Sunday, 27 October 2019

Muntjac - Mini Deer With FANGS!


The Northern Monkey calls me from his way home from a building site just to the north of london. “I’m at some traffic lights and there are two little deer just standing on the grass staring at me, look a bit moody, they’ve got fangs!”

Muntiacus muntiak reevesi aka Reeve’s Muntjac are our smallest and soon to be most prolific deer. Regular readers will know I’ve hunted these 30 lbs mini deer a few times, seen them, and heard them, all without ever firing a shot.

It’s still called Hunting, it’s still not called shopping.

They bark, not unlike a dog but not quite as loud, they’re skittish, they never really seem to stand still even when nibbling, they are aggressive and armed to the teeth. Or at least armed with long curved canine teeth. They may only be the size of a Labrador but only the most aggressive kinds of terrier would stand a chance against them.

Introduced into the substantial gardens of his ancestral home, Woburn Park, by serial wildlife scallywag [this isn’t the only invasive he released] the Duke of Bedford in 1894, Reeves Muntjac have spread a long way since then. Up and down the country and even ‘swimming’ the Irish sea to appear in Northern Ireland. Of the six species of deer we have they are the most successful. Increasing not only in distribution but at 8.2 percent a year, population has soared from a guesstimate of only 2,000 in 1963, to more than two million today, a Muntjac doe will mate within days of giving birth and will give birth again every seven months. Their diet, the tender shoots of woodland flora like; bluebells, oxlips, native orchids, and the wood anemone, means that they are seriously unloved by the conservation organisations. Rose gardeners particularly hate them, apparently they can, and will, eat a grand’s worth in an evening. They are yet to develop any road sense, of the 42,000 road accidents a year involving deer, resulting in 20 human deaths and £10 million damages, they are about 9,000.  A cull plan of 25-30% would stabilise the population, it would take 50+% to reduce their numbers and that would mean taking a shot at every one you ever saw, which just cant happen.


Where the culinary solution falls down is they might be the best eating deer but they are poor value in the amount of meat you get for the amount butchery it takes to get it. The front legs are scrawny and often bullet damaged, the delicious loins are one per person rarer than a row of steaks, leaving only the haunches which ain’t that big. For not a lot more knife time on even a Roe you’re getting a far greater return for your butchery efforts.

As part of the Adult Onset Hunting program I’ve promised to take a few club members and foodies hunting, this time its The Sailor [yeah I know I've kind of run out of steam with the TLA's]

It's traditional on these pages to start with a description of how hard it is to actually leave town and the snide remarks made by my fellow traveller regarding my time keeping. But you’ve heard it all before. I travel to the far side of london thought he rush hour, then we drive back around london through the second hour of rush before heading not very far north, next time I’m going by train, it literally takes 45 minutes.

There are two schools of thought on which rifle to take: They’re legal to shoot with a .22 centre fire as long as it makes 1,000ft/lb of energy at the muzzle, and delivers a expanding bullet of 50 grains and up. Or in the other school its anything up to a .308, moving at a sedate pace, to reduce meat damage.

The thought of lugging my 15+ lbs Precision rifle across london, let alone across muddy fields doesn’t appeal so I’ve chosen the CZ527, that perfect expression of the mini Mauser. Even with its suppressor up front its only xxxx long and it doesn’t weight a lot. For now mine is chambered in .223 and has a perfect balance just in front of the magazine. I don't know about you, but I was taught to clamber in and out of the highseat with an unloaded rifle, so I’ll always favour a magazine-fed stalking rifle to all that fussing about dropping rounds into my hat and re-stuffing the rifle at each end of the ladder. While I have other favourites the CZ527 is nearly the perfect ‘woodland’ rifle.

We spend a pleasant evening in the ‘spoons gossiping about the other members of the club, slagging off the owner of the chain, and drinking cheap pints.

The Sailor has done us proud finding a hotel even cheaper than the one I stayed in last time and we saunter back for a brief nights kip before hitting the road before dawn. For October its positively balmy even at night its comfortably double figures [centigrade]. All of my stalking trips of late have been by electric vehicle and we whirr though the night past the gallops and stable yards of horse country.

Although I’ve not seen him in an age, it was good to have Mr 7mm as our host and guide; he’s safe, kind to newbies, and has thousands of acres of excellent stalking.
Handshakes dispensed with we clamber into Mr 7mm’s truck and head off into the farmlands. To give the newbie the widest possible introduction to stalking I’m dropped off at a highseat where a spinney abuts a track leading into a block of forestry. Even in the dark it looks proper promising. Mr 7mm produces one of those night vision monoculars that would have been black-ops ten years ago and there are three small deer and a couple of Hares glowing bright green out in the fields.

We walk over to the highseat. “if you shoot a deer, stay in the seat, where you shoot one there will most likely be another a few minutes later”.
A note for new stalkers: please stay in the highseat, I know you want to go and see that deer you shot, but it adds all sorts of unnecessary complications to the enterprise and as Mr 7mm says you might be blowing your chance of deer number two.
As Mr 7mm walks away into the gloom I drop the mag; sling the rifle on my front, clamber up, last quick check that the moderator is screwed on nice and tight, mag back in, chamber a round and settle down to wait. There must be a pen near by as within a few moments pheasants start to appear. Some of the hens are so white I’m compelled to check if they’re albino. At the 87m feeder they mill about and warm in my coat I start to feel a little drowsy. A Hare bounds out of the cover crop and I watch it though my binoculars until it goes back the way he came, my eyes are getting seriously heavy by this time. I’m in that half trance place where it could go either way, the swaying of the boughs behind me, the indistinct first light, a pheasant I made eye contact with earlier stands at the bottom of the highseat and creates me until i’m fully awake again. Out at the 87m feeder the pheasants are having her breakfast interrupted by a Muntjac doe. She circles the feeder and as she drops her head to snaffle a few grains I send her 55 grains of my own. She takes off like a scalded cat, I know I hit her fair and square so I try to suppress the nagging doubts about; myself, the bullet, the scope, the rifle, the shot placement, and how Artemis has abandoned me.

The Brugger and Thommett  moderator is obviously really good, the pheasants flap about a bit and then go back to eating. My brain is replaying “if you shoot a deer, stay in the seat, where you shoot one there will most likely be another a few minutes later” when not 90 seconds later a Buck turns up. he too circles the feeder and as soon as he settles in the crosshairs I give him a round, or so I thought. With a crouching gait he makes for the cover crop never to be seen again. No pins [pieces of shot-off deer hair], no blood, he literally disappeared.
I go back to waiting for a while I sit and think, for a while I just sit. There’s a gun shot in the distance and my hopes rise that The Sailor has closed the deal on his first outing.

