Q: I have a Savage Model 24 chambered in .223 Rem./12 gauge, which I use for predator hunting. It has the standard factory sights that came with it, but I'd like to put a scope on it. What kind of scope do you recommend? -Shawn Rehrey, Newburgh, NY
A: I grew up hunting small game almost exclusively with a Model 24 in .22LR/.410. What made it a great choice for a young hunter is the same reason yours serves you well as a predator rig, its versatility. Many hardcore predator hunters carry two guns to each stand, a shotgun for close and personal work and a flat-shooting centerfire for standoffish critters. The Model 24, to a degree, incorporates the best of both worlds. The downside, of course, is that you lack a quick follow-up shot.
My choice for a riflescope would be a variable-powered scope in the lower magnification range, say 2-7X or 3-9X, with generous eye relief and designed to handle the heavy recoil of a shotgun. Solid choices would include Nikon's Prostaff Shotgun Hunter, Bushnell's Banner Shotgun Scope and Leupold's Rifleman Shotgun Scope. Each of these models comes in 2-7X and 3-9X variables.
Most combo guns don't shoot both barrels to the same point of aim with the degree of accuracy needed for serious predator hunting. For this reason I'd opt to use high-rise scope mounts that allow for open-sight sighting for the 12 gauge barrel and relegate the scope to centerfire duty. When using the shotgun, keep the folding leaf rear sight down and out of the way, and simply sight through the opening under the scope as you would a large peep sight when using the 12 gauge barrel. Good luck and good shooting! -Gordy Krahn
Big Enough For Alaska Bears?
Q: Is a Colt .357 Lawman MK III handgun big enough for brown bears in southeast Alaska? The gun has a 2-inch barrel. Will this handgun provide me with effective bear protection? -Jeff Reissmann, Sitka, AK
A: Jeff, while any pistol is better than none if you're about to get mauled by a bear, your current pistol doesn't offer the power that's required for overwhelming a bear's system unless you're at point-blank range. Even then you must hit it exactly right or you'll probably make a bad situation worse. I believe Alaska brown bears are creatures designed for one purpose: killing things. They have huge muscle masses, a nasty disposition and beady little eyes that tell their tiny brain where food is or what needs to be intimidated or killed.
I've hunted with bear guides who carried .500 Smith & Wesson handguns in chest holsters. There are a couple of other "hand-cannons" that might stop an angry bear, but I'd much prefer a large caliber rifle such as a .416 Rigby or .458 Win. Mag. if things got nasty. As a matter of fact, if I ever get charged by a bear again my choice would be one of those shoulder-fired rocket-launchers- but that's not likely to happen.
If legal, I'd carry a large caliber rifle, or at least a short-barreled 12 gauge slug gun in Alaskan bear country. Your pistol is better than your fists, but I suggest making every effort to be bear- conscious and avoid them if possible. -Ian McMurchy
Best Bullets For Deer
Q: I have a Savage Model 11 in 7mm-08 Rem. with the Accu-Trigger and this rifle is an absolute pleasure to shoot. I've yet to take any game with it, but I'm really stuck on which ammunition I should shoot with it. I?ve sighted it in with Remington Core-Lokt 140-grain ammo, and at 100 yards this load will print a clover leaf pattern with ease, but I have shot the Winchester Ballistic Silvertip with approximately the same results. I've taken several deer with Core-Lokts from a .270 Winand .30-06, but never had any experience with the Winchester ammunition. In your opinion, which brand of ammunition will give me the best results on white-tailed deer at shot distances of 50-200 yards? -Mark Johnson, Virginia
A: Mark, this is an easy one. Either bullet will work great for you on deer. The Winchester Ballistic Silvertip should shoot slightly flatter at extreme range because of its sharp nose and more streamlined shape, but this probably won't amount to more than an inch of difference at 300 yards. I'd punch paper with each brand at 200 yards and again at 300 yards and then select the ammo that's most accurate for you. Core-Lokt or Silvertip? In 7mm-08 Rem. you can't go wrong with either one. -Ron Spomer