This year, for the first time in quite a while, I signed up for a Texas deer lease. I’ll be hunting on a ranch in good country, just west of the Pecos River, here in West Texas. This place is well managed for whitetail, mule deer, turkey, and javalina. And, in the process, I’ve been tuning up another rifle for those cross-canyon shots here in Texas as well as plains-game hunting in Africa.
The basic rifle is a Ruger Model 77 Hawkeye, in .30/06, with Leupold 3×9 optics. And it wears a Peabody sling from Barranti Leather Company. A while back I had Timney Triggers install one of their dandy triggers in the rifle and that really is an aid to accurate shooting. But there were still a couple of things to be done to get the rifle ready for the coming hunting season.
Accordingly, I took it to Clayton Smith at West Texas Ordnance, Inc., near Ackerly, Texas. Clayton began by running a bore scope to make sure that the rifle chamber was straight and free from obstruction. That test being positive, he made a few other alterations for me.
I had him install a Decelerator recoil pad and reduce the overall length of the buttstock by one inch. The length of pull on most rifles is just too long, especially when we are wearing a hunting coat and I long ago found that shortening the rifle butt sure makes a hunting rifle fit me better.
Then he bedded the action and floated the barrel. Now, I don’t think that this will make a rifle shoot any more accurately. But it makes a hunting rifle more consistent. Once you get the rifle sighted in, you sure don’t want a climate change situation to cause the wood stock to swell and put undue pressure on the barrel. Consistent is nice.
I also like to sight-in a hunting rifle for one load that it really likes and then leave it alone. I’m not one to be switching ammo around. Consequently, this Ruger will be shooting the Federal .30/06 factory load that uses the 165 gr Trophy Bonded Tip bullet. Sighted 3 inches high at 100 yds, this rifle will regularly stick three bullets into a group that goes just a hair over an inch. And it would probably beat that group size if someone who can really shoot were to get hold of the rifle. Trouble is, now if I miss that big buck I simply won’t have much of anyone to blame except myself.
Many of you could probably do these relatively minor improvements all by yourself. But I learned a long time ago that a man ought to know his limitations. And, for some odd, reason I found that things just work a whole lot better when I let a custom gunsmith take care of such things for me.
So I’ve got my hunting rifle tuned up, got my ammo in hand, and my old hunting boots and coat will last another year. So, a couple of cans of beanie weenies and I’m good to go. How about you?