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What have U shot with your R-1


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The wife bought me an Elk hunt for my birthday, so I brought out my R-1 from the safe and off hunting we go. When we got to the hunting spot we spotted a nice 5x5 that scores right at 300. We spotted him bedded down and slipped in close, as we got close he stood and started to run, I cow called to stop him and gave him one broadside at about 150 yards, he stayed on his feet so I gave him another. He was a tough old bull and refused to go down, so one last shot to the neck and he was done. A great bull and a great birthday gift.

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Steve

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I am 23 years old and this is my first deer in my hunting career. I took the doe on November 15th in upstate NY, using my new 30-06 Benelli R1 with the comfort-tec stock and a 3-9x40 Nikon Buckmaster scope. I just got this setup a few weeks ago and have been working up handloads for it. This doe was shot with a factory loaded 150 grain Winchester silver tip. This was just the second time out hunting with this gun. The deer weighed in 120lbs field dressed. I know its not big buck but its my first deer, and maybe I will be lucky again this season and get to post a picture of a big buck.

 

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Being not as nimble as I once was, I really didn’t start out with white ram fever. However, a friend asks me if I would baby sit his sheep mount while he was deployed. I agreed and he was welcomed into my home. Well, after living with him for several months it was at last time for him to go home. After admiring that ram I decided that I had to have one. I had asked Jake if he would go with me, he was reluctant because he has bad knees from years as a paratrooper. He told that the side hilling and going down hill was hard on him. As a gift to me, which I am forever grateful he agreed to go with me and help me pack one if we were so blessed. He gave me the book Sheep Stalking in Alaska by Tony Russ, I read it front to back. I again dug into this forum and read everything I could.

I bought a Cabela’s Extreme Alaskan Outfitter Pack with Frame and a new pair of Danner boots and as soon as the snow melted we started training. We trained all summer and by fall I was fairly sure that I could get into sheep country. A bought a MSR Mutha Hubba tent as our base camp and he had a mountain hardware single wall tent as a back up. I was eager to start our hunt; we had spent months training including numerous trips to the range. I was sure of myself to 450 yards. We got together and laid out our gear and double-checked each other. We each brought a stove and water filter to have backup. We weighed and tagged each bag with the weight. I practiced setting up my new tent and made sure I had all the parts. I replaced the stakes that came with it for lightweight MSR stakes. We had never hunted together but, both had military training. At this time I had only done hunts from the road system. Jake had been on 2 other successful sheep hunts. This would be my first fly out.

 

Aug 8th I drive over to Jakes and we leave for Talkeetna. We arrive at Alaska Bush Float Plane Services to check in and they offer to let us leave Jakes camper on their place, really great folks. We drive into Talkeetna and have a beer and some pizza and back to the camper to get a good nights sleep. I was so excited I could hardly sleep, I kept thinking, was I up to the challenge??? Only time would tell.

 

Aug 9th We wake early and carry our gear over to the dock and get it all weighed. We go in and they tell us the weather don’t look good. We do the old wait around the flight line thing. I was a helicopter crewchief in the army and so was Jake, so we are used to waiting on the weather. At last we get the thumbs up and we stuff into their Maul on floats and off we go into the Alaska Range. We fly west and can see the weather coming in. The thing that sucks is the pass to get into the mountain lake is over 2 hours away from Talkeetna. We get to the pass and have to circle for a while to get under the clouds.

Once in the pass the weather clears and we see sheep on several ridges. I’m completely stoked at this point. We land at the lake and taxi over to the shore and get the plane unloaded and we get my Mutha Hubba setup, awesome tent with tons of room and a double vestibule. We setup a cook tarp and get camp organized and get our packs ready for the opening day hunt. There is already another tent at the lake and we saw a pair of hunters breaking camp about ½ mile from the lake. So, while we are having dinner another pair of hunters arrive and we greet them then try to figure out where to go now with so much pressure. There are four pairs of hunters around the lake by dark. We only have a plan worked out with one pair. We look at the map and change our original plan because the pair we saw on the flight in are in the area we were going to hunt. My first lesson, the plan is only that a plan, have more than one. We do a map recon and decide what we will do the next morning.

