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Hunting 2019
#1
Thought I would begin the hunting thread for 2019.  I did my first scouting of the property this past weekend and checked the game cameras.

Primarily I went up to sight in a new AR upper I built in 450 Bushmaster.   I am a big believer in big bores on deer having hunted the last three years with rifles in 44 mag. Am 3 for 3 in one shot kills.  So I wanted to try the 450 but didn't want to pay the freight for an expensive AR. My God daughter's husband brought up a Ruger American bolt gun in 450  last year but didn't get anything. I was intrigued with the 450s ballistics. 45 caliber, 250 gr bullet at a MV of 2200 FPS and 2700 foot lbs/energy. That's comparable to a 45-70 Gov. Yeah, that should do nicely.

 I would have bought a Ruger ($400-500) if I hadn't found a 450 barrel on sale at Bear Creak Arsenal for $60.  I had enough parts on hand to build an upper so I went that way instead. It seemed to be a inexpensive way in. $60 for the barrel, $65 for the bolt head. Most of the other parts I already had but ended up buying another free float hand guard for $40 and the upper receiver was $40 which I already had. The whole project set me back $220 including the muzzle comp but not counting the lower. You can use any AR lower of which I have 6 or 7 various kinds.

I had all the parts together but it needed a bolt head. 450 Bolt/carrier combinations are expensive ($85-120) so trying to find a place to sell just the bolt head, which will fit any carrier was difficult.  I finally found one last week for $65.  Thinking I would like to carry a lightweight AR for hunting I put the upper on a Cav Arms lower. The Cav Arms is a once piece molded polymer lower that is very lightweight. The particular Cav Arms lower I used was built to be an ultra light. With polymer internal parts, light weight buffer and spring.

Notice that there is no ejection port cover or forward assist on the upper. I used an Anderson Sporter upper from Aim Surplus. IMO modern ARs don't need a forward assist (i.e, jam button) and the port cover is equally superfluous.  The 16" barrel however is free floated.

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Now to feed the beast. The good news is that you don't need special magazines.  You have to simply replace the followers in a standard AR mag and be good to go. Since there is a 5 round mag limit for hunting in my state, using a standard 20 round mag with a 450 follower holds 5 rounds. I was in a conversation with a guy named Marco in a thread on the 450 on Glock Talk and Marco sent me a pair of followers for free. Apparently he is affiliated with a business. Followers are normally $7 or $8 on ebay.

The difference between the followers are apparent. The 5.56 followers (on right) allows double stacking. The 450 only allows single stacking in the mag.

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My trip to the hunting property was primarily to function test the upper and mags. I mounted a cheap 5x scope and set up at 25 yards.

Unfortunately I didn't plan very well and was forced to buy ammo at the local sports shop. 450 ammo runs about $1.50/round. A box of 20 runs about $30 though I've since seen it for around $24 if you shop around.

It took 3 shots to zero the scope. I then began a new group. First shot was in the X ring. Second shot was touching in the 10 ring about 1 o'clock. 3 shot was in the 9 ring about 1 o'clock. By then I was flinching real bad due to the heavy recoil. Shots 4 & 5 were out at 10 & 11 o'clock.  The recoil on this very light weight rifle was brutal, i.e, very unpleasant.  I stopped shooting after that group. Couldn't see wasting anymore expensive ammo.  I'm not proud of that group but it is what it is.

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The mistake was using the light weight lower with a light weight spring and buffer. Not sure it will even hold up under prolonged use. Not going to use it anymore. Looking back on it I am lucky it didn't come apart in my hands. I have a full length A2 Rifle which I could use the lower off of. It's a pound or two heavier than the Cav Arms.  I'm also going to mount a different scope on it and take it back to sight in. Should be a bit more pleasant to shoot then.

This rifle will strictly be used for hunting. I'm looking forward to rifle season to see what the 450 will do on deer.

Edited to add...When I returned home I checked out the cheap chinese scope I had mounted on it. The rear lens was shattered. I don't know if I dropped it, banged it on something or the recoil did it. I've since ordered and received a 2-7x Vortex scope which I've mounted for the next trip to the property to sight it in. I will be shooting it with a full stocked AR lower taken off my target rifle.
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#2
As I mentioned I checked the trail cameras. Starting to see some small bucks.

