Saturday, 2 June 2012

A day out at the farm

It's been on the cards for some time now; I've had three rifles in the safe waiting to be sighted in. It's sad that none of them are mine, but the great thing is I get to take 'em out and run 'em in which is a whole lot of fun with new rifles.

Up at 3:00am, I loaded the Hilux and made the drive out to the farm on the New South Wales central tablelands, arriving just on dawn. I had a plastic cup-full of dodgy black coffee to get the joints moving before hitting the hills with my Canon DSLR and the tin whistle donated by Lulwut on our last outing when we went to the Bathurst Antique and Modern Arms Fair earlier in the year.

The first few stands were a waste of time though I did sneak up on a big wombat dozing above the massive burrow he had excavated by a patch of blackberry. I was here with my four year old daughter some weeks back spotlighting for rabbits and we caught a wombat in the light; we left the car there and I carried her through the dark, getting to within four feet of the old boy. She had a giggle while ol' wombat dug deep and raced up the slope ahead of us.

Anyway, almost back at the car I pulled out the whistle in a big open paddock where the foxes hang out amongst the blackberry. I was in the lowest spot and I didn't know which way the wind was blowing. I don't know how long the big dog had been sitting looking at me when we locked eyes. I snapped a couple of photos but with my blasé approach from the outset I'd buggered up this photo op.

I dragged my heavy shooting bench out from the stalls under the shearing shed and set up a 100-yard range across a small hollow. There were three rifles I had with me. The Remington 7600 I had bought for the old man back in March; it's chambered for the .308 Winchester and today I would be mounting a Trijicon RX-06 in a modified Leupold base I had just picked up the day before.

The other two rifles belonged to my mate Johnny: one of them a brand new Sako 85 chambered in .22/250 Remington and topped with a Bushnell Elite and the other a Weatherby Mark V Accumark .257 Weatherby Magnum wearing a Leupold VX3 4.5-14 x 50mm Tactical.

The Weatherby was second hand, had been sighted in and fired a box of ammo prior to the sale with unknown ammo. This was a serious looking rifle. I was shooting a box of Hornady factory loads firing an 110gr InterBond bullet. With high expectations, the first shot was two feet off to the right and way too low - not what I expected! 

I got it on paper and as close to the bull as I could before trying to shoot a group. Terrible. High and centre. Then low and right. I checked the muzzle break, which had come loose; so I nipped it up, gave the bore a good scrub and had another go. Same. I wiped the Weatherby clean and packed it away. Too hard for today.

Next was the Sako. A very heavy rifle that looked quite smart, it felt good over the bench. I scrubbed the barrel and fired one, then repeated the clean for the next five rounds, then five at a time and clean. I was using Federal 55gr PSP and they were printing an inch high at 100 yards after the first five shots out of a new barrel. The next five shots went through one ragged hole. As did the next five. Nice. I cleaned the Sako and packed it away. 

Dad's rifle was the main reason for the drive out to the farm today. This was to be a dedicated pig gun mostly for close range shooting, where we hunt that's anywhere from about five yards. I had yet to fire the 7600 and to start I was going to be using Norma factory loads pushing 178gr PSP bullets. Reasonably priced ammunition with the added bonus of exceptional brass for reloading. 

With three shots I had the open sights printing on target at 25 yards. I mounted the reflex sight and aligned it with the open sights. Did I tell you about the new reflex sight?

Dad has always had trouble using scoped rifles but open sights were no longer an option for him. I chose the Trijicon RX06-11 Reflex Sight due to its 12.5 MOA Amber Triangle "dot" which I thought was about the most perfect combination of speed, precision and a highly visible dot under virtually any lighting conditions.

We had peered through the sight at home and liked the amber triangle but now that it was mounted on the rifle the Trijicon took on a whole new dimension; this was very cool!

Each click on the Trijicon was 1" at 100 metres. Yes metres. It was smack on at 25 yards with two shots fired. Moving the target out to 50 yards and a couple more clicks and it was smack on at 50 yards. I've said it before, what a great piece of kit!

It had been a great day. The clouds held their water and the wind only came through in short gusts while I was sighting in the rifles; a perfect mid-week break.  Need to fix a few electrics on the Toyota before coming out and getting stuck into these foxes. I wonder if Johnny will let me borrow his new .22/250 Rem?


  1. No sign of any rabbits, hey?

    Calici still is hitting them hard I guess.

    1. Not a rabbit in sight!

      My fabricated rabbit is looking like a great idea!!