View Full Version : Back on the vineyard.....

09-06-2013, 01:12 PM
After little hunting and shooting in general and 3 weeks of ill health I finally got out tonight to hunt at the vineyard. I'd gone to the range a weekend back and the Sportco Martini Hornet had, paradoxically shot a 1/2 MOA 100m 3-shot group, followed by 2 shots stringing to the left. But it was 2" to the right. :huh2:

The last time I'd taken it out it'd missed some very simple shots, including 2 at a fox at about 50m. That explained the misses and I hate to test in the field but I adjusted the windage on the scope a full 8 clicks in the hope it would rectify the problem.

When I told my 9 yr old son he was raring to go. Unfortunately he's not old enough to legally shoot but he was excited to spot light and take ferals. I learnt early on that you set up the spotlight and bust out your rifle & ammo the moment you get through the gate of the property. So we'd barely driven 75yds when the first test for the 22 Hornet presented itself. A good sized hare at well over 100yds out, maybe more (estimations are usually short in the dark), was ambling around and finally halted. I settled the crosshairs and squeezed. The answering BANG WHOMP!! proved my deductions were correct.

The Winchester "silver box" Super X 46gr HP factory ammo turned out to be excellent and the first shot was a sign of things to come. Next up was a bunny who sat still a little too long in the rows of vines. It was only about 30yds away.

The next shot, however, was the real confirmation of the Martini's accuracy. At least 150yds in the dark on a rabbit sized target is a challenge with standard factory ammo. However, with the scope on 12x I lined up and squeezed away. It just kicked over.

We drove up over the hill through the yards and into the next paddock. I'd hoped for a fox but there were none about despite some whistling. However, there were more rabbits. Driving and shooting is hard. I don't mind saying there were a few shots lost tonight because I had to pull up and get out to shoot. But another rabbit stopped about 40m away and I dropped him with the familiar WHOMP!!

We headed back over the hill in search of the hares I knew were about. One was spotted laying in the grass about 100yds or so out. The crosshairs once again rested and I squeezed away. Again the familiar WHOMP!! But we got all excited about another 2 hares we could see racing about to the right hand side and when we drove down I couldn't find it anywhere in the grass. It frustrates me when I can't find I know is down. Maybe I did miss. But I don't think so.

Anyhow, I took the next hare easily enough, this time 75yds out.

We then moved through to another paddock and a third hare, the mate of the previous one circled us, ducking into the grass at about 30yds. My first shot hit it and it was mortally wounded but would've taken a while to die. A second shot finished it.

We then took a last trip through the vineyards before heading home and the rabbits were skittish. This time of year makes them easier to spot as there's no foliage on the vines. One moved along 2 rows to the side of us and I could've shot a couple of times but I was reticent. It's like shooting through fences.....risky. However, I could see it moving toward our row, if it just stayed below the horizon when it broke out of cover into our row I had a chance. It ran about 5 yds out of cover the and little bunny bottom was a clear enough target for the Hornet.

Tired and verging on 1am we left the vineyard and began a slow drive down the driveway out. Like my approach to entering a property I pack away rifles, ammo and gear almost at the front gate. That approach was rewarded. A rabbit appeared 20 yds away on the other side of the fence by the track. I don't like shooting through a fence so we rolled forward slowly and waited to see what would happen. If it moved 10yds away I could clear the top of the fence. If it came under the fence and halted on the track it was a goner, too. As it happened it made a move to the road. WHOMP!! Not a nice thing at 15yds.

The last shot of the night was another impressive one. Again, around 150yds across a paddock, this time a rabbit sitting up with only a rear view, not a side on shot. As the rabbit kicked over I had to wonder HOW the scope had been so wrong. No pic for this one. I decided against climbing the electric fence. I thought getting my testicles "revitalised" was unwise (been there before!).

I'd like to say these impressive shots were me, but really the Tasco 3-12x40AO scope made it very easy and the factory ammo was formidably accurate in this little sporting rifle heading for 60 yrs old. No bull barrel or match chamber. If there is a dead hare somewhere out there in the paddock I'd say that's 11 shots for 11 hits. If not it's 11 shots for 10 hits. Bryn had a blast. He informed me he loved spotting and "tossing the dead ones over the fence."

09-06-2013, 01:35 PM
All 'round, Good Stuff Kombi!

09-07-2013, 12:16 PM
Outstanding! as Jamie.270 says "All 'round"!

Really large hares!

I've missed a couple of shots lately and was convinced it was me until the most recent ones. When I checked the 'scope it was off by about 5 FEET at 100 yd. I haven't got a clue how it got that far off.


09-07-2013, 01:41 PM
It is odd, isn't it, Paul? :huh:
Still, once it's back it's back! :D

09-07-2013, 10:52 PM
"Still, once it's back it's back! :D"

Here's hoping. Since in my case it was the 8mm SLT, I decided to take it completely apart - down to removing the barrel from the action - so I could finish what I started when I built it. I am polishing the action, trigger guard and floorplate, bolt, and if I get ambitious I'll polish the barrel too. Then I will blue ("black") all of it, reassemble it and see if "it's back" or not. It shot VERY straight before the scope got off.


