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VOLUMES 153 & 154--------MARCH/APRIL 2015

April 25, 2015

When Ann and I made our annual trip to Cabela's on April 3rd to purchase gift cards for our Hunter Education classes, we decided to do a little shopping for ourselves as well.  After our purchases were in the cart, I swung by the ammunition section to determine if they had any additions to their .280 Remington ammunition supply.  For well over a year, the only .280 ammo on the shelf was a small supply of Remington brand cartridges with 140 grain Core-Lokt bullets.  Imagine my surprise to find three additional types of .280 Remington ammunition!

Those of you who have been following my writings about the two left hand bolt action rifles I've purchased and been comparing, will understand my eagerness to get my hands on some additional examples of factory ammo.  So far the comparison between the Cooper Western Classic and the Browning X-Bolt Hunter has been mostly about aesthetics, fit, and function.  The only ammunition that has been fired in either rifle so far has been the above mentioned Remington Core-Lokt and a few rounds of some handloads with 160 grain Nosler Partition bullets that I had on hand for my old .280 Remington Model 760 Pump.

Cooper Western Classic (top) and Browning X-Bolt, both in .280 Remington

I had a lengthy discussion with Dave Emary of Hornady Manufacturing Company at the SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas back in January.  Dave is the person largely responsible for the new cartridges and other engineering innovations introduced by Hornady in recent years.

Dave Emary of Hornady Manufacturing at the 2015 SHOTSHOW

I asked, "Dave, why can I not find Hornady ammunition in .280 Remington at the major suppliers in my area?"

He replied, "We haven't made some of the less popular calibers of ammunition for well over a year.  With the ammo shortage facing everyone, we simply had to concentrate on the higher volume stuff, like .223 Remington."

Apparently the .280 Remington was added to the manufacturing mix since January, as I was delighted to find several boxes of Hornady's SUPERPERFORMANCE® ammunition topped with their 139 grain SST bullet.

In addition to the Hornady, some boxes of FEDERAL PREMIUM® loaded with 150 grain Nosler Partition bullets and Federal's FUSION® line with 140 grain bonded core bullets were nestled in alongside the familiar green Remington stuff.  As there are several more brands of .280 ammo with a myriad of bullet weights and compositions cataloged and advertised, this was still a pretty pitiful selection, but better than the previous choice of ONE!

I have shot all these brands in other calibers and have them on my shelves, with the exception of the Hornady SUPERPERFORMANCE.  Here are a few words about each.

Hornady Superperformance

Hornady SUPERPERFORMANCE:  This line of ammunition is offered in many calibers and bullet weights, but only two in .280 Remington caliber.  These two loads feature the Company's 139 grain SST and GMX bullets.

The SST is a traditional 'cup and core' design with lead core and alloy jacket capped with a polymer tip inserted into the hollow point.  The sharp pointed tip is designed to reduce bullet deformation under recoil in the magazine, increase ballistic coefficient, and initiate bullet expansion under a wide range of velocities.

The GMX is a 'lead free' monolithic, copper alloy bullet, designed to penetrate deeply and retain 95% or more of its original weight.  This bullet also features a polymer tip.

The entire
SUPERPERFORMANCE line has been shown to produce 100 to 200 feet per second higher velocities than comparable traditional loadings of equivalent calibers and bullet weights.  This velocity increase is achieved through the use of proprietary blends of progressive burning powders tailored to each individual loading.  Extensive testing has shown that this is accomplished without exceeding the SAAMI industry pressure standards.  Quite an accomplishment, and one that cannot, at this writing anyway, be duplicated by handloaders!

Once the actual firing and accuracy comparisons of the Cooper and Browning occurs, my Oehler Model 35P chronograph will tell us more about any actual difference in velocities between the brands I now have on hand.

Federal Premium

FEDERAL PREMIUM:  Federal Cartridge Company was a pioneer among the few major ammunition manufacturers of years past, to provide factory loadings featuring bullets that were primarily used only by handloaders at the time.  Prior to Federal's entry into this arena, most factory ammo featured only their own brand of bullets.  When Federal began featuring bullets such as Nosler, Barnes, and more, it didn't take long for others to get on the bandwagon.

Today there are so many ammunition and bullet manufacturers that I find it impossible to even keep up on all the developments, innovations, component combinations, and trends.

Federal Fusion

FEDERAL FUSION:  Federal hit the market with their FUSION line in 2005.  The original design was tailored to hunting whitetail deer or similar sized, thin skinned game but the line has now expanded to cover a range of suitability from varmints to the big bears.

The bullet's claim to fame was the bonding of the bullet jacket to the lead core through an electrochemical process.  This 'bonding' as in previous premium bullets of the type is said to improve penetration, control expansion, and improve weight retention, but Federal's bonding method made them much cheaper to manufacture.  This difference is reflected in a $5.00 per box price difference between FUSION and PREMIUM on Cabela's shelves.

Remington Core-Lokt

Remington CORE-LOKT®:  Not much need be said about this line of ammunition.  Core-Lokt has been around as long as I can remember and has no doubt accounted for as much game in the freezer as has many of the others combined.  This is one of those situations where innovation and ingenuity develop something touted to be newer and better, but when actual results are analyzed, fall mostly in the 'newer' category rather than really being 'better.'  Push comes to shove, there's only one degree of dead when analyzing bullet performance on a game animal!

As I write this, it is both cold and raining on my shooting range.  Parenthetically, as I am now proof reading this later in the day, we have had snow, sleet, hail, and more rain as the day progressed.  There was a time when I would have been out there shooting anyway if I had something that I needed to test fire, but those days are over!  Writing only for my own websites rather than other media, I always have the option of adjusting deadlines to suit both me and the weather.   But, the time will come when I get my other shooters together and we will give all this new ammo and the rifles a good workout.  Stay tuned!

Another activity that interferes (in a good way) with my shooting time is preparing for and teaching our Hunter Education classes.  We just completed a class on April 18th and the wrap-up field day at Hauser Lake Gun Club was picture perfect.  This one even worked out so that Jennifer could help with the class.  She happened to come home from Washington State University for the weekend, so she was just in time for her usual duties for the Friday night session.

Why did I use the term 'picture perfect'?  Well, sometimes a picture tells a story all its own.  Here is one of our graduates immediately following successful completion of his live fire test.  This is one answer to the question of why we volunteer as hunter education instructors.

10 Year Old Ryan Heskett
(photo courtesy Rob Heskett)

Ryan's dad has volunteered to help us with our future classes.  Welcome to the volunteer cadre Rob.  Much appreciated!

As most of you probably know, the folks on the west side of our state have experienced their share of earthquakes over the years.  Some of them very severe.  While earthquakes are extremely rare for Eastern Washington and North Idaho, we did have some tremors earlier this week.  The strongest was a 4.3 on the Richter scale and centered a few miles south of Sandpoint, Idaho.  We were in Spokane when that one occurred and didn't feel or hear it at all.  The second quake occurred as we were getting ready for bed and was more heard as a soft rumble than felt.  Rick said he felt that one as he was leaning on a table in their family room.  A couple more aftershocks were said to have occurred in the next 24 hours or so, but nothing we noticed.

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from an item Little Heifer picked up from the website, Daveswordsofwisdom.com:

"In life, we must always find out things straight from the horse's mouth and not listen to the jackass spreading the gossip."

Well, it's time to shut down here, so. . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!

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