Prairie Dog Hunting

Varmint Control builds Long-Range Shooting Skills

If you’re Looking to Improve your Shooting Abilities, Helping Farmers and others out by Targeting Prairie Dogs fills the Bill.
I frequently find myself dreaming about connecting with spectacularly long shots. Not like a solid 100-yard kill shot at a whitetail, mule deer or elk resting at the fork in a tree, but long, legendary shots that immediately become the fodder for modern lore.

I’m talking about ridiculous “struggle to see with the naked eye” far at a target so small you struggle to keep it located in your optic. The shots you make that are so impossible your company will cheer, stand, high-five and dance in disbelief as you revel in your victory.
Shots like that don’t come very often. Sure, we see videos and hear stories of guys taking down an elk at 700 yards, or a standing shot on a whitetail at 400. Both are fantastic shots, but they’re irregular, rare and not shots we get to practice frequently before that time arises.
Am I right? If we are ethical hunters doing our part, then practice at different ranges under varying conditions is a regular part of our preseason preparation.
When that time comes, however, we pray for one shot and hope it hits true. Shooting at a target, a bucket or a watermelon is nice practice, just no substitute for the real thing.
What if I told you that such shots can be had not only routinely, but free of charge if you’re willing to provide the ammo, pay for gas and take a little bit of initiative by doing the leg work?
What if I said you could add four legs, fur and the thrill of a hunt to your practice? And that your practice would be a valuable public service for ranchers and row-crop farmers alike?
Interested yet? I thought so. Welcome to the wonderful world of prairie dog hunting, where the tag quota is infinity, the shots commonly vary from 10 to 500 (or more) yards, and the only thing limiting your success is your level of enthusiasm and a potential ammo shortage.


MANY YEARS AGO as a high school student in the rich, thick hardwoods of the Midwest, I heard a hunting buddy mention the proposal of varmint hunting out West, with no tag limit and all the shooting we could handle.
Due in part to the restricted visibility at the distance our locale offered, the thought seemed almost too good to be true. We saw glimpses of wildlife all the time, but the range was shorter and the animals were skittish unless you were a farmer on a tractor.

Prairie dogs are an interesting creature. At first glance they are cute and cuddly little critters. For all intents and purposes, if you were to come across a prairie dog town for the first time you might marvel at not only the intricate structures of their tunnels and mounds, but the way the community will vocalize to warn each other of potential danger.
The giant wild hamsters of the plains are an interesting bunch, for sure. Because of speedy reproduction and shrinking habitat, prairie dogs quickly overpopulate and overrun a town so heavily that the grasslands they occupy become no more than a dust bowl, destroying both grazing land for themselves and the cattle, deer, antelope and other livestock they so frequently share territory with. This changes the status of the local prairie dog population from cute and cuddly to destructive pestilence in a hurry.
As with any wild game, hunters are the best and most effective conservationists. When populations are managed by lowering the numbers of colonies, it means fewer mouths to feed, less disease, less impact on other local wildlife species and even a meal for coyotes and many birds of prey.
From an ethics standpoint, we’ve learned in time too that a well-placed shot from a .223 Remington, .204 Ruger and even a .17 HMR (inside of 150 yards) and .22 WMR right between the shoulders of a standing prairie dog proves to be a faster and more ethical dispatch than the landowner trying to manage numbers by using poison, flooding or other means of extermination.

THE PROCESS OF HUNTING prairie dogs is fairly simple and straightforward: Find a town. Gain permission from the landowner. Set up shop and get busy.
But the actual execution of a plan to hunt prairie dogs can be surprisingly more difficult than the shooter may hope. Their target’s vision is excellent, and although seemingly stupid at first, due to their collective intelligence they become fast learners. Often a “better safe than sorry” approach is adopted and they drop into their tunnels, only occasionally peeking their heads out to scan the terrain for imminent danger.
An educated prairie dog town with skeptical eyes numbering in the hundreds or even thousands can be one of the most difficult quarries many hunters will experience in their predatory days. Which is why the actual art of hunting and stalking and not just walking in as an exterminator can be so valuable.
We’ve learned to employ similar tactics as we do when hunting antelope, mule deer or any other free-ranging game for that matter. Find cover, stay out of sight as much as possible, and choose your shots wisely. Fewer shots mean less noise, which means more time undetected. If your state allows hunting with suppressors, I highly recommend it.
It is also for this reason that we have included in our tactics the habit of setting up a little further away, with better concealment, shooting prone from a bipod or solid shooting rest, or, my personal favorite, using an elevated 360-degree shooting table, as pictured in this article.
Newcomers to the challenge will want to be sure to prepare accordingly based on the country they are hunting in. Take it seriously. Just like any of your big game hunts, you want the most bang for your buck. If you’re hunting the High Plains like we do, that means dry air, hot sun and wind, which in turn translates to potential dehydration, sunburn and dust. The less miserable you are, the more fruitful you’ll be, with better memories too.
Use the appropriate tools. You’ll be spending all day or several hours at the very least looking through the glass on your rifle. Eye fatigue can be a factor even with decent midrange optics. The same goes for range finding gear and spotting scopes. Set yourself up for success and your experience will be more enjoyable from the start.
Finally, make sure your rifle is suit-able for the task at hand. While this is a different type of hunting, it’s still hunting. And we are still responsible to ensure our tools kill quickly and humanely. Will a .30-06 work? Sure, but that’s obnoxious and expensive. Even the .22-250 Remington might be a little overkill, although very effective.
If you can afford it, do it. My longest prairie dog kill to date was taken at 520 yards and the second at 480. Both with a witness and both with a Remington R-15 in .223 propelling 50-grain Hornady V-Max projectiles along at roughly 3,250 feet per second. Your rifle doesn’t have to be custom shop or overpriced for you to be proficient and effective. Just accurate and reliable.

Check out these Cool Gun Safes Click HERE to Check it out.



