fame. We will continue to address hunting rifles and their respective needs.
I had the opportunity to have my eyes checked at INVISION in Christiansburg, Virginia, and as usual was treated to the latest in electronic-medical- technical equipment as well as personal consultation with the owner Optometrists, Becky and Scott Mann. They are linked with VISTAR in Roanoke who are full of resident Ophthalmologists for surgery and such needs. Currently I am getting an “eye tuck”- no, not like Hollywood movie stars, but to remove a fat deposit in the eye area so I can allow more light to enter the eye and I can see more clearly. Since this is a health issue, Social Security-Medicare pays most of it. My military retirement insurance pays the rest. I mention this for the many readers and their elders who may need a full and comprehensive eye examination that is up to date.
We mentioned sunglasses last week. I ordered a new pair with polarized apple/green color that appears to me to differentiate the greens and browns that interest my hunting perspective in this area. I had purchased previously a full-enclosed Polaris frame eye protection and side windows with full vision protection in the brush as well as visual clarity. I also carry a small squirt bottle of eye lens cleaner and a micro fiber cloth. That seems to be the best cloth cleaner for my lenses and scopes. INVISION now recommends for the newer coated plastic lenses they market is to use 70% isopropyl alcohol and their micro fiber cleaning cloth. Be sure to discuss with any optician what is the latest cleaning solution to use as technology is improving and costs are going up. Not older camera lenses mind you- they are soft glass and I use a camera lense brush and soft special lense paper rolled into a cone and twirled for cleaning. Any camera lens is best protected by a screw on UV filter.
Topped off with a: “Cool-Max ™ sweat band and a wide brim “Boonie hat” my head was ready for my ear plugs. Yes, hearing is important. I have lost some of my hearing from years back because of gunfire probably when I was in competition pistol shooting in the 11th Naval District Tournaments way back in the late 1950’s. Today young people who are not in the know are losing it from car “thump-thump” low frequency base beats that shake cars next to theirs. This may attract adolescent girls for now but in years to come, sooner than they are aware of, they will be using hearing aids.
Hearing-hunting aids are not unpopular as catalogs are full of ear amplifiers that may, or may not, have a decibel cut off switch to save your hearing when firing your rifle. I prefer to use a headphone type like the young audiophiles sold under the Browning ™ label for fewer than twenty bucks with a decibel cut off automatic switch.
My experience with amplifiers is for those with good hearing, not us old ducks who have lost theirs with frequency distortions. Secondly hearing amplifiers are for still-hunting as any walking, or movement, the amplifier picks up own your man made sounds and is uncomfortable.
Moving down the body a Cool-Max™ neck wrap is excellent. Again, wear a long sleeve shirt, loose waist trousers with the cuffs tucked into your walking boots. The old story of using a dog flea collar around the ankles is out of date to repel insects. Your skin absorbs that chemical and has been discouraged as an anti-insect aid. For the herbalist in the readership I would suggest tucking springs of Tansy (a natural insect repellent) in your belt and outside cuffs. Maybe you can tuck Tansy in your Boonie Hat band too. That’s what the little loops are for- native foliage.
If you choose to wear camo clothing consider the season and wear matching colors. The deer do not care about camo they look for movement-even eye blinks. Learn to blink slowly. The new military digital uniforms are for avoiding enemy night vision equipment recognition. I have no experience with this new concept to determine the efficiency for predator legal night hunting such as Coyotes.
Coyotes are on the increase and have moved from the west to the East coast. They are in the suburbs and now frequent major cities. The suburbs abound with Coyotes who take off small pets and endanger small children. Living Back2theLand they will take your chickens, baby goats, calves, cats and puppies. Mom, we do not leave babies outside alone. I am not keen on wolves either as I remember as a youngster their threat.
While we are discussing wolves and coyotes I want to mention Coy Dogs. Periodically there exists surges of feral dog packs in the rural areas, maybe cities too. Keep tabs with your Fish and Game Department for information about these surges as in these hard economic times people are dumping their dogs. Being pack animals they start to run together. They threaten not only livestock but also children-especially at bus stops in the morning. Maine had a bad experience some years ago with Coy Dogs.
Coyotes often have bounties on them and are best taken at long range with a 4X16 40 scope with .22-250, .243, 6mm, or for super quick 4000 FPS a .220 SWIFT. A .22 Magnum RIMFIRE is good too, but a shorter range out to 100 to 125 yards. BUSHNELL has a new 2.5X16 scope that shows buyers interest; mine too. We want flat, fast shooters, as Coyotes are quick. This is still-hunting at its best hunting with an electronic call and bait. Try: http://www.gofoxpro.com/ Fur-Fish-Game Magazine© often has Coyote articles, and there exists several DVD’s to purchase for successful Coyote hunts.
Sitting in the bushes, especially in this hot summer approaching you will get thirsty. Canteens still abound and though I have been drinking from aluminum canteens forever I am still healthy. However aluminum is no longer recommended as a water container. The hydration packs and Camel pack that strap on your back 60 – 100 oz. water containers are the new wave. www.amazon.com carries quite a few options in this line.
