243 WSSM - 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max Hand Load

243 WSSM 105 Hornady A-Max

243 WSSM 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max

 

243 WSSM 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max 3 shot groups

243 WSSM 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max 3 shot groups.

 

243 WSSM A-Bolt Varmint Stainless Laminate Rifle

My 243 WSSM A-Bolt Varmint Stainless Laminate rifle with a 20 MOA EGW Rail with low Four Hole Skeleton Weaver rings and a Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 MOA second focal plane scope. Because the 20 MOA picatinny rail places the scope higher I needed the comb raised to get proper eye, cheek alignment. I recently had Karl McKnight make the fully adjustable comb and add the extra length to the stock I need with a new recoil pad/spacer. Karl did a fine job! I like the look and especially the functionality.

Shot the chronograph.

Oops! This explains why I didn't hit paper.

 

243 WSSM 105 Gr. A-Max 3 shot group

A 3/4 inch and 7/8 inch group for my first time trying the 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max out of my A-Bolt Varmint Stainless Laminate rifle.

 

Rick, a friend of mine, worked up a great 105 Gr. A-Max load for his 243 WSSM over a year ago. He has been shooting absolutely amazing groups with this load out to 600 yards. Before he worked up the load both he and I questioned if our Browning A-Bolt rifles with 1 in 10 twists would be able to stabilize such a long bullet. Rick proved that they would with his A-Bolt Varmint Stalker and Hodgdon H1000 powder.

This bullet really intrigues me so I had to see if I could get the 105 Gr. A-Max to shoot myself. I was able to purchase a couple boxes of bullets from MidwayUSA and then trying to get the Hodgdon H1000 powder has been a nightmare. Finally after over a year I was able to purchase a 8 lb. jug of powder after watching on Utah Gun Exchange's website. It cost me $275 for a jug, for powder that Powder Valley sells for $159... that is if they or anyone ever had any in stock. Well the good news is I now have powder. Yeah!

I took Rick's powder charge that he worked up by shooting a ladder of incremental charges. With the powder charge I then seated 10 bullets, 4 bullets at 2.35, 3 at 2.34, and 3 at 2.33 OALs.

I first fired one of the four 2.35 bullets into a clean target to make sure the load would hit paper. I then shot three groups of three bullets each. The 2.35 OAL bullets produced a 3/4" three shot group. The 2.34 OAL bullets produced a 7/8" three shot group and the 2.33 bullets only hit the paper one time??? This didn't make any sense at all until I went to move my chronograph, Oops there was two dings in the metal rods that come out of the chronograph. It was cloudy, then sunny off and on making it very difficult to get the chronograph to give me anything but errors so I hadn't been paying attention to it and oops I shot it, twice. Dummy me!

I'll see about giving my rifle a good cleaning and then load up some more and see how they shoot. Once I'm comfortable with the load I will post the load here on my blog.


Back at the range in June. This time trying to tune the load with a ladder test of powder charges.

243 WSSM 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max 300 Yard Ladder

243 WSSM 105 A-Max 300 Yard Ladder Test.

After having great success shooting my first ladder to develop a load for my 270 WSM with 150 Gr. VLD bullets I decided I should try shooting a powder ladder with the 105 A-Max to see if I could find a powder charge that was tuned to the 2.35 COAL.

The first shot was low and off the paper so I adjusted the scope for the remaining seven shots. Well, there really wasn't any definitive horizontal layer between any three bullets... if shot #4 had of been lower near 5 and 6...

Each load is 0.2 grains of powder greater than the previous load. The idea is that you chose the appropriate seating depth then shoot incrementally different powder charges to locate a horizontal node between three or more shots.

Although, the total vertical distance between all the shots is 2 inches and the group size is only 2 5/8 inches. This isn't too bad for a span of a grain and a half of powder difference at 300 yards. Any of the powder charges is probably plenty accurate enough for me.

I'll keep tinkering on this load.

 

 


100 Yard Three Shot Group on June 28, 2014

After shooting the ladder of powder charges last time out I didn't find any real node. The closest node I could find was shots 5 and 6. Given this I probably should shoot another ladder test at even greater distances. Given that I would like to take this rifle and load out to shoot at Spirit Ridge Rifle Golf course in the following week I didn't think I had time to tweak this load any more.

243 WSSM 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max 100 Yard 3 shot group

243 WSSM 105 A-Max 100 Yard Three Shot Group

Shooting load number 5 from the ladder group produced this three shot group at under 3/8 inches.

With little time to prepare for Spirit Ridge I decided to load up powder charge number 5 and see how it grouped at 100 yards. As you can see from the photo it shot really well, right under a 3/8" group. This is plenty good enough accuracy for me.

Now do I take this rifle or my 1885 in 270 WSM with 150 VLDs to shoot at Spirit Ridge? Maybe both?

View load information for this 243 WSSM 105 A-Max load.

 

 

 

 

Pinkeye Infected Mule Deer - Conjunctivitis

Mule Deer with Pinkeye, Conjunctivitis

Mule Deer with Pinkeye, Conjunctivitis

Mule Deer with Pinkeye, Conjunctivitis

Mule Deer with Pinkeye, Conjunctivitis

Mule Deer with Pinkeye, Conjunctivitis

Mule Deer with Pinkeye, Conjunctivitis

Mule Deer with Pinkeye, Conjunctivitis

While I was out checking my trail cameras and taking photos of mule deer during the rut in November of 2013 I noticed a fair amount of young bucks showing problems with their eyes.

Apparently there are a couple of different things that it could have been, some more serious than others so the Utah DWR came out to investigate what the deer may have.