ANOTHER IMPORTANT FACTOR, as with any method of hunting, is knowing the local laws. Some states allow for the hunter to essentially operate as a “private contractor” for the landowner doing pest removal, which means you can operate as a guest or “employee” (a written contract may be a wise choice in this instance) of the landowner.
Others will require a small game stamp to even pull a trigger in the state, but no specific individual tag for the varmints. Regardless, if there are regulations, know them. If you are terrible at research, ask around or call the state’s conservation department or department of wildlife and they’ll help straighten your path.
Most of all, be creative when it comes to hunting prairie dogs. The odds are that if you can dream it, you can accomplish it. Finding available land can be a daunting task, but possible if you’re willing to be adventurous and even a little brave. Find a town in the boonies overrun with the suckers and walk into the local diner declaring your intentions.
I can almost guarantee someone will know someone who knows someone with an infestation. Churches, coffee shops, bars and legion halls are also great places to begin the process of zeroing in on the varmints.
The trigger time will help you become seasoned, disciplined and confident when the moment comes to punch your tag on the bigger four-legged game. Remember, practice may not mean perfect, but it does mean permanent. So take advantage of the chance to practice conservation, do a landowner a favor, and hone your skills on a formidable opponent.
I absolutely guarantee you’ll giggle and fist-pump the first time you connect at distance. Hunting the four-legged dirt dwellers has become one of my favorite pastimes, as well as one of the most fun to boot. Happy shooting, everyone.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY ERIC “EBBS” EBBINGHAUS

MOA vs MRAD

Which is Best for Long Range Competition Shooting?


So, what do the acronyms M.O.A. and M.R.A.D. mean to shooters and what is the difference between the two? Well, the answer to that question is that M.O.A. indicates Minutes of Angle whereas, M.R.A.D. indicates Milli radians and both are angular units of measure.



Because they are both used to measure the length of a section of a circle’s circumference, shooters use either Minutes of Angle or Milli radians for measuring the adjustment range of their rifle scopes.

Although there is no inherent advantage to choosing one over the other, some shooters do have a distinct preference for Minutes of Angle over Milli radians and vice versa.
However, you should be aware that they each have both advantages and disadvantages that make each type of measurement better suited for different types of shooting situations.

How does a Long Range Rifle Scope Work
In addition, it should also be noted that long range scopes are available with both different types of reticles and different types of turrets.

Consequently, standard rifle scopes are designed with reticles that are specifically designed for relatively close range shots and turrets that are designed to enable the shooter to adjust the position of the reticle by first removing a turret cap and then using a tool such as a coin to adjust the position of the reticle.

However, long range scopes designed for shooting at extended ranges (aka “tactical scopes”) often feature both range-finding reticles and quick-adjust turrets that enable a shooter to easily adjust the position of the reticle with their fingers and then, return the reticle to its original point of aim by simply pressing down on the top of the turret.
While standard rifle scopes are often the best choice for shooting at slow moving or stationary targets at relatively close ranges, shooting at extended ranges at non-stationary targets often requires the shooter to make rapid adjustments to their scope’s point of aim and thus, tactical rifle scopes are often a better choice for this type of long range shooting.

In addition, it is important to note that even when a tactical rifle scope is chosen, the shooter still needs to make a choice between scopes that measure angles in M.O.A. or M.R.A.D.

Minutes of Angle (aka M.O.A.)
Most North American and European hunters and shooters are most familiar with Minutes of Angle, let’s examine this type of angular measurement first. Like Milliradians, Minutes of Angle are based on the length of the circumference of a circle.
When using M.O.A., the circle is divided into 360 equal parts called “degrees” and, each degree is further divided in to 60 equal parts called “minutes”. Therefore, that means that any circle of any diameter is composed of 21,600 minutes of angle.

Milliradians
Milliradians on the other hand are defined as the arc of a circle with the same length as that of the radius and are based on the ratio of the circumference of a circle that is twice the length of its radius multiplied by the mathematical constant Pi (aka 3.14).

The ratio of the circumference to the radius is always the same, there are always the same number of radians in a circle and this is true regardless of how large or small the circle is.

So, rather than dividing a circle into 360 degrees and 21,600 minutes as with M.O.A., Milliradians instead divide the circumference of a circle into 6.28 equal sections measuring 57.3 degrees each and thus, every circle has a circumference that is 6.28 radians long.

Then, each radian is further divided into 1,000 equal parts called Milliradians. Therefore there are 6,280 Milliradians in every circle compared to 21,600 Minutes of Angle.

M.O.A. vs. M.R.A.D. in relation to scope turrets
However, it should be noted that because sportsmen commonly use these measurements in relation to rifle or handgun scopes, they are commonly measured using a circle with a 100 yard radius. Then, a single Minute of Angle is equal to 1 inch at 100 yards whereas, a Milliradian is equal to 3.6 inches at 100 yards. When comparing Minutes of Angle to Milliradians, there are approximately 3.44 minutes of angle in each milliradian.

Most rifle and handgun scopes manufactured in North America and Europe are designed to use Minutes of Angle rather than Milliradians because minutes of angle provide shooters with a finer degree of measurement at closer ranges than milliradians do. However, the opposite is true when shooting at longer ranges because there are additional factors that need to be considered when shooting at extended ranges.

In addition, it should be noted that both M.O.A. and M.R.A.D. tactical scopes have different adjustment increments. For instance, M.O.A. scopes commonly feature quick-adjust turrets with half-minute, quarter-minute, and eighth-minute adjustments with each successive adjustment providing a greater degree of precision.

But, even though one-eighth minute increments are the most precise, they are only suitable for shooting at stationary targets because they require the shooter to turn the turret significantly farther to compensate for changes in the target’s range than one-quarter or one-half minute increments do.

Thus, when shooting at long ranges at a moving target or, in a situation where adjustments to the point of aim have to be made quickly, quarter-minute and half-minute increments are better choices when shooting over long distances at non-stationary targets because they enable a shooter to make adjustments in the point of aim more rapidly.

On the other hand, M.R.A.D. scopes have a single standard adjustment increment which is one-tenth of a milliradian. Consequently, because M.R.A.D. scopes use base 10 increments rather than fractional increments, a tenth of a milliradian is roughly equal to one third of a minute.

