Variable Power Optics For Muzzleloader in Utah - Setting Up My Muzzy With New Optics

With Utah opening up the use of optics for muzzleloaders to anything goes, I have started working on setting up my CVA Accura V2 with optics to see how far I can effectively shoot. My blog entries will be a work in progress as I continue working on setting up and testing my muzzleloader with a variable power rifle scope.

With a 1x Vortex scope and 300 Gr SST Hornady bullets I was dialing up shots out to 200 yards quit effectively in 2015. I'm excited to see what I can now do with some higher power glass. 

To start with I am going to try my favorite big game scope, that being a Vortex Viper 4-16x50 HS LR. I have a couple of these scopes and love them. I like that they have 24 minutes of angle adjustment in elevation with just one turn of the turret. I think this scope is a little on the overkill size for what I think my muzzleloader is capable of but I need to pull one of these scopes off a rifle anyways so this will work out perfect to test and see how I like it.

Given my work schedule this year I will most likely missing out on my favorite hunt, that being archery elk hunting. I am just too busy in August and September to be able to spend any time in the field hunting. So once again I will most likely be muzzy elk hunting around the first of November. 

Dallen also recieved a CVA Accura V2 for his high school graduation gift. We will be setting up Dallen's muzzleloader also. I am right now looking at the Vortex Diamondback HP line of scopes, particularly the 2-8x32.

Next up is my first trip out testing this scope and various 300 Gr bullets.

 

Overkill muzzy scope? I have mixed feelings on Utah opening up the big game muzzleloader seasons to variable power optics. My preference would have been to keep optics to 1x... if variable power is the game then I thought I would first try pulling one of my favorite big game rifle scopes off one of my other rifles, a Vortex Viper 4-16x50 HS LR. To mount the scope I ordered an EGW rail with a set of low Weaver Tactical 4 Hole scope rings. With a 1x Vortex scope and 300 Gr SST bullets I have been getting right around 1.5 inch groups at 100 yards and dialing up shots on milk jugs out to 200 yards. Wondering how far I can effectively shoot now? #thediyhunter #diyhunting #muledeerhunting #utahhunting #cvamuzzleloader #vortexoptics #hunting #evolutiongunworks #elkhunting #muzzyscope

A photo posted by Brady Smith (@diyhntr) on

WSSM Brass Is Available Again!

243 WSSM Brass

243 WSSM Brass - The piece on the left I have reloaded numerous times. The piece on the right is a reformed piece of 325 WSM brass from Hill Billy Brass. It has been fired in my rifle once and has been prepped, ready to be loaded up for use.

If you own a WSSM rifle you know that finding ammunition and brass has been impossible for years now. To my knowledge Winchester is the only company that has ever made brass for the WSSM cartridges. Rumors that Winchester (Olin Corporation) would manufacture more brass have been passed around for years now. There are many thousands of rifles out there so why wouldn't Winchester make brass to support those that purchased Browning and Winchester rifles? The WSSM cartridges were developed by Winchester. It just doesn't make sense... but wait...

A year and a half ago I placed a stock watch for Winchester 300 Win Mag brass on midwayusa.com. Probably over two years ago I placed a stock watch on 270 WSM brass on midwayusa.com. I never got notified that Midway USA ever had any in stock until a few weeks back when I got a notice that Midway USA was no longer carrying Winchester brass in these cartridges. I did a quick tour of the website and found almost all Winchester brass had been removed. A trip to brownells.com and they only have 30-06 and 308 Winchester brass. Hmm...

This has got me thinking. It is interesting that Winchester has the resources to launch a whole new line of ammunition in 2016 with the new Browning Ammunition line but hasn't made any or very little brass as a component for who knows how long? If I was a betting man I think Winchester makes more money off loaded ammunition and selling brass as a component just isn't part of their business plan anymore. But what do I know. Anyway you look at it, it is looking more and more like WSSM brass may never be manufactured by Winchester again. Just unbelievable.

So what is a WSSM rifle owner to do? Well, thankfully Hill Billy Brass has stepped up to help us. They are taking WSM brass and reforming it into WSSM brass. I recently received some 243 WSSM brass made from reformed 325 WSM brass. Upon inspecting the brass I was surprised that the neck thickness was exactly the same as my factory WSSM brass. I thought I might need to do some serious neck turning to get the thickness down but that wasn't the case.

 

Because I like to shoot long range and tight groups I am fire forming the brass by shooting at a 100 yard steel target just for fun. I'm know that the accuracy isn't going to be right where I want it until the brass has been formed to my rifle's chamber.

The brass looks great after firing it. I can still see that the transition from the body to the shoulder is still slightly rounded some whereas the brass I have reloaded several times has a sharp transition. This shouldn't be anything to worry about, just a slight cosmetic difference. I'm sure over multiple reload times this brass will loose it's roundness on that transition.

If you don't already anneal your brass I highly recommend that you learn how to if you are a WSSM reloader. I anneal the necks of my brass after every firing to get consistent neck tension shot after shot and to keep the brass from hardening to the point that it splits the neck. I have brass that I have lost count on the number of times I have reloaded it.

I think I will load up my pet 105 A-Max load for my next load in this brass.

Reformed WSM brass to WSSM brass

243 WSSM brass next to a reformed 325 WSM piece of brass now 243 WSSM.  

Reformed 243 WSSM brass

Well used 243 WSSM brass (left) next to reformed 243 WSSM brass (right) prior to fire forming it in my rifle.

Dallen Smith Power Forward - Senior Season at LCA

Dallen Smith Power Forward

Dallen Smith Power Forward at Layton Christian Academy  

My hunting and shooting has come to a stand still for a few months to make way for basketball season. I've been a little busy keeping up with our three boys playing basketball. I do plan on working up a 270 WSM, 150 gr Hornady SST load for my X-Bolt as soon as things settle down a little.

Dallen is a senior at Layton Christian Academy. Layton Christian Academy is the top rank team in the state of the 2A teams. It's been an exciting year for Dallen and the team. He is on a team with a lot of talented players and a wonderful head coach, Bobby Porter.

I have started to go through some of the video from Dallen's season and will post and update this playlist.

Update 3-2-16: Dallen had a fun season. His team did really well. It was a little disappointing that they lost they state championship game by one point.

On March 12th Dallen was one of ten players from the state selected to play in the 1A vs 2A All-Star game at South Sevier High School.

Here are a few of the highlights from Dallen's senior year.

 

This clip below shows only the minutes that Dallen is on the court for a full game. Dallen is #54 in white. The game is against Waterford, the second place team in our region. Waterford took 6th place at the state tournament this year.
 
In this game Dallen is assigned to guard #32 a 6’6” player that likes to shoot the 3 ball and post up.  #32 scored 20 points the game just before this. #32 doesn’t score a single point when Dallen is in the game and only takes two shots. #32 does finish the game with 9 points but none of them were with Dallen on the court.
 
Dallen has the ability to score a lot but given most of the players on his team this year are just as capable, he works hard on the boards and defense. When the ball does come his way he knows what to do with it.

 

 

Here's a few highlights from his junior year. Check out his footwork and the use of his left hand.

 

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