The ultralight craze has been going on for years now, ounces turn into pounds as they say!  Much of the advancement in technology that saves us weight is and has been a good thing.  That said, there is a fine line between counting ounces, and maintaining performance and comfort.  Take backpacks for example, I’d definitely go 1-1.5 pounds heavier to have a pack that feels good on my back and will reward me when I turn my 35-50 pound load into an 80-100 pound load.  Food, cut ounces where you can but if you don’t get the nutrition and calories you need your physical performance will suffer.  A sleeping pad/sleeping bag, lots of weight can be cut here on many guys setups but at the end of the day I pick a pad that gives me the best sleep even if it does weigh an extra 8-16 ounces.  All that said I believe the same theory applies with rifles.  For the past 6 years or so I’ve been hunting with a 300WSM built by Snowy Mountain Rifles.  We picked components that would yield a durable and extremely accurate hunting rifle.  It weighs 12lbs 1oz without ammo so add in bullets and a sling and we’re right around 13lbs.  Not light by any means but a tack driver and something that once you lay down behind it it’s not going to move on you.  The past few years I’ve done more backcountry hunts for multiple days and although I can handle the weight I’d be happy to shave 2-4 pounds off my setup if possible.  This year I decided to build a new Mountain Hunting Rifle, one that would fall more in the middle of too light and too heavy.

THE GUN

Already having a custom rifle I wanted to get my hands on a gun you could purchase over a store counter and see how I liked working with a factory gun.  After some research I finally decided on the Weatherby Mark V Ultra Lightweight in 300 Weatherby Magnum.  This caliber requires a 9 lug bolt and comes in weighing just 6 3/4 pounds.  A few things that attracted me to the rifle were weight, the sub-MOA guarantee, a 54 degree bolt lift, and a hand lapped and fluted barrel.  The rifle also looks great and with a muzzle brake should be a great shooting gun.

Weatherby Mark V Ultra Lightweight, rifle, weatherby, mountain, hunting, lightweight, mountain hunting rifle

COMPONENTS AND SETUP

Getting the rifle is one thing, but setting up the gun to shoot is another.  First was the scope.  I wanted a few things in my scope: durability, high quality glass, and precise and repeatable elevation and windage adjustment.  I decided on going with the Vortex Razor HD AMG 6-24×50.  This scope is made in the USA and is an amazing scope especially with a weight of only 28.8 ounces.

vortex optics, razor hd, amg, built in the us

To mount the scope I decided on an EGW 20MOA Picatinny Rail as my starting point and then Vortex Precision Matched Rings would hold the scope firmly in place.  I also had purchased a Timney trigger in hopes of getting my trigger weight down close to the 1 pound threshold that I’m accustom to.  To finish it off I’d be putting a Triad Tactical check piece on the stock to help get a better cheek weld and still be able to comfortably see through the scope.

To install the optics and trigger I dropped into the Snowy Mountain Rifles Custom Shop and had old friends Greg and Jim help me out.  First things first we tried to install the new Timney trigger and set it to the 1.5 pounds that they advertised.

Jim installing the new trigger

Jim installed the trigger but anytime the trigger was set to less than two pounds the firing pin would go off as the bolt was racked forward.  Not good.  After working with it we decided to see what we could get out of the stock LXX Trigger which was advertised as being able to go to 2.5 pounds.  It had felt great initially and the only reason I wanted a different trigger was that I’m used to shooting a 15oz Jewell trigger and am a big proponent of a light trigger.  Jim worked on re-installing the factory trigger and after some work and testing it was safely pulling right around 2 pounds.  Sweet!

1lb 15.9oz

Greg then threw the rifle in the vice and began the process of mounting up the scope.

tactical gun build, EGW picatinny rail

Lining up the mount points

weatherby, mark v, ultra lightweight, mountain hunting rifle

Level, level and more leveling

After the rail went on the rings were mounted.  We adjusted the scope to fit my eye relief and then began leveling and tightening the rings.  Each ring was tightened accordingly with a torque wrench and soon we were in business.  At this point we added a Flatline Ops 30mm Sniper Accu/Level and called it good.  We took it over to the scale to see what our weight was.

