Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Home on the Range

I spent the morning and part of the afternoon in the backyard of the Bolt Hole throwing lead.

This morning I took both of the scoped long guns out there and put 10 rounds through the slug gun--a Remington Model 870 Express Magnum in 12 gauge-and another 25 rounds through the Remington Model 700-a bolt action in .270 caliber.

My "range" is 50 yards long and has a pile of old logs as a back stop and miles of forest behind that. The target area was in and out of the shade as the breeze blew the tree tops about but the scopes certainly made things a bit easier. I also do not have a bench rest to work from so I was sitting in a plastic lawn chair and using a 3" diameter apple tree to steady my aim. Talk about real life scenarios!

I hadn't fired either one in a looong time so I was pretty pleased with the results. The .270 needed some adjustments on the scope and the slug gun still needs some fine tuning to get it where I really want it but these aren't too bad.

I shot 12 gauge, 2-3/4", 1-14 oz Lightfield slugs and they can and do pack a wallop-both on your shoulder and the game you're targeting. They also shoot very, very flat for a slug. I haven't had to, but my buddy Joe has killed deer out to 175 yards using the Lightfield Hybred EXP slugs. The box shows a trajectory of +2 inches from the line of sight at 50 yards and 0 inches at 100 yards. (It also says I purchased them back in October of 2008. Shows how little I've been shooting.)

All ten shots of the slug gun. 

As you can see, the shots are a little to the left and almost exactly 2 inches high. It actually looks worse than it was because I hit the copper pipe that was holding the target in place-twice. The first time caused it to lean into the bullseye zone and the second time I cut the pipe in half. Those two shots ricocheted off to the 2 o'clock position and tore up the target just a wee bit. ;-) I also made an adjustment on the scope when it seemed too many hits were to the right of center. But I think I turned the dial the wrong way!

The bolt action Model 700 has been my field weapon for a couple of years now. I just wish I had gotten one with a flat matte finish to the stock instead of the high gloss. The ammo here was Remington's Core-Lokt 130 grain soft point. My notes on the box say I purchased these in "pre'91" days. While Joe has reloaded some for me, these are off the shelf cartridges.

Five shots with the .270. 

I was pretty happy with this final five group as four of the shots were exactly 2" high and on either side of the center. (The fifth shot was 3" high but pretty close to dead center.

The muzzle loader had to wait until after lunch. The .50 caliber Knight inline smoke pole is a lot of fun to shoot even though I haven't outfitted it with a scope...yet. And, using 209 shotgun primers as an ignition source, it has never misfired even if I load it on Monday and carry it through the rain for four days. You can ask Mark about that. He doubted it would fire until I proved him wrong. The only problem is that, like most muzzle loaders, it's not really meant to be fired a whole lot without at least a swabbing out. Sit down and put five or six shots through it and you better get the cleaning rod and a patch out. I didn't do so today and shots seven through fourteen were all over the place. On a couple of occasions I'm pretty sure it was because I hadn't seated the 245 grain bullet atop the powder properly--a dangerous situation!--but I escaped and damage to myself or my rifle.

The first six shots with the muzzle loader. 

Not too bad for iron sights. That little 5 inch diameter circle that is the outer orange ring was darn near impossible for me to see as the sun and shade battled to expose and obscure the damn thing. I'm also pretty sure I messed up my sight picture a little as the apple tree kept swaying and the chair sank deeper into the forest floor. Still, it's the first shot that counts! Right? And numbers 1, 3 and 6 were just an inch away from center at 10 and 11 o'clock. At 50 yards, numbers 2 and 5 may have produced a kill, but number 4? Unlikely unless the deer tried to duck in preparation for taking off. 


On a side note...

There is a logger working some lands around here. He's taking hardwoods AND soft woods, something the fella that logged here before did not do. The soft balsam and cedar may be going to Canada to become molding while the birch and maples become saw logs for area mills. Hemlock may go either way depending upon what it looks like once cut. He's also taking pulp wood (balsam and fir and hemlock too small to be used up in Canada).

My shooting was interrupted this afternoon when he and I finally met. I've been wanting to open the woods up a bit for quite some time and this may be a chance to pocket some cash in the deal. I spent an hour and a half walking him and his helper around and showing them the property corners and three of the four lines. (I'm not 100% sure of the location of the fourth corner up here on the jeep road. But I gave him a pretty good feel for where it might be and he felt he could stay away from the line without losing too much timber.)

We discussed places to stage his logs and where he could easily get his machines in and out. I mentioned the sanctity of the rejuvenated apple orchard and how disappointed Mark would be if any of his babies were damaged by anything mechanical. We talked about where he might leave some logs as firewood should they not be suitable for the mill. He promised to take good care of the woods and not tear things up too badly nor leave piles of tops and limbs all over. (Especially since some of those tops can become pulp.)

We also talked price. Essentially, this is a percentage deal. We will go 50-50 on the hardwoods, 40-60 on the soft (I'm the "40" in this split) and a flat $12 per cord for any pulp wood.  Since he and his helper are doing ALL the work from cutting to hauling to finding a market, I thought this a fair deal.



Terry reports that they came to the Aerie to take water samples today. The person who was taking the samples had a little better idea as to where Shell--for it is indeed Shell--will be drilling in the next six months or so.Seems they will be on the top of the hill near the existing windmills. Now, there are windmills on both sides of our road and the intersecting Mountain Ridge Road at the top of the hill and I estimate that there are five or six within a mile of our property, so, while the water sampler's information was nice to have, It didn't really narrow down the location to be drilled terribly much.

1 comment:

Rev. Paul said...

Good shootin' there, Tex. And good on ya for getting the woods cleared/some pocket money.