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Aug 10th We wake early only to find low clouds and rain, we wait until the weather lifts, then we start up the ridge gaining elevation, during this climb I ask myself what the heck am I doing. We are battling brush and crawling over rocks to make our way up. After what seemed to be forever we crest the top of the ridgeline and I behold a sight that is still etched in my mind. Spectacular views as far as the eye could see. We were careful to stay down and not silhouette ourselves against the skyline. We take a break and cook some lunch. Another lesson get water at the bottom there might not be any up high. Anyway we eat a MH each and drink a bottle of water and we continued down the drainage until we got to a spot where we could glass several bowls that formed the head of the drainages. We spot a band of sheep and stalk into a better position to observe them from. There appeared to be one legal ram in the bunch, but without a HIGH QUALITY spotting scope we couldn’t really tell. They fed around then worked their way up on the wall face and bedded down out of our reach. From this advantage point we spotted some more sheep and navigated a large field of loose sharp rock. The side hilling and shale showed me that I had made a bad boot choice. Should have worn Lowes or other mountain boot, which I do now. My boot choice almost ended my hunt at is point my back and feet were killing me. We had to change drainages and cross a stream. I slipped on my NEOS river trekkers and crossed the stream without getting my feet wet. We made sure to refill our water. The rain had started again so we made a tarp shelter and rested and had hot drink and a candy bar. The weather had gone from the 60s into the 40s with blowing rain. I was exhausted, we had only walked about 5 miles, but they were sheep country miles and this was new to me. I ask myself while we were resting, do I want to climb again or go back down to camp. From our viewpoint and limited optics we could only tell they were rams. We could not determine if they were legal. I did a gut check and decided that I was determined to make it happen. We continued up the drainage fighting alders and trying not to step in bear crap. We gained some elevation, when we got to where we could see up into the drainage we could see a ram that appeared to be ¾ curl on a grassy knob and several more rams towards the back of the bowl. We put on our whites and moved into a position to glass from. Jake got out the spotting scope, it was starting to rain harder and the clouds were coming down. The rain made it hard to use our optics and we struggled to be able to tell if the rams up high were legal. While Jake is glassing the rams on the head wall, I range and take a better look at the ram closest to us. He was 364 yards away; the more I looked the more I thought he looked like a very mature ram, big chest and thick neck. I look with my binos and see that his ends are thick and blunt and very little room between his bases. I tell Jake that I think that he is broomed off. He gets the spotting scope on him and says I don’t want to gets your hopes up but he does looked broomed. We could only see one side and needed him to turn so we could see the other horn. He stood up from his bed and turned to look our way. Jake was on him in the spotter and told me he was legal. I was in the prone and readied for the shot. I checked my muzzles line of fire and saw that if I fired from this position that my bullet would hit the rocks. I scramble forward to get into a shooting position and before I could he takes a set and is gone.

My heart sank as my mind raced as what to do next. We look at each other and start to scramble over the loose shale moving up to see if we can get back on him. This was an old ram and had been driven down by the younger ram we saw high on the head wall. The jig is up now and the other sheep start to flush as we move up the drainage. He seems to have just vanished. Then I spot him going up a chute to my right. I try to range him but the rain and heat from body has fouled my range finder making it useless, I ask Jake the range and he has the same issue. We guess the range at 400 yards and I line up the shot. I squeeze the trigger and BOOM I see my round hit just under his belly. I ask Jake if he saw the impact as I lined up my second shot. Using my B&C reticle I used the next line of elevation and fired for the second time. I could see the round hit him in the shoulder and watched in horror as he started rolling down the chute. Jakes gets to him first, as he does I see movement up on top where the ram was going and there is a hunter standing waving at me. I could not believe anyone could even get to where he was. He continued to watch us as we dragged him down to more level ground and took a few photos and started to get ready to dress and cape out my ram. We get out our plastic and dress and cape the ram. We get it all packed up and ready to head down and we realize that we are not going to make it back down before dark.

