How to Use the H58 Reticle By Todd Hodnett

Horus Reticle

The Horus reticle is a patented grid system replacing the 40-year-old archaic mil-dot shooting method.  The Horus reticle is an optically precise uniform grid etched on glass.  The ergonomic design and lay-out of the reticle includes a built-in rangefinder, providing a clear picture and numeric information about the target.

Horus reticles are based off the following data:

  • Measured in USMC milliradians (mils), where a circle = 6283 mils
  • 1 mil = 3.60 inches at exactly 100 yards
  • 1 mil = 10.0 centimeters at exactly 100 meters

 H58 Reticle

The H58 is a unique design incorporating all the benefits of a Horus reticle with new features for additional benefits. 

The H58 has extended wind dots placed at each 1 mil mark outside the main hash grid. These wind dots are unobtrusive, providing a clearer view than an extending grid, but still allows accurate holds in high winds.

The H58 also incorporates the Accuracy 1st Speed Shooting Formula. This is the staircase looking pattern in the upper half of the reticle.  This allows the shooter to quickly establish a hold for his rifle. These increments are in 1/10 mil and start at .5 from the outside and go up to 1 mil at the middle line.

The mover numbers under each speed mil mark can be used to associate which mil to hold.

Here is a lesson from Todd Hodnett, Founder of Accuracy 1st, on how to use the H58 reticle:

Build your Accuracy 1st Speed Shooting Formula

By using the ATrag software, one can build his own speed shooting formula for his gun. After zeroing and then truing the gun. The user then can go to the TR under TARGET and place the target size in inches (12”). Then go through the following

  • 1.2 = 254m = 1 mil
  • 1    = 305m = 1.5 mils
  • .8   = 381m = 2.2 mils
  • .7   = 435m = 2.9 mils
  • .6   = 508m = 3.9 mils
  • .5   = 610m = 5.2 mils

By doing this, we have now built a dope sheet to perfect match our gun for these mil measurements. This will work out to 610m without ever having to know the distance of the target.

As you look at your holds you have just gathered. You will notice if you take the size of the image mil of the target and remove the decimal and then add the actual hold to it. The actual holds nearly equal 10, within a moa. So, 10 doesn’t mean anything, it just becomes the numbers that allows you to remember your hold.

Example:

  • Target mils .6, hold 4 mils:  6 + 4 = 10
  • Target mils .7, hold 3 mils:  7 + 3 = 10

This works really well out to 600m and allows the shooter to quickly engage a target with an accurate hold using the mil system, with an MOA, without ever having to know the distance of the target. It is a mil association drill.

So when I designed the reticle I placed the speed shooting formula above the main stadia line. These stair steps are actual tenth mil exact measurements starting at .5 on the outside and going up to 1 mil in the middle. I placed them over a mover speed number that when cut in half, gives you a proper mil hold to equal 10.

Example:

One can also use this with a gun that doesn’t equal 10. If you are using a 300wm and the actual holds equal closer to 9. You would just find where the target fits in the stairsteps and take that mover number and cut it in half and subtract 1 mil.

Example:

A target fits above the 6 mph mover mark, cut 6 in half which gives you 3 and then subtract 1 to now have a 2 mil hold. Easy

What this means is that you build the Accuracy 1st formula to your gun based off your trued performance parameters. This way, the only way you can miss, is if you miss-mil the target.

 Todd Hodnett ~ Accuracy 1st

www.HorusVision.com

Hunt of a Lifetime

Last month, Horus Vision had the pleasure of meeting a courageous family fighting an ongoing battle with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome  (SDS), which is a rare bone marrow failure disease. 

The Cox Family has been effected drastically, as all three children have been diagnosed with the disease and are going to great lengths to overcome the battle for themselves, as well as others with this rare condition.

The children are all avid hunters and have an urgency to share a memorable hunting trip as a family.

The Cox Family discovered an organization called Hunt of a Lifetime (HOAL), which is a smaller scale alternative to Make-a- Wish Foundation

HOAL was founded by Tina Pattison after her son was turned down by Make-a-Wish Foundation, which does not support hunting events.

