Excuses are like A**holes…

I know that I should be writing a blog about the upcoming election, but to be real honest with you, I have really just had it with politics. I’m sure that you have too. First it was a big debacle just to figure out who was going to be running, then it was millions of dollars spent on campaigning, then millions more spent on negative political ads. (If you type in “negative political ads” on google it gives you quite a few stats, like for instance, out of all of Hillary Clinton’s television commercials, just over 60% of them were adds that tried to shine a nasty light on her opponent. I’m not pointing out one side or the other, I’m just saying that as a collective body, we (as Americans) have shown a greater tendency to make decisions from feelings of anger, then from anything else.) That is a lot of money spent trying to get people to like you (or in reality, just dislike the other person more) That being said, I hope that you visit the poles on Tuesday and let your voice be heard. By this time of  year you have already heard everything that you need to hear in order to make an educated decision, hopefully  “We The People” will have made the right choices and America will keep working its way back to greatness…

OK now that we got that out of the way, lets talk hunting and guns shall we… Finally something that I can completely get behind. I spent yesterday in a duck blind, trying to put a little meet in the freezer. We got an “A” for effort, but its hard to cook a report card. Most Of my time spent in pursuit of ducks (or deer for that matter) is with a buddy of mine named Trent. Trent is an assassin, If you ask him, we will be humble and say that he gets lucky every once-in-a-while, But in all reality Trent puts in a ton of work for his critters, in so he is rewarded (and rightfully so), that’s why his freezer is full of elk, and mine is full of frozen burritos. So with travel to hunting locations, and blue bird days in  duck blind’s, Trent and I spend quite a bit of time talking all things fins, feathers, fur, fletching and firearm. Its funny in the course of any conversation, how many “facts” we have been told over the years, and how many misconceptions their still are when it comes to the lifestyle that we all choose to partake in. SO… Let’s see how many people we can thoroughly frustrate and challenge with this one.