We took the ram at 7:45pm and by 9:30pm we are ready to head down, we have accepted that we cannot make it back down before dark. We begin to assess our situation; we inventory our gear and make some shocking discoveries. I don’t have any type of light; I had left my headlight at the base camp. I had a bivy cover and a pocket survival blanket; we had a tarp and our stove. Neither one of us want to walk through the alders smelling like a sheep sandwich in the dark with loads on our backs.

We agree that the smartest thing to do is to hunker down on the mountain and wait for daylight. With the tarp we make a shelter using a large rock as a windbreak. The wind was blowing 20 to 30 mph and it was raining with the temp right at 40 degrees. I got into my bivy sack with all my clothes and Jake tried to wrap up in his tin foil blanket. He looked like a giant baked spud. We were both shivering like crazy, we were huddled up again the rock and each other. The colder it got the closer we got. After a few hours of being miserable I could feel the ground sucking the heat from my body. Jake stopped shivering and this made me concerned, as it is a sign of hypothermia. I told him to get into the bivy with me. With us both in it I could not zip it up. Cold water and wind now blew around my head. We held out, both on the edge of hypothermia until a couple hours before daylight, we had all we could stand. We got up and started running in circles and jumping up and down to get the blood flowing. I told Jake that I was going to fire up my MSR stove and see if that would help. I got it going and the heat felt wonderful. I told Jake to get back in the bivy and I would watch the stove. That little stove was my best friend for the next 2 hours. I did a lot of thinking during that night, I vowed to never let myself be away from camp without being ready to spend the night and to make sure whoever was with me was prepared as well. If your buddy don’t have a critical piece of gear then both of you are at risk. As the sun came up we were never more ready to get off the mountain and get dry.

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Aug 11th We are cold and soaked and it is still raining. On the way down we both struggle with heavy loads and rough terrain. As we move through the wet alders water transfers through my gortex gear and I am soaked to the bone. We arrive at base camp after about 3 hours both exhausted. Jake drops his packs and heads off to bed. I still have to tend to my meat and cape. We had planned to leave if I got a sheep and I called to see if we could get out. They told me no way for at least the next few days, a massive low had moved in and was flooding all over. I knew I had to get my cape cared for, I skinned out the skull and turned the lips and ears. I made a few mistakes doing this and should have been better prepared. I had planned on taking it straight to the taxidermist. After I got it skinned out I took it over and washed the blood off the hide in the creek. It was soaked from the rain and it was very bloody from the massive exit wound the 180-grain TSX left. I hung the meat and cut up some for dinner. I did not bring any salt trying to cut weight. I did have ½ gallon of a salt substitute called TTC. I salted the hide with it and rolled it up to brine. I was tired but I could not sleep. I was in total awe of the experience. I had never trained so hard and had to push myself beyond what I thought was possible to hunt anything like this before. I knew that as long as I could still walk I would be back to chase these magnificent creatures. I sat by the smoky alder fire and just enjoyed the moment. I looked around and found a couple pieces of rebar and made a make shift grill to cook some sheep back strap on. We were camping and I can camp with the best. I cooked up the sheep and made a couple of MHs and we both enjoyed a hardy dinner. I crashed and slept like the dead.

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Aug 12th We get up and call the transporter, weather is still bad. We decide since we are here might as well try for another sheep for Jake. We pack up and head off to the north to explore some new ground. We walk several miles before breaking to eat. We spot a few sheep far off, but the rain makes it hard to see. We continue down the drainage until it ran into another, then we started up that one. As dark approached it was still so cloudy that you could not see anything. We found the most level spot we could and dug in for a wet night. We made dinner in the rain under a tarp. During the rainy night the single wall tent started both leaking and compensating badly with water pooling in the corners.

