Archive | Wild Boar

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Pride Fowler Industries, Inc. RR-600-1 Rifle Scope [Product Review/Radio Interview]

Posted on 16 March 2012 by Cork Graham

Glass it’s all about the glass. That’s what everyone tells you about picking an excellent rifle scope. The problem is that to really appreciate what that means, you need to take it out into the field. 

Sure, you can see across the sporting goods store and see what a mounted elk or deer looks like, quartered by the reticle. You can even walk outside and check the scope in natural light out on the street. But, it’s the evaluating in the field that really tells of the quality of a scope you’ve put on your rifle. And, contrary to what you may think I find that that when checking glass, it’s not the long shots that indicate glass quality, but the close ones in the brush.

This is for two important reasons: clear definition of reticle against distraction, such as branches and vines; and light transmission in low-light conditions. What I was reminded on a pig hunt in Northern California awhile back is that the RR-600-1 3-9X42mm Rapid Reticle scope not only has an impressive lens system, but everything about the scopes is high quality and of excellent durability. Were this scope available twenty years ago, it would have easily been in the $2,500 to $3,500 range. That was before prices dropped because China got into the market with some very good components and opened opportunities for a number of scope manufacturers over the years.

What PFI has done is stay true to the “high quality at a reasonable price” philosophy that scope manufacturers on the Pacific side followed as compared to the heavily unionized competitors in Europe, who charge an arm and leg for optics that if it weren’t for their two-to-three-hundred-year-old brand doing the selling the price would be much, much lower. PFI stuck to standards of glass that negated China, and remained true to Japanese glass. No one in Asia, or most of the rest of the world for that matter, makes glass as good as the Japanese. Anyone who has ever had to work professionally with a camera can attest to that, whether your loyalties fit Nikon or Canon.  Like all good scopes, the PFI glass is multi-coated: contrary to the myths perpetrated by German and Austrian scope sales reps in the 1980s and early 1990s, that many gun writers bought into, it’s the lens and types of lens coatings that improve your ability to see in twilight, not whether you’ve got a humongous objective bell and a 30 mm tube. There are reasons for a 30 mm but they revolve more around adjustments than use once the scope is set…especially if you don’t need to make  turret adjustments, like come-ups, on a more traditional long-range scope.

The tube is black anodized 6061 T6 aluminum tubing, which is not only strong but light. But, as I say, what is it about PFI that makes their scopes unique and above so many? It’s the reticle.

 

The innovative and fast RR-600 Rapid Reticle

 

If you were introduced to long-range shooting in the military post-Vietnam, likely you went through some training in mildot. It was a number of calculations to determine angles and distances. It was not fast, even for the fastest. The Rapid Reticle on the other hand, is fast and accurate!

Their reticle design is based on the premise that a variety of cartridges deliver a bullet trajectory that can be grouped with others. For example, a 150gr. .30-06 is similar to a 150gr.  .308 Winchester, and a 150gr. .280 Remington.  Based on this premise, John Pride and Mickey Fowler, both winners of the Bianchi Cup, designed the Rapid Reticle to not only provide ranging, but also ballistic drop compensation. What they did that was innovative, getting away from the way it was normally done with mildot for range estimation and turret come-ups for compensating for bullet drop.

They took trajectories and grouped them. For the RR-600 it was a number of common hunting rounds. For the RR-800 and RR-900, it was a collection of trajectory compatible military rounds used in the military sniping community. From this data, they designed a reticle for each line of scopes that enables the shooter to simply adjust for drop by laying the range-corresponding stadia line on the target. Though the RR-600 doesn’t have range estimation, the RR-900 does. This was accomplished was by integrating the Rapid Ranging system.

The Rapid Ranging system is based on the average head being nine inches tall. By measuring a nine-inch target with the bracket system on the RR-CQLR-1, or the head-and-shoulder Rapid Ranging system on the RR-900-1, you can easily discern your target’s distance. Reports from the hunting field and the battlefield have been excellent: a number of endorsements which are on their site. It’s a scope that that can be used to get an SDM (squad designated marksman) qualified for long-range shooting in a fraction of the time that it would take get a sniper qualified on the standard milidot and turret system.

Not only a good looking and functioning scope system, it’s just plain simple.  And when there’s a lot of stress, as in combat, or even the jitters that might hit a hunter during that moment of truth, the better it is to not have to fiddle with a lot of things like calculations and making sure you gone through the process of doing your come-ups. It’s one thing to be on a hunt when you’re calm and in charge of time. It’s another when your team has been ambushed and you’re suddenly on counter-sniper detail: the Rapid Reticle and Rapid Ranging system earn their bars on this one.