The final measure: 9 pounds 9 ounces without ammo and before we added the cheek piece.  The hunting weight should fall just over 10 pounds.  Now by industry standards this is not an ultra light rifle but in my opinion it’s a lightweight rifle ready for multi-day backpacking trips in the mountains of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

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INITIAL THOUGHTS

At the start of this process I was shooting for a build that would be in the 9 pound range so I went a little over my goal, but after shooting it I think it will be the perfect blend of weight, accuracy, and durability.  I’ve shot guns in the 8 pound range and to be honest they are hard to keep on target from hunting positions if you don’t have a lot of practice with them.  My 300WSM is on the heavier side of the spectrum but when you lay down on either bipods or a backpack, it’s rock solid and all you need to worry about is leveling the rifle and a smooth squeeze.  That has made for lots of perfect one shot kills over the years.  I’m hoping this new rifle will do the same while shaving about three precious pounds.  On my way home from Missoula I decided to get out and put a few rounds through the gun to start getting acquainted with the rifle and my new setup.  One thing that I quickly noticed after shooting a few rounds was the 54 degree bolt action.

weatherby mark v ultra lightweight, building a lightweight hunting rifle

Bolt closed

weatherby mark v ultra lightweight

Bolt open

This made for quick and easy reloading while staying on target.

flatline ops, sniper, accu level

Flatline Ops bubble level

The Flatline Ops bubble level was great as flipping it out made it easily visible while prone and shooting.  Being able to flip it back behind the turret means less pieces of the gun to catch on clothing and brush when in the field.

Vortex Razor HD AMG

Locking turrets on the AMG are money.

Weatherby Mark V, hunting, rifle, montana

Fluted barrel and a flawless stock finish

Triad Tactic cheek piece

Kestrel, Elite 5700, hunting, rifle, Mark V, Weatherby

This pocket perfectly fits my Kestrel and will mean less fumbling around when a longer shot presents itself.

So far I’m excited about this rifle and will be working on breaking in the barrel a bit more and finding out which bullet and grain combination work best in the rifle.  As I continue on the process I’ll post up further blog posts.

Zack Boughton

 

 

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backcountry fuel, hunting, eating, food, cooking, camping

Each year brings on a number of different hunts, some day trips and others week long backpack missions.  Each has one thing in common, fuel.  What you put in your backpack and your body has a great impact on your performance in the field.  Generally the more calories the better and often happier you’ll be.  They come at a price though, weight.  As you fine tune your setups you begin to weigh calories to weight and try to maximize the equation in your benefit.  Eventually we all find foods that fit the bill and taste good, for a while a least.  By November we often dread another Beef Stroganoff Mountain House or a Chocolate Chip Cliff Bar.  It’s easy to come by and trying new things can be expensive and hard to find.  This year as I began to prepare for another fall in the mountains I dreaded the thought of the same old foods filling my pack.  Fortunately I’d seen the Backcountry Fuel Box started by Cody Rich and got my hands on one.

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I opened the box one day at my desk and proceeded to eat the first thing in the box, a Protein Puck.  Dang that was good!!  I had a hard time not eating the whole box at my house.  Over the next three months I got to try a bunch of cool food products from small backcountry nutrition brands.  Here were a few of my favorites:

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I got to try the Peanut/Apricot version and it was great.  There are two bars in each package coming in at a whopping 650 calories and 33% of your daily nutrition.


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Next up was the FBOMB.  I got to try the Macadamia with Coconut version and it also was awesome.  These small packets are filled with nut butter and this one is Macadamia nut butter and Coconut Butter.  It tastes great and provides 205 calories in 1oz of weight.  Big on calories, taste and light on weight.


The Protein Puck in Almond Butter – Dark Chocolate was the first thing I ate out of a Backcountry Fuel Box and it was tasty as hell.  This one comes in at 460 calories for 3.25 ounces of weight.