It fully light when a third Muntjac appears at 57m a juvenile pre-antlered male, stoops to look around, and catches a round, dropping like a bag of wet sand right on the spot. If I recover them all I’m now out of freezer space so I pop the magazine and await the chaps arrival.

The feeder at the edge of the crop field is a measured 87m the furthest pale dot on the track is Muntjac No.3 at 57m


I took all the measurements with the nicest affordable range finder I've seen so far. Its by Pro Wild and is now under a 100 on both sides of the pond.

20 minutes later the boys appear. Yes they saw deer, no they didn’t shoot any of them, they too heard the shot, but they didn’t hear my shots. Mr 7mm pulls his ghillie face when I tell him the first one has vamoosed, so I get to pull my told-ya-so face when I recover her from the first gap in the hedge she could have chosen. With no ‘pins and paint’ on the ground its all looking a bit inconclusive for shot number two. There’s nothing. We spend most of an hour having a good tromp around, the cover is very thick and my doubts are growing by the minute. We gralloch and set off for the traditional stalkers breakfast


There is little to report from the afternoon session, my arrival startled a herd of Fallow does in a field Mr 7mm doesn’t have permission to shoot over, and with a .223 I didn’t have the necessary firepower for them. Hare weren’t on the list so i watched a medium sized one bound around through my binos and trudged back across the plowings glad once again to have bought the wand-like mini Mauser.

From the car I message our Alaskan corespondent, the blogger known as Hodgeman, telling him I’d finally been able to close the deal, Alaska is well outside the top of the Muntjac’s northern range [its probably Northern Ireland] so he’s interested to hear about our 365 day a year season and their petite size.

‘Moose birth calves bigger than that!’

On the way home:
I’ve struggled the sports bag full of deer on to a station trolly and with my rifle across my back I’m pushing it like a fat boy with sciatica though the station when I’m hailed by one of a posse of teenage boys.
“Is that your gun? Have you been shooting?”
There’s no ignoring him and his out of town accent means he’s unlikely to be too much of a problem.
I laugh “No its my boss’s Bass, I cant even play”
“You ain’t dressed for playing the Bass”
I catch sight of myself in a reflection, I’m wearing muddy wellies, and blood splattered stalking clothes.
He has a point. I put my finger to my lips, wink and waddle away a bit faster.

Your pal
SBW

Saturday, 5 October 2019

How To Start Shooting In The UK

Tika Tac A1 in 6.5mm creedmoor at Bisley

So you fancy shooting? As I guess is obvious from this blog I started shooting to have a more personal relationship with my dinner, but these days I shoot paper targets much more than I shoot Rabbits, Squirrel and Deer.

I've read lots of 'how to get started' articles, most of them written by people who have got newbies of the ground and to be fair they were clear as mud, so I thought I'd have a go.

Here in old Blighty we have fairly strict firearms laws which utterly defy common sense, but for the most part the system works well and people who hold firearms are rarely involved in crime of any kind. I say defy common sense because they are a vast expense to administer and pointlessly inconvenient to comply with. Using the driving licence as a model the whole thing could be massively simplified. From banger to bugatti one licence to drive them all, with rifles its an application for every rifle.

You must have Good Reason:
There are two kinds of good reason to have a firearm, you have Land [or access to land], or you are a member of a Gun Club.  "I wish to bring justice to the unworthy" isn't considered acceptable. There are some exceptions but unless you're a veterinarian, farmer, or live in Northern Ireland they're not really important.


A Ruger 1022 in 22LR accurate AF at 25 yards. 

Club membership:
You cant just book a session and turn up to shoot to see if you like it. You must apply, be vetted by the cops, then you can shoot under supervision, then you can become a full member. It takes about three to six months.

Some specialist target rifles in .308, used in the competition known as Fullbore in the UK.

The NRA and Bisley:
Not all clubs are affiliated to the NRA, in fact its less than would be helpful, but there are some advantages. The NRA controls the national shooting ground which is in Surrey just outside london and has ranges from 25 to 1200 yards you can rent fairly cheaply. On the upside its super safe, on the downside its not very good if you want to practice shooting at various ranges within the same string of ten shots. The NRA is staffed by well meaning people, bogged down by tradition and endless complex rule structures, which are usually described in a verbal shorthand largely incomprehensible to the outsider or new comer.
You need to be a member and have a range competency card. There are two ways to get one.
The NRA run courses - not cheap.
Your club [if affiliated] will run days at Bisley and once they're comfortable that you are safe they'll issue you with one. The competency card has individual sections for each kind of shooting, so it can take a while to evidence all the kinds you need.

Apart from the hundreds of pounds you'll save on training there are other reasons to be a member of a club. The pool of knowledge that will help you get better, and buy better. There are people who have learned to shoot and clean their guns almost solely off the internet, I find it easier to be shown one-on-one. I walked away from an auction at £500 for a rifle that later sold for £1600, a friend of mine bought one almost the same, but with a nicer scope, for £450 from a guy who was retiring from the club.

A very Sticky club Savage in 22LR

Getting your own guns:
Club rifles have hundreds, if not thousands, of rounds put through them a week, and it shows. They are also 'one size fits no one' Every club has an example of someone who shot a perfect score with a club gun that hadn't been cleaned in weeks. You never know, it could be you, even if it is the chances of repeating the feat are even slimmer.

Back to 'good reason':
Every firearm you own has conditions attached to your ownership. They fall into two main categories Target Shooting and Pest Control. All rifles can be shot at targets, but only some rifles can be shot at animals.  Each rifle you own will have conditions attached to your owning it.

Storage Restrictions.
To have a Fire Arms Certificate you need to have storage at home, you could have club storage, but that would only let you shoot at that premises, so you wouldn't be able to take your rifle anywhere else for stalking or competition. I know a couple of people who have membership of two clubs so they can store rifles at each. I've heard of people who have an additional stalking rifle kept at a gun shop in Scotland. Its all far from convenient. You're going to need a gun safe.
Listen carefully. There are loads of secondhand safes on offer, for a reason. If its listed as a ten gun safe, it will hold four. Never mind the width, be mindful of the depth.  Only buy a safe that can take scoped rifles. Do as I say not as I have done. I'm looking for my third safe, this time I will get it right.

You need to have the safe on the wall, and ideally obscured from casual view, before you have your Fire Arms Enquiry Officer visit.
The internet is full of new shooters getting their knickers in a twist about the visit, pointlessly.
The person who comes to interview you is a civilian who works for the cops, they are trained to ask you questions, they're not an expert on guns and ammo, they might never have fired a gun in their life.
Once again the internet is full of anecdotes about their misunderstandings of calibre and legislation.
I spent a pleasant two hours chatting with he chap who came to see me, a pensive two weeks waiting for him to hand deliver my certificate, then another week waiting for corrections to it, before it finally arrived in the post and I could make that first over enthusiastic purchase.

