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Spring is here already? Seems like only yesterday we were cooking up some fresh fall bear in the fat! Will You be going after spring bear this season?
Whether shooting a nilgai at 380 yards or walking through the tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field, Fletcher Cox always has a game plan for every situation.
What’s at the end of Your Rainbow this St. Patrick’s Day?
It’s March. Let’s face it – when it comes to North American big game, we are doing one of three things – Looking back at last fall’s hunts, looking forward to next fall’s hunts, or hopefully planning a super sweet spring bear hunt. Whatever non-actual hunting thing you are up to now, you can curb your shakes by analyzing your current gear set and buying more. That’s exactly what I did last spring and it worked out great. Below are three essential pieces of mountain hunting gear I had never used before, but most certainly will again.
Black Diamond Whippet SKI Pole:
I’ve confessed my love affair and pronounced the benefits of trekking poles many times. The Black Diamond Whippet Ski pole is a next-level item – adding even more security, safety, and confidence on the mountain. Simply replace one of your trekking poles to make the ultimate mismatched set – or carry as a single. It is essentially a high-quality trekking pole with a small pic built into the handle. Works great for plunging into soft earth for increased purchase, or heaven forbid, stopping in a self-arrest scenario. Even if you’re conservative when it comes to sketchy spots (like I am), the reality is, we just sometimes end up in places we would rather not be in. I found it super handy, easy to pack, and relatively lightweight. And it still worked to erect my emergency shelter. I’m not saying it is a replacement for an Ice Axe, but it will be a lot better than your fingernails if you end up needing it.
Hell yeah, I said Pop Tarts. I was chatting with Remi Warren prior to heading up to POW last August for an Alpine Sitka Blacktail hunt. He has much more mountain-hunting experience than I – which is why I was peppering him with questions. While talking food options, he recommended Pop Tarts. They make sense. It’s no secret – Calories are key for any high-output, multi-day activity. Lucky for us, Pop Tarts are loaded with them, taste great (if you have a sweet tooth) and fall right in line with many bar-type choices more commonly associated with backpacking. Averaging more than 100 calories per ounce, they aren’t the only thing to keep in your pack, but do provide a welcome break from more standard choices. They do tend to crumble over time, so maintaining their structural integrity can be problematic. Now I’m not recommending them for your pre-hunt fitness regimen, but they are dang solid choice on the mountain.
The Razor HD LH Riflescope:
If you haven’t looked through one – look through one. Better yet, just get one and hunt with it. You won’t be disappointed. I’m that confident. Now I know I always sit in my “Vortex Chair”, but these scopes flat out rock. They are optically off the charts, lightweight and tough as nails. Essentially, they are the best mountain scope there is. They aren’t cheap, but when you consider what you are getting, they are more than worth the cost. They are the perfect complement to any mountain or sporting rifle. I mounted the 1.5-8×32 on a Kimber Montana in .308 for the same POW hunt referred to earlier. After getting my ballistic data and confirming it at the range, I was consistently using the BDC drops to make lethal hits on steel out to 540 yards. I ended up shooting a buck right at 200 yards. The target dot is super intuitive. Pin that baby in the pocket and your confidence is through the roof. The HSR-4 Reticle available in the 2-10×40 and 3-15×42 is ideal for those who want to get exact ballistic data and hold more precisely off their reticle for longer shots. I used the 2-10×40 on another deer hunt later in the year. I ended up killing a buck on that hunt at 80 yards, but it was nice knowing I could have executed shots at much greater distance. Any way you go, it will be a lethal combination.
Spring is a great time to evaluate gear, confirm what worked great, what didn’t and make additions. If you don’t currently use any of the items mentioned in this article, I suggest you consider them. They may just become some of your new favorites too.
— by Mark Boardman
What are Your weekend plans?
Photo Cred: Jordan Kauer
Can you estimate the distance of the target? See what others in the Vortex Nation had to say.
We hope You never have a brush with death like Charlie did, but if You do, our VIP Warranty has always got Your back.
Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Riflescope
★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars
Perfect For Its Purpose!
“Mounted this on my AR for the main purpose of coyote hunting. 6x power is plenty of scope for where I hunt. Love the fact that I can dial down to a true 1x for when opportunities present ;) Low profile scope, 30mm tube with glass this clear could cost a lot more. Vortex freakin’ NAILED it with this guy! Plus a lifetime warranty….can’t beat it. Period.” – J.W. from South Dakota
Every gun has a story – Whether it’s a classic lever action, passed down through generations, a battle-torn rifle responsible for defending our Nation’s freedom, or perhaps it’s the first gun you ever shot. Whatever it is that makes you a gun fanatic, we completely understand, because we’re gun crazy, too! In “Guns of Vortex”, we’ll be highlighting some of the firearms owned, used, and/or collected by our crew in-house. What we like about ‘em, what we don’t, and the stories they all carry with them.
