The first video contains a few highlights from a talk I gave to the Manawatu regional branch of the New Zealand Deer Stalkers Association. Subjects covered: Fast killing, the rise in popularity of low powered cartridges, Berger bullets.
Hi everyone, here we are are near the end of another year.
First, a reminder that Christmas is not far away so those wishing to order paperback books may want to do so within the next week or so before the printers and post services get swamped (New Zealand buyers please note that we have stock here in NZ for domestic shipping). If you purchase ebooks there is no waiting, just follow the link you receive with your order confirmation, download your books and enjoy.
I have finally had the time to sort through my .44 cal research. Yep, took me long enough but it is finally done. Articles include .44-40, 44 magnum and .444 Marlin. It’s great to have these finished and up for your enjoyment, I hope each of you find these articles useful.
As most of you know by now, I have been working with Norma this year, writing educational material. The first project was an updated and highly in-depth version of my Effective Game Killing article. Norma has taken an incredibly brave approach with this article, allowing me to explain not only the strengths of their ammunition, but also limitations. This level of transparency is rare these days and shows the commitment that Norma have made to their customers. I am deeply honored to have this opportunity to be a part of this meaningful project. A second article will appear in the near future (shot placement). From next year, I believe I will be working as a consultant to Norma in one capacity or another.
If you want to know a little more about me, the Door is the book to read. The inexpensive ebook option also serves as a great way to donate to the site while getting more bang for your buck.
A review from the forums:
I just had a chance to pick this up and read it and wanted to add my recommendation to anyone on the fence about picking this book up! I didn't grab the book right when it came out, not because I didn't think Nathan and Steph's backstory wouldn't be interesting but because I personally can't stand nightclubs, clubbing, clubbers or anything to do with that scene so I thought I would put it on the backburner. Reading some of these positive reviews made me pick it up and I am sure glad I did. While I figured reading about your backstory would be interesting (and it was), I enjoyed the book a lot more than I expected. Even though I can't stand nightclubs at all, what I really found compelling was a couple of unexpected things; Nathan's growth from a young 'karate kid' into a true warrior, and also the very interesting insights into human character, especially the nature of violence.
In hindsight it makes sense to me that in our oh so cleaned up modern western societies, with no room for men to be warriors that being a doorman at a nightclub is one of the few places left for a man (or woman) to have that no BS laboratory for developing hand to hand combat skills, and into a warrior. For anyone even vaguely interested in hand to hand combat, martial arts or the warrior mindset I would say this book is a must read, ten bucks is hardly anything to pay for Nathan's insight into those topics.
Anyway, I am certainly glad I took the time to read this book and I encourage anybody on the fence thinking about it to go ahead and read it, I don't think you will be disappointed.
Great job Nathan and Steph, and God bless you and your family!
Over the last couple of years, I have had to back off my email in order to avoid being ground into a state of non-productivity. But as and when time has allowed, I have copied the occasional technical email exchange to a book draft titled Ask the expert. So far the book is up to about 200 pages of useful tips and tricks. I will keep plugging away at this but as suggested, this book is being written only when time allows.
Another method I have been employing to deal with mail is Vimeo record. A supposedly simple platform for answering mail by video. One aspect that I like about this is that it allows me to really give you guys my undivided attention, it allows me to really connect with you in a way that email cannot convey. On the other hand, there are some limitations. Vimeo record was designed to help work flow but the method is only convenient if I use my laptop (low quality picture and sound). In order to record at a higher quality, I would need to set up a studio which kind of defeats the purpose. It’s also not so easy to have a one-way speaking conversation. I end up feeling that I am trying to fill my own gaps in thought with speech when I should be sitting quietly and thinking about possible contradictions that may be helpful to the person who has emailed me. Perhaps over time I will get better at this. In any case, after recording my waffle, the video is saved to Vimeo where it can be shared privately to the person who emailed me via a quick link. Videos suitable for sharing can also be saved to a channel which everyone can view on Vimeo. The channel can be set to free viewing or paid subscription as a means to get something back from the time and energy expenditure. At the moment, I have just a few videos uploaded which are set to free viewing. Will see how this goes over time and whether it actually serves as an effective delivery method.
Well that’s about it for this year guys. It’s been a tough one for sure. If I can offer one piece of advice moving ahead, it is that the measure of one’s strength and power is perhaps equal to one’s capacity for gratitude and compassion. It is this I believe that separates us from those who prefer to shed personal responsibility and want to change others in order to make themselves happy. To that end, I wish each of you great strength and power.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Nathan, Steph and Miss Riley.