All of the deer that I found with Pinkeye were within about a half mile radius.

After putting down a yearling buck here is what a very nice and informative biologist with the DWR (or was it DNR?) had to say:

"We removed one yearling buck and I was able to get a close up look at the eyes.  It was definitely conjunctivitis or pinkeye.  There are a couple of other things that it could of been so it was good that we were able to verify this.  Pinkeye is caused by a bacteria, usually a moraxella app.  Pinkeye infections are really common during the late summer months when face flies are most abundant.  Face flies tend to congregate on the eyes and faces of animals and pass the bacteria from animal to animal by continuously landing on their eyes.  You are probably seeing the pinkeye in this little group of males because they probably hung together this past fall.  I did see one doe with a weepy eye while we were looking but she was not nearly as bad as some that Brady has photographed.   In cattle the infection can be treated by puffing a powder into their eyes but there is not a real good way to treat wildlife for this condition so they will have to try and get over it.  Response to the infection will vary from animal to animal and the most severe cases can result in blindness in one or both eyes.  Blindness occurs when the cornea ruptures from build up of fluid underneath the cornea from the infection.  It really isn't likely for the animals to pass the infection from one animal to another, the face fly vector is needed so the number of infected animals should decrease as winter progresses.  Of course, if a deer does go blind from both eyes rupturing it is unlikely that it will survive in the wild."

Mule Deer with Pinkeye, Conjunctivitis

Here is an up close look at the eye of the small buck that the DWR culled to get a better look and tissue sample. Pinkeye looks really nasty.

All in all this fall I found 7 different small bucks that had eye issues and one doe. It did seem kind of odd that it was more prevalent in the young bucks.

I'm no biologist but my thought is that the young bucks sparing with each other were passing it to one another. With small antlers the bucks faces would come in contact with each other more easily while sparing. Larger bucks would be less likely to touch each other's faces because of the larger antlers locking together further away from their faces.

Regardless how they contracted it I hope this all clears itself up this winter. I would hate for these deer to go blind. Would be nice if there was a cost effective way to treat them. Anyway, I found it very interesting to learn about.

2013-2014 Mule Deer Photos With My FujiFilm HS50exr Camera

Here are some photos of mule deer and other critters I have recently taken with my new FujiFilm HS50exr digital camera. I'll add photos as I get them this winter. Most of the photos are taken at long distances with the zoom set at 42x (1000mm). All of the photos are with the camera hand held. Being a new camera for me I am learning that it behaves a little different than my old HS20exr. First, I have found that you need to make sure the focus mode switch on the left side of the camera is set to "S" for Single. Having it in Continuous "C" mode makes for getting pictures of deer that are in focus pretty darn hard. I learned the hard way with that mode... I have also found that I like the plain Auto mode over the EXR mode for getting better in focus images. I have also stopped shooting raw photos and gone straight to just JPG. Yes, raw is better but I find it better to get a JPG than to get nothing. Shooting in raw slows down the speed with which the camera can recover before shooting another photo. I get a lot more photos of the action when shooting only JPG.

View mule deer photos from 2014-15.

HS50exr Photo of Wide 3x5 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of Wide 3x5 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of Two Four Point Mule Deer Bucks on Skyline

HS50exr Photo of Two Four Point Mule Deer Bucks on Skyline

HS50exr Photo of Four Point Mule Deer with a Doe on Skyline

HS50exr Photo of Four Point Mule Deer with a Doe on Skyline

HS50exr Photo of Four Point Mule Deer on Skyline

HS50exr Photo of Four Point Mule Deer on Skyline

HS50exr Photo of Tall Four Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of Tall Four Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of Tall Four Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of Tall Four Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of Two Nice Four Point Mule Deer Bucks

HS50exr Photo of a Wide Four Point Mule Deer Buck

HS50exr Photo of a Wide Four Point Mule Deer Buck

HS50exr Photo of a Wide Four Point Mule Deer Buck

HS50exr Photo of Large 3 Point Mule Deer Bedded in grass

HS50exr Photo of a Doe and 4 Point Mule Deer in Snow

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of Mule Deer Fawn

HS50exr Photo of Mule Deer in Snow on Ridge

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer Mounting a Doe

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 4x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer Looking Left

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer Looking Left

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3 Point with Cheater Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3 Point with Cheater Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3 Point with Cheater Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3 Point with Cheater Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3 Point with Cheater Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3 Point with Cheater Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3 Point with Cheater Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer Looking Left

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer looking forward

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer with a doe

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer Bedded

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Mule Deer Bedded

HS50exr Photo of a small 4 Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a small 4 Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a small 4 Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a Big 3 Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a Big 3 Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a Big 3 Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a Big 3 Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a Big 3 Point Mule Deer

HS50exr Photo of a 3x4 Crab Fork Mule Deer Bedded

HS50exr Photo of a Four Point Typical Mule Deer Bedded in Shade

HS50exr Photo of a Four Point Typical Mule Deer Turning On Skyline

HS50exr Photo of a Four Point Typical Mule Deer Ears Back On Skyline

HS50exr Photo of a Four Point Typical Mule Deer Looking Left

HS50exr Photo of a Four Point Typical Mule Deer Looking Right

HS50 exr Photo of Rio Grande Turkeys Feeding in a Field

HS50exr Photo of Crab Claw Foru Point Mule Deer Buck on Skyline

HS50 exr Photo of Mule Deer buck with does

HS50 exr Photo of Mule Deer buck with does

HS50 exr Photo of Mule Deer buck with does

HS50exr Photo of Snowcapped mountain skyline

HS50 exr Photo of Tom Turkey on Skyline

HS50exr Photo of Tom Turkeys on Skyline

 

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