The Carl Gustav Model 1896 Swedish Mauser:
The Carl Gustav Model 1896 Swedish Mauser – just saying the name is enough to drive any rifleholic crazy. Many of you are probably already familiar with the Mauser family of rifles. They are perhaps one of the most iconic rifles in history – one on which many of today’s rifle actions are based. The Winchester Model 70, Ruger M77, CZ-550, and Kimber’s family of bolt actions are just a few of the many models out there, still using much of the same design and technology to date. With that said, this particular example is a beautiful looking rifle, but what makes it so special? We certainly can’t deny that over half a million were made almost exactly like this one for the Swedish Army, not to mention the millions of other Mausers made all over the world in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. That said, this one is particularly interesting, because not only is it an entirely numbers-matching example, over 100 years old, but of all the models built, this one is only #613.
To find a gun of this age and history, in this fine condition, and with such a low serial number is no easy task.
With a number as low as #613, and stamped date on the receiver from 1898, that can pretty easily lead us to believe that this rifle was manufactured as a model 96. However, the shorter-than-normal barrel leads us to believe that it underwent some kind of change in its lifetime. Conveniently, many of these rifles were converted to what is known as a model 38, or “Short rifle” in their service life. The model 38 consists of both factory models with turned down bolts, and converted 96’s, which featured the shorter barrel, but a straight bolt handle. This rifle is most presumably a converted m96 because of its straight bolt knob, and serial & date of manufacture numbers on the receiver.
Ever wish your rifle had a spot where you could record important data about it? I mean, the Vortex Defender flip caps with a “Dope Disk” are a great way to keep dope handy, but what did the Swedes do when they needed to know their “DOPE”, or the condition of their bore? Well, they used this – the “OG” of DOPE disks. There are 3 sections on this version of brass disk, each indicating vital info about the rifle. The first section shows the bore’s actual diameter, and at the time of inspection, it was marked to show if the barrel needed to be replaced. The 2nd section indicates bore condition with a 1, 2, or 3; 1 being good bore condition, and 3 meaning it was on the brink of needing replacement. Because the Swedes didn’t see much battle, they were generally a bit pickier about bore condition, so even if you see a bore with a 2, or 3 marking, it will probably shoot pretty darn good. Finally, the 3rd section of the disk indicates if your rifle is shooting high, or low of your point of aim. Yes, even without an optic, the Swedes knew the importance of your zero distance.
All Swedish Mausers were chambered in the 6.5x55mm cartridge. Clearly they knew what they were doing by going with a 6.5mm cartridge – who ever said 6.5’s were just the latest fad? This aerial view gives a perfect shot of that classic Mauser style action with the iconic claw extractor. Rifles like these lack the third safety locking lug at the rear of the bolt and feature “Cock-on-closing”, rather than “Cock-on-opening”. Lifting the bolt handle might surprise you as it is spring loaded to assist the bolt moving backward. This causes it to feel and function quite similarly to the Lee Enfield rifles which many are also familiar with.
Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary about the tangent-style sights on this Swedish Mauser. The neat thing about the “T” marking on this converted 96’ is that, while these rifles were originally intended to fire 160 grain ball ammo, they got a new rear sight when the 140 grain spitzer round came about in the early 1900’s. This new rear sight kept soldiers from hitting too high when issued the new ammo. Whether it’s optical or iron, you could say that we are geeks about sights. Funny to think that the adjustments in sights like this ultimately do the same function that the adjustments in your riflescope do!
Easy now – a modern shooter might think we tampered with this muzzle to thread it for a suppressor. While you may be able to fit one on here with a proper adapter, this threaded muzzle was actually used to attach a device called a “Shredder”, which was used for training purposes. Wooden blanks were used in training by the troops, and the shredder was attached to ensure the bullets would dissipate upon exiting the barrel, thus avoiding injury to anyone downrange. Rifles with threaded barrels were then known as “B” models, and referred to as such in any military documentation. Later on, these rifles were fitted with flash hiders to both – you guessed it – hide flash, and to also protect the threads.
- It MIGHT have been sold to the Finnish government and used to defend Finland from the USSR during the Winter War of 1939-1940. Or
- In the Continuation War which lasted from 41’ to 44’, again between the Finns and the Soviets.
Failure teaches us life’s hardest and best lessons. Whether battling numerous injuries throughout his career as a BMX Gold Medalist, or forgetting to reset his turret to zero on a hunt, Morgan Wade is no stranger to meeting challenges head on and coming out on top.
Scott Lee (1992-2017) was a passionate hunter, shooter and Vortex Superfan. He courageously battled two rounds of leukemia. This week, Scott’s valiant fight came to an end. While we mourn the loss, we remember the spirit and the passion with which he lived. Forever a part of the Vortex Nation.
This video contains footage left over from our visit to Scott’s home to talk about his Vortex Success Story. To hear that story, and to learn just a few of the many things that made him such an amazing person, you can view that video here.
If taken, they will simply be gone. A loss so profound, America’s heart will never fully recover.
More information in this article from Steven Rinella – MeatEater.