So far I haven’t really been diving into the dinners that come in the boxes, I’ve been saving them for hunts.  There’s usually about 10 items in each box and they come on a monthly basis.  It’s super easy, subscribe and each month a box shows up in your mailbox or doorstep.  You’ll be able to use the food to supplement hunts and try new products you might not have easy access to.  I would highly recommend them.  You can learn more and subscribe super easily at their website > wwwbackcountryfuelbox.com

Zack Boughton

nz, new zealand, fly fishing, diy, backcountry, brown trout, south island

Read the first part of this series HERE.  After a few weeks on the island we had put some great fish in the net but conditions had been tough.  The rivers had blown out twice and most of the fishable days had overcast skies which made spotting tough in lots of the water we were fishing.  We pushed through and made the best of it.  We spent some time fishing the flats for kingfish which was a wild experience.  I think we were a few weeks behind on timing and it seems that the locals feel the fishery is getting heavily pressured and there’s some shady tactics being used by guides with boats.  We had a good time despite few kingfish sightings and wen’t back to town before being flow deep into the backcountry.

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Headed into the abyss, and hopefully home to many big brown trout.

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NZ flats tugger

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Headed out in search of kingfish

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Kahawai headed back to go smash baitfish

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Target spotted. Clear water made it easy to see fish but harder to catch.

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Teamwork as Zack tries to bring a brown trout to the net.

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A medium sized backcountry brown. A hell of a fighter though.

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The longest and arguably the prettiest fish of our trip to NZ.

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Josh making light work of a bank side brown trout.

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This day we got worked for hours until Josh picked the right bug and flawlessly drifted it until this brown took.

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Chasing brown trout in big water meant a slip was inevitable.

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Got him netted baby!

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Small guy but big engine.

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1st fish after the heli drop. Stoke was HIGH

The backcountry was amazing but the fishing was tough!  Coming that late in the season meant that the easy to see fish were insanely spooky and picky on flies.  We all got into beautiful fish but our hookup to sighting percentage was definitely in the single digits.  Finding fast water and taking extra time to try to spot fish in that water made things easier as it seemed these fish hadn’t been pressured as much.  Be looking for Part 3 soon.

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Summer is starting to taper off and fall will be here before you know it.  We just introduced the new Montana PRO T-shirt to help you transition seasons in style.  Whether you’re getting that last bit of summer fishing in, hitting the mountains camping, scouting or hunting this shirt has you covered.

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A discharge print on a super soft Anvil lightweight tee makes for a shirt you will want to wear for days on end.  You can view and shop this shirt HERE.

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Rowing in search of risers.

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Side channel slurper.

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You can view our full line of apparel under the SHOP section of our website.

 

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If you didn’t catch some of our posts through social media you missed out on the fact that we went to New Zealand this spring in search of big brown trout.  It was amazing and we could write a whole book about it, but it’s summer in Montana and we are insanely busy.  We also hunted Himalayan tahr which you can read about and watch HERE.  With that said New Zealand is almost as amazing as it seems.  Some days it’s better and some days worse, but overall a place we were stoked to finally make it to.  This had been a bucket list trip for myself and to finally see it realized was something special.  For now I’ll leave you with photos from this amazing trip and be looking for two more parts down the road.  If time allows we will definitely write more about the trip.  Shoot us an email if you’ve got questions or want us to talk about something specific.

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Months of preparation both researching maps and also flies. The final organization takes place just days before we leave.

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Travel was about 14 hours from Bozeman to NZ. Not bad considering we were leaving winter and headed to brown trout paradise.

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Flying in and seeing river after river made what once was a dream now a reality.

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Day 1 on the river and this was Fish #1. Life was more than good!

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Next Level Stoke

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Zack’s 2nd fish of Day 2. We started the trip off hot and thought this was going to be the daily occurrence. Rain had bumped the creek and a streamer sealed the deal on the hike out.

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We soon found out that we were going to see unusual amounts of rain for this time of year. Blown rivers, wet gear, and minimal dry fly fishing made some days tougher than others.

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Fishing on the front of an impending cyclone. Beautiful water but no fish this day.

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Dry fly eater after almost a week of down time. Rivers clear fast after big rains and a risk to hike deep into the backcountry paid off.

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Upriver in search of more hungry browns.

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Trails in New Zealand don’t always exist even though they are supposed to. Having wet feet is pretty much a necessity even when there is a trail. Fortunately the rewards are always worth the effort.

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Cicada smasher. We missed the best part of the hatch but still found a few eager to look up and take the big dry fly.

