You Can Have a ‘Bragging Rights’ Nice Deer Rifle
Dr. John Woods 12.08.20
Every hunter should own one a really nice deer rifle at least once in his or her hunting lifetime. It may come about entirely by accident or be achieved by judicious planning and engineering. Mine came completely by accident and still amazes me even today, some twenty hunting seasons later.
Back in 2001 or so, Browning announced it was bringing out the A-Bolt rifle in the relatively new 300 Winchester Short Magnum. I had done a lot of reading and research on the 300 WSM and I knew I had to have one. I wanted more effective shooting power and range distance on the deer hunting property I owned. I needed some reach-out-and-slap for hunting a long power line and right-of-way stretches on our place.
I visited the one well-stocked gun shop in my area and they had just gotten one 300 WSM Browning rifle in the store. It was still in the box, not even on display yet. I bought it immediately, along with two boxes of Winchester Silvertip 150 grain ammo. I later mounted a Leupold 3.5x-10x 50mm scope, a Vari-X 3 model, now out of production. I used a Leupold mount system.
After a sight-in session, the rifle printed 3 touching holes at 100 yards 3 inches high. I was all set to hunt with my new whitetail rifle.
This is the bragging part: That rifle has now accounted for 18 deer harvests, 15 bucks, with 19 rounds fired. I was to blame for the one missed shot. I’ve never thought I was a great shot, so I give the rifle all the credit. The chemistry of the setup has astounded even me. It is my go-to hunting rifle.
So, how to create a bragging rights nice deer rifle? First pick a rifle brand and model with a well-established reputation for quality and accuracy. Ask around among hunting contacts and the gun shop people. It does not have to be a custom shop model costing thousands of dollars. Plenty of factory rifles can achieve bragging-rights status.
Try the fit and inspection of several models. Shoulder them for that special feel. You’ll know when you mount the right one. Pick a riflescope of exceedingly high quality along with a mounting system to match. Mount the scope properly. Clean out the screw holes with alcohol. Use Loctite thread locker on the mount(s) and rings. Align everything precisely. Be sure the crosshairs are correctly squared up. Use a boresighter to get you on the paper at short range
Clean the rifle’s bore before shooting. Swab out all the solvent and lube. Pick a quality ammo to match the game being hunted. Hunting bullet choice is most critical. At the range decide where you want your bullets to print. Three inches high at 100 yards is a standard, but not the only one. Use a good rest, or mechanical platform and starting shooting, slowly and deliberately. Don’t rush. Check the results after every six shots at least. Adjust the scope slowly to achieve the best accuracy. Let the barrel cool, then try again.
Actual hunting field trials will prove the rifle’s temper. Hopefully it connects if you do your part. Ideally, all your work and patience has yielded you a bragging rights deer rifle.