Monday, April 28, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
A bunch of great trophies!
That really is so much of what safari hunting is all about, participating in a wonderful journey (which is what safari means in swahili) and then sharing the stories with friends and family. I am honored that Kevin both trusted The T Jeffrey Safari Company to arrange his safari and that he came in to share his memories with us.
The photos we take on safari are so important because they are the memento most likely to bring us right back to that place where we had such an enjoyable experience. Safari hunting is often about the "trophies" we take meaning the actual horns and hide of the animal we pursued. But those trophies may not be here for a number of months and it is certainly more difficult to take them to a meeting or dinner party to share with friends.
That is why it is so important to have a good quality camera and learn how to take good photos.
Gunsite Academy 2008
This was my second trip to Gunsite Training Academy. Last year I took the 270 General Rifle Course which starts out with the basics and gets you shooting well enough to hit a 9 inch kill zone at 400 yards. This year we asked Gunsite Master Instructor Il Ling New to come up with a custom class designed especially to suit our clients. The idea was to combine a basic rifle class with what Gunsite calls a Hunter Prep Class. So the 170 Rifle class was born! This is the general rifle (270) class reduced from 5 days to 3 days which gets you hitting 9 inch kill zones out to 200 yards consistently. Then we added a 3 day Hunter Prep Class right after the 170 class. Hunter Prep is set up to use "real world" hunting targets everything from flat targets to 3D animals. This includes turning targets, and a robot that is used to simulate an animal coming toward you, away from you and crossing in front of you. It is quite an experience!
A number of the target courses are set up to walk through so you experience targets in realistic hunting environments and at realistice ranges. This also includes targets with horns which require judging which trophy is the bigger animal. There is a little friendly competition involved as well as some timed shooting this helps to simulate the pressure you feel when you are hunting in the field. It's all designed to help you develop the skills you need to be a confident marksman while hunting. When you combine Gunsite's world class instructors with a very well thought out training program it's easy to see why those who take a class at Gunsite gain confidence in their shooting ability. We are planning to put together another TJSC class next Spring so keep your eye on this newsletter for an announcement, if you don't want to wait that long please call the Gunsite Academy at 928-636-4565 and sign up for the next class.
Labels: Gunsite 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Leupold VX-7 Scope Review
Leupold VX-7 Scope Review
It's no secret that I am a big Leupold scope fan I mount one on every rifle I own. So when Leupold's Cindy Flannigan offered to send me one of their new VX-7 rifle scopes, I jumped at the chance to test it.
The VX-7 series is the pinacle of optics. From the time that they agreed to send it to me I knew this was more than the run of the mill rifle scope. I got an email from Leupold's custom shop asking me the details of the ammunition I would be using with the scope. This was in order to supply me with a Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) custom elevation adjustment turrent made specifically to match the ballistics of the load I was using. With the BDC you can adjust the elevation of the point of impact quickly and easily.
When I unpacked the scope it was obvious that it had some features that were extremely well thought out. The adjustment knobs are a new design that Leupold calls "Speed Dial" you simply twist a bit until they pop up so you can make your adjustments. This system works extremely well and the adjustments make a positive click for each 1/4 MOA increment. This system also prevents the dreaded "lost scope adjustment cap" syndrome I have suffered from many times because the caps remain attached to the scope.
Looking through the lenses it was obvious that the glass and coatings Leupold uses on the VX-7 line are superior. The image was crystal clear.
One of the features I really like but have some mixed feelings about are the Alumina flip up scope covers. These are an aluminum version of the flip up scope caps you see from after market suppliers Leupold has offered them for a while but I haven't used them until now. I really like the way they work once they are installed on the scope. They fit tight and flush and flip completely out of the way when you are ready to shoot. My only complaint is that the front cap cannot be installed on the scope once the scope is mounted on the rifle, and of course I didn't know that until the scope was mounted! So beware if you install one of these scopes put the Alumina caps on BEFORE you install the scope.
On the range the scope performed extremely well. One of the most important things I look for in a scope is long eye relief because on heavy recoiling dangerous game guns this is critcally important. While this scope was mounted on a Kimber 84M in .308 Winchester I still like long eye relief to prevent getting "scope bit". Quite often the European scopes which this series was designed to compete with have a much shorter eye relief which I really do not like. Also, I am not convinced that the European scopes are as durable as the Leupold's are.
Last year I had a Zeiss scope mounted on the same rifle and after about 50 or 60 rounds of shooting at Gunsite the reticle just snapped. This year I fired over 600 rounds with that rifle and the VX-7 mounted on it there was absolutely no malfunction of the scope. It performed flawlessly.
In my experience Leupold scopes are extremely durable. I wasn't sure what to expect from this new premium line of scopes. Sometimes premium does not equal durable but based on a 600+ round test in the heat, dust and vigorous training at Gunsite I am convinced that the VX-7 line is an extremely high quality and durable product. Although they cost more than a standard Leupold scope they are worth the money when you consider what we demand from our optics. In the near future I will do a report on the custom BDC adjustment knob and how it works and I plan to do a report on the scope's perfomance while hunting. - TJR