Therefore, a milliradian is a more precise adjustment than a half-minute click but less precise than a quarter-minute click. So, because an M.R.A.D scope has nearly identical precision to an adjustable M.O.A. scope and, because the notation is much easier to reproduce quickly without involving multiple types of fractions, M.R.A.D. scopes are superior to M.O.A. scopes for longer-distance shooting of anything but stationary targets because using M.R.A.D. makes it easier for a shooter or spotter to calculate precision angles. Thats why, M.R.A.D. tactical scopes are the type of scope most often chosen by military and police snipers.

M.O.A. vs M.R.A.D. in Relation to Reticles
Furthermore, it should be noted that milliradians and minutes of angle apply to scope reticles in the same manner that they apply to turrets with the same advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, minutes of angle provide a more precise measurement when the target’s range is short enough that the shooter does not need to quickly adjust the turrets. But, milliradians are more precise at extended ranges and/or when keeping track of fractional adjustments is unwieldy.

In addition, it is very important that you always pair minute of angle reticles with M.O.A. turrets and milliradian reticles (aka mill-dots) with M.R.A.D turrets and so that there is no confusion between the different types of angular measurements.

Which is best for long range competition shooting?
So, if you own a 6.5 creedmoor rifle and you are a long range competition shooter rather than a hunter, choosing a 6.5 creedmoor scope with Milliradian reticles and Milliradian turrets over a rifle scope with Minute of Angle reticles and turrets is a wise idea.

In fact, once you get used to using Milliradians, doing so will not only make it easier for you to make precise adjustments to the point of aim at extended ranges, it will make it easier for you to determine the appropriate number of turns to adjust your turrets for minor differences in the range at which you are shooting.

Thus, while most hunters tend to have a distinct preference for Minute of Angle rifle scopes over Milliradian rifle scopes, M.R.A.D. scopes are by far more popular among long range competition shooters.

Conclusion
Consequently, because M.O.A. scopes provide shooters with a higher degree of accuracy at relatively close ranges of 300 yards or less where no fine adjustments are needed, M.O.A. scopes are often the best the choice for hunters. However, for long range precision shooting, M.R.A.D scopes are actually a better choice because it they provide a higher degree of accuracy at relatively long ranges.

Article by Steve Coffman

6.5 Creedmoor vs 308

Which is a Good Option as a SHTF Cartridge?

There are some great short action rifles available, some rifles being offered in 6.5 Creedmoor. There is another similar case, but not quite the same its the .308 Winchester. The 6.5 Creedmoor uses skinnier, lighter bullets and its faster downrange than .308.
However, the 6.5 Creedmoor is very popular as a great selection for medium to long range (500-1000 yards) shooting. Which is why the military has incorporated this into some of their specialized rifles for long range targets.


Ballistic speaking, the skinny 6.5mm bullets perform exceptionally well, very closely matching the ballistic profile of a 300 Winchester Magnum, but with much less recoil and cost.
looking downrange
Its possible that for SHTF scenario the 6.5 Creedmoor is the better ballistic cartridge than .308 due to performance consistency. The 308 was designed in 1952 for a semi-automatic military rifle, while the 6.5 Creedmoor was designed in 2007 for better long range target performance in a bolt action rifle.
Here’s Youtuber GLgunsandgear doing some shooting from 1000 yards pitting the 6.5 Creedmoor against the .308.
GLgunsandgear had to adjust due to windy conditions, but he was on target. Have a look.


Here’s Jason Blaha Youtuber talking about which caliber best fits the SHTF scenario.

Video Transcription
Hey everybody it’s Jason Blaha, here today to talk to you guys about how viable is it to replace the .308 -which you guys know I’m a big fan of, I’m a big fan of the .308 both as a hunting cartridge and a shit-hit-the-fan cartridge. Maybe not so much home defense, but the other two yeah definitely. Big fan of the caliber. Have been most of my life.-

The 6.5 Creedmoor. Can it replace it? Well we’ve covered a lot in the past about different roles. Like I’ve covered 223 vs .308 and why some people would pick 223 and why some would pick .308 for their specific situation for a Shit-hit-the-fan primary rifle. Well the 6.5 Creedmoor you would pick for the same reasons you would pick the .308. They would fill the same niche. You want a full-powered rifle round. Alright, full-powered rifle round. Obviously knowing it’s going to be heavier, more expensive, all of that. You’re going to be carrying less ammo if you have to go on foot.

But the 6.5 Creedmoor is becoming a very very popular alternative to the .308 in a number of different areas. A number of areas in hunting and precision shooting long distance. We need to understand those differences though between these cartridges when we talk about why someone might want to think about placing something as versatile as the .308, and I’ll let you guys decide for yourself what you want to do personally. I mean we all have our opinions on these things. Let’s discuss the facts.

As a hunting cartridge, they’re completely equal. Don’t let anyone convince you that there’s a significant difference between them. .308’s going to be a little heavier, 6.5 Creedmoor is going to be a lighter bullet. Smaller starting diameter, the better sectional density. Pretty similar energy with the energy going slightly in favor of the .308 due to the bullet weights, but that sectional density is very important for penetration. So I think honestly using similar shot placements, similar bullet styles, you’re going to see very similar -if not virtually identical- wound tracks through an animal. Virtually identical stopping power. It’s still gonna be shot placed when you’re picking the right bullet, and picking a range at which you can make a humane kill at. There’s virtually no difference at any of the ranges you’re going to be hunting at.

Now many people will point out ‘well, ballistically they’re different at really long distances’, that doesn’t matter for hunting, because honestly, I’m going to go out on a limb and say taking a shot past 600 yards with either one of these on a big animal like an elk absolutely is not a good idea as a hunter. I’m never gonna endorse anyone to do that, and I know some people are gonna say ‘well, you know, people have done it and they got meat in the freezer’, but that’s a high-risk shot on a big animal. Your chances of getting a humane kill are pretty slim. I know people have actually dropped Elk -on Youtube- on video with both calibers at distances over 600 yards, but not much beyond that. I’m gonna say for most hunters, really, 400 yards top with these calibers. Either one of those on a big animal, I don’t think beyond 400 is reasonable. You know, not saying some hunters don’t have the skill to do better, but the vast majority simply do not, and they have no business taking a shot like that.