 

Three-shot groups for 200 yards, 300 yards, and 400 yards at 100 yards for a .280 Remington

 

So simple, all you have to do with the RR-600 is sight it in at 200 yards, check for 400 yards, and you’re ready to go. I sighted in for 200 yards at 100 yards and then walked my rounds up the paper to see the variations per each stadia line. As a kid with his first 4-plex-reticled scope back in the late 1970s, the innovations in the market have been stupendous, but not in a long while has a manufacturer come out with something as fast, accurate and durable as the Pride Fowler Industries Rapid Reticle line of scopes.

Happily, you won’t have to make sure you’ve got change in your pocket, either! Don’t you just hate being at the range and realizing after searching your pocket that you’ll have to ask some next to you if they’ve got change, or you’ll have to use one of the screwdrivers that becaue of its shape will automatically scratch or mar the notch in the top of the turret in order to make elevation and windage adjustments to get zeroed? The designers at PFI made sure that all you have to do is unscrew and remove the turret covers and adjust by turning the adjustments with your fingers–now how sensible and forward-thinking is that? I’m still wondering who in the world was the ning-nong who came up with the penny or dime slots for getting your scope on target.

 

No more digging in your pockets for change!

Also, as everyone knows, wind can kill a good shot. The RR-600 stadia line lengths help compensate for left and right winds up to 10 miles per hour.

That’s not to say that when you’re out in the field you can extend the range of your “hail Marys”. What it does enable is the opportunity to make very accurate shots out at ranges well within the capabilities of your round, such as 200 to 500 yards. It’s something I’m looking forward to reporting further on this fall.

To get your own RR-600, order directly through their website: www.rapidreticle.com  

For your daily commute on your MP3 player – Download and Enjoy the interview of Pride Fowler Industries Vice President Richard Nguyen, on Cork’s Outdoors Radio:

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SHOT Show 2012 Media Day with Winchester Ammunition…and a ‘few’ others!

Posted on 18 January 2012 by Cork Graham

First covering Shotshow in 1997, perhaps it was about time to attend Media Day: I prefer to trial and evaluate new products in the field, so shooting at the public relations range event is more often just a redundancy…except when patterning shot and performing ballistics tests. It was also an opportunity connect up with a classmate of mine from my childhood days attending the Phoenix Study Group in Saigon.

Bill Skinner, a freelance cameraman for CNN, CBS and a number of other media organizations, had finished his latest contract shooting for the US State Department in Afghanistan. So, getting away to enjoy one of his passions, tactical-style firearms, was a nice respite. There were the Armalites, Colts, Springfield Amory, Browning offerings—I ran through a nice .308 offering from Armalite that I’ll look forward to trying in the field for wild boar in Texas. After a few well-placed shots into the metal targets at Springfield Armory’s range with what is a sweet-shooting version of the 1911, the Range Officer, we walked up the hill to Winchester’s display of the new Razorback XT, in .223 Remington and .308 Winchester.

Because of how the proliferation of AR-15 style rifles have inundated the market, and been effectively used in the battle against the overpopulation of ole Mr. Razorback in states like Texas, what better decision than to release a powder and projectile match as these rounds with a proper bullet to rip through hog hide and gristle and reach the vitals in a large pig?

The Armalite offering for wild boar?

The Razorback XT .223 round was released in a 64-grain bullet, while the .308 version is delivered in a 150-grain. Some might think that a .223 round is a little too light for feral pig hunting, but up to 200 yards, this round does it job. For someone who hunts most of his feral hogs in California, and often in the lead-free zone of Central California, the non-lead attributes of the Razorback XT is a God send! It is specially designed to not start deforming until after having pierced the hog’s armor. Now, all we have to do is get around the legal restrictions of the AR-10 and AR-15 design in California, which is laughable.

…Right after putting a number of Razorbacks down range, Skinner and I nwent over to the shotgun range to check out the latest release of Winchester’s wildly successful Blind Side.

An impressive, light load that patterns well!

This year they’re releasing a #5-shot load in 2-3/4-inch shell, along with a #2-shot load. From the way it patterns it looks like a great round to get those ducks in the 25 to 40-yard range…my favorite for shooting over decoys. Check out the latest episode of Cork’s Outdoors TV below:

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THE GAME COOKBOOK by Clarissa Dickson Wright & Johnny Scott [Book Review]

Posted on 22 December 2010 by Cork Graham

 

If you remember the British cooking series, Two Fat Ladies, of PBS and BBC fame, you’ll immediately recognize Clarissa Dickson Wright as the taller of the two, not the proud chainsmoker who passed away from lung cancer in 1999.  Dickson Wright is the co-author of The Game Cookbook with Scottish farmer and outdoorsman, Johnny Scott.