Probably the silliest thing about our licensing system is the way its 'licence the gun', not 'licence the person'. So you're in the ridiculous position of having to choose something that may or may not suit your needs before you can buy it. As you want to practice a lot, you'll need that 22LR for club shooting, but as there are dozens of different types of target shooting there's no one rifle that does them all. Then you're going to want to shoot at ranges beyond 25 yards and your shooting career could go in literally any direction, all of which require slightly different equipment.
There are myriad choices and combinations on offer, every one of them wonderful in some way.
Here's a sample battery working on the assumption that you're going to be shooting both with your club, then at Bisley [or wherever] with your new friends from your club.

A super rare full custom all steel clone of a Ruger 1022, made by AMT & Theoben

22LR your rimfire rifle
The indoor rifle, £5 buys you 50 shots, will slay Rabbits out to 50 yards, loads of competitions, and a brilliant way to practice. They cost anything from £20 to £2,000 - and more for the super specialist examples for world class competition. Barrel life is almost endless.


.223 your small deer / short range centre fire rifle
Cheap to keep and can be shot at nearly every rifle range. There are plenty of 22 CF's but some of them are too wonderful [fast] to be shot at some ranges, and the faster the bullet goes the shorter the life of the barrel. With 223 there's plenty of cheap ammo, long barrel life and a hooj choice second hand making the .223 the ideal club/plinking calibre. They all shoot out to 300 yards and some, with a faster twist rate barrel, will shoot a lot further.
Legal for Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer in the south and for Roe in Scotland.


A very nice CZ in .308, bit heavy for staking but proven to be very accurate. 

.308 or better yet 6.5 Creedmoor your all deer / longer range centre fire rifle
Since the 1950's the 308 has been the default target round, and its the do everything hunting round. From Alaska to Zimbabwe there's nowhere you cant buy ammunition for them. Barrel life is long, 800 yards + in a short barrelled gun - longer in a specialist target rifle, and there are more of them on sale at any time than any other calibre. Ammunition runs from cheapo NATO surplus to super performance, from lightweight to personal artillery.  .308 The default setting.

BUT, hold on just a minute.

In the last 10-11 years the 6.5mm has come into its own. Scandiwegens have been shooting the 6.5mm bullets at targets and massive moose for a hundred years with great affect. Recently the 6.5mm has appeared in a new cartridge that grows in popularity every year. Fads come and fads go, but the Creedmoor is now established. A 1200m cartridge that's gentle on your shoulder and cheaper to feed than most, its also available in bullet weights and designs suitable for everything from  Foxes to Moose, and low drag target rounds that have hit steel out at 3000m.
If you do shoot at Bisley the NRA are supporting CM by selling them at £17 for 20 which represents something of a bargain these days.


A Lee Enfield Mk4 with Vernier Sights calibrated to 1200 yards 

303 Lee Enfield.
Everyone should have a .303. The historic rifle. It's a bit galling having to listen to the old boys at the club tell you about the Enfield they bought for a tenner back in the day, but inflation is what it is.

And on to your stalking rifle(s)
You could have a 223 and a 6.5mm that would slay every kind of deer in the UK no problem, but in order to be a really efficient target shooting rifles they need to be too heavy to be really handy stalking rifles.
For years the default setting for an english stalking rifle has been .243 (6mm) but unless you have one made or re-barrelled  they often don't have the twist rate for the heavier bullets needed for the bigger deer.
Then there's pigs, the UK has a growing number of excellent Wild Boar shooting opportunities and the guidance is 7mm and up, that 308 (7.69mm) would have been perfect. Your second Creedmoor would do it fine if you made some heavier rounds for it, but not all guides will let you use less than 7mm.


Did I mention Gallery Rifle? A sport your club probably shoots...... TBC

more soon
your pal
SBW



Sunday, 8 September 2019

Midnight Sun Rifle Challenge 2019 : Kit List Pt1


'Hours of misery and fun'

There is a rifle competition I'd wanted to enter since I first saw Thomas Haugland's videos of it.
It's not the genteel 'picnic and shooting' on Bisley's green and pleasant lawns.  This time it's in Bardufoss in two valleys, both dappled in snow, washed by the midnight sun, with stages from 100-1210m, and Vikings. Real Vikings.

A sudden rush of optimism that sounded like this:
Once or twice I've actually hit targets at both extremes, missed a few in the middle, and have a lot of camping equipment. I could, 'almost', enter tomorrow. I say almost. My stalking rifle isn't going to stretch quite that far, svelte german lines and a super simple reticle, might be a thing of joy but nah. I need a dedicated PRS rifle.

There were a few moments of sober reflection, that sounded like this:
There's a fairly long walk involved, and I'm still carrying a little extra ballast, sadly not all of it in the form of my brother's smelly 25+ year old tent.

I entered and before I tell you the tale, it wouldn't be the SBW blog without a kit list.

Let the kit-tart-ism commence.

In this competition laser range-finders are banned, so are weather stations, and all ballistic electronics. With the money I've just saved by not buying the bino's and gadgets, something in a chassis with a folding stock, is now the very intersection of practicality and necessity. Anyone who says otherwise is off my Christmas list.

Received wisdom from the precision rifle crowd seemed to be 'If I was starting again I'd go 6.5mm rather than .308'  Following this advice rules out most of the secondhand fettled Remington 700's on offer in the UK. Surprisingly few of the offered examples have been screwed together by 'smiths with a reputation to up hold. Though some are in those nice Accuracy International stocks, 308 outnumbers the other calibers 10-1. If I could bear the cost of buying and then re-barreling they'd be an option. I'm not that excited by the extra cost(s), interminable wait, and frankly I've already got enough money-pits things 'in development' in my life. But all is not yet lost, there are rifles that have, out of the box, been embarrassing some very nice custom builds on both sides of the Atlantic, but we'll come back to that later.

Human Performance, then Scope, then Rifle.
The plan is weighted quite heavily towards the human performance end of things. never having been further north than the middle of Scotland I imagine the trip being like a longer version of Hill Stalking, Cold Wet Hands is the assumption, and every part of the plan needs to be about negating their affect. As the competition is over 24 hours, and judging by the pictures from previous years, the competitors are for the most part in the first flush of middle youth, so no longer that enthralled by staying up all night, there will, mercifully be a sleep. On a snow dappled hillside.

Camping in Norway! What will it be like? 

It'll be in tents. 