Hunt of a Lifetime supplied a new Savage 11 Rifle, with a Bushnell Sharpshooter Scope to the Cox Family, but they still had two other children to outfit rifles with.

Horus Vision sent them a Hawk 3-12×50 to bring on their hunt, which will take place in September in Maine.

For more information, visit the Hunt of a Lifetime site.

 To learn more about the Cox Family, visit the Cox Kids Homepage. 

www.HorusVision.com

FAQ: What are CATS Targets?

As of now, CATS stands for Calibration & Training System.

Since long range shooting requires elevation and windage adjustments to accurately engage distant targets, it is apparent that a riflescope’s elevation and windage adjustment knobs have to yield precise and accurate adjustments.  When a rifleman egages distant targets and misses, he usually blames the ammo, the rifle and finally himself.  The riflescope is almost never looked at as a contribution to errors.

The rifleman has spent a lot of money on his riflescope.  He falsely assumes it is a perfectly calibrated optical instrument for shooting.

Since no low tech, affordable riflescope testing system existed in the public domain, Horus Vision invented CATS to fill the void.  CATS is designed specifically to be used at 100 yards/meters.  You do not need a 500, 1000, or 2000 yard/meter range.

In the course of testing and development, we discovered the CATS targets had additional value.  In addition to elevation and windage, you can identify problems with cant, run-out (the point on elevation where the scope no longer tracks perpendicular), and establish maximal elevation.

To learn more about CATS Targets, check out our videos…

 or read an in depth explanation here.

www.HorusVision.com

Education: The Importance of College by Bryce Jensen

A sniper looks through his scope waiting anxiously to place his crosshairs on the target. He breathes in, then out. He slowly squeezes the trigger, and takes the shot. Before all this can happen, a sniper has to learn how to plan out the correct route and select a firing position. Next, he needs to learn how to move swiftly, and silently to keep him from being seen or heard. Finally, he needs to learn how to shoot at great distances and adjust correctly for wind. These skills are taught at the sniper school. Once a regular infantryman learns these skills, he becomes one of the deadliest assets on the battlefield. 

 Although, not everyone is a military sniper, life can be related to a battlefield. Having more skills and knowledge in battle will increase chances of survival. Having more skills and knowledge in life will increase chances for success. Life offers college instead of sniper school. College is a gateway for young adults to gain the knowledge and skills needed to enter the battle of life. In college, a student learns a vast array of knowledge necessary for survival, shaping character, and success in the business world.

 For many students, college is the first time being away from home. This is where some basic survival skills are developed, such as budgeting and time management. It is the first time that a miscalculation could determine whether a student has food or a roof overhead. Money delinquency will also affect credit scores in the future. When time is mismanaged it can result in loss of sleep or even failure of a class. Reoccurring failure, which could have been easily prevented, or insufficient budgeting are surely the fastest ways of ending life as a student.

 Being away from family can be a hard transition. It can make people feel uncomfortable leading to stress. A key part in battle is learning how to deal with hardships and continue on to accomplish the mission. College is a great opportunity to transform perseverance into a habit. Stress can also be caused by deadlines, exams, or even social problems. Those who are not afraid and learn to work under stress will excel in all aspects of life not just in school.

In order to become a sniper, a soldier has to be the best. To be defined as the best, one must compete against others. College is a competitive atmosphere. The entire process of applying to college promotes competition. All universities have some sort of application process to screen incoming students making sure each one meet the prerequisites. Many schools only accept a percentage of applicants every year.  It is imperative to stand out and be at the top of the lists whether coming straight out of high school or transferring from a community college. After college, life becomes even more competitive when searching for a job.  Being at the top of every class may increase the chances of being hired for certain jobs. Furthermore, a competitive person has the drive to get the job that he or she desires.  By exercising competition in college a person will be familiar with the amount of effort needed to produce favorable results.

In a business aspect, college is like boot camp where people develop good habits and essential skills. Part of developing good habits is breaking bad ones. Some of the skills obtained belong to a specific field, which leads to getting a degree. Many times employers want to see a degree even if it’s not relative to the occupation. The degree then becomes a statement to an employer that the applicant has the commitment and discipline needed to attain a goal. This demonstrates reliability and stability. Of course some occupations do require a specific degree. In contrast, if bad habits are not recognized and dealt with, getting a degree will become much more difficult.