A gorgeously illustrated review copy sent to us by the publisher, The Game Cookbook takes standard table game and puts a variation on it that brings out the best qualities through innovative experimentation, with classic recipes and those that seem to have been magically created by neighbors on the other side of the authors’ hedge.

Included are recipes that are very traditional in the UK and Europe. Others reach to the Middle East and South Asia, modified from recipes based in preparing more traditional farm-raised meats. Well-read and always willing to tell a story, Dickson Wright colors the recipes with asides of family histories and remembrances of foreign travel and meals had with friends.

You’ll find that it’s very much a UK book with such references as “wapiti”, which those of us in the US and Canada recognize as elk: what they call elk in Europe and the UK, we call moose in North America.

The artwork gracing the pages is a mix of old paintings, of hunting and fishing in North America and Europe, even movie stills (James Mason looks quite dashing with a side-by-side), and then photos of completed dishes just as beautiful as the sketches and historical art. Together they bring to the reader the old and new of game and fish cuisine, along with anecdotes that can prepare the neophyte hunter or angler for their first hunting or fishing experience.

At the end of the book is a listing of hunting and fishing organizations in the UK and US, along with a collection of wildlife agencies in the United States. For those who might not be personally able to collect their own main component of a game or fish dish, a listing of game suppliers offering meat farm-raised animals (unlike in Europe, where wild game and fish are sold in many shops, the selling of true wild game in the US has been illegal for years) provides an option.


One of the topics that I keyed in on, because it puts so much fear in the new game chef, is aging. In the US of late, as the tradition of hunting has skipped one, two or even three generations, the result of more Americans moving into urban areas in pursuit of employment, the art of aging has been forgotten. If you read some of the forums on the Internet, there’s such an intimidation toward aging and meat contamination that it can sometimes be humorous, sometimes sad…. What would people do if suddenly our refrigerators no longer worked and we were suddenly dumped into a kitchen life experience most families had up until the end of the early part of the last century?

Aging was a heavily practiced technique for stretching the day’s take, improving flavor and tenderizing a tough old bird, or side of venison. It all has to do with air temperature and humidity: cool and moist tops the list, and extends the aging time. The author goes through the aging process for just about every meat type taken, from grouse, to pheasant to venison.

There are also recipes for those that might not be specifically sought in the US and Canada, but are looked forward to in Europe and the UK, such as carp. There are recipes for grouse, pheasant, elk, moose, antelope, caribou, wild boar, partridge (chukar), quail, dove, American woodcock, snipe, hare (jackrabbit), cottontail, salmon trout, sea trout, zander (yellow perch), pike and of course goose.

At the back just before the meat supplier’s list, is a collection of recipes for compotes, sauces and stocks bringing out the best flavors of the dish.

When it came to testing a recipe, I decided it was time to use one of the many pheasants that Ziggy had pointed out for me last year—the dish quick to prepare and a rich, creamy mix of flavors!

PHEASANT WITH NOODLES AND HORSERADISH CREAM

A bit sweet. A bit tangy. All delicious!

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/3 cup (3/4 stick) butter
  • 4 pheasant breasts
  • 4 shallots, chopped (if unavailable, use 4 tablespoons of chopped mild onions)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp bottled horseradish, or 1 tbsp strong fresh horseradish, grated.
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 packet black or green Italian noodles or make your own chestnut noodles (enough for 4 people)
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps: 

  1. Heat the butter in a heavy frying pan for which you have lid
  2. Sauté the pheasant breasts until they are sealed
  3. Remove them and sauté the shallots and the garlic until the shallots are pale gold
  4. Remove and discard the garlic clove
  5. Stir the horseradish into the shallots
  6. Add a tbsp, or so, of water and the lemon juice
  7. Return the breasts to the pan, add the cream, and cover
  8. Cook gently for 15-20 minutes, until the breasts are cooked
  9. If the sauce is too wet, remove the breasts and zap up the heat to reduce
  10. If it’s too dry, add a little more cream or some dry white white wine
  11. Cook the noodles according the package instructions and drain
  12. Serve the noodles with the pheasant
  13. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top.

RELATED LINKS:

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