 

Aug13th We woke to more rain and low ceilings. Impossible to hunt in these conditions and we decide to make for base camp. I call and again check weather, I forget to turn off the sat phone and put it in my pack. We make much better time on the trip back and arrive just after lunch. We are soaked from both the rain and walking through wet brush. We change into dry clothes and I make us a good meal. After eating we try our hand at fishing and fish until dark without any luck.

 

Aug 14th We sleep in and are in full camp mode. While sitting around the fire drying our gear we have a visit from the guy I saw above us after I shot my ram. He comes over and asks to see my ram. I show him and he tells me that he had spotted that ram early in the morning and when he got above him it was raining so hard he could not judge if he was legal or not. Said that he watched him all day. I could tell he was disappointed that he let the opportunity slip away. I never had any Idea he was in that drainage. We thought they were farther away. He was a gentleman and congratulated me and grabbed some food from his tent and headed back up the mountain. I go get my sat phone to call the wife and realize I left it on and the battery is dead. This was a no-name phone and I could not find a spare battery for it. Bought a new phone and spare battery when I got back as well. So now we have no contact with the transporter.

 

Aug 15th We are hanging around camp when the pair of hunters we had spoken with on the first day return to the lake. They are brothers and one of them has taken a fine ram over 40 inches. They have a phone and say that their ride is on the way. We get excited and ask to use their phone, we call our taxi and they said the weather was still no good. The brothers are eating and burning all their extra gear trying to get light as possible and had already run out of fuel. They share their story and some trail mix with us. As it gets darker and darker they call back and get told that the plane had to turn around. We share our food and fuel and have another sheep dinner. We sit around the fire and swap lies into the night and after a while all head off to bed.

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Aug16th We get up to the best day we have had since we got there. We linger around camp and read the regs for the 3rd time. Jake is reading his book again and writing in his journal. We try fishing again and the fish are just not there. The 3rd pair of hunters is back empty handed and we all sit around and chew the fat. Just after noon the skies start to clear and we start seeing airplanes everywhere. The brother’s planes lands and we help them get loaded up and we use their phone one last time to call our taxi, they tell us he is on his way. We scramble to break camp and get packed. We hear a plane and look up to see our plane on final to the lake. He taxis over and we load up and head back. As we fly over god country, I look down and just take in the beautiful scenery. We arrive back and get unloaded and head into Talkeetna for dinner and a cold beer.

 

Aug 17th We drive back to Fairbanks and stop off at F&G to get my ram sealed. 28 ½ on the right and 28 ¼ on the left with 13-inch bases. Aged at over 14, his teeth were almost worn out. The rain had still not stopped and flooded out the parks hwy as soon as we got past it. Dropped off the cape and horns at the taxidermist and return home happy and worn out. Thankful that we were home safe and dry and that within a year I should have him back and on my wall to cherish as long as I live. Jake and I still joke about our BROKEBACK mountain time. That’s what drives me to hunt here, every hunts is an adventure and you can never lower your guard. Each time I look at my ram I remember that first cold night we spent together. I’ve shared my mistakes so that others may learn from my folly and avoid your own. The last Frontier plays rough and if you want play you had better be ready. I can’t wait for winter to be over, and it set off on the trail of adventure once more. What a great place to live!!!!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Steve,

 

I looked around for the R1 300 Win Mag, but I found the 30.06 and the 300 WSM. Does it matter if I get the 300WSM or what is the big defference. Also, the R1's that I found, How do I know if they have been sitting for 1 month or two year on the shelf. Whould it be better to order one? Are rifles like vehicles, newer model have corrections of problems if any?

Thanks Kennedy

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Caliber choices come down to what you like and what you are hunting. The 30-06 was been used for years and has taken most North American game animals. The 300WSM will be flatter shooting and carry more knock down power. If you are traveling, ammo for the 30-06 will be easier to find, but ammo for the 300WSM is available just not as much as for the 30-06. The 300WSM will have more recoil, but the R-1 tames recoil very well. As far as I know there have been no design changes to the R-1 for some time, others would know better. Find one and get out there and do some shooting.

