Earlier in the year two clients approached me with a view to a Blaser/Mauser fitting, they were unsure whether the straight pull action of a Blaser would suit them or whether the more traditional feel of a turn bolt in the Mauser would be better for them.
As I have written about in previous articles, I have created an opportunity for any potential purchasers to visit the range and thoroughly test both rifles along with a selection of optics from Swarovski. Steve and Adrian certainly made the most of this opportunity and were able to get a genuine feel for the products before committing to what would be a fairly hefty investment. Steve instantly fell in love with the Blaser R8 whilst Adrian was torn between the quirky and the conventional, although a visit to the Mauser/Swarovski open day a few weeks later made his mind up and he went for a Blaser R8! Both of them decided to go for the top of the range Z6i 2.5 -15 x 56 with ballistic turret, one in a rail mount the other with conventional ring mount plus a few accessories to boot including a Lawrence Precision Titanium Nexus moderator.
Last Friday saw both of them make the trip from London to have their new rigs properly assembled and zeroed at the range before heading out for an evening stalk with hopefully the chance of a Roebuck or a fallow pricket – they weren’t to be disappointed.
After an hour or so at the range, both rifles were properly assembled – it still amazes me how many new outfits are brought to the range unfit to shoot with, rings and bases not properly fixed or torqued down, oil in the barrel and chamber, scope on wonky – you name it, Ive seen it. Why can’t dealers spend a bit of time and effort putting things together properly – because they can’t be bothered, once they’ve got your cash you’re someone else’s problem – anyway, rant over!
With new outfits zeroed and waiting to be christened, we met Derek at the Travel lodge and split the guys up, Steve with me and Adrian with Derek. Derek was taking Adrian to a small plantation where earlier in the year Steve had shot his first Roebuck with me and so I was taking Steve into the woods – the rut was on so I felt confident we could deliver. The only problem we faced was with the height of the undergrowth surrounding the woods and the density of the woods themselves, Derek had none of these issues as the plantation owner where he was going regularly mows the rides and trims the trees back properly, Adrian and Derek would be stalking properly whereas we had to rely on me choosing the right highseat!
The week before I had been out a few times and had seen a young buck that I thought would be ideal – both the guys had expressed a wish to shoot cull bucks only, so with this in mind we stalked into a double highseat overlooking a large grassy area surrounded by woods, now it was a waiting game.
After twenty minutes or so of whispered conversation a Muntjac doe appeared closely followed by a buck – a sure sign she was in oestrus and probably with a dependant fawn somewhere nearby. The doe was the only one to present itself for a shot so they both went on there way completely oblivious of the danger above. Over the next half an hour a number of fallow does with fawns made their way across the clearing, all safe for the moment, time to try the Buttolo call.
After around 10 minutes of various squeaks and peeps, I noticed a deer had made its way out of the woodland to my left but couldn’t make out what it was at the angle it was standing, eventually it turned and revealed itself to be the young buck I’d seen the week before, the only trouble was he didn’t seem at all interested in the call and didn’t look like he was going to present himself for a shot, I was loathe to try and descend from the seat and risk spooking him, we’d have to wait for his next move. Luck was with us, he turned 180 degrees and made his way out into the field a little and headed for us, suddenly a fallow doe came darting from the other side of the clearing causing him to look up, I was worried it may spook him and our chance would be gone but luck was with us and he put his head down and continued browsing although he had now turned and was heading back to cover. I got Steve ready to shoot and started a commentary, all the time Steve waiting for my command to take the shot – the vegetation was too high almost covering his back, he took a couple of steps forward and put his head up exposing his shoulder although slightly quartering towards us. All this time I had been giving Steve a running commentary, I could see a shot in front of the shoulder which would ensure that the bullet would hit the vitals and give a clean exit, in a matter of seconds I had described where I wanted Steve to place the 165 Gn RWS 308 soft point bullet, the next second he released the shot – perfect, the animal just vanished although I could still see a rear leg cartwheeling to a stop indicating a rapid expiry of life. I told Steve to reload and cover the animal although I knew there was no need. We waited a few minutes then descended and went towards where the animal had fallen, after only twenty paces a group of fallow burst from the woods on our left, I heard an exclamation from Steve and instantly put the sticks up whilst tying to pick out a shootable animal, there were two, a couple of three year olds by the look of their antlers but they bolted before Steve had time to acquire a target – typical fallow! On reaching the animal it soon became apparent that Steve had made a perfect shot shattering the top of the heart and base of the lungs whilst the slow heavy bullet had ensured a huge energy dump into the animal knocking it off its feet with minimal carcass damage to boot – a very happy client and butcher alike!
We dressed the animal and made our way back to the larder all the time hoping that Adrian had connected. As I swung round the corner into the yard I was greeted with the sight I wanted most, Dereks Land Rover backed up to the larder which means only one thing! We were treated to the full account from a very happy client who had witnessed some impressive calling from Derek and had been presented with a perfect cull animal with which to christen his new outfit, this time in my favourite calibre, 6.5 x 55 with a 140Gn Soft Point RWS bullet, and this time a perfect broadside lungshot and although the animal didn’t drop on the spot it didn’t go far.
So, two new outfits supplied, built, zeroed and christened all in one afternoon. Happy clients, Happy days!