When I came home last Friday night from my 3 week hitch up north to hunt my wife asked if we could go cut our own Christmas tree this year and I said sure. From my pics you guys are probably thinking "I don't remember seeing any trees" and you'd be right. Southwest of my SD home 60 miles as the crow flies, 80 by road are what's called The Slim Buttes. Located between Reva & Buffalo SD, the Slim Buttes are a part of the Custer National Forest system. Very rich in history and an amazing break from the endless grasslands the western Dakotas are known for.
So we had a Thanksgiving dinner yesterday evening with the youngest son and his fiance and the middle son. The oldest is now employerd by the USPS and couldn't get time off. Then the youngest and his fiance left for her family in Belle Fourche last night. This morning I hooked up the enclosed trailer with the RZR in it, put an edge on my ax and away we go.
Got to the campground and unloaded the RZR and started cruising the trails and parked it and walked out to the west rim and found a way down to the hills below the cliffs. Started working our way back south towards the highway and picked quite a few trees but needed to see what was over the next little rise. Ironically when we got down off the cliffs onto the lower hills we jumped a very nice whitetail buck with a doe but armed with only an axe and no tag for that unit I watched him fade away into the pines.
We settled on a tree within probably 800 yards of rough terrain from the highway and the pickup was 200 yards from where we carried it to the highway. According to the wife's fitbit watch we covered 3.7 miles by the time we got back to the pickup. Drove back up top and got the RZR then rode it to the tree and loaded up.
Stopped at the battle monument on the way out of the park. Pictures to follow.
First I don't hunt near as much as some people. I used to bird hunt, goose hunt, deer, antelope, prairie dogs etc.
I won't shoot what I won't eat except for varmints and predators so that limits me to deer and antelope.
We have another property where 4 landowners butt against each other and it is flat magic. We've taken many good deer there as well.
The 4 corners can only be accessed by a long 1-3 mile hike depending on the wind and cows. If you try to drive in you blow them out every time.
In these pics I'm hunkered down in a fence row 200 yards east of the 4 corners and this little buck comes straight east down the fence and sees me at 20 yards but doesn't know what I am so makes a quarter circle around me and wanders off north. He has a look over the ridge south of me then wanders back west and starts following a doe headed south who gets to the 4 corners and heads east down my fence line where she has the same reaction and they both make a circle around me.
I had many deer pass to my south and had many still coming my way from the neighbors that I ran out of light on.
Great way to pass an afternoon into evening even if you don't get to pull the trigger.
Well I scored a reamer and set of custom dies today. It's a 6.5x47 Lapua AI that's cut 3 or 4 chambers. Comes with dies and go gage. It's AI'd with a slight increase in capacity from a 40* shoulder and less taper to the side wall. Exactly what I've been searching for versus a dasherized cartridge that lengthens the shoulder by shortening the neck.
I'm going to try a couple 6.5s in the Panda and this will be one of them.
Picked up an old school NXS 12 - 42 recently with the NP 2DD reticle.
Put it on the Panda and shot 2 ladders yesterday. 78* & a right to left 10 mph late afternoon wind provided plenty of mirage so I couldn't pick out any bullet holes but I was impressed with the glass none the less.
Finally got the Savage Dasher running Sunday Gunday!
I got just over 200 pieces of mostly 1x brass with it LOL After priming it all it's mostly junk, most will barely hold a primer. There were maybe 30 pieces that were tight and another 30 that were decent, the rest is scrap.
Lesson learned I guess.
Any way I zeroed the scope with 4 then cleaned, shot 6 and cleaned, then shot 10 and cleaned and then shot about 4 sighters and the 15 shot ladder and cleaned.
I probably should have cleaned a little more frequently but I did not. The Rock Creek 28" 8 twist heavy varmint caught very little copper and the random 32g load of Varget and a 103 V Tacs was a little on the sooty side.
The new to me Sharpshooter comp trigger is nice but a little on the heavy side compared to my Bix & Andy or Jewell.
The gun shot well enough and it looked like the ladder was just getting to it's happy place where I left off. Unfortunately since the brass is junk I'll have to decide how many pieces of new Alpha I want to dedicate to the gun and "set" the heads with a lighter load to harden it up.
The old chain jerker is too modest so I'll post this for him 😁
Edit: Don't let the headcount and the big groups fool you. CRC is famous for big switchy wind. A win in the wind is no small accomplishment and has nothing to do with luck. It's strictly a matter of being aware of and understanding it. Winning is hard enough but add in the responsibilities and duties of Match Director and the wind and it's quite an accomplishment. Nobody ever gets blown onto the target but plenty of us have blown off and headed to the Dairy Queen! Otherwise known as DQ'd 😁
This is a 400 +/- barrel that was one of four that came with the gun when I bought it.
It came with notes and did very well in 2018 the last time the builder/shooter competed with it. Working up a load should not be a big deal.
I could have soldiered on with the 106 Roy's but I'm out of that lot of powder for that barrel and would have had to do a new workup regardless and would like some life left in that 7.25 twist Brux to test some 110-115s this winter.
The pic with the speeds on lighter paper are CCI 400 primered. The pic with speeds on darker paper are BR4s and the pic with just charges and speeds go with the BR4 target.
Think primers don't matter LOL One day apart similar conditions. Ironically contrary to my other argument going elsewhere here the fresh anneals on the lighter paper outshot the +1s on the darker paper. It's the primers!!
We've argued about annealing before. I was headed into the 7th firing on one set of match brass and the sixth on the the other and while both were still shooting well by the time i got done testing for and competing in the 600 yard Nationals it would have been 8 & 9 firings and i wasn't comfortable with that.
I annealed both sets, roughly 430 pieces total yesterday afternoon and loaded all the 6x freshly annealed with a random load of 30.3g Varget and a 107 Nosler CC and put a firing on all of them this morning in my dedicated fireform barrel on my Borden. This evening I loaded 30.5 g Varget and a 107 on all but 45 of the second set to be fired in the Borden FF barrel in the morning and the other 45 are loaded as 15 sighters and a 15 shot seating depth ladder and a 15 shot powder ladder to be seated at the range according to the outcome of the SD test.
Here's where the argument comes in, you guys that are still annealing every firing are missing out on the best accuracy your brass has to offer. The 2nd - 5th firing after annealing 😁
While I'm hitting the hornets nest with a long stick I quit the home brew lanolin brass lube and went back to One Shot. The lanolin is as good as far as lube is concerned but it doesn't clean up as easy as One Shot and it builds up in the sizing die resulting in less consistent bump and required more die maintenance for me.