Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ruined For Life?

Old news from the 2012 deer gun sight-in...

I volunteered for 400% the required annual dose of coaching at the Dakota County Gun Club's annual public deer gun sight-in.  Eight hours is all the service hours club members need to provide each year, but I enjoy the work so I support as many of these weekend sessions as I can.

  • 12 gauge is still the favorite diameter for those condemned to hunt in a shotgun zone.
  • 30-06 remains the most popular rifle cartridge, even though no whitetail on the planet calls for that much juice.
  • Remington self-loading rifles of the 74xx series are neither reliable nor especially accurate; cheap scopes, soft mounts, mediocre care, and crappy ammo don't improve upon its attributes.
  • Cheap scopes fail.
  • Soft mounts loosen.
  • Rifles filled with gummed up oil or swathes of rust do not always cycle.
  • Sometimes ammunition covered in verdigris goes bang, whether it should or not.
  • The owners of rifles with tiny sight adjustment screws never carry the correct tiny screwdriver for the tiny sight adjustment screws.
  • Knives make crappy screwdrivers, and ugly knives after their tips snap off.

There were a few positive developments:

  • Smart hunters still bring new scopes, new guns, and new shooters to the 25 yard line to start their time at the range.
  • The quality of scopes is getting better - Redfields and Nikons were seen in abundance.
  • Remington Managed Recoil ammunition is a really good idea, especially for 12 gauge slug guns.
  • We saw several shooters in the parking lot putting on PAST Recoil Shields  before stepping to the line.
  • The nasty Remington self-loading rifles of the 74xx series are not being replaced by Remington's new 750.
  • The entry-level bolt-action package guns from Savage, Marlin, Mossberg, and Remington give good value for new shooters and the box or two a year man.
  • Teenagers with 20 gauge slug guns fitted with recoil pads shoot much better than their dads who insist on gutting it out behind their hard-butted 6 pound 12 bores.
  • Hunters with 243s shoot better than those with 30-30 or 30-06 rifles.
  • Now that 223/5.56x45mm is legal for deer in Minnesota shooters with M4-geries (and a few bolt-guns) shoot rings around even the 243 users.  The 223 is no sledge hammer, but with the right bullet it's a better choice than using a rifle one is afraid of.

There was one sad case that we hope is not permanent.  I recognized a repeat customer, a fellow who had his two teenage sons shoot full power 12 gauge slugs from his 870 slug gun last year.  Having learned his lesson he purchased Remington Managed Recoil slugs - one ounce @ 1200 instead of 1600 fps - which kick only about half as much as the full-snort grizzly blasters.  He shot much, much better.  His boys, who suffered bravely trying to make Dad happy last year, declined the chance to shoot at all this year.  Remember, we can ruin a new shooter for life with just a couple shots from a 12 bore slug gun.  Do not perpetrate this testosterone-driven offense upon anyone you care about; our sport needs all the new hunters we can find.