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Hunter’s Corner: Resolve to upgrade your deer rifle

Welcome to 2013. If you are thinking about making some resolutions besides exercise more and lose some weight, it might be a good year to upgrade your deer rifle. My optimum deer rifle is light in weight, tack driving accurate, low in recoil and, using premium ammunition, delivers optimum on target performance.

I don’t think I am asking too much. The tack driving accuracy is marriage of a rifle, ammunition and optics. I have observed hunters that take an excellent rifle, quality ammunition and then put a bargain basement scope on it and then complain about accuracy.

First on my list is the .243 Winchester and 6mm Remington. These are basically .308 cartridges necked down to 6mm. This was a dark day for Remington as it figured its .244 with a slightly higher muzzle velocity would outshine the .243. Remington had the wrong twist in the barrel and it turned out to be disaster accuracy-wise. Correcting the twist problem, it remarked it as the 6mm Remington. Both make for a good whitetail choice with the benefit of it being a good varmint rifle when using lighter weight bullets.

The next class of cartridges is the 6.5mm. The first that comes to mind is the 6.5x55mm Swedish. This is the No. 1 Swedish cartridge for taking moose in Sweden. I wouldn’t use it for moose in New Hampshire, but in the various bullet weights it is an excellent whitetail cartridge. The other 6.5mm cartridge that jumps off the page is the 260 Remington. The 260 was highly promoted by Outdoor Life gun editor Jim Carmichael. Pushing a 140-grain bullet at 2,750 feet per second at the muzzle makes for a tantalizing whitetail round. The problem with published velocities is that you seldom know the length of the barrel of the test rifle. The longer the length of rifle barrels means you experience a full burn of propellant. Most hunting rifles these days have barrel lengths of 20 and 22 inches.

The .270 Winchester was long promoted by Jack O’Connor, also at the time an Outdoor Life gun editor. If ever there was a cartridge with New Hampshire hunting interests in mind, the .270 is it. There is a bullet weight that will easily accommodate New Hampshire’s black bear, moose and whitetail hunting opportunities.

My final paring is the 7x57mm Mauser. Invented in 1893, it was a German engineering masterpiece. There was always a conflict between German engineering and British engineering, so when the Rigby firearms manufacturer brought out its version, they named it the .275 Rigby. One of the early supporters of the 7x57 Mauser was Eleanor O’Connor (Jack’s wife), who used it to take small and big game in Africa.

My final entry is the 7-08 Remington. The 7-08 came about by necking down the .308 to 7mm. This was done first as the silhouette target round and then came the hunting options. My brother-in-law who lives in Vermont recently purchased a Savage in 7-08 caliber and he was not happy with the groupings he was getting. He spoke with an octogenarian friend to find out what was wrong. This friend was an excellent silhouette competitor and immediately outlined the solution. He needed to use a faster burning propellant, a hotter primary and 165-grain bullets. After making those changes, he now is experiencing half-inch groups at 100 yards.

If you are looking to upgrade your deer rifle, any of the previously listed cartridges will do the trick. If you are looking for a rifle for deer, black bear and moose, the .270, 7x57 Mauser or 7-08 would make great choices.

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Mark Beauchesne is starting off the New Year by bringing back the Godfather of the Modern Ice Fishing Revolution, Dave Genz, at a free ice fishing seminar on Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. at Police Standards and Training, 17 Institute Dr. in Concord. Watch for “ice fishing seminar” signs as you enter the N.H. Technical Institute campus. For more information, you can reach Mark at 271-6355. No pre-registration is required.

Genz is legendary in the world of ice angling – an ice fishing expert who has taught techniques to thousand of anglers. A native of Minnesota, Genz has become a big fan of New Hampshire’s ice fisheries. He has been called “Mr. Blue Gill” for his love of this fighting pan fish, but his seminar is wide ranging. From trout to crappies, Genz will take you through the ice. He will talk about many helpful tools and tactics, including the vital role electronics plays in modern ice fishing. Most important – getting the most out of your fish finder. “Using the right equipment, you could double your success,” Genz said.

“If you are looking to step up your ice fishing game, this is a must-attend seminar. Fishing with Dave has helped me bring my ice fishing to a whole new level,” said Beauchesne, an avid ice angler and marketing and promotions coordinator for N.H. Fish and Game.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at

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