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  • Writer's pictureJeff Rice

PLANNING - Larry Weishuhn



It may be Spring and your thoughts are upon calling in a gobbler, hunting black bear, or if you’re truly fortunate heading to the southern hemisphere in search of big game adventures.  Those indeed are fun and truly worthwhile.  Even if those are, or are not, in your immediate future, I have got a feeling you are also thinking about coming fall hunting seasons.   I know I am!  Fall hunting seasons are only about six or seven months away…  Sound like a long time?  It’s not!

 

Over my many years of working as a wildlife biologist, outdoor writer, doing television shows I had the opportunity to hunt a lot of places and big game with a variety of guns, optics, ammunition and other hunting “equipment”.  I learned some valuable lessons and I continue doing so.

 

These days at a time when most people my age are retired, I am forging forth full speed, well maybe at a slightly reduced pace compared to thirty years ago.  Today I use the guns, optics and ammunition I want to use, based on experience of several decades of hunting throughout the world.  That’s not to say I am not willing to use something new.  As a matter of fact, I have just started using and am planning on using several “new things”.

 

It all starts with this spring with a black bear hunt in Alberta.  Currently, sitting at my desk the first week of April, I have just sent one of my Mossberg rifles to be re-barreled with an Avient composite based technology barrel.  The barrel will be chambered in the “new” 7mm PRC and it will be 20-inches long.  I like relatively short barrels and the beauty of the new 7mm round from Hornady the round performs extremely well through a 20-inch barrel.

 

Soon as the new barrel has been installed it is being sent to Stealth Vision in Crockett, Texas where one of their Tactical SVT 3-18x44, 34mm tube scopes with the potential of a lighted reticle will be mounted, and then sighted in with either Hornady 175-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter, or Hornady 160-grain CX Outfitter.  Both will be tried and which ever that particular barrel likes will be the one I will be hunting with this on the upcoming black bear hunt.

 

This past fall hunting whitetails with Avient’s Jesse Baird and my old friend Jim Bequette, formerly long the editor of SHOOTING TIMES, I had the opportunity to see and then shoot a rifle using their revolutionary Avient Composite Heat Release Barrel Technology.  I was tremendously impressed with how extremely accurately it shot various Hornady ammo and the fact we could not get the barrel even warm, even with shooting a magazine full of ammo in rapid succession.  More about that in the near future, especially after I have had the opportunity to running my newly barreled 7mm PRC through its paces at Stealth Vision’s shooting range, at targets out to 1,200-yards.

 

I plan on using the new Stealth Vision scope, designed primarily by Dr. John McCall, a preeminent eye surgeon who loves shooting and hunting.  Who, after not being satisfied with other scopes decided to create his own based on his many years of learning about the human eye, but also because of many, many hours spent shooting from a bench, and hunting throughout the world.

 

Having previously used scopes I considered the world’s best hunting optics created by major brands, I really like the new Stealth Optics line of scopes and other hunting optics.  That is why am having one of their scopes mounted on my hunting rifles. More about these optics, like the Avient’s Composite Heat Release Barrel Technology in the near future.  You can learn more about these optics by going to their website www.stealthvision.com.

 

This Fall I have numerous hunts planned including a moose in British Columbia, whitetail deer in Finland, plus on several ranches in Texas, including my western Texas lease and the Cotton Ranch, and on the Choctaw Hunting Lodge in Oklahoma.

 

I have stated in the past that if I could only use one round hunting the world, it would be the .375 Ruger.  With that in mind I recently ordered a Mossberg Patriot in .375 Ruger.  Once it arrives I will top it with the same Stealth Vision scope I will have on my 7mm PRC.  The combination will be sighted-in with Hornady’s 250-grain CX Outfitter ammunition.  This particular bullet is designed for deep penetration, with excellent terminal performance.  I have used the CX bullet in the past on other big game hunts so I know it is an excellent choice to use on tough, tenacious, big-bodied moose.

