Ammunition weight is key. It impacts on the trajectory of the bullet and how well it penetrates the game.
Category Archives: Getting Equipped
The right equipment to go hunting in the wilderness
Let’s talk a bit about stalking or hunting equipment in general. I am not talking about things like rifles and scopes today, but rather the equipment you carry in your rucksacks, kit bags and all those pockets which nowadays adorn jackets and trousers. I know that everyone has their own personal preferences as to what they need and use, and every country has different regulations and traditions: therefore, what follows is perhaps not a complete list.
Straight-pull versus bolt-action rifles
If you went into a gun shop 25-years ago and asked for a repeating, centrefire rifle, you’d get a bolt-action. However, things have changed dramatically as since 1993 you could get a manually-operated straight-pull instead. So, what is it and how does it compare to the traditional system?
Straight-pull and bolt-action: mechanism
Both systems have been around since the end of the 19th century with the introduction of smokeless, high velocity cartridges.
The major difference being the method of operation. A bolt-action technically requires four movements:
- lift the bolt to open the action
- pull it back to eject
- push it forward to feed
- close the action.
A straight-pull cuts this down by 50% as steps 1 & 2 are combined in a single rearwards pull, as are 3 & 4 when you push forward.
Though there were some notable, Military straight-pulls, research shows that in the crucible of battle, turn-bolts won out due to their greater reliability. However, for sports shooting this is not an issue.
The Germans were the first to propose linear recharging.
One cannot talk about straight-pulls without acknowledging Blaser, who introduced the first commercial design; the R93 in 1993. Great rifle, as you could also change barrels and therefore calibres, but its fixed, top-loading magazine was not ideal.
Browning came next in 1999 with their Acera, I tested one and it had distinct possibilities though was discontinued in 2000. Next and more successful was their the Maral based on the BAR semi-auto. Since then other companies have offered their takes on the concept, and the generic design is now well established.
I have two straight-pulls, a Maral and a Blaser R8 and they are significantly different in terms of design and what they offer. They also tend to highlight the major differences compared to bolt-guns.
The fastest system is…
Technically a straight-pull is faster to operate, but it’s not all about speed. I can shoot a bolt-action as fast as my R8, though 2-2 bolt manipulation in relation to maintaining your firing position and aim is better on the latter.
However, and given the design a bolt-gun offers more leverage and operating power in adverse conditions, in terms of opening and closing the action compared to the smaller side handle of a straight-pull.
You also have to be certain that you have closed the action fully unlike a bolt-gun, where the method of operation ensures this automatically.
The Maral is a little different, as it’s powered by constant velocity springs, which means at the end of the opening stroke you just let the handle go and it will automatically shut. Generally, it’s a handy, highly pointable and shootable rifle.
The most accurate is…
Some, site straight-pulls as being less accurate, which is not the case, but like any rifle it’s down to the ammunition you choose. My Maral in 30-06 shoots best with a 150-grain load, which I use for deer, however, for boar shooting where targets are closer I use heavier loads for the power.
With the proliferation of straight-pull rifles these days, I don’t think you can pick a clear winner between them and a bolt-action. Both offer something to a greater or lesser degree, I picked the Maral primarily for driven boar, where its fast action and high magazine capacity offer advantages. However, most of my deer hunting is done with a turn-bolt; horses for courses.
What’s your favorite system?
Camouflage: does it still have a place?
I remember buying my first camo jacket when I was 13 in the Army Cadets. It was the French Lizard pattern; the forerunner of the US Tiger Stripe. Another milestone was when the British Army changed from their green combats in the 1970s to DPM (disruptive pattern material).
Close range hunting optics: scopes versus red dot sights
I’m a big fan of iron sights and my rifles for the more serious game have them fitted JUST IN CASE, sure I normally use a scope, but there are times when something simpler is better. However, ‘irons’ have their limitations, not the least of which is trying to keep front and rear elements in focus along with your target. So, is there a compromise?
