SCI Northern Nevada Chapter Conducts Nature Club for Young Students

During the spring 2011-2012 school semester, the Jessie Beck Nature Club sprang into action again.  This year, 5th and 6th grade students met seven times to learn about many outdoor topics.  One session was dedicated to mimicking the sounds of wild animals: crows, coyotes, distressed rabbits, deer, elk, and more.  Each participant received a diaphragm call and four other reed calls, which they put together themselves.  In another session, students learned the basics about turkeys: analyzing a mounted turkey, determining how to age a bird from spur length and tail feathers, and even creating their own writing instrument – a turkey quill pen. Other sessions focused on finding animal signs, specifically scat and tracks.  Using the hoof of an elk, the students pushed it into wet soil and then made a mold of the hoof print using plaster of Paris.  After the meetings were concluded, the Club’s camouflaged T-shirts could be seen on at least one member on any given day.

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One can only imagine the impressions these students had during the Club sessions. For many, these are first time experiences, and the program has become one of the school’s most popular. The program is the brainchild of NNSCI Director Ryan Brock. With NNSCI Chapter support, Brock has developed this program into an ongoing annual event the students eagerly anticipate.– by Terrence Melby,  SCI Northern Nevada Chapter Director



Flat Base Or Boattail?

As hunters, we put a lot of thought into the tips of our bullets.  Roundnoses, spire points, plastic tips and such are all worried over to ensure that the bullet we’re using is right for the game we’re hunting.  But have you ever given as much consideration to the other end of your bullet–the base?

boattail and flatbase bullets 111412
Should you use a flat base or boattail bullet for your type of hunting? Does it even matter anymore?

In the scheme of things, the base of your bullet probably isn’t going to make any more of a difference between a hit or a miss, a clean kill or a wound, than the bullet tip, but it is something to consider if you’re on a once-in–a-lifetime hunt and want to eliminate as many variables as possible that could leave you standing there wondering what went wrong if a trophy animal bounds away seemingly unscathed.

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This boattail bullet was fired into a whitetail deer from about 20 yards. The core completely separated from the jacket, and the penetration was poor.

There are generally two types of bases on hunting bullets—flat base and boattail—and the practical differences between them may not be what you think. Both have their benefits, and their drawbacks. For example, when it comes to pure accuracy, flat base bullets are inherently more accurate than boattails, and that’s why you see the “short range” Benchrest shooters using them. The reason is because it’s easier to make their bases perfectly square

with the sides of the bullets than it is to make boattails perfectly concentric and on straight.

Another benefit of flat base bullets is that for a given caliber and bullet weight, they’re shorter overall, so are more easily stabilized in a slower rifling twist. That shorter length, however, puts their center of gravity more toward the rear of the bullet, and that tends to offset stability gained from the shorter length.

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This is a 180-grain roundnose fired from a .35 Remington. It mushroomed well and retained most of its weight–a good choice for close shots on medium game.

Finally, flat base bullets generally experience less jacket/core separation on impact. If you think of the bullet jacket like an ice cube tray and the lead core as the ice, it should be obvious that the right angle inside of a flat base jacket holds onto the core better than the tapered inside of a boattail jacket. On big game, you want a bullet that penetrates, and that means using a bullet that stays together and retains its weight instead of coming completely apart during expansion.

I’m not suggesting standard cup-and-core boattails are the wrong bullet to use for hunting—they have their place and their advantages—such as at very long range on light-bodied game. Boattails increase the ballistic coefficient of bullets, which helps them overcome air resistance and wind deflection. The difference in the amount of bullet drop between flat base and boattail bullets won’t amount to much until well past the range at which most of us shoot, but the boattail’s better ballistic coefficient makes errors in wind deflection correction and range estimation more forgiving. Whatever loss of accuracy there is from the boattail’s inherent manufacturing flaws are more than offset by their ability to overcome adverse or unknown shooting conditions. And if you’re a handloader, boattail bullets are simply easier to start into a case mouth and seat with less chance of crumpling or bulging a case neck.

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This is the base of a Nosler Partition bullet. It shows that on impact, a bullet’s core tends to shift forward in the jacket. In this design, though, the partition retains the base core.

Thankfully, bullet technology is at a point where we really don’t have to choose between a flat base and a boattail for good terminal performance. There are plenty of bullets that give you the benefits of both without some of their drawbacks.

From a design standpoint, Nosler has its Solid Base boattails that retain their cores during penetration better than standard cup-and-core boattails. With the Solid Base design, the entire boattail base is solid copper, so instead of being tapered inside the base, the lead core bottoms out against an all-flat surface.  It’s like Nosler made a flat base inside a boattail so there’s less a chance of the core popping out as it impacts and passes through game. That design also shifts the bullet’s center of gravity forward helping with stability.

Nosler Solid Base Bullet 111412
Nosler’s Solid Base bullet has a solid copper boattail base and the lead core bottoms out against a flat surface like on a flat base bullet.

