Monthly Archives: August 2015

Smaller Caliber Trends

by Woodsbum

In the last few years I have seen a huge number of articles about how smaller calibers are just as effective as larger calibers. As a matter of fact, I noticed this increasing dramatically over the last two hunting seasons. As someone who has been hunting since they were 4 years old I find it quite distressing that these “gun experts” are pushing for something that seems more of a trend than actual common sense.

Let me start off with a link and copy of the article was written for North American Hunt Club:


You Don’t Need A Magnum Rifle!

More than any other group of hunters, American’s suffer most from Magnumitis. And why not? We’re the land of bigger, better and brighter, right? Better add ‘battered’ to that list.

American shooters think they know a lot about magnum rifle cartridges and performance, but after they shoot one they’re positive they know one thing—recoil. Magnums batter at both ends.

Related Video:

Experienced magnum shooters sneer at that. Recoil doesn’t bother them. But it bothers others, often to the point of ruining their shooting. Flinch.

It doesn’t have to.

The 7mm Rem. Mag. will throw a 150-grain bullet farther than a 7mm-08 Rem., but a laser rangefinder can compensate for that. Then it’s just a matter of selecting the correct aiming point and putting the bullet in a vital spot.

The so-called magnum advantage really isn’t. Magnums don’t kill harder, deader and faster than most standard rounds. Friends and I have proven this to ourselves while taking literally hundreds of big game animals with everything from .223 Rem. to .458 Lott elephant rounds.

We’ve watched elk drop in their tracks when hit with a 243 Win. and coyotes dash 30 yards after taking a .300 magnum through the boiler room at 50 yards. We’ve shot through jackrabbits with a .357 Mag. without even slowing them down. And we’ve watched 2,000-pound buffalo collapse in their tracks when hit with a .270 Win.

In short, magnums just don’t always deliver the knockout punch they’re supposed to.

This doesn’t mean they’re puny or underpowered—it just means that bullets don’t perform like the punch from a heavyweight boxer. Despite all those foot-pounds of energy in a magnum, it’s not going to hit like the hammer of Thor and pound all game into an early grave.

A puny, little 140-grain .270 Win. bullet broke the neck of this 2,000- pound Australian water buffalo and anchored it in its tracks.

A bullet can absolutely pulverize the heart and lungs of a critter while barely jolting it. Until blood pressure to the brain drops sufficiently, the animal goes about its business. Usually that’s running away, but sometimes it’s just standing there or walking or even eating. Many times game doesn’t even know it’s been hit until it falls over. This takes anywhere from 3-20 seconds—sometimes longer—regardless the energy with which the bullet struck.

So why fool around with magnums? For extra reach. By throwing bullets faster, magnums throw them farther before they fall too low to hit your target. This is all relevant, but many magnums can add 20-60 yards to your dead-on shooting distance. They still recoil smartly doing it, so if you don’t appreciate that, choose a non-magnum cartridge and make up the shortfall with a laser rangefinder.

A 95-grain bullet from a .243 Win. is NOT supposed to be used to shoot Dall’s sheep at 450 yards, but no one told Spomer, his rifle, his ammo or this ram.

A laser rangefinder offsets the magnum reach advantage by nailing precise distance to target. Once you know that, you just raise your sights or dial your turret or choose the correct ballistic reticle to put your bullet on target. If that target is the central nervous system, dead right there. If it’s the heart/lungs, give things a few seconds to work out.

Regardless whether your bullet lands with magnum or standard energy, it’s not going to bounce off.


Now I can understand, especially considering I am an archery hunter, how important shot placement is when harvesting game. I have seen numerous bad shots in my day. Actually, I have seen enough bad shots in my day to make me understand certain needs for certain environments. Countless times I have seen under powered rounds used on large game that would just not do the damage needed to put the animal down ETHICALLY.

Harvesting a mule deer with a .22 lr is definitely possible. As a matter of fact, I have seen it several times. A .22 lr shot to the head is more than sufficient many times. My great-uncle’s favorite deer round was actually the .22 mag and he would take them while they were out near his chicken coup at his ranch on the reservation. Again, they were head shots. The animal went down immediately and there was no suffering.