Hi All, just a quick post to say that we will be running another youtube live stream in NZ this Sunday at 8am (Saturday afternoon or evening for Northern hemisphere viewers).
Please click on the following link to view the correct screening time and countdown clock for your region: https://youtu.be/tsNFAaSof3I
Note also that you will need to retain the link in order to log into the chat. Youtube will generally hide links to streams until they have been up for some 24 hours (Youtube security protocols). So again, please keep the above link if you wish to view the stream or join the chat.
This week’s chat will be organic as usual. I will most likely start the stream with the first email or live chat question that peaks my interest or that which may be of use to others.
Until then, all the best.
Hi All, today is a very special day for Steph and myself as we announce the release of a new book!
This has been a long time coming and I guess it will come as a surprise to many of you as I have not spoken about this book previously. Many of you have over the years, wanted to know more about myself at a personal level. The Door is my story, a biography of my journey. Please be aware that this is not a hunting book.
The Door is a co-authored effort between Steph and myself. I wrote the initial draft to lay out the foundations but the story was often so dark that I could not fully relate this journey on my own. Thankfully, Steph also has an immense talent for writing. Although Steph had lived through many of these experiences with me, having read the draft, she sat down and interviewed me while taking notes, sometimes having to drag the memories from me. In this manner through Stephs co-authorship, we were able to put these experiences into print.
Hi all, just a quick note to say that we will be conducting another Youtube live stream this week!
Note that you will need to save the following link in order to view the stream. That or click on the subscribe button on our Youtube channel. Link: https://youtu.be/eEnCMZJ8IhI
The stream will commence at 8am on Saturday the 25th of July NZ time. For folk living in the northern hemisphere, this will be Friday afternoon or evening. The Youtube link will show you a count down based on your time zone.
The content of this stream will be the same as our last stream (our first foray into this) of which there will be no set format and I will instead answer general hunting, firearm, reloading questions etc. based on the sidebar questions.
If you would like to see the first stream, please click here: https://youtu.be/-3955Euww6M
Once again, Steph will be cherry picking through the comments and questions. I will try my best to say hi to each of you and answer your questions but as per the previous stream, there will be a limit to how many questions we can handle within the time frame.
All the best.
Other recent uploads:
Tech talk - Cartridge overall length versus magazine lengths
7mm Practical 1073 yard practice
Lee Enfield 7.62x54R rifle (45 minute video with gun chat at 38 minute mark)
.308 Winchester hack rifle considerations
Are analog (printed) drop charts effective?
Hi all, this is a quick note to say that we have just now received a temporary discount from our printers.
Until midnight tonight, we will be running a 15% special on all paperback books and paperback + ebook combinations. This may not sound like much but when added to our existing 15% or 25% bundle deals, it equates to huge savings.
Click here to view these discounts.
The 15% discount also applies to Small Arms Wound Ballistics but you will need to use the contact form to supply us with a covering request as per the instructions given on the Small Arms shopping page.
if you are buying for your husbands, please note that you can buy paperback / ebook combinations but that you will need to download the ebook files and then save the files to your documents folder on your computer. The files can then be passed over to hubby’s computer on Christmas day.
The download link should arrive in your inbox within minutes of your purchase. If the download link is not in your inbox with your order confirmation, check your spam folder as it will be in there.
The ebooks are Zip files so if you have an apple computer, you may need to make sure that your apple has unzipping software.
Free unzipping software for ipad: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/winzip-1-zip-unzip-tool/id500637987
If you wish to try downloading a test file, please Click here to be directed to a download page from our site (the folder simply contains two PDF’s sighting in targets). If you do not automatically see the option to download zip file (if you see a blank page) when you click on the link, then you do not have zip file software.
The prices on the bundles are possibly the lowest they will ever be so if you wish to purchase a collection for your husband or son, today is the day.
All the best.
Small Arms Wound Ballistics is a large (8.5 x 11 US Letter) hardback, case wrapped full color print book, 191 pages.
This book details the wounding effects with common eastern and western military cartridges, police issue cartridges and those commonly used to commit crimes. SAWB covers such subjects as wounds produced by the .22 Long rifle, effects of the 12 gauge loaded with buck or slugs, handgun wounding, all the way up to the effects of the .50 BMG. This book shows in graphic detail real world comparisons between such cartridges as the 9mm compared to the .45 ACP including barrier test results.