There are also bullets that mechanically retain the core such as Hornady’s InterLock boattail bullets. An InterLock is essentially a raised edge inside the bullet jacket that grips the core solidly when it’s swaged into place during bullet forming. I’ve shot a lot of big game with Hornady InterLock bullets and I can’t recall an instance of jacket/core separation.

Another technique to help boattail bullets perform better is by bonding the jacket and the core.  Often, this bond is so strong that it’s not uncommon to recover expanded bullets with significant amounts of lead still bonded to the petals instead of being ripped or wiped off. Swift Bullets uses bonding in its Scirocco II line, and if you section one you’ll also see that the lead core sits in a flat-bottom cavity much like Nosler’s Solid Base bullets.

Bullet jaket and core 111412
If you think of the jacket like an ice cube tray and the core as the ice, it’s easy to see how boattail cores separate more easily unless locked or bonded into place.

Of course, we can’t forget all-copper bullets such as Barnes. They offer the sleek design and high ballistic coefficient of boattail bullets, and expand reliably without any lead core at all.

There are continuing efforts being made in the Benchrest shooting community to make boattail bullets that behave like flat bases at all ranges,

and flat base bullets that behave like boattails at long range. Those efforts include rebated boattail designs that have an abruptly reduced bullet diameter before the boattail is formed, and FBVLD, or flat based very low drag bullets that have an extremely long nose, or ogive (pronounced o-jive), for minimum nose drag to compensate for the greater base drag. I also understand Berger Bullets has been working on a method of forming boattails so that they are more concentric. If those efforts prove successful, it’s likely that we’ll see them adapted to hunting bullets in some fashion. Until then, if using standard cup-and-core bullets, you’re probably better off with flat base bullets on heavy game at close to long range, and boattail bullets on light game at very long range.—Scott Mayer


SCI Redding Chapter Takes Sensory Safari to Honey Bee Festival

ReddingHoneyBee#111312On September 8 and 9, 2012, the Sensory Safari exhibit hosted 1,491 visitors, which was an increase of 200 over last year. Redding Chapter members Dennis Maxwell, Chris Frober, Jim Van Ornum, Peggy Dewell, Sheila and Larry McCloud staffed the trailer. Though there were adverse conditions–forest fires and triple digit temperatures, a welcome breeze cooled the area and dispersed the smoke from the fires.

Many visitors commented they checked the ReddingHoneyBee#2111312exhibitor list for the Sensory Safari trailer when deciding whether or not to attend the Festival.  This year, the Chapter had taken the trailer to several new schools introducing the students to the Sensory Safari.  The youngsters who had visited the trailer were so impressed that they brought their parents to the Festival to enjoy the exhibits.

A handicapped adult service, Mission Provider Services, Inc., brought a group to visit the exhibit. The owner, Carole Coats, escorted the ReddingHoneyBee#3111312attendees through the trailer.  A handicapped young lady who was overjoyed at the sight of the mounts is shown in an accompanying photo.  The other two photos show children interacting with the mounts.  The leopard is a recent addition donated by Jeff Smith of Redding.

The Chapter distributed its banquet and membership flyers and hopes to get new members. The Chapter found that many SCI national members are unaware of the Redding Chapter–Larry McCloud, Chapter President


SCI Convention Measuring Seminars

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The Complex Measuring Seminar is being offered to provide additional training on how to measure large Non-Typical white-tail deer and Complex red stags.

SCI is hosting its Measuring Seminars this year at the 2013 SCI Annual Hunters’ Convention in Reno, NV. There will be three different measuring seminars offered this year during convention. If you’re looking to become an Official SCI Measurer and have never attended a measuring course you will want to attend the Official Measuring Course on Saturday January 26th at 9:00am.

The Master Measuring Seminar will be hosted on Tuesday January 22nd at 9:00 am, which is the day before convention officially starts. The Master Measuring Course is for anyone who has been an Official Measurer for at least one year and wants to achieve the highest level of measuring status. The Master Measuring class requires the completion of scoring 25 various antlers, horns, and skulls within 3% accuracy. Time will be allotted throughout the course of the SCI Convention to allow time to complete the scoring test. The Master Measuring course is $125 and you must be an active SCI member to take either course.

The Complex Measuring Seminar will be held on January 25th at 12:00pm and is open to all SCI measurers. This is a free seminar that is being offered to provide additional training on how to measure large Non-Typical white-tail deer and Complex red stags. So if you’re up for the challenge of measuring some of the toughest animals around or just want to learn some tricks to making it easier, be sure to come to the Complex Measuring Seminar on Friday January 25th at SCI’s Convention.

To register for any of the above seminars or for more information, please contact Chris Emery at (520)620-1220 ext. 265 or  You may also sign up online.

Register Now For The 2013 SCI Convention!

SCI Convention event

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