SCI Member Steve D. Likes Light, Fast Loads

Per your request on the final page of the July/August issue of Safari Magazine, I’m dropping this brief note to give you data on the rifles/ammo and scopes that have been serving my varied needs best over the past 10 years or so. I’m keen to see the compilation and learn what others are doing and how things have changed over the past 30+ years.

My “favorite” rifle for the past six years has been a custom .257 Wby. built on a left-hand Remington Model 700 stainless action. The action is mated to a 26-inch Douglas barrel, all set in a McMillan black synthetic stock and packed around with an Uncle Mike’s neoprene sling. I’ve topped it with a Leupold VX-3 CDS 3.5-10X40mm scope and run handloads through it. I’ve used it on everything from elk, mule deer, caribou, Coues whitetails and coyotes stateside, to the varied bags in Africa stretching from jackals up to kudu, gemsbok and wildebeest. It will be with me on my first Stone’s sheep hunt in the Yukon in three weeks.

Winchester Model-70-Sporter
Though Steve D. likes light, fast chamberings, his “Plane-Jane” Winchester Model 70 in .30-’06 has accounted for most of his big game animals.

It has become my favorite for the following reasons: reduced recoil from a fast, flat-shooting cartridge, coupled with light weight (7.5 lbs.) and stainless/synthetic hardiness in a wide variety of environmental conditions. With handloads, it will consistently throw ragged one-hole groups at 100 yds. if I’m “on my game,” and I don’t own another rifle that can do that.

Second favorite in the arsenal is a Remington Mountain rifle chambered in .25-’06. It is the CDL model with beautiful wood (though showing some wear because I hunt in hard places and figure a rifle is to use, not just admire), and has a blued action and barrel. It is lightweight (6.75 lbs), and offers little recoil, but is a flat-shooter and has plenty of knock-down power for everything I chase in the Lower 48. I run handloads through this as well, and it, too, is topped with a Leupold VX-3, though standard issue with a duplex reticle, not the CDS dial.

You may have surmised that I have a preference for lighter cartridges with reduced recoil, fast velocities, flat trajectories and high hydrostatic-shock delivery. I am a firm believer in good marksmanship, and actually hunting an animal within reasonable range to make a good, sure shot. I place high value on one-shot kills. In my experience, bigger is definitely not better, but you have to know your capabilities when using lighter fare. It’s not for everyone, but works very well for me.

Lest I be labeled an “ultra light rifle snob,” my trusty Winchester Model 70 in .30-’06 still serves me well and has probably accounted for more big game animals than all my other rifles combined over my career. It’s a “Plain-Jane” walnut stock with blued action and barrel and still carries an old 3X9 Tasco scope that my father put on it 30 years ago. And yes, it still holds its zero quite nicely—just ask the Colorado bull I took with it last fall!



Progress Continues On AWLS Cabin

Sue Hankner, Director of Education and Humanitarian Services, describes the progress being made on the Caretaker’s Cabin at the American Wilderness Leadership School in Jackson, Wyoming.

Dudley Stuart Nicol, December 3, 1945-August 30, 2012

By Scott A. Evans

It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the sudden and unexpected passing of Dudley Nicol, a respected worldwide hunting guide, mentor and much loved friend and acquaintance to us all. Dudley passed away suddenly Thursday afternoon 30st August, 2012. He was 66 years old.

For all of us who had the privilege of meeting and knowing Dudley, I am sure you will share our sentiments that the Hunting fraternity has lost a genuine Bushman and the high country will seem somewhat barren without his presence.

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VP Candidate Ryan An Avid Hunter

Paul Ryan is not only a dedicated hunter, gun owner and shooter, but he is also a long-standing leader of the pro-hunting leadership in Congress.

By Patrick O’Malley

For those of us who call North America home, we’ve finally turned the corner on the calendar.   The heat of summer is fading, and dove seasons are in full swing.  Crisp, cool air is wafting in on north winds and big game seasons are beckoning.

As we finalize our hunting calendars for the 2012 North American seasons, we must pay close attention to one date in particular. Tuesday, November 6, is a day that must find us close to home so each of us can cast an informed ballot for the candidates who will protect hunting.

And if your calendar finds you far afield on that day, now is the time to contact your local registrar about applying to cast your ballot absentee.  Deadlines and regulations vary from state to state, but a quick search of the website operated by your state’s Secretary of State should yield speedy answers to any questions you may have.

Paul Ryan is not only a dedicated hunter, gun owner and shooter, but he is also a long-standing leader of the pro-hunting leadership in Congress.

And if some happenstance has rendered your voter registration invalid (like simply moving to a new home, even if nearby) that means you have about two weeks left before the deadline in most states to make sure you are properly registered at the correct address for your local voting precinct.

Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan for Vice President has brought a new focus to the stakes of the race for hunters.  Paul Ryan is not only a dedicated hunter, gun owner and shooter, but he is also a long-standing leader of the pro-hunting leadership in Congress.  Ryan is well known to the SCI leadership who participate in our Annual Lobby Day.

Ryan is also the former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC).  In this capacity, Rep. Ryan provided steady leadership in Congress on issues of concern to hunters, gun owners, shooters.  And that shows in his voting record on issues of concern to SCI.

Among the highlights of his record in Congress, Rep. Ryan led his colleagues to defeat all of the recent efforts to limit various seasons, specific species, and traditional methods of the hunt.  He has led the charge to pass many of SCI’s signature legislative goals, including successful legislation that changed the Pittman-Robertson excise tax payment schedule to remedy inequities and protect conservation funding.  He has spearheaded the charge to protect the right of hunters to use traditional ammunition, and played a key role in passing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, blocking baseless lawsuits that blamed manufacturers and retailers for the criminal misuse of firearms in an effort to bankrupt the gun industry and destroy the Second Amendment.

And those of us who bear arms for self-defense in addition to hunting will be pleased to learn he supported national “right to carry” legislation, which would allow law abiding Americans to defend themselves when traveling away from their home state.

Ours is not a partisan cause, but it is undeniable that the Ryan record stands in stark contrast to that of the Obama administration.  In the wake of shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, the Obama White House restated its support for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.  And if re-elected, Obama would have the political freedom to push the rest of the pent-up anti-gun, anti-hunting agenda, such as the drive to ban online ammo sales, restrict magazine capacity and limit hunting and shooting on federal lands.

Some may question the ability of the Vice President in any given Administration to shape key policies, but Presidents often defer to their Vice Presidents on specific issues where the Vice President has deep knowledge and interest.  It was never a secret that Vice President Dick Cheney was more avid a hunter than President George W. Bush.  As a result, his policy team took the lead on many issues of concern to gun owners and hunters.  The Vice President works from an office in the West Wing just like the rest of the President’s senior advisers, so he’s never far from the action, and in a Romney presidency, Ryan would also naturally fall into the role of top liaison between the White House and Congress.

The selection of Paul Ryan for Vice President means that our November ballot has become a mechanism to put a dedicated and passionate hunter in the White House.    Further down the ballot, the trustees of your SCI Political Action Committee (SCI-PAC) are also hard at work, trying to elect as many friends of hunting as possible to the House and Senate.    Your active support of SCI-PAC, and the informed ballot you cast on Election Day (or by absentee before, if your hunting schedule so dictates) are both critically necessary to the success that hunters will see in the future.  Elections matter, and this one now matters even more for hunters and SCI members.