Tag Archives: sauer 202

Wild Pig & Upland Game

Friday, March 18, I’m headed back up to Redding to trying for wild pig again at the JS McArthur Ranch. The forecast for the weekend was heavy rain and it poured all the way to my first stop, The Free Dive Shop in Sacramento where I was looking to get a new wetsuit for the upcoming abalone season. ‘Sean’ helped me try on a few and ultimately I settled on the Cressi Sub Tecnica.

Then up to Redding and met with my guide Dave Johnson. We drive up to the ranch and as we come to the gate there seems to be a break in the rain. We pack my gear into the Rino and are off to our first spot to glass for pigs. It’s windy and cold but I’m ready with warm gear and gloves. We’re glad it’s not raining as maybe the pigs will emerge and feed. None seem to be out yet so we move to another ridge. We sight some pigs at this point far in the distance. We make our way close and then walk over a hill and to a raging stream. The pigs are just across 200 yards but turn out to all be wet sows. We were barely able to ford this stream in the Rino last time I was here and I know there is no chance today. On our way back up the ridge we spot five bull elk bedded down in a little valley out of the wind. These are the same bulls we saw last time although now they shed their antlers.

We make a complete circle now and move on back to a high ridge to glass again. This time we see five pigs in an open field on our side of the stream. One is brown, dark in the front and light in the back. From this distance looks like a little buffalo. We think he’s a boar and we decide to try for him. The wind is perfect and Dave is pretty sure we’ll get close. We drive to a spot just below them and park the Rino. At this point we need to cross a creek just deep enough to be over our boots soaking our feet in the icy water. We head up the grassy hill and emerge just behind some bushes. We try to get a good look at them. The black pigs are on the right and are sows. The brown pig is right in front of me but facing away and I can’t tell. Finally he turns right and I see he’s a boar. I try to set my rifle on the pack but it’s too low so I just sit back and get on him from a sitting position. A sow is behind him so I wait. When she clears I hold on his shoulder and touch off the shot. He’s down but then right back up again and I’ve reloaded and am about to shoot again as he’s moving broadside to the left but then goes down for good. I’m shooting my Sauer 202 in .300 Weatherby with my hand loads, 180gr Nosler Accubonds going 3100 fps. The shot was about 90 yards. He’s a good size boar, Dave thinks 160 pounds. We take some pics and then head back just as the rain starts to come down. We skin him out in an open hangar. At one point the clouds clear and the supermoon is shining full over snow capped mount Lassen.

The next morning I’m headed to Willows. My friend Jeff Ashlock has invited me to a pheasant hunt at the Thunder Hill Pheasant Club. We meet at 8am and he introduces me to some of his friends. We are going to hunt with Jim and Justin. Jim has a great Springer Spaniel we’ll be using named ‘Shawnee’ Soon we are at our field and thanking our luck for the dry weather. The four of us spread out and start to walk the field behind the circling dog. I’m on the outside left with Jeff to my right. It’s not long before a bird flushes in front of Jeff and flies left in front of me. We both hit it and our first bird is in the bag. Everyone is shooting well and soon we’ve all shot a few birds. We’ve seen a few jackrabbits flushed and I hope to try for one if a shot presents itself. Towards the end of our hunt I’m on the outside right and Shawnee flushes a big rabbit that runs right. I’m on him and shoot and roll him at about thirty yards. Shawnee deposits him near me, he’s really big, much bigger than I expected. We finish the hunt getting one extra bird, a holdover from an adjacent field. I had a fantastic time. Always enjoy hunting with Jeff and it was great meeting some of the friends he’s told me about and hear their hunting stories from Africa. I forgot how much fun it is to shoot a shotgun and hunt upland game.

SCI Club 200 Yard Shoot

Saturday I went to the annual 200 yard shoot hosted by my local chapter of Safari Club International. We usually have about 15 guys show up to sight in their rifles for hunting season at the Chabot 200 yard  range which we have to ourselves for the day.

I started out with my prized Cooper which I received last year in time to take my best Blacktail Buck to date. I had the rifle custom made in .270 winchester and waited almost two years for it to arrive.

I had bought some of the new Federal .270 with a 110 gr Barnes Tipped Triple Shocks which are rated at 3400 fps. This load was very interesting as it approximates the extremely flat trajectory of the .257 Weatherby out of a .270 Winchester. This load sighted dead on at 200 is only 5″ low at 300 yards and with a slightly higher adjustment could be a great deer load out to 400. My main concern is can the twist on my barrel stabilize such a light bullet. After a few groups I think the answer is, not well enough. I was able to shoot a couple 2″ groups however it’s not as accurate as I had hoped. The rifle is so accurate with more typical .270 loads I’ll probably just go back to 140gr Accubonds.

Next up was my Sako 85 in 30.06. This is a great all weather rifle and my go to gun for when I don’t want to carry the Cooper around, like in rain or snow. I have it set up for the Barnes 180 gr Triple Shocks so that it’s legal for pigs in the California A Zone which does not allow lead in an attempt to help save the endangered California Condor.

The Sako always seems to deliver great accuracy. It was also my best group of the day at 1 1/2″. Many of the guys out there shoot nice groups but I’m always curious how far they are off from their ‘Point of Aim’. While I’m trying to shoot under 2″ at 200 yards, most all of my shots all day were within 3 of my Point of Aim and most were under 2.

My last rifle of the day is my Sauer 202 in .300 Weatherby. This is a finicky gun for some reason. I took a nice elk with it in New Mexico only after coming up with a good handload. Today I’m just sighting in a box of 180 gr Nosler Partitions. It does about what I expected which is around a 3″ group at 200 yards. Still all three shots are within 2″ of my ‘point of aim’ and it’s still a great elk rifle with that level of accuracy.

Was a great day, always enjoy shooting with these guys as many of them have exotic hunting planned for the fall. I shot next to Mike Borel our chapter president. He always does some amazing groups with his Browning A-Bolt in .280 with a carbon fiber wrapped Christensen barrel. He’s off to Switzerland for Ibex this fall.