Well at that sort of distance, these cartridges are virtually identical. Things like drop rate, wind drift, no difference.

Target shooting, the 6.5 is becoming more popular, it’s replacing the .308, when it comes to purely punching paper out at long distance. And I think when you look at the ballistics it makes sense. If your goal is ballistics, you don’t care about money spent, you care about producing the most accurate round you can make to hit targets out at around 800, 900, 1000 yards. You’re going to -in the hands of a similar skilled shooter, the same shooter you’re going to be more consistent with the 6.5. And the reason I say that is not just the drop rate, it is fine you’re shooting that far out. That only matters when you’re trying to kind of guestimate distances. When you know exact distances, that doesn’t matter wen you have it pinned down perfectly. The reason I say that though is wind drift. The 6.5 Creedmoor, you compare something like a 142 MatchKing in it verses a 168 or a 175 in the .308 that’s a comparable round. It has a better ballistic coefficient. And at those distances, it is moving a little bit faster. You’re simply going to have less wind drift to account for. And we’re talking about easily at some cases 12, 15 inches potentially difference at 1000 yards wind-drift difference. That’s a lot, and when you’re trying to guestimate wind drift, I don’t care how good you are, there’s a margin of error there. There’s a margin of error even with the best shooters, and with that one you can cut down that margin of error, you’re gonna get more consistency with that round. The 6.5 flat-out wns for target shooting past 600 yards. I don’t think anyone can really dispute that- actually out past 500 yards, I’d need to check the math on that.

It’s just better. It’s better. And I hate to say that about my .308 because I love my .308. So how does that translate to the real world? Well, that does matter for shit-hit-the-fan, because if you are going to take shots out at that distance, the 6.5 is gonna be better, it’s gonna be more consistent. And you start talking about Shit Hit the Fan, if you really need the shots that long -and I can assure you guys at any ROL scenario, the odds that most of you are ever, ever gonna be in a situation where you need to make an 800-1000 yard shot probably wouldn’t happen even if we do have a Shit Hit The Fan scenario, and you know we probably never will have a true Shit Hit The Fan scenario.

If we do -we’re theory crafting for that- for those really long distances, the 6.5 is gonna be better if you’re ever forced to do so. It shoots flatter, cuts the wind better, on soft-skinned two-legged game, I don’t think you’re gonna see a ballistics difference. I think you’re gonna see almost identical wounds. I don’t think ballistic there’s going to be a difference between these two rounds at any distance. It’s going to come down to accuracy at long distance.

Other advantages, then: What else does the 6.5 offer? Lighter weight. Carry more ammo. Is it tremendously lighter? No. I’d bet you the rounds are probably -I’d need to weigh ’em- I don’t have my hands on any right now, they’re probably ten… maybe, maybe in some cases 15% lighter, but I’d say closer to 10% lighter. That’s 10% more ammo you can carry for the same weight if you need to hump it around. That matters.

How ’bout recoil? Lighter recoil. Lighter recoil. That could matter in a firefight. Could matter. Is it a gamebreaker? Like, is it probably gonna make-or-break you, save your life, Vs. dying? Probably not. But it’s a little tiny advantage. Both of those are. 10% less weight per ammo, slightly less recoil, that could matter. So we’ve got a lot a lot of advantages for the 6.5. It has a lot going for it there.

Alright, downsides: Cost. Alright, cost can be comperable to make the ammo. It can be comperable to make the ammo. But if you actually want to make cheap ammo, you can make the .308 for less. I know people are gonna say ‘what are you talking about? I mean the rounds are similar priced, the 6.5 might be slightly cheaper per bullet, maybe a penny or two cheaper per projectile, a penny probably even for Sierra Matchkings, you’re probably gonna use a little less gunpowder, what are you talking about?’

Cost of brass.

If you want decent brass -Decent brass- you can get starline in .308, it’s only $300-somethin’ dollars for 1000. That’s 30-somethin’ cents per piece of brand-new brass that you’re gonna be able to reload several times. Some of these .308 guys are reloading it three or four times in an auto-loader, alright.

If you’re gonna get all match-brass, really good brass, alright, the 6.5 Creedmoor you’re getting comperable there, so you’re getting slightly less per projectiles and powder, but are you gonna stockpile all match brass for your Shit-hit-the-fan? I mean you’re talking about from anywhere upwards of 70 cents to over $1 per piece of brass for 6.5. No-one makes cheap brass for it. Starline doesn’t make brass for it. It looks like it’s like, Norma, Lapua, Hornady. I think that’s your only three makers of 6.5, and you’re not getting any of that less than 70c per piece of brass. And some of you are gonna be paying over a dollar. So it’s the cost of your brass. And I mean, we can argue all day long about brass being unusable so that matters the least, but if you’re talking about stockpiling a thousand rounds, 2000 rounds, that’s 2000 pieces of brass you gotta buy. It’s 70c to about $1.20, depending on what you get, you know, you’re getting up into thousands of dollars for your ammo! That adds up. Cost is a factor. Again, particularly if you want cheaper ammo. And, it’s gonna come down to availability of ammo if you want cheap ammo. What if you want military surplus ammo? There is nothing like that for 6.5, but there’s a ton of .308 out there. In fact, if you had an awesome .308 rifle, really good AR-10, really good M1A, or a Skar-17, there’s gonna be military surplus brass you’ll possibly be able to get your hands on. You could shoot ball ammo out of it. With your 6.5, you’re not doing that.

The other factor that gets brought up is gonna be barrel wear.

I’m reluctant on this one, and the reason I say that is, yeah, the 6.5 people are saying ‘you get 2000 rounds, 3000 rounds top’ from a barrel before it becomes even a match-grade barrel turns into an over 1 MOA barrel. And they’re like ‘well when shit-hit-the-fan that’s gonna suck’, you know, you get 2000 rounds through it and you’ve got something that’s gonna shoot, you know, eight-inch groups at 500 yards.

