First strike of lighting with 338 AM
I snuck out of the shop for a couple of hours with two friends of mine on Friday to shoot some video at their secret rockchuck honey hole. Tom & John picked me, my extreamly long drag bag, and a backpack full of video equipment up and we headed out. After a short drive we arrived at the "honey hole", now this has to be one of the coolest spots I have ever seen for rockchuck hunting. As we broke over the edge of the canyon I was treated to a view of a flat bottom, farmed canyon about 300-400 yards wide and about 2 miles long. The bottom of the canyon was farmed right to the edge of the basalt colums and broken rock outcropings that started the edge of the canyon walls. Some walls were sheer bluffs and others stepped up in benches to the farm ground on the flats above. In short lots of rock canyon walls surrounded top and bottom by green farm fields, it just doesn't get to look any better than this. My goal was to get some video footage for my LRH how to video. Imediately rockchucks were spotted scurring around on the rocks directly across the canyon 300-500 yrds away. I was given the honor of the first shot at a chuck merely 328 yards away. The chuck was pancaked out on a large flat topped rock. I was shooting across the canyon but nearly level, the wind was 5-7 mph form left to right. I dialed 2 MOA form my 100 yd zero, held left edge and launched the chuck several feeet into the air. The closer distance made for great video footage. We shot some more chucks at distances between 300-500 yards and captured some great video, but to be honest even with the variable wind we were getting using the AM was almost like cheating. I got behind my spotting scope and started glassing the rim rock down the canyon to my left and spotted a chuck facing directly toward me. I ranged him with the Swarovski @ 1073 yards, I looked at my printed chart (to lazy to break out the PC/Exbal, this was a mistake) and dialed up 18.25 moa the chart gave for 40 degrees, 30%, 27.6, 2200'. I dialed in 1.50 MOA left wind and settled in to my shooting position, prone, front bipod and ammo box for a rear bag (typical field shooting), we opted not to shoot video because of the distance and small target (this too was a mistake). After my spotters were on it I took up the trigger and sent the shot down range. Whoops and yells from Tom & John, "you shot just 2 or 3 inches over him at 12:00". I dialed down .50 MOA, settled back in and launched a second round downrange. The second shot caused Tom & John to go absoulutely bezerk. "You nailed him" and big high fives all around. It was a great afternoon and a much needed break from the shop. That evening I was writing down some notes in my shot log for the AM and had these observations:
1. It is good to have friends that will share their honey hole, especially when it is on private property.
2. Always use the PC at long distances, simply using the PC and entering the 72 degrees and 27.1 bar it really was verses what I had on the drop sheet gave me 17.75 MOA the setting I killed the chuck at. Potentialy a first round hit was lost due to getting in a hurry.
3. John watched the chuck launch with a pair of 8x binoculars and should have been quite visible in the 32x video, that coupled along with 1000+ yard pan back would have been the best piece of video I have ever shot at distance. Always shoot the video you can cut it later if you don't like it.
4. The 338 AM is a huge advantage in any condition that is not perfect, the lack of drop and wind drift makes me look like I know what I am doing.
5. Take still trophy photos of shots like this no matter how time it takes.
6. Guess we will have to go back and try it again.