The unavoidable weight of; the rifle, big scope, substantial bipod, and 250 rounds of ammo combine to rule out the use of a ultralight pack. There are some really neat rifle-scabbard packs, but I've already got a tough-as-old-boots pack frame, which fits me really well, so having saved yet more money, I bought a Kifaru Mountain Rambler to replace its LongHunter bag.
A lot of companies claim to make extreme hunting packs. Kifaru actually do. The Mountain Rambler is a rifle scabbard, and day pack, with built in wrap to carry dead things or a bow. Could be a bit lighter, but Kifaru's frame puts all the weight on your hips, and it ain't going to break. Ever.
Best of all it had just been superseded, and Gucci-kit tarts being what they we are, I managed to find another collector enthusiast who just had-to-have the new model and sold his to me, unused, at a no-brainer discount. The face-saving way to do this is to advertise the item as 'bought for a trip that now isn't happening'. I shall not lie. We've all done it. Er, yes hmm. Ice fishing.

"Boots and Bed; if you're not in one, you're in the other"

"Lundhags, they're the boots aren't they. In the Falklands I demanded them for the boys, the MOD flew them out, the boys were very glad of them" - The Colonel

From the snow-blown slopes of Mount Stanley to beating on the Colonel's estate outside Eastbourne in the pissing rain, he was right. All the forces created by the terrain and the weight of your pack meet at, and will be transmitted though, your ankles. I've often been tempted by pairs of Superleggera Italian hiking boots that owe something to sports shoes, but as I side off the thousandth tussock of the morning, and my ankle doesn't twist.  I've been glad I'd saved the cash for other uses and stuck to Swedens finest. I'm still wearing the first pair I bought, still with the same laces. One day I'll buy a pair of the shoes too.

Thermarest & Pump
The sleeping mat, the difference between roughing it and relaxing. Every one I've owned has been lighter and more susceptible to puncturing than the one before it. More expensive too. Suck it up.

Jerven bag
For 30 years the Norwegian military, where frostbite is a court marshal-able offence, has issued these super blankets. They come in a waterproof bag that also contains a pair of waterproof sleeves. So its part survival blanket and part field-dressing station for gralloching beasts on.  It even comes with a signal flag, reducing the amount of time your relatives wait before putting in the insurance claim.
Whatever happens I hope having made the effort to bring the proper kit in the first place will go someway to saving face with the mountain rescue people.
I can totally imagine the look on the 23 year old Viking goddess' face as she arrives to rescue [or collect] me "well you're quite old now, [and stupid], but at least you didn't come walking in beachwear"  


Kifaru stuff sacks
Of all the clever things Patrick Smith designed for the outdoorsman, these might well be the smartest.
You'll be amazed at how much more room you've got for Tapas in your suitcase, when you squeeze the air out of your luggage. I keep telling myself they're a ridicules price and that I'll make my own. I keep buying more of them. It's either that or fight my teenage daughter to get them back.

Areopress coffee maker
Lavazza isn't a luxury, it's the minimum bid for my involvement. After Alan Adler smashed it by inventing the furthest human-thrown object, 1330 yards since you ask, he turned his attentions to making coffee and in doing so transformed my life. It's not only that I can make drama-free espresso wherever I go from jobsite to campsite, but by not buying coffees from stands in the street I save about a grand a year, to spend on gear and ammo.


Leki pole.
It's the knees again. Moving weight onto your wrists and lots of it too. Some people are saying 20%. Hiking poles only look stupid, they're actually excellent. I can't really tell the difference myself but the longterm users seem to prefer Leki and this model doubles up as a mono-pod for your camera or rifle.


Truemiler
In the spirit of utter self reliance that the Vikings seem to be born with, they don't fool around with gizmos that take batteries, they have these neat slide rules that calculate distances. Horrific price but they're listed in the rules, have a stage named after them, and don't weigh much.

Positive mental attitude:
One of my friends, who has done very well in the last few seasons, refused to even think about entering on the grounds that he had no chance of winning. What he didn't realise is the generous prizes are won, not from your score which gets you a plaque, but on a lottery basis. All you need to do is finish.

Just keep telling yerself:  "It's only twenty four hours"

More in Part 2 soon
Your pal
SBW


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Midnight Sun Rifle Challenge 2019


VRS Midnight Sun Rifle Challenge 2019

Troms Langhold & Benkeskytter Forening invites you to MSRC

Location: Bl├ątind, Troms

Match date: July 5th to July 7th 2019.

Max range: TBA
We are happy to announce that you have a slot in the VRS Midnight Sun Rifle Challenge 2019 match! 

Me and my big mouth
your pal
SBW

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Wildfowling: Canada Geese



"Last night, did you chase a large bird through the house with an axe? I ask only as there are feathers all the way up the stairs, and a bloodied axe in the kitchen?"

Two nights before.
It was a cold and windy rain-battered night. On the weather forecast at least, so when I dragged my hide out of bed at Three AM I was pleasantly surprised to find the skies clear and the temperature nudging double figures. Being the city boy that I am it did cross my mind that I'd not need a coat. Yeah right. Putting such foolishness to one side I hopped in an Uber and headed to Shooter's place.

The blogger known as Shooter doesn't live that far from me as the crow files, through the traffic or on the train it takes forever to get to him. But the city is asleep so when the Uber driver woke me to say we'd arrived I must only have been asleep for ten minutes. The other person in the car park is a distinguished looking gent taking a pair of muddy wellies out of his motor. He bears the mark of the new boy or tourist. That's his warmest coat, but its not a shooting coat. We make our introductions and summon Shooter, who arrives at levels of excitement that would shame an eight year old. I'm an enthusiast but I'm nothing on Shooter, he never plays it cool. His enthusiasm is as boundless as it is infectious. Like an armed Tigger, wearing a shirt and tie under wildfowling camo. I'd forgotten how much I like going hunting with him.

We spend the hour and a half it takes to drive north playing trivia swaps, and the Distinguished Looking Gent is kind enough to ask an innocuous question or two about calibres, giving Shooter and myself the chance to re-live the joys of the calibre conversation. Again.

Rugby; home of the ball game, school, and due to the abundance of Blue Lias limestonecement works. At the time of the doomsday book it was spelled Rocheberie, and is possibly the town furthest from the sea in England.
Canada Geese; surly, begging, aggressive, territorial, constantly shitting, and they make a helluva racket.
6.5 Creedmoor dude! Sharing the wonders of the other rounds of its diameter but, due to the miracle of marketing, available off the shelf. Damn if we don't live in a golden age of ammo!


It was another one of those 'you take the A one-one-whatever towards Effing-Sodbury, until you pass Futtocks End, turn right at the Broken Head, and when you come to a field with a downed Oak blocking the entrance, go two more fields, until you come to the field with the downed Ash, when you see a Post Office you've gone too far, call me I'll be along in a few minutes'

We are significantly early. It is indeed a cold and windy night. One of the other local guides swings by on his way to an unrelated gig, to hang out and let us know our man is on his way. The other guns rock up; an electrical contractor, a man who calls himself a farmer but turns out to be a bio-fuels entrepreneur, and a dude who has fishing lakes. They're in their early 60's, and sport that uniform of the British sporting gent; a mix of expensive new, and dirt-cheap old kit, worn over a shirt and tie, and Green Wellies.
Just as there's enough light to see into the field the guide arrives with two Cockers.
The line of flight is between a massive reservoir and a fairly massive fishing lake. A stern lecture about not shooting Cormorants is issued. It starts to rain. After BoB (brother of bushwacker) Shooter is the most waterproof person I've ever met, he may have been a duck in another life, once the wind turns, blowing the now driving rain into our faces, his spirts soar.  

