600yrd shot in sub-zero temperature, with my 28 Nosler

Badgerclaw

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2017
Messages
121
Just when I thought I knew my rifle and had practiced under every possible condition I will be hunting in, I was kicked in the face by carma or ignorance... or a combination of other things.

I am constantly telling people I am actually against long range hunting (no judgment to anyone on this website) unless a person has practiced in the cold, heat, different altitude's, steep angles, shooting over canyons and learning to read updrafts, downdrafts, and just overall knowing their rifle intamately inside and out. Then establish a maximum range where you can say "I can hit a 8 inch circle at this distance under any circumstance."

I practice out to 1200 yards regularly with my rifle (with great accuracy) but by my personal rules, I set my max hunting range at 700 yards.

I had an antalope at 600 yards, standing still, broadside, had plenty of time to set up, read mirage and dial my dope.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled the trigger is my rifle sounded different. The crosshairs came back down on the antalope indicating I made a good follow through. Second thing I noticed was no vapor trail. Third thing, the antalope didnt even flinch. Fourth thing, no dirt splash ANYWHERE IN THE SCOPE! I could see a good ten feet around all sides of the antalope with my scope at 18x.

About a second and a half later (I am assuming when the sound of the shot reached him, he began trotting away. Not an all out run like he was scared and not a limp like he was wounded. Just a casual run like I've watched antalope do a thousand times while glassing for coyotes.

It's like the bullet came out of the barrel and just vanished as if the little house elf in the Harry Potter movies snapped his finger... poof, gone.

I walked around the area where the antalope was standing, which was covered in snow. I did not find a drop of blood, hair, or a bullet impact anywhere. I saw the buck again at about 700 yards this time and watched him for 10 to 15 minutes. He eventually walked over a ridge about 1500 yards away. When I was completely satisfied he was not wounded I left.

The only factor that was different that day was it was -10 degrees. I've practiced from 10 to 80 degrees with this load, but never below zero temps. Broke my rule and shot in a condition a had not practiced for.

My rifle does not have a wooden stock.

It's a 28 nosler with a brux barrel on a trued Remington 700 action, in an AG composites stock, timney 510 trigger, glass bedded, with a VX-6HD 3-18x44 on top.

Its shooting a 143 hammer hunter at about 3500fps being pushed by reloder 26.

Anyone have a similar experience in sub zero temps? I'm just baffled.
 

ShtrRdy

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Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Messages
2,992
Location
High Plains
If you have some more of that ammo try repeating firing a shot under COLD conditions. Before firing the test shot leave the rifle and ammo "soaking" in below zero temps for at least one hour.

I know a couple different guys have a misfire under very cold temps. One was due to lubrication which had gelled and the other was tight clearances on two dissimilar materials. It happens.
 

Tucker65

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Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
183
Was it a hang fire that occurred? I've heard of slow firing pin travel with cold weather if there was any grease or oil that was in the bolt body. If that was the case you coukd have been totally off the target when the gun actually went off
 

Pmacc60

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Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
308
I wish I could answer this question but I still search for the answers myself. I first had this happen to me and a friend many years ago and I still don’t know all the reasons though I have tried to figure it out. First I know there is limited test sample compared to other range testing done by all of us. -10 is not enjoyable shooting weather so we tend to skip out on the opportunity so we don’t know as much. I have had missed on paper and game where I did nothing wrong that I could tell , cold weather predator hunting is a prime example . Here on the East we hunt foxes and it can get very cold , dense cold air effects bullet flight , powder performance and in my opinion the harmonics of your rifle barrel. Even composites get more rigid in cold weather. Pressure in your hunting loads are also effected by the cold. As we all know keeping your ammo chilled on hot range days can help against pressure spikes.
I lost complete faith in the 17 rem in cold weather because of mysterious misses at minuscule ranges , same rifle will drive tacks but under 20 degrees it becomes very erratic. What I think is the rifle is very affected by cold ( extreme cold) weather. Regardless of stock material or barrels , At 600 yards the problem is pronounced ! My friend and I were shooting on a 500 yard range and missing the target completely , the temp was around -15 that day . Our rifles were on zero the next spring and same range at 60 degrees the performed perfectly. My question is how does one prepare for such conditions and how much correction is needed through the temp drop say from 10 to -30 ? One thing I do know is that a warm rifle will be closer to zero than a rifle sitting in the cold for hours, getting out of the truck and calling a new area the rifle seemed to be on zero. When it get cold is when the changes came both in the field and on the range. Sorry I couldn’t help more but at least you know your not alone.
 

Plinker147

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
782
Simple solution! Don’t hunt when it’s that freakn cold brrrrrr. Advice from a desert dweller!

