Friday, January 16, 2015

A Rifle under $1000 that does everything I need

As I promised last week, here is a post about the perfect rifle for me. I currently have an old Yugo M48 Mauser chambered in 8mm. This gun is a ton of fun to shoot, but it weighs over 10 lbs and my options are very limited for mounting a scope. I am embarrassed to say this but last year near the end of the season I missed a decent buck at 25 yards because I had been playing with the iron site on my gun while waiting for a deer to come by.Shot right over his back... I really need a scope!! Also, although my gun is in great shape, many of these guns are in bad shape.They have been around a while. This has caused all major American ammo manufacturers to load weak rounds for the 8mm. Some European manufactures still load up to its potential, but that ammo has gotten hard to find in recent years. As it stands now, the ammo that I can find is nearly dead on par with that of a 30-30. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the 30-30. I hope to own a lever action model one day, and I think everyone should have one at some point. They are the classic deer killer with soft recoil to boot. But my 8mm Mauser is not a lever gun and it is much too heavy and long to be a good hunting rifle, although its currently what I use. A few years back, I owned a 270 wsm Remington 700 with a Bushnell elite 3200 4x12x42 scope. That gun was a hot rod with its 24" barrel it could reach out and touch something way farther than I am comfortable shooting. One thing I did not like about it, that I have read pertains to most wsm guns is that it didn't feed very smoothly. This proved problematic a time or two in the field. One other thing that I did not love about that gun was the meat damage it caused at anything under 100yrds.The 270 wsm is a powerful round that is going too fast in my opinion for close range shooting on medium sized game like deer. Now don't get me wrong, at the end of the day, I would still love to have this gun in my arsenal, I absolutely loved to shoot it and it was a perfect long range gun for me. When I decided I wanted to marry my now wife, and was saving money for an engagement ring that was out of my league, I sold the gun to a friend, who has since told me twice he will not sell it back:) One thing I have learned over the years of gun ownership is that I will never sell another gun. I have sold 4 guns in the last 10 years, and I wish I still had each of them. So on to the my current situation. I want to invest in a rifle that will last me for as long as I need it to with a great scope to match. I do not shoot more than a couple times a year to reacquaint my self to my weapon of choice before the season starts. This is not by choice, but more just a reality of the stage of life I am in. If it were up to me, I would shoot once or twice a month and reload my own ammo just because it seems like a fun hobby.Most of my hunting occurs on public land where I am either climbing mountains or busting through brush to get to whatever spot I have decided on. Usually my climbing stand is on my back. On very rare occasions I could see the need for a 300-400 yard shot, but 99% of the time, the shots do not exceed 150 yards. Also on a couple of occasions if I had a gun that was more compact I would have probably been able to swing my gun around faster to get a shot. Twice I have been walking in on an afternoon hunt and jumped a good buck without being able to get my gun in position fast enough. Like most hunters I know who live on the east coast, I dream of heading out west one day to chase after elk, mule deer, or antelope. I also would love to go north to Maine or Vermont in pursuit of a moose one day. Odds are, if that opportunity arises I am not going to have the extra $$$ to go out and by a new rifle at that point. I need one rifle that can cover all of these needs in a caliber that is readily available in a wide variety of ammo. And to top everything off, I really do not have any money to spend on this project.It is going to take me the better part of a year to save the money I need to buy everything.$1000 rifles and $1000 optics are not an option for me, you cannot spend what you do not have. Or I should say, it gets you in trouble when you do. So to summarize, lets list the criteria for this rifle below. 1) Rifle,scope, ammo and all accessories under $1000 2) Fairly light weight as I hunt some tough to get to public land 3) Shorter barrel is better, but not with huge loss of velocity or energy 4) A caliber capable of taking deer sized game up through elk and even moose 5) A rifle/caliber capable of shots out to 400 yards if needed 6) As a bonus feature, I would love a detachable magazine, but this will not be a deal breaker. And the winner is the Savage Axis with a 20" barrel chambered in 308. This rifle will be topped with a 2x7x33 Leupold VXII scope. Loaded with ammo and a sling this rifle/scope combination will come in weighing just under 8 lbs. For the money, this set up is hard to beat!! Much more to come on why I chose these products in the next post. Thanks for stopping by!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Well it has been entirely too long since I last posted anything. I have been a new dad now for 2 years, and I think I am finally getting the hang of things. What a challenge it is to be a dad that is engaged in family life and being who his family needs him to be.And I thought marriage was a selfless endeavor. Needless to say, my time in the field hunting or fishing has been somewhat limited. There have been a few highlights to speak of. Late this past September my dad turned 60. We have always talked about chartering a trip to fish the back waters around the Beaufort(NC that is), Emerald Isle, Harkers Island area. I could think of no better present for turning 60, so thats what we did. I found a guide out of Harkers Island by the name of Noah Lynk. His guide service is called Noah's Ark Fishing Charters. Let me tell you what, Captain Noah will put you on the fish. Dad and I booked Captain Noah for a full day initially. Due to family circumstances we needed to switch it to a half day. Captain Noah was happy to switch it up for us no problem. We fished for the better part of 5 hours and caught so many Reds and Specks it was ridiculous. I also caught a flounder that came in just over 5 lbs. That made the whole trip worth while for me. Another fun part was driving the boat while Captain Noah tossed the casting net at live shrimp we would use for bait. If you are looking for a fun day on the water with a laid back fun captain at a reasonable price, Give Noah's Ark Fishing Charters a call. He did not ask me to post any of this, Dad and I just had a really good time. We will be going fishing with Captain Noah again soon!! I am really excited to start writing this blog again. My next post will be about finding the perfect rifle for the Modern day weekend warrior like my self who has big dreams and no time or money. I have been in need of a new rifle for a long time, and by the start of next season I hope to have one in hand. This will be a post you do not want to miss as we will cover a lot of ground. Thanks for stopping by!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Honey Holes

