Quotes of Note: Man in The Arena

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat”.  T. Roosevelt, 1910

Precision Rifle With Elevated Shooting – The Definition of Fun

My good friend, Ron Differ, had been encouraging me to accompany him to the Government Training Institute Legion‘s Precision Rifle With Elevated Shooting Course. His urging finally produced a result and I signed up for the latest iteration of this training, held at the GTI Legion training facility just outside of the Savannah River Site.

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Ron Differ and I firing on Day 1 – Targets Located at ranges of 100-700 yards

The Precision Rifle With Elevated Shooting Course was, to say-the-least, incredibly thorough. In fact, I can do no better than to quote from the GTI Legion course description to illustrate the course complexity:

The Precision Rifle training class covers topics needed to effectively shoot mid to long ranges. The class will cover equipment, ballistics, range estimation, environmental conditions, and angular units of measure. If you are looking to make ethical shots on game at extended ranges, or just enjoy shooting targets at long range, this class will cover all the information necessary. The second day of the Precision Rifle With Elevated Shooting course is spent in our 135 foot / 10 floor elevated shooting tower that gives our students the opportunity to learn to shoot from high angles.

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Joe Marler of Daniel Defense prepares for a 500-yard shot (using a Daniel Defense Delta 5 rifle, of course!) from a barrier. GTI Instructor, Chris Walker, sets up to call Joe’s shots.

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There would have been no success for me without each of these fantastic components – Federal Premium Sierra MatchKing ammunition, Vortex Fury HD 5000-combination binocular/laser rangefinder and the Kestrel 5700 Elite Meter With Applied Ballistics. The Vortex range-finding, Kestrel ballistic calculations and the Federal ammunition made 700+-yard accuracy achievable, if not easy!

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MG Arms Banshee in .300 Winchester Magnum and Armageddon Gear’s  Ultralight Shooting Pad and Waxed Canvas Optimized Game Changer Support Bag ready for longrange elevated firing.

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Using the GTI protocol for bracing the MG Arms Banshee while firing at a 300-yard target.

Here is what I wrote in my notebook after one of my stages. Chris Walker acted as my spotter and witness(!): “450-yard target, two shots fired, two impacts; moved to 600-yard target, two shots, two impacts; moved to 700-yard target, two shots, two impacts, last dead-center!”

Stay tuned for two full-length articles to appear in TheTruthAboutGuns.com. The first should appear later this week!

(All photos courtesy of David Young)

 

 

Armageddon™ Gear for the GTI Tactical Course

I have been given the opportunity to attend a Government Training Institute Tactical Course on December 7th and 8th. Invited by my good friend, Ron Differ, I am very excited – and a bit nervous! – to try out shooting at targets positioned at distances up to 900 yards.

As part of my preparation, I needed to find a source for a shooting mat when shooting from a prone position and a rest for the butt of the rifle during the prone phase and the forend on other portions of the course. Finally, I needed a wrist board on which to record the necessary sight adjustments for the widely-varying distances. With this in mind, I approached the premier suppliers of all things related to Tactical shooting: Armageddon™ Gear.

Logo on Box

One phone call and email later resulted in Tom Fuller‘s very generous offer to send this freelancer a set of Armageddon™ Gear’s Tactical-shooting products. The items sent included their Game Changer™ Support Bag, Ultralight Shooting Mat and Competition Data Armband.

Mat (rolled up), Gamechanger, Bracelet and Pens

With the MG Arms Banshee (their Long-Range Tactical Rifle) and the Gold Medal Federal ammunition, I am as prepared as possible. Now, I just have to be able to hit the targets…no pressure there!!

Burnt Pine Plantation – Bring on the Whitetails!

Burnt Pine Sign

My address for the next three nights will be Burnt Pine Plantation near Newborn, Georgia. Brian Mask, General Manager for over a decade at Burnt Pine, and everyone of his wonderful staff have already made me feel like family — a well-fed member of the family!

Front of Lodge

I’ll be sharing many more experiences from this beautiful property, but if you want to hunt whitetails, turkeys, Mourning doves or any upland game – in a comfortable, beautiful and friendly atmosphere – you need to head out to Burnt Pine.

By the way, I’m not greedy about the type of whitetail I want to harvest – one like either of these will suffice…

Two Deer Mounts

MG Arms Ultra-Light in 7mm-08

The two rifles from Carol and Kerry O’Day, owners of MG Arms, arrived yesterday. I was hoping to take both rifles to the range today, but we are receiving some of our ~50 inches of yearly rainfall. So, instead of rangetime, I spent several hours in a very enjoyable photo session with an MG Arms Ultra-Light chambered to 7mm-08. The plan is to photograph the ‘ultimate longrange tactical rifle’ (i.e. the Banshee) tomorrow.