SAWB was written as reference material for both the trainee and academic. It is a no BS book for cops, infantry soldiers, snipers, security contractors and medics. It casts away myths and gets to the point. And yes, its quite graphic, starting off with some fairly dramatic head shots and getting heavier from there. Above all, it's about getting to know your tools and learning what you are up against.
Hello everyone, this is just a quick note to let customers know that MatchGrade products are now once again available in North America via Nechako Distributors.
Canadian hunter Paul and his wife Joanne have been long term friends of ours. Paul loves to work on rifles and had been using MatchGrade products for some years. Following our difficulties with NZ air courier services, Paul and Joanne recently purchased a large surface shipment from us.
Nechako Distributors are now shipping MatchGrade products to all North American customers.
Please be sure to visit the Nechako website and then add it to your favorites list for ease of future reference.
All the best, Nathan.
Hi all, I hope this news letter finds you well.
This is just a brief news letter to let everyone know (especially wives) that we are near our deadline for Christmas book deliveries (postal services slowing down under heavy workloads). If you are wanting to buy a book set for a friend or partner for Christmas, please consider making this purchase within the next few days.
Note also that if you are concerned about delivery at this time, you might (again speaking to wives) like to consider the paperback + ebook version of the books. This will ensure that you have an immediate copy of the ebook files (zip folder – pdf, epub, mobi) which can be hidden away on a hard drive until Christmas day.
Please click here to shop for books (link to entire collection 25% discount).
What else has been happening? Well its been a challenging year for us. I was laid up ill for several months and am just now starting to rebuild some strength. This slowed down progress a great deal but we can now finally look at getting back on track with our projects for the coming year.
As some of you know, I have for the last year or so been working with Dave Manson towards optimizing some of our traditional cartridge / reamer designs. The goal has been to enhance potential with modern projectiles for which these cartridges were never designed. We are now getting closer to finalizing these designs which include the .280, .280 AI, 7mm Rem Mag, .30-06, .30-06 AI and .300 Win Mag. I won’t say too much more at this stage but would simply like to raise an awareness of the new reamers for those planning builds for 2019. The reamers are for your benefit, to make life easier on barrel makers, the smiths who fit the barrels and the guys who then have to shoot the rifles. Ease of accuracy, power, magazine lengths and throat longevity have each been taken into consideration. Please do not email me with questions about these at this stage. When we are ready, I will release a highly deta iled newsletter with exact specs, OAL’s and so forth.
Dave and Ann at SHOT, early in the morning before the crowds arrive.
Note that we will be at SHOT in Las Vegas this coming January. David and Ann Manson have once again kindly offered to sponsor us at this event. The Manson booth is on the bottom floor and very easy to find. Simply walk in the main doors, set your gaze at about 2 O’clock and walk about 30 yards, you’ll see us there. https://shotshow.org
Would you like to hear me waffle on for an hour or so? The following is a podcast with Dave Byrnes, owner of the website Hunting Arete (Australia), dedicated to creating a positive and supportive network for hunters.
While assembling footage for our upcoming tutorial videos, we took a small section of footage and uploaded this to youtube, titled – Is it me, or is it my rifle? This is just a short video but highlights the importance of working through the basic variables. The rifle in question was a factory Remington M700 Long range Hunter chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum. The client had used the Accurizing book (see also Remington M700 troubleshooting video)to break the rifle in. Many of you will be interested to know that with regards to the bore, it required three throat lapping sessions to reduce fouling to a point where the rifle began to play ball. Following this, the client came to me for a tutorial with the goal of refining accuracy further. The youtube video is a small segment of this foo tage. Of the variables shown, please pay close attention to the issue of chamber tolerances versus brass tolerances, especially if you are using a suppressor which can cause carbon caking at the chamber. I would also like to remind each of you that concentricity needs to be considered a priority when working up accurate loads. If the bullet is not squarely aligned to the bore, accuracy will be poor. Those of you who wish to reach out long would do well to consider the likes of the Sinclair concentricity gauge as being at the top of your shopping list, above both dies and a press.
This video shows the 180 grain Hornady ELD-M in action. I have refrained from uploading this to a public channel as the footage is quite graphic. Therefore, please use the link above to navigate your way to this footage. It can also be found within my online article- The 7mm Practical.
