I’ve always been one to do the best I can, no matter what I get involved in. Yet, excellence often evades me.
When I get to hunting I have an inherent contradiction that always troubles me. I love the hunt and the stalk. The feeling of getting in close and personal to my quarrys’ home range. Then there is the technical side of me that loves tuning and improving my gear, always searching for the extra bit of accuracy, a better performing bullet, both ballistically and terminally, and improving my ability to utilise the capabilities of my rifles.
Good Practices, Good Information & Good Techniques = Success
Where is the balance on what I feel is right, in terms of the range I shoot at on an animal that I have pursued? Is it in close or is it out longer?
Right now, I can’t tell you.
What I do know is that when I’m in that time and place, I mostly make the right decision based on the conditions, my desire for success and the quality result I strive for.
But this series of articles is not about that all-encompassing conundrum. It is merely about one component of my character, the tools I use and the approach I take to maximise its and my potential.
Six months ago a mate of mine came upon a rifle, second hand, which was to be his Africa Plains Game gun. A quality built rifle in a very capable cartridge, in excellent condition at an unbelievable price. He has an uncanny knack for finding such deals. He also regrets moving on a few of them too.
Catching up at his place shortly after he received it he showed me the rifle, a Montana Rifles XWR-SS in the venerable 300 Winchester Magnum. The hardware was in very good condition. Bore and bolt looked excellent showing absolute minimum signs of wear.
This aligned with the original purchaser’s description of having less than 30 rounds through it. The stock had a few marks on it, scars of the hunt if you may. The marks of general use through carrying and handling during a hunt or three.
I commented whilst handling it, that if he were to move it on, give me first option. Well, I now own a 300 Win Mag.
Montana Rifles are not that well known here in Australia. In all my years I have only seen two. Both those rifles where brand new and offered to me for a look, by a good mate that worked at Elks in Albury, New South Wales when I dropped in to grab the keys to his place on the way to hunts in the Vic High Country together.
Being a Winchester M70 Classic fan he knew they would appeal to me. And they certainly didn’t disappoint. They were smooth, functional and pointed very nicely. But that was the extent of my knowledge on them.
So, what is to become of this 300. My thoughts are that I will see what I can do with this rifle cartridge combination and enjoy the journey.
That will be a change as anyone that knows me, knows that this process has always been about getting a new hunting rifle up and running.
Looking back over the last eighteen months I think one thing changed for me when I bedded a new Tikka T3x into a Southfortlabs Bush Hunter stock and the job went south. Yep a fuck-up that I made and I owned. But yeah it did sure hurt, both the pride and the patience.
With the encouragement from Steve of Bolt Action Productions I swallowed the bitter pill and had a second crack at the job. That gun, a 6.5mm Creedmoor topped with a Swarovski Z5 3.5-18X44 shoots into less than half a MOA. She also has a big sister, another T3x.
Big sister, a Blued Fluted in 30-06 Springfield in an identical Southfort Labs carbon fibre stock. Scoped with a Swaro Z6i 2.5-15X44BT this beautiful lady weighs in at just 7.2 pounds. Firing 178 grain projectiles at just under 2800fps I can consistently put three shots into 0.5MOA.
Ask Robbo about shooting these light rigs and he will also testify that they are an animal that requires particular attention to technique to be shot accurately and consistently. There is no ‘treat em mean and keep em keen’ with this girl. She commands respect. Give it to her, and she will get the job done unfailing, every time.
Southfort Labs Bush Hunter Stock
Back to the 300, so why? Well why not? As I said I’m going to enjoy the journey of the build on this one, likely try one or two things new, learn some stuff and of course, share it with you.
Montana Mountain Gal - Part 5