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June 02, 2008

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Odds and Ends

A correspondent of mine just came back from New Zealand where he killed a very big red stag with a single shot from a .308 at 200 yards. The stag dropped in its tracks, and I asked the hunter how he was able to do this with a 58-year-old cartridge whose ballistics are modest at best.
"Easy," he e-mailed back. " I simply put a piece of tape over the caliber stamp on the barrel. That way, the animals don't know what they're being shot with."

In 1978, I had the pleasure of hunting in Botswana with Ian Manning, then a South African PH. As we sat around a mopane-wood fire, toasting dung beetles for supper, the talk turned to the Carter administration, then in its second year and setting new records for ineptitude.
"David," said Ian, "you people [Americans] must stop electing these a******s president. This is quite serious."

It is quite serious; we have not listened to Ian Manning; and we are paying for it.

I've been reading Frederick Forsyth's novel The Afghan, which contains the following information:
"Some snipers like a really tiny bullet, like the Remington 700 .308, a slug so small that it has to be sheathed in a detachable sleeve to go down the barrel at all."

"Heaviest of all [sniper rifles] is the Barrett Light Fifty, a monster that sends a bullet like a human forefinger over a mile with enough speed times weight to cause a human body to explode."
"It [a .408 Cheyenne] was a bolt-action rifle, which he appreciated because the total lockdown of a closed bolt gave that tiny extra stability at the moment of detonation."

"He had burnished and buffed the nose tip [of the bullet] to eradicate the tiniest vibration in flight."
And of course the American SF sniper under discussion makes a head shot at 2,100 yards. Oddly enough, this is do-able. The record for the longest confirmed sniper shot is held by a Canadian sharpshooter named Rob Furlong, who hit a militant in Afghanistan with a .50 McMillan rifle at 2,657 yards. The first shot missed altogether; the second struck the man's backpack, and the third did the job.

Excuse me; I have to go and burnish some nose tips.


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SD Bob

I like Dave's random ambleing's (hope that's a word?)! It make's for a good read. Does shooting a fox squirrel in the head at 150 yards with a .22cb cap tie with shooting an Afgan at 2600 yards due to the limits of my chosen sniper cartridge? I did it with one lucky shot. My quarry never heard me either!


Bob - I think that qualifies.

You know, I once killed a deer with one shot from a .243. A lot of people say it can't be done, but I guess I proved them wrong.


Who says that you can't kill a deer with a 243? It's a smaller caliber than what I would prefer, but I have seen quite a few deer killed with one shot from a .243. I've also seen deer killed with one shot from a .223. I would never hunt with either one myself, but for people who aren't going to be making shots over 100 yards and don't like recoil, the .243 is a good caliber. However, looking back at the deer killed by the .223 the bullet completely took out the heart.

Old Bull

Is Remington loading 50 BMG accelerators? LOL
Remember the old plastic saboted 55 grainers from years ago? Never tried them myself.
Five years ago, my father and I had cow elk tags for Colorado. He used a .308, 180 gr. Core Lokt Ultra, at about 180 yards on a huge cow. One shot in the boiler room, through and through. She went about four bounds and piled up stone dead. Can't really argue with that!
My silliest Quigley shot? .22 Mag, 587 yards (lasered), crow....
I took a wild a** guess, threw a Hail Mary, and actually hit the dang thing. The hardest part was looking all cool about the whole thing in front of my buddies. Had to act like I did that sort of thing every day.


This post reminds me of COL Cooper's Commentaries in the Back of G & A

I'm telling ya, You and Heavy should take over the last two pages in F & S like Cooper and Skelton did in G & A.

Do your editors ever read these posts?

Can you say "GOLD MINE!!" okay maybe a coal mine, still worth a try.



John B

I always thought Forsyth was a pretty good writer. That's embarrassing and (for me) would taint the credibility of everything else he wrote.

Dave Petzal

To Concerned Soldier: The resemblance to Jeff Cooper's Commentaries is no coincidence. Even as I write this, a copy of Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip 2 (which is a collection of the commentaries) is causing my desk to groan. Jeff Cooper was running a blog before there were blogs, and there is no better model today.

