Saturday, October 31, 2009

Range Report - 336 SRC w/ Lee "Soup Can" loads

The Rifle= 60's vintage Marlin 336 Saddle Ring Texan, 20" barrel.

The ammo= Lee 113gr RNFP Gas Checked bullet cast from Wheel Weights, Winchester twice fired Brass, Winchester Large Rifle Primers. OAL 2.330"

Conditions, overcast and very windy.

Powder (Use at your own risk. ALWAYS double check loading data with reliable sources!)

1) Red Dot powder - 5 grains (.7cc Lee Scoop) This was the only load that I shot plain based (no gas check). The load averaged 1140 fps, 1116-1148 spread. It was the least accurate of the loads tested. I may try to reduce this load further and see if it improves at all before giving up on it.

2) IMR SR 4756 - 10.5 grains. This load averaged 1604 fps, with a very narrow spread between the high and low for the ten shot string, 1597-1610. It was also impressively accurate, sub 1" group at 50 yards (throw out the flier and the best group was less than 1/2"). It prints ~ 2" lower than the "PapaJohn Load" at 50 yards with the same sight setting. The third notch up from the bottom on the rear sight elevator is POA = POI with this load. Each indent above and below = ~ 2" in Elevation at 25-50 yards.

3) Hercules 2400 17.5 grains. This load looks promisingly accurate too. The spread was a little wider 2013 - 2033. This load heated up the barrel pretty quickly, this rifle tends to start vertically stringing the groups when it gets hot and it was evident in the groups.

The conditions were less than ideal. The wind was blowing hard enough that it pushed my body around. Still this bullet looks like it is as accurate as its reputation.

If I get the chance I'll test it at longer ranges. I'm not sure what I'd use the load for other than "cheap" shooting (you get 60 of these per pound of lead). It would probably make a good Coyote load but is lighter than I'd want on anything bigger. The recoil is very soft with the first two loads and even the fastest load it was hardly noticeable. I'll have to let you know if it will tip over a 200 yard steel Ram silhouette when I get the chance to try it.. There was no leading evident.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


"Those that believe Whitetails are smart have never hunted Blacktails"

Generally I would say that is true, except during the rut...

We are blessed to have Mule, Whitetail and Blacktail Deer in this state. The Mule Deer is probably the most pursued inhabiting many of the popular hunting areas. Cougar predation has reduced their numbers and Mule Deer hunting regulations are the most restrictive - most areas requiring 3 points (western count) or better. Whitetail range is expanding and generally overlaps most Mule Deer range, especially in farming and more developed areas.

The Blacktailed Deer's range is on the west side of the Cascades, some say the only true (non-hybrid) Blacktails are west of I-5. Their habits are secretive and seem less adaptable to human development than the Whitetail. They haunt the thicker rain soaked forests and appear to thrive in younger mixed stands created by burns and clearcuts.

Yesterday while herding my neighbor's escaped cows I kicked up a nice 4 x Blacktail bedded down with a doe. I've not seen him before though I suspect I've seen his dad, grandpa and great grandfather in years past. All were beautiful specimens that usually met their demise during the rut.

After the cows were back where they belonged I went home to get my camera - I didn't have permission to hunt the property... so pictures will have to do. I went back to the area I saw him and sure enough he was still focused in on the doe. I got within rock throwing distance before he noticed me and stood up. He was a very cooperative photographic subject.

The Doe was similarly unconcerned and continued to feed but didn't feel like posing for any pictures.

As the photo session progressed I spotted another set of headgear strolling through the brush.

And then another.
The 4x is easily the nicest blacktail I've seen in a few years. He's got good body size - for a Blacktail - and he has a beautiful symmetrical rack with some nice brow tines.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Sunday morning I was enjoying the view out of my cabin window when this dude strolled by.

He was in no hurry so I had time to grab the camera and take a picture through the window - the flash on the glass washed out a lot of the color but I did capture his image.

I believe he is feeding on the Turkeys (Merriams) that frequent the property. I've found a lot of fly tying materials thanks to him. I suspect he may be the reason we didn't see any deer on the property this trip.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Grousing around - insanity?

Grouse hunting - is there a better way to spend a beautiful Autumn morning? I don't think so.
I hate to admit it but there is a Grouse that has eluded me on a regular basis. I know where he'll be, I know where he'll go and every time he manages to escape...

In a thicket, just up from the creek is the home of a Grouse that manages to outwit me on three consecutive hunts. I know right where he'll be. I even hear him rustling in the dry leaves - yet he is invisible until I move in... then he erupts into flight and escaping before I can even bring my rifle to my shoulder.

As I've written before, Grouse are hunting's equivalent of Bluegill fishing. Generally easy to add to the game bag and mighty tasty table fare. For some reason this one has proven very slippery. Perhaps after years of culling the stupid Grouse a super Grouse has evolved... Perhaps this one takes pleasure in my frustration, knowing that I'll come back, scan the area for relentlessly, eventually conclude he's not there and then have him thunder into the sky within feet of my muzzle and zig zags through the forest to the next hide, to which I follow him and repeat the strategy only to suffer the same result...

Honestly, I enjoy every second of it, even though it means admitting that I've been outsmarted by a creature with a brain the size of a pea. Yesterday was no exception and I fell for it again, hook, line and sinker. I can imagine him blogging about the hunter he's outwitted on at least three occasions... and how he'll do it again.

I'll be back there in a week to duel with him again. If you see a picture of him in the frying pan and some flies made of his feathers you'll know I won. If not, he's won again...

Actually, anytime I'm in the woods with 'my favorite Marlin' (model 39A Mountie) is a good day - even when the Grouse elude me... When the game is scarce or elusive I can always plink, which is nearly as much fun. This Alder leaf took three shots, offhand and was the only trophy I bagged this day. Not Boone and Crocket nor worth field dressing but was part of another happy memory of another happy day in the field with my Marlin.

Insanity = Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.