09-08-2013, 04:58 AM
Did you manage to come across enough 125gr 8mm pills for that rifle, Paul?
There was a Sth African company, I think called GS, who made an all copper 139gr or so HPBT.
They looked good but also looked impossible to get outside of Africa. :(

09-08-2013, 02:12 PM
The above-mentioned rifle is the SLT - Steyr LONG Throat. As such, it wasn't built for the short, 125-grain bullets. However, in answer to your question: "Yes" - I have about 1000 "factory" 8mm 125s on hand and I'm working on the "Ain't No Varmint Bullet" in something between 115 and 130. Having taken the SLT apart, and not having the SST (Steyr SHORT Throat) in a form I like, it's not likely that I will get the ANVB tested on game this year. It's still a possibility, but not better than an 50/50 chance at best.


09-08-2013, 06:59 PM
Oh, sorry, got mixed up on the different abbreviations. But the SLT must really throw them out there, even with 200gr and 220gr pills. Anyhow, hope you sort it, this year or the next.

On my Sportco Martini Hornet; the most frustraing thing about the Friday night's success is that, after about 12 months of messing about and finally getting the Martini shooting with with the Winchester factory loads, I only have about 20 left from the 100 I bought. It's almost tempting to buy another 50 although with the 100 once fired brass I now that's a little pointless. It's about time to hit the gun shop and score some proper .223" cal Hornet projectiles. The 35gr Hornady V-Maxs were good little winners but production of them is currently suspended. Sierra makes a 40gr SP, Speer a 40gr Spire Point, Nosler 3 different 40gr (SP, HP & BT) and Barnes a 30gr Varmint Grenade. Truthfully I'll probably settle for what I can get rather than what I'd prefer. The Barnes is good but less common so I think it'll end up being the 40gr Sierras.

I'm hoping to get out again on another property to see if I can't call some foxes. With that in mind I pulled out my 303/25 last night and cleaned it with this new stuff a Texan friend sent me called Frog Lube. There are 2 spray bottles; a mild solvent which has no smell and the lube which smells like athletic rub. Apparently it was developed by a Navy Seal commander and is food grade - so non-toxic you could eat it if you were really determined! Anyhow, the hotter your gun gets the more it gets into the pores of the metal keeps you gun lubed. It pulled a decent amount of junk out of the bbl so we'll see how it goes long term.

I have to throw some 303/25 loads together using the new brass but range day is Saturday so I'll see if the old load (30gr AR2206 behind a Sierra GameKing 90gr HPBT) is still floating around MOA. Printing +3" @100yds it's still only a 235yd medium game load. It's very mild but I did the sums and even upping the velocity by about 100fps or 150fps from the current 2650fps it only gains about 10yds. Not really worth the extra recoil. You guys can confirm that though. What did you work out the maximum PBR (+/-3") is for the .257" cal 90gr HPBT (BC = .260) running at 2800fps?

09-08-2013, 10:40 PM
I haven't reloaded QuickLoad since my computer last crashed, but I have two things to do now so I'll get it reloaded ASAP.

I have the 220 doing 2850 at the muzzle from the SLT.


09-08-2013, 10:59 PM
I just used an online Ballistic Calculator but I've always found the light load good and nice to the shoulder. It has culled quite a few kangaroos and took the first goats I ever shot, too. More over, there are a lot of older blokes in their 70s who always smile when it makes an appearance at the range. They cut their teeth on sporterised SMLEs in 303, 303/25, 303/270 and other similar 303 wildcats before American rifles became easily obtainable and more affordable. It reminds them of the days they could shoot as much as they liked without fear of public condemnation or game scarcity.

09-09-2013, 06:16 AM
Hey Kombi, I have a few 40gn WMR HPs you can try in the hornet if you like.


09-09-2013, 08:03 AM
Thanks for the offer, Marcus, but I "bit the bullet" (:greentongue:) this arvo and bought some .22 Hornet specific Sierra Varminter 45gr SPs from the local. The Winchester pills are 46gr HPs so the Sierras should perform similarly. It's never been a real fussy rifle so it should shoot these pills ok. I think I used them before actually.

09-09-2013, 04:30 PM
What did you work out the maximum PBR (+/-3") is for the .257" cal 90gr HPBT (BC = .260) running at 2800fps?

Assuming that the center-line of the 'scope is pretty close to 2" above the center-line of the bore, that bullet, doing 2800 f/s at the muzzle, will be 3" high at 133 yd and 3" low at 263 yd. Impact energy at 263 yd is 750 ft-lb and impact velocity is 1938 f/s.

FYI, the BC doesn't get UP to .260 until the bullet's velocity DROPS to less than 1400 f/s. The BC from 2800 f/s to 1900 f/s averages about .250.