Some old footage I recovered from a defunct camcorder. The quality and sound are terrible but those of you wanting to see a .375 RUM in action will enjoy it. In this video, I was testing the 300 grain Woodleigh PP. It was pushed far beyond its limits and if you look closely, you can see that there was a risk of over expansion (shallow penetration). Still, this load and others had to be tested. Once again, this is an unlisted video so you will need to use the link here to navigate to this video.
That’s about it for us. I hope each of you have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas. Steph and I would like to extend a personal thanks to each of you for supporting us throughout 2018. We hope that you continue to find value in our research.
Until next year, All the best.
Well heck, it’s been a long time since my last blog post! I trust each of you are well, enjoying the summer if you are in the Northern hemisphere while we are layered up and hunkered down for winter in the south.
We have finally launched our Ruger M77 video bedding tutorial. This is an extremely highly detailed video in the hope that by taking maximum footage, the user can play the video while concurrently working on his rifle. Along with this, I wanted to provide extra footage due to the fact that bedding is just one aspect of the M77. By addressing all of the factors covered in the video, the shooter is in a much better position to extract maximum performance from the M77 platform. These really are a neat little rifle once they have had a work over and I really hope that those of you who watch the video find it highly rewarding. The video is currently priced at U.S $10 and is hosted with Vimeo.com as a 3 Month online rental.
Along with our M77 video, we have also launched a troubleshooting video for M700 owners (Subject rifle SPS Stainless 7mm Rem Mag). This was a completely organic video in which a customer sent us his rifle to rectify stubborn copper fouling. After bedding the rifle, the customer discovered that the rifle produced terrible groups due to the stubborn bore. This was a grand opportunity to study what can go wrong with the M700 rifle with regards to both DIY work and flaws within rifle production. To help give the video structure, I have used the chapters of the Accurizing book as reference steps for the video. This footage also works in conjunction with our free Remington bedding tutorials hosted on youtube.
Those who have watched the M700 Troubleshooting draft have stated that this is one of the most helpful videos on DIY accurizing that they have ever watched. This video is perfectly suited to those just getting into the accuracy game as it covers the initial factory rifle set up, the barrel break in, followed by what to do when things go wrong – and a lot of things went wrong in this video which was absolute gold for learning. And best of all, it had a very happy ending.
Recently I revived a rifle from my youth, my old Long Branch N0.4 Mk 1 Lee Enfield. This rifle was badly in need of a new barrel while at the same time, I was in need of an accurate test barrel in 7.62x54R - the ‘almost a short magnum’ which has served the Russian military for so long. My old Long Branch was at one time fairly accurate but it would always be somewhat of a gamble as to how truly accurate it could be with a new barrel. Sometimes you just have to take a punt.
The new barrel was duly made and fitted by Grant Lovelock, co-owner of True-Flite barrels. To get the cartridges feeding, I had to lift the rear lips of the magazine just a touch and then sand the inner mag box just enough to ensure it was burr free. Following this, I jacked a round from the magazine towards the breach, at which point the fat case became hung up about a halfway into the chamber. With just the lightest filing on the feed rails, removing only about .5mm / 20 thou on each side, the cartridges fed nicely. After this, I gave the rifle a very basic bedding job. At the range, following the initial break in, the rifle shot at or just over MOA with Ordnance ammunition – Thanks Grant, you never cease to amaze me.
In the old days, we used to purchase .303 ammunition by the bandolier (from memory about 50 rounds). The Enfield was the rifle we utilized to learn marksmanship, how to hunt and for some of us, how to cull. But the days of cheap .303 ammo are long gone. Rebarreling the Enfield to the Russian potentially opens up ammo options. But alas, as I type these words, it is now becoming difficult to obtain Russian ammunition due to current global politics. Perhaps this will blow over in time. Failing this, perhaps we will one day have new options under the Hornady Black label. In any case, the Enfield Russian was a success, yielding 2560fps at the muzzle with 174gr FMJ ammunition.
Having had so much fun bringing this old rifle back to life, prospective clients will be happy to know that I am on occasion adding this rifle to the mix during tutorials. Why? Because with its extremely poor ergonomic form (thanks to the high optic mounts), the short length of pull and brass butt plate, this rifle puts technique into perspective. If the rifle is held correctly, it’s recoil is easily tolerable. But if it not held correctly, lessons are literally hammered home via pain. It is a rifle which ends all arguments over technique. Either you can shoot it, or you cannot.
