Getting it right the first time

It’s the getting right that counts

I’ve had thoughts of knocking over my dream animals at 500 metres when there are times you can’t get close enough to them. At 57-years-old, I decided it was time to get myself a new rifle and scope set up. I settled on a Sako Finnlight in 7mm 08 with a Swarovski Z3 4-12 x 50 BT—ballistic turret.

My problems began when I did the whole set up thing in a hurry. Confident I had it right, I set off on my first hunt with the new rig. No deer were seen in the open and the hind I shot at 30 metres, while bush stalking, was certainly no long-range conquest.

The next trip involved a bit of open country and another hind presented at 200 metres. Cool, all I had to do was dial up for 200 and make the shot. Three shots later, I finally dropped her at 100 metres as the first two misses made her run closer. Now I realised I had better set this thing up properly. The big problem I had was where to go to be able to shoot out to 400 or 500 metres safely. A friendly local farmer solved that issue so, with an accurate zero of 100 metres, I was able to work through setting the scope up to a maximum of 400 metres.

My son was heading out pig hunting the following weekend, so I tagged along with the new rig. We spied a spiker at 485 metres, which my son suggested I have a go at.

I dialled the BT up to 400 metres then held high and squeezed off, dropping the spiker on the spot. Fluke.

I still was not happy so headed along to Hunting & Fishing for advice. I discovered there was a Swarovski ballistic app which is amazing.

After you enter the data for your rifle, it calculates the clicks on the scope. The app also suggested a zero of 200 metres—not 100. This would mean you shoot about 100mm high at 100 metres and would give you capacity to shoot out to 500 metres. Back to the range I went and reset the zero to 200 metres.

The next day I headed out for a hunt on public land. To my dismay, I took a tumble in the creek bed and watched the rifle catapult off my shoulder and land scope first onto rocks. Luckily, I had a neoprene cover on the scope, so no damage was done, apart from the potential for the scope to be out. I was starting to think the whole new rig was a bad decision.

Back at the range and, yes, the scope was out . However, a few shots later and all was good.

I really needed to have my faith restored so the next day I headed for the tops on a local DoC block. The country was awesome, with scrubby gullies and nice clearings to explore. I spied three stags at 315 metres, which was just what I needed. I clipped on the Spartan bipod, dialled up the scope and settled for the shot. One of the stags was now looking at me. At the sound of the shot, he crumpled where he stood. One of the other stags took off, while the third one kept on feeding. With one shot, he was lying beside his mate. I was rapt with the performance of the new rig and couldn’t help wondering how much time I could have saved by setting it up right in the first place.

With a pack bulging with boned out meat, I slogged back to my truck knowing I would be having some great adventures with the Sako/ Swarovski rig in the future.

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