 

Hunting whitetails in Finland with Stefan and Sophia Bengtsson with Scandinavian Prohunters (www.scandinavianprohunters.com) I am borrowing a rifle from the outfitter. Normally I always take my own rifle on hunts. But, I know Stefan has some extremely accurate “loaners” that will loaded with Hornady ammunition.  Which of his rifles I will be using or which caliber/round, I will find out when I get there in November.

 

I have ordered a third Mossberg Patriot Predator which should arrive in the next weeks. That one is chambered in 6.5 PRC.  Again for me, something new.  My primary purpose for procuring the rifle is because of wanting to do more long-range shooting, and because I had the opportunity to shoot my good friend David Cotton’s Mossberg and another rifle chambered in the same round while shooting at Stealth Vision’s facility.  In both instances I was shooting Hornady’s 143-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter.  Shooting at Stealth Vision’s facility I was able to shoot 2-inch 3-shot groups at 1,000 yards.  Impressed me!

 



 

I do not consider myself a long range hunter.  I have always wanted to get as close as possible before pulling the trigger, one of the numerous reasons I like hunting with .44 Mag and .454 Casull Taurus Raging Hunter double-action revolvers. But sometimes getting close is impossible, and having passed the age of three score and ten, I am not as agile as I once was, nor do I want to walk as far as once I did or could.  But my desire to take game has not changed since I was a mere youngster. 

 

After shooting some of the newer Hornady PRC rounds, seeing how accurately they shoot at long range and how well their bullets perform at distances near and far, coupled with my age, I am reconsidering some of my “feelings” about long range.

 

This past fall, hunting at my lease in western Texas, on several occasions in the low country I spotted a particularly large antlered buck, usually at least a half-mile or farther away.  Where he seemingly lived was in the middle of a relatively open 1,200-acre pasture.  All my attempts of getting close failed. I could close the distance to within about 600-yards but that was as near to him as I could get.  I tried many ways to get closer to no avail.

 

During the closing days of our extended Texas Managed Land Deer Permit (MLDP) hunting season I spotted an even bigger buck.  He had taken up company with the original buck I was after.  There simply was no way to get close, but I tried.  At the time I was hunting with my Mossberg 7mm PRC, loaded with 175-grain ELD-X Hornady Precision Hunter.  The rifle – load combination was certainly capable of shooting well beyond 600-yards.  But I had not then really spent time at the range practicing and shooting at that distance and beyond.

 

I recently ordered a Mossberg Patriot Predator in 6.5 PRC.

 

That said, you may be asking “If you have a 7mm PRC totally capable of accurately shooting at distances well beyond 600-yards, why are you getting a 6.5 PRC?”  Actually that is a legitimate question.  My answer, “I simply want a 6.5 PRC!”

 

Once the 6.5 PRC arrives I will mount a Stealth Vision 3-18x42 Tactical SVT scope, spend time with it on the range shooting Hornady 143-grain Precision Hunter out to 1,200 yards, to learn the rifle’s capabilities and mine with it.  I too may replace the factory barrel with an Avient after-market barrel.

 

This fall, I plan on using the 6.5 PRC not only in western Texas to hopefully take one of the two bucks that stayed beyond my comfort range, but also to use on a Coues whitetail deer hunt in Durango, Mexico. Coues deer hunting can sometimes truly be a long-range hunt. My biggest antlered Coues buck I took in Sonora with a Ruger American .30-06 shooting Hornady’s 180-grain Interlock at a distance of about 800-yards.  This after we tried every way possible short of digging a tunnel to decrease the distance.  Thankfully at the time I had shot that rifle/scope/ammo combination quite a bit out to 800-yards at steel.

 

At another time we’ll visit about my handgun hunting plans.  But will mention I will be doing a certain amount of hunting with both my Taurus Raging Hunter double action revolvers in .454 Casull and .44 Mag, shooting appropriate Hornady ammo.

 

As mentioned, now is the time to plan for the Fall hunting seasons, even and especially if it means using something new like I am and particularly in changing some in the way I will be hunting!

 



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