Is Old Ammo Safe to Shoot?

ammo 002Mike: I have some boxes of Core-Lokt .270 loads that must be 10 years old? Are those shells still safe to shoot and hunt with? Love the blog, keep up the good work.—George from Nebraska

George: For starters, let me say that I’ve been hunting with .270, .30-06 and 7mm loads from a test batch I got at least 10 years old. Some of the cartridges are 15 years old.They are still reliable and accurate, and I’ve killed dozens of bucks with them.

If center-fire cartridges are stored in a dry place at moderate temperatures with low humidity—say on a shelf in a dry basement where you have a dehumidifier running—they can have an amazingly long shelf life. There are many reports of people shooting 50-plus year-old ammunition with no problems, and killing deer with such ancient rounds.

But before shooting any old cartridges, check each one carefully. If the cases look clean and aren’t corroded, the ammo should work fine. But keep in mind the warning signs of unusable (and potentially unsafe) old ammunition: split case necks and/or corroded/rusty bullets, brass or primers. If ammo shows any of these signs, discard it properly and don’t shoot it.

DISCLAIMER: If you have the slightest doubt that a round or bullet does not look right, discard it and don’t shoot it.  

Probably the best and smartest thing to do with shells left over from the last few seasons is to go the range this spring and shoot them up. Then go buy a couple new boxes of your favorite deer load before next season. The ammo companies will appreciate it, plus you’ll benefit from the shooting practice. You’ll know those shiny new rounds to be safe and effective.

Drink a Busch…You Might Win a Hunt

busch

Busch beer brings back its Blaze Orange cans for hunting season. Hidden randomly within packs of the orange Busch and Busch Light cans are 100,000 “Gold Trophy Cans.”  If you’re lucky enough to find a gold can within a pack, take a photo with it and submit the picture on Busch.com. You’ll be entered to win weekly hunting prizes (day packs, etc.) and if you get crazy lucky you might nab one of 5 grand prizes—an all-expense-paid hunt. You can also download a can wrap to enter the contest without a purchase. Every valid entry receives a Busch beer hunting koozie, so at least you get something. Go to Busch.com for all the details.

DISCLAIMER: I gladly support and promote any company that supports us hunters. Buy some Busch for your deer camp (I go for the Busch Light) but remember this cardinal rule: Drink after the hunt only, and then in moderation so you’ll be ready and clear-headed for the next day’s hunt. Have fun and good luck.

 

Easy & Cheap Homemade Deer Blind

homemade deer blindFrom our friend Kclap in Virginia:

Hello Mike, thought I’d pass along a few pics of a couple deer blinds we made out of old swing/play sets for kids.

Start with the wooden frame of an old play set, similar to the picture below. The old sets we used were both headed to the landfill. You can often find free ones in local papers or on Craigslist.

Add a few sheets of cheap plywood sides and roof with screws, match the paint to your hunting area and they’re ready to go. The blinds are great for scent control and offer a steady shooting rest. Add a comfortable arm chair and you can sit and hunt all day. Good luck and safe hunting. –Kclap from VA
wood swing set

 

 

Review: Cabela’s Instinct Rubber Boots

instinct boots.jpg bright

I’m not a big fan of rubber boots–I’d rather wear lighter and less bulky leather ones and spray them with Scent Killer—but a week ago I hunted Anticosti Island in northern Quebec, where the ground cover is more than 70% peat and bogs. If you don’t wear rubbers in that watery habitat, you just can’t go.

Each day I slogged a minimum of 8 miles through boot-sucking bogs, and splashed across omnipresent streams and beaver ponds. I was pleasantly surprised with the Instinct Whitetail Rubber Boots I wore. They were comfortable and easy to walk in. Not bulky and clumsy like other rubber boots I’ve worn in the past.

Favorite feature: The breathable, water-repellent and quiet fabric uppers, which look good in Outfitter camo. They are soft, pliable and relatively thin, and add greatly to the feel and comfort of these boots.

cabelas boootsThese are “ankle fit” to keep your feet from slipping up and down (and rubbing and causing abrasions) as you sink and then pull back up from the sucky muck. But they don’t bind your ankles like a vise, putting too much pressure on the top of your feet, like many ankle fit rubbers do. My feet didn’t move from the cushioned foot beds as I slogged and waded along. I wear a 10, and with 2 socks, the fit was just right.

Cabela’s says the rubber-and-sponge outsoles help to prevent foot fatigue. I don’t know how you qualify that, but I will say that my feet felt surprisingly fresh at the end of a long day of mud-walking. The medium-depth lug soles functioned well. I only pitched over and went down once, which was a miracle in that quagmire. Those of you who have slogged miles in the bogs, sinking a foot every other step and fighting to keep your balance as one boot pulls up (insert giant sucking sound here) while the muck grabs the other one and pulls it under know what I’m talking about.

Without question, the thing I like most about these boots is that my feet stayed remarkably dry. I’m not talking about from water on the outside, but they did not sweat much at all. Cabela’s claims on its website that the Instinct rubbers are “lined with temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, odor-managing technology.” Well, that technology, works. I will add that I wore my favorite sweat-wicking liner socks beneath thicker hiking socks.

The fact that my feet stayed dry, comfortable and happy was even more remarkable when you consider that these boots have 800 grams of Prima Loft insulation. I got them originally to wear on long sits in blinds up in Saskatchewan in November, where the temperature is below zero most mornings. Up on Anticosti last week, it was 60-70 degrees, and I was walking constantly to boot. Good testimony to “temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, odor-managing technology.” It works.

If you need a new pair of rubbers for your deer hunting, especially in the upcoming cold weather, give the Instinct boots ($160) a look. Read these customer reviews, which closely mirror mine. It’s a small sample size, but I second their 5-star rating.

 

Custom String for Your Deer Bow?

bow stringsShould you replace the string that comes on your deer-hunting bow with a custom string and cables that cost you another $75 or so?  I rarely do, but there could be benefits. Here are three from the 60x Custom Strings website.

–A custom string is pre-stretched under several hundred pounds of tension. This eliminates peep rotation and creep on your bowstring. If you’ve ever gotten a new bow and had it all setup and shooting great but then one day your peep was crooked in your string or your cams were out of time, then you know what we’re talking about. Most new bows require several hundred shots before the bowstring is fully settled, but a good custom string will be settled in less than 10 shots.

–Another benefit of a custom string is an increase in stability and consistency. With all the stretch eliminated from the string you will not have to keep retiming your bow or making adjustments. Oftentimes we see questions on Internet forums about a 70-pound bow that is now only drawing 64 pounds or so…it always leads back to a stretched-out string and cables that have gotten the bow out of spec.

–While there is no guarantee of a performance gain, it is not uncommon for your bow to gain a few feet per second with a good set of custom bowstrings. The most gain we have personally seen was 13 fps, with 2 to 5 fps being pretty normal.

My take: While #3 would be nice, #s 1 and 2 would benefit deer hunters much more.