Friday, June 20, 2014

Clean Living

In what I can only attribute to divine intervention on behalf of my moderate and devout lifestyle (*snort*), I received a phone call out of the blue today.

Several months ago I bought a couple of raffle tickets for a seven-day guided elk hunt from the Cody, Wyoming FFA. I figured the odds of my winning were pretty small. I was right.

I didn't win the first prize, but my name was drawn for the second prize - a Sako Model 85 rifle.

I shot a borrowed Sako on last year's New Zealand red stag hunt and was very impressed with the smoothness of the action, along with its accuracy. To say I'm pleased and excited would be an understatement.

Of course my wife, the spoilsport, pointed out that the rifle is sans scope. Whereas she sees that as a drawback, I see it as an opportunity. I like to go optics-shopping.

And while I am loath to look a gift horse in the mouth, I must admit there is one small drawback to this particular rifle. It's chambered for the .338 Federal cartridge. That's a relatively uncommon caliber, which translates to somewhat more expensive ammo. It's also a much more powerful cartridge than needed for my usual game (whitetails, and on occasion pronghorn antelope). My ancient .270 is perfectly fine for them.

However, I did draw a Wyoming elk tag this year. I'll be going up there in the fall. I did some research on appropriate calibers for elk, and the opinions range from the venerable .270 up to guns that IMO should have wheels on them, such as the .375 H&H (which, again IMO, is massive overkill). Now I have an alternative to my .270.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should also add that earlier this year, in another raffle, I won a Weatherby Vanguard .300 Win Mag. So I actually have three choices for my elk hunt.

Please note I'm not usually this lucky. The only other worthwhile thing I've ever won in my life is my wife, and even then it took more than one try. Plus, the Weatherby came with the same 'shortcomings' as the Sako - no scope and a more powerful caliber than needed.

I'm not sure what to do with these two rifles. I really like my .270, I'm comfortable with it, and I think it will do just fine on elk. On the other hand, I'd really like to try out one or both of the two new rifles. But on the third hand, I haven't fired either one of them yet. That should help keep their value up if I do decide to sell one or both (to buy more raffle tickets....)

It's a tough problem to have...


Old NFO said...

LOL, NOT a bad problem to have; as long as you have a shoulder all in one piece to shoot those cannons... :-0 And you can't go wrong with Loopys for the optic...

Peter said...

Congratulations! I don't know the .338 Federal, but it sounds like overkill for what you want. However, the Sako can be re-barreled to a more suitable caliber. If it's unfired, the existing barrel and action should be worth something; and if necessary you can also sell the Weatherby to fund the work. How's that for a solution?

Peter said...

(Or, of course, you can sell both and buy a new Sako in your desired caliber and an airline ticket to go hunt with it!)

Toejam said...

My daughter and I were at a local out-door range recently to fire my M4 & M-14 at 100 yards.

The range officers had a scoped Savage Model 16 International Trophy Hunter XP in .22-250 cal.

Yea, the rifle was in a bench rest, but my neophyte daughter took out a "yellow" golf ball at 100 yards with it.

The range officer then put a hole smack dab in the middle of a U.S. dime from 100 yds and gave it to my amazed daughter.

He claimed he bought the rifle at a local Wal*Mart a few years ago for a tad over $299.

Sounds like a good investment to me.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

My late father guided elk hunts in NW Colorado for many years. He would approve of the ,270 for elk
Many of his clients had cannons that blew trees apart, but were slow to get off a second and third shot. Elk like to stay in aspen and scrub oak, so you may get a tree or two while getting a clean shot.

CenTexTim said...

NFO - most of the .338 and .300 Win Mag threads recommend Limbsaver recoil pads. Sounds like good advice to me.

Peter - good idea, especially the second one. But right now I'm leaning towards WSF's suggestion. Maybe I'll sell both and use the money to fix my truck so I can drive up there instead of fly!

Toejam - that's pretty good shooting, by both your daughter and the RO - and, of course, the rifle. I like the .22-250 round. It's a nice, fast, flat-shooting round with little recoil. I have a friend who uses a rifle chambered in .22-250 to hunt prairie dogs.

WSF - you and your father have convinced me to stick with my .270.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

My father used an old Model 70, .30-.06, with a 4x Weaver. Before that, Model 94 in .30-.30 open sights. My first rifle was a .30-.40 Krag bought from the VFW and cleaned up. A cousin is still putting meat on the table with it.

For your practice, consider shooting at 150 yards across a gully and both up and down hill. Put your targets in the middle of some brush.

CenTexTim said...

WSF - Where I'll be hunting many of the locals use .30-06 rifles. A lot of them are either handed down from the father, or were the first rifle the guy owned.

I've been up there many time hunting and camping. We have friends in the area (outside Sheridan WYO, in the Bighorn Mountains). It's mostly aspen and pine, with some chokecherry bushes scattered around. And you're right - level ground is pretty scarce.

Thanks for the tips.