The working man’s all round rifle setup (.243)

This is the start of an experiment which I intend to see through over the next year or so. 

Introduction

The reason for this is, I like many shooters, are on a strict budget. I have, over a couple of years of shooting, found myself into clay shooting, pigeon shooting, rabbit shooting and deer stalking. Each discipline requires a different setup and it can become costly.  I have permission to shoot any legal quarry over about 1000 acres. This is because I have a few very generous farmers. I keep the pigeon numbers down, set up a few sunday clay shoots for the farmer and his friends/family and in return I can take the odd deer and shoot game birds. In return I wish to be useful, which means having the kit to do a number of jobs around the farm. So after some research I found the best all round calibre to be .243 you can shoot almost anything reliably with it. Fox, roe, muntjac, sika, fallow and even reds (you can shoot red stags but you MUST be entirely confident in the shot.) 

(Image credit shooting uk magazine.)

So what do we need to know. What have I learned so far.

Setting up a roundly rifle for stalking and as an all rounder, everyone comes back and says the same thing, spend as much on glass (scope) as you can afford and then strap any old rifle under it. This is the prevailing theory. Now I’m not entirely disagreeting with this but I wish to put it to the test. They say buy German (swarovski, zeiss etc.) Years ago BMW and mercedes were the king of quality, now you can reliably buy cars from all around the world with greater warranty at much lower cost, I wish to test if this is the same accross other fields of manufacturing. 

Glass

So with that said I decided to look at cheaper glass, I found myself thinking where in the world are they huge on hunting, ‘Merica… came to mind (make sure you read “‘Merica” in that accent from Team America.) So after a quick look over I started to realise things are much, MUCH cheaper. Now this could be easily explained away by economys of scale e.g. a larger market. Or by other factors. But I wanted to probe the idea. So from the scope perspective why is stuff so much cheaper. Well after speaking to a few guys over facebook shooting groups they tend not to prescribe to the German only perspective, now this could be down to our American cousins being very proud of their own manufacturing. But I think cost is a factor. 

So I started to look at cheaper scopes that were big sellers in the US. Nikon and Sun optics appeared to be the ones that people suggested. 

Sun Optics were reresented at the Northern Shooting Show (2017) and I spoke to their sales director Jim and we had a look over their range. Jim very kindly gave me a scope 6-24×50. No strings attached, he said he was that confident in the system, I said I’d give an honest review. 

Part 1 – unboxing 

First thoughts, packaging is strong enough to protect the scope, however lacks the quality of some other products, for example zeiss. When you get your iPad it comes in a really tactile box which inspires confidense, minor point I know but often it shows quality.

Looking through the window and out in the garden the clarity looks spot on. The zoom between 6-12 is good but becomes harder to focus up to 24 (when I will ever shoot on 24 I don’t know.)

It’s clearly labeled made in China. Now whether it really matters anymore is the question.

Manufacturers specs 

First Focal Plane Variable Series

High performance first focal plane optic delivers no point of impact change at any magnification! Geared and ready for any high performance shooter.

• 30mm one-piece tube design for superior strength
• Precision ground, fully multi-coated lenses with wide band coating and extended polishing process for crisp edge-to-edge clarity and maximum light transmission
• Windage and elevation adjustments in milimeters
• Glass-etched reticle
• Fast-focus adjustable ocular for precise clarity
• SWP down to 10 yds
• Nitrogen filled for waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof peace

Conclusion

Not really a conclusion at this point but next steps are to do an in the field comparison with schmit & bender and swarovski. Checking in low light conditions and various other tests. 

If anyone has any test ideas please comment on this article. 

Further reading 

http://www.shootinguk.co.uk/shooting/instruction/rifle-shooting-the-243-calibre-18450

Vocabulary;-

  • Glass = scope

Deer Stalking for Dummies

​What is deer stalking and why do we do it. 

If you’re reading this from an anti hunting perspective please read on. Your my main audience, I wish to dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding deer stalking. 

Why?

Firstly we must understand why we must control deer numbers I mean why would you want to shoot such a beautiful beast (see above.) Before man got all meddley with things we had a wolf poulation in the UK. The wolf population would kill the deer until there were not many left then the wolves would starve and the deer population would rise again. So that’s the yr 7 biology bit. Now as I’m sure you are aware we no longer have a wolf population so the deer numbers continue to grow. Whys that our problem? well like when the Wolf runs out of venison to eat the Wolf dies the same happens for the deer. so the deer starve. But their is grass and food everywhere? Not really different deer species munch on different foods and they can be quite picky. To the point of starvation. This is especially so in the Scottish Highlands once the snow falls on the mountains. 

