I will set this up with a bit of history, when I was young, around 10 years old, there was a truckers strike and things got pretty slim around our place. We did not have alot of money anyway but the strike made it tough for everyone and at that time the ecomony was alot worse then even now. As such, Dad decided to sell the only mature elk rack he had ever taken to put food on the table.
I can remember going into the garage and seeing this dark set of antlers up in the rafters. They were up there not because they were not important but because there was no place in our small trailer house to hang them and Dad wanted to keep them out of the sun and safe. To a 10 year old, they were magical and I would climb up into the rafters just to touch them and look at them.
The day Dad took them down to take them down to a local taxidermist to see what he could get for them was the first time I saw a set of mature elk antlers up close where I could handle them and see them in full out in the open. He ws not a huge bull in reality, around a 320 bull but he was old.
I still remember the taxidemist giving Dad $150 for the rack and then leaving and coming home without those big horns.
I have thought about and remembered that day for the past 25 years what Dad gave up for $150 to feed his family and he never complained a bit about it........
Anyway, that brings us to this year. Dad will be 70 this year. He is still quite healthy but did have a stint where he had to go to the hospitol this winter. At first they thought it was a heart attach but turned out not to be. Still it woke me up. He will not be around forever.
Knowing Dad could no longer go on a self guided mountain hunt anymore I decided to book him a hunt with the same place my brother and I went on our elk hunt. It will not be a wild elk hunt but Dad will get his second bull in his lifetime.
I decided I needed to put together a new rifle for him for this adventure. I had a trued Rem 700 LA along with a McMillan BDL stock sitting in the shop doing nothing. I ordered in a Lilja #5, fluted 1-8 270 barrel.
Put it all together in 270 AM with one of my APS small PK brakes. Dad came out yesterday for her maiden outing. We did some quick load development with the old 195 gr ULD RBBT Wildcat bullets with WC872 and got a good load right at 3050 fps out of the 26.5" barrel. Not to bad with a .9 BC bullet. We broke 3100 easily with tight primer pockets but the hunt is booked for the first of September and there is a chance it could be warm so we decided there was no need to push the pressures with the WC872 powder. Its a comfortable load and if it shot it would perform great on any big game around these parts.
When I made the 270 AM last weekend, I also decided to make up another rifle. I had all the parts, a trued Rem 700 SA set up with the WSM bolt face, HS Precision Varmint stock in Tan with black web and I had ordered in a Hart Rem Varmint contour 1-9 twist 6.5mm barrel.
Put it all together in 6.5mm WSM. I have made dozens of these for customers over the years but I have never owned one personally in a rifle and have always liked the round for a moderate, easy shooting long range chambering.
We loaded up my standard long range handgun load for the 6.5 WSM with the 142 gr SMK over 61.0 gr Rl-19. Not the highest velocity load but has always shot lights out in my XP-100 out to 800 yards.
We mounted up a Leupold VX-III LR 4.5-14x40mm on Dads 270 AM and threw on my old Leupold Mk4 4.5-14x 50mm TMR on the 6.5 WSM.
Neither of these rifles are anything special, just decent working rifles, no bells or fringe, just solid simple rifles. Now it was time to see how they shot. We drove out to one of our shooting areas where the moderate SW winds would be directly from our 6.
Set up the 270 AM and bore sighted it and Dad set her up on a target rock at 775 yards. First shot was well low. Made a scope adjustment and next shot landed 1 moa low and roughly 1 moa to the right. My goal here was just to see how the big 195 gr ULD RBBT would shoot out of this lighter weight rifle at longer ranges. Did not really care about zeroing it, just wanted to prove the load was going to work.
Here is Dad scoping out his next victim target rock!!!
He found one on a clean dirt face of the hill and we measured it at 788 yards. The rock was roughly 1 moa in size. Dad took the first shot and it landed roughly 4" low and dead center windage wise. Told him to take the same hold and shoot two more shots just to see where they hit. After the third shot, the hole in the wet dirt barely looked bigger then it was after the first shot looking through the 40x spotter.
Next up was the 6.5mm. I shot this one first. To say I was suprised by this rifle would be an understatement. For such an unassuming rifle, I was amazed how it shot. After three shots to get it on target at that range. I broke 5 rocks in a row that were roughly 3-5" in diameter at ranges from 770 to 790 yards. With the medium 3 port PK, the rifle barely moved on recoil. As fast as you could shuck out a round and get another one and line up on target you could put the bullet on the crosshair.
I got off the rifle and let Dad play with it a bit. He shot it just as well as I did.
Here is an over the shoulder shot. The dirt slide we were making gravel on is just under the sliver of snow to the right of the lower rock rim. It still surpises me how easily it can be to precisely engage and hit targets at nearly 800 yards. Ya just have to set back and realize the range as you get pretty used to doing it.
We did not shoot any real groups that we could photograph with either rifle but that will come. Just checking accuracy potential at this point and both proved to be very respectable for a couple of piles of parts thrown together.
We had to drive up and look at Dads three shot group with his 270 AM. I easily saw wet dirt "splat" on each shot but wanted to see how big the hole was. Did not have any accurate way to measure ctc but they appeared to land within 3" of each other easily. I was more then happy and Dad was amazed. Not sure why because he is a great shot, only one that does not think so is him.
Should work very well for hammering a bull for him. Now before some out there get all fired up. I fully understand this will not be a wild elk hunt. I am not claiming it is and never will. But, it will allow my 70 year old Dad to go on a good hunt that he can physically handle with comfort yet still have to put in some miles hiking around. Basically, its to repay Dad for what he did for us kids 25 years ago and put another mature bull elk rack in his hands.
I remember hearing storys about the hunt for his bull and they were always finished with that will be the only bull elk I will ever kill. After this September, there will hopefully be a new story for him to tell with a different ending!!!! Plus this one will all be on video!!!!
More reports will come from these two rifles I assure you. I have to get the drop charts developed when I get a chance and then we will go out and slap some steel at various ranges. Will post results when we get them.
Will probably not be able to do any more on them until next weekend, customer rifles to do all this weekend and next week. Just wanted to show off a couple new simple toys and tell about Dads fine shooting.