While at Blogorado, new friend Joe mentioned hunting in Nebraska. As a guy who likes to see the world but has seen but little of it, I speculated that it was probably mostly beanfield hunting out there. He smiled and explained that in fact, there's some serious broken ground hunting out where he hunts, and while the deer are in fact corn fed (the farmers desperately want their numbers reduced) and heavy, they spend a lot of time in drainage woodlots, and the best way to hunt them is to walk them up.
Long story short, I begged an invitation, and have gratefully accepted that which I sought when it was proffered.
According to Joe, a 100 yard shot would be long, and somewhat unusual. So it was that this week, days before leaving to go to Nebraska to hunt, I found myself needing to check the zero on my stalking rifle-- a Springfield 1903 re barrelled to .35 Whelen. It's been awhile since I loaded for it, and frankly, I didn't recall where the zero was with the loads that I had on hand. And I was VERY short of hunting ammo.
This morning, I checked some handloads today (250g Hornady softpoint spitzer over about 53g of Reloader 15, if memory serves), and found that it was centered a couple of inches high, and maybe just right of, dead center, from 100 yards. I didn't cover myself with glory with my shooting today, and that was a shame, because I didn't have much ammo to practice, and still go hunting. I shot a group of factory 250g Remington, and was irritated to see that I shot it better. I'll carry the Remington loads, probably.
Every hunt needs a backup rifle, so I checked my 1953 vintage M7o .243 with our handloads. The first two shots put my 100g Nosler SP Spitzer into a 1/2 at 3" high.
Screw it. I wasn't going to waste more ammo. Hold dead-on out to about 300, which probably wouldn't be a problem (this is still blowing my stereotype of Nebraska.).
I checked the old cut-down Super Blackhawk and found that, as comfortable as Dad's 240g SWC Special loads are, I was frankly shooting the factory Remington 240g JSPs into a tighter group. Call it 3" at 25yds. With full Magnums, that tiny trigger guard, and that short (4 1/2") barrel, I'll take that. The group was about 2" right of where I want it, and about 4" high at 25. Something to remember. The sights will NOT come down any further, and I didn't have a screwdriver anyway.
Of humorous note-- in changing from my work clothes to run out with Dad to go sight in this morning, I somehow, um, sort of... forgot to put a gun on. Well, except for the Super Blackhawk that I had in the Thad Rybka holster on my belt. I got into Dad's car, realized that I had no carry gun on me, and shrugged and loaded it with 5 Magnum rounds. (It's an old model Flat Top). Let's all say it together, class: Load One, Skip One, Load Four, Cock and lower the hammer. I may have been a little slow on the draw, but I was not poorly armed. I had to run into the PD to pick up something that I had forgotten there, and I know my chief was mildly curious, but he just smiled and didn't ask. I let the mystery be.
Friday morning, I'll be in Omaha.