Culling to save the population?

Sounds counter intuitive. Essentially you can cull a number of deer, say 500 on an estate and this will save a greater number.  Experiments have taken place in the past where estates would normally take X amount each year. The following year they take none and count the bodies in the spring. And as a rule of thumb the number of starved animals would number between X times 2/3. 

Shooting and conservation go hand in hand. But it just doesn’t sound right does it. There is one other way to control deer numbers in the UK. That is by re releasing wolves. Now, it’s worked in yellowstone national park, ish. With some very unhappy farmers. But our little island is nowhere near as vast and sparce as yellowstone. By the nature of farming in the UK we would end up starving ourselves with wolves acting as a pest species to british cattle and farmed animals. We could import more food but that would be a poor environmental choice. So in conclusion we must cull. By any naturalist or conservational argument the cull is the sensible choice. 

Hunting not killing

We know why we must cull the population, now how do we do it. Notice I type hunting not killing. Hunting trips are not always successful, if they were it would be called killing. 

We call it deer stalking as we must stalk the beast first. When we cull a population we must select the right animals. There’s no point setting out to conserve a population and taking the fattest beasts. The bigger the beast, i.e. the ones with the greatest fat reserves, the more likely to survive the winter. We must select the animals unlikely to survive, small animals and those carrying injury must be taken. Older animals and late born calves should also be taken, it’s very hard to shoot a calf and it’s not a nice experience but any calf born late in the season is simply going to die if the weather gets bad, in the north of england and Scotland that’s a certainty. 

So we know why we’re taking the deer and what we’re going to take but how do we take it. The stalking part e.g. crawling up to about 30m of the deer is open for so much discussion ill not even bother  starting, professional stalkers of many years all have completely different styles. And then Highland and forest stalking are two wholly different bags. But as for basics they include, wind, camoflage, noise, smell etc. Clothing should not russle, shimmer or shine.

How do we take the beast. In the UK there are legal minimum calibers dependant on species you can find a full list on the basc website, https://basc.org.uk/cop/deer-stalking/ . On top of minimum calibers there are minimum grain amounts for the rounds dependant on species. See above.

Shooting for sport

I wanted to make a point about shooting for sport. When the term sport is used it’s not used in the same respect as rugby or football. It’s about being sporting, it’s about giving a fair and fighting chace to anything we would kill for our own food. It’s about respect. We could use high caliber super velocity rounds and shoot deer from a mile away, we don’t do this as it would be unsporting. That’s what sport means, it’s about respect. 

Where can you go deer stalking? 

Anywhere you have permission. That might be on invite or a booking on an estate in Scotland or similar? 

When can you go? 

Depends on the species and the sex. You can learn more on the BASC website in the previous paragraph. Harking back to the points on stalking another reason for stalking is to identify the sex and species to make sure we can indeed shoot the beast legally. 

Photo credit/copyright http://www.deerstalking.info

So I’ve opened up a can of worms with this thread. It’s such a collosal topic but hopefully this should be a starting point to allow anyone who comes accross this to Google further. 

Social Media and Shooting

Foreword;-
I originally wrote this article on my phone, but due to stupidity I managed to loose it whilst in offline mode, so had to write it again. Note to self save your work. Now I shall move on to telling you how to be better with IT…..

#SocialMediaAndShooting

As well as being a keen shooter I work in the world of IT. Social media is ingrained in our way of life now and it’s not going anywhere. I thought I would pen down a few words about social media in relation to shooting.

Social media a double edged sword

So social media like many technological advancements is a double edged sword. Something that can draw old school mates back together and in our instance provide a forum in which shooters can share stories and swap advice on everything from clays to stalking. And then to the more sinister side, from breaking of privacy and again, in our instance, for anti shooting peoples to stalk us.

I run a shooting group on Facebook, I work in IT and I’m very security savvy but I cannot account for everyone in our group. It’s a double edged sword, we give ourselves a forum in which we can have fun and learn things but we also open ourselves up to more sinister things.

So here’s a few tips on being safe online from the perspective of a shooter. Remember to check;-

Privacy Settings – we show a lot of information about ourselves online. For years marketers had to pay us for our information in surveys, now we just offer it up free of charge. We don’t just offer this up to marketers we offer it to everyone, who needs to know your date of birth? people to wish your happy birthday or someone who wants steal your identity and run up some debt. Mothers maiden names, addresses mobile numbers and a whole host of other information I can use to hack your accounts security settings. So stop offering it up, go to Facebook and use the view my profile as function (google it) and check who see’s what, not even your friends need to see most of the stuff up there, if they’re friends they should know your birthday. Anti hunting types trawl Facebook shooting groups looking for targets whom have poor security settings, they could do anything from sell your “fulls” (“Fulls” a portfolio of information enough to open a credit card account online) to stalking you when you go out. Hunt saboteurs thrive on information obtained freely publicised by ourselves.