  1. “I carry a .45 ACP because shooting twice is silly”, 9MM vs. .45 ACP…                     I’m pretty sure that if you look around at cave drawings, you will probably see Paleolitic representations of one tribe making fun of another tribe because they used smaller spears. This debate is not only played out, but pretty silly anyways. I have a 9mm, .38 spl., 40 S&W, and a .45 acp. I carry the .45 because I like to shoot it, there for I shoot it more, thus I shoot it better. Pistols are pretty piss poor as defensive weapons anyways. “Wow, did he just say that?” yes I did. If I had the choice between a shotgun with bird shot, or a pistol with the best defense ammo available, I would take the shotty every day. Why? Because it is efficient, even with an adrenaline charged trigger jerk,  you can still effectively stop a bad situation. “But you only have 3 (or 5 or 8) shots?” Yes that is true, I don’t care. I carry a pistol because its convenient, but I know its limitations. Pistols poke holes, and reliability of expansion is always a limitation. Would I rely on my .45 to save my life? You Bet, if I had a 9mm that I shot as well, would I feel as confident using a “puny 9”? Sure would. I can be realistic, and honest with my decisions. Now .40’s on the other hand…
  2. “I would never shoot (insert caliber here), it has a trajectory like a rainbow”              This one is actually as multifaceted as a princess cut diamond. Lets first come to the realization that most people have no real idea about external ballistics. They buy deer bullets for their deer gun and try to shoot a deer. They miss  because the don’t know much about the flight of their projectile (I actually think most people miss high,  But ill get into that later) because they missed, they need a magnum cartridge. “That old .308 or 06 just doesn’t have the oomph to make those long shots, .300 Weatherby actually is going so fast that it rises as itleaves the barrel” No it doesn’t, and you sound silly when you say things like that. Here’s a fun experiment. Take your favorite bullet, hold it directly in front of your right shoulder right where you mount your rifle, then drop it. If you were to use a high-speed camera, you would be able to measure the exact time that it takes to fall from shoulder level to the ground. Now  take your favorite pill pusher, and place a level on top of your scope base. When the bubble is dead nut squeeze the trigger. Using that  same high speed camera you could measure the amount of time it takes the bullet to touch  the ground at the end of its flight. Then compare the times… They are the “SAME!” its called gravity. The only difference between a .308 a 30-06 and the .300 Weatherby is the distance that they travel before they hit the ground. For example: If it takes .750 seconds for the bullet to drop from shoulder height to the ground. you can easily do the math. 165 gr. .308 win @ 2700 fps, 165 gr. 30-06 spr. @ 2800 fps, .300 Weatherby 165 gr. @ 3300 fps. If all three calibers are shot in the same conditions with all bores exactly level, The 308 will travel 2025 feet before it touches down, the 06 will travel 2100, and the 300 will travel 2475 feet. Yes the magnum has an advantage, but it is also more expensive to shoot, and the recoil is more punishing. If you are scared to pull the trigger, and you flinch every time you do, then what is the perk of all the foot pounds of energy and flatter trajectory? Now lets look at your set up. If you do the standard (mount your scope as close to the rifle as possible, Ideally 1.5″ from center of scope to center of bore for hunting rifles) and you sight your rifle in for 100 yards, your .308 will drop 37.08 inches at 400 yards,  the 30-06 will drop 33.85 inches, the .300 Weatherby will drop 20.31 inches at the same distance. That’s no small potatoes, But I think the general consensus for people that plan on making longer range hunting shots (say 300 yards plus) is to set your rifle up as such. I know a lot of fellas that sight everything they have, to be 3 inches high at 100 yards. With that you are left with a ballistic chart that reads something like this: .                                                                       308 Winchester: 100 yards: +3.00″, 200 yards: +1.63″, 300 yards -6.99″, 400 yards -25.07″.                                                                                                                                                 30-06 Spr.: 100 yards:+3.00″, 200 yards: +2.06″, 300 yards: -5.56″, 400 yards: -21.82″                                                                                                                                                 .300 Weatherby: 100 yards:+3.00″, 200 yards: +3.79″, 300 yards: +.27″, 400 yards: -8.29″                                                                                                                                                       So what does that tell us? Well it tells me that yes the .300 Weatherby is a pretty flat shooting rifle. But then the question needs to be asked, How often do you shoot that far? and How often are you willing to practice at those distances? A large whitetail buck has a chest height of somewhere between 18″-20″. So even with the lowly .308 Winchester you can shoot that deer all day long, all the way out to about 350 yards WITHOUT holding over the hair, and that ain’t too bad. You know what else it tells me? That uncle that you have who sights his 300 Savage dead on at 100 yards, then says he “shot that deer at 700 yards, held on lungs, and hit right where he was aiming” is a liar. Sorry that’s just the facts folks. Now to why I said I think more people miss high (even with those huge negative numbers that represent the drop of those 3 cartridges) It is really hard to guesstimate range on critters, just like no 2 snowflakes are the same, no 2 deer,( or elk, moose, bear, coyote or Sasquatch) are the same either. Have you heard of ground shrink? Its what happens when you shoot bears most of the time. Through the scope the it looks like a cement truck with fangs and claws. You pull the trigger, then walk up to it and see that somehow between the time that you pulled the trigger and the bullets impact, your “state record boar” was replaced with a slightly overweight black lab. Its alright we have all been there. A good deer at 400 yards looks like a coyote to the naked eye, what does one look like at 700 yards?  I don’t know either, I live in the part of Idaho that is covered with trees and brush, anything with 500 yards of open space and no trees or brush is either a flight strip, or the parking lot at Walmart. So when we see a deer that is “way out there” most people grossly overestimate how far away it actually is, even a small buck at 300 yards looks like he is at least 900 miles away, and what do we do? Find a rest, aim right for the shoulder, then start worrying about how far away it is. As apposed to getting closer, or just not taking the shot (or ranging it, then using a drop chart, or practicing at ranges out to that far, so that you know how far away it is), we aim half a deer over the shoulders and let er fly. We miss, chamber another round, and aim even higher figuring that we had to have missed low, and keep making the same mistake until were out of bullets. 2 inches of drop, or 200″ of drop, if you don’t know how far away it is, no super magnum is going to make long shots easy.
  3. 3 1/2″ shotgun shells don’t make your 12 gauge shoot farther.                                  (Might as well piss off the shotgun guys too right?) Lets start with the basics first, a shotgun is a gun that shoots shot. In accepting that, you also have to accept the fact that no single shot in the load can be precisely aimed. You bank on the theory that as your shot cup is constricted going through the choke, it will lay an even dispersion, or “pattern” of shot across your target (usually a 30″ circle is used for determining  the percentage of shot in your pattern.) what a 3 1/2″ shell does for hunters that have shotguns so equipped, is give you the opportunity to have more shot in the pattern (a heavier payload). a sphere is the worse velocity retaining projectile invented. that means that they slow down greatly once they leave the barrel.  “Well… Yeah but if you have more shot it will kill farther out right?” Nope, what it will do is give you more chances to catch you intended target inside your pattern. If your goose hunting with “BB” shot, and shooting a 3″ magnum round with 1 1/8 ounce of steel (1500 fps), you have exactly 81 pellets (or 81 chances) to try to hit the goose in a vital spot (head or spine) at 30 yards with a modified choke your pattern will be roughly 30 inches. That is not a whole lot of chances to sneak one into something important. If you are shooting a 3 1/2″  1 5/8 ounce load of steel “BB’s” (1500 fps) your total number of pellets goes all the way up to 117 pellets, or 36 extra pellets, or almost 1/3 more chances to hit the vitals. I like those kind of odds. But it does very little for elongating your actual range, mostly due to the loss of velocity. If you want better long shot potential, the answer is really choke selection, shot shells that are created to keep the shot cup together for longer,(read flight control) and heavier shot.

As technology advances, and as people become more interested in the “outdoor lifestyle” we have a ton of new toys and tools at our disposal. So some of the old stand by rules just aren’t as set in stone as they used to be. But the fundamentals will never change, be smart, be respectful, be ethical, be a student of mother-nature, be an example, and most importantly pass it on. Without us teaching the correct way to the future generations of outdoorsmen our tradition, our responsibility,and our passion, will surely disappear. It won’t be that long until they are making the decisions that will govern this Country, lets raise them up right, and hope that they will do the same. Pass it on…

-Grant Willoughby 11/06/2016-


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