I had thought to remind the new shootists that you have to pack your rifle. You start in a vehicle to a base camp and probably, like an elk hunt, pack in on a on mule back to a 2nd camp way back in the hills. You need a hard crush proof aluminum case like those sold at Cabala’s; but that is big bucks- try www.Sportsmansguide.com , item# WX2-1358566 the ICC Aluminum Double Rifle Case. 17 ½ lbs. @ $149.99. The soft canvas padded “sniper drag bags ” cases will not protect your $2500.00 rifle and scope on a mule back. Although these are double rifle cases put only one rifle in the case with accessories and place separate cases on more than one mule in case the mule goes over a cliff. I would suggest for close at home backpacking- heading up the hill, use a hard shell very light weight fiberglass case, such as sold in Wal*Mart ™ for under $30.00, and lash it to a pack board, with your water hydration unit under the pack board.
My pack board is a WWII-Korean War vintage plywood pack board curved 3” sides with a canvasback and shoulder straps. This item allows for carrying major tools, gas cans, and odd items that otherwise would not be carried in the backcountry at all. Look in Surplus stores, as this is a treasure. You can wrap a down sleeping pad/bag around the gun case, which you will be lying on for prone firing anyway. A down bag is a floater; good in case you drop it in the river, ocean or lake, as it will aid in flotation. Paint your name and address on the case. For security reasons take your business card and place it inside the stock, or under butt plate for identification. Record your serial numbers.
Record all your gun serial numbers and photograph them. You can get Inland Marine EXTRA coverage from your insurance company and of course the National Rifleman’s Association (NRA) offers theft coverage too. Theft is common now in this depressed economy. BEWARE. Usually under a homeowners policy you are only covered for theft to $1,000.00. You need a good gun safe at home bolted to the floor as we discussed some articles back.
The case keeps the dirt, rain and mud out of the rifle and scope’s delicate parts. Go to Office Max© and buy “finger tip protectors” that slip on the finger for endless paper turning. They look like little condoms and when slipped over the barrel end keep the dirt out. Use some small elastic bands to hold them in place. You can actually fire through these, as they are not thick. We used to use condoms in Viet Nam for barrel dirt protection. You do not want a barrel full of mud to blow up in your face.
Inside the case you are packing in you can include a box of ammunition, your BUSHNELL or NIKON (which owns BUSHNELL) laser rangefinder binoculars at $900.00, or a conventional laser rangefinder for much less. I note that technology is starting to offer video cams mounted to your scopes to record action shots. Also for the past few years video recording binoculars are available. I think that a record of this treasured hunt would be rewarding in later years.
Lying out in the itchy-scratchy, as the wind shifts, may invite you to think: scent free clothing and now I note Wal*Mart has scent free wash kits for sale. Most old time trappers and hunters just hung their hunting clothes near a spruce smoke fire, and although you smelled like a chimney, the deer and denizens were familiar with smoke scents. In this neck of the woods there are so many people about I do not think scent free if necessary. I have a small standing herd of deer that lives on my property, and dines in my garden, paying little to no attention to my scent.
However as an antelope hunter out west when I hunted with my dad in Lassen County California as a boy, we could get quite close to the animals in the jumbled terrain with one circling around behind and driving the animals towards a certain direction from the height knolls they preferred to rest in during the day. Most hunts of this nature are in flat lands and require a very long shot as they are up and running at 200 yards from you are moving at sixty miles per hour. Once they stop somewhere out about 700 yards (hopefully) this is where your 25/06 or .270 pays off with a large scope.
When you buy your specialty scope the manufacturer may offer you rings with it. Usually the rings will not fit. Assuming you have a USA made rifle talk to the technical department about the size of the scope and they will tell you the size they recommend for your mounting of that scope. My Ruger Mk II was remounted with a larger scope, and Ruger swapped their factory rings for ones that would fit. Just ordering rings may not work as the bell-objective lens may be too big to clear the barrel with low rings. Were I to buy rings and mounts I would first go for B-Square and Millet after market manufacturers.
You also must have a gunsmith screwdriver assortment with you, as there is nothing in the world that will quickly mark you as a rank amateur if you use a home screwdriver set which will mark up your rife with scratches. Gun screws are a specialty size and require specialty tools. Another $40.00 is cheap insurances and increased resale value. Brownell’s offers nice packages. www.Sportsmansguide.com has several offerings.
I mentioned before you will need a stopwatch, wind meter- temperature/humidity indicator for critical shooting. Let’s put this into perspective in the next series article when we talk about mounting the scope, alignment and getting comfortable with ballistics. Do not forget in your rifle case a brass cleaning rod, patches and solvent.
If you are team working the use of a walky-talky hand held radio set is wonderful, as you each know where the other is, and what is out there. Choices abound and the best is only about @$90.00 for a pair.
Your choice of a hunter buddy is critical. Many would-be hunters are jerks with a gun in hand. Be careful. Try some easy camp outs first. I have lots of horror stories.
Our lead in picture is a Choate manufactured sniper stock, with a .308 chamber, mounted with a Burris Xtreme – 30mm rings, SWFA 10-44 scope, Butler Creek scope caps. Shoots like a .22. Click on for enlargement.
COPYRIGHT: 2010, Back2theLand.com, Mark Steel.