As far as chest shots go, I have seen more animals shot with smaller caliber rounds that ran off and were never recovered, wounded, slowly bled out or had to be shot again to fully expire them than I have ever seen with larger calibers. Great examples of this are the .270 fan boys who think that their “expert” shot placement is more than sufficient to take down an elk. One of the first elk I ever saw harvested had a .270 bullet lodged in a lung. The wound had healed and it had obviously lived at least another couple seasons after having been shot. This elk was taken with a .338 mag and only a single shot to the heart/lungs. This was not the only wounded animal I have seen in my life due to an under powered hunter. I have seen 150 gr 30 caliber round nose bullets in chest cavities (30-30 round) and many 7 mm bullets that just did not do the job.

Just using anecdotal evidence really doesn’t prove anything, so let’s use science:

Firearms are mostly using hydrostatic shock as a way to put an animal down. The kinetic energy from the fired bullet is transferred to the object it strikes. The quicker that a bullet can transfer that energy to the object it strikes, the more damage can be done to the tissue. It is a very simple concept. If you can get more energy associated with the bullet’s trajectory through increasing mass or velocity, the more energy is available to be transferred. Dropping either mass or velocity decreased energy.

Now that we have established some science, let’s apply some common sense:

Larger animals have more mass, larger bones, and potentially higher density that your bullet has to penetrate. This will cause your bullet to slow down quicker upon entry and leave less energy to do damage to the internal organs. In case you were unsure as to where you wanted the energy to be transferred, this is it: the internal organs particularly those with a high concentration of blood to allow the animal to exsanguinate (bleed out) or no longer circulate that blood properly. Of course lung shots create a pneumothorax where air enters the chest cavity and the animal will expire due to suffocation. Either way, you need to do enough damage to those internal organs to put the animal down in an effective and timely manner. If your bullet loses a lot of its energy just penetrating the chest cavity there will be less energy to do the job of putting that animal down. The more energy left, the more damage internally.

What happens if your bullet passes nearby or just nicks a vital organ without fully transferring that kinetic energy and doing the required damage? Your animal is merely wounded and does not expire from being shot.

Other types of damage from bullets:

Large bore projectiles do damage the same way, but with a twist. They usually use some sort of design that allows for greater penetration of the animal. Taking a 45-70 as an example, I use a 405 grain bullet that travels around 1800 ft/s where a 300 Wby will push out a 180 grain bullet at about 3200 ft/s. This is over 2x the bullet weight at about 56% of the velocity. Basically, it hits like a cinder block being shot out of a cannon at close range. It does an incredible job at penetrating animals, vehicles, or even trees. With longer barreled rifles and modified loads for rifles such as the Sharpes it can even be a very effective long range rifle. Just research Billy Dixon.


To draw my whole thought on large versus small calibers together I simply will state this:

If you have a large critter you should probably use a larger gun. In the words of Martin Brody, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.”

  • Share on Tumblr

Gun Dog Videos

by Woodsbum

Yesterday I picked up a couple Gun Dog videos, Retriever and Pointing Dogs. Although I have been around hunting dogs and training of hunting dogs my entire life, I was wondering if there was anything new that I might pick up to use. The videos were actually quite impressive in the manner that they step you through the puppy training process all the way to the point where you have a dog that will actually hunt.

Gun Dog Retrievers

Gun Dog Retrievers

The first couple sections built upon pressure as a way to exert control. It started with them simply holding the puppy and applying pressure until they quit squirming. They then used that with several other advanced obedience commands later on, especially with regard to leash work.

Gun Dog Pointing Dogs

Gun Dog Pointing Dogs

One thing that I am not used to was treat training. I know that it makes the training process easier, but I am not as fond of that method as praise training. I know some people may not agree with me, but I have found that dogs seem more bonded to their people through praise training than treat training. When professional trainers are getting dogs ready for clients, I can see how treat training is the way to go so that the dog will bond with their new people after they are built into hunting dogs.