Well let me ask you a question: You really think, when shit hits the fan and you’ve had a lot of engagements with people, you’re low on ammo, that you’re gonna care that your awesome rifle only shoots eight-inch groups at 500 yards? That’s a killzone hit. That’s still potential headshots. Headshots! At 500 yards. That’s not terrible. Not precision, but not terrible. Furthermore, they’re right, but only if the shit hits the fan and you’ve already got a worn-out barrel. Because truth be told, in what scenario does anyone honestly think that they’re going to fire more than 2,000 rounds
through their SHTF rifle? In a ROL scenario, or a revolution, or a single war or invasion, you think you’re still gonna be alive after putting 2000 rounds? You think you’re ever gonna get to that round count? Anybody really think that’s gonna happen? You’re gonna put 2000 rounds through your primary battle rifle and you’re still gonna be alive? Nuh-uh, there’s no way. Logistically impossible. Not gonna happen.

And you know, even if it did, maybe you could always have a backup AR-10 barrel, because you know eventually there’s gonna be extra .308 around. You could have an ar-10 barrel and a bolt carrier group anyways. So you know, that one I think is less of an issue. That’s an issue for match shooters, but again I would point out, look at what you’re paying. Look at what you’re paying for brass and stuff alone. I mean when you’re exceeding 2000 rounds through a precision rifle, how much money have you spent on ammo already? So for practice purposes this doesn’t matter. Because anyone who can afford to shoot 2000 rounds of match ammo through their 6.5, I don’t think they’re that worried about buying another $300 barrel when the barrel starts to wear out and lose accuracy.

You know, if you’ve got that type of money to throw into brass and everything, I dunno, buy an extra barrel and have it laying around. So you know, there’s your kicker. So as far as what it comes down to guys, I think cost and ammo versatility is still gonna be the downside of the 6.5. The barrel wear, I don’t think that matters in SHTF. That’s silly. That’s just a cost issue for target shooters.

But yeah, ultimately, the pros are gonna be, it’s just gonna be better past 500 yards, it’s gonna have lighter ammo, less recoil, pretty much similar ballistics; the downsides being cost of the ammo, and you’re not gonna be able to use a wide variety of ammo. You’re not gonna be able to use everything from hunting rounds to cheap ball ammo because it just doesn’t exist. There’s very little ammo available, there’s no military surplus, there’s nothing like that.
You’re probably… anyone with any sort of budget who’s messing with 6.5, you’re gonna be shooting all hand-loads, and most of those are probably gonna be match-grade bullets. Because you’re using match-grade brass anyways, it’s kinda stupid to load cheap rounds in it. It just doesn’t make sense. You’re already investing in a caliber that’s pretty much used for match-type stuff anyways. That’s kind of its only niche right now. So until cheaper brass comes out, there’s not really gonna be cheap ammo or a way to really even make cheap ammo for the 6.5. So that’s the downsides.

It’s up to you guys to decide what you like. And the reason I think some of that’s gonna be important is gonna be for people who aren’t necessarily wanting to build the highest in battle rifle… you’ve got to look at the fact that you’re gonna end up with a pretty expensive barrel, you’re gonna end up with some pretty expensive parts with 6.5 Creedmoor no matter what you do, you’re gonna end up with really expensive brass, and in some cases by the time you’re done, for a little more money you might’ve been able to get a second AR-10 and another 500 rounds of ammo by the time you’re done. So that’s just something to factor in on people’s budgets. The budget is a big deal.

Alright guys, but that’s really all I have to say on that today, I hope it’s been informative, and I will talk to you guys next time.


What do you all think? Is the 6.5 Creedmoor better suited than a .308 Winchester for SHTF?

 

 

Sources: Jason Blaha Firearm Enthusiast, HuntingGearGuy

Field Shooting Positions

Field-Shooting Positions with Sticks that Expands your Hunting Limits

Story by Caylen Wojcik

Notice the contact point between the shooter’s right elbow and the right knee. This is essential to supporting the upper body and the spine in a seated position. (MACKENZIE CRAWFORD)

The ominous and almost haunting realization that it’s the last day of the season hangs over your head as you make one last hike up to your glassing perch with hopes of catching a glimpse of the animals that have been so elusive in the preceding days. Hours pass, and in the fading light you glass across the sage into the glare of the sun. Catching some movement your eyes focus on an ear flick; low and behold it’s a shooter buck. He’s far, but your heart is soaring with the hopes of success as you range him before he feeds out of view into the dark timber just a couple dozen yards away. At 460 yards, your .300 WSM is more than capable, but you can’t lay down in the high sage, and the only shooting support you have is your pack and a set of Stoney Point sticks that you’ve used only once or twice. You know you can shoot that far, but only from a bench or prone. That elated feeling quickly drains as your gut tells you “No, you can’t make that shot,” and you watch what you thought was your buck walk away.

Students use barricades and tripods to engage targets out to 1,200 yards. (JAKE BLICK – MAGPUL CORE)

I know some of you are thinking, “460 yards off of sticks is too far, anyways; you shouldn’t take that shot even if you feel good about it.” How far is too far? The truth is range is just a number for a shooter who practices regularly. It’s as simple as “range, dial, hold for wind, and press” for someone who is confident with their rifle and, most importantly, their ability to apply the fundamentals of marksmanship in field conditions.

I routinely see students successfully and consistently hit targets at greater distances than the above scenario with a little bit of instruction and training. Now, let’s be clear; there is a big difference between training on steel targets that are stationary and a living, breathing animal.
It’s OK to miss steel, but as hunters, our quarry deserves the utmost respect with a quick and humane expiration from a well-placed shot.
With animals we play for keeps, and staying inside of your limits with a rifle afield should be our primary concern. So, how can we extend our comfort zone? How can we push those limits with confidence so we don’t have to see those bucks walk away? It’s going to take dedication and lots of time on the range. Here are some pointers on how to do it effectively:

Mann receives instruction on the use of trekking poles as support in a kneeling position. Note the position of the sling on the shooter’s right arm. This assists with keeping the rifle butt firmly in the pocket of the shoulder. (MACKENZIE CRAWFORD)

The first thing we should identify right off the bat is what our rifle can do under ideal conditions. Spend a day with your rifle shooting it at distance and record your data. If you’re using hold-overs, that’s fine, make sure you write down the range to the targets and the hold you used to get center hits. If you’re dialing your turrets, record the turret settings it required to hit center. Ideally, you should do this from the prone position to remove as much shooter error as possible. This raw data you’re gathering is what you’re going to use to make your drop chart. It’s also going to build your confidence with the rifle, knowing that it’s going to do what you tell it to do, under ideal conditions. If you have the space available, this is also a great opportunity to push the limits of distance. You can do this safely knowing that misses are only going to result in creating a little bit of self motivation and not a wounded animal.

