I've heard it said that planning is as much fun as the hunt. Follow me as I plan my first African safari from start to finish. From booking the hunt to choosing gear & weapons, We'll cover it all!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Looks like free-floating the barrel did the trick. It was 26 degrees at the range this morning with no wind. The cold weather really helped cool my barrel and I was able to shoot much faster. I used my IR temp sensor to monitor the barrel temps throughout the shooting session. My best group came from a load of 44gr. of IMR-4064 topped with a Hornady 140gr. SST. I'm getting 1/2" groups at 100 yards! (see pic below)
I also couldn't resist bringing the newest toy to the party, my Smith & Wesson M&P-15. It's now shooting 2-1/2" groups (or better) at 100 yds with a battle-sight!
I think I found the problem with the Remington 700 (264 WM). Apparently Remington in their infinite wisdom puts a pressure pad about 2" back of the forend tip. This places upward pressure on the barrel. I believe this could be causing the wood stock to change as the barrel heats up. As you can see in the pic, I sanded off the pad and can now pass a dollar bill (or two) completely under the barrel all the way to the recoil lug. I will be heading to the range tomorrow if the weather holds to test my theory.
We hit the rifle range today. It was a bit cold but I needed to test out some new loads I worked up. The .300 Win. Mag. shot great as always, but the problem child (my .264 Win. Mag.) was a bit of a disappointment. Although It shot a decent group at 100 yds, I was hoping for better, and as usual, as the barrel heats up the shots start to string out. This doesn't effect hunting situations where normally one shot is taken, but it drives me crazy at the range.
I guess I need to start thinking about what weapon to use, bow or gun? (or both?) My hunting buddy just returned from the same place we are going to and pretty much stated that there's no chance in hell of getting a bow shot in this area. I'm still considering taking it anyways. The one thing I don't want to do is sit and roast in a pit blind all day watching a waterhole with bugs and snakes crawling in (I hate snakes) I would rather see the African bush and take in all the sights and sounds. I will bring my trusty Ruger M-77 chambered for .300 Win mag. I have a great load that I've been working up for it and Africa will be the testing grounds. I'm also considering a second rifle as a back-up (a Remington 700 Classic chambered for .264 Win mag) If I forgo the second rifle I can fit my bow into the double gun case.
OK, so all the bank transfers have been made and I log on to get my tickets at Orbitz. I plug in my dates and times and surprise!...no flights (sigh). The crazy flight is still there (the one that takes me everywhere else in the world before landing in Joburg), but that's not happening on my watch. I finally find one that will take me from Detroit to Cincinnati (which really isn't in Cincinnati at all, but Kentucky) then to Atlanta. As I start making headway, I am prompted to buy trip insurance. I should probably discuss this with my wife but she's out for an hour or two, but what the hell, I can wait. What could possibly change in two hours? I talk it over with the wife and it is decided that the extra couple hundred is well worth it for trip insurance. I log back on to Orbitz, bring up my agenda and BAM! it's gone! Noooooooooo. My head is pounding and I want to throw my monitor across the room (but I still need it). I back my date up by one day and find another flight. I call my PH in Africa and ask if I can arrive a day earlier? (im already arriving two days early) "Sorry, we still have a client in camp...but your welcome to stay a few days latter at no extra charge". That doesn't work for me. My head is spinning and I need a drink (something in the single malt category). I have an epiphany. If my flight disappeared in two hours, maybe another will miraculously take it's place if I wait another two hours. By some kind of divine intervention, it happens. This time I am ready! I'm as nervous as a whore in church. With the click of a mouse, I have spent almost $4.500 on two round trip tickets to Africa. There is NO turning back now!
Frustration is already setting in. My travel agent contacted me and sent me a quote. It looked sorta familiar so I logged onto to Orbitz and surprise! it's the EXACT same flight I was looking at (except she tacked on another $200 per ticket) I seem to have lost that warm and fuzzy feeling for travel agents. I talked it over with the Mrs. and we decided to wait until Thursday so she can transfer funds for me. In the mean time I picked up a folder at the local office supply store that will organize all of my important paperwork for this trip. I also need to start working on a packing list.
I found a flight that will take me from Detroit to Atlanta with a short layover, and then directly to Johannesburg. I also contacted a travel agent to see what she could do for me. I'm waiting to hear back from her before I do anything. Spending thousands of dollars on-line makes me feel a bit nervous to say the least, so I guess I would prefer using an agent at this point. Time will tell.
Started checking prices on flights. So far Orbitz seems to be the only on-line booking service that is able to locate a flight to Kimberley. Most flights had quite a few stops and went something like this: Start out at Detroit Metro to DC, then DC to NY, NY to Atlanta, Atlanta to Dakar (Senegal), Dakar to Joburg, Joburg to Kimberley. Costs are high at around 2k per ticket. My theory is that the more stops you make, the better the chance of loosing your gear and weapons.