The Ultimate Setup for Running Game

by
posted on October 7, 2015
running_game_set_up.jpg

Editor's Note: This roundup is a companion to Jeff Johnston's "7 Keys to Hitting Running Game." You can read the full feature here.

The Rifle
If there’s a rifle perfectly suited for driven big game anywhere, it’s Merkel’s Helix RX rifle. This true straight-pull bolt-action from the noted German firm is an engineering marvel. Its hammer-forged barrel fits any Helix receiver, so by simply swapping the barrel and bolt head you can change calibers—all while delivering MOA accuracy. I took the gun apart, reassembled it and found that it was still perfectly zeroed.

But what makes it perfect for running game is its bolt linkage system. A 3-inch straight pull rearward on its butter knife handle unlocks the bolt and cams it 6 inches rearward. It is remarkably faster than traditional bolt-actions, and because the bolt handle never moves farther back than the rifle’s wrist, a shooter needn’t lift his face off the stock. So the shooter’s eye always remains in line with the sights. Plus, the rearward-only movement doesn’t disrupt the swing laterally as do traditional bolt-actions. A 3-pound trigger and a tang safety that cocks the gun as it’s slid forward means the rifle can be kept loaded but incapable of firing until the safety is moved forward—ideally during the mount. It’s expensive starting at $3,295 but worth every mark.

The Optic
I placed Aimpoint’s new Micro H-2 red-dot optic on the Merkel because it’s a superior sighting system for running game. Sure, open sights are adequate, but with the H-2 shooters needn’t worry about alignment of the rear and front sights. Simply put the glowing red dot on the target and pull the trigger. I believe non-magnified optics are superior to magnified units for running game at less than 100 yards because they allow the shooter to keep both eyes open. This doubles the field of view, and keeps consistent, equally magnified data flowing to the brain. The H-2’s advantage over traditional scopes is that it’s small and light at 4.8 ounces, so it will not alter the balance of your rifle like a scope. It’s recoil-proof, waterproof and its battery lasts five years, so turn it on and forget about it for the duration of the hunt. $780 w/mount.

The Ammunition
Norma Ammunition
was founded in 1902 in Oslo, Norway, and later moved to Sweden, so it’s only proper that I used it for my European hunt. Today the company produces 30 million rounds per year, the newest of which is its TipStrike bullet for hunters. The TipStrike is a lead-core, copper-jacketed bullet fitted with a polymer tip that initiates rapid expansion. Nothing new there, but it is unique in its mechanical jacket locks that keep the core and jacket intact at the base for wonderful weight retention as the frontal portion of the bullet expands dramatically. I found the bullet to be supremely accurate with great penetration, all while stopping nearly all boars we killed mere feet from where they were shot.

The Hearing Protection
One conundrum hunters face during driven hunts is how to protect their hearing while also being able to hear the hounds, commands and charging boars. Peltor has the perfect solution in its TEP 100, one of the niftiest products I’ve seen in years. It’s an in-the-ear electronic plug that amplifies soft sounds while protecting against dangerously loud noises. But what is coolest about it is that the user needn’t constantly fumble with expensive little hearing aid batteries. Its carrying case, powered by two AA batteries, is its charger. Simply place the units in the watertight case after a hunt and they’ll emerge charged for the next. Every hunter and shooter needs this product. $360.

Latest

Top 5 Long Range Hunting Scopes Lead
Top 5 Long Range Hunting Scopes Lead

Top 5 Long-Range Hunting Scopes

Here’s a look at some of the best long-range hunting scopes on the market.

Hunter Prep 102: Stand Safety, Herd Health and Minerals

Contributor Mike Roux highlights some important summertime practices for deer hunters looking for a successful fall season.

Wyoming Receives $6 Million for Elk Habitat, Research, Public Access

The RMEF and its partners allocated $6,046,939 in 2022 grant funding to conserve and improve wildlife habitat, enhance public access and assist scientific research in Wyoming.

Hardware: Maven CRS.1 3-12x40 SFP

Weighing in at just 14.2 ounces, the CRS.1 offers a clear, sharp, high contrast image and promises to do just what hunters need—put bullets on target.

First Look: Galco's High Ready Chest Holster for Smith & Wesson M&P

Now available for the Smith & Wesson M&P with or without red dot sights, Galco's High Ready chest holster system is the latest in the company's expanding line of torso-worn hunting holsters.

Idaho Redemption: Success in the Scree Slides

Our man returns to the rugged stretch of Idaho that his hunting party narrowly escaped last season in search of success on a mountain muley.

Interests



Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.