Wojcik demonstrates the use of bipods to build a stable shooting platform from an unusual structure. (JAKE BLICK – MAGPUL CORE)

The Backcountry Hunter Course in the Washington Cascades is the perfect location to work on angles and an odd range of positions. (JAKE BLICK – MAGPUL CORE)

Once we know that the rifle is doing what we want it to do in a general sense and we’ve established that confidence, it’s time to get ourselves out of the prone and into field-shooting positions, and I mean a lot of different positions. We want to focus on the fundamentals of marksmanship, and accept nothing less than perfection.

The fundamentals in a nutshell are: creating a solid body position relying on either bone or artificial support, aligning our sights and aiming, proper breathing, getting a natural point of aim, trigger control and follow-through. It’s a lot to remember, but if you go about it in a systematic way by applying all those items in that order, your shooting will improve drastically.

Magpul CORE students demonstrating the versatility of the bipod while shooting from fence slats. Note the straight legs, locked out knees and a forward center of gravity. This is used to create bone support and relieve muscular tension. (MACKENZIE CRAWFORD)

The main thing to really focus on in field-shooting scenarios is establishing a natural point of aim. This is where the rifle wants to go in any given shooting position while the shooter is relaxed. Relaxation is key; we can’t relax without bone or artificial support, so make sure you’re honest with yourself when you build your shooting position. If you close your eyes, breathe and relax, the cross hairs should be right where you left them before you closed your eyes. If they’re not in the same place then you don’t have a natural point of aim, and you need to adjust your body to get the rifle to go where you want it to go. It takes lots and lots of practice.

A student uses a cable reel on an angle to simulate using a downed log as a support. Notice the use of the bipods to create a more stable platform on the curved and sloped surface of the reel. Also, the shooter is using his nonshooting hand to grab a handful of shirt material to further enhance stability. (MACKENZIE CRAWFORD)

When you head out to practice, focus on the tools you’re taking afield first, such as your shooting sticks or a tripod. Shoot from them in as many different positions as you can think of so you can identify your weaknesses and your strengths. Once that’s comfortable, move on to shooting off of weird things that could mimic field scenarios, like stumps, logs, branches and fence slats. You’ll be surprised at how effective you are after a little focused practice. You don’t need long ranges or steel either. If your range only has 100 yards, that’s fine, just shrink your target size. Start with 6-inch rounds or squares, then reduce the size as you gain confidence and proficiency. A good standard is a 3-inch target from 100 yards. If you can consistently place shots into that size target, you’re in good shape and are applying the fundamentals.

A student using his trekking poles as field-expedient shooting sticks in a fairly severe declined angle shot during the Backcountry Hunter Course. (JAKE BLICK – MAGPUL CORE)

Putting everything together and building confidence in your rifle will translate into building confidence in yourself. It’s a great feeling going afield knowing that you’re prepared for a wide variety of conditions. Something else to consider is looking for outside instruction from a reputable and professional organization. Having a second set of eyes watching you and offering constructive criticism will pay off in a big way when you head off on your own. You’d be surprised what a couple days of instruction will do for your shooting. Training for field-shooting positions is easy and a fun challenge. Use your imagination and be creative. Bottom line: enjoy yourself! ASJ

Caylen Wojcik uses a 55-gallon drum as a support during the 2015 Sniper’s Hide Cup. Notice the points of contact on the shooting elbow, the chest and bipods – that’s solid contact. (JOSEPHAT OROZCO)

Here’s more from National Shooting Sports Foundation | NSSF

TFB Book Review: Long Range Precision Rifle: Expanded Edition

Expand Your Mind, Extend Your Range

Learning about shooting disciplines should always be an ongoing experience.  Even those of us with hundreds or thousands of hours of training time can find value in absorbing the shared expertise of others.  One book that I have encountered that covers precision rifle techniques is Anthony Cirincione II’s Long Range Precision Rifle; Expanded Edition.  (MSRP $31)  In my personal regard, it is one of the best guides out there to help with the setup and effective employment of a scoped rifle.

A bit about the Author

Anthony Cirincione has an incredible knowledge base concerning the use of precision rifles.  He has over 2 years of OIF/OEF combat deployment experience in Iraq and Afghanistan as a US Army Sniper and has served as a sniper section leader.  He has implemented both DMR and sniper training curricula as part of that role.  In addition, he actively competes in the long-range shooting disciplines and has a private training company he instructs at when stateside.

Building from the Basics

As a gunsmith, one of my services was mounting and zeroing scopes and doing a basic setup of hunting and precision rifles for customers.  Nowhere have I seen or heard a more thorough, well written and outlined guide of how to set up a scoped rifle than in this book. Chapter 1, Rifle and Ammunition Selection, is an excellent guide for new and experienced shooter alike on:

  • Selecting appropriate calibers/cartridges for your desired purpose
  • Choosing twist rates
  • Checking action screw torque
  • Secure attachment and proper alignment of the scope
  • Getting perfect cheek weld and eye relief that facilitates shooting from multiple positions

You’ll benefit from this book even if you shoot primarily with irons

Other basics are covered in the beginning chapters as well.  Cirincione demystifies other essentials, such as:

  • using measuring devices within the reticle
  • Mils/MOA
  • Focal Planes
  • Box Drills
  • Ballistic cards
  • Keeping a DOPE book

Advanced Techniques

For more experienced shooters, there is a wealth of advanced data and techniques laid out in other chapters.  One of my favorite sections deals with shooting over or under obstructions.  This concerns the techniques to use should there be power lines, window sills, bridges, or more commonly in my experience, tree branches in the line of one’s long-range shot.  This could make all the difference between a solid hit or an ineffective hit/miss.  It is a subject I’ve not seen well covered at shooting schools or in other literature.  Once again, Cirincione’s clarity shines through the murky waters on this subject.

