Legendary Signature Rifles
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13 Oct 2016

In Darrell’s pack

What does Darrell carry in his pack?

 

  1. My Lightning Strike Fire Starter. Without a doubt, the most important item to carry. It keeps me warm in an emergency, can be used to make a signal fire or cook the day’s kill if necessary. I add extra tinder (my new NAPALM Tinder). More about this item
  2. Knife and flashlight. Who hunts without a knife, Vegans? I dine on protein, so I carry a knife. I carry two knives in face: my hunting knife and a Swiss Army “Camper” model. I like the MINI Army tech flashlight which uses “AA” batteries and is quite bright, waterproof and long lasting. I carry two extra “AA” batteries.
  3. Shelter Tarp. I carry a rip-stop nylon tarp that I can use to make a shelter in tough conditions. Grommets all around allow great tie-downs.
  4. MINI Hatchet and SILKY Saw. These two items can be used to make a small house/shelter, gather large amounts of fire wood and quarter up large animals, if need be. If I plan on spending the night, I take my pruning shears, I can use these to cut cedar/fir boughs to make a comfortable bed in a hurry. They are much faster than any other tool in my pack.
  5. Aluminum tent stakes (6) and 20 Penny Nails (4). Can be used to build a shelter, hang items, etc. Handy but not absolute.
  6. LARGE heavy-duty plastic garbage bags. I carry the HEFTY brand large plastic bags/ they can be used to protect meat, serve as quickie rain gear, or can be used to keep warm if you can’t get a fire going.
  7. Small Zip-Lock bags. I carry two 1-gallon bags and four HD/freezer quart bags. Buy Zip-Lock brand not cheap junk.
  8. Para-Cord. I carry a lot of para-cord and use different colors for specific applications. Carry at least 50 feet of cord. I carry 3 different colors totaling around 125 feet.
  9. Tin cup. (actually stainless steel) used to cook in, gather water, or beg for alms.
  10. Small First Aid Kit containing the following: Band-Aids, Neosporin, Benadryl, Tylenol and alcohol wipes. One Quick-Clot bandage, which I hope I never need to use.
  11. Field dressing kit. Latex gloves, handi-wipes, paper towels.
  12. Wool stocking cap, compass, water bottle, Rhino radio/GPS, and ResQ-Link beacon. Hopefully I never have to use either.
  13. Ammo Tote allowing me to carry and extra 20 rounds of ammunition. Going afield with just the ammo in your gun is a BAD IDEA!!! This item in our store
  14. Some optional items to consider. Small marine flare for signaling in the event of rescue. Drinking straw water filter. These are essential items if you are using this pack as a bug-out bag! An addition would be a 12×12 inch square of Reynolds Aluminum foil. Use the thick heavy duty material, use it to signal in an emergency and also as a fire pit when necessary.

 

07 Oct 2016

Africa Bullet Testing

Our recent Africa hunt gave us the opportunity to test a variety of bullets and monitor killing effectiveness, penetration and weight retention. Everyone shot reasonable cartridges, there were no Testosterone fueled MAGNUMS. Todd shot his 260 Rem. 140 NABs, Gene and Jacob shot 308s with 168 SMKs and 165 NBTs, Cliff shot a 6.5 SAUM with the New Hornady 143 ELD-X bullet, Xavier shot a 284 with 168 Bergers, Jonathan and I shot a 6.5 Creedmoor with the Hornady 140 gr. MATCH bullet.

We shot a total of 123 animals. Springbuck, warthogs, impala, hartebeest, blesbuck, wildebeest, kudu and eland. So there was quite a variety of animals to test on. Ranges varied from 25 yards to 585 yards.

All bullets killed animals as would be expected and shot placement continues to play an important role in ones success. Having said that, some bullets did perform better than others and here are the results.

6.5 140 gr. Nosler Accu-bond. 22 animals killed, excellent penetration, even on eland and kudu. Very few bullets recovered as most were complete pass-thru’s with good exit wounds. 5-Star rating.

168 Sierra Matchking. Contrary to Sierra’s claim that this is a MATCH bullet, not a game bullet, it still kills quite well. Penetration seems sufficient, although there were few exits on the larger animals, internal organ damage was superb. Animals were shot to 400 yds with this bullet. 4-Star rating.

Gene Kelly with a nice blesbuck, Gene and Jacob shot Sierra’s and Nosler BTs.

165 Nosler Ballistic Tip. A great killer on all accounts with over 20 animals killed. Numerous pass-thru’s on springbuck, warthogs, blesbuck and kudu. Bullets recovered still retained lead core and jacket. 4 Star rating.

