Clean Barrel Improves Accuracy

I have heard both schools of thought on accuracy shooting with a clean barrel and shooting with a un-clean barrel. The folks who dont clean their barrel before sighting in their rifle believe that you dont hunt with a perfectly clean barrel every time so you might as well sight in with the same conditions during a hunt. The other camp believes that you should do a cleaning swipe through the barrel after every shot ensuring consistant accuracy.

Barnes TSX groupingI will share a recent experience when I put this to the test at the range a few weeks ago. I was using my Weatherby Vanguard in .300 WM with Barnes 168grain TTSX bullets. I shot 3 shots at 100 yards with an un-clean barrel from last outing. I marked those shots with blue felt pen.  I then waited a few cool down moments, gave my barrel a good cleaning, and shot 3  more rounds at 100 yards. I circled those shots out of a clean barrel with red felt pen. You can see the difference not only in the tightness of the clean barrel group that it makes a difference to clean your barrel after shooting but it also placed the bullets in a slightly different location on the target. Note that this could be shooting error as well as I was shooting off a front rest only but I do not think it is a coincidence that the clean barrel shot the 3 bullets within 1 M.O.A. Try it for your self and see what happens.


If you want to watch a video on cleaning your rifle check out:

Six Foot Sow to End the Season

six foot black bearI decided to go for an early morning bear hunt locally with a buddy of mine. Wouldn’t you know it, a decent bear crossed the road and ran into a steep ravine at the beginning

of the hunt. Of course we got out and pursued the bruin on foot. As we got to the edge of the bank the bear was visible and I made an off hand shot approximately 100 yards away. I saw the bullet impact right behind the shoulder with a shimmer the bears coat from the Barnes 168 grain TTSX bullet. The echoing of the .300WM carried throughout the valley as I made a second opportune shot and we thought the bear was down.

We started our descent down the hillside getting scratched and clawed by branches and falling over logs, but could not see the bear where we thought it would be. My partner told me to stop because he heard noises. I looked at the top of the hill and saw a black bear crest the bank. Thinking it was not plausible but possible the bear walked past us as we climbed down the hill, we climbed back up. There were no signs of blood where the bear climbed over the hill. We contemplated that it might be a second bear and slid down the hill to continue looking for the first bear. My hunting partner spotted the bear and called me over, it was still moving so I took another freehand shot, this time at 40 yards. The bear bucked and took off.

black bear sowI began looking in circles for blood and so did my partner, we could not see any spots of red. Worry started setting in and my partner was questioning whether I hit the bear even once so far. I told him I was 100% confident that I hit the bear each time, but he did not believe me. I then started walking to where I would go if I was a bear and wouldn’t you know it, I crossed some fresh bear tracks in the mud, but again no blood. I paced in the direction of the bears travel and was walking over a log crossing a stream when I saw the bear expiring by a turned over tree stump. The bear started getting up and I shot. The bear started moving again so I fired again. The bear expired as smoke was leaving the carcass in two spots.  After skinning the bear we saw that all my bullets connected in the chest cavity and a few of them in the same place leaving a 4" hole in the ribcage. We could not believe how tough this bear was with the direct shots from a .300WM in the boiler room. My partner apologized for doubting my shooting and we got to work skinning and boning out the meat. The bear was a sow and measured a half inch over 6′. I ended the 2009 spring bear season with a great adventure and lesson in persistence. I will make a throw rug out of the hide and enjoy some nice sausage out of the meat.

No Grizzly Consolation Was Black Bear

As you may have been reading I drew a grizzly bear tag for the Horsefly area this spring (2009). I spent a lot of time planning, talking to hunters, going over maps, and google earth before going on this trip. I had a few people bail but a new friend (Nick) was gracious enough to offer his truck and quad to join me in the trip.

grizzly track in snow









When we arrived in the area we were planning on hunting I was soon dissapointed as snow was covering all the areas I had planned to spot for grizzly. Above is a picture of the only grizzly tracks we saw. We staked this area out a few times for hours but there was no new sign or sightings of North Americas top predator.

grizzly scat on snow









This scat was found close to the tracks, I can only assume it is grizzly bear scat.

glassing for grizzly









We spent a fair amount of time spotting for grizzly bear but again we were not able to even look in the areas I pre planned from google earth. We could not access the slides but still glassed what we could to no avail.

In total we saw 3 moose, 3 grouse, a porcupine, and 5 black bears. but I connected on this boar on the left. He was not huge but I decided to take a meat bear on the first day of the hunt and invest the rest of the trip searching for the elusive grizzly that never presented itself.

The story was: We were quading down this main forest service road and the bear was 200 yards away on the road. Nick initially wanted a crack at it but it scurried up the hill into the woods. We tried to circle around the area it was travelling and I spotted the bear below me. The bear was walking out to the open so I loaded a shell and anticipated where the bear was going to walk. The bear had other plans and decided to go down accross the road and towards the river. As it was walking through the bush on the other side of the road, I came accross the road and saw the black bear walking through the trees. He stopped and looked towards my direction and his hesitation was his demise. I took a freehand shot and connnected right behind the shoulder.