T-Bolt: the right tool for pest control
In 2011, I bagged my very first deer in the UK and that was when I made up my mind that I wanted hunting to be a full-time hobby. And what better way to do that than with a T-Bolt!
How to choose a hunting knife?
I think that everyone agrees that a hunting knife is a very personal thing for each hunter. Some have just one favourite knife, but others prefer to have few more (like 20-30): one for different days or different tasks.
Gas-operated and inertia-operated systems: a brief explanation of semi-auto shotguns
The future looks bright for the semi-auto shotgun, a favourite among waterfowlers and pigeon and crow hunters. Gas-operated and recoil-operated versions both have their devotees. Browning has two of the most competitive models on the market in the gas-operated Maxus and the inertia-operated A5. Here is a quick look at how these two systems work, and their strengths and weaknesses.
Straight, swan neck, Monte-Carlo, pistol: what’s it all about?
Gunsmiths often say that “the bullet comes from the gun; the kill comes from the stock”. The stock is in direct contact with the shooter and has to nestle perfectly in the pit of the shoulder to guarantee a certain level of performance. Everyone has heard of straight stocks, swan-necks, the Monte-Carlo, pistol grips, and others, but what do these names actually mean? Here’s a quick overview of some of these terms.
My old hunter’s advice to choose your first scope
There is a very common question people ask: “I am new to stalking/hunting, can someone suggest what type of scope I need for different kinds of hunting?”
A few words on the Brittany spaniel
The famous XIXth century Alpine hunter, Alpinus (real name Henry-Frédéric Faige-Blanc) used to say that dogs are “man’s better half“. It’s difficult to argue otherwise, especially when you’re a hunter! Hence, in our continuing look at our dear four-legged helpers in this blog, we have decided to talk about one of the most common breeds in this part of the world: the Brittany spaniel.
BAR & Maral Reflex: a step ahead of the rest
Visitors to the IWA 2019 were unanimous in their opinion: Browning has made a great impact with the launch of the BAR and Maral Reflex ranges. This ingenious system has provided a new shooting experience for all lovers of battue style hunting, putting you a step ahead of the rest. Let’s explain.
Browning Maxus: repeating excellence
It’s a nice title, isn’t it? I could just as easily have written “Browning Maxus, the best gas-operated semi-auto shotgun on the market”. But that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Shotgun or rifle, that is the question…
When I was 4 years old my father took me hunting for the very first time: indeed, it is the first memory I have of my father and I together; I guess the bond between us was made at that time. Then, when I was 7, I pulled the trigger of my father’s 12G for the first time, and the next thing I saw was blue skies, as the recoil knocked me off my feet. That was when I fell in love with shotgun shooting.
5 reasons to buy a Browning safe
With lawmakers casting a foreboding shadow over the gun and hunting sectors, a gun safe is an increasingly recommended item of equipment. Some countries in Europe require all gun owners to have one, and others may soon follow suit.
5 reasons to buy a Maral
Hunters like to shop as much as the fashion victims you see strutting around city centres. What could be nicer than casually browsing around a gun store you’ve never been to before while your other half is buying a pair of shoes in the shop next door (using her own credit card, phew!)? What greater thrill than shouldering a gun you’ve had your eye on for years? Nothing much, probably, except the actual hunt.
B525 Liberty Light: large or small, all are equal and just as effective
All hunters and shooters have the right to the “best there is”. Yet even if the very best over and under shotguns are called B25, B15, Heritage, B725, B525 or Cynergy, it does sometimes happen that a shooter cannot find a stock that fits his shoulder. The grip may be too wide, the stock may be too long, the fore-end may be ill-adapted, the trigger may be too far away etc. For some shooters who are smaller than average hunters, such as women or younger people, micro stocks are not always enough. The only solution is to take the shotgun to the gunsmith.
Our limited edition guns presented at the IWA Outdoor Classics
The IWA Outdoor Classics is a salon for hunting sector professionals, held at Nuremberg in Germany.
