243 WSSM Model 1885 Coyote Double

Two coyotes, Model 1885, 243 WSSM, Homemade Electronic Coyote Caller

Every summer since I was little our family has gone camping for several days in the Cache National Forest of Northern Utah. I have many a great memory of these camping trips. Now that I have my own family we have continued the tradition with our own children and my parents who are now Grandpa and Grandma.

The area that we go camping in always had a lot of coyotes but a couple of years back some pretty extensive reduction of their numbers happened. I believe this came by the hands and helicopters of government employees in which I was happy to see because the deer numbers were getting pretty low at the time. Since then I have seen little sign and usually only when there is a sheep herd within a couple miles. I still always throw in a rifle and caller just in case I happen to find some coyotes but knowing most likely there may not be any in the area.


Two coyotes, Model 1885, 243 WSSM, Homemade Electronic Coyote Caller

The first three days of camping this year I was unable to find any coyote tracks or scat within the general area we were camped. On Sunday night about a mile away across the canyon a male coyote surprised me and started doing series after series of challenge yelps, howls and barks for well over an hour straight. It appeared that he was very upset with either another coyote or my wife's little yapper dog that we had with us. Whatever the case, it was Sunday and I have a personal belief that I should not snuff the life out of furry woodland creatures on Sunday. Oh, how I was ever so tempted to sneak past my wife, go across the canyon and silence that song dog... That night I strategized over and over how I was going to out smart him in the morning.

Early the next morning I grabbed my 243 WSSM Winchester Model 1885 single shot rifle, some optics and my homemade DIY electronic predator caller and snuck out of camp before anyone else was up. I slipped into a sagebrush draw that looked across the main canyon directly across from where I had heard the coyote the night before. I figured that at best I could get the coyote to come out of the pines and quaking aspens on the other side of the canyon and look across from some cliffs that formed a gorge like canyon. This would offer a 300 yard shot and if I was lucky I would be able to get him to cross the gorge and offer a closer shot on my side of the canyon, that is, if I could see him in the sagebrush before he winded me.


Two coyotes, Model 1885, 243 WSSM, Homemade Electronic Coyote Caller
My Winchester Model 1885, 243 WSSM, a homemade electronic coyote caller and the two coyotes I just took. I'm wearing the New Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity camo pattern which is not too bad of a pattern. Treestand and Duck Blind are my two favorite camo patterns right now.

Once in place I set my homemade DIY electronic predator caller to repeat a series of challenge barks in much the same manner the coyote had been doing the night before. I figured this coyote was obviously upset with someone in his turf and a little challenge might be just the trick to tick him off and let down his guard. I started the caller up and it wasn't 30 seconds and to my right on the same side of the canyon that I was on two coyotes were coming in full throttle through the sagebrush. As they crossed through a small draw and where out of sight I repositioned myself and setup on my shooting stix. They both stopped at about 100 yards across the draw I was in and I could only see the one so I dropped the hammer on him and down he went.

The sound of the exploding bullet on the coyote and the electronic caller still playing, I think confused the second coyote and she started running parallel to me at about a 100 yards crossing down into the draw I was in. Just before she made it to the thick sage in the bottom of the draw she stopped to look back up at the challenge barking coming from my caller. I was ready and dropped the hammer on her for a double, with a single shot rifle, in less than two minutes of calling .

At first I figured that the coyotes had to be young uneducated coyotes to come in so fast however they were an adult male and female pair. This makes since because the challenge barks I was making probably would scare off the younger coyotes.

I was using Winchester factory loaded 243 WSSM 55g Ballistic Tip bullets that chronograph at 4240 fps from this rifle. The coyotes where 95 and 97 yards away according to my Bushnell Elite 1500 range finder.

Digiscope Video of 243 WSSM Shooting a Milk Jug at 311 Yards

Model 1885, 243 WSSM ready to shoot milk jug and video with digiscope setup. Sony W7, Bushnell sentry digiscope setup

While camping this past week I setup my Sony W7 digital camera on my Bushnell Sentry spotting scope to take some video of a milk jug that I placed on some rope tied between two trees at 311 yards. Even with the low quality of video, that this camera shoots, you can clearly see the vapor trail of the bullet.

I was shooting my 243 WSSM Winchester Model 1885 with 55g Ballistic Tip factory load bullets. These bullets have a muzzle velocity of 4240 fps from this rifle. I was shooting from a sitting position using my Stoney Point Steady Stix with a tripod and my digiscope to the right of me.