During testing I have found that if the client adopts a solid method involving truly transferable skills, the client can switch from his rifle to this rifle and be dead on out at 600 to 700 yards without having to check the 100 yards zero for the Enfield. Such a rifle can also teach us what really matters when it comes to spending. For example, the factors of most importance have been an acceptable action, an excellent barrel, good epoxy bedding, suitable optics (in this case I utilized a Sightron scope) and solid technique. In contrast to this, a guy can spend a whole pile of money on tactical kit and still not achieve this outcome. This does not mean to say that I am into taking the cheapest budget plastic junk rifle you can find and expect expert results. Instead, its about putting the onus on ourselves to take the steps necessary to achieve excellent accuracy. As I have said time and again, you cannot buy the shot. Such an approach is never rewarding, lacking the flavor of success through self-discovery.
On a sadder note and as of this blog, we are no longer shipping our kits to international destinations. The rules and regulations of international shipping along with additional costs have simply become too difficult for us to navigate. I would like to offer my sincere apologies to those of you who have come to rely on our bedding products. The books will continue to be available worldwide along with our instructional videos and 7mm Practical die kits (packaged simply as tooling dies). I have really enjoyed working with those of you who utilized skype as a buddy platform. It was a joy to see these projects come together. New Zealand customers, please note that the Bedding product pages will be down for a few days while we make the necessary changes to the website shipping options matrix.
I never thought there could be such a thing as wildcat spam but there you go. Recently it was brought to my attention that somebody has created a reamer called the 7mm Practical Improved. Unlike my own cartridge, it is based on the shorter 7mm Rem Mag, but then shortened again before being improved, resulting in a rather low case capacity. Unfortunately, by using the name Practical (Impractical would have been better considering the case forming difficulties!) there is a potential for mix ups. Customers are therefore advised that in order to avoid confusion, please purchase your 7mm Practical reamers from David Manson reamers. These reamers are batched produced with no deviation within the design. The Manson Practical reamer is fully enhanced for both power, accuracy, and OAL’s versus mag lengths versus wear.
Over the past so many months, I have been working with David Manson towards the creation of a group of reamers with enhanced accuracy potential (and in one instance enhanced power potential) for some of our standard cartridges. These cartridges are well known but based on my research are long overdue for an overhaul. It is my greatest hope that these reamers will help barrel makers, gunsmiths and shooters to achieve better results with modern projectile designs and in doing so, help ensure positive relationships between each of these groups of people. We still have a way to go with these designs and I will report with a fresh blog post as soon as the reamers are in production.
Well, that’s about all for now. Both Steph and I wish you all the very best.
For those of you who do not have time to read this post, a brief of the contents are as follows:
Hi to all and my apologies for the recent chain of blog post emails. This post is for those who asked to be notified when we had our 7mm Practical die sets ready for sale. The dies are now finally ready in limited quantities on our website. Please click here if you wish to be redirected to the die shopping page.
U.S readers are advised to source dies from Manson Reamers. Dies purchased from us will incur double shipping and import duties having traveled to New Zealand and back again so again, please utilize Manson Reamers to purchase your dies.
For those of you who are not yet familiar with the 7mm Practical, our online article can be found by clicking here. For more detailed information on using the 7mm Practical at long ranges, please seek guidance within my book series (click here to view full series).
Note that we only have a limited supply of dies as we test the waters for this. There is much we have to learn here so please be patient as we explore how we are to best meet customer needs.
As many of you are already aware, we are now offering video tutorials, ideal for those who need visual aids beyond what is shown in the books. Video rental is still very new to us. One of the more difficult aspects of this was trying to figure out a fair price for the standard 3 month rental. On the one hand, I am offering information not found elsewhere, sharing many years of experience. On the other hand, what difference does this make to a would-be buyer who does not know whether the videos will truly help - where is the proof? Does Nathan Foster really know what he is talking about? One thing I do know is that those who purchase the book series from hard earned income generally excel in their path while those who are given the books or have them on loan, tend to skim read and often flounder. Very interesting for sure. In any case, for this week, we would like to offer both the Ruger American Accuracy video and our Tikka set up video at a heavily discounted price (50% o ff) in the hope of generating further interest. If you have been sitting on the fence and are not sure about the entire Vimeo / video process, now is the time to give it a go. The funds from this help us to continue doing what we do. We would also appreciate any supportive comments in the Vimeo feedback tab if you have time to write something after watching the videos.