I thought I would share a few photos of the Ultra-Light.

1) Whole Rifle Angled

6) Skeletonized with Bolt in

This Ultra-Light, like all MG Arms products, is a high-quality and accurate-as-heck firearm. To prove that I’m not being hyperbolic about the accuracy, I’m also including a JPEG of the sighting-in target that Carol sent to me.

3) 7mm-08 Group

The ammunition used to obtain this sub-sub-MOA group was hand-loaded by MG Arms staff. They included boxes of the same hand-loads with the Ultra-Light, thus I will have NO excuse for obtaining larger groups during my shooting sessions. No pressure there!

2) Handloads from MG Arms

A full review in TheTruthAboutGuns.com will appear soon!

Treestand Affection – A Miracle Happens

Young Buck

The low point of my thoughts coincided with 1) an elevated wind strength and 2) the appearance of the young buck. On previous hunts, I had only brought does back to our house at Elmdale. This had been fine with my Mom and Dad because, to quote my Father, “They eat better.”  However, I really wanted to accomplish what my older brother had. I wanted to take a buck. I wanted to be able to feel the bone-like antlers and to keep them as a trophy. I never expected to be able to shoot a deer like the one my Dad had hanging in the back room of our house. My Dad’s deer had been taken the year before. It possessed a beautiful seven-point rack complete with the graceful antlers characteristic of the Texas Hill Country. The rack carried by the deer in front of me was not that size.

In fact, “my” buck carried only a forkhorn on one side and a short spike on the other. My Dad pressed his arm against me as a signal to raise my rifle. The buck had his nose in one of the bushes that made up a hedge in front of the stand. As he nibbled unconcernedly at some of the remaining fresh growth, I placed the crosshairs of my .243 Winchester behind his shoulder. Just then the West Texas equivalent to a gentle breeze hit like a sledgehammer. My sights swung wildly past the tail of the deer. I swiveled my scope back to the aiming point for a lung shot just as the wind let up and the tree righted itself. The unbending of the tree caused my gun sight to pivot past the shoulder, neck and then jaw of my intended target. “Oh, Hell!”, I would have thought, if I had been allowed to swear. Again I corrected and again the wind hit. Again and again, I watched my crosshairs skim from one end of the deer to the other. I knew I was running out of time.

At last, the buck tired of the browse 20 yards in front of our hide and started meandering down the well-worn deer trail. For the final time I pulled my gun from the rear end of the buck to his shoulder. As the gust began to subside, I tried to keep the gun sights from sliding forward while simultaneously squeezing the trigger. At the report and kick of my gun, the buck disappeared from my view. I had hardly brought my gun down from its slight recoil induced elevation when my Dad began congratulating me on a great shot. He said, “You must have hit him in the spine to drop him so quickly”. I couldn’t believe my skill, but then what should I have expected from one of the greatest eight-year-old deer hunters in the country?  My brother would never hear the end of this exploit. I had not only collected my first buck, but I had done so under the most trying of conditions. I had placed the shot almost exactly where I was aiming, in spite of the gale-force wind. As I stepped down from the bottom rung of the ladder, I was already imagining and savoring the sight of the neat hole, a bit higher than intended maybe, but still just behind the shoulder. In fact, I was staring at the exact spot where my bullet must have hit as I drew near the buck. I was puzzled as I slowly knelt by the deer’s side. Where was the wound?  My Dad’s voice cut through my musings, “Michael, where were you aiming?”  “Just behind his shoulder”, was my reply. “Hmm, well you hit him in the head.”  My eyes slid up the buck’s neck to his head and it was then that I saw the evidence of the .243’s work. No wonder he had dropped like a rock.

To say that my brother was unmerciful, is the understatement of the past century. He glibly pointed out that I had only missed my target area by about three feet and from a distance of 20 yards. He also correctly surmised that I might just as easily have shot my buck in the butt. I think my response was that I would rather shoot him in the butt. I really didn’t mind the ribbing too much. I think my Dad summed it up pretty well when he said “Son, you will never lose the enjoyment of taking your first buck”. He was right. The memory of that gusty morning is as sweet 53 years later as it was the moment I carefully stepped from the last rung of my first treestand.