Got this picture from the Bass Madness blog
As my wife loves to say, I have a season for every season. In the Fall its hunting, football(Appstate that is) and...well...more hunting season. In the Winter its hunting/cool mods to my truck season. In the spring nothing gets my blood pumping faster then the sound of ol Mr Tom gobbling as he approaches, other then Sunday afternoon at Augusta National. So by the time summer roles around I have not only been bitten by the golf bug, but out of no where comes this familiar obsession with needing to catch fish. The problem I keep running into these days is finding a good place to do that. Once upon a time finding a summer honey hole was no challenge at all.Here lately it seems near impossible to find a place that hasn't been trashed, over fished, or lost to some form of development. Couple that with the crazy price of gasoline these days, and us outdoorsman find ourselves unwilling or unable to find a good place to fish within a reasonable distance. Recently I was lucky enough to stumble onto a place that has produced some great fishing. A small pond only 2 or 3 acres in size full of large mouth bass, that has seemingly been ignored or forgotten.It is a ton of fun catching fish here, they are very aggressive because they haven't been caught. The biggest I have caught out of this pond so far is 4 lbs. However we have seen bigger fish swirl or jump as if they were taunting us. On average the fish here weigh in around 2 lbs. My old standby summer setup is a watermelon seed or pumpkin seed trick worm( finesse worm will work also) on a 1/0 or 2/0 worm hook(blood red usually),bullet weight or not depending on the pond vegetation. Combine this with a bump..bump...reel 1 rotation retrieval, more often then not I find a fish. What are your go to summer setups for landing that lunker? What cool stories do you have about fishing your favorite spots? Has anyone else had a hard time finding a good spot?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review of the New Cooper AT3

Obviously not my truck, but a great picture of the new AT3

Well, I literally just completed a really long post about my experience with these new tires, and for some reason instead of posting to my blog, the whole post just disappeared. I do not have the energy to retype everything so I will give you the short of it all.
I have had 3 weeks to test the new Cooper AT3 tire. This tire has passed every test I have thrown at it including deep mud,sharp rocks, hill climbs, 70 MPH on the highway in pouring rain, and over loading my truck with fire wood for a weekend camping trip. There are three things I really like about this new tire. It has a 55 thousand mile warranty which is great for guys like me who don't want to buy new tires every 2 years. It is much more quiet and smooth riding then its predecessor the Cooper ATR, and it is a sweet looking tire. I literally look at it every time I walk by my truck. Personally I don't mind the hum of a tire rolling down the road, but some people don't like it. The aggressiveness of this tire rivals the BFG AT which has held the top spot in the All Terrain tire world for years. The AT3 has more of an open and deeper tread then the Toyo Open Country AT and the Nitto Terra Grappler which are also competitors. I have put about 600 miles on this set, so far I am really loving them. If I were to design the perfect tire for all of my needs it would be very similar to this tire. Warranty, weight, sidewall strength, tread pattern and tread depth are all important factors I consider when looking for tires. The AT3 so far has met or exceeded all my needs. I hope it continues to perform well as I put the miles on. There will be much more to come. Stay tuned, I think my fellow outdoorsman should be very interested in what this tire has to offer. And no, Cooper did not tell me or pay me to give this tire a positive review.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The New Cooper AT3

