Times are tough! My bro (.30ultramag on here) and I have been scrambling to get him ready for this year’s blacktail hunt. He has always hunted with a handgun but recently (3 years or so) caught the long range rifle bug and practicing a lot with my dads .308. We put together his 300rum over the last 6 months from a hodgepodge of parts found new and used on the web and parts we made. All done on a pretty tight budget.
Below is a list of parts and prices involved in the build.
Stevens 7mm rem. Mag. $269.00 new
Precision recoil lug $30 new
Choate ultimate varmint stock $80.00 used
Muzzle break $40.00 new
Barrel savage take off $50.00 new
Carbon fiber for tension barrel tube $0.00 scrap from work
Sold the 7 mag barrel for $50.00
So he only has $419 invested in a very capable rifle.
We already had the scope, base, and rings.
All work, tension tube, muzzle break install, barrel install, bedding, trigger work, etc. done by us.
He was hoping to shoot the 240smk (elk and deer) but we could not get them to shoot. So as time got closer we decided to test the 180smk as I had some I was using in my 300wsm. They shot very well and we settled with them. I think we will try the 210SMK next as the bc is high per its weight and we liked the way the 180 performed. We made our drops and they worked very well.
Time to hunt.
Day one started out very promising as others in our group saw some nice 4x4 bucks further than they wanted to shoot (not long range guys (yet)). My bro and I saw some small forks but nothing to shoot at. At the end of the day we were walking out of the area and were stopped by a game officer. He informed us that the DNR land we were hunting on (for about 8years now) is closed to hunting as it is a grass lands preserve and they do not want hunters in there walking around on the grass. WHAT!! He was very nice and agreed it was totally bogus as they allow hiking in there. Greenies at work! We were not sighted but told not to come back.
So that night was spent scrambling to find another place to hunt. Mostly private land in this area. the next few days were pretty weak as we were trying to find a decent place mid season.
On day 4 we were allowed to go in on some private land that we have hunted for a while. We walked in to a setup area where we could watch across the canyon with a closest shot about 600yards. By 8am we had a herd of 9 deer grazing across the canyon, we could tell there were 2 bucks but could not tell through the sparse fog if they were legal (3point min). The heard bedded down in a very small draw with only one doe visible. We watched these deer for 5hrs, and about 1:00pm one of the bucks came out and bedded down in front of the doe. They would not move for over a hr. During this time we studied this buck and decided without a doubt that he is a big bodied fork with an eyeguard on one side. Finally the doe stands up and walks off. He just lays there with about 6” of his back exposed through the grass. I had already ranged him with my Nikon 1200 gold at 755 yards. My brother dialed in the 15 ¾ moa I checked for wind (maybe 1mph) and got set. We were worrying about the wind picking up as it usually does in the afternoon there. He put the crosshairs on the top of his back figuring he would either get a spine shot or a clean miss. He fired and I saw a clean miss inches over his back but dead inline. The buck stood up walked 10 steps and stopped. He reloaded and sent another straight into his lungs. It was a perfect shot, the buck stood there for about 5 seconds and fell. The other buck walked out of the draw. He had a noticeably bigger rack but I could not guarantee him to be legal so I watched him walk away. I am 99 percent sure he was a wide 3x2.
We were both so excited, he was actually shaking. Not the norm for him. One thing he said was “Anyone that says it is not as exciting shooting them at long range has obviously never done it”. He has killed bigger deer at 15’ with a revolver and not been as excited. I suspect the 6hrs of suspense probably helped with the excitement.
He spent the next 3 hrs getting to his deer as I watched from the bottom of the canyon (He did the same for me last year).
The 180smk hit a rib on both sides and left a 2”+ exit wound and the lungs were nowhere to be seen just mush. I will have pics of that soon.
Before this season I came up with my new philosyhy on hunting. “The meat is the reward the rack is the bonus and the shot is the trophy.”
It was a great year. Sorry about the cellphone pics
Thanks little brother for posting the pictures for me. First time I've seen them since our hunt. Wow that really was a long way out there! C'mon! Did you really have to tell everyone that I was shaking? Oh and I don't think that the first shot was hardly worth mentioning. Good Times!
This link kinda gives you the idea of what we are doing Tension Barrel Project album | Rbertalotto | Fotki.com . This is not my project just an example. Only we are using a carbon fiber tube because of its stiffness and weight, sporter weight barrels and a muzzle break as the tension nut. I have done 4 of these now and have had good increases in accuracy. All are .5 moa or better now with factory savage barrels.
here is a pic of one of the 1 1/8" tubes