This five part series is meant to help make shopping for your Indiana deer rifle a little easier. We will discuss the rifle, optics, and ammo for each setup, why they work, and how they would best be used in the field.
The Plot Watcher
The Rifle – Sako A7 Roughtech Pro – .300 Win Mag – $1299
Few rifles are as well thought of as Sako. Renowned around the world for accuracy and reliability, this is without a doubt a premium firearm. In the Plot Watcher rifle set-up, the goal is to build a long-range rifle that is suitable for hunting large food plots or areas that are agricultural fields with multiple tree lines the hunter must monitor. The Sako rifle provides the hardware required for accuracy over long range, and the .300 Win Mag provides the software. A favorite of long-range shooters and hunters it is round that is stable and predictable downrange, and delivers plenty of punch as well. A natural marriage of rifle and caliber when looking for long-range performance.
The Optic – Styrka S7 – 2.5-15×50 SH-BDC – $740
While relatively new, Styrka is rapidly gaining ground in the market as a durable optic with the performance to back it up. The 2.5-15 chassis has been chosen to provide flexibility. The 15X magnification is plenty, even when shooting to 500 yards, and the 2.5 bottom end allows for the possibility of that deer sneaking in a little closer than expected. Never forget that over-magnification can cause more trouble than many think. Most people are tempted to go up to 24X or even higher on a hunting rifle, but as a general rule, I recommend stopping at 16X unless extreme long-range is in the cards, to the tune of 700-1000 yards. If you haven’t seen Styrka products yet, find a dealer to give them a look. The S7 scope series delivers features in scopes that cost as much as twice the Styrka. Clarity in all product families is above average, and the cosmetics have been designed with the hunter in mind.
The Ammo – Winchester Supreme – 180gr E-tip – muzzle/300yd – 2950/2430 -$54
Premium rifle, premium optic, premium ammo. Winchester Supreme ammo is a lead-free ammo designed for long-range performance. The ballistic tip and Black Oxide coating are a nice bonus, but the expansion cavity behind the ballistic tip is the real star here. The hollow chamber ensures the bullet expands outward as the tip retreats into the round, preventing the bullet from not expanding. It isn’t cheap ammunition, but this setup wasn’t built on a budget. This is high-octane fuel for a dragster.
Margin for error doesn’t exist when you shooting beyond 300 yards. The rifle/optic/ammo combination assembled here is designed to reduce as much error as possible from the tool, putting the responsibility on the shooter. A nice gun doesn’t make anyone a good shooter. If you intend on shooting at these distances, you take a great deal of obligation to ensure you are qualified to be doing so. Range time is key. The hunters around you, and the deer themselves, should expect you to be proficient with any weapon you take the woods, but especially so when your intention is firing at long distances. This combination can get it done, can you?