We trudge across the field shovelling shells into our guns as we go, right on cue the honking begins and a posse of Canada Geese take to the sky. Down at the other end of the line someone drops one of them and the day has begun. The next flight takes me by surprise and, my attention re-focused by an easy shot not taken, I drop the lead bird of flight three. To be truthful, given my past record with a scatter gun, I'm so shocked that I forget I've got two more in the tube and let the other Geese within my range fly off unharmed, and forget to reload.

On average Canada Geese weigh in anywhere between 2.5 and 6.5 Kg; moody bastards with an extremely muscular neck and a substantial bill of 4.1 to 6.8 cm (1.6 to 2.7 in) they're a known menace on London's waterways. Hissing a warning, and jabbing with that bill. Shirty as you like.

Dawn has now fully broken and the rain lessens. To my consternation a goose wanders over, on foot. I'm nearest so I walk over and shoot him. A few feathers become airborne, he looks at me quizzically, I shoot him again, seemingly without affect. Click, as I'm reloading he expires.
Shooter "What are you doing? Why didn't you wring his neck?"
SBW " Have you seen the size of the fecker? You fight him."

This is Britain, there's no real wilderness, so we end up sharing all but the Highlands with others. Given our location its only a matter of time before that most pompous of hobbyist's the Twitcher appears. Glaring his disapproval though his binoculars. Annoyingly there's now another pedestrian goose, wandering off, ever closer to disappearing into a tangle of brambles at the far end of the field. Eventually the Twitcher tires of watching a bunch of grey-beards standing in the rain thinking about breakfast and toddles off. Shooter and I set about depriving Mr Fox of his dinner. I'm no keener on tangling with this one, and shoot him. The first load inflicting what looks like a moral wound, the goose indignantly waddles away, the second load looks to separate his head from his neck and he slumps to the ground. As I pick him up, his wings give a couple of spasms and I take a nice shin-strike, renewing my conviction that they are an extremely dangerous animal, not to be tangled with.

While Deer Stalking is a solitary activity, the interactive element taking place online after the event, Flighting and Walked Up have a social side to them. Certain conventions are to be observed. I'm feeling a bit under dressed as DLG and I are the only ones not wearing a shirt and tie. There's a whole raft of ritual and expectation that I'm only dimly aware of, taking place in a hierarchy of situations, this is the informal end of things where 'safe' and 'wasn't an arsehole' will do it, at the next level there are fines for not having enough cartridges and other infractions. You must have the right gun, 'right' isn't defined by price, my agricultural semi is fine for Pigeon, Geese and Ducks, but unthinkable for Pheasant and ground game. They all seem to aspire to shoot Side by Sides, but actually shot Under and Overs. Their Understatement game is strong.

Over an impromptu breakfast of porky and chocolaty snacks the fellas review the sport of the season.
The chaps are extremely cautious about who they'll shoot with, safety comes first, then there's the correct way to make any displeasure known.
Shooter and the Guide have been on this very ground a week or so before, with a group of clients both of them wish to swerve. Alerted by the bragging 'that time you shot me' conversation and then Muzzle-Swept, Shooter had quietly beaten a retreat to the car to watch, gun in slip, from a safe distance. The guide complements him on this wordless communication. This is a tribe anyone can join, or at least think they've joined. Somehow imagining they could sweep this massive breach of etiquette under the carpet the group have nominated a new voice to make a subsequent telephone booking. A very small and self-policing world.

Re-waterproofed by caffeine, chocolate and pork. With the dogs released from the truck bed we walk the cover crop fields to see if we can put a few birds in the air. A couple of championship Rabbits break from a spiny, once out of shotgun range they turn and pause to chalk up the experience, funny how they never do that when I've got a rifle.

After a pub lunch we work another crop. This ain't no dusty prairie, the crop grows almost waist high and every leaf seems to hold a cup of iced water. The gang are divided, we've got a couple of waterproof over-trouser wearers, I'm in the Breeks subset, and then there's the guide and Distinguished Looking Gent toughing it out.  Pheasants clatter to the sky, I drop a Hen but the Partridge elude me. Shooter drops a brace and as we meander towards the cars a skein of Greylag Geese climb in an expanding Vee, the straggler crumples in a cloud of Steel shot.

We're losing the light, but elect to stand in a pointless line waiting for a never to arrive flight of ducks. Its time for home.

When the conversation is good the drive back is all too short, DLG tells us about he and his wife's trekking adventures, and an abortive hunt for buffalo in Tanzania. Shooter and I do a quick round of 'one rifle to rule them all' and all too soon were wishing DLG an early happy crimbo and waving him off.


I've now got: Four Canadians, A Greylag, three Pheasant and Shooter has given me three ducks from earlier in the week. It's a big ask for an Uber driver, but The Northern Monkey is afloat not too far from Shooter's yard so I lure him off his sofa with offers of Goose dinners and he collects me, only to find himself embroiled in a substantial plucking session back at mine. Where we were to learn a new truth from the wild food lifestyle.

If you shake a lot of goose down and feathers until they become airborne, you'll easily be able to tell which of your kitchen surfaces need de-greasing.

More soon
Your pal
SBW
PS my go to guy for wild food recipes has several belters on his blog

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Unboxing Review: Stalon Silencers Of Sweden

I'd not noticed the Stalon brand until I bought one (it came with a rifle). That being said I'm very impressed with the one I've ended up with. The W110 weighs 380 g with 130 mm covering the barrel, and 110 mm extending forward. Stalon have taken a different route to the other designs I've seen by using both a plastic exit port up front as well as a plastic bushing out back.
On the side of the tube the Silencer/ moderator's suitability is listed for calibers from 6.5 to 7.69mm. For the smaller calibers that's a pretty big gap.  I wrote to Stalon to ask if a closer tolerance insert were available for 6.5mm bullets.

Their Response:
We has tested with a smaller hole for the 6,5mm bullets but not got more than marginal better dB levels.

For some people one of Stalon's USP's might be really useful; the rear section of the unit bears the serial number, making it the licensed part, the front section is swappable - you can have additional front sections for different calibre groups, or an especially long front section for Stand hunting or Target shooting.

