WMS ShootingTips

WMS tips


I have read both your review of the Blaser R8 Pro and your article on being over gunned in Sporting Rifle. I too found myself over gunned and had drawn the same conclusion which was reinforced by your article. Now I’m faced with the above question and would like to know your opinion as I am aware you have worked with both. I find the thumb hole stock more comfortable and secure to hold, but the thumb hole gets in the way of the decocking button and slows the operation of the bolt between shots. Have you found this to bean issue? What would be your preference as a stalking rifle in the UK?

Andrew’s Answer

The R8 Professional Success with thumb hole stock is great for careful shots and long range shooting and does not slow things down much in short action calibres. With practice the thumb can stay in the thumb hole during reloading with .308, .243, .223, etc. Magnum calibres, 30.06, .270, 6.5×55 and such like need a longer stroke and the thumb has to come out, slowing things a little. This is only an issue with running boar and speed shooting. For a short, handy rifle I have an R8 Professional with an 18″ barrel and stubby mod; quick, fast and enough for almost anything with a 165-180gn premium bullet.
We have both options if you want to come and try them!


I am quite new to the world of owning a rifle and have recently got myself a Remington 597 semi auto .22 rimfire and was wondering what the best distance is to zero it in at? I will be mainly using it for rabbits. It has a 3-9×40 scope and moderator as well as a bipod, (don’t know if that makes any difference).Also reading some of the forums, people are saying that subsonic rounds do not suit the semi-auto, what are your thoughts on this?


Andrew’s Answer

The Remington generally functions best on HV ammo but you may like to try Winchester 42gn subsonic HP and the other 40gn subsonic HP offerings from Eley and CCI to see if it will function well with any of these – then stick to the best brand for you.
Zero wise, I zero subsonic at 60 yards, then shoot targets at 40, 80 and 100 to learn the drop. If it’s HV, zero at 70 and do the same at 40, 90 and 120 yards.


I’ve recently bought a CS527 in .223 and a Zeiss conquest scope to go on it. I had the scope fitted professionally by a gunsmith so I know it has been mounted properly. The problem I’ve got is that I can’t keep a consistent group when shooting at a target! And I seem to lose the zero when I’m out in the field shooting vermin. Typically I’ll get 2 or 3 good shots and then the zero starts to go after the barrel warms up. I’ve tried the Remington and the Hornady 55g vmax. I zeroed my scope to the best of my ability last week getting groups of about 3 inches but when I went out and shot at an easy fox I totally missed. What could be causing this problem?


Andrew’s Answer

The rifle, calibre and scope combination you describe should provide groups between an inch and perhaps two inches at 100 yards if shot well off a bipod either prone or sitting at a bench.

This will depend on a lot of things, so check:

The bedding screws are tight, as in medium screwdriver and “fist tight”.
The scope rings are tight and secure in all aspects.
The moderator if fitted is on tight.
The bipod is on correctly, legs forward and tight.
You eye relief to the scope is around three fingers and provides a shadow free clear picture to the extent of the tube interior.
The barrel is clean and shiny when you start. You should allow a fouling
shot before you start “the group”.

If all these are in order, you need a solid shooting position, support for the forend and butt, a good sight picture and the shot released with a smooth squeeze on the trigger and follow through so nothing moves when firing. If it still doesn’t group as above, get a friend who is known to shoot well to have a go. If that doesn’t provide the solution or the answers, maybe book a range day with us.


I Am about to pick up a Remington 700 in 22-250, sporter weight barrel with 1 in 14” twist, which I intend to use for roe in Scotland – more hill than woodland stalking – and muntjac here in England. I reckon on using a 55 grain bullet – not a varmint type. Is this about right and do you have any particular recommendations ammo-wise?

Andrew’s Answer

The 22.250 was designed as a varmint rifle for pests which either had no commercial value, or inedible fur bearing animals, where the light fast bullets in the 40-55gn bracket exploded on impact, were totally destroyed in the first few inches of flesh and did not exit, leaving the meat pasted but the skin and fur unblemished by an exit wound.

Hydraulic shock turns into a blast effect at velocity over 2,500fps at which impact velocity flesh cannot assimilate the energy and bursts apart. The 22.250 bullets typically shows 3,600+fps at the muzzle and retains approx 2,700+fps at 200 yards. At typical deer shooting ranges your bullets will fail within 2-3 inches of impact spot and spread lead fragments through the meat with blood contamination over a wide area if typical 55gn ballistic tip or soft point rounds are used.

