Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Upping the Ante with a 300 Win Mag

Hunters have been planning what they would like to hunt this year for months. I have had deer and bear on the brain for months, but I have also been on a different mission. I have also had hunting sheep on the brain. I decided last year that I wanted to expand my range a bit for hunting. What do I mean exactly? I needed wanted to customize a rifle for long range shooting. Pennies were saved, reviews read, manufacturers contacted, and I came to the conclusion that if it isn't broke, don't fix it. I have been shooting Remington all my life and I saw no reason to switch. My decision was easy on which rifle to purchase - the Remington 700 SPS 300 Win Mag. This was the rifle for me and the rifle that was going to be able to reach out and drop an animal in one shot.

After I purchased my rifle from Bass Pro Shops, the first thing I did was investigate my stock options. No, not my retirement funds, but rifle stocks. I love Remington rifles, but the synthetic stock is hollow and feels cheap. I narrowed down to three stocks, but one stood out to me more than the others. I made the decision and purchased the Blackhawk Axiom Ultra-Lite rifle stock. When it arrived, I spent some time reading the provided information and directions for mounting the 300 WM barrel. As I began installing the barrel, I noticed the anchor bolts were not lining up. I tried over and over and finally contacted Blackhawk. The customer service team at Blackhawk was awesome and patient. I relayed my problem and my thoughts. They informed me that for some reason, the stock that was provided was for a short-action rifle, even though I had ordered the long-action stock. The Blackhawk team had a new one boxed and shipped out to me right away. No questions asked, just great service. I am still impressed at how well they handled everything. Once I verified the correct fit, I shipped the short-action back. After that, the biggest issue I had was that the barrel didn't seat into the stock as easy as it should have. The barrel bracket was hitting and not allowing for the barrel to drop in. With a few minutes of coercion from my Dremel tool and some filing, the barrel dropped in nicely! I anchored the bolts and loved the feel of everything and it looked very cool.

Black is my color for dress pants, but not for rifle stocks, especially ones I want for hunting. This was one more thing I had been researching for weeks. I knew I wanted to have Utah Hydrographics dip the stock for me and I knew exactly what pattern I wanted. As a member of the Badlands Operative Pro Staff, I asked my fearless leader if he would give the OK to have my stock dipped in the new Badlands Approach camo pattern. With his approval, I made the arrangements with Utah Hydrographics and worked out all of the details. Those guys have great customer service, too! They got back to me really quickly and answered every question I had. I shipped the stock and began following up on my other research.

While waiting for my stock to be dipped and returned, I had two more components I needed to make decisions on. With a 300 WM, I needed a scope that was not only high quality, but that would allow me to reach out and touch something from a great distance. With my involvement on the MINOX Adventure Team I was shared some info on the ZX5 rifle scopes before they were released. Emails to our team leaders were sent with questions, limitations, and availability. For me, the ZX5i 5-25x56 SF was my number one choice. Read the specifications and you'll understand why. It would be a few weeks before I would receive my scope choice, but with having to wait for my stock to be dipped I knew I had time. In that time, I would need to purchase some new scope rings and mounts.

Warne Scope Mounts was not a name I was familiar with at the time, but one day while going through my Instagram feed, I saw an article posted from regarding lapping your rings and if it was needed. I was intrigued and read the article from start to finish. It was informative and exactly what I needed to hear. After a few messages back and forth, I knew my decision had been made for me. I ordered the bases for the Remington and the 30mm rings to accommodate my MINOX scope. These rings would be a vertically split instead of the typical horizontal split. The vertical split has many advantages over the horizontal, in my humble opinion.

My scope and rings arrived at nearly the same time, but still no stock due to Utah Hydrographics being backlogged and also having issues with my stock. You see, my stock was shipped in four pieces and each one had to be dipped in an odd way for proper coverage. The guys were completely honest with me and said it would be a couple more weeks. Being in no hurry, I waited patiently, but I'd be lying if I said I was eager to see the finished product! True to their word, my stock was completed under two weeks. When the UPS man dropped a box on my doorstep, I nearly jumped from my chair knowing exactly what was being delivered. true to their word, the stock was completed and it looked like it had been a pain to do, but they did it! I put it all back together and began my rifle assembly.

The reassembly took some time as I like to be precise. After checking the action to be sure the rifle wasn't loaded, I began. The bases, scope rings, and scope mount went on with ease. Everything fit perfectly! After leveling my scope, I noticed something that I hadn't caught prior to me having my stock dipped. The bolt action worked great, but the bolt wouldn't come all the way back due to hitting the inch wide lip of the stock. I was pretty miffed at myself at first, but that quickly dissipated. To remedy the situation, my trusty Dremel tool was charged up and I slowly removed enough of the lip to allow the bolt to fully extend out. Success!

Now, with the rifle fully assembled and ready to shoot, I now have plans to head out to sight it in with some friends from work. I need to use full copper ammunition, due to California regulation, but I am ready to move forward. This is going to be a great year for hunting and the Remington 700 SPS 300 WM is going to help me fill my freezer!

Friday, April 8, 2016

2016 California Big Game Hunting Digest!

Image provided by CA Fish and Wildlife

Time to do some reading and planning over the weekend. The coveted 2016 California Big Game Hunting Digest is out with updated information. There is continued information on harvest reporting and repeated information on lead free hunting. The license fees did not change this year. Licenses go on sale April 15, 2015 (but you must submit you choices by June 2 to be included in the draw) and I hope this give you time to really look them over.

Personal decisions must be made. How much time do you want to hunt vs. how much time will you have? Do you have the funds? If so, put in for a good tags or tags! Do you have children that will accompany you and will they be hunting? 

Don't wait and do not hesitate! Do your research, ask the biologists, and get those weapons ready to hunt! Do plenty of scouting, practice, and get those trail cameras up.

At the end of the day, YOU must ultimately decide. Not your buddies or what everyone tells you online. Review the options carefully and best of luck drawing that tag or tags!