So a few months back I did a post called "Tires for my Tacoma". I wrote about the research I had done in selecting a new tire for my truck. If you have read the post you know I was very picky. The tire I choose was the Cooper Discoverer ATR. Apparently my post caught the attention of Cooper Tires because I was recently contacted by their Marketing agency with a unique opportunity. Cooper has recently designed a new all terrain tire dubbed the Cooper at3. The want to give me a new set of these tires and a video camera to document the tires performance. Yesterday I received the flip video recorder and got the tires installed.
For years BF Goodrich has set the standard in terms of all terrain tires with the BFG AT KO. Has Cooper changed that with the at3? Much more to come soon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A special addition to my arsenal

To start things off, I did not make it to the Dixie Deer Classic this past weekend. Friday and Saturday I was swamped with other stuff and Sunday just didn't work out like I had planned. I heard from several people that it was a great time and that I really missed out. I suppose if I had gone it would have been painful to just window shop since I don't have the funds to spend on any new hunting gear any way. Seriously though, I wish I could have made it, next year for sure.
Moving on, Recently I acquired a shotgun that was my grandfathers. It is a Fox 20 gauge side by side. I believe it was manufactured in the 1960's. At that point the Fox Gun Company had been owned by Savage Arms for quite some time. This gun is not one of the highly sought after Fox side by sides of the early 1900's. However it is still quite the specimen. It handles incredibly well and has very little visible damage. I haven't fired it yet, I plan on taking it to a gun smith just to have it checked out first. However from the looks of things this gun has barely been used. I absolutely cannot wait to take it out into the field. It holds 3 inch shells so it should be the final verdict for early season ducks. Also it will make an outstanding small game getter. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to take a few quail or dove with it next season. Here is a great link to learn a lot more about the famous fox shotguns AH FOX COLLECTORS ASSOCIATION. Also check out the article from the most recent Winter edition of the Quail Unlimited Magazine. It goes into great detail about the story and production of these guns over the last century. I cannot locate a copy of this article on line, but if you have the magazine it is a great read.
I could not be more excited about this gun, not only because it is a Fox shotgun , but more importantly because it was my grandfathers. If I have any say in the matter this shotgun will be enjoyed by my family for generations to come. The gun pictured above is nearly identical to mine markings and all. Until next time...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brewer's first duck

Tough life, this was after a day of shed hunting by me and Brewer. Abby our cat is always up for a nap too.

Well, finally after almost 2 years, many long training sessions and several duck hunting trips that turned into wildlife viewing escapades, Brewer and I found our selves in somewhat of the right place at the right time. Several weeks ago(waterfowl season) I was hunting with a friend at Falls Lake. A merganser flew by and my friend dropped him with one shot.Ignoring his training and out of built up excitement, Brewer took off into the water without me giving the signal and was on the bird within a few seconds. Turns out the bird wasn't quite dead yet when he got to it, caught off guard he swam in circles around the bird for a good 30 seconds barking. I am certain he could be heard for a solid mile in all directions. Finally he got the courage to grab the bird and he made it back to shore. It would have been a near perfect retrieve but he dropped the bird just short of my hand, shook off his coat and just looked at me like what now. Patience is a must when training your pup. Brewer is 20 months old, and my first gun dog. We are both learning as we go but I was so proud of him when he brought that duck back to me.This was a huge step for him in the right direction, I am confident we will get there... But in the mean time I thought I would share this funny story with you about Brewer's first duck. Unfortunately I was without a camera to capture this feat, I have really got to get a camera.