As for myself and Mr. W. Heavey of Virginia co-existing on the same literary plane, I don't think there's much chance. Jeff Cooper and Skeeter Skelton were interested in the same things, while Heavey and I are not, and that doesn't make for a good mix.

And yes, all of the F&S blogs are read very closely by the editors here.

Mike Diehl

I'd shoot any white-tailed or mule deer out to 240 yards with a 100grain .243, and it will regularly and consistently do the job extremely well.

Del in KS

I miss Col Cooper almost as much as Cactus Jack and Elmer. The last time the NRA met in KC I was there and met Jeff. When it was here in '79 I met Elmer Keith. Both was warm, friendly and seemed bigger than life.

Clay Cooper

Hey Dave, like sniper rifles, then check this out!

The .416 BarrettThe .416 Barrett centerfire rifle cartridge is a proprietary bottlenecked centrefire rifle cartridge designed by Ronnie Barrett in 2005. It is an alternative to the .50 BMG in long-range high-caliber rifles. It was designed in response to a request for a medium/heavy rifle/cartridge combination that was issued from Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center in late 2004.

The cartridge was designed as an improvement to the .50 BMG cartridge, a common machine-gun and rifle cartridge. It is similar to a wildcatted .50 BMG case, shortened to 3.27 inches (83.06 mm) and necked down to accept a .416 caliber, 400-grain (26 g) projectile;[1][2] It is however of proprietary dimension.[3] Due to the fact that the two cartridges, the .50 BMG and .416 Barrett, have identical base dimensions, all that is needed to convert a rifle to use one or the other cartridge is a relatively quick barrel swap. Currently, the only commercially-available rifle in this chambering is the single-shot Barrett Model 99.
[edit] Performance
The use of a lighter, narrower bullet results in a significantly higher muzzle velocity and superior ballistic performance to the .50 BMG, and is claimed to be even more powerful than the .50 BMG at 1,000 yards (though its power deteriorates below the BMG's after that).[4] Barrett claims that this cartridge is capable of propelling a 400gr solid brass boattail spitzer bullet out of the 32-inch (810 mm) barrel of a Model 99 single-shot rifle at 990 m/s (3250 ft/s), giving it a ballistic coefficient between .943-.989 and keeping the projectile supersonic out to 2286 metres (2500 yards).
In a second season episode of Future Weapons the host (Richard Machowicz, a former Navy SEAL) engages in a shooting competition with another sniper. "Mac" achieves a cold-bore first-shot "kill" at 2,500 yards (2,286 m) using a .416 Barrett Model 99 rifle while his competition, using a .50 BMG, required 3 shots to achieve a "kill". The .416 Barrett Model 99 rifle Mr. Machowicz used during this competition was equipped with a Barrett Optical Ranging System (BORS) module attached to the telescopic sight.
VideoLink: http://www.guba.com/watch/2001011740 (11mins22sec into episode)

Dr. Ralph

So am I an idiot or are there actually .308 accelerator rounds employing sabots? Clay, Ronnie Barrett was forced by California to come up with the .416 and it's the badass little brother of his .50 BMG rifles... in fact it actually outperforms it's predecessor! Thanks Diane Feinstein and friends. Nothing like a little Tennessee hill country ingenuity, whether it comes from Barrett Rifles or Jack Daniel's Distillery.


I met your senior editor last weeked at the Field and Stream Total Outdoorsman Regionals in Grapevine, Texas. He seemed to be wise beyond his years(he had to be at least a third my age) quite a pleasent fellow and did not have a third eye or blood dripping from his fingernails as reported earlier. After looking around carefully to see who was listening, he admitted to actually knowing both you and Heavey. Keep up the good work, this is the most interesting blog I've found.


why the riff against the .243. i live out west and take mule deer and whitetails with a remington 600 and 100 gr factory loads every season with one. distance varies from 25 to 250 yards but the little gun always gets the job done with one, well-placed shot. they drop where they are shot too, i've never had to follow a blood trail. never mind how effective a .243 is on antelope. as it has been written almost ad nausium on these posts, it is always about bullet placement.