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And some bigger ones

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The bears are back...

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And coyotes

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And even a bobcat hiding in the shadows

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#3
I put a new scope on the 450, a Vortex Crossfire 2-7x and mounted the upper on a regular A2 lower. I took it north last weekend and sighted it in. It still kicks like a beast but my groups shrank considerably and the scope held together (so far). I was using Winchester 250 gr. "Deer Season" XTs. I didn't get a chance to chronograph them. I did just buy some Hornady 250 gr XTPs which I will try out. Going to take my chronograph up tomorrow and see what I get out of the 16" bbl.

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450 ammo ain't cheap, usually about $1.50/round. I found a local guy who bought a case at a discount and was selling off his extra boxes at cost. I bought three boxes for $23/box. I have reloading dies for the 450 and will probably reload for it now that I have some once fired brass. Frankly though, 3 boxes will probably last me the rest of my life since all I am going to do with it is hunt. This is not a gun you take out and shoot for fun.

Archery/bow season starts next Tuesday (Oct 1) so I need to drag my crossbow out and zero it in with the new scope I bought for it at the end of last season.

On my way north tomorrow for a couple days to do some scouting and sighting in. I also bought a new pair of Nikon Prostaff 7s 10x42 binoculars. I have a couple pair of cheap ones but I noticed looking through them for very long really strains the eyes. I spend a lot of time scouting the food plot so I figured a good pair of binocs would be worth it. Not to mention we will be traveling to exotic lands (Iceland and Greenland) next year on vacation where they will come in handy. Get to try them out tomorrow.
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#4
I'm back from my cabin int he woods. I've got good news and bad news....

First the good news...

I shot the 450 with the Hornady FTX loads. It is very accurate. One ragged hole at 50 yards.

Now the bad news, I shot and killed the chronograph on the very first shot. I forgot the tripod I usually mount it on and used a small table instead. I shot from a lawn chair using a set of shooting sticks (bipod) about 10 feet behind it. I didn't realize the table was on a slight rise between me and the target. The scope is mounted 3" above the bore. Didn't see the chrono through the scope. Ka-pow, it went flying on the first shot.

More good news...I mounted a new scope on my crossbow and it continues to amaze me how accurate it is out to 30 or 40 yards. Should be good to go for next Tuesday's archery opener.

Sat out in my tree blind on Thursday night with my new binoculars. Had three big Tom turkeys come out and stroll across the field. It's actually fall Turkey season in Michigan but I didn't draw a license this year. Limited licenses are available in my county. Bummer. Also saw a porcupine in the woods waddling around. About 7:20 a small buck, one of the three pointers I've been seeing on the trail cameras, came out at the far end of the field. He was followed about 10 minutes later by a doe. I watched them feed until dark.

View from my tree stand. It's actually on the trail leading from right to left to the food plot. There is a doe just above the branch in the middle of this cell phone photo.

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Zoomed in cell phone photo of the turkeys...

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Those white stakes are yardage markers.
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#5
I went up bow hunting last Wed-Fri (had a college football game to attend on Sat). After seeing plenty of deer through out Sept I didn't see a thing in three days. It was cold (40's) and raining the whole time.

As I was heading home after dark on Fri night I hit a small buck with my truck. I wasn't going very fast and didn't hit him very hard but it did break three ribs on the grill of the truck.

Taking care of my dad on Tues/Wed this week but will be heading up Wed afternoon through Friday to try again.
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#6
just got home from bow hunting the last couple days. Weather was in the 60's during the day. Colors are changing quickly. A couple does came out into the field at dusk last night but never came close enough to shoot. I had the bigger one all picked out. Oh well.

I did literally run into the bear cubs I got photos of in the spring. Turned the corner on the trail yesterday morning at around 9 am and there they were coming my way no more than 20 feet away. I froze but they skedaddled pretty quickly. Fortunately mamma bear wasn't with them. They've gotten pretty big over the summer. First time in the 24 years I've had the property that I've seen bears in person.
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#7
I'm always amazed by the trail cams!
Governmental dependance makes for poor self reliance.

"What could possibly go wrong with a duct tape boat?"  Cody Lundin

The best defense against evil men are good men with violent skill sets.
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