We Have A Winner

Reader Tom McH, call your office send me your details (your full name and address, and the name, address and phone # of your local Merchant Of Death).  Please include as well either the date of the Zelle transfer or (if you still have it) the confirmation code.  (For future reference, this is why paper checks make things a little easier… for the entrants as well as for me.)

Tom’s new gun:


Boomershoot ULD Rifle – 2023

So after much anguished soul-searching, research and contemplation, here’s what I came up with (and all pics can be right-clicked to embiggen):

Rifle:  Savage 12 Long Range Precision (6.5mm Creedmoor)

Man, this is a bench rifle like few others.  Don’t even think of humping this puppy out in the field because you’ll break bones (collar-, leg-, back etc.), not to mention getting a thrombosis.

I didn’t like the Accu-Trigger.  I used them before and had no problems, but I do believe I’ve become spoiled by last year’s Howa 1500.  When I voiced my dissatisfaction with the Accu-Trigger, Dave The Gunsmith (henceforth known as Evil Dave) said, “You know, I have a Rifle Basix trigger group sitting in the back.  For an extra hundred, I’ll swap them out and set the pull to whatever you want.”

Holy crap.  “12oz?”  And it was done.

Scope:  Meopta Optika6:  5-30×56 Illuminated Mil-Dot 3 34mm FFP

Why did I go with the bigger (56mm bell and 34mm tube) scope than the normal 50mm/30mm specs?

Because the Merchant Of Death had it on sale, that’s why.

And whoa… what a difference.   I also popped for some Talley rings because they’re excellent.

Here’s what the setup looks like:

I dunno if it qualifies as an Evil Black Rifle, but it sure looks like it means business, dunnit?

“Yes, yes Kim, very nice… but how does it shoot?”

So I took it down to the 100-yard indoor range,and set about grappling with the gun.  Savage rifles are renowned for their budget price, reliability, ruggedness and accuracy.  They are not renowned for the silkiness of their operation.  The magazine release action nearly gave me a heart attack, and you have to slam the mag up into the well really hard, or else it doesn’t snap closed, but by the end of the session I’d worked it all out and it didn’t bother me too much.  The bolt, however, was silky smooth and we’ve already discussed the trigger.  Recoil was light because the gun’s weight soaked it up like a sponge.  Add a muzzle brake (which is not really necessary), and it would be akin to firing a .243 Win.

I fired off a few warm-up shots to foul the barrel and get used to the trigger.  Which almost worked, because when I got serious, I still managed to touch the damn trigger once by accident.  So I ended up with a 6-shot group that looked like this:

This will be our “Find The Called Flyer” Competition…

What this tells me is that if the shooter does his part and does not touch the trigger until he’s absolutely ready to fire, this Savage / Meopta combination will perform as advertised.  And that Hornady ammo is outstanding.

Cost for the whole rig came to a hair over $2,100 before sales tax.  If you want to emulate this rig for yourself, you could do a lot worse and not much better (without blowing stupid money).

Guys, I have always enjoyed shooting the Boomershoot ULD rigs — but this is the first time that I have been seriously reluctant to send it off to the winner (who will be announced tomorrow Wednesday March 8).  I would take it to any bench competition with the certain knowledge that I would not make a fool of myself (always allowing for my barely-adequate skill, of course).  I love the rifle, love the trigger and love the scope.

Game, set and flipping match.

Unpleasant Truths

It really pains me to write this post, but here we are.

For whatever reason, the response to this year’s BoomerShoot Rifle thing has been quite underwhelming:  so far, I have received just under $1,500 in ticket sales — money which, as any fule kno, has to cover the cost of the rifle and scope, as well as at least some of my travel expenses to get up to Idaho in May for a proper long-range field test.  (I had also hoped to raise enough to sponsor at least in part some of Joe Huffman’s expenses — notably for the BoomerShoot Dinner, always a fine event — but that seems to be impossible now [sorry, Joe].)

So, unless I get a serious influx of ticket sales over the next couple of weeks, I will have to lower my sights considerably, so to speak, and buy instead a budget setup (or just a rifle) and forego BoomerShoot altogether.

Please understand:  I am absolutely not chiding anyone about this, nor is this some kind of guilt trip exercise.  But the facts are the facts, and they are all as stated above.  So here’s where we stand.

  • Right now, I’m going to forego BoomerShoot 2023 altogether, unless circumstances change drastically.  It’s okay;  I love the shooting and the chance to hang out with a bunch of Readers, but it is a long trip from Texas — without any dawdling, it’s three days up, three days down.  The gun is more important, and I can sight it in down here in Texas at my sooper-seekrit outdoor range.
  • I had already decided to go with a rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, as last year’s rifle was in .308, I got a lot of support from ticketholders for the Creed, and the prices of a Creed rifle and a .308 rifle are about the same.
  • Nobody was interested in a plain hunting-style rifle (“because I’ve got that covered”);  everyone wanted a bench-style rifle.
  • I’m insistent on getting a quality rifle first and foremost, so I’m looking at the Ruger American Hunter, at about $875 (including shipping and processing):

I’d love to get another Howa like last year’s, but they run over a grand, so there’d be little money left over for a decent scope (more on that below).