I never hunted in those conditions but it’s logical with sound you heard that the primer/ powder ignition was affected and likely the cause. Hard to say if it was reloaded error or the cold. Go shoot it in that cold again and you will know.
 

esshup

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
694
Location
N. Central Indiana
My experience with WC872 powder is that it's temp sensitive. Dunno what powder you're using. I saw a 2 moa point of impact shift (drop) when going from 40°F to -8°F. Makes a bit of a difference when you are shooting at 700 yds.......
 

ENGUNEER

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
52
I shot an antelope last year at 746 yards when the temperature was about -18 degrees F. I too noticed a difference in the rifle sound at the shot. But, the antelope dropped in its tracks. At the time I just thought the difference in sound was due to the open country. The atmospheric drag is much higher (and sound speed is lower) due to the higher air density at these temperatures. So, unless you had a good ballistics calculator that takes into account the pressure/temperature effects this may have been part of your problem. I always use the SIg Kilo 2400 and double check its results with a Kestrel when I have the time. In addition, I always keep my bullets in my pocket to keep them warm until I'm ready to shoot.
 

Bdog35

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2012
Messages
25
Just when I thought I knew my rifle and had practiced under every possible condition I will be hunting in, I was kicked in the face by carma or ignorance... or a combination of other things.

I am constantly telling people I am actually against long range hunting (no judgment to anyone on this website) unless a person has practiced in the cold, heat, different altitude's, steep angles, shooting over canyons and learning to read updrafts, downdrafts, and just overall knowing their rifle intamately inside and out. Then establish a maximum range where you can say "I can hit a 8 inch circle at this distance under any circumstance."

I practice out to 1200 yards regularly with my rifle (with great accuracy) but by my personal rules, I set my max hunting range at 700 yards.

I had an antalope at 600 yards, standing still, broadside, had plenty of time to set up, read mirage and dial my dope.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled the trigger is my rifle sounded different. The crosshairs came back down on the antalope indicating I made a good follow through. Second thing I noticed was no vapor trail. Third thing, the antalope didnt even flinch. Fourth thing, no dirt splash ANYWHERE IN THE SCOPE! I could see a good ten feet around all sides of the antalope with my scope at 18x.

About a second and a half later (I am assuming when the sound of the shot reached him, he began trotting away. Not an all out run like he was scared and not a limp like he was wounded. Just a casual run like I've watched antalope do a thousand times while glassing for coyotes.

It's like the bullet came out of the barrel and just vanished as if the little house elf in the Harry Potter movies snapped his finger... poof, gone.

I walked around the area where the antalope was standing, which was covered in snow. I did not find a drop of blood, hair, or a bullet impact anywhere. I saw the buck again at about 700 yards this time and watched him for 10 to 15 minutes. He eventually walked over a ridge about 1500 yards away. When I was completely satisfied he was not wounded I left.

The only factor that was different that day was it was -10 degrees. I've practiced from 10 to 80 degrees with this load, but never below zero temps. Broke my rule and shot in a condition a had not practiced for.

My rifle does not have a wooden stock.

It's a 28 nosler with a brux barrel on a trued Remington 700 action, in an AG composites stock, timney 510 trigger, glass bedded, with a VX-6HD 3-18x44 on top.

Its shooting a 143 hammer hunter at about 3500fps being pushed by reloder 26.

Anyone have a similar experience in sub zero temps? I'm just baffled.
Sounds like a powder issue, when it’s that cold that would be the first thing to fail.
 

del2les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
708
Location
South Central, CO
When preparing for sub zero hunting adventures, take you rifle and ammo and place it in a freezer, or if cold enough, outside the night before. Then early morn, quickly take it to a range or safe area and test fire. Some rifles and loads have little change, and some, especially, wood stocks, may have significant POI changes.

Since you used RL26, you were already using a less temp sensitive powder, and if not already, I recommend mag primers. Maybe take your same handloads and place in the deep freezer or outside overnight and then test fire it and see if you have similar results?

Decades ago, I underwent some training by a prior mil sniper, and he had us place our rifles and ammo outside overnight and early each morn we would fire one round at the same target. We did this for sometime and during ever changing weather conditions, warm, rain, snow, and Brrrr... We learned a lot.

Prior to my leaving the mil myself, we fired various weapons in all kinds of weather, and some of those days were bitter cold.
 
Last edited:

NDF

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Joined
Oct 27, 2015
Messages
378
Location
Southern idaho
Had a similar experience elk hunting, below zero temps, got a light primer hit and round failed to go off, gun was totally exposed on the front of a Atv up the hill before sunrise, put the round and bolt in my pocket next to my skin for 30 minutes and everything worked as advertised, but as del2les stated if you know your headed for them kind of temps a little testing certainly don't hurt, only time I've ever had that happen but it cost me a good shot at young bull that morning
 

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