Sunday, September 18, 2011

375 JDJ for moose

One of my great passions in life is hunting and if I were limited to one thing it would be with handguns. There is something different about hunting game with a limited range firearm such as a scoped revolver or single shot handgun. I know some people are very passionate about hunting with a bow or a muzzleloader but for me it is the short gun, so to speak.
This year I was picked for a NH moose permit. Ironically I became aware of the news the day before I got married. Hopefully this is an omen of good. I was contemplating as to what to use for this hunt. The zone is north of Concord and basically a wedge of land between Route 89 and 93. In a nutshell, a very tough area to hunt. Many people think that moose hunting is a pushover. Well I have been blessed by going on two hunts and they are far from being associated with shooting a milk cow in a pasture. Bear in mind that a moose is the largest member of the deer family, so they are a big deer and deer aren't exactly stupid. Add the fact that I am using a limited range weapon and you create a real challenge.
One of my favorite rounds is the old 45-70. Many years ago I bought a Super 16 barrel in that caliber when it first came out. I had taken many different types of game with it and would probably use it this season but the locking lug cracked on it. Off to the factory for repairs which seem to be taking an inordinate amount of time. Since I have less than a month to get good with a specialty hunting pistol I had chosen a different barrel.
Several years ago Thompson Center would hold their annual tent sale in June. I loved it in the fact that you could by a lot of things at cost. One year I had to work so Mom and Dad went to get a birthday barrel for me. Mom is a great haggler and in a nutshell she obtained a brand new .375 Winchester Super 14 blued barrel for $80. That fall I shot a nice black bear in Maine with that particular barrel. I did have some other plans for it. A man named Mike Sirois in Dover NH ran an outfit called OTT. He rechambered gun barrels using an EDM process. This process involved machining an electrode that would erode a chamber in a barrel vs. a cutter. The result is a barrel that has great concentricity and accuracy. I had him rechamber the barrel in 375 JDJ. For licensing purposes he marked my barrel as 375x444.
That year my mother was chosen for a NH moose permit and she allowed me as subpermittee to hunt. It was a rough week and I did get one small button bull towards the end of the hunt. The 375 JDJ dropped it in its tracks.
For a short time TC made the 375 JDJ as a standard caliber and Hornady made factory ammuniton for a few years. They loaded up a 220 grain flat point at 2200 fps. Across my chronograph the factory ammunition ran 2230 on average out of the 14" barrel. I never handloaded for it until now. Hornady discontinued the caliber as well as TC except for custom shop chamberings. Too bad as it fills a gap.
I took a Leupold Double Dovetail base and epoxied it into place. Screws tightened down and secured with a Burris 1.5 x 4 power handgun scope mounted in place. I did some shooting at the range at after sighting in at 100 yards it basically will do a 1 1/2 inch group with three shots. I will confess it has some recoil. My first shot taught me a lesson to be aware of my elbows on the bench. At the shot my elbow was driven into the weatherbeaten wood. Ouch. After zeroing in at 100 I decided to give it a rest. I have thirty factory rounds left. I will dedicate those for hunting while taking the rest of the empty brass and load them up for some practice. Hopefully I will be in shape for the opening day in October. It is coming soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

NH Moose.Again?

On the day before I was to get married my future wife and I were eating a noon time meal at a nice pub. Although I am somewhat of a luddite I did check my phone apps and tried to find out if anyone of us had been chosen for the NH moose permit lottery. Much to my chagrin I was a winner. I could not believe I was chosen. In 2003 I was picked for Zone B in the northern tip of the state. That hunt was memorable and I had taken a fine bull with a single shot handgun. I used my favorite gun, a TC Contender with a Super 16 45-70 barrel. The following year my mother was chosen and I shot another moose albeit smaller with a TC Contender in 375 JDJ. That hunt too was very memorable.

Now for 2011 I had been picked for the moose hunt. I have an either sex permit for Zone I 1 which is north of Concord. It is mid state and from what others have told me it is a tough zone. I will have to hunt my butt off ,so to speak. It looks like I will have to do a great deal of scouting and practice with the Contender.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

New toy for the winter(221 Fireball)

It has been quite some time since I had posted on this creation. One of the realities of modern life is that computers can be a double edged sword. Don't get me wrong about them. I like to surf the net and post on various forums but the use of the computer has increased at my job. More of my time is found behind a screen for various purposes and what seems to happen is that when you have spare time you would rather not spend it with something that you use at work.

Today I did some shooting at our club's range. Maybe I overthink things but I wanted to do some varmint hunting this winter. One of the best ways to take them in the northeast is to hunt over a bait, especially at night with snow cover and some moonlight. Many hunters in the northeast have been successfully taking coyotes over buckets of frozen meat scraps nicknamed meatcicles. Here in Massachusetts you can shoot varmints with any centerfire rifle or handgun during shooting hours. After the sun sets, it becomes a different matter. The law states that you are restricted to rifles no larger than .22 lr or handguns chambered larger than .38 caliber. To my thinking, the statement caliber means bore size and I figure that a TC Contender with the right optic and the right caliber would be the right combination to use at night over bait and yet fall within the law. It seems odd that I bought a Contender barrel chambered in .221 Fireball but my rationale is that it was originally designed as a handgun round and it is under the .38 caliber restriction. Trust me, I have talked to a number of law enforcement officers and many were confused in this arena. I figure that by following the letter of the law I am AOK.

So far this winter has been pretty snowy. We had two storms in a row and it appears that later this week we will have another. I donned my snowshoes and trudged to the pistol range. Normally it is plowed out but we had technical difficulties.

When I bought the barrel, which was used, it came with a set of reloading dies. All I have to do is collect brass for reloading. I called up my friend and asked if he had any on the shelf. That was affirmative and so I picked up two boxes of Remington 221 Fireball loaded with a 50 grain Accu Tip bullet.

As a rule if you have a really accurate barrel such as this one made by Match Grade Machine you would put on a nice variable handgun scope like a Burris 2-7 or 3-9 but this barrel has a special purpose. Oddly I mounted a now out of production Tasco 1.5 x pistol scope. This scope has a post and cross hair reticule with the tip of the post illuminated with a three position switch. This reticule isn't the best one for MOA accuracy but I don't believe I will get too many shots outside of the fifty yard mark. Most of the terrain where I hunt is thickly wooded. You aren't going to get the same long shots that one normally associates coyote or other varmint hunting like the Great Plains.

I had sat down at the bench and fired a few rounds. A quick adjustment of the turrets and the barrel was dead on at 25 yards.As you can see the group isn't too bad. Bear in mind that it was a very cold day and we're expected to have three nights of below zero temperatures. Ok. I know that it should be at least fifty yards but I really didn't feel like trudging through all of that snow at the rifle range carrying all kinds of stuff. Quite possibly tommorrow will find me at the rifle range shooting at a greater distance to fine tune the barrel. Right now I am happy with it and what would make me happier would be to find something like a coyote in my range. Take care.