They do a couple of accessories I'd not seen offered by other brands; not that I've got room for one on my Tika, but these cone-shaped rear brushings reduce snagging when pulling your rife out of a scabbard pack.


Want to shoot open sights and silenced? Stalon have a solution.


I've been collecting up the parts and once we get Crimbo out of the way, and all the bits screwed together, I'll do the first range report with my Precision Rig.

More soon
Your pal
SBW





Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Review: CZ 527 In Theory And Practice Pt1

The Micro Action Rifle. Every battery should include one. It's not a Truck-Gun, but it would make an excellent truck gun, it might be the same length as a Pig-Gun, but they're are different. It could even be a Baboon gun, or it could be powerful rabbit medicine. Would work well on Canadians, but we'll come to that later.

Ya gotcha long action, ya gotcha short action, and before you get down to yer rimfire action, ya gotcha micro action. Dinky little rounds gets a dinky little action. Or to put it another way, it shoots rounds with cases 45mm and shorter.

The CZ527 isn't the only Micro Action there's Sako, there's Howa, there's Zastava and no doubt others.  For me there were two contenders; the Shultz and Larsen Legacy [to be reviewed as and when funds allow], and the CZ 527 which, while sadly not a take down, is half the price, and can be bought pre-loved [hence its appearance in my battery].

It's a true Micro Mauser - its action scaled to cartridge, controlled round feed, 5 & 3 round all steel magazines, hammer forged barrels 18.5, 22, 24 or 26 inches long, and has at one time and another been available with both single and double set triggers.

I've known a couple of 527's The Bambi Basher has one in 7.69 Soviet [the ballistic twin of the 30/30] which for UK deer act compliance he hand loads to deer legal speeds. In Africa there's no shortage of AK ammo there  the slow moving - hard hitting 7.69 x 39  527 has been the end of many crop raiding Baboons. Before the factory got into the Grendel game his mate Mr Grendel developed one, which proved itself in Scotland with a lasered 187m shot in a howling gale. Earning, that rarest of things, the approval of The Ghillie.

So far chamberings include: .17 Hornady Hornet, 204 ruger, 22 hornet, .221 Fireball, 222 Remington, 223 Remington, 300 AAC Blackout, 7.69 Soviet, and now 6.5mm Grendel

A range of factory stocks are available from time to time:
Full, Composite, American, Lux, Laminate, Night Sky (black polymer soft-touch with speckles), Ebony and now the 'marmite' Match Target Rifle. 


More Cz527 soon

Your pal
SBW


Friday, 9 November 2018

Choosing A Hunting Scope - My Thoughts.



So you want to buy a scope? You've smashed the piggy bank, cut open the bottom of the couch, and picked up every dropped penny you've seen for the last year.

There is a saying, often attributed to Richard Prior (the Roe stalker not the comedian, different spelling)  "Buy the best scope you can, spend the change on a rifle". Which is still true today, although the gap between the top Austrian glass and the Japanese stuff is closing fast, and the Chinese scopes get better every month.

All shooters have their budgets, all brands have their fans, light conditions vary wildly, and eyesight is fantastically subjective. I'd only buy a used scope if it was made in the last couple of years, the tech has moved on that fast.

Light is different at; times of year, altitude, and in differing weather conditions, to name just three. There is nothing in nature that resembles an optician's eye chart, if you can do your testing looking at things that look like what you'll be shooting at, and better yet, in the light conditions you'll be shooting in, so much the better.

Vortex: made in China - superb warranty, prices starting at affordable, Bargains on Ebay.
Docter: Very popular in Germany, lots cheaper than the more famous Austrian brands - worth a look
Nighforce: made in USA with Japanese glass - famous for their tactical scopes, people are saying great things about their hunting scopes
March: made in Japan - gaining ground very fast, quality like this ain't cheap
Swarovski:  made in Austria - for many years considered 'the best' by stalkers in the UK, marketed as a luxury item with price tags to match. I had an 8x56 that optically was a thing of wonder, I always felt the reticle's bars were just a tad too thick.Would buy again though.
Kahles: made in Austria - Owned by Swarovski, European favourite. Pronounced Kah-les. I'm in love with mine.

Fixed Magnification vs Variable.
With fewer lenses to diffuse the light Fixed has an advantage, most people leave their Variable on one comfortable setting, in some circumstances fixed is the best choice possible,  until that day when you can see the deer through the naked eye but not find it in the effing scope. I sold my 8x56 and bought a Variable.

Hunting scope vs small telescope on top of your rifle
If your hunts are in the desert or near to the equator, you can save a lot of weight and mass, if you hunt in the dark of the woods, or in the dying hours of the what Scottish have instead of sunlight, that big objective lens makes a lot of difference, and the expensive glass really does give you that last half hour.

Red Dot vs Illuminated reticle.
Red dot has one disadvantage it can't overcome, Cant. There's no visual reference to see if you're twisting the rifle. Not everyone is fussed over having an illuminated reticle. I like 'em.
Bob-on at 200 meters and the secondary cross gives you 'ish' 300. Because you're a decent human being; you live close to your ethical code, you shoot a flat shooting calibre, and you know what 'flight time' means. You're not going to need your stalking rifle to shoot any further, in an emergency you've still got the top of the lowest bar as a third aim point.

There is a saying, often attributed to your pal SBW
"Choose a reticle, buy the scope that comes with it".

more soon
Your pal
SBW

Friday, 19 October 2018

Buying A Precision Rifle: Tikka Tac A1 Pt.1


How would you feel if I said you could have a no waiting list precision rifle that's served humble pie to some very very nice custom builds? For 30% of the cost of an Accuracy International? Yeah me too. Choice of three. Or five depending on who you listen to. What a time to be alive.

Some of the younger members of my club [which means people under 60] have been saying good things, very good things, about the Ruger Precision.
Not for the first time Ruger set the pace for the industry, to give them their due the RPR has done just that. Catching both the Precision Rifle and AR trends; a rifle you can customise at home with thousands of readily available options, it takes AR grips and stocks.  That's also ready to compete in precision matches right out of the box.

Now on Gen.3 there's a growing choice of factory calibers and aftermarket barrels, parts and it takes Pmags. Down on the south coast at OMR's club there's a whole cadre of owners. At both clubs .308 Nato and 6.5mm Creedmoor are neck and neck in numbers.

In Spain Bergara Rifles offer their riff on the idea. They have an excellent reputation for their button rifled barrels, and have wisely chosen to build their rifle on the Remington 700 footprint. If you wanted to develop a rifle from one; you can have your choice of 100's of stocks, triggers etc, and it takes the proven and readily available AI magazines. Money pit, fun money pit, but a money pit I can't allow myself to be sucked into. This time.