While in college students make allies, former classmates, for future networking.  Some of them will come from different parts of a city, state, country or even the world. Perhaps a student meets a person only once but they made a lasting impression that lands them a job in the future. Broadening the spectrum of people one knows will help them familiarize or at least recognize different customs from different cultures. This is all part of developing situational awareness. A person who knows the interests and backgrounds about the people surrounding them can use that knowledge for personal gains or avoid making a bad impression. This is very important since cultural awareness is a key part to success in today’s internationally driven business world.

College molds a person through exposure to many different ideas.  New ideas may arise from new classes, clubs, or organizations. Sometimes clubs or organizations can help define what one stands for. For instance, the Humanitarian Club may teach about inhumane violence taking place in the war on Terrorism. This may inspire a person to speak out against the situation. Activists on campus may encourage voting, or action against global warming. A psychology class may explain why people sub-consciously try so hard to fit common expectations of society. Each new experience slightly or greatly impacts personal values and principles. By having values and principles one can truly make a difference in this world.

If you can’t shoot, sniping may not be the best choice. College allows a student to view a large amount of careers. With hundreds of different majors to choose from, the possibilities are almost endless. If one does not fit, a student has the ability to change the classes they are taking and reroute their course. Through this trial process, one learns to identify their strengths and weaknesses; likes and dislikes. Knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses allows a person to choose their own path.

Like most things, the college experience is determined by the level of effort put into it and what is taken from it. College invites new lessons and experiences that can contribute to success. Separate oneself from the grunts (ordinary foot soldiers) like a sniper. A sniper’s target is like a personal goal. The only way to hit the target is to practice. College will give the practice and confidence needed to hit that goal. It is up to student to pull the trigger.

 ————————————————————————————————-

Bryce Jensen was a Marine Sniper who used the GI Bill to get a college education.  This was the first essay he wrote after his military service, which received an A+ and has been used by the professor as an exemplary essay to instruct other students within the course.

www.HorusVision.com

FAQ: What happens to dead donkeys in Australia?

Donkey Inspirational Poster
In response to last month’s article, I’m a Donkey Hunter, we have received a number of inquiries about the aftermath of a donkey hunt.  What happens to all those dead donkeys?

I first wanted to preface this question with a little background on feral donkeys in Australia. 

Donkeys originated from Africa and parts of Asia.  They were brought to Australia in the 19th century to provide additional options for transportation.  Horses were previously the primary use of transportation, but the unfamiliar foliage was poisonous and continuously making them sick.  Donkeys eventually replaced horses, as they were more resistant to environmental obstacles.

After automobiles were introduced in the early 20th century, donkeys were popping up in feral herds.  Many had been released to the wild or escaped captivity due to a lack of fences and started to become a nuisance.  

Today, there is an estimated population of over a million feral donkeys in Australia, which continue to destroy the environment.  Weed seeds are spread through donkey hair and feces, erosion is caused by donkey hooves, and overeating is depleting vegetation.  The donkeys are also spreading disease and competing for resources with livestock and domesticated animals.

Right now, feral donkeys are controlled with a number of techniques including trapping, mustering, aerial culling, on-ground culling, and fertility control. 

So now, what happens next?

I went back to our man, Bob Penfold, contributor of last month’s article, to get the 4-1-1 on dispatched donkeys… is it what’s for dinner

Bob Penfold on the Donkey Aftermath

That is the sad part about culling feral animals in the outback.  There are several problems.

We operated in really remote areas.  My wife had to drive seven hours one way just to buy groceries.  Much of the road was unsealed gravel surface, so it was a long, slow, and dangerous drive.

Horses are easy to skin.  The skin simply peels off the carcass easily and horses have lots of good meat.  They shoot them and recover the meat to supply crocodile farms.

Donkeys however are notoriously difficult to skin.  Their skin seems to be glued onto their body and it is a long and arduous job to get a skin off a donkey.

Donkeys are all head and guts, and have very little meat, so the exercise of trying to recover any value in meat from donkeys is simply not cost effective.

In any case, it would cost more to run a big refrigerator plant and transport costs to get any donkey meat to market than you could get for the meat.