Have you ever encountered high angle shots?  On a recent hunt, I was at such an extreme angle that it almost felt like I was going to slide off a cliff. I’ve been shooting at extreme angles for a while and received instruction in such situations. I do believe that the section on high angle shooting in this book is probably one of the simplest and easy to understand outlines of what one needs to take in account to achieve long-range hits at extreme angles.

The New Edition

I only learned about the “Expanded Edition” of this book because my well-worn copy was pretty much destroyed in a micro-burst storm.  I knew I left something on the range deck in my dash to the truck, and unfortunately, it was the book.  The expanded edition now includes:

  • External Ballistic Truing
  • Determining Fast and Correct Windage Adjustments and Holds
  • Magnetospeed V3 Ballistic Chronograph Vs. External Ballistic Truing
  • How to Build a Switch-Barrel Rifle
  • Suppressed Subsonic Shooting

By far my favorite new section deals with Suppressed Subsonic Shooting.  Cirincione explains supersonic vs subsonic “Cold-Can Shift”, why it occurs, and how to account for it.  For subsonic reloaders, he also covers how some sound barrier calculations hold true for certain grain weights of bullets and not others.  He also covers why not to drill out the primer pocket of one’s brass for subsonic-specific loads.

Overall Impression:

Anthony Cirincione II’s Long-Range Precision Rifle: Expanded Edition is an excellent addition to the library of anyone engaged or interested in the discipline of long-range riflery.  Cirincione’s clear, concise style of explanation and practical exercises help guide shooters of any experience through the concepts, tips, and techniques outlined in this work.  While it may not contain the most detailed and in-depth explanations of each subject it touches on, it is a great, concise overview of subjects that one needs to know in order to be a better long-range rifleman. I want to stress as well that at no time does the author reveal any classified TTPs that might compromise our armed forces.

The book is useful enough that I often find myself checking out its tables and references while in the field, and it has its own slot in my range bag for long range rifle use.  For anyone interested in the accurate choice, setup, cartridges, and employment of long range rifles, I highly recommend this book.

Note:  Paladin Press, the publisher of this book, sadly went out of business at the end of 2017.  This book can still be purchased from sites such as Amazon, however, and will be published this year by Redd Ink Press.  

 

A Sniper Speaks – Caylen Wojcik

Exclusive interview by Frank Jardim
Caylen Wojcik was a U.S. Marine Corps scout sniper for eight years as a trainer and warrior. He served as the chief sniper in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, conducting 100 sniper missions until he was seriously wounded during Operation Phantom Fury. He returned to training duties during his recovery and now works in the private sector for Magpul Industries as its director of training of Precision Rifle Operations. He is a man who knows what it’s like to be behind a sniper rifle in battle. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.

Frank Jardim You’ve spent a good deal of your life preparing snipers for battle and being a sniper in battle. What do you think is important for people to know about snipers?

Caylen Wojcik It doesn’t take long for commanders to identify the extreme effectiveness and lethality of a well-trained and equipped sniper on the battlefield. I think with the duration of our current conflict that snipers will ultimately benefit, for many years to come, as their effectiveness on the battlefield is solidified, without question. It’s important to understand that not everyone can become a sniper. Snipers aren’t cut from a “sniper cloth,” nor do they magically acquire skills with an application of “sniper dust.” Being a sniper requires more than just marksmanship skills. Snipers are highly intelligent, extremely resourceful, incredibly disciplined and above all, undeniably passionate about the science and art of sniping. Those traits cannot be cultivated. The skills, however, can be cultivated and honed through effective training. It’s important to remember that snipers’ continue to be effective problem solvers on the battlefield.

FJ How do you explain the relative celebrity of present-day snipers compared to those from previous wars, when they remained virtually unknown outside of their units and the shooting community? (I don’t recall anybody making a movie about Carlos Hathcock.)

CW In terms of factual events, the only movie I’ve seen (or know of) about a sniper besides American Sniper is Enemy at the Gates, which was a rendition of the Soviet sniper Vasily Zeytsev, who was a Russian hero of WWII, and was incredibly lethal during the Battle of Stalingrad. Snipers pride themselves on being silent professionals, as their passion for the job is enough for personal satisfaction. Very few snipers, if any, will actively seek out recognition for their accomplishments, as it usually finds them.

FJ Were snipers used as effectively as they could have been in the units you fought with? Did commanders understand how to deploy expert riflemen?

CW Sniper employment is a steep learning curve for both the sniper and the commander, especially if it’s their first time around in combat. Commanders in the past had very little, if any, training in how to employ snipers on the battlefield. Young snipers, learning sniper employment on a fundamental level at the Scout/Sniper Basic Course, need to be excellent communicators of their capabilities and limitations with their supported unit commanders. In my experience, once we got the major bugs worked out and both the commander and sniper understood each other, things went smoothly and effectively. Having been at war for the past 13 years, there are many seasoned commanders and snipers who are passing on those lessons learned to make both sides run more smoothly.

FJ Have the current infantry rifles and training helped or hurt basic combat marksmanship among typical soldiers?

CW I’m not currently on active duty, nor have I been since the Marine Corps adopted the ACOG as their primary sighting device on the service rifle. Several of my peers are now Marine gunners who are directly responsible for the development of that system and they speak highly of the increased average qualification scores. The addition of requiring Marines to qualify on combat marksmanship is also a huge step forward from my time when only known distance rifle qualification was scored. More emphasis on close-quarters marksmanship and weapons manipulation was definitely required to adapt to our modern battlefield. ASJ

50 BMG for Crop Damaging Deer Mitigation

Crop damage deer can be a big problem to many farmers, according to University of Florida IFAS document – Farmers reported that a variety of wildlife species were responsible for the crop damage they experienced during the past two years. The majority of crop damage was attributed to these species: white-tailed deer (damage reported by 94% of farmers).
Farmers like Robert Runkles shared a video on Youtube, showing how he uses long-range firepower to mitigate this problem.
Mr Runkles utilizes a .50 BMG to make this incredible shot from 902 yards.