Links and codes (ends Oct 9):
1. The Ruger American - Accuracy and trouble shooting: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/rugeramerican
Please use promo code: RUGERSAVE50
2. The Tikka rifle - How to set it up, break it in and shoot it straight: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/accuratetikka
Please use Promo code: TIKKASAVE50
I managed to wade my way through another podcast interview. I am hoping that we will do this again soon as there are several subjects that I feel I could have answered better or in more detail (hind sight) so if the host is willing and if time allows, expect a part 2 at some stage in the future.
To listen to the interview, click here or cut and paste the following link:
To view this on Vimeo (free) with a slideshow, please click here or cut and past the following link:
Many of you will also be interested to hear that we had David and Ann Manson visit here this last week. David Manson took an interest in our work some time ago. Believing that we had something of value to offer the worldwide hunting community, David sponsored our trip to the SHOT show, kindly sharing his booth with Steph and I. Now finally we would have a chance to hunt together.
David has also for some time been interested in the 7mm Practical and has helped me to standardize the reamer design for batch production. While visiting New Zealand, Dave was very keen to have Grant Lovelock at True-Flite, build him one of our original style rifles featuring True-Flite’s spectacularly accurate 4 groove 9 twist barrel design.
With the rifle delivered to True-Flite for its reno, Dave, along with my hunting buddy Kelvin and I hit the hills. However, as my Kiwi readers will be well aware, the weather was hell to say the very least. Nevertheless, we got off to a great start and Dave was a very lucky man.
The first animal down was a feral cattle beast, taken with my beloved .375 RUM. However, before you conjure up any romantic images of this hunt, I must tell you that although I had hoped to hunt the bull in his native surroundings, he had been sneaking out each night onto regular farm land to steal cows and enjoy some farm fresh pasture. On this final day, he took it too far, thinking he might stay a while, certainly good for meat retrieval but not exactly a wilderness hunt. To the outside observer, the bull having left the thick bush he was living in and broken through the farm boundary fence, now looked like any bull in a farm paddock. The trick would be to take him down at the request of a neighboring land holder without having him completely tear down the boundary fence should he attempt to head back into the wilderness.
My favorite rig for scrub cattle is the .375 RUM loaded with either the 300 grain Woodleigh PP between 2950fps and 3000fps or a 270 grain Barnes TSX loaded to between 3100 and 3150fps. But for some time I had been using this rifle with another barrel and had only just refitted the .375 pipe, guessing that the bull would have to be dealt with but thinking I would have some time up my sleeves. I had only just finished making up some ‘soft loads’ to get started again, going around 2800fps, nice and easy on the shoulder without a brake, provided the rifle fits well. For you young guys who have yet to experience such things, yes - a 300 grain bullet at 2800fps can be easy on the shoulder if you combine a good rifle design of sufficient weight with good form. In any case, here we were with an unexpected feral visitor weighing a minimum 600kg (1300lb), 10 minutes notice, mild loads and no chance to stalk inside 150 yards. The impact velocity would be just below 2600fp s.
The bull was lightly quartering on, head towards us, no good for a neck shot, the land holder also wanted the head undamaged. The shoulder would do nicely. Dave lined up and took the shot, the bullet struck dead center of the shoulder, the bull jumped but did nothing more than face up again. We waited for a moment to see if he would collapse then Dave took yet another shot. He jumped again, then bolted a short way. It was about now that I started to curse. I was playing back up with the .358 Norma but again, I did not have the loads on hand that I would have preferred. Instead, I was loaded with the 225 grain Sierra just on 2900fps, a load that Steph likes to tote around once in a while. I had to do something so I zig zagged in, never making eye contact or making a direct approach. After some distance I was able to flank him. A quick glance let me know that he was hit well but the result was more like a broadhead shot when bow hunting due to the low impact velocity. I need ed this guy down now. At around 30 yards I could see his neck and so I dropped to one knee and pulled the trigger on him. The Gameking bullet (not designed for such things) just managed to reach the spine. Finally - he was down.
A little less gore in Sepia.
