My oldest grandson (14) drew a Utah Bull Elk Tag and a buck tag. Both/either are for any open bull area in the state. We, at first, thought it was a youth tag that allowed taking any bull in any open unit. No such luck! It would ahve been to get into one of those spike only units and be allowed to take a big'un.
Either way this kid needs to get up to speed. He has a couple of Dakota pheasant shoots under his belt using an 12 gauge and does quite well.
The idea for a rifle for him, for deer, was his dad's hand me down 243 which I have reworked a bit. I'm also assembling a Savage 7mm Rem for his dad.
Well, a 243 is considered by me as pecker wood for anything larger than an antelope so for his first elk hunt the intent was for him to use one of my rifles. Choices are 338 RUM and 270 AM.
I knew that he could handle full tilt 270 AM loads but wondered about the 9 pound 338 RUM.
This kid is long an lanky, kind of all arms and legs. So I set up the shooting mat in the back yard and gave him both rifles to try and let him choose the most comfortable one.
He settled on the Left handed bolt 338 RUM. Hmmmm????
Wanting his first shot to be a good experience and not certain that the 300 SMK @ 2700+ would be a good initial experience I decided to load it down a bit.
The Nosler 225 Accubond was chosen as the bullet of choice. Figuring that this would not be a LRH with a maximum shooting distance guestimated maximum shooting distance on the order of 450 yards, my thought was to load it down to around 2400 fps MV or so as a decent start.
Retumbo resulted in unexpected high velocities with well below minimum listed powder weights. I just couldn't the the velocity down to the goal with out going well below a load density that I was comfortable with. H-1000 produced similar results.
However, Retumbo looks like it can get well over 3000 FPS MV with the NAB without any excessive pressure in that rifle. (Looking forward to that).
I fired up my CPUBMEs (CPU Between My Ears
) along with some googling. I was considering 4831 when with a tho't from somewhat questionable sources (my knoggin), 50 BMG flashed before my eyes.
H 50 BMG is not listed for any 338 bullet that I could find. But with some extrapolation it appeared as though it would be impossible to get too much behind the bullet in a RUM case.
I was explaining all of this to Nick as I went along. He was eager to shot but I was doing the testing personally.
Well low and behold, the first attempt produced 2413 FPS, well within the range was was looking for.
I loaded a couple of rounds.
Its his turn to shoot. So far Nick had seen nothing but recoil and smoke from my shooting. I sensed a bit of hesitancy along with his eagerness. So we broke out the ol' Ithaca 51 12 ga. He's used to a pump and probably doesn't know the semi auto softens the recoil a bit. (sly ol' me....)
He gets the shotgun on the bench and lets one go. I asked if there was any uncomfortably. Nope, he said. I had him send another load of shot down range just to get him just a bit more comfortable.
Then the 338 RUM was placed on the bench.
I also emphasized follow through following the trigger brake. It takes him a little long to get ready to shoot but the cross hair remained on target with dry firing.
Time for that first shot. I paid close attention to eye relief and shoulder/butt position and had him lift the bill of his hat a bit.
He lined up that first shot. Boooommmmm! 50 BMG just have some kind of expansion ratio. No follow through etc! His immediate reaction was that "that was way less than the 12 ga." The shot missed the paper but hit the backer. (sighted in for US 869, SMKs and 2700 FPS.
I made just enough scope adjustment to get the shots on the paper. He shot two more off the bench. About 1/2 MOA. Not bad for Nick's 4th and 5th lifetime shots. Now he is really comfortable with the gun.
We then loaded 6 more and adjusted the scope for the 200 yd zero. I bumped the charge up to 85.5 grains of 50 BMG and back to the range we went.
This time we setup prone at the 200 yd mark.
I again watched closely as he set up. I watched also closely as he broke the trigger. I was amazed. As I said he's a string bean and weighs only 100 #s and I could detect no shoulder movement. I must have blinked. But then I must have blinked for each subsequent shot.
Keeping the barrel cool by placing the gun in the shade and resetting up for each of the next 5 shots he placed all shots in 2" goup.
It was a good day and it took almost all day. Things couldn't have gone better.
Next, I'll sneak the charge up a bit, mess with seating depth, compare drops against the mil dots and brake some rocks at various ranges.
It should make for a good summer....