When your livelihood is threatened farmers needs to do something.
This farmer certainly has serious mad precision shooting skills, hats off to you!
 

 

Sources: Robert Runkles Youtube, UofFlorida IFAS

The Extreme Angle Shot

If you’re shooting at a steep uphill or downhill target at long distance and you don’t compensate for the difference in gravity, you’ll miss. Rifle expert Jeff Johnston shows how to make that shot!

Video Transcription
Some hunters know that when facing a long downhill shot angle they are getting slightly lower than normal. That’s because gravity pull is greatest on objects that is parallel to earth. And so what this means is that a bullet fired at an angle won’t drop as much as one fired over level ground. But surprisingly this also means that a bullet will strike higher when shooting up hills as well.

Of course how much higher a bullet will hit is a product than the distinctness of the hill and the range to the target. For example 300 yards shot at a 45 degree angle which is pretty darn steep with this .306 right here with strike constantly six inches high.

So generally hunters taking shots at less than 300 yards on uphill or downhill angles. Should simply shade a little bit lower than they normally would have shooting on flattened around.

But if you find yourself having to shoot over 300 yards or in an angle that’s cliff like steep consult the bullet impact chart I will tell you exactly where you need to hole. Luckily for us there’s a much faster and more precise way to arrange these crazy angles.

That’s by the use of one of miriad rangefinders on the marker right now that automatically compensate for the horizontal distance rather than the actual distance the target.

So in shots under 300 yards at an extreme angle simply shade a little bit low but for shots over that. Get yourself a modern rangefinder hold for whatever distance that says Do this and you’ll make that shot.

Sources: Jeff Johnston, Range365

What is the Effective Range of an Air Rifle?

In this field test we find out if a modern .45 caliber air rifle has the power to achieve an effective killing range of 600 yards.
Iraqveteran8888 takes a .45 caliber Air Force Texan air gun, heralded as the “world’s most powerful production air rifle,” and attempts to see if its effective killing range can reach out to over 600 yards.

It’s a fun test, as we get to see, and hear, the slugs hit a 4×8 foot sheet of plywood downrange.

After connecting on the, I think, third shot, Eric laughs and says, “How about that time of flight, people?” You can just hear the slug hitting the board after, I’m guessing, around five or six seconds.

The projectiles used were – 405gr and 350gr lead bullets – are traveling at around 900 feet-per-second.

600-plus yards is a long way for an air rifle to effectively hit a target, but the Texan reaches that distance with little trouble.

After going down range to examine the holes in the plywood board, Eric asks, “The question is, how far will it kill?”

He answers his own query: “What we’re really finding out with a lot of these videos and the data we’re collecting, and the sort of things we’re showing off, is, more or less, pretty much as far as the bullet will go it can remain deadly.”

“The bullet has to go somewhere.” – so probably the range could be farther, accuracy is a different matter.

“So, always treat some of these big bore air rifles with respect,” he says, “and make sure you know what’s beyond your target. If anything, this should be an exercise in caution for anyone that shoots guns anywhere.”

Sources: Iraqvet8888, David Smith

Can you shoot this Rabbit from 282 Yards out?

What you are about to witness is an amazing feat of shooting with a .17 HMR as a rabbit at 282 yards away goes down with no problem.
We know that the .17 HMR was made to shoot accurately at long distances, but because the bullet is so small, it’s hard for most people to hit longer shots. But if you really know what you are doing, and know the science of long range shooting, hitting something like this 282 Yard shot on a rabbit is no problem. Most people won’t even be able to spot the rabbit from that far away, much less actually pull off this amazing shot.

It’s absolutely amazing how when a person knows exactly what the conditions are and how to account for them you are able to hit such a difficult shot with such ease. If you can hit a shot like this, well done on you; if not, it looks like you need to spend a little more time out on the range practicing your technique.


Video Transcription
Ok, that’s 282 yards away, I’ve got an 8-mile an hour wind going from left to right (the wind at ground level is less), and I’ve got 42 clicks left and 40 clicks up. I’ll just show you what that looks like.

That’s a long way. [chuckles] Ok, I’ll be eating that later, it won’t go to waste. And to all you people who don’t like seeing these sorts of videos, either don’t watch them, or just learn that that’s the way things happen.

And as always, once you’ve adjusted for elevation, always make sure that you take it back off again. Ok. So we’re now gonna wind it back down.

Some of the kit I’m using to pull off a shot like that is the Kestral 1000 wind gauge, with the HMR, it’s absolutely critical that those sorts of distances, that you get the wind bang on. Ok, at those sorts of distances, one mile an hour is gonna push your bullet off the target.

For initially spotting the rabbit at that distance, I’m using a set of Leicas. The Leica 8×42 BNs, they’re excellent in all light conditions, with exception of where it’s completely too dark, at dawn and dusk it’s superb.

Ok, the rifle, a CZ452 Arment, 16in barrel, I’ve got a Sirocco moderator on it, and I’ve got a Nikon monarch 3 scope, with 4-16 magnification, however I always shoot distance on 12-times.

Now the bullets I use are the Hornadys 17-grain ballistic tip. Don’t waste your money payin’ a few quid on more expensive bullets, they all come out of the same factory, they all do the same job.

Ok, there’s the rabbit, let’s go around to the right so we can look better. Ok, let’s see if I can work out where I hit it.

Ok, at these sort of distances, the little 17 doesn’t tend to explode or to disintigrate or fragment as much as it does at further distances. I was aiming here for a chest shot somewhere, and I can’t see either the entrance or the exit. Ok, so the chances are, that bullet’s still inside it. trapped inside I think. Yeah, we’ve got a very small exit wound. I don’t know whether you can see that there. Very small exit wound. So even at that distance, 282 yards, this tiny little bullet goes straight through that rabbit. Ok. And that will be pretty much a good heart shot. Instant death.

Ok and if you want to see where that shot was taken, again, it was taken right up on that high ground. Ok so we were shooting down safely at a good angle, into this soft soil, if I was to get a miss, which we all do from time to time. Hope you enjoyed the video, and I’ll do another one soon.

Sources: freedomofabird Youtube, Chris Buckner