On arriving yesterday afternoon everyone took the time to check zero on their rifles--an obligatory procedure in any hunting camp, especially after the many plane changes and baggage handlers one's luggage is subjected to on such a lengthy trip. In my case three airlines got a crack at mine before arriving in St. Michaels, our jumping-off place from where Hank's Super Cub then took us to our destination one at a time.
Anyway, during the camp's zero-check session I saw another example of the kind of monumental unpreparedness that I and my colleagues are constantly harping about. It seems that one of the guys had purchased a rifle from an acquaintance six weeks prior to leaving for Alaska and in that time never once fired it. Apparently, his rationale was, since he had bought the rifle from someone he knew, he assumed everything was okay. He figured that if the scope needed re-zeroing, he could do that during the sighting-in session at base camp.
As it turned out, his first shot was about 4 inches low at 30 yards, which in itself is no insurmountable problem. However, when this gent went to turn the elevation screw he found it was already turned as far as it could go. I could only guess where that rifle would have printed at 100 yards, but surely it would have been off enough to miss a grizzly.
No one in camp had a spare scope but even if there was one, the rings had Allen-headed screws and ... you guessed it. And since it also had no open sights, that option wasn't available either. So here's this chap paying seven grand for the hunt, plus 410 bucks for licenses, plus about $1,500 more for airfare from the Midwest and he won't even be hunting with his own rifle.
Bear in mind, now, that we're talking grizzly bear, an animal fully as dangerous and aggressive as any of Africa's Big Five, and therefore warranting as much preparation, rifle and ammo-wise, as if one were going to the Dark Continent; in fact, more so because the cold, wet weather and salt air of the Bering Sea coast is far tougher on guns than the dry heat of Africa.
Ironically, in all other respects this guy was superbly prepared. He was in excellent physical condition, not an ounce of fat on him, and all his clothing was top-of-the-line stuff reflecting the latest warm-and-dry technology. Everything was either virgin wool, Gore-Tex or Thinsulate-insulated and in camouflage--right down to his boots and, for all I know, his skivvies. But he couldn't hit the broad side of a bear's butt at 100 yards with his own rifle, a rifle on which his and/or his guide's life may well depend. "MIRROR" SPOTTING SCOPES
Within a couple of years I believe the roof and porroprism spotting scopes we've been using all these years will be as obsolete as hoop skirts. In all probability the current trend toward catadioptric or "mirror" lenses will make a clean sweep of it before long, at least insofar as hunting applications are concerned. Not only are these reflex-type lenses inherently lighter in weight than prism-type spotters, they're also shorter--like about half.
Redfield was first to announce a "cat" spotter about four years ago but it took nearly two years before they actually got the thing into production. Zeiss was next with a rubber armored 30X-60 but it too was slow in coming; only now it's starting to become generally available.
Another recent introduction, and one which I've been testing for a couple of months now, is the 27X-500mm mirror lens spotting scope made by Clear View Sports & Optics (Box 279, Dept. GA, Hazel Park, MI 48030).
The Clear View is the smallest spotting scope in the 30-power range I've yet seen (it's actually 27X). What makes this unit unique is that it's based on a 500mm fixed aperture (f.8) camera lens. What Clear View has done is to come up with a 30-degree reflex eyepiece that simply screws onto the 500mm lens' T-mount and makes a 27X spotter out of it. What's more, the whole unit rotates 360 degrees within an integral collar so that when tripod-mounted, it can be locked in any position. It can thus be adjusted for the most comfortable viewing angle, whether you're shooting prone, from the bench, or whatever. By simply unscrewing the reflex ocular housing and attaching a T-mount adapter to fit your 35mm SLR, you get your 500mm f.8 camera lens back. Neat.
The overall length of this compact spotter is just 5-1/2 inches and weighs only 25 ounces. It comes with an ultra-compact folding tripod which also clamps onto a truck or car window for viewing from inside a vehicle.
In testing my sample unit I found the optics to be bright and sharp, and having no discernible edge fall-off. If I had to find fault it would be in the assumption that, designed as a camera lens, it's not fog-proof or built to withstand the foul weather and rough treatment a spotting scope inevitably gets on a typical sheep hunt ... or for that matter, any trophy hunt in rugged country and unfriendly climes. For the range, varmint shooting and the more "civilized" kinds of hunting, however, this unit has a lot to recommend it. Retail price is $525, which includes the tripod and a leather carrying case.
The 27X-500 is one of three "cat" spotters offered by Clear View, plus a broad line of rifle scopes and binoculars. Write 'em for their catalog. KIMBER .218 BEE
In a recent letter, Kimber's Greg Warne tells me he's succumbed to a small but highly persuasive segment of Kimber collectors by agreeing to put into production a limited run of Model 82s chambered in ... would you believe .218 Bee! Yep, .218 Bee, a round introduced by Winchester back in 1938 and hardly known today by shooters under 50 years of age.