So… While we used 300,000 rounds of ammunition and killed 50,000 donkeys, 10,000 horses and a bunch of feral camels we recovered no meat.

You should consider what the word “conservation” means.  It really means “wise use of a naturally renewable product.”

Think about this… When hunting deer, I never take any of the offal home with me.  We have lots of friends in the bush, including animals, such as foxes, dingoes, carrion eating birds, and even insects that rely on us feeding them, especially during the long dry winter months.  They crave any high protein that they can get.  So I do my part in supplementing them with as much balance of diet for them with what I leave for them while I take home only the best eating parts of the deer to supply my family and friends.

I call it “feeding my friends”. 

So, we simply wasted all of those animals we shot.  Can you imagine that on one ranch we shot 23,500 donkeys and on another we shot nearly 10,000.  These animals dominated the feed and water supply so the ranches could carry few cattle.  On one ranch there were 30,000 donkeys and 10,000 cattle before Dennis and I arrived.  Now there are no donkeys and 30,000 cattle on that ranch.

We call it conservation hunting.  Changing an environment from a worthless chunk of real estate into a thriving produce producing area.  We did that to that area.

One day a rancher came into camp and asked the question “what do you think that I think is the best part about you hunters being here?”

I answered, “The money we pay you for the permission to hunt?”

“No that was not the best part,” was his reply.

 “The donkeys that we kill for you?” I suggested.

 “No, not that part.”

The rancher went on to explain that before we turned up to shoot his donkeys, each year he would take a helicopter (at huge expense) and shoot 1000 donkeys with 1000 rounds of ammo (also very expensive).  He told us that for weeks after, he would see donkeys with half their head shot off still alive, some with their jaw blown off, still alive in agony and starving to death and bad stuff like that.

However, it was a sad fact of life that it was the only way to stop the donkey population getting into his cattle areas.  The cost to him was enormous.

 Then he told us, “Since your American hunters have been here, you have killed over 7,000 donkeys and saved my ranch.  During that time I have never seen one wounded donkey on my ranch and that is the best thing about you guys being here.”

That made us pretty proud.  We hunters are conservationists of the highest order.  We pour lots of money into the conservation area in license fees and taxes.  We humanly remove these destructive animals by carefully killing them cleanly with one shot and leave no wounded and/or suffering animals.  We take great pride and care to do the job in the best possible way to have no wounded or suffering animals, just dead animals with one clean instant shot per animal.  We simply turn their lights off just as you turn your lights off as you go to bed each night.  They feel nothing, just die instantly.

 If I had a choice then, that is how I would like to end my life painlessly and instantly. 

Living in surburban USA the way that you do, it is a bit hard to realise the way it is out here where ranches are 500 miles from towns and a good size ranch is two million acres.

I taught a lot of hunters how to shoot and how to cleanly kill every animal with one well placed shot.  Dick and Mary Cabelas of “Cabelas” were some of my favourite people.  They, like Dennis came many times to learn from me as they were serious conservationists and wanted to know how to kill their game cleanly with one shot and with the animal instantly dispatched.

So I hope you understand a little better now of how we did this and how sensitive we are about taking care of our wildlife.  It is a bit of an issue of course, about why we choose to kill them when we respect them so much.  But if the only way to protect them from themselves is to trim the numbers then we believe that we should do it expertly and inflict no pain.

www.HorusVision.com

“I’m a Donkey Hunter!”

The first legitimate encounter with the President of Horus Vision, Dennis Sammut, was at lunch the day he spontaneously slapped the title of Production Manager to my job description three weeks after I started at his company.  I was given the task of dabbing Dennis’ head with cover-up to take away the glare and scold him anytime he added his favorite filler phrase, “in here,” within his presentation.  To be honest, I was ecstatic, but wow, I had not yet come close to the realization of how much entertainment I would be blessed with.