Your Friends list – Remember that fit bird who added you with the big tits, the one way out your league who you didn’t actually know , the one with the bikini photos you were perving on, yes her. It’s more likely a him! The internet is full of “bot” Facebook accounts designed to entice you in and click accept friend request. They do this so they can see the information you tried to secure by following the paragraph above. Criminals are looking for “fulls” provided by fools. Don’t think too that because you have mutual friends that they are OK, remember your mates are perves too.

We go Fishing not Phishing – We have all seen them, the guy in the Facebook group that shares the lude video, “step dad bangs step daughter” or “check out this woman banging a tiger.” guess what not even that idiot would actually share the fact he is a perv to the whole world, but he did click the link himself. A link which directs us to another “spoof” page that looks like the Facebook login only at a different URL(web address) we then foolishly put our password into the box, the spoofed page redirects us back to Facebook and we never got to see the woman getting banged by the tiger either… What’s just happened is our details have been phished, we’re now part of the botnet army posting rubbish to Facebook groups to trick more unwitting people.

Watch what you post – when you write something on social media it’s the same as writing on paper, you are liable for what you type. Don’t argue, don’t make veiled threats and think before you speak. I’ve long thought the only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked. Well here’s the exception to the rule, If you have a .22 on an FAC don’t ask if it’s OK to shoot Roe Deer with it. As well as anti hunters, Licencing staff trawl Facebook shooting groups too. They’re hunters also for the most part. If they see your from their patch you may get a visit. Google everything first before posting, it might just stop you from looking stupid. Oh and JOIN BASC! they have a hotline and they will answer any questions for you. That’s not to say don’t post in groups, but groups are for opinion, which wellies, which decoys, where is good for a driven day, etc.

So my final piece of advice – if I haven’t scared you off the internet yet, check your passwords out are they all the same? Yes, well they shouldn’t be change them. remember when we got phished for clicking the tiger video, they had our password and email combination which they can use to hack all our accounts. Here’s a tip for passwords;-

Capitals, special characters and numbers but memorable enough to remember but different enough that the bots cant use it on every site. Choose a secure password and change the ending dependant on what you’re signing into. e.g.

Password£1234fa – Facebook
Password£1234ho – hotmail

I hope this has been useful, and coherent. I quickly rewrote this whilst in a rush so I haven’t even spell checked, I’m sure you’ll let me know in the comments. If you really want to learn more about the saudid underbelly of the internet google future crime by Marc Goodman, it’s on audible too.

 

Vegetarians…

An odd title in a shooting blog but veggies can be shooters too. Most likely clay shooters or target shooters but nether the less they are part of the shooting community.

Now I’m writing this one as more of an extended Facebook post type scenario. Usually I tend to write how too guides but bare with me. I’m no columnist.

Let’s start by pointing out this is not a veggie bashing blog post. If that’s how you choose to fuel your body, crack on and you know what, fair play. If you can get through life without eating an animal and your happy then good on you. Now me, I like bacon too much. But I digress….

Back to the point… Essentially, I came across a veggie the other day at work after mentioning something about rabbit shooting. Another colleague quickly shushed me pointing out the colleague sat at the other end of the table was a veggie. (Doesn’t it annoy you when people take offence on someone else’s behalf. Let them have their own outrage and pipe down.) So before I could start my usual spiel about “I eat free range organic meat that’s higher welfare than a cow in India.” Said Veggie piped up. I thought here we go HR’s coming… But no, I got one of the most reasonable vegetarians I have ever had the pleasure of speaking too. They were completely on side. She quickly shot my other colleague down, explaining she used to be a meat eater but decided if she couldn’t kill it, prepare it and cook it herself that she wouldn’t bother. She then proceeded to explain my own argument to everyone there. My Argument being an animal that’s wild, hasn’t been stuffed full of antibiotics, force fed and crammed in a cage it’s entire life is a much more ethical choice of food stuff than the range of Ginsters pasties and caged egg sarnies about the lunch table.

So next time you come across a veggie give them a chance, and if you come across those militant ones (usually with a series of piercings across their face looking like they got cought up in your tackle box) take a breath and explain the alternative and that they should probably start with the Tesco caged egg eaters before the person with the courage and knowledge to prepare free range, organic food for their families. So like I always try to point out be an ambassador and show off the shooting community in a good light.