A publication of
VOL. 2 ISSUE 7 July 1999
IN THIS ISSUE
THE EDITOR'S NOTES
By Bill Wade
The 1999 Conference
By Bill Wade
Bausch and Lomb Elite 4200
By Bill Wade
Other resources for related information
A WORD OF CAUTION
CenterFire Central and contributing writers are not responsible for mishaps
of any kind which may occur from use or misuse of data or information
published, electronically or otherwise by CenterFire Central. Activities
involving firearms, ammunition, components and equipment require strict
safety precautions and training which are not detailed herein.
I am sorry for the delay in getting this issue out to you. Just too much
going on to spend enough time at a single sitting to get much accomplished.
The trip to "The Prairie Dog Conference", detailed in the next article, was
a wonderful trip. It was the first time that the wife and I have been away
for more than 3 days since we got married in 1992.
Both sets of parents have retired and live in the
probably will stay in this area for many years to come.
However, the trip showed us a slice of the good old
eyes. Now, granted, having not traveled far in the last 20 years, anything
might look good but what we saw was beautiful.
aunt and uncle. We skirted
transporting firearms. Our next destination was
was not a blade of grass there that had not been trod on. Zillions of people
each year go through that area. The day trip up into the
fantastic though. You can't help but drive up to the top of Trail Ridge in
awe of the majestic views.
At several points in route to the top, which is over 12,000 feet above sea
level, we stopped and took pictures. The return trip back to Estes, while
still near the top, we pulled off to the side of the road to admire the
view. I had to get out and walk away from the road to take it all in. There
were no signs to prohibit me from doing so, and once I started walking, I
found myself walking further and further. We were still above the tree line
and there were Elk wandering around on the tundra.
As I walked, I could feel the cold thin air invading my lungs and I
struggled to find enough oxygen. Still onward I went. Stepping through a
section of crunchy snow and over a small run off stream. The feeling was
overwhelming. On a distant slope, two lakes were visible. The tip of my
finger would hide both from view. They no doubt were crystal clear and
several acres each.
Picture of distant lakes http://www.centerfirecentral.com/images/99dl.gif
Picture zoomed on one lake http://www.centerfirecentral.com/images/99nl.gif
With the camcorder rolling, I hoped to capture the beauty. Reviewing the
tape later revealed that the beauty goes far beyond seeing it. In fact,
those among us who have no vision would have enjoyed it as much or more than
I did. Pictures cannot describe it nor can text. At the top of the world,
where the God I have believed in all these years, must have been within arms
I turned toward the road and realized I had walked over 200 yards. Lack of
oxygen kept my pace slow as I headed for the truck. Watching carefully so as
not to step on the various miniature flowers that were scattered here and
there, I made my way back to the road.
Picture of flowers next to my keyless remote
One might think that this would be the high point of the trip, pun intended,
however, I was still over 600 miles from The Conference. There were many
other sites to take in and admire: Fort Laramie and the Oregon Trail wagon
ruts, The Bighorn Mountains, The Battlefield at Little Bighorn, Judith
Mountains, Bull Mountains, and of course we had to cross the Missouri River,
damn thing is muddy there too. Then there was the metropolis of Chinook,
Montana. OK, not much to see there, but boy did we have fun in route.
We decided that if opportunity presented itself before we die that we could
live in Buffalo, Wyoming. Less than 50 miles south of the Montana line and
just east of the Bighorn Mountains; a beautiful community and area. In fact,
returning to Kansas City, we came back through Buffalo and spent another
night. Then we turned east and went by Devils Tower, Mount Rushmore and the
Bad Lands before turning south again. The sand hills of Nebraska were
interesting but not some place I would want to call home.
I realize that some of you reading this, live in areas that we have yet to
visit and they may well be much more beautiful than the country we have just
seen, however, what becomes obvious is that we as individuals, are just a
speck on the big picture. The greatest part of being a single little speck
is that we each have the ability to make a difference in this world. All we
have to do is try.
We just returned from a trip that we would not have taken if it were not for
another speck. Thank you, Chuck Cornett.
The Prairie Dog Conference
By Bill Wade
Well after many many miles of driving, the wife and I made it to Chinook,
Montana for the 1999 Prairie Dog Conference.