Written by Zack Boughton

tahr, hunting, new zealand

NZ Tahr Hunt – Day 3

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Some backcountry essentials: headlamp, inReach, cell phone, and water

Day 3 started with another slow morning of tahr meat sizzling on the wood stove as Josh finished fleshing and salting his tahr cape.  The sun provided some Vitamin D and warmth for a mid-day snooze.  Finally we got our gear together and once again headed up the mountain.  The weather was turning a bit more cloudy and the wind had picked up.

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Roll out

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Rokosch trusting his waterproof gaiters and surefooted steps

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Boulder hopping up the creek

With our pressure from the past two days putting the tahr a bit on edge we elected to go up the creek bottom to just underneath our glassing knob.  From there we’d hike straight up and pop over and be ready to glass and locate tahr.  We would stay out of sight and hopefully the tahr would feed off the mountain one more time.

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Tahr on both sides of the drainage, looking for the biggest one

We quickly located a large mob of tahr high in the cliffs and once again settled in to see if they’d feed down to the areas we could safely access.  After about an hour and a half we decided they would come off the mountain and we better close the distance now or else they would see us.  We dropped back off the ridge and looped further up closing the distance to about a 1000 yards and the tahr slowly working closer and closer.  After about thirty minutes they had worked into under 400 yards.  After getting closer they winded us and started back up the mountain.  When the biggest bull tahr stopped clear of the others the Tikka barked and made a lethal hit.  The bull came downhill before one more shot put him down quickly.  Fist bumps and high fives went around and we quickly scrambled up to the bull.

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Zack with his New Zealand bull tahr

Three tahr in three days.  A darn successful trip with great guys.  We knew the routine and quickly had the bull in our packs and headed down the mountain.

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A successful tahr camp

Success and good times with a great crew!

The next day we cleaned gear and all the tahr skulls and hides.  Unfortanately a storm blew in that evening and we were unable to hunt or fly out.  The following morning we had a chopper show up just after sunrise.

nz, heli, hunting, tahr

Stoked

A beautiful but bumpy ride took us back to the hangar and our New Zealand tahr hunt was complete.  If you are interested in hunting free range tahr, stag, or chamois definitely give Ben a shout over at BGHNZ > https://bghnz.co.nz/ A big thanks to both Ben and August who provided much comedic relief in camp and on the mountain! Good times boys, till next time!

-Written by Zack Boughton

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new zealand tahr hunt, tahr hunting, nz, south island, free range, montana wild, film, video, New Zealand Tahr Hunt - Day 2

Tahr Camp – Day 2

New Zealand Tahr Hunt – Day 2 started with the crew sleeping in till just after sunrise.  With one bull in camp we felt confident in saving our energy for another solid evening hunt.  Travis finished up taking care of his hide and skull as the guys fixed up a mean lunch of more tahr meat, potatoes, and onions.

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Lunch is going to be protein packed!

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Mmmmmmmmm

After filling our bellies and taking a quick snooze in the sun we loaded the packs and started our trek back up the valley.

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Ben going for it.

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August keeps tabs on “one horn”

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A small group descending to the lower grassy faces

This afternoon we decided to go up the opposite side of the head of the valley.  We wanted to look further back into the end of the drainage.  After getting in position we started picking out tahr all across the upper half of the mountain.  A few hours later and a small band of tahr had fed to within 50 yards before winding us and moving off.  We had spotted a cool looking one horned bull up high on the mountain.  His cape swirled and billowed in the wind and we knew he was a mature bull.  After telling Josh I’d shoot him if he didn’t he decided this would be his bull to make a move on.  After watching him move lower and lower it was time to make a move to get into shooting position.  Josh and Ben set off while myself and August held back and kept an eye on him.  Within twenty minutes of the guys being gone the bull had dropped so low we could no longer see him.  Just a few minutes later we heard a shot echo through the valley.  We picked up our packs and quickly hustled up the drainage to see what had taken place.

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Josh and his old bull tahr

As we caught up to the guys Josh was admiring his first tahr.  A unique and old one horned beast.  We quickly shot photos as light faded and again we had a long packout in the dark followed by another dinner of backstrap and cold beers.

