Craig Boddington: Extending Your Range in Practice and in the Field

Range Limits: Longer Than Ever, But Still Not Unlimited
(Craig Boddington)

In recent years I’ve done more long-range shooting than ever before. Ringing steel with relative ease at a thousand yards is not only fun, but also a huge confidence builder.

Years ago I did a lot of prairie dog shooting, which provides a fantastic opportunity for field practice. The target is tiny, and it doesn’t take much wind to blow the bullet clear off the mound, let alone off the varmint. And since prairie dog country is rarely calm, this is a great way to learn to read wind. If you can consistently hit prairie dogs at a couple hundred yards, big-game animals will pose little challenge at considerably longer distances.

Wyoming prairie dogJPG
In years gone by Boddington did a lot of prairie dog shooting. The target is small and the high plains are usually windy; he rates shooting small varmints in open country as some of the very best training for field shooting at distance.

 

I view range practice similarly. In a range setting, if you can ring steel consistently at 800, 900, or 1000 yards you will gain a lot of invaluable confidence in yourself and your equipment. Shooting targets at extreme range prepares you for field shooting at longer ranges, and shooting at actual distances is the only way to accomplish this. “Extending your range envelope” is a phrase I like. However, I don’t believe ringing steel at long range enables one to ethically shoot at game at similar distances.

Continue reading Craig Boddington: Extending Your Range in Practice and in the Field

Reloading the modern 44-40 Win. / .44 WCF (Gordon Marsh)

In 1873, Winchester introduced the gun that would be known as “The Gun that Won the West”—the Winchester 1873 lever action rifle, chambered in .44 WCF (Winchester Center Fire.) The same year, Colt introduced the 1873 Colt SAA revolver in Colt .45 and the US Army introduced the .45-70 Government.

.44 Winchester Center Fire rounds
.44 Winchester Center Fire rounds

Colt, realizing that western settlers wouldn’t want to carry different types of ammunition for their rifles and side arms, decided to chamber their 1873 SAA revolvers in .44 WCF—though they renamed the .44 WCF to .44-40 (.44 caliber and 40 gains of black powder) in order to prevent giving Winchester free advertising.

Winchester never reciprocated by chambering any of its guns in Colt .45.

Today, most lever gun reproductions are chambered in the Colt .45 for two reasons. First, the rims on modern Colt .45s are stronger than their 19th Century counterparts; and second, .44-40 Winchester ammunition is rather scarce.

If you have considered buying or reloading the .44-40 Win, here are some helpful recommendations from my experience.

Continue reading Reloading the modern 44-40 Win. / .44 WCF (Gordon Marsh)

Choosing the Right Cartridge – Craig Boddington

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARTRIDGE… Out of dozens of good ones!
(Craig Boddington)

“Which cartridge for me?” is a question I’m often asked. It may come from someone looking for a first centerfire rifle to get a youngster or spouse started, but just as frequently I am asked, “What should I get next?”

Photo by Craig Boddington
Niece Megan Lurvey had never shot a rifle. We started with a .22 rimfire, then, to introduce her to centerfire muzzle blast, we went to a .204 Ruger. The various varmint cartridges are great for introducing shooters to centerfires, with the .223 the most popular and available.

These are altogether different questions. In both cases, it’s essential to know the intended purpose; for the second question, obviously, I also have to ask what that person already has. Either way, we have so many great cartridges today that’s it’s a bewildering mess! The good news is that there are few wrong answers—no “bad” cartridges make it to factory production, and there’s all manner of overlap and redundancy in power requirements. There are dozens of good “deer cartridges,” only slightly fewer great “elk cartridges,” and so forth.  Continue reading Choosing the Right Cartridge – Craig Boddington

Craig Boddington: Submit your Hunting Permit Applications Now!

Tag Time: Not in the Drawings? Now is the Time! (Craig Boddington)

North American hunters enjoy an amazing bounty of both wildlife and opportunity, but things almost didn’t turn out this way. By 1900, most of our large game species were in serious trouble. Protection and management brought them back, some to incredible plenty, such as our 35 million whitetail deer. Along the winding road to recovery, a unique system of wildlife management developed that we call the North American Model.

Photo: Craig Boddington
My Dad and I with a wonderful Montana bighorn, the first sheep tag I drew. Concerned about disease caused by overpopulation, Montana doubled the tags in this unit after the applications were in. It takes luck, but you must apply!

The North American Model is said to have seven tenets:

  1. Wildlife as a public trust resource
  2. Elimination of markets for game
  3. Wildlife allocated by law
  4. Taking of wildlife only for legitimate purposes
  5. Wildlife considered an international resource
  6. Science as the proper tool
  7. Democracy of hunting

Implicit in the model is the principle is that hunters and anglers provide the primary funding. The first and the last tenants—which hold that we believe wildlife belongs to everyone, not just private landowners or the government—are almost unheard of elsewhere in the world.

The last tenant, democracy of hunting, holds that all citizens in good standing may hunt—subject to seasons and licensing requirements, of course. Due to scarcer resources, both science and law dictate that not everyone can have a license every season. We have a system that allocates permits by a public drawing, a system that serves as one of the very best examples of the democracy of hunting that we enjoy.

Continue reading Craig Boddington: Submit your Hunting Permit Applications Now!

Weaver Super Slam Euro Scopes

I have used many rifles scopes over the last 46 years.  My favorite brand has always been Leuplod.  They and vary greatly in quality according to the price.  But generally you can’t go wrong.

I know have a new favorite the Weaver Super Slam scopes and especially the Euro series with 30 mm tubes and First Focal Plane optics.

I have two 1-5 power scopes one on my .460 Wby magnum and one on a 416 Rigby where I have used both of these on dangerous game i Africa.  This version has outstanding very long eye relieve and I don’t have to worry about getting a scope cut.  They are super clear and reliable.  I have used them on shots from 15 yards to 200 yards.  For your big bore DG bolt rifle, it’s hard to beat these scopes at any price.

But my most favorite Weaver Super Slam scope is the Euro version 4-20X50.  I have replaced all of my Leuplod scopes with this.  I use this scope on a 204 Ruger Varmint rifle, .223 AR Varmint, a 22-250 Varmint, a 300 Win mag , a 257 Wby Mag and a 50 BMG target rifle.

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