I do love the way that they transitioned the puppy from feathers, to birds and integrated the gunshots into the whole mix. That was worth the price of the video just in seeing how they did it without stressing the dog. I look forward to watching the pointing dogs video to see how they train upland bird hunting. After watching my dog naturally pointing bugs in the yard, I am excited to see how well he picks this up. There is little doubt that we will get it with a little work because he is such a smart little guy.

My recommendation after watching these videos is that anyone training a hunting dog take some time to examine other people’s training techniques.

  • Share on Tumblr

Windows 10

by Woodsbum

My current profession requires me to be on top of all new operating systems and business software. This means that I made the HUGE mistake of moving my Alienware laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10. From that last sentence it is painfully obvious that things did not go well.

Let me preface this whole saga by letting you know that I have already upgraded 4 other laptops to Windows 10. Those all worked very well and had no issues whatsoever. Since it was tested and seemed to work flawlessly, I proceeded to run the upgrade on my main system.

From the onset, I was getting the feeling that something might be wrong. The upgrade process was taking way too long, but I do have a 1 TB drive for my system and another 1 TB drive for movies, music, pictures, etc. There was always the possibility that the issue was associated with indexing all the files on both drives, so I just waited. I keep waiting. Then I waited some more. About the time I was ready to just freak out the system rebooted and told me that the upgrade was over, all was good and life was peachy. Of course it was in more technically appropriate terms, but you get the gist.

The system did its thing and I suddenly saw the new Windows 10 desktop. At this point I actually became a bit excited because the interface on 10 is SO much better than 8 or 8.1. All seemed wonderful UNTIL……..

Dun, don, done……

My screen went completely black and all I had was a mouse arrow. No Windows shortcuts worked so I had to Ctl+Alt+Del to get into Task Manager and open a run prompt from there. Interestingly enough ms-settings: didn’t work to open the “Settings” screen, nor did many other normal Windows command functions. About all I could do was open Control Panel, Windows Explorer, reboot and curse.

After messing around with things I discovered that the error log contained errors causing explorer.exe to crash and thus I lost my desktop. After reverting back to Windows 7 numerous times, uninstalling countless programs and getting Microsoft on the line to tell me that life was crappy so do a clean install I almost lost it.

Here is what I have found thus far:

Windows 10 doesn’t like Vipre Antivirus, Stardock, WindowsBlinds, any DVD software, IDT Audio drivers, graphics accelerators, or me.

I am now working on the 9th attempt to get Windows 10 on my laptop after uninstalling even more programs that are allegedly causing explorer.exe to crash and with the help of Microsoft I assume that I will have a completely useless laptop by Friday morning.

My advice for anyone thinking about upgrading to Windows 10 is as such:

Buy a new hard drive and clone your current system onto that second drive. Then attempt the upgrade from there. If it doesn’t work you can reclone it, uninstall anything causing a crash and then attempt the upgrade again. This way you don’t end up with a broken OS after you have to revert back from Windows 10.

Good luck and keep your fingers crossed for me. At this point I need all the help I can get.

  • Share on Tumblr

Rawhide Mora Sheath

by Woodsbum

A couples of weeks ago we taught another NBEF Bowhunters Education Class. While other people were teaching, I took a few minutes to whip up a sheath for my friend’s son who was going to a summer camp. The camp was called “Ranger Camp” where they taught many different skills to include quite a few bushcraft techniques. So that the poor kid was not stuck with a plastic Mora classic sheath as well as giving him a chance to be one of the “cool kids,” I took some time to get his neck knife squared away.

The first thing I did was cut off the plastic belt loop off the stock sheath. I then wrapped the sheath in rawhide and sewed it together along the back so the original sheath became an insert/frame/internal structure.

Sewn along the back of the Mora

Sewn along the back of the Mora

Unfortunately the rawhide shifted quite a bit and was difficult to keep in place considering my work bench was nothing more than a couple catalogs and a bow case across my lap. I did get a good stitch on it and it dried quite nicely.