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Ben wondering what the story behind old one horn was

Want to see how close the bull got before Josh took his shot?  Watch the following as we take you through Day 2 of our hunt!

Special thanks to Ben and August and if you’re interested in hunting any big game animals free range in New Zealand definitely hit up Ben at his website > www.bghnz.co.nz/

Written by : Zack Boughton

new zealand tahr hunt, tahr hunting, nz, south island, free range, montana wild, film, video

New Zealand.  Lord of the Rings, amazing scenery, epic proportions of rain, huge brown trout, more sheep than humans.  The list goes on of unique characteristics about the unique islands far from just about anywhere.  This past February and March we visited the South Island for about 5 weeks.  Our main goal was to fish for the large brown trout that NZ is so famous for.  We’ll have a blog post on that later.  With that much time on the island I figured we should try to diversify our activities a bit and try to get out and hunt tahr or stag, two species that seem to draw most hunters to the area.  After announcing our plans to come visit the island we got a message from Ben Tumata from Big Game Hunting New Zealand.  He told us he’d be happy help us out if we wanted to hunt.  Some back and forth messaging and we were on the board to take advantage of Ben’s week off.  He was and is a stud for offering to take some guys out as friends on a New Zealand Tahr Hunt especially without ever meeting us.

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Tahr Country

We met up with Ben and organized and sorted gear.  From there we took the rigs up to the hanger and started weighing out gear to see what we could and couldn’t take in on the heli.  Fortunately we just slid under our weight limit and we started loading up.

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Ready to go!

Before we knew it we were all on board and the rotors started to spin as the engine fired up.  The weather had cleared and we were in for a beautiful ride up into our hunting area.  For those who have never rode in a heli it’s something I’d highly recommend.  Our two heli flights were definitely highlights of our trip.

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Weaving our way down to our final destination.

We spotted a few tahr on the flight in and saw some of the most beautiful country we’ve ever laid eyes on.  Montana will always be #1 in our minds but the country we flew over and got to hunt in here was equally impressive.  After unloading the heli the pilot took off and like that we were deep in the New Zealand backcountry with only the sound of the river a few hundred yards away.  We quickly sorted gear and put up tents.

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Ben setting up his M.I.A. Tent

Ben had a killer wall tent that he has been designing and refining over the years.  He’s calling the brand M.I.A. Gear and his tent and stove set up was money.  It was lightweight but extremely study and weather proof and served as a great spot to get warm and eat dinner ever night when we got back to camp.  Based off Ben’s advice and time spent hunting tahr we were really in no rush to get up the mountain.  The tahr typically bed up high in the cliffs and in the evening will start coming off the mountain to feed.  We took the next couple hours to soak up the sun and glass up a few nannies high up in the cliffs above camp.  Around 2 or 3 we shouldered our packs and headed up the drainage.  This was new country to everyone and we used the river as our path to get up to the head of the drainage.

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Boulder hopping our way up the canyon.

After climbing up to a high knob with a 360 degree view we dropped our packs and broke out the spotters.  We quickly started turning up tahr.  A lot of young bulls and nannies and kids occupied us for the first few hours.  As the shadows started to lengthen in the valley we spotted two bulls high in the cliffs below a hanging glacier.  The wind blew their long coats as they slowly dropped elevation.

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Letting the music lure our bulls down the mountain

Ben and August sized up their horn and body size and determined they would be worthy of a closer look.  We sat and watched them for about an hour as Six60 “Closer” played on Ben’s small speaker setup.  We all had a good laugh as the tahr seemingly listened exactly to the music and slowly got “closer, closer to you!” Soon we picked up and made a loop out of sight to get ahead of them and wait to see if they’d show up on the big apron of grass that emerged from the base of the cliffs. We shuffled closer and finally decided we were in a good position.  There were 3 tahr up on the hill now within 400 yards and getting closer.  We patiently waited until the biggest bull finally crested a small rise at about 60 yards.  Travis was ready and centered up the reticle and let a shot rip.  The shot found it’s mark and we had a nice bull on the ground.

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Travis with his bull tahr

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Ben explains to Josh how to age a tahr based off it’s horns.