This inexpensive digiscope setup has worked pretty good for me for several years. However my camera has now developed some internal floaters that place a couple of blurry spots on the photos and video I take with the camera zoomed.

With my camera now having issues I have been looking for a better camera/digiscoping solution. I think I've found it in the new breed of digital point and shoot cameras, cameras like the Nikon P100, Olympus SP-800UZ, Fujifilm Finepix HS10, or Pentax X90. These are point and shoot cameras with very high optical zooms. These cameras also offer high resolution still images along with good to excellent video qualities depending on the camera. With a camera like one of these there is no need for a digiscope setup, just place the camera in a steady tripod and take video and still images at amazing distances.  

Right now I'm leaning toward the Fujifilm or Nikon cameras as they both take high resolution 1080p video. The Fujifilm camera takes AA batteries and I think that is a huge plus but the Nikon I think might take a little better quality of images... maybe. I need to find some money somewhere and get one.

Update Nov. 8th 2010: I finally bit the bullet and ordered a camera from my favorite computer/gadget website newegg.com. I went over and over the specs, reviews etc and felt that the FujiFilm FinePix HS10 was the best camera for me. It was hard for me to chose this camera over the Nikon P100. I'm looking forward to getting this camera in the field to see what it can do. Here are some of the different features that made me chose the HS10 over the P100:

  • It takes AA batteries
  • It can take Raw images. This will be handy for taking photos that Browning (my day job) may want to use.
  • It has a 30x zoom compared to a 26x zoom
  • It has a manual zoom. Motor driven zooms mean one more thing to chew up battery and on more thing that might break.
  • It has a standard 58mm threaded lens, thus allowing for filters and teleconverters to be threaded on the front. The manual zoom also allows for teleconverters to be placed on the lens without a motor to get messed up trying to move the lens with a teleconverter attached. See my 51X Ultra Super Zoom FujiFilm HS10, HS20EXR and Sony VCL-DH1758 Teleconverter entry for more info on teleconverters.

Digiscope Video of Velvet Antlered Mule Deer

Digiscope Photo of Large Two Point Mule Deer Buck Digiscope Photo of Large Two Point Mule Deer Buck
 Here are a couple of still photos I snapped as the mule deer bucks were feeding early in the morning.

While camping this summer I took some digiscope video and still photos of some bucks that were out feeding in the area where we were camping.

There were six bucks in the group. Must of the bucks we yearling two points and spikes, with a three point and a pig of a two point. This large two point buck's body was much larger and had a very pronounced fat belly. He also showed signs that he might grow some crab claw forks in the front and back before he finished growing in a month or so.

I explain a little more about my digiscope setup used to take this video in my Digiscope Video of 243 WSSM Shooting a Milk Jug at 311 Yards journal entry.

243 WSSM Rock Chuck Hunting with Video in 2010

243 WSSM Model 1885 Rock Chuck Hunting
View of my 243 WSSM Model 1885 from my lap while rock chuck hunting.

Dallen and I took a hike to hunt rock chucks this past week. We went into a area that usually has abundant numbers of chucks however this year we only found a handful of chucks.  We had given the area a break from hunting the previous year so maybe some else had been in the area the past two years. Who knows. We did find a few rock chucks and were able to have some fun.

Dallen was packing his Browning A-Bolt Stainless Stalker in 223 Rem. and was shooting a 50g V-Max handload clocking right at 3,000 fps. I was packing my Winchester Model 1885 in 243 WSSM shooting factory 55g Ballistic Tips, clocking in at 4240 fps, with this 28" long barreled rifle.

Both of us are shooting from a sitting position. I am using a set of Stoney Point Shooting Stix and Dallen has a large Browning Bi-Pod on his rifle. He prefers Shooting Stix but we think his set got left on the mountain when we shot our cow elk this past winter.

I let Dallen take the first crack, at the first chuck. It was a small chuck, at 246 yards. It takes him three shots to connect on this rock chuck. His first two shots are near misses. I have to give him credit as he is only using a 3-9x Bushnell Elite 3200 rifle scope and shooting with a bi-pod from a sitting position. After his first two shots I decide to take a "warm up" shot myself and just skim the top of it's back for a miss... and I have no excuse, I just missed. You will notice a considerable difference in the speed of the bullet and the impact on the rock on the third shot in this video. When I have my rifle down to reload Dallen center punches the chuck on his third shot.