On every thread I read; where someone was asking where to drop their hard-earned, there was the 'That being said Now try the Tikka' comment. I have never shot a Tikka that wasn't accurate and amazing value for money. Asking about; people who wanted one because their mate has one shed out and bought the Ruger, people who have shot both bought the Tikka. The best review the Bergara got was 'its the equal of the Tikka'.  It might be different where you are but here there's less than £100 in it either way. No one I found in the UK is including extra magazines or postal rebate magazines from any of the brands.

The Howa guy is yet to return my calls. Not even sure you can even order the Savage here.

I was feeling pretty swayed, but you know, cash is king. There just weren't that many second hand Rugers in Creedmoor, even fewer Tikkas in general, and no sign of a Bergara.
I was becoming pretty much resigned to saving up to pay full-whack for a new one when I found a 20 inch Tikka in 6,5 CM with a Stalon advertised. The owner had a presence on a couple of forums where he'd posted enough to give me a bit of comfort. He's hanging up his spurs and offered to throw in the contents of his ammo boxes and a goodly pile of Lapua cases. Rude not to.

We had a couple of false starts while I traveled in the wrong part of the north, with my ticket back at home I couldn't take delivery. We prepared to do a dealer-to-dealer exchange, then the seller announced his work had scheduled a meeting for him in central london. We agreed to meet in a business traveler hotel just down the road from an office I myself am occasionally compelled to attend. I was envisioning something out of James Bond or Lord of War, with a sniper rifle laid out on the bed. Just in a cheaper hotel.

"Sorry it'll be a day later and they've  moved me to another hotel". The next day he found he had no hotel, 'but don't worry there are plenty of meeting rooms at the london office'.
It's not like this in the movies. The receptionist denied that he worked there or existed. I rang him. He was sitting on the sofa next to her desk. Frosty doesn't cover it. It's as though we'd been married already. My laughing didn't seem to help lift her mood.
Now we get to the paperwork, three lots; firearm, silencer/moderator, and ammo are all controlled, and need to be listed. The only available meeting room has a young fella working away at his laptop, we sit at the other end of the boardroom table.
Now for the moment of truth.
The seller walks over to the young fella, shows his office ID, and licence before he says "we're both licensed to possess firearms and I'm selling him a rifle, he needs to confirm its serial number" There's a slight pause, "I'm cool" says the young fella. We complete the transaction; re pack the Tikka back into its cardboard box, say our goodbyes, quick "thank you" to reception, and I'm back in the street.

Wondering if the Uber or the armed response team will get there first.

I''m going to test this rifle and take it for a few trips - follow our adventure on Facebook

More Soon
Your Pal
SBW



Its All About The 6.5mm



While there's no cheap-to-keep like a .308, I've always been of the church of 6.5mm, a prejudice that's been comfortingly confirmed many times.

Here's an article from The Hand Loading Bench written by accuracy legend Laurie Holland for the excellent Targetshooter.co.uk magazine.

6.5MM CARTRIDGES: AN OVERVIEW (PART 1)

6.5MM CARTRIDGES: AN OVERVIEW (PART 2)


6.5MM CARTRIDGES, AN OVERVIEW (PART 4)

6.5MM CARTRIDGES AN OVERVIEW PT 5
and you can read some more of his pieces for Target Shooter here

Hope you find them as interesting as I did

More soon
SBW




















Friday, 7 September 2018

Unboxing Review: Heym SR30


Missing from the round up of European Sporting Rifles was the rifle I actually bought with my own money, the SR30 by Heym. Which in case you were wondering rhymes with rhyme.
Due to its inexplicable place far from the firmament of fashion this is; a handmade rifle you can still buy, preloved, for a lot less than the price of something plasticy and mass produced.

A by-word for old-school german engineering, Heym are famous for their; dangerous game rifles with stout Mauser actions. Their safari double rifles in calibers beginning with a 4 or a 5, and the SR21 a very nice iteration of the european sporting rifle theme, available in grades from 'working' to 'oligarch's heirloom'.
Just like at the office,  sometimes even the most conservative of characters can have an unexpected quirky side to them, so just because they could - Heym took the Fortner action of biathlon fame and scaled it up to centerfire dimensions. From the first time I saw one on a trip to that english institution  Holt's Auction I knew I'd get one later if not sooner.


The design does away with bolt lugs as we know them, or even Blaser's radial collets, and instead uses six ball bearings to lock up, making for an immensely strong straight pull action, that gives you a rapid second shot at that rampaging boar. The bearings might look diminutive, Heym have successfully tested the system at 110,000psi pressure, which is, give or take, double the 55,000psi pressure of a typical rifle cartridge.

Picture found online, I'm not taking my bolt apart, not sure I'd be a able to get it back together.

In Germany I'm told the rules state that you can't stalk with a cocked rifle, blocking the firing pin isn't safety enough, which lead to the de-cocking actions of several german brands. Here Heym excel themselves. As you push the bolt forward a seventh ball bearing on the side of the bolt snicks into place, acting on a shaft which pops the six radial bearings into their an indent, the rifle is now fully closed but still not cocked, slide the wooden-ball bolt handle that last few millimetres forward to arm the rifle.

 Pulled back - the ball bearings are fully retracted into the bolt
Pulled all the way back & under tension, with the bolt release disengaged - the bolt can slide free of the action.
 In the middle - closed but not hot
All the way forward- hot 'n' ready to rock

 The red and white tabs of the Cross Bolt system act as a second safety, allowing you to lock the action open or closed. When locked in the open position the bolt has absolutely minimal contact with the race way and can fall to closed under gravity.


Nice slim woodwork, rosewood snout on the fore end, bolt handle, and cap on the pistol grip. All checkering cut by hand.

Laminate, thumbhole (with or without adjustable cheekpiece), GRS Hunter, and a petite 'Dezima' are all factory options. I was on the verge of ordering a new stock but this one is an adjustable cheek piece away from ideal and I kind of like the fact that its got a few dings; I'm tough on stuff, and the first scratch I put on the new one would kill me.

Cold forged barrels, made in house, proven in competition everywhere north of Oberstdorf. My barrel dosen't seem to like PPU or 100gr bullets, 75gr it likes a lot more, but my start point for load development will be 68gr - if you've got anything meaningful to add leave a comment.

Heym's own trigger, super crisp at [a guess] not far beyond a kilo [2.2 lbs] with a single set-trigger function breaking a useful distance north of terrifying. I like the idea of set triggers more than the actuality. heym have gone for useful rather than 'keeps you regular'.

Please Note: The Suburban Bushwacker DOES NOT endorse the use of PPU brand ammunition.