Light quickly faded as we admired the bull.  He was a good bull hitting the tape at 11 3/4″.  We made quick work of the bull and soon had him loaded up.  The weight wasn’t heavy but the grass had become dew covered and the descent down the mountain included lots of slipping and sliding.  We crossed back over the river and finally rolled into camp.  Everyone was in good spirits and we had a few celebratory beers as tahr backstrap sizzled on the stove top.

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Tahr, sauteed onions, and a cold beverage

Day 1 was in the books and what a day it was.  Watch the video below to see how Day 1 played out high in the mountains of New Zealand.

Special thanks to Ben and August and if you’re interested in hunting any big game animals free range in New Zealand definitely hit up Ben at his website > www.bghnz.co.nz/

Written by : Zack Boughton

TACTIC, Bozeman, MT, shooting school, long range, rifle, hunting, class

As hunters shooting a rifle is something we all should take very seriously.  It’s the means we use to kill the prey we hunt.  Over the years I’ve had a solid track record as a rifle hunter.  Most of that comes from taking shots at 300 yards or less and having a quality firearm built for distances of over 1000 yards.  Having a rifle with those capabilities makes the short shots easy and with practice I feel comfortable out to 600 yards on almost any animal in good conditions and with a solid rest.  Almost all of that confidence is built entirely off my own experience and teaching.  That said they’re sure must be some flaws and is why I’ve limited my range and not pushed it out further.  And lets be real, ethics is what limits us, not our equipment.  That said when Nick Costas from TACTIC Shooting School approached me about coming and shooting their Long Range Rifle School I was ready to make it happen.  No matter how good you may think you are there is always room for improvement, and I knew this class was going to give me great foundational skills and renewed confidence as we headed into a new hunting season.  I invited a few close friends who are avid hunters and would benefit from the course as well.  We linked up with the guys over at their classroom at 9am and got things started.

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Sam breaks down the more advanced elements of bullet flight

The class started with Rob and Sam going through much of the foundational knowledge and skills we would need to apply to our shooting when we hit the range in the afternoon.  Both are ex-military and extremely knowledgeable on all things firearms.  To top it off they’re both cool dudes and were always kind and positive at every step of the process.  The great thing about the courses they offer is that they can tailor each course to your specific needs.  Their mission is to empower you and in doing so try to understand what it is you want to learn most and how they can teach you the skills to do so.  Our course would be a mix between their Long Range course and their Practical Rifle.  Classroom work started with us going through gun safety and making sure we knew all the parts of the rifle and the corresponding names.  Being able to stay safe and communicate quickly between shooter and teacher/spotter on the range would be key in taking advantage of our time together.

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Rob going through rifle components

From there we learned more about projectiles AKA bullets.  Learning about different bullet designs, how they work with different twist rates and velocities as well as how the ballistic coefficient of each bullet affects its flight was great.  Then we talked about internal ballistics which included learning about what happened within the rifle when a round is fired.  Understanding shell case lengths, shapes, primer and powder combinations as well as barrel twists and lands helped us learn more about how all these effect the bullet as it travels down the barrel and exits towards the target.

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Taking notes on areas to be applied in the field

From there we went into external ballistics.  External ballistics are all the elements that effect the bullet once it has left the barrel of the gun.  Being able to understand these elements is helpful for all shooters but even more so for hunters headed to the mountains or prairies where conditions are constantly shifting and being able to judge these is key between a quick kill and a miss or wounded animal.  External ballistics included wind, elevation, temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, Coriolis Effect, and spin drift.  I can say both for myself and the group that we learned a lot of new and very valuable information as Sam and Rob took us through each of these areas of shooting.

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From there we went into shooting positions.  Over the years I’d developed a position that I’d basically established just from seeing others shoot and finding a comfortable position when I shot.  Typically my torso and spine would be aligned diagonally back from the butt of the rifle.  I learned that this was incorrect and that I wanted my spine to be inline with my rifle barrel.  This would put me in a solid shooting position and help keep the barrel inline and on target after a shot rather than shifting left or right off target.  Other key areas were head position as well as how we grip the rifle and pull the trigger.

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Working on shooting form

We took a short lunch break and then took the trucks and drove up to the range.  First things first we adjusted our scopes to minimize parallax.  Then we verified our zeros at 100 yards and made sure everyone’s rifle was shooting a 1″ group or less.