Twelve editors/writers and 65 other shooters descended on Chinook to make up
"The Conference". The parking lots at the motels looked liked used truck
lots. Pickups, SUV's and trailers clad with shooting benches and equipment
for the event.
The annual event is brought together by Chuck Cornett, AKA- "Dog Father"
http://www.prairiedogs.com. I had never met Chuck, so it was a pleasure to
get to visit with him. He is a character. His assistant, Denise, was also at
the event and obviously had a great part in putting the event together.
The shooting was to be done at the Ft Belknap Reservation, about 25 miles
east of Chinook. Using Indian guides, 6 groups of cars would be taken to
various dog towns on the reservation.
The first day out I had the honor of shooting with Layne Simpson and Michael
Pack. Yes, the real Layne Simpson. I thought it was pretty cool, too. The
guide set us up on a town where we could shoot out to 400 yards and about a
100-degree arc in front of us. The wind was not in our favor and only got
worse as the day progressed, but at least the dogs were up.
We had enough equipment combined to put a dent in the prairie dog population
of Montana: A bench, a mat, bi-pods, rests, spotting scopes, binoculars,
several guns and a couple thousand rounds of ammunition.
I can summarize rifle and accuracy requirements pretty easily. If it is a
centerfire, and you enjoy shooting it several times in a row, use it.
Accuracy seemed to have very little effect considering someone had to spot
for you and tell you how many FEET left, right, short or long you were
hitting. Half-inch groups at the range meant NOTHING.
Granted, if your rifle shoots exactly the same place every time, it could
help, but one little puff of wind and it just does not matter anymore. I saw
a several dogs killed on the first shot and I won't even tell you how many
shots it took for some of them. At one point, it got to be pretty humorous
as the brass kept mounding and the dog kept standing. We won, but like deer
hunting, the price per pound of meat was much higher than lobster.
Later in the day, Michael and I decided to walk down and confirm some shots.
If you have ever deer hunted in heavy timber, you will be able to relate to
the fact that as soon as you stand up, all of the depth perception and
landmarks, take on a different appearance.
We made our stroll partially because I had just nailed a dog with my .243
and I wanted to see the results. We were never certain we found him. All the
mounds looked the same, and there were so many mounds, it was nearly
impossible to stand up and walk directly to a mound, especially when you had
to keep looking at your feet to make sure you put your foot down in the
As we neared the edge of our shooting area, we discovered that there was a
bowl shaped section of our shooting area that was not visible from where we
had been sitting. Guess what? It was full of prairie dogs. Probably a
10-acre section full of the little devils. We trotted back and grabbed
rifles, bi-pods and ammo. In 15 minutes, I fired 45 times. Killed 1 dog.
Just kidding. I don't know exactly how many I killed in that section but
several, and mostly because walking in on them, we could
spot them, stop and shoot. Move a little further and shoot some more. Most
of those shots were 100 to 200 yards and the wind did not give us the
problems it had earlier.
The second day, Layne Simpson opted to shoot with the folks from Prairie Gun
Works. Michael Pack and I got the vehicle in line and away we went. We drove
for miles across open prairie and were certain that just over the next
ridge, the guide would stop and set us up. We got tickled when Michael said,
"White man follow anywhere". Guess you had to be there, but I think that day
we drove some 100 plus miles through the prairie before we got back to
The guides gave us the go ahead to move around a little more on the second
day. Pointed us in the general direction that the dog town ran and they went
to scout out some other areas. We drove until we spotted a cluster of mounds
and then we would walk out away from the vehicle and shoot a while. We
rearranged things in the back of the Jimmy so the guns were more accessible
and as we drove from cluster to cluster, we could set up quickly and start
Michael was shooting a short action laminated Savage in 22-250. He had
polished the fluted barrel and bolt with Flitz, to an almost chrome
appearance. Made the gun pretty sharp. He had swapped out the trigger for
one of the adjustable after market models and no other modifications had
been made. The gun was very accurate and between wind gusts he made some
great one shot kills.
Both of us had camcorders with us so I filmed with his camera for him and
got some great shots of bullet performance. He was shooting moly-coated
bullets, but I am not sure what bullet.
