A Day in the Bush

I was planning a family visit to my mother this weekend but an outbreak of a “cold” made that inadvisable so an outing to a rifle range happened.

I went with two young men, my son and a cousin. We tried out several rifles with different brands of .22 rimfire ammunition and a .222 Remington with handloads. The scopes on the .22s seemed to be unreliable. The .222 shot rings around them, getting nearly one-hole groups at 100 yards. As my uncle used to say, “It was if the bullets had eyes…”.

8-shot Group by David 2011-10-8 .222 at 100 yards

8-shot Group by David 2011-10-8 .222 at 100 yards

The standard deviation horizontally is 0.31 inch and vertically is 0.18 inch. He has promise. Not bad with cheap hardware. Remington discontinued the rifle because it was shooting better than its more expensive rifles but folks wanted to spend more… Wind was about 20km/h right to left, probably explaining most of the width of the group.

Altogether it was a fine day after the stormy day preceding. One dark note was that the range had been littered, recently, by some hooligans who left a bunch of fired cartridges and a few live rounds laying about. I policed the area and picked up about 200 12 gauge hulls that I can reload. That’s probably a lifetime supply of 12ga slug rounds, since I don’t shoot steel shot. We picked up our own empties and collected what was useful from the ground changing the makeup of the place considerably. People who scatter garbage/litter are thoughtless wastrels at best and should spend some time in jail or picking up trash.

On our next outing we hope to fire some rifles suitable for hunting deer. The youngsters are naturally shy of recoil and found the .222 serious. I think they will be surprised how manageable a big rifle with a big stock can be with just a little care about how to hold it. I have fired a .308 Win 200gr load in a very light rifle and it brought tears to my eyes. A 150gr bullet in a proper rifle is sweet, even for youngsters/women. It’s the physics of recoil. The smallish powder charge of the .308 and a moderate weight of bullet in a heavy stock and barrelled action gives a firm but manageable recoil. A magnum or near-magnum rifle and cartridge are in a completely different league. Almost anyone can get used to 8×57 Mauser or .308 Winchester hunting loads in a heavy rifle. With a good sling they can even carry it around the bush.

There are hundreds of deer living in Winnipeg but only part of the region can be hunted because of human population density and proximity to roads. A few miles east of our home lies Bird’s Hill park with hundreds of deer as well. We probably don’t need to travel far for a successful hunt. One region of Manitoba, Killarney, had so many deer the government issued free licences to hunt near the community. Manitoba is blessed with deer. Only Saskatchewan has more. This is the northern edge of the range of the white-tailed deer but grain farming and a bit of forest helps them survive the winters.

We could have two or three deer in the freezer before long. The archery season is open now and the muzzle-loader season starts in a couple of weeks. Food, fun and exercise. Hunting is a great family activity I have missed when I was teaching in the North. Now to make up for lost time.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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