I had just moved back home from New York where the closest thing to a hunter I encountered was a headhunter, and hunting season consisted of recruiting newly graduated college students into slave labor sales jobs.  I was tired of the New York scene, so I moved back where I came from, right in the heart of the Bay Area in a city called San Bruno, not far from San Francisco (I know, I’m always shooting myself in the foot when I admit such a thing).  That is where I began my epic journey with Horus Vision and where I met a different kind of hunter- one unlike any other and certainly the farthest thing from a headhunter.  Who would have thought I could be in store for such a treat in the land of fruits, nuts, and flakes…

After dulling the glare on Dennis’ forehead and assisting Dennis with such things as combing over his hair, and drawing some last minute changes on his instructional boards, we took a lunch break.

I joined the guys for lunch, which included Ted the Videographer, Todd the Professional Shooter, and Dennis the Head Honcho.

Dennis was holding court, and I just sat back and took everything in, chuckling at the madness unfolding into a masterpiece of unintentional comedy right before my eyes.

I had ordered frog satay for lunch that day, and at one point zoned out of the conversation to examine my mystery meal.  Dennis all of a sudden abruptly caught my attention with a rush of greater intensity than he was already exuding and exclaimed, “I’m not a police officer! I’m not a civil servant! I’m not a soldier! I’m a donkey hunter!”

I nearly spit that frog satay from my mouth, as I burst into laughter.  Again, he was completely serious, with not a tone of joking present anywhere in his diction.

Ted and Todd were trying to hold in their laughter, but had trouble after seeing that I had no shame with my cackles over in the corner.

Dennis turned to me and said with great earnest, “I’m serious, in here! I’m a donkey hunter.  How do you think I developed the reticle for Horus Vision?  I was shooting the overrun donkeys in Australia, in here, and it was so boring, I had to see how far I could get to shoot them to make it interesting since they are so goddamn slow!”

I just laughed in his face.  I believed him, but I couldn’t let him think he could get away with such a ridiculous concept without acknowledging how crazy he sounded.  Apparently he wasn’t too crazy, as Todd Hodnett said, “Basically it is his simple approach to long range thinking and trying to fix a problem that he incurred while in the field.  Thus the Horus reticle was born. Genius.”

Now I had to find out the background to this madness. 

I caught up with a long-time friend of Dennis, named Bob Penfold.  He gave me quite the history lesson on how the Donkey Hunter came to be, which I decided to add verbatim, because it was too good to pull apart.

Bob Penfold’s Personal Account about Dennis the Donkey Hunter

Dennis was an avid river rafter for 20 years.  He rafted most great rivers across western USA during his career.  He was looking for further adventures.

He began hunting first in Alaska and then in Africa; however, really knew little about guns or hunting.  He asked retired Colonel TD (Tom) Smith, a well known shooting teacher, to assist him in learning about hunting and shooting.  If nothing else, Dennis is a determined person who wants to know how to do everything in the best possible way.

Tom and Dennis arrived in my buffalo hunting camp 25 years ago.  Tom shot a big buffalo, and then asked if there was anything else to shoot.  So I took him donkey culling in the same area.

To cut a long story short, Tom was a great shot at standing animals, at any distance, but he could not shoot any game running.  I showed him how to do it and he asked me how I learned to do that.  I told him I had taken 100,000 practice shots to get that good.

While I taught Tom how to shoot, he asked me if I would teach Dennis how to shoot.  So began a long and great partnership between Dennis and me.

Never doubt how tough an individual Dennis is.  He is both physically and mentally very tough.  He accepts criticism readily and his determination to learn overrules his normal dominant attitude to life.

He never complained when we were lost exploring new terrain.  On the numerous occasions we were bogged in knee deep mud, he never flinched at wading around in the mud dragging winch cables to trees or doing the difficult physical work required of adventuring and exploring the remote outback cattle stations.

While I was teaching Dennis I swore at him, abused him, and cursed him very often whenever he made mistakes.  He simply smiled and always said, “Show me how”.

After  trying to shoot some donkeys at 600 yards using guesstimated formulae’s, and missing them, he asked if there was a way to better shoot them accurately every time.  I explained to him that it was the equipment that was lacking the ability, not the shooter.  That evening after returning to camp Dennis drew on a piece of paper, a sight picture that is very similar to the Horus scope system that Dennis has patented and is using as the basis for his sighting system to this day.