I had taken 4 rifles with me, 220 Swift, .243, 22 Hornet and 22 rimfire;
Never even used the Hornet or rimfire. Ninety percent of my shooting was
done with the Swift. I could not resist. The heavy barrel and fantastic
scope made it my favorite right away.
I discussed the number of kills with a gunsmith from Montana who was
shooting with our group and we agreed that shooting volume was nearly as
rewarding as scoring. Sure we could have sat at the range and punched paper
but it just would not have been the same.
Time to socialize seemed short but I met a bunch of great folks and had a
ball. The wives and/or significant others who attended the event were taken
on tours at surrounding attractions and as it was reported to me, had a
great time. As the event came to a close Saturday evening, the women were
exchanging business cards, email addresses and scheming about plans for next
The industry involvement in this event was impressive. I can't begin to list
all of the companies represented but to them I say thank you. Your support
Bausch and Lomb Elite 4200
By Bill Wade
In preparing for The Prairie Dog Conference, I installed a Bausch and Lomb
Elite 4200 with RainGuard, in 6x24x40 with adjustable objective on the 220
I have mentioned this scope on the web site under The 220 Swift, but now
that the Conference is over, I can tell you how it performs in the field on
the intended target.
In a word, Fantastic!
The clarity at which I was able to view the little critters was incredible,
at any distance.
I am not going to throw a lot of smoke at you and pretend that I know all
about scopes, because I don't. Riflescope purchases only had to meet 3
criteria for me in the past and in this order:
1) It had to say Bushnell on it somewhere.
2) It had to be the power that I wanted.
3) It had to fit in my budget.
I guess it has been sort of a personal thing. My first scope was a 4x on a
rimfire and you guessed it, it was a Bushnell. Kind of strange the way it
happened actually. The Glenfield rifle I found under the Christmas tree came
with a damaged scope. The retailer took care of the problem by offering me a
Bushnell scope in place of the Glenfield scope. Really, here twist my arm.
The Bushnell scope looked much better in appearance and I figured it
probably carried on to the internal workings as well.
That was nearly 25 years ago. I am usually one to leave a sleeping dog lie.
I have owned and still own several Bushnell scopes and only had one
defective one surface in all these years. They work, plain and simple. I
have tried other brands and ended up back at Bushnell.
Now granted, the Bausch and Lomb Elite, is a totally different class of
scope, I like the company they keep.
OK, so what about this scope?
The adjustable objective, incremented in yards and meters, could almost be
used as a rangefinder, and that is the way I used it.
During the Conference, the objective lens basically remained set at 200
yards but when the dogs were beyond that, they became a little fuzzy. Simply
cranking the objective on up towards 300-yard mark brought them into focus.
The infinity setting, above 300 yards, also proved useful on dogs beyond 300
yards. Not that I killed any out there, but at least I could see them and
scare heck out of them.
The windage and elevation knobs are not exposed but when uncapped, can
easily be adjusted without tools. The markings are quite visible and can be
returned to original positions easily. The Adjustment Scale Ring can be set
to zero, also without tools. The 6x24 has 1/8 inch increments.
The Multi-x reticle is sharp and clear and is not affected by bright light.
In fact the reticle takes on a different hue in bright light, keeping it
sharp and clear.
With the included sunshade installed this scope measures 22 inches and
weighs just over 20 ounces. Field of view at 100 yards is 18 feet on 6x and
6 feet on 24x. Using the power adjustment ring was simple because it has a
raised lip you can push against and it is not so difficult to turn that you
have to force it. That was nice in the field because if you lost sight of a
dog you had zoomed in on, you could zoom back out, find him and zoom in
again, without ever moving the gun.
List price is $672 but it can be had at several places for much less. Visit
Bausch and Lomb on the internet.
S.W.F.A., Inc. shows the 4000 series, which did not include RainGuard, a special coating
for dealing with condensation, for under $300. S.W.F.A. may now have the
4200 in stock. Their site can be reached at S.W.F.A., Inc.
I took other new items with me to the conference and will review them in
Ezines to follow.
Copyright 1999 by CenterFire Central
All Rights Reserved