 

Good Luck

 

Steve

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Spectacular!! You are talking about a .300 win mag? I believe so. Well you just sold a R-1. Thanks, I was just worried because a guy my dad knows says that the .300 win mag will knock me right on my butt. I have read up on the R-1 and it said a .300 wm was like shooting a .270. I believe it because I bought a Montefeltro and it is everything Benelli said.

Thanks!

Cody

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  • 4 weeks later...

My good friend Charles ask me if I would go on a float hunt for moose with him. I of course said yes and ask him the plan. Charles and I were in the Army together at Fort Hood and both deployed to Iraq when it started. Charles went back to train the Iraqi SF and was wounded by a sniper. After he recovered he ask to be sent to Anchorage, this is how we came to be together for this hunt. He had hired a hunt planner (which I highly recommend as a novice) so we had the maps and a good idea of what to expect. This particular float had only been done a few times. The other hunters had used smaller inflatable canoes and had floated down an alder choked stream to a floatable creek. We had a larger raft and knew that would be a tough job. So we saw that our air taxi would airdrop us our gear at the floatable creek. With the plan being to fly into a small strip above the creek and hike down a few miles to the floatable creek and meet the plane that would air drop the bulk of our gear including the raft that alone weighed 120lbs for just the raft. Charles ask me to go in July so of course we stayed on the phone talking hunting, guns, gear, ect… We bought all the videos and watched those together, read all the Alaska hunting books, used this website extensively ask questions and got great advice.

We got together and weighed all our stuff and prepared it for the airdrop. We each planned our own meals and planned a couple group meals.

 

We met at 40 mile air in Tok to spend the night and fly out the next day. We paid our transport fees and discussed the logistics of getting us in the field with our gear and the date and location of our flight out. They weighed all our gear and we put it up for the night. We walked over to the restaurant across the highway and had dinner. After dinner we checked out 40 miles hunt office and looked through their hunting photo albums, getting us pumped up of course.

 

Day 1

We carried all our gear over to the flight line and staged it to be loaded. We loaded up in a 206 and away we go. After a short flight we are at the dirt strip, as a pilot myself, I see where he is going to land and get kinda freaked out. We power land on a postage stamp and we are down safe. The places these professionals can land are amazing to me, but they do it everyday. We unload our packs and get ready for the 3 miles down to the creek. The first part of the hike down was not to bad, there was a game trail that followed the ridge down and the footing was good. Then we hit the tundra, I was so thankful that we did not have to carry all that gear from the strip, and we did consider that option. The mile or so across the tundra was miserable, almost spirit breaking, after what seemed like forever we made the drop point.

 

We had a snack and drank several bottles of water each trying to stay hydrated. We both had gotten exhausted crossing the uneven swampy tundra. After we had rested we made a windsock and marked the drop zone with orange trash bags. After a short wait the plane appeared, the pilot made a few passes and lined up for his first run. His helper pushed one of the bags out and it landed with a bounce right on target. The next run out came the raft and then the same over and over until it was all on the ground. The plane flew by and with a wave of his wings was gone.

Now that little trickle of fear set in, I ask Charles if he thought it was all okay, he said he thought so. We started unpacking all the gear; the raft was in perfect condition, not a scratch. We lost a few food items that exploded on impact, but everything else was fine. After a few hours we had camp setup and had burned all our packing material.

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Day 2

We were up at daylight eager to get started. We had to travel several miles down stream to get to our hunting area, we did a lot of dragging today until we got to the river after that it was not so bad. We floated hard and made it to our hunting area a day before the season opened. We made camp and took time to take a breath and take it all in. We had beautiful scenery and a clear running river. After camp was up we scouted the area and found a lot of sign. We called that night and had a bull come in the dark and grunt at us as he crossed the river, it was too dark to see and the night before season opened. We had dinner and made our plans for the next day. We haunted this first camp hard but never saw another moose.

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