Anyway, this leaves me with the scope.

  • I’d really prefer to get an illuminated reticle because in low light conditions, it’s a game-changer
  • at least 18x magnification, which I consider to be the minimum at ranges exceeding 400 yards
  • first focal plane (FFP) scopes have to be ruled out because of price, so it’s SFP, I’m afraid.

Here’s the best option, I think, based on my own experience:  the Meopta Optika6 3-18×50 BDC-3, which costs about $800:

Doing the simple math, the two come to $1,675 (still less than the $1,500 on hand, but I’m hopeful).

So here we are, at the Last Chance Saloon.  If you’re still interested, checks and Zelle are your choices.

I’ll hold the call open until the end of the month;  then I’ll have to get busy with whatever funds are available.

Rifle Conundrum

So having taken care of my carry gun problem, I turn now to the Boomershoot 2023 ULD situation.  Unfortunately, this leads me to another fork in the road.

But first, let me take care of the easy stuff.

Rifle type (bench vs. hunting):  Almost everyone said they had the “hunting” thing taken care of.  What they wanted was a bench-type rifle.  Check.

Caliber:  a vast majority of ticket holders wanted the thing in .308 Win, and almost nobody wanted .30-06 or 6.5 Creedmoor.  Also check.

Readers who recall my experiences with the Howa HCR 1500 from last year may recall that I loved the rifle.  (Cliff Notes:  more accurate than anyone (let alone I) could shoot it, outstanding trigger — just about the perfect rifle at that price point, or indeed at almost any price point.)

So just for the hell of it, I looked at doing the Howa again, and found this situation:

And here’s where the problem comes in.  The two rifles pictures have the same silky bolt action, the same astounding trigger, and the same hammer-forged heavy barrel — in other words, mechanically they are identical.

Where they differ, of course, is in the stock setup — the Hogue is free-floated but not “chassis” based, whereas the Oryx is a true bench rifle.  (As pictured, the Hogue weighs in at about 8lbs, whereas the Oryx weighs just over 10lbs — the latter being irrelevant as it’s being fired from a bench, and heavier weight is actually a positive attribute.)

That $270 price difference, however, sticks in my craw.  (Oh, and the Hogue is available immediately, but the Oryx is on backorder at five different outlets, where I’ve put myself on a notification list, just in case.)

What say you, O My Readers?

Boomershoot 2023 ULD / Hunter

Reader (and previous winner) Topcat hasn’t let his disqualification from this year’s drawing get in his way, oh no. His email to me two days ago read:

Possible Boomershoot candidate

Best of both worlds?

I have to say that I like the look of the thing(s):

Essentially, it’s the same rifle — the Precision is a pound or so heavier because of the adjustable cheekpiece, and I think the larger magazine — which no doubt accounts for the extra C-note in the price thereof. Other than that: same barrel, same adjustable trigger, same bolt action; we may actually have a winner. (I can also do the same for the Hunter/Precision combo in .308 Win, depending on Reader preference: I myself have no favorites, but the .308 costs a couple hundred more than the 6.5 Creed.)

However: unless there’s somewhat greater interest in any rifle, this may be the Boomershoot 2025 drawing, because to date I think I’ve received but a few entries for the draw, totaling some $400 in ticket sales.

…worse still, I’ll have to hitch-hike up to Idaho, and nobody wants to see that.

So get onto it, folks, and send those entries in: $20 per ticket, up to five tickets per person. Zelle to kim-at-kimdutoitdotcom, or paper checks/money orders to the Sooper-Seekrit mailing address.

In drawings past, I’ve bought the rifle and scope ahead of time and waited for the ticket sales to catch up. Thanks to Bidenflation (LGB!!), that’s no longer an option. [200 ranty swear words deleted]

Thank you for your support.

(Aiming) Point Of Order

In the Comments on the 2023 Boomershoot gear, Reader Beaner49 says:

“A scope with a BDC is a good choice rather than a simple crosshair.”

I will call mea culpa on myself on this one.

I am so accustomed to using a crosshair sight that I seldom look at any other kind;  but Beaner makes a very good point, and I may be selling the scope part of the ULD rifle short.  We’re talking about this:

  vs. this: 

I have to say that I’m in agreement — never let it be said that I’m so stuck in my ways that I can’t make a change (although by and large, it’s a safe assumption — except when this kind of reasoning comes into play).

So I think I’ll be going with the Meopta Optika6 3-18×50 Illuminated BDC 30mm FFP (first focal plane).

It costs a couple hundred more than my original choice, but Let’s Go Brandon.  Before anyone asks, the larger and pricier 56mm scope can be a POS to fit onto a rifle for not much more utility — but I’ll be ruled by the consensus of shooters more knowledgeable than I.  (Scary, this new Kim, innit?)