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Gene and Jacob with a nice wildebeest. This dynamic-duo used 308s and shot over 40 animals. No magnums required here! Great father and son time in the field

143 Hornady ELD-X. Cliff shot a lot of animals with this bullet and the results were sporadic. It did kill well with many DRT’s, however when bullets were recovered the lead core always separated from the jacket. Internal damage was good, yet there were few pass-thru’s even on medium sized animals. This bullet has an EXCELLENT BC, (.62) which is important and if Hornady can find a better way to bond the core, this bullet will give the Nosler Accu-bond a run for its money! As many of you know, I’m quite a fan of EXIT wounds in the event you lose sight of the animal.

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Being able to follow a blood trail is VERY important and failure to find “blood” often leads to a lost animal if one’s tracking skills are marginal. 3.8 – 4.0 Star rating.

Cliff Neuse with a blue wildebeest. Cliff used a hot-rod 6.5 SAUM and 143 gr. Hornady ELD-X bullets loaded by Copper Creek ammunition. Cliff likes to travel in “FAST” company and this rifle/cartridge performed quite well!

168 Berger. Xavier shot this bullet in his 284 and smoked lots of animals. His shots were often less than 200 yds and most all of his animals were one-shot kills. At close distance the ability to place the bullet exactly where you want it is often quite easy. Xavier is a good shot and his PH was quite pleased with his performance. Berger bullets seldom exit, again posing a problem if you lose sight of the animal.

Xavier with a nice eland. Below are a pair of nice warthogs! Xavier used a tri-pod and a Hog Saddle to make several of his shots. His 284 and Berger bullets proved quite deadly…

140 Hornady ELD MATCH. I’m a big fan of the 6.5 Creedmoor and wanted to use this bullet to see how well it worked in a hunting environment. Accuracy was exceptional and it did kill well when I did my part. I tried to “stretch” the barrel a bit on several animals to see the results. We killed numerous springbuck between 300 and 585 yds. I hit the 585 one a bit low and he require additional shots at 480 yds.
Jonathan killed several in the 435-475 yard range with complete pass-thru’s. On larger animals, warthogs, blesbucks, kudu and eland, pass-thru’s were few and far between. Internal damage was good, however, many of the bullets found had separated from the jacket and failed to penetrate even to the far side of the animal.

Jonathan with a nice impala. Jonathan shot quite well during the hunt, maybe good genetics has something to do with it…

I shot a large waterbuck (600 plus lbs) at 505 yds thru the heart, he required a second shot at 550 that put him on the ground. My eland was an excellent heart-lung shot at 425 yds and required two additional shots, one at 450 and 475 yds. No pass-thru’s. While this is considered a match bullet, its make-up is very similar to the 143 gr. hunting bullet but it shoots much better, at least in my rifle. I think the jacket separation is the problem with these bullets as one cannot tell the difference between the two (140s and 143s) when the jackets are found, both designs separate.

My waterbuck shot thru the heart at 505 yds. I put a second-round in him at 550 yds. It might not have been necessary, but why take a chance on packing an animal any farther than you have to.

While my shots were farther on the average than the rest of the crew, in testing I will give this bullet a 3.75 Star rating. I hoping that Hornady will respond with some more R&D to take these bullets to the NEXT level. With its high BC and excellent accuracy, the only thing missing is a better bonded core to offer better penetration.

07 Oct 2016

African Alumni Hunt 2016

Our ALUMNI SHOOT in South Africa went off without a hitch.

Students Todd Fisher, Xavier Carillo, Gene and Jacob Kelly, Cliff Neuse and Jonathan Holland joined us on this world class hunt. We hunted in the Orange Free State with my longtime friend and PH Hein Funk.

 

2016 Alumni Team.
Back row L-R Todd, Gene, Jacob, Cliff, Jonathan, Hein, Darrell, Rosita, Ann and Xavier

 

Once zero’s were confirmed we divide up in pairs and headed into the Savanna. The region is very arid with rolling hills and plenty of rock outcroppings. Mornings were cool, with temps in the mid-high 30s, warming in the afternoon to 65-70 degrees.
The area we hunted encompasses roughly 90,000 acres and it was refreshing to never see another hunter during the day. Each pair of hunters had their own region to hunt and daily walks were 6-11 miles a day.

Typical terrain we hunted in. Large vistas, rolling hills and plenty of rocks.
Perfect spot and stalk opportunities.

Todd Fisher made the comment one night that a trip like this offered the “new hunter” a chance to gain decades worth of hunt experience (if he/she hunted in the States and had to draw tags) in the 10 days we were there. If you bought the 10 day, 24 animal package, there was never a day that you did not see at least 50-100 animals of different species and have the opportunity to shoot at least 2 animals per day. This amounts to a lot of stalking practice, paying close attention to the wind, walking quiet and other field craft skills. How many North American hunts offer such opportunities and experience?
Evenings were spent telling hunting stories and dining on superb meals prepared by Hein’s wife Marietjie.

 

Breakfast was served at 6:30 AM and most hunters hit the road by 7:00 and did not return until dark. Lunch was served in the field. All hunts were spot and stalk, there was no shooting from a vehicle.

 

Gourmet meals for dinner every night, Weight gain anyone?