Dennis went home and commissioned a German scope manufacturer to make him a scope with the crosshair in the upper third of the sight picture and with some grid references spread across the vertical line.  This original design gave Dennis the sight picture that he needed to get a correct hold on the animals to shoot them perfectly with each shot, no matter what the range.

Dennis returned to Australia again the next year to test his new scope system.  It worked just great.  We found a bunch of about 20 donkeys at 600 yards and Dennis shot each of them with single killing shot “ in the base of their neck” using a 30-06.  When we drove the Toyota 4WD to where they were all laying dead, only one required a second finishing shot.

Dennis was now on a roll.  He then made further modifications to the scope.  He installed a distance measuring grid so that the distance to the animal could be measured by looking through the scope.  This distance was applied to the special crosshair grid, and then the animals were dispatched one after the other without a single miss even at very long ranges.  This was supplementary to the various laser range finders that he carried and tested.

Dennis was ecstatic.  He returned to USA and made further refinements.  He included a chronograph to test the bullet velocity in the hot dry outback air in his pack.  He needed this information to include in his palm pilot computer that he now carried out in the field.  He carried an instrument to measure wind velocity and another to measure air moisture levels.  He fitted a horizontal bubble check device to check his level of hold for each shot on his rifles.

Dennis saw no limitations to his invention.  He experimented with bigger and smaller calibres and refined his scope sighting system over and over after each trip to Australia until he has what he considers being his perfect sniper system to which any average shooter can apply in the field.  This development took Dennis 10 years and 10 trips to Australia to test his systems in the field.

We set up a target at 1600 yards in the pre-dawn darkness.  There are zero air currents at this time in the morning in the outback area we were hunting.  Dennis shot groups from the sandbags mounted on the hood of my Toyota.  There were no hardships, lack of sleep, being bone tired and exhausted that stopped Dennis perfecting his sighting system.  He is one tough puppy.

While he invested a lot of money in patents, he never stops thinking about what further refinements he can make to further perfect the system.  He now has them especially manufactured to his own specifications to ensure that his buyers received only the best possible quality products from the Horus Vision line.  

Dennis is definitely different.  He is loud, the leader of any expedition.  He is definitely eccentric.  We all are, but Dennis is “way out there” in his leadership and organisational capacity to lead and have others faithfully follow.

In the field Dennis allowed me to be the boss until he gleaned from me every bit of information that he could absorb.  I pushed him harder and harder, never letting up on the push for perfection until I was satisfied that I had taught him about all I could teach him about killing stuff under every circumstance.

I pushed him so hard- first to learn to kill every animal with a single shot, then how to do it with consistency on running game.  The finale’ was to teach him to shoot every animal that was running in the head, killing them with consistent head shots.  He learned how to do that consistently with a bolt action rifle.

I believe when I teach someone to shoot, when they can shoot running game in the head with consistency using a bolt action rifle, they have learned about all that I can teach them.

During one of our last trips together I found a herd of 11 donkeys grazing in a valley.  I instructed Dennis to “go headshot every one of them after you get them running”.  Dennis loaded up and walked towards the donkeys.  They saw him, and became agitated before breaking into a run in line, following each other.  Dennis killed every one of the 11 donkeys with headshots and used only 13 rounds of ammo to achieve that.

It was then that I figured I could not teach him anymore.  He was as good as I could make him.

Before each trip into the outback I would fly in one full carton of Coca Cola for every day that Dennis would be in camp.  He would often drink 6 to 8 cans before breakfast.  You wonder why he was wide awake, focussed and ready for anything.  He kept himself wired all of the time.

I must add that I consider Dennis to be a really good friend.  He helps anyone who is honest and sincere.  He helped me on several occasions when I needed assistance he was able to give and sought no thanks.

Dennis is a joker.  He leads the evening dinner table discussions on politics, guns, ammunition, people and joke telling.  He sure is fun to have in camp.  He loves to eat good food and my wife, Kay, loved to cook for him.

Here is a guy who lives on his nerves, and is definitely an eccentric personality.  He needs to be the leader and to have everyone else follow, but at the same time has great respect for every lady, and especially loves his wife and children.

One of my favourite memories was when we were testing his latest refinement in his Horus Vision technology.  We were searching for extreme range donkeys by cruising the high hills above a plain, which we knew donkeys travelled to feed areas early each morning.