This rock chuck is at 244 yards and I send him a flying with a center punch from my 243 WSSM Model 1885, using a 55g Ballistic Tip, having a 4240 fps muzzle velocity.

Dallen with his Browning A-Bolt Stainless Stalker 223 Rem. Me with my 243 WSSM Model 1885 out Rock Chuck Hunting
Dallen with the thumbs-up after he shoots his first rock chuck for the year. Dallen turns the camera on Dad.

We didn't get to shoot very much this trip out but we had a lot of fun nonetheless. The trip also provided some much needed exercise. I have put a few pounds on this past winter. I need to get in a little better shape and take several more trips like this before summer is over. Dallen and I had a great time. I really enjoy the talks we have when we are out hunting together. He's growing up on me.

DIY Rifle Scope Bore Sighting

Bore Sighting Model 1885, 270 WSM
Bore sighting my Model 1885, 270 WSM by looking directly down the center of the barrel and setting the rifle scope's crosshairs to match.

Here are some simple ways to bore sight your hunting rifle scope, no gadgets or lasers required.

There are two ways that I bore sight my rifles that I have found will get me within six or so inches of being sighted-in at a hundred yards.

Look Through the Barrel Bore Sighting
The first method works on any rifle that you can remove the bolt or open the action and be able to see through the barrel from the back of the rifle. Bolt action and single shot rifles will work for this method. With your target set out at 100 yards place the rifle in a shooting sand bag or something that will hold the rifle very still. Open the action on a single shot or remove the bolt on a bolt action rifle. Position the rifle so when you are a step or two behind the rifle and look straight down the middle of the barrel you can see the middle of your target at 100 yards. Once you have the barrel pointing straight at the target carefully step up to the rifle and look through the scope without moving the rifle. Now adjust the scopes reticle to lineup with the center of your target.

You may want to go back and forth from looking through the barrel to looking through the scope a few times to make sure you are on. That's it! No lasers or fancy gadget required. I have always been within six inches of being sighted-in with this method. You may also wish to take your first shots at 25 yards, adjust as needed then move out to 100 yards. I have been just fine at going straight to 100 yards and have the bullets place on paper.

Mirror Bore Sighting
My second method works for any rifle regardless of the action type. This method works great for your windage adjustment but not so great for your elevation adjustment. However, I have found most of my initial scope adjustments to get a rifle sighted-in are windage adjustments not elevation adjustments.

In this method you will need to find yourself a mirror that you can get far enough away from to where you can see your reflection clearly while looking through the scope. Now position yourself in front of the mirror and look through your rifle scope directly at the reflection of the rifle. Point the rifle so that the barrel is pointing perfectly straight at it's self in the mirror. Once you have the barrel pointing straight adjust the scope's windage adjustment to line directly up with the barrel. Your rifle scope is now bore sighted for windage.

I could go into a lengthy ramble of how you can adjust for elevation but for most it is best to leave it alone until you get to the range or use the "look through the barrel method" if you can with your rifle. Just know that you might need to adjust the vertical shot placement a little more once you get to the range.

I started using the mirror method looking for a way to adjust for the large amount of windage adjustments I have to make on my Model 1885s. At least with my Model 1885 rifles the drilled and tapped front is not aligned perfectly with the rear. Using the mirror method is a great way to quickly adjust the windage with the windage adjustable rear base before I lock the base in place. Then I can use the "look through the barrel method" to get a more precise bore sighting. I used the mirror method on my X-Bolt and it worked great as you can see in the Accuracy of My New X-Bolt Stainless Stalker, 270 WSM entry.

If you need some targets to sight-in your rifle you can download and print some from here.


  • Big Game Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting mule deer, elk and whitetail deer.  You'll find hunts with 243 WSSM and 270 WSM rifles to muzzleloader and archery hunts.

  • General Hunting and Shooting

    Journal entries covering general information related to hunting and shooting. Many of these journal entries are from shooting on the rifle or archery range. There are also entries related to my experiences with the 243 WSSM, rifles, optics and other equipment and products I use.

  • Varmint Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting coyotes, rock chucks, prairie dogs and the like with 243 WSSM and 223 Rem. rifles.

  • Backpacking and Camping

    Backpacking, Pack Wheel camping and other camping adventures.

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