More soon
Your pal
SBW


Monday, 18 June 2018

European Sporting Rifles - 21st Century



Whether its who has; the rarest pressing of a record - released in Kingston in '58 and deleted in the same week. A pair of sports shoes so 'limited' they were only available in one shop in an unfashionable suburb of Nagoya - seven pairs sold, one pair known to be destroyed in a fire. Or a rifle chambered in your own wildcat of a calibre that was almost unknown 100 years ago, preferably with a stock made of timber sourced from the garden of Siberian salt mine in the 1890's. There's some comfort [or smugness] to be had in having stuff no one else has, or better yet has never even heard of. In recognition of this, and to help you in your quest for rarity, your pal SBW has once again trawled the web, in search of bragging rights for those of you with deep pockets or, for my team [the poor boys], the chance to claim pre-existing familiarity with someone else's new toy.

As the 21st century gets underway rifles have never been better; sub MOA with factory ammo has become the expectation rather than a high priced novelty, the trend towards switch barrel rifles with endlessly repeatable accuracy continues, and the age of the tool-less adjustable trigger has begun.


Let's start with the turn bolts:


Shultz & Larsen's super value offering the Classic Traveler
Although the company are famed for their aftermarket barrel sales, with thousands of Nordic competitors buying well known German target rifles and re barreling them with S&L's, they are having something of renaissance in rifle sales. There are; three grades of walnut stocked centerfire; Classic, Victory (nicer stock and swept bolt handle), Ambassador (sleek lines and very nice wood, owes something to the london gunmakers of the early 20th century), a super petite rifle called the Legacy which uses rounds from the .223 case family, at least one target rifle in a laminate stock, and a fantastic tactical barrelled action. For only a couple of hundred more than any other of the off-the-shelf turn bolts, even S&L's plain-jane offering is streets ahead in terms of value.
It all starts with their famous cut rifling, throated (reverse taper) & hand lapped barrel, which can be swapped out with a hex key. S&L also make their own; actions, stocks, rings, and moderators, there's a no-cost choice of single or double action triggers, and every rifle is fully bedded before it leaves the factory.
The 'Traveller' designation is an added cost option; a slightly reshaped barrel channel, and a pair of collets lining holes drilled into the stock that get you to the hex bolts so you can, without risking marking the stock, and demount the barrel without removing the action from the stock. Nice touch. 

There's a lot of thoughtful engineering for not a lot more cash than a mass-produced rifle. Annoyingly there's a real scarcity of their rifles on the second hand market. Make of that what you will.



Sauer's flagship rifle the 404 XTC. 
Hand laid carbon fibre stock, hammer forged swappable barrel, Aluminium action (steel is an option) The trigger is adjustable back and forth, for blade angle, and four settings; from target 550g/1.2lbs, via two stalking settings750g/1.7lbs, & 1000g/2.2lbs to driven boar 1250g/2.7lbs. All adjustments are made with an on-board tool kit.
You can even order it with a heated grip module, and it comes (at extra cost) with a what has to be the most discrete rifle case yet.  You're literally only a few jazz festival stickers away from being invited to give clarinet recitals. I've shot both the standard and the carbon versions, in .30-06 unmoderated,  and can confirm, the stock is an ergonomic masterpiece.



The straight pulls: what could be more obscure, nerdier, or rarer?



Blaser R8 Silence
The shizzle. Also from the Sauer Group, also with a hammer forged, swappable barrel, this time the straight pull all others are judged against. The R8 is a reiteration of the R93 with a couple of rather natty new features. The R93 was the accuracy benchmark for production rifles, it's straight pull design a masterpiece of simplicity. For the R8 Blazer added a removable magazine, which love it or loathe it also houses the trigger, and introduced the optional ATZL trigger with tool-less switching between hunting and target settings. The 'Silence' model is a recent addition; a fully shrouded barrel which in .308 can be as little as 16.5 inches long, with noise reduction of an awesome 28 dB. Now that the pistol grip version has been released, an even more amazing woodland stalking rifle.



Strasser RS14 EVO Tahr
One for the engineering for engineering's sake Fan-Boy. I'm literally drooling.

Removable barrel and detachable woodwork, it's a take down; it's a straight pull, it's a swap barrel, it has an adjustable trigger. All ideas we've seen before. But not like this.


Strasser's innovation, 'Mechanical BEST™, is a novel way to mount the barrel. Where there others use retained screws to attach the barrel, Strasser uses a collar filled with hydraulic fluid, which when tensioned against a screw gives a constant 360 degrees of locking force.
At the bang-switch end of things, where Blaser has two settings, and Sauer four, Strasser has an adjustable trigger with four settings, and a set trigger that's adjustable between 100-200g. All adjustments are made with an on-board tool kit. Another massively overdue innovation is all the trigger parts are coated in DLC, a 'diamond-like carbon'  that's smoother than glass and has yet to be bested in wear and corrosion tests.

For the less travel-conscious several of the rifles are also offered 'solo' without the removable barrel at substantially reduced cost.




The other kind of take down - where the butt stock and forend are removed with a hex key and action and barrel stay mated together. Due perhaps to their fairly hefty price tag the Lynx brand is yet to take off outside their native Finland, but wow what a rifle.  

Hailing from Europe's Alaska the rifles are made with chilly mornings in mind, where the sportsman may be wearing gloves. The whole thing is defined by an economy of design; the action only has six parts, less than some rifle's bolt. Round feed is controlled by two cut outs in the underside of the bolt which fit the lips of the magazine to let the bolt guide the round all the way into the chamber with no potential for the round to twist on its way into the chamber. 
This week I'm all about take-downs, but for those with taste as deep as their pockets, Lynx also do a very nice 'English', a sort of ScandiRigby made to order in really nice wood, if you've got really good taste and really deep pockets, you can have it colour case hardened. Remind me to start playing the lottery. Proper lovely.  


There's also a target rifle that would make a really nice, and less 'Walt',  alternative to an Accuracy International. There's even an AR15-Lynx hybrid but that's a story for another day.


In the words of Monty Python "And now for something completely different" 




Rarer than a vegan boyfriend riding a Unicorn. The 'so short you don't need to take it down' offering. 
A single-shot rifle with a barrel length of 66 cm and an overall length of 70 cm.
Pfeifer really do plough their own furrow, with a whole host of innovations in a rifle designed for mountain stalking in the Alps. The reversed trigger cocks the rifle, the button is the trigger. Using hammer forged barrel by Heym. Chambered from .22LR to .458.  Aluminium action for .22 to 6 x 70R, steel for the bigger ones. 


 Here's something you don't see every day, a single shot bullpup. One in the pipe and two spares.



The SR in the name comes from Safety Rifle, it's got a Key Lockable safety, something I've only seen on a high end air rifle.

One last bit of trivia: At one point Pfeifer held the record for both the smallest lightest rifle, the Pfeifer Liliput in .22 hornet, and for those of you who like that kind of thing, the Zeliska, the world's most powerful revolver, chambered in .600 Nitro Magnum. Yikes! 

More soon
Your pal

SBW