Ralph the Rifleman

Dave captured me here with "toasting dung beetles for supper"!
Oh, and the shooting stuff was neat, too.

Jim in Mo.

Dr. R,
Your not an idiot, at least for this post. Also, Barret created the .416 just to piss Ca. off.

Ed J

Dr Ralph

Responding on this blog it helps to be an idiot.
There are accelerator rounds in .308 - 55gr sabots. We got a few of them and loaded them into a 308 Norma mag. 4600 fps the fastest bullets that I chornographed.


I have mentioned before that I have an old Sako Vixen Deluxe in .243 which has killed 40 plus deer and antelope in about 30 years. I shot a few, mostly first time hunters used it very effectively out to about 350 yards. My son and some of his friends started out on it. It is difficult for me to acknowledge the round's shortcomings although they do exist. Aboout ten years ago I loaned the rifle and 20 rounds to a new doctor in town from Cleveland. He was pure eastern city boy. He wanted to kill a deer and our schedules did not match. I told him to shoot about 15 rounds through the rifle and take the other 5 hunting. The next day he returned the rifle and 19 cartridges in addition to showing me a quite nice 4 x 4 mule deer. One shot at about 150 yards. The new hunter said "I just put the crosshairs where you told me, pulled the trigger, and the deer dropped". He did not realize that the range even mattered when shooting. If it had been 500 yards or 50 he would have held at the same place. Lucky kill, yes but still a good cartridge for many situations.

Jack Ryan

What kind of pansy TOASTS his dung beetles before eating them?

Now I understand perfectly why a little recoil knocks yer panties off.

(F&S editors)If ya ever find yerself with a blank page to fill, I'm available.


Dr. Ralph,
Instead of playing with the accelerator rounds in 308. I would use the 110Gr Varminter round by Sierra. You will have better results and accuracy. Some one had mentioned using the Speer TNT rounds but I did not see it listed in .308.
Actually they said Sierra TNT but I could not find anything on their website.

Tom the Troll

Ed J

Riff against the 243?
Cause it's the smallest cartridge most of the posters here would recomend. And y'all know we like to bully the little guy. y'ah don't bully the big guy cause he'll beat the crap out of you.

Example how do you tell a guy with a 338-378 Weatherby that its to big for antelope. Shoot it from the prone position and it skids you a few feet across the prairie


I was just studying the .308 when this blog came in over the wire...

Any chance there's a Browning BLR chambered in .308? If so, does anybody like it?

Mike Reeder

Don't knock the accelerators for either results or accuracy. They're the only varmint loads I use in my '06 and for whatever reason my rifle loves them. I consistently get three shot sub-MOA groups from 100 yards off the bench, and have yet to see a jack rabbit take a step after intercepting one.

CPT Brad

Carney I'm sure by now your probably smacking your head against the screen but yes Browning makes a BLR in 308. My Dad Carried one for nearly 15 years until it was stolen and regulary "Tagged Out" with it. Its an excellent choice for all flavors of Deer and will work on elk in a pinch. (Go ahead and rag me boys I've got the horns to prove it)Browning makes everything from 22-250 up to 450 Marlin in thier BLR.


As apropos on this thread as the last:
"They had AKs; we had .50 cal machine guns. We won!" My son on a firefight his unit was in during his recent trip to Iraq.
No doubt it takes more than one of those big slugs to get on target but when they do Allah is busy at the 'Admissions' office for a while!
I did see the 'Future Weapons' episode when Mac tested the Barrett .416! Sweet! I daresay it will keep dentists and occular surgeons busy replacing fillings and re-attaching retinas respectively! Oh but it will sure reach out and touch some Taliban wannabes from across the valley!

Del in KS


I saw that episode of Future Weapons. Also have read in couple places the .416 is a response to a--holes in California. Now all you need to do is keep necking down 'til you get to phonygraph needle size and think about how fast that would shoot. Might need a big charge of Slooow burning powder and a 30 foot barrel to attain max velocity.

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