Roe and muntjac carcases chest shot at normal ranges may be spoiled. Head and neck shots might seem an option until you factor in wounding and wind. The light bullets are wind affected with a 5mph wind pushing the bullets 2” off at 200 yards, thus 4” with a 10mph wind. The very fragile bullets (at these speeds) also have poor direction ability with bony impacts, so an attempt at a frontal head shot could easily blow the nose off a deer and fail to reach the brain.

The 1:14 twist will probably not stabilise the heavier 60-70gn bullets which might help the situation. Using Barnes TSX or similar copper bullets would overcome bullet failure, though hydraulic shock would still be an issue at closer ranges.

If your enquiry had said “I want a foxing rifle for occasional deer shooting, I might say the 22.250 was one option, though in truth a 1:9 twist .223 would be a better one.

If you had suggested you wanted a light deer rifle and to take the occasional fox, I would suggest a .243 with 90-100gn bullets.

Honestly, I would not recommend buying a 1:14 twist 22.250 for small deer. A 1:9 twist .223 with 60-70gn bullets perhaps, a Remington sporter weight barrel in .223 as described would fit the same .22 centre fire slot on your certificate and be your best friend for years…

Hope this has helped. If you must buy the 22.250, www.barnesbullets.com/products/components/rifle/tsx-bullet/ in the 55gn or 62gn bullet is the only thing I would fire through a 22.250 at a deer anyone was going to eat.



Andrew’s Answer

We keep an eye on the various fieldsports and shooting Facebook pages and forums and a frequent question is “What bullet should I use in calibre X for deer management to avoid excess meat damage?”

A lot of concern is expressed about the ideal calibre and bullet for deer. Some 30 years of experience has led me to the same conclusion as many of the leading gun writers of the past 50 years.

The calibre is not so important, as long as you use a relatively heavy bullet that is properly constructed with good sectional density and avoid excess velocity. Bullets which hit home in excess of 2,500fps cause hydraulic shock and burst tissue, leading to bloodshot, bruised meat.

Calibre wise, this suggests that in .243 you should stick to 95-105gn bullets, for 6.5 calibres use 140-160gn bullets, for .270 calibres 140-160gn bullets, and for .30 calibres like .308 and 30.06 use 165-200gn.

The pursuit of high velocity, flat trajectories and explosive impacts is generally a fool’s errand when we consider that 95% of all deer shot are within 150 yards of the end of the barrel and the average deer rifle, if sighted in at 150 yards, is not more than 1.5 inches high or low if shooting up to 175 yards.

A 6.5×55 with a 160gn bullet leaving at 2,400fps or a .308 with a 180gn bullet leaving at 2,500fps are about perfect when applied to sensible chest shots at ranges within 200 yards. The principle has a solid 100-year history of hunting success. Hyper velocity is not the answer.



Andrew’s Answer

You can improve your shooting greatly by dry firing. It does not harm centrefire rifles and is great for developing muscle memory and familiarity with the firing and reloading process. You spend nothing and gain lots.

Safety first, remove magazines, triple check chambers and remove all ammunition from the area. Practice gun mounting, acquiring the target (inanimate, within your own property) and squeezing the trigger when the sight picture is correct.

Are your cross hairs/sights still on the target when you hear the click? If yes, you’ve succeeded and saved yourself the cost of a live round. Then follow through, as if you were watching the bullet travel to and hit the target, then reload and repeat. After a couple of repetitions, bring the gun down to the ready position, breathe, relax then repeat. You should keep the rifle mounted and on target while you reload, in the shoulder.

Dry firing can be done in any position and finding the position quickly, aiming, and firing to good effect with a quick reload is the essence of good shooting. Aim for 20 clicks for every live round you go on to take. Doing this for just 10 minutes a few times a week will enhance familiarity, build muscle memory, sharpen your reflexes and make you a more effective hunter, competitor or plinker.




Andrew’s Answer

A) One-to-10 rounds fired: Either let the barrel be, or pull a dry bore snake (or push a phosphor bronze brush) through it 2-3 times. Remove moisture and visible dirt, wipe over and a spread a drop of oil on the bearing surfaces of the bolt and action to keep things moving easily. Take a few practice shots to ensure your rifle shoots to the same point of zero prior to cleaning before going after your next deer/pest/target.

B) Twenty-to-60 rounds fired: You now have carbon and copper build up taking place and the faster the rounds are fired the more deposits are likely. If you are a stalker, hunter, police rifle officer or marksman needing a perfect first round shot next time the rifle is fired here’s the drill: Carbon remover (I use KG1): soak a nylon brush, push up and down the barrel 10 times, reapply KG1, push up and down 10 more times. Leave 10 minutes then remove with solvent and/or dry patches.