Following this first round of excitement, we finally managed to get into the hills to spend a couple of days with the 7mm Practical. But due to the weather, access to the back valleys was impossible and game opportunities few and far between. At one point I sunk thigh deep in mud while trying to find a pass through to the areas both Kelvin and I were so keen to explore. Yes, it gets that wet and muddy here. Still, Dave was a champion, taking the cold, wet spring weather and mud in his stride. Kelvin spent a great deal of time glassing for pigs… while also managing to describe my epic fails at track clearing with home made dynamite in the old days and how it was a miracle that I ever managed to father a daughter after one exciting episode. Not long after this, Kelvin spied a small mob of pigs way out in a basin from our ridgeline position. Dave managed to take a single well placed head shot on a porker pig at 670 yards, shooting the Practical over his day pack. The s ecret to his shooting technique was a portable Amish style tactical beard. He kept this in the side pouch of his day pack.
A clean 670 yard shot with the Practical and 180gr ELD-M.
David also took a few feral goats which when hit with the Practical, went down so quickly that he thought he had missed.
“Are you sure I hit that, I think I missed”
“What do you mean missed - how dare you insult the Practical”
(Sarcastically) - “oh, so it completely vaporizes them into thin air”
“No, he’s down, he fell into the dead ground out of view… cheeky bastard”
It’s a funny thing, a difficult hunt with a good dose of mud, rain and cold really allows you to get to know a guy. You know what I am talking about, away from the internet, social masks and all of the fanfare. David Manson is simply a great guy to spend time with in the hills, a gentleman, down to earth. He guts his own kills, is serious about accuracy yet with a great sense of humor. He has endless energy and a contagious enthusiasm for all that he does. Both Kelvin and I very much enjoyed this time with him as did Riley (I had to tell both Dave and Riley off several times). David’s wife Ann is also a wonderful soul though not so keen on the knee-deep mud side of things. Fortunately, Steph and Ann worked out their own series of adventures which I am sure were just as exciting as our “hell I can’t stop shivering” experiences.
Good friends. David Manson (left) with my regular hunting buddy Kelvin and my dog Sarge.
Following our time in the hills, we hit the road and went to the Sika show in Taupo. This was a great chance to meet up with readers and shoot the breeze. We did not have a booth (I remained a moving target) which allowed us to mingle in a more relaxed manner. The Sika show also rounded off David’s visit, where we met Grant Lovelock with the rebarreled 7mm Practical, the rifle finally coming together with the purchase of one of Clive Judd’s Precision Platforms stocks - the assembled rifle now very much a Kiwi build.
Left to right, Grant Lovelock, Clive Judd, David Manson.
I suppose one could say that I am a bit of a black sheep within the industry, always was and probably will be forever more. Clive Judd is following an equally difficult path. I watched as customers came to the booth, held his stocks in the most awkward of manners and asked their many questions. At one point, I simply had to intervene. “Sir, what you think you want and what you need in order to achieve what you want are two completely different things. There are many gun and stock makers that will cater to what you want, but this man is making what you need, even if what he appears to be doing is quite different from the crowd.” And being the utterly terrible salesman that I am, I ended with, “perhaps you might want to go for a walk and think about this”.
The market for rifles (or any product) must at some stage reach a peak, after which there is little room for innovation. At that point, you may find divergence away from the central concept or the epitome of the design. Different = new = sales. In some cases, the design of a rifle never even reaches its peak before it is changed. The product is not better, it is simply different. After this, other manufacturers see that they are losing sales to those manufacturers who have made something different and then suddenly, everybody is hell bent on this one direction in design - away from the optimal. And because everybody is doing it, the buyer believes that this direction must therefore be the right direction. This completely galvanizes the market and sets new norms.
Then along comes somebody like myself, the elephant in the room, attempting to teach the ‘optimal’. But within the context of the current market, this simply appears to be grossly alien. Such is the path that Clive has chosen and good on him for doing so. Speaking from experience, this is no easy thing. But every punch he takes in the ring will fuel that fire in his belly. Just keep on poking that tiger.
Well, enough bull dust from me.
All the best in your endeavors, and remember, if you are having problems with a gun but are sticking it out, then you are learning. We learn by doing and by making mistakes. The more mistakes we make, the more we learn. As people, we are at our happiest when we have overcome challenges. To be sure, there are tough days when we want to give up, but the feeling of triumph when we finally achieve a successful result is a truly great thing. You cannot buy the shot. Those that do will never experience that true feeling of success. In this game, the results of your happiness depend purely on your efforts.
Finally, I want to thank all of you who have been supporting us thus far. Your kindness is truly and fully appreciated. Steph and I are so very grateful to each and every one of you for helping us along. Without you, none of this would have been possible so thank you.
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