I pulled the Toyota 4WD up under a big shade tree and we set up to see what we could find.  After some time I located several donkeys feeding in the open, “way out there”.

We ranged the donkeys using the range estimator that was built into the sight picture of the scope.  The range showed at around 1600 yards.

Dennis took all of the air temperature, moisture content and air current readings before using a special long range laser range finder to check the range.  He determined that the donkeys were 1650 yards, confirming our visual readout taken via the scope range estimator grid.  He entered all of the data into his palm pilot which determined the rifle hold for the shot.

We discussed the shot, the range, the computer readout and the circumstances.  There is no rush when the donkeys are a mile away, feeding in the early morning warmth.

Dennis set up his special 308 Winchester rifle that was fitted with the Horus Vision scope on the sandbags on the hood of the Toyota.  He took careful aim while I set up my view through the 60 power spotting scope.

After the shot broke, I waited what seemed like some seconds before the shot arrived at the donkey and knocked him off his feet.

What a shot.  A single shot kill at one mile, first shot, without any sighters.  I was there, on the hill with Dennis when he made the kill.  This was singularly the greatest single shot kill at extreme range that I have ever seen.

There were many more memorable moments when hunting with Dennis, however this was the highlight, the culmination of 10 years of work and fun in the sun with Dennis.

We are still friends after 15 years travelling, hunting, and enduring the hard and the fun times together.  It was always like hunting with a friend rather than being a “me guide you client” relationship.  We operate as a team and we both have great memories of our good times together.  We may get together again in the field in Australia one day.  I look forward to that prospect.

Dennis makes a great friend, but like me, I suspect that I would not like him to be my enemy.

www.HorusVision.com

The Long Shot by Dennis Sammut

In 1999, I planned a trip to test the improvements to my invention, my baby, the third-generation prototype ultra-long-range Sammut Custom Reticle.  My trip took me to Limbunya, a remote two-million-acre outback cattle station (as ranches are called down under) located in the southwest corner of Australia sprawling, sparsely populated Northern Territory.

Limbunya, like many cattle stations in the Northern Territory, is plagued by problems with feral donkeys and camels that threaten the ranchers’ livelihood and the local eco-systems equilibrium.  If a rancher fails to address the feral animal problems sufficiently, the government hires a helicopter hunter and sends the bill to the farmer.

In 1999, I contracted with Bill Penfold of Hunt Australia, an outfitting firm, for what would be my seventh culling safari.  I have personally taken over 2,000 animals on these cull hunts, which are not without their dangers.  The brush is infested with venomous snakes and spiders.  Twice, I had uncomfortably close encounters with King Browns, very aggressive and deadly snakes.

I arrived at Limbunya in the early afternoon.  Within three hours I was at the station’s airstrip with my steel measuring tape.  Using stakes, a heavy hammer, and two guides, I laid out a precise 800-yard range marked in 100 yard increments. 

Once our range was set up, our party zeroed their rifles.  After a hearty meal and a peaceful night’s sleep under the Southern Cross, we set off on our safari.  This was a one-on-one hunt, each hunter with his own guide in a separate vehicle.  We would each cull in a separate area of the 3,000 square-kilometer ranch.

My weapon was a 32-inch barrel rifle custom built by Glen Pearce of Pearce Quality Rifles in Sierra Vista, Arizona.  It was chambered for the 300 Warbird, and sported a Schmidt and Bender 4 – 16 power by 50mm scope fitted with my ultra-long-range Sammut custom reticle.

 —

The blazing Australian sun high overhead and slightly behind me, I had a picture perfect view of the target.  My surveyor’s ribbon and anemometer indicated a 7 o’clock, 8 to 13 mph wind, just brisk enough to prevent those nasty Australian flies from landing on my face and neck, but not too strong to make the shot.  Conditions were nearly perfect.

I settled into shooting position, resting my rifle on the vermiculite-filled bags on the hood of my Toyota Landcruiser.  Bracing myself against the left fender, I slowly increased the scope to 16 power and brought the target into sharp focus—a group of feral donkeys standing near some brush.