The bullets I had been using were Barnes TTSX 168grain out of my .300 Winchester Magnum. I hand loaded and tested them at the range as you might have seen on previous posts. The shot was from 60 yards (approximately) and was a one shot kill, the bear did not travel far before piling up on a tree. The boar was 5’4" from nose to tail. I am getting jerky made out of the hind legs, garlic sausage, and chorizo sausage out of the rest.

Below is a picture of the exit wound of the Barnes 168grain TTSX bullet on the aforementioned black bear:

Barnes TTSX exit wound










Sighting in For Grizzly Hunt

barnes bullet groupingI have been playing with some loads and I have had good results with the barnes 168grain TTSX bullets and IMR4831 powder out of my .300wm. I have 3026 fps at the muzzle and I am sighted in for a 250 yard zero. I went to the range again(I have been spending a fair amount of time there preparing for my grizzly hunt and just made sure I was dialed in. The picture on the left is my group at 200 yards today. Here are my numbers according to the Barnes reloading manual for the BC and muzzle velocity I am getting:

For a 250yd zero.
> Yrds velocity trajectory
> 0 3000 -1.50
> 100 2779 2.58
> 200 2568 2.14
> 300 2368 -3.57
> 400 2178 -15.50
> 500 1998 -34.77
> 600 1827 -62.77

I only shot out to 300 yards and got a 3 inch group.

Employees of Wholesale Sports Calgary Face Gun Charges

It is very sad when instances like this happen, it affects all us honest sportsman. I hope Wholesale sports does not get into too much trouble and that they continue selling firearms as this incident could compromise that. I do think they should have to do a background and security clearance on peoples selling/handling firearms though. This could be the defining moment.

I just read this article from


Sports store employee charged in gun thefts

An employee of a Calgary outdoor sporting equipment store, where more than 50 guns have gone missing, has been arrested after a police investigation.

The weeklong probe began when police recovered a gun in Edmonton, and a second gun from a house party in southeast Calgary where suspected shots were fired on April 18. Both incidents were linked to gangs or drugs, said District 4 commander Insp. Ray Robitaille on Friday.

The National Weapons Enforcement Support Team then traced the weapons back to Wholesale Sports at 25 Heritage Way S.E. in Calgary.

On Thursday evening, police arrested a female store employee and a male accomplice who were allegedly seen stealing three handguns. The Baretta, Smith and Wesson and Taurus guns were recovered.

In a preliminary audit of the store’s inventory over the last seven months when the woman was working there, Wholesale Sports discovered that 54 other handguns were unaccounted for. Police said they’re focusing their investigation on locating the missing firearms.

"We’re very concerned that even one firearm would make its way onto the streets unlawfully. There’s no doubt in this investigation that those firearms were destined for the black market," said Robitaille.

Police arrested a woman who had been working at Calgary's Wholesale Sports for about seven months. Police arrested a woman who had been working at Calgary’s Wholesale Sports for about seven months. (CBC)

"They could be internationally bound for all we know," added acting Staff Sgt. Gord Eiriksson.

"A man and woman in their 20s have been charged in connection with this file. We are awaiting the charges to be sworn, at which time we will release the names," said police in a statement. Robitaille said they face charges of weapons trafficking, theft and improper storage of firearms.

If the firearms turn out to be involved in homicides or shooting injuries, the pair could be in more trouble. "They certainly would be facing charges and depending on their knowledge, they could be considered an accomplice," said Robitaille.

There will likely be a probe into the safeguards at Wholesale Sports in conjunction with a federal chief firearms officer, he added.

Police also thanked Wholesale Sports for their assistance and for being "instrumental in the success" of the probe. The chain has six stores in Western Canada, with Calgary their flagship location.

"We are fully co-operating with the police investigation to find out exactly what happened. As soon as we were notified, we fully complied with their investigation, did anything they needed us to try and help figure out what happened and that collaboration …. and that co-operation lead to the arrests yesterday," said Natalie Dawes, a spokeswoman for Wholesale Sports.


Training a Pack Llama

pack llamaI read about back country hunters using llamas as pack animals because they are low maintenance, nimble, cheap, and can pack 7


5lbs+. I tried to rent one a few years ago and the thing would not cooperate uphills. He only would walk on flat areas or declines. That experiment was a bust.


I decided to give it another try, but this time train my own llama. I picked up a nice young male from the auction and gelded him right away. He is doing great, but is a little shy and timid. I had to rope it like a cowboy the other day just to put his halter on. He did not want to move at all. I had to go behind him and prode him to walk. Emilio the llama is stubborn and timid right now but eventually he will get used to me and then I can start to train him but it is going to be a tough job!

I guess llamas can be aggressive check this out: