Thought I would put a post up about my recent experience in buying my first rifle and treating a friend to his first buck.
After originally looking out to buy a rifle set up with around £1500 (good 2nd hand rifle and new Zeiss Duralyt scope), I started combing the web, local shops and SD for a combination that would put me in budget. I was also on the look out for buying our first house as I thought I had the necessary funds. This all came crashing down after realising that Aberdeen is on a whole new level of what people are prepared to pay over the asking price for somewhere to live!! With this on hold, and moving to a new rented place, I still wanted a new rifle all be it at a revised cost to save more for the ever far away house. I had never had my own rifle and I had only been borrowing my dads .243 and brothers .308 before.
Anyway, after combing the sites I came across Waterford103's add for a BRNO ZKK 601 .308. As he is only a bit up north of me it would have been rude for me not to enquire about it - especially at £225. After getting lost on the way to his place I finally got there. The rifle was old but in pristine condition. The amount of information I was told about the gun and rifle shooting in general really put me at ease to the purchase and it was a pleasure to meet such a friendly and knowledgable person. On realising that a Duralyt would not fit on the rifle easily without removing the iron sights or using extra high mounts, I needed another option. I was informed that remmy700 had a Meopta 6x42 for sale and was a friend of Waterford's. I had met remmy just the week before to give him some brass so after contacting him and looking through the super clear scope, it was mine for a fraction of the cost of the Zeiss. Further SD trawling found me a 9-13" Harris bipod from Rburro2 and I was set! I already had the PH RAHS 3 mounts and so assembled my new toy. All in, including 20 x 150gr PPU and 20 x 123g Sako rounds, I was just under £400 for the whole lot.
I bore sighted the rifle before taking it out to zero at 100yards. First 2 bullets landed 3" high and 4.5" left so after a few adjustments, managed a nice 1.5" group with the PPU ammo. I particularly liked this as they are £15 a box! The Sako's were a few inches higher and tight but I will stick with the PPU for now.
One of the places I shoot is a small field beside a wood owned by a nice couple and there son, Andy. Andy had shown a good bit of interest in stalking and I thought it only fair to try give him a few shot of the rifle and try for his first buck. We have tried over the last couple of years when we are both available (which isn't often) and after numerous attempts of no shows or it being too dark to see the animal or he can't come only for me to shoot one 5 mins later (happened twice!) we decided to give it another go.
It was a gorgeous morning last Saturday with hardly a cloud in the sky. I got up a tad late but managed to get to the house for 05.15am. After waking Andy with a couple of phone calls we made our way up the hill on another bit of ground I shoot. We were heading to a position overlooking a little valley surrounded by pine woods which is elevated on a wall and you can get into a very comfortable prone position. We headed along the wood edge, staying out of a field of cattle. About half way along I spot a flash of red in the corner of my eye only to see a fox running up the field side. His tail looked awfully grotty and kind of resembled a loo brush with nearly no hair on it until the tip. Anyway, after it took off we carried on to our position. On getting there, a buck and doe were about 400yards up the valley in a field that was not ours so we sat and waited for 15 mins or so to see if they would come any closer. This didn't look like it was going to happen so I decided we would make our way to another hidden field in the chance a buck was in it.
I stood up slowly and started to make my way back when I spotted a shape coming through the wood to the right about 150yards out. I told Andy to get back down slowly and pointed out the shape. A quick view through the binos confirmed it was a nice 6 point buck. He started to make his way along the woodland edge, browsing and scraping his antlers on the dead gorse bushes every so often. Andy went to extend the legs of the bipod and accidentally let go of the second one! When there is no wind and you are trying to be as quiet as you can I can't explain how loud that was! I had expected the buck to scarper but it kept on its way. It moved out of the woodland and started quartering towards us, coming across the field where there was a large patch of rushes. Andy found the buck in the scope and I told him to get ready. I asked if he remembered where he was to aim and make sure the safety was off etc before the shot and only fire when happy which he confirmed he was fine with. The buck was slowly making his way through but didn't show signs of stopping for long. As the buck was edging to the edge of the rushes Andy's alarm went off on his phone! It felt like an age as he tried to smash it in his pocket before finally turning it off. The buck didn't even look up! As it was nearly in the open, Andy got back on the scope and I asked him if he was ready - he nodded. I whistled the buck to stop at about 70 yards perfect broadside. He stopped and looked and Andy sent the shot perfectly to his shoulder. The buck dropped to the shot and gave a couple of kicks before laying still. I could see Andy was pleased and after the time we had put in to get it, I definitely was. We waited for 5 mins just to let the world settle. The buck and doe up the valley hadn't even budged and just as we were about to move, a second buck came round the corner not 150yards out. It had a very small odd head on it but he didn't hang around for long enough to allow me a closer inspection on the floor. He moved away as quickly as he came.
So here it is.....Attachment 41960........had a pic of Andy with it but think its too big (ah...its at the bottom).
Bonny head and bigger than anything I have shot up there. Couldn't believe it! We did the gralloch together as it was his first and he carried it back to the car. Think he may have the bug as he was still thanking me for it on Monday. I cleaned it for him as it was his first so just down to him now to get it on the wall.