First off, this was a season that anything and everything that could go wrong, did. I kept plugging away, but many times during my hunting season, I kept asking myslef "What else can go wrong?" Stung by bees gutting my wifes deer, bit by a dog, ruined 2 camp trailer tires, employee issues back at work, kid buries his quad in a reservoir, issues with our kitchen remodel, issues with my rifle, and of course crapping on my shoe laces. Which is another story in itself, and all in a matter of days during the hunt.
The set up is a savage 338 Lapua Mag, topped with a Leupold 4.5-14 50mm. I pulled the scope off another rifle of mine, a 300 win mag. I wanted to see what I was capable of doing with this gun, before I spent the money on a scope. Anyways, I am shooting Berger 300 grain OTM.
I bought the rifle in late July, so it was a mad scramble finding a load, getting all the ballistics dialed in, and of course shooting the gun itself before the October opener for deer season.
The rifle actually cost me a larger deer earlier in the season. One morning I was camped on some rims, and a hunter coming up from the bottom kicked 2 large bucks up into a basin I was watching. The trigger was set so light from the factory, that if you bolt the gun very hard, it would engage the safety mechanism part of the accutrigger. Anyway, I had a true gaint at 340 yards, and couldn't get the gun to fire. I must of bolted that rifle 50 times trying to get the damn thing to fire. I later learned, the light trigger was the culprit. Never had a problem shooting it off the bench, but in the field, in a hurry to jack a shell in....Cost me a good one. I Had to watch it walk. I about threw the rifle off the rims.
So, I get back to camp, take it apoart to find the problem, I learned that if your "easy" loading a shell into it, it'll fire everytime, but throw in a little excitement, it had an issue. Anyway, figured out the problem, take the gun out to make sure she's zero'd, and I'll be damned if I dont pull the case head off a shell in the rifle. Go figure. I wanted to shoot something so bad with this cannon, and now I'm really screwed. I ended up packing a 308 for a few days, before the employeed issue took me back to work, and a gunsmith to fix my problem.
I get both those issues resolved, and head back up to camp to try and smack a large deer. The first night back up there, I was glassing an area I had seen "2 nice bucks, the 4X5 I shot, and a 4X4 I thought might go 28" wide. I hiked up to where I like to glass from about 5:00 p.m. I had been alot of glassing with my spotting scope, when a basin some ways a way, I catch a deer standing in, that wasnt there just a second ago. It was very open, not much for brush, and I just knew it was a buck. When I spotted him, he had his head down, never ever took a step. Stood in 1 spot. waht seemed like 10 minutes, he finally lifts his head for a second and puts it back down to feed. I think I see a good rack, I think I want to wait to see him pick his head back up for another look, but its late. Its a long hike to him, and I have about an hour and 30 minutes to get it done. I make the decision to pack up my gear, and head that way knowing I only got 1 quick look at him.
I hiked down to the truck, took off my sweatshirt, and did a not stop brisk walk all the way to him. Luckily for me, I could stay outta view in a draw beside the draw he was in. When I get up to the head of the draw, I take a moment to get my range finder out around my neck, get my pack off, and catch my breath. Its now about 640, and I got about 20 minutes of good shooting light left. I crept up the ridge that seperates the buck and I, and I get the feel, that its gonna be about a 250 yard shot, I set my turret for 250 yards, and crept on, carrying my backpack in my hands. As I got near the top where I could see, I set my pack down and took a few steps more. No deer to be seen.
I immediatley start glassing and it takes me about 15 seconds to spot a large deer bedded underneath a large sage brush. I range him. 198 yards. "Oh your dead I'm thinking". I wanted to do this right, So I walk back 10 feet to my backpack to use as a rest, thinking this buck will NEVER move even tho he was staring right at me when I spotted him in the binoculars. When I tured around after grabbing my pack, he was already up and running. He must of figured if he was gonna run, that was the time. Anyway, So, I got to make a running shot.......
Here's where I thank Savage for making that rifle capable of carrying more then one round, if it was a single shot, I may not have gotten that deer
Here is a picture of the Buck in velvet in mid August, running with a 3 point.