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Thu, Aug. 22

Be like Boy Scouts, hunters: Prepared

Laura Borden is happy with these shot groups. (DON MARTIN/Miner)

Laura Borden is happy with these shot groups. (DON MARTIN/Miner)

KINGMAN - To be successful on any big game hunt, take the advice from the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.

One of the most important preparations is ensuring the hunter's rifle, bow or muzzleloader is sighted in.

This year, Golden Valley residents Ryan and Laura Borden drew javelina tags for the youth only hunt in Unit 18B.

It's Ryan's second javelina hunt, but Laura's first.

I had recently acquired a Rock River Arms Fred Eichler edition, AR platform rifle in .223 caliber.

The rifle is topped off with a Burris 4.5 x 14 scope that is specifically designed for the .223.

It was decided that Laura would use this rifle on her javelina hunt, so after the scope was mounted, the process of sighting in the rifle started.

The sight-in tests were conducted at 100 yards.

There are many different loads and bullet weights that are used in the .223 cartridge.

The cartridge was initially designed to use a 55-grain bullet, but over the years, other bullet weights - including 45-, 50- 53-, 62-, 69- and even 77-grain bullets - were loaded in the ammo available to hunters.

I had picked up a number of boxes of factory-loaded ammo in three bullet weights at local gun shops and sporting goods stores.

On a sunny and windless Sunday afternoon, Laura and I made the trek to the 7 Mile Hill Range to test the rifle and the various ammunition.

Laura would do all the shooting, as she is the one using the rifle on her upcoming hunt.

She fired a number of shots through the rifle using 55-grain ammo that was loaded by Winchester, Federal, Remington, PMC and Fiocchi.

The best results were with the PMC Bronze ammo. A three-shot group that measured just over three-quarters of an inch was obtained. But this was with full metal jacket bullets, and we wanted ammo loaded with bullets that were designed to be used for hunting.

Next came the test of using the ammunition that was loaded with 69-grain bullets.

Utilizing Federal Match ammo that was loaded with the Sierra 69-grain hollow point boat tail bullets produced a three-shot group that could be covered with a dime.

Then, using Winchester Match ammo, again loaded with the Sierra 69-grain hollow point boat tail bullet, the results were just about the same.

The groups were awesome and will spell trouble for any javelina Laura targets.

Next, Laura fired the 77-grain match ammo from Winchester and Fiocchi through the AR.

The group with the Winchester ammo was disappointing, but with the Fiocchi ammo, Laura shot a group that rivaled what she shot using the Federal Match 69-grain ammo.

So the first part of the process is now done.

It is obvious that the 69-grain match ammo produced the tightest groups, and with the 1 in 8 twist of the rifle barrel, that is not unusual.

Laura really enjoyed the light-recoiling AR rifle and is looking forward to her hunt.

But more range work is forthcoming in which she will practice out to 200 yards with the rifle.

She will also practice shooting from the prone, sitting and kneeling positions, which are by far the most accurate in hunting situations.

The rifle is also equipped with a Harris bi-pod, which offers shooters a solid shooting rest from the prone, sitting or kneeling position.

With this combination of rifle and scope, and proper ammunition, Laura will be ready to head out for her first hunt for the gray ghosts of the desert.

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