I then did an outer wrap that was to become the belt/strap loop and attachment for a firesteel. Since his firesteel was at home and I needed one to make a loop, I went downstairs and picked him up a Light My Fire. This one had an antler handle and was pretty nice looking so it went well with the rawhide sheath design.

Belt loop/strap loop

Belt loop/strap loop

Here is the loop I did for the Light My Fire. I love how rawhide forms and hardens into shape. The way this loop formed perfectly to the firesteel made me quite happy.

Firesteel loop

Firesteel loop

All said and done, Tristan was envied by the other kids and some of the instructors for having a nice sheath for his Mora. He is a good kid that does a whole lot for his brother and parents so I really hope he gets lots of good use and many years of enjoyment out of this sheath. He definitely deserves to have good things happen for him.

AND. In case you were wondering, he did have a great time at his “Ranger Camp.” They taught him firemaking, archery, shelters, how to cook over flame, and all sorts off fun skills that anyone spending time in the woods should know. You can definitely see that this time in the woods learning bushcraft skills really fired him up to learn and try more. It really brings big smiles to my face when I see that spark in his eye.

Final Product

Final Product

  • Share on Tumblr

Grain Mill

by Woodsbum

Over the last several years I have been on a mission to lower my dependency on stores and manufactured products. Of course there is little to no way to get completely independent, but I have been making as many strides as I can reasonably make toward that end goal. Having a way to mill grains and make flour for cooking is one such leap I had yet to make, until recently.

The criteria for my milling system was fairly straight forward. I wanted something that was NOT electric, but I could attach a motor to it later on if I so desired. Other than that I just wanted it to be sturdy and actually work as advertised.

Since our family is not a huge bread consumer, this device would not be expected to produce pounds of flour every week. I figured that a few cups at a time was more than sufficient. Even my big bread recipes only call for a max of 6 cups. My son can grind away for a few minutes to get us that amount.

Now that I knew what I wanted (usable, durable, inexpensive, and manual) I went to work on Amazon in search of something that would suffice. There in lies the rub……  I had NO clue what I was buying really. There are hundreds of devices out there in a multitude of configurations and they all claim to be the best thing since mortar and pestle. Getting some rocks and grinding didn’t sound like fun so I just read some reviews, bought something, and crossed my fingers.

Here is what I got:

Grain Mill

Grain Mill

It had great reviews and I had a coupon to get a solid discount, so I figured I couldn’t get too badly hurt if it turned out to be a bust. Interestingly enough, it seems to work pretty good. We have only used it 5-6 times, but it works as advertised and I get a good arm workout in the process. The wheat berries we picked up are some sort of hippie stock, GMO deprived, organically sealed and hermaphrodite free or some such crap. The flour tastes okay so I guess I picked well.

Wheat Berries

Wheat Berries

We have not figured out how many berries it takes to get a cup of flour, but I can tell you that it seems to be a lot. Several refills of the hopper are required to get enough flour for a pizza crust. That is about as scientific as I can get on it, but I have discovered a few things that I would like to pass along to everyone.

  • Cleaning this thing is not for the faint of heart. Holy sheep shears…….
  • The table clamp scratches the crap out of your table so only use it when you wife is gone and you can use thick socks to protect the table. Don’t tell my wife.
  • The flour from this allows dough to raise more than store bought flour. The taste seems to be the same, though. For all the work I wanted it to taste like fluffy gold and it doesn’t.

For those that have considered jumping into this purchase for themselves, I would recommend what I got. It works and hasn’t killed me yet. Nothing fancy, just functional. This being said, I would have to say that this isn’t just a prepper tool. Anyone that likes fresh cooking components would be happy with this setup in all honesty. Just the fact that I can store the berries in small, vacuum sealed packages and just make the flour as needed keeps all my ingredients fresh. If nothing else it makes me feel like I am doing something “special” for my family when I bust this guy out. That and it is kinda nostalgicly amusing.

Have fun with the arm workout!!!!

  • Share on Tumblr