Hunting habits: Backpacking, cleaning rifle, …
Getting ready to hunt before and afterwards is very much like a military operation! First let’s consider your equipment; rifle and ammunition, clothing, ancillary equipment; binoculars/scopes and/or laser rangefinder, knives/sharpener, bipod and/or shooting sticks, rubber gloves (for gutting and skinning) and some sort of bag/carrier for the game. Plus, water and food if it’s going to be a long day and a small medical kit and don’t forget your firearm’s license and written permission from the land owner.
What makes Browning over-and-under shotguns so durable?
I often get the chance to work at hunting fairs in Europe, but whether in France, Germany, Sweden or England, one question comes up time after time. “Hello, I shoot with a B25 purchased in the 1960s and I wanted to know why Browning shotguns stand out from the rest with their extraordinary longevity”? Well, here are some of the answers.
Is it an acceptable alternative for semi-auto?
Is the self-loading sporting rifle on the way out in Europe?
We British lost the right to own self-loading, centrefire rifles (SLRs) in 1988. Which was the result of the Hungerford shootings where Michael Ryan went on a rampage with a legally owned, semi-automatic AK47 and other weapons.
Semi-auto or double barrels Shotguns? Frowned Upon
So what’s wrong with a semi-automatic shotgun for game shooting?
British shooting is often seen as traditional, if not hide-bound, with many taboos imposed not for legal reasons, but because people do not approve.
How to clean your rifle after a hunting day
Think your rifle does not need a bit of tender love and care; then think again!
When it comes to keeping your guns clean; rifled firearms need to be given the biggest consideration. Fouling will start to fill up the rifling groves that spin the bullet to stabilise it. Compounding this is the copper that comes off the jacket, which also has to go!
Fitting a scope : Tight and right
The best scope in the world is no good unless it’s mounted correctly so what’s it all about? There are two mounting options; fixed, and quick detachable (QD), this last is normally found on switch barrel/calibre rifles or where iron sights are also required. The basic setup is a pair of fixed, dovetail bases that screw to the top of the rifle’s receiver (bridges).
Knife choice : cutting comments
People select knives for different reasons and not all logical; there’s macho approach – bigger is better, or the rich man – the most fancy or expensive they can afford! Truth is you don’t need a big, fancy or expensive knife to process a large animal, and there are a number of considerations.
Let’s talk about decoys – Plastic Pigeons & Electronic rabbits
The idea of luring animals and birds in to be shot is not a new one and examples of carved and painted wooden waterfowl placed to attract those bird species is a practice that goes back hundreds of years.
A weapon for lefties, for skillful shooting
Lefties make up about 10 to 15% of the population. When it comes to guns it is only natural that they have specific needs. Browning wants to address this issue by launching a range that will certainly be expanded.
The XPO Pro gets the Scottish seal of approval!
Full-time Scottish deer stalker, Brent Norbury, puts our XPO Pro set through its paces in the Scottish highlands!
The John M. Browning Collection
A legend is reborn. As we head into 2016 with open arms, we can proudly announce Browning’s iconic Custom Shop has evolved into the John M. Browning Collection. This is a new generation, but what can you expect?
Shotgun chokes : what, when, how ?
Widely used, it’s now almost impossible to find a hunting or sporting shotgun that’s not equipped with a choke. Let’s learn more.
Mountain Stalking – Get In Gear!
Hunting in any mountain range commands the respect from even the most experienced hunters. In such remote hunting grounds, nature always has the upper hand. To ensure maximum safety, we discuss what gear is best for such an arduous hunt – the search for chamois!
Gear Up For Cold Weather Hunting
As the winter months draw nearer for us all across Europe, hunting from October-February can be bitterly cold. Getting the most out of the winter months means being well prepared for when the weather turns ugly…
Choosing the right equipment for your hunting dog
Knowing how to protect your dog in certain scenarios, can ultimately reduce the risk of any potential fatal accidents. We review a range of proven protective equipment that may end up saving your dogs life!