December 05, 2023
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Firearms News mostly covers the latest and greatest in 2A news, firearms, ammo, gear, any anything else one might want to learn about the shooting sports, but we're also avid outdoorsmen and hunters. Three editors in particular have had a successful whitetail season, all using straightwall cartridges in three different rifle platforms. Take a look at how the Firearms News team did this season and keep an eye out for complete rifle and cartridge reviews online and in an upcoming issue of Firearms News.
Editor-in-Chief Vince DeNiro: Ohio
Novemeber 27, 2023, is the first day of deer season in Ohio and Firearms News Editor-in-Chief, Vincent L. DeNiro, nailed a nice-sized buck in the early afternoon. DeNiro used a STAG-15 rifle in .350 Legend topped off with a Hi-Lux Optics 1-8x24mm scope.
Ohio has been one of the biggest states for straight-walled rifle cartridges with .45-70 being one of the most popular, followed by .444 Marlin. However, for those who like MSR hunting rifles, .450 Bushmaster and .350 Legend are the top two. “Then, .350 Legend became the next big straight-wall rifle caliber for semi-auto. I was hesitant at first, but kept hearing about all the great reports from colleagues and from my sons’ friends who hunted with it. So, this year, I got a STAG-15 and topped it off with a one to eight power scope from Hi-Lux.” DeNiro said. The scope that DeNiro used was a model which has a reticle calibrated for 5.56, DeNiro explains why he used it for .350 Legend, “Hi-Lux wanted me to do a review of one of their new scopes but does not currently offer a reticle for .350. I told them to send it anyway and that I would hunt with it since most shots on my property are taken between 30 to 60 yards, with few exceptions. Sighting it in 50 would make no difference. You see, I live in the hilly and heavily wooded part of Ohio, deer disappear after 30 yards into heavily treed areas.” When asked about the ammunition, “I used Winchester 160-grain bonded protected hollow points. My groups at 50 yards were slightly under .70 of an inch, so these were perfect. The awesome trigger on the Stag greatly assisted with these groups. I was also impressed with the wound cavity this projectile produced.”
Digital Editor Jack Oller: Illinois
Originally from Illinois, it's been a number of years since Oller has been able to whitetail hunt in his home state, and he tagged an incredible 10-point buck in the Illinois late firearms season. This is a momentous year for Illinois hunters because the state has finally caught up with the rest of the country and legalized rifle hunting, so this buck is one of the first to be taken in Illinois with a centerfire rifle. Oller used the new .360 BuckHammer cartridge, specifically the 180-grain Federal Premium PowerShok in a soon-to-be-announced Henry break-action, single-shot rifle topped with a Bushnell 1-6X LPVO hunting scope. Optimized for single-shot rifles and lever guns, the .360 BuckHammer is the ideal cartridge for Illinois deer hunting. Recoil is mild, yet it hits hard and is plenty accurate for deer hunting. Oller shot his buck right at 200 yards, and it didn't go more than a few yards. Another first for Oller was using a Quiet Cat All-Terrain E-Bike, and electric bicycle designed for rough terrain. Hunting over four days, there were several spots more than a mile from parking, and getting in and out quietly and without distrubing deer is amazingly easy with an electric bike, even in the dark.
Field Hunting Editor Rikk Rambo: Ohio
Field hunting editor Rikk Rambo escaped from Alaska for an early winter southeastern Ohio white tail deer hunt, and he wasn’t alone. Thanks to Carl and Josh from Shaw Barrels in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, he was armed with one of the finest straight-walled cartridge bolt action rifles he’s ever fielded: The Shaw Barrels “Excursion” chambered in white tail buck crushing .400 Legend. Three days of high winds kept the big bucks in check, but the freezer wasn’t going to fill itself and on the final day, Rikk put the kibosh on a big-bodied 6-point buck with a single, definitive 215 Grain Winchester Power Point. The Power Point, in league with the accuracy of the Excursion and crystal-clear glass of its 3-9x40 Leupold Mark-3 HD rifle optic, ensured the buck was in his happy grazing place in the sky before the echoes of its single report echoed across the fields and valley below!
If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.