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GUNS Magazine Digital March 2011 - Page 8
• d A v E A N d E R S O N • They take practice—and the right rifle. ecently I was reading Alexander Lake’s Killers in Africa R (1951). He recounts guiding two English hunters, St. Leger and Meagher, prior to WWII. These old gentlemen refused to shoot at standing animals: “Not sporting, y’know. Must bag ’em on the wing.” RUNNING SHOtS Lake wrote, “I explained that I thought it more sporting to be sure of killing rather than wounding, St. Leger said, ‘Do ’em in quickly. Elephant guns, y’know. Mustn’t dispatch sitting beasts. Be like shooting sitting hares, what?’” I doubt many today would concur with this definition of sportsmanship. But before we feel too smug and superior, consider our own attitudes to wing shooting. If I were to show up for a pheasant hunt with a scoped .22 rifle and start shooting them on the ground, I suspect the term “unsportsmanlike” would be applied, even though there would likely be fewer wounded and lost birds. When I first began hunting whitetail deer back in the ’60s, the adults who let me tag along hunted in small groups by “pushing bush.” While a couple of hunters would watch likely escape routes, one or two others would work through the bush and get the deer moving. Breaking Cover Almost always, shots were at running deer as they broke cover and headed for the next bush. I’ve shot more whitetails that were running than standing, including the first I ever shot at age 14. Nor have I ever wounded and lost one. Maybe because no one ever told me it was difficult, I’ve never been intimidated by running shots. If I thought about it at all I’d have thought, well, that’s how the adults I respect hunt so it must be OK. I hope I don’t come across as too hypocritical when I say you should never shoot at an unwounded moving animal—but a good rifleman should be capable of making such shots if necessary. A good running shot is usually a good offhand shot. The same degree of trigger control is essential to coordinate sight picture and trigger press. Getting the shot off quickly is more important than minor increments of accuracy. A rifle doesn’t have to be heavy to balance well. This first-generation Remington 700 Titanium .3006 (above) balances 5" ahead of the trigger. The Ruger 77 hawkeye .300 RCM Compact Magnum (below) is one of the most appealing rifles to appear in recent years. It is compact (just as the name implies), fast handling and balances perfectly for offhand or running shots. The .300 RCM provides power and a flat trajectory even with the short 20" barrel. Scope is a 3-9X Redfield Revolution. Can you? Try an 8" paper plate at 100 yards as a target and use an electronic shot timer. Start with the rifle at “port arms,” safety on. At the beep, fire one shot at the plate. A good time is 8 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • MARCH 2011