To say the Bee was not a biggie for Winchester would be putting it mildly. It was based on the old .25-20 WCF case and chambering in the Model 65 lever-action rifle. Velocity for its 46-grain bullet was given at 2,860 fps which bested the Hornet's then 2,500 for the same weight bullet by a full 360 fps. Accuracy, however, bordered on abysmal in a lever gun. When chambered in the old Model 70 and some early Sakos back in the '50s, however, the Bee showed itself capable of fine accuracy. But it was too little, too late. The round died with nary a whimper of protest from any quarter.
According to Greg Warne: "I must admit I had some reservations about bringing it out at first, since it's almost a forgotten cartridge. But now that I've shot the finished product, I'm very happy with it."
"It's a super little rifle, a delight to shoot, and very accurate. The .218 Bee case seems to be far superior to the Hornet from a reloading standpoint."
The rifle is a single shot based on the basic Kimber Model 82 rear lock-up action with a medium-heavy barrel. It weights 7-1/4 pounds. Stocked in Kimber's Custom Classic style only, this limited production run Model 82 will retail for $695. For more information, write to Kimber of Oregon, Inc., Dept. GA, 9039 S.E. Jannsen Rd., Clackamas, OR 97015. CUSTOM CHRONOGRAPH
It wasn't very long ago that chronographs were about as common as electron microscopes ... and about as complicated to use. They were also expensive. I mean, 20 years ago the private individual who showed up on the local range with his own chronograph had instant credibility--you were the neighborhood Alfred Nobel who simply had to know everything there was to know about ballistics and handloading.
Alas, those days are gone. Today, setting up your velocity machine at the range will hardly get you a second glance from fellow shooters. Though chronographs will never actually become commonplace, recently they have become so portable, easy to use and inexpensive that serious handloaders have little excuse for not having one.
One of the latest units to hit the market is the Model 1000 by Custom Chronograph Company, Dept. GA, Box 1061, Brewster, WA 98812. The 1000 has a lot of neat features--like it runs for 200 hours using just four "C" batteries (rather than the larger "D" cells).
The unit itself is housed in a metal case measuring just 10x4x8 inches that has an integral handle which doubles as an adjustable tilt stand. Recommended screen spacing is a short 2 feet for handguns, 4 feet for rifles, making its use very convenient, especially when clocking handguns. The 1000 features direct digital readout (LCD) in feet per second (fps). Velocity range is 244 to 5,200 fps.
For its $219.95 list price the 1000 comes with the old fashioned screen set up which includes 50 screens, holders, cables and instructions. Well worth the additional cost of $79.95, however, is the Model 600 Light Screen Assembly. The latter is infinitely faster and more convenient than physical screens, plus allowing simultaneous velocity checks and accuracy testing. Then too, the added cost of the light screen is quickly amortised considering replacement screens cost $12 per 100.
Now 300 bucks ain't chicken feed for any of us. And when we do have three bills to spend, it's a lot easier to settle on a new rifle, shotgun or handgun rather than on an electronic gizzy. But if you're a serious handloader, you really want to know what those loads you're shooting are clocking. If you can't justify your own unit, get together with four or five buddies and go in on a joint purchase. Five guys at 60 bucks apiece make it five times easier to acquire a chronograph. And once you've got one, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it. 7-30 WATERS AMMO
Federal Cartridge has finally come up with the ammo and the nominal ballistic specs for its 7-30 Waters, a cartridge announced in January of '84 that was developed in conjunction with USRAC for use in its Model 94 Angle Eject lever gun.
As its name implies, this necked-down .30-30 cartridge was the brainchild of my friend and colleague, Ken Waters. Ken's forgotten more about stuffing metallics than most of us will ever know--kinda' like the guru of handloading. As such Ken was tapped for this project by USRAC. The fruits of his labor is a 7mm rimmed cartridge that sends a 120-grain soft point boat tail bullet (a flat point because of the 94's tubular magazine), at 2,700 fps from a 24-inch test barrel. Muzzle energy is 1,940 foot pounds. At 100 yards those figures are 2,300 and 1,405, respectively, making the 7-30 Waters an honest 150 yard-plus deer rifle.
It's not the most spectacular rifle/cartridge combo to come along, but there are a bunch of 7mm fans out there and the 7-30 Waters is the first .28 caliber cartridge to be made available in a traditional lever-action carbine. Perhaps those facts alone are enough for this round to establish a niche for itself among lever lovers.
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|Publication:||Guns & Ammo|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1985|
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