Category Archives: Keith Drain’s Column

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A Weekend Shooting Foxes & Rabbits!

IMG_2314Last weekend I had an opportunity to get away after some foxes and bunnies and I had a ball.

I arrived on Friday night and after I had a very nice risotto prepared by Pete the farmer who is one hell of a cook I went for a look with the 17HMR, there was not much about on the side of the property I went to and soon came back empty handed getting a reasonably early night for what would hopefully be a big day of shooting on the Saturday.

Saturday morning saw me out mucking around with my Tikka T3 Varmint Stainless 223 Rem out to 365 yards on the steel gong we have set up which was a lot of fun and a great way to waste a heap of ammunition.

After lunch I went for a drive around to see what was about and I eventually settled on my favourite set of warrens ranging from 180-280yds. It was early afternoon and I was pleasantly surprised to see that rabbits were out and about which allowed for a session of varminting.

Setting the rifle up on bipods leaning over the bonnet of my car I pulled the trigger sending a 45gr hollow point projectile travelling 3600 feet per second striking the first rabbit of the afternoon with a resounding “THWOCK” at 180yds.

Soon after this I had hit two more on the same warren I then turned by sights to the far warren at 280 yds. It is amazing the difference 100yds can make and I learnt a valuable lesson here as I was using ballistics apps on my phone to gauge my hold over and wind drift. The one thing I learnt after many misses is that ballistics programs are only as good as the data that is entered in to them. I missed quite a few shots at this distance as even though I used the manufacturer data for the ammo I was shooting what was happening in real life did not reflect what the application was telling me.

After a bit of thought I strongly suspect the ammunition is not traveling as fast as it was advertised, I suspect the advertised figures were with a longer barrel than I was using. So next time I will be taking the chronograph and getting real life velocity figures and also shooting at different distances to verify what the ballistics program is saying.

Either way I eventually worked out what was going on and managed to make the longest shot of the day at 280yds.

Whilst I was scanning the warrens for anymore activity, I noticed an orange figure sitting just outside of a patch of blackberries that use to be a rabbit warren!

“That’s a bloody fox” I said to myself as I chambered another round. I fired and to my astonishment missed! Luckily for me this young fox was too silly to retreat back to the blackberries and only ran a few yards before I hit him in the neck and put the fox on the ground.

Shortly after I hit that fox I saw another young one and I then realised why that set of warrens was quiet! The foxes have moved into the blackberries and called it home!

I had a shot at this fox and missed again, I was not happy at all, as I hate missing foxes and worst of all he was smarter than his brother and ran straight back into the blackberries and didn’t come out again as I waited for him.

The afternoon session resulted in four rabbits and a fox. I wasn’t happy with my shooting or my rifles performance but I had learnt a lot that afternoon and would rectify the mistakes I made and has made me determined that I need to spend more time with this rifle learning how it performs at varying distances as it shoots great at 100yds but I have been slack and not done the shooting at different distances needed to really wring out the potential of this very accurate rifle.IMG_2317

After some steak for dinner and a quick clean up I set up the Savage 93R17 in 17HMR to go and find some more young foxes.

I returned the warrens that I was shooting at earlier that day and caught up again with the fox that I missed and nailed him with the 17gr Vmax round from Hornady.


After stopping for a quick photo with that one I was on my way to try and find more.

IMG_2318 IMG_2321The second fox I came across and turned on me and ran but being young and inexperienced he didn’t go far and once went through the gate I saw him again and hit him in the chest.

I was happy with the result so far.

The third fox I was lucky to see as I had already passed him but he was on the other side of a hill. He was only very small and not long out of he den but I was on a sheep farm and I couldn’t stop to consider how cute he was as it would only be a matter of months before he would turn into a lamb and native wildlife killer and he dropped on the spot when hit him in the chest with a small fragment exiting out his stomach.IMG_2322


To top off the night I shot a rabbit that was getting about in a tree run and that was the end of the trip.

It was great to get out there and burn through some rounds and eliminate some ferals from the farm.

I think it will be another month or so before the young ones start coming to the whistle judging by their size but I will be there ready to get more foxes as they become more interested in hunting.

The Budget Long Range Hunting Rifle. PT 2: Selecting a Suitable Rifle.

Welcome to Part 2 of the series where I will be talking about the rifle I have selected for this project.

Now that I had established the cartridge I wanted to use in this long range rifle project it was time to find out what rifles came in a heavy barrel configuration that would be suitable for long range shooting but also help me stick to the $3000 budget for the entire project.

The choices in a heavy barreled rifle in 300 Win mag for under $1500 are actually quite limited and I didn’t have the choice I thought I would have.  Continue reading The Budget Long Range Hunting Rifle. PT 2: Selecting a Suitable Rifle.

Nosler Announces a New Cartridge The 26 Nosler

nosleraccubondLRNosler have just announced a new centrefire cartridge the 26 Nosler a round capable of shooting the new Nosler Accubond LR 129gr 6.5mm projectile at 3400fps.

This new round seems very intriguing and if enough manufacturers chamber it in their rifles it could be a very popular long range cartridge.

Information is scant at this point but we should know more come January where they will officially launch the cartridge at the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

There have been no pictures released of the round yet and I wouldn’t expect to see it hit the Australian market for many months after its announced.

Full press release below:

The 26 Nosler



Bend, Ore. – November 22, 2013 – Like many shooting enthusiasts, the Nosler family has always dreamed of introducing a new rifle cartridge to the industry; that time is finally here with the arrival of the 26 Nosler®.

The goal of the new 26 Nosler® cartridge was to introduce something to the shooting sports industry that took full advantage of new technology available to shooters including the advance of optics, reticle systems and of course high Ballistic Coefficient (B.C.) bullets such as the AccuBond® Long Range™ line. The old boundaries are about to be pushed to new limits.

The 26 Nosler® cartridge was designed to take advantage of the inherently accurate and high B.C. 6.5mm (.264) caliber bullets, and is capable of shooting the Nosler® 129 grain, AccuBond® Long Range™ bullet at a blazing 3400 fps out of the muzzle.  Zeroed at 350 yards, the 26 Nosler® has a Point Blank Range of 0-415 yards.  Loaded with the 129gr ABLR, the 26 Nosler® retains as much velocity at 400 yards as the 260 Remington® produces at the muzzle.

The 26 Nosler® case is non-belted, thus headspaced off of the shoulder to further enhance accuracy. The “26” also utilizes a standard (30-06) length action meaning shorter bolt-throw and lighter weight than magnum length actions.

“I really feel the 26 Nosler® has great value amongst the large family of 6.5mm cartridges.  With minimal recoil, tremendous velocity, energy and the ability to point and shoot at the intended target up to a quarter mile away, this is the quintessential deer, antelope and long-range target cartridge available on the market today.” –Bob Nosler, CEO/President Nosler, Inc.

The 26 Nosler® is a new and unique cartridge that was submitted to SAAMI® in June, 2013. The formal launch will take place at the 2014 SHOT Show where more exciting news will be released regarding this cartridge. Additional announcements will include Nosler’s new platform rifle, in addition to exciting new bullet, brass and ammunition offerings.