I’ve just returned from Australia where I was a speaker at their version of our SHOT show, there to to help Jerry Brasher promote the MaxBox rest (MaxBox’s US representative) and to try the Nature Blinds Stalking Shield I helped develop on Australian buffalo. Suffice it this moment to say the MaxBox worked great for its intended purpose and hopefully before long I’ll be able to show you photos of the buffaloes I stalked and took with the aid of the Stalking Shield at close range. It worked like a charm, no different than it had in southern Africa and here in the North America as well. The Stalking Shield allowed me to get too close and I had to back up several times! Talk about exciting!!!
Those hunts were filmed for the the Australian television show owned by Dave Fent, “Aussie Hunting Adventures”. Dave has kindly agreed to send me some of the footage from those hunts to use in my DSC’s TRAILING THE HUNTER’S MOON shows, in 2015.
A bit later in the year I will describe how I used a Ruger .375 Ruger Guide Gun, topped with a Zeiss Terra scope and shooting Hornady’s 300 grain DGX ammo to take three huge bodied and horned Australian buffalo. But we’ll leave that for another campfire session!
This summer and fall I have several great hunts already behind me and coming up as well. But, I am too starting to between those hunts getting ready for whitetail season.
In an earlier visit I mentioned getting in on a lease about a hundred miles from my home that is something over 5,000 acres in size, low fenced, and the excellent southern hill country habitat is home to native whitetail deer, Rio Grande turkeys, as well as exotic species such as Axis deer and blackbuck antelope, as well as part of the property has an abundance of wild hogs.
As part of my getting ready for hunting that property I am putting together another deer hunting rig, as in rifle, actually more than one, and I may in time add to that “arsenal” as well.
Ever since the Ruger American Rifle came out I’ve been using either a .30-06 or a .270 not only here in North America, but in the case of the .30-06 also in Africa. If you saw some of the original ads for the Ruger American Rifle you saw me with one in a .30-06. It was that rifle I used in Namibia to hunt plains game with Omujeve Safaris. With it, topped with a Zeiss scope, and using Hornady American Whitetail ammo I shot everything from monstrous bodied eland down to the diminutive steenbok. You likely watched me use that same rifle on a 127 4/8 B&C record book non-typical Coues whitetail, same combination of scope and ammo.
Then too, you will recall from my shows that I used my Ruger American Rifle in .270 Win, topped with a Zeiss Duralyt scope and shooting 130 grain Hornady American Whitetail ammo to take my desert bighorn sheep, something I had dreamed of doing most of my life!
So it should seem only normal for me to choose one of those two rifles as one of my serious whitetail rifles for this fall. And my primary one will be the .270 Win Ruger American Rifle, but now it will be topped with a Zeiss Terra scope, a 4-12X and I will still be shooting Hornady’s American Whitetail ammo, 130 grain Interbond.
A couple of days after getting back from Australia I took it to the FTW Ranch to sight-in on their ranges. Using a MaxBox as a rest from the bench, I was able to after only one adjustment after bore-sighting put 3 shots, in rapid succession, nearly into the same hole at 100 yards. I let the barrel cool down and 10 minutes later put 2 more shots into the group and ended up with a 5-shot group that measured about 3/4 inch, outside to outside.
I have to admit I shot the rifle at 300 and 400 yards as well, and was quite pleased. But I’ll also admit I try not to shoot a whitetail beyond 125 yards. To me the fun in hunting comes in getting close to what I hunt and the closer the better, rather than blast away at long distances. Doing so is shooting and not hunting! But that said, that is simply a personal opinion. But, I do realize there are times when shot can be or need be taken a long distance.
I mentioned shooting a group of 5 shots and yes, small groups are an indication of accuracy. But it’s the first shot that is always the most important, yet I also want to know if a second shot is required or desired that I can repeat the accuracy! I’ll admit, I like to shoot at animals, and I am very quick to shoot a second or even third shot at an animal, even if perhaps the follow up shots were or are not needed. My goal is always to put the animal down as quickly and humanely as possible.
Some may accuse me of destroying venison with my follow up shots, and yes, on occasion I may damage a couple of ounces of venison by doing so, but my neighbor’s dog loves venison and it’s and excuse for me to give him some. Where as if I didn’t have a little “shot meat” I would not be doing so, saving it all for me. I should mention here my neighbor’s dog, really likes me!
I’ve got a second Ruger rifle I plan on using a fair amount this fall on my lease, particularly on an Axis buck and some does as well as some blackbuck antelope. It’s a Ruger 77 Hawkeye International, topped with a Zeiss Conquest 3-9x 40MC and again shooting Hornady American Whitetail ammo, 130 grain Interbond. I dearly love short barreled rifles with full Mannlicher stocks. One of these days I’m going to see about Ruger building me a special rifle in this configuration. I’ve used this particular rifle on some international hunts, specifically while hunting chamois in New Zealand. And it may well be one of the two rifles I take with me to Austria this October to hunt free range mouflon sheep. Seems to me that would be appropriate!
What I like about the Ruger International is that is short and quick handling making it ideal for mountain hunting, and in many ways not unlike the Ruger Guide Gun, although the Model 77 Hawkeye International is a little lighter. It is also extremely accurate!
In camp, I will also of course have my Ruger Guide Gun in .375 Ruger topped with Zeiss 2-8x Duralyt with a 60 reticle, can hardly imagine going on a hunt without one. The same is true for my Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter .44 Mag revolver, topped with a currently proto-type long eye relief scope. Then there’s also a Ruger Number 1 in .300 H&H Mag I’ve been really wanting to shoot something with, and I’ve got a .450-400 NE 3” coming in a Ruger Number 1 as well, both those should at a minimum make at least great wild hog guns, if not whitetail as well…..and who knows what else Ruger may have that I may feel like I really need this fall. Thankfully we’ll have to shoot a bunch of whitetail, Axis and blackbuck does, as well as wild hogs!