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.300 WSM ready to send some HSM Trophy Gold Down Range

After confirming our zero we setup the chronograph on each rifle so we could collect muzzle velocities.  That information would be key to input into our ballistic calculators for shooting long ranges.  I personally had the Shooter app on my phone for years but without accurate inputs the app was worthless to me.  Rob and Sam helped me setup and “true” my app so that when I input environmental conditions and my distance I was given accurate adjustments to be made in order to get a first shot hit on target.

TACTIC, long range, shooting, school, Bozeman, MT, Montana, hunting, rifle, tactical, military

Calculating muzzle velocity

From there we took aim at our first target setup at 535 yards and slowly worked through a handful of rounds working on maintaining good form and ensuring quality shots.  Everyone was shooting well and it wasn’t long until we started stretching out the distances.

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Brett making easy work of the 900 yard target

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Slow squeeze………..BOOM

After making hits at targets out to 900 yards we decided to run a drill to simulate a hunting scenario.  Two shooters would run to the 100 yard target and then back to their rifle.  From there each shooter would have to range a plate the size of a deer’s vitals, get setup on their gun, control their breathing, and take a shot within 30 seconds.  From there we continued to shoot and work with both Rob and Sam to shoot different targets, adjust for wind and continue to work on proper form.  Being able to work in a 1-on-1 scenario with an instructor was huge in quickly picking up the skills taught earlier in the day.  After a few hours there we decided to push things back even further.  After re-positioning on the range we were able to extend our range out to 1250 yards.

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Brandon sending lead at the 1250 target

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Snowy Mountain Rifle + HSM Ammo proving a deadly combo.

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1250 yard first shot hits deserve pounds from the boys

1250 is a long, long ways.  A LOT further than I’d ever shoot at an elk or deer but a great test to see if my rifle/bullet combo as well as scope could handle the distance.  After double checking the range I entered my yardage into my ballistics calculator and double checked my environmental variables.  I then calculated my drop and adjusted my scope accordingly.  After getting a good position behind the rifle, I eased into the trigger and the shot broke crisply.  The rifle jumped slightly but returned to the target so I could see the metal gong sway confirming a hit.  The second shot found it’s mark confirming the data I’d used to adjust my scope.  Going from 100 to 1250 in the matter of a few hours only added to the confidence I’d built into my firearm over the years.

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No lack of firepower or optics here

If you’re a serious hunter or even an avid shooter I’d highly encourage you to talk with Nick about one of the courses that TACTIC offers.  You can sign up for a pre-existing course or have them tailor something just for your specific needs.  You can visit their website at > www.tacticmt.com

I’d like to thank Rob, Sam and Nick for their time and graciously hosting and teaching us how to be more proficient with our rifles.  A special thanks to the fine folks at HSM Ammo for providing exceptional ammo that proved to be well suited to long range shooting and has performed flawlessly over the years in all hunting scenarios we’ve tested it in.  Their Trophy Gold lineup is definitely worth a look if your in the market for a new hunting round.

Written by Zack Boughton

Vortex Optics, vortex, rangefinder, stoke, The Outlier, The Outlier Film, giveaway, hunting film, Outdoor Media, Montana Wild, Bozeman, Montana

Well, it’s no secret that if you’re reading this, chances are you’re a big fan of cool hunting content, and free gear every once in awhile. With that being the case, what better way to launch The Outlier on iTunes than to combine the two. As a way to celebrate the film’s launch on iTunes, we’ll be giving away a Vortex Ranger 1500 to one lucky viewer of the film! Now that I’ve got your attention, you’re probably wondering how you can be that lucky winner. Follow the steps below, and get entered to win today!

Step 1 – Purchase and watch The Outlier Film on iTunes HERE.

Step 2 – Leave a review of the film on iTunes between now and 4/19/18.

Step 3 – Keep your fingers crossed, and we’ll draw a winner on 4/19.

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Not familiar with The Outlier Film? No worries, we’ll get you up to speed. The Outlier is a full length DIY public land elk hunting film, with a strong focus on conservation. Watch as four good friends experience the highs and lows that go into filling their 2015 elk tags. Watch the official trailer below for a large dose of elk hunting stoke!