Using the reticle’s built-in range finder, I carefully calculated the range based on the height of each donkey’s shoulder from the ground.  Since the donkeys varied in size, I took 5 varied measurements and averaged them to 1,370 yards; the animals were just over ¾ of a mile away.

Horizontal line #7 provided the correct holdover for that range.  I had previously adjusted the reticle’s windage and elevation values for each of its 13 lines.  After arriving on the Australian ranch, I had readjusted the values of those lines by shooting at various targets.

One donkey moved away from the group, stopping on some dry, bare hardpan, facing me.  This was perfect; if I missed, I could easily see where the bullet struck.  Then, if necessary, I could use my reticle’s unique built-in second-shot correction feature.

I adjusted the scope for a 10 mph wind and, moving my left hand to the scope’s variable power ring, I slowly reduced the power until the mirage decreased to within a reasonable limit.  I loaded a single 3000 Lazzorini Warbird Cartridge (7.62 x 82, 92.7 grains of RL19, fitted with a Remington 9 ½ m primer, and capped with a Moly-coated 200-gr Spitzer boat tail bullet) and gently closed the bolt.

I locked myself into a position where my rifle and I became a single unit.  I raised the rifle until horizontal line #7 and the central vertical crosshair overlay the donkey’s chest, compensating for bullet drop in one easy step.  To account for wind deflection from the 7 o’clock breeze, I moved my rifle slightly to the left, visually traveling along horizontal line #7 to the first hackmark right of center.  Keeping my right eye on the target, I opened my left eye for a brief glimpse of my gun-leveling device to be sure I was not canting my rifle.

I began to control my breathing, careful not to inhale any of the flies buzzing around my head.  I gently began to squeeze the 2.5 pound trigger.  After the recoil, I repositioned the rifle and scope and saw a lifeless donkey with what appeared to be a chest shot.

When I examined the carcass up close, I saw that it was a perfect head shot instead of the intended chest shot.  It may have been my error, or a slight updraft, or some unknown factor.  My reticle had worked, though; this 1,370 yard kill was my longest shot at a donkey to date.  I had taken shots at longer ranges, but only at inanimate objects.  My longest balloon “pop” was at 1,800 yards.  I have absolute confidence that my rifle, ammo, scope, and skill enable me to consistently make one-shot kills at extended ranges.  Wounding animals is unacceptable; if I can’t make the shot, I don’t shoot.

This long-range shot was the culmination of months of work, both back in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Australia.  The pre-trip portion was devoted to improvements to the prototype custom reticle and grid that I had used on the previous year’s hunt in Australia.  During that 1998 hunt, I had carefully recorded muzzle velocities, weather factors, and notes on every aspect of the performance of my prototype reticle.

Successful long range shooting depends on such prep work.  I averaged 1998 weather information to prepare for the 1999 hunt (see Appendix A).  The atmospheric differences probably account for the difference in muzzle velocity in the SF Bay Area vs. the Australian outback.  I averaged 18 shots from 3 rifles, and found variance in muzzle velocity large enough to significantly affect holdover (See Appendix B).

In the movies, snipers make kills at a mile or more simply by squinting to dramatic music and taking a few seconds to aim.  Those of us who have made such shots know better; consistent extended range kills depend on careful preparation that gives you an intimate knowledge of your equipment and the shooting conditions.  It is a science as much as an art, and I couldn’t be happier with my instrument, the Sammut Custom Reticle.

Appendix A:  Atmospheric Conditions in Limbunya

All values entered into ballistics software designed for use with my reticle.

            Barometric Pressure:          28.45 (unadjusted for altitude)

            Relative Humidity:   22%

            Temperature:                        95 o  F – 106 o  F

            Elevation:                  1,500 feet

Appendix B: Muzzle Velocities, comparison between San Francisco Bay Area and Australian Outback.  All measurements reflect feet/second.

 30-06 Federal Classic

150 gr Remington Extended Range

 San Francisco: 2,907 (based on a 10 shot average)

Australian Outback: 3,110 (based on a 6 shot average)

300 Winchester Mag

190 gr Remington Extended Range

 San Francisco: 2,889

Australian Outback: 3,075

300 Warbird Handload

 San Francisco: 3,425 (based on a 6 shot average)

Australian Outback: 3,446

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