Five Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Pulling the Trigger on a Distant Critter

So you set up a refrigerator-size target in your buddy’s pasture, and after eight or 10 shots you ding it at 800 yards. Great. But that doesn’t mean you’re ready to shoot at big game from anywhere near that stupid distance. Not even close. With an animal’s life on the line, what you should do first and foremost is get closer. Then if you still feel tempted to shoot from 400 yards or more, you owe it to that critter to take a second and ask yourself the five critical questions below. If you can’t answer yes to all, don’t shoot.

1. Do You Know Your Cold-Bore Zero?
What separates great riflemen from weekend warriors is their ability to make clean kills on their first shot, time and again. To do that, you need to know your cold-bore zero—the point of impact of your first shot through a cold barrel. Because bullets heat barrels instantly, most rifles shoot to a slightly different POI on the first shot compared with subsequent ones. At normal hunting ranges the difference is negligible, but at 400-plus yards, it can mean the difference between a great shot and a gut shot.

argentina dove huntingTo learn your rifle’s cold-bore zero, wait for a cool day with no wind. Shoot one shot, and then wait for the barrel to cool completely before firing the next. Shoot a few groups this way, zeroing your scope as necessary.

2. Do You Have All the Data?
Precision long-range shooting requires that you enter all the relevant data into your ballistic calculator (or longhand equation), and that data must be as precise as possible. For example, do you know that most ballistics programs assume a default sight-above-bore height of 11⁄2 inches? If the center of your scope is 13⁄4 inches above the center of your rifle’s bore, your calculations will be off. So measure it. Likewise, you need precise temperature, altitude, and pressure readings in the field. While these values have little effect on a bullet at 200 yards, getting them even slightly wrong at 600 can mean missing an elk.

3. Do You Know Your Optic Intimately?
You should know, for example, exactly how much one click of your exposed windage and elevation knobs moves the bullet downrange. These values are not always as advertised, so you need to either verify them at the range, or figure out your scope’s real-world adjustments by shooting—a lot. Don’t assume anything.

If you’re using a ballistic reticle, know that most American-style scopes place those dots or hashes in the second focal plane, which means that any change in magnification will alter their subtension values (the amount of bullet drop represented by the marks). The easy way to deal with this is to zero these scopes at their maximum magnification, and then use the ballistic reticle only at the highest power. The superior method is to keep an intricate chart of your scope’s subtension values at all magnifications and distances.argentina pigeon hunting

4. Do You Really Know What the Wind is Doing?
The wind is a fickle thing. In mountainous terrain, especially, it is not uncommon to feel a 5-mph left-to-right wind on your face while a 10-mph right-to-left wind blows near the target. Of course you should take a wind reading at the muzzle, preferably with a wind meter. That’s the easy part, and sufficient at normal ranges. But when you’re going long, you should also take one midway and one near the target. This is more of an art than a science. All you have to go by are a few visual clues, like undulating leaves, grass, and mirage. Knowing how to apply these “measurements” to your hold comes only through long hours of practice—practice of the sort most shooters will never do. And yet for ultra-long range, it’s a must.

5. Can You Get Into a Good Position with a Solid Rest?
Rifles react differently to different points of contact. A slightly different cheek weld or a finger placed alongside the barrel, for example, can change the POI. Therefore, you need to be able to get into a position that’s consistent with your practice, which isn’t always possible in the field. Don’t use your sling if you didn’t use it to zero your rifle. And if your field position prevents you from resting your cheek in the exact same place you always do—so that your eye aligns with the scope consistently—adjust the comb as needed or use an aftermarket cheekpiece.

By the same token, don’t use a rock for a rest if you zeroed off sandbags. A good rifle rest means at least two points of contact with an inanimate object, so rest the fore-end solidly on your pack or a bipod, for example, and then also use a rear rest. A sock filled with sand or soil is ideal, or a rolled-up outer garment can work. If, after you finally settle in, you see the crosshairs moving due to a shaky rest or a shaky you—​or if you feel the slightest uncertainty regarding any one of the questions above—​don’t shoot.


The Best 5 shotguns 2015

1. Benelli 828U

A shotgun that feels and shoots like a Benelli from the moment you pick it up to the moment you break it open. When innovation and inspiration collided the 828U was born – the first over/under Argentina dove hunting
worthy of the Benelli badge. With the strength of steel and the weight of aluminum, the 12-gauge 828U has redefined the category. The 828U features:

Patented steel locking system and plate Easily removable trigger group receiver
Adjustable drop and cast
Ergonomic opening lever
Impulse activated ejectors
From butt to barrel, there is nothing about the 828U that hasn’t been rethought and improved.
Read more on Benelli.
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Argentine Asado

The asado is the most popular social gathering in Argentina and no weekend is truly complete without it. It’s a celebration of seared meat and flame, filled with good times and liberally Argentina dove hunting asadodoused with Malbec and Fernet and coke.

Traditionally the vast grassy plains (la pampa) which extend outwards for hundreds of miles from Buenos Aires have gifted the surrounding communities with an impressive abundance of top quality beef. The cows and horses that thrived on these very plains gave birth to the gaucho culture where the open fire was the only cooking option and meat the only dependable source of food.

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Argentinean Empanadas


dove hunting in argentina500g pastry dough (in Argentina you can buy pre-made discs – tapas para empanadas – if you don’t want to make the dough by hand.)
Egg yolk for brushing the tops of the empanadas
1kg beef
500g onion
300g boiled potatoes
3 hardboiled eggs
250g spring onion
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon red chilli powder (less if you don’t like it spicy)
1 tablespoon paprika
Olive oil
Warm water
Salt to taste


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Saskatoon Berry Smothered Duck Breast


4 duck breasts halves, filleted from the bone
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. black pepper
Canola oil

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, sliced thin
½ cup port or bold red wine
1 cup Saskatoon berries
½ cup duck (or chicken) stock
1 Tbsp. butter


With a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts, being careful not to slice into the meat. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Rub this mixture into both sides of the argentina duck huntingduck breasts and let rest for 30 minutes.

Set a cast-iron pan or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little bit of canola oil to the pan to coat it and when it just reaches the smoking point, add the duck breasts skin side down. Let the breasts sear until the skin is crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and sear the other side for a minute or so. Be careful not to overcook the breasts. You want them medium-rare. Remove to a warmed plate and tent with foil.

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