Horizon Firearms

World's Best Custom Long Range Rifles

    • Posted on December 7, 2016

    Gifts for Hunters

    The holiday season is upon us and Christmas will be here before you know it. Have you found that perfect gift for the hunter in your life? Gift for hunters can be tough. There are so many hunting products out there, sometimes it’s hard to know what to buy, what’s worth it, and so on.

    Based on what’s on our own team’s wish list, what we’ve seen folks buy when they come through our shop, and with a little help from some of our Facebook fans, we put together a list of gift ideas for the hunters in your life. As you’re marking things off your holiday to-do list, consider some of the following gift options.

    Gunsmithing Tools:

    - Gun Vise – Anyone that spends a lot of time behind the rifle, would benefit for a Tipton Gun Vise. It’s great for maintaining a solid base while working on a rifle and also serves as a handy way to secure a rifle for cleaning.

    - Torque Wrenches – Perfect for installing scope rings, action screws, and trigger guard screws, use of the Wheeler FAT wrench (Digital or Standard) ensures the right amount of torque.

    - Level Kit – If there’s a new scope under the tree, Wheeler’s Level-Level-Level should be wrapped up under there too. The level-level-level works because the scope is leveled to the rifle’s receiver, not to the top of a scope base.

    Optics:

    - Scopes – scopes are a bit of a touchy subject because they are based so much on personal preference, but a few good ones worth mentioning are: Leupold Mark 4 is an excellent higher-end long range scope, the Athlon Midas and Cronos scopes are great for the price, and the Zeiss HD5 3-15x50 RZ600 and 5-25x50 Zplex are solid hunting scopes with legendary glass clarity.

    - Rangefinders – No doubt about it, for long range hunters and shooters, G7’s BR2 Ballistic Rangefinder makes one of the best rangefinders available today. For a bino/rangefinder combo, the Zeiss Victory 10x45 T* RF ranges out to 1,300 yards and has the glass clarity Zeiss is known for.

    - Spotting Scopes – Thomas S. has his sights set on a spotting scope for Christmas this year. For a high-performer in a lightweight, compact size, Derrick really likes the Vortex Diamondback spotting scope.

    Rifle Components/Accessories:

    - Scope mount rings – There are a lot of scope mount rings on the market these days and the prices (and quality) range as much as the quantity itself. The Nomad & Triad scope mount rings, for direct action and picatinny mount respectively, are high quality, heavy-duty rings featuring under-angles screws.

    - Stock – Jaime G. is ready to upgrade his rifle with a stock. McMillan is well known in the custom world for their stocks. We have built a number of rifles on McMillan stocks. Toward the end of 2016, the majority of our rifles have been built on the KREMLIN composite stock from iota.

    - Ammo – Every rifle hunter or precision shooter needs ammo!

    - Anti-cant Device – For predator hunters and anyone that hunts in low-light situations, the ZeroLight anti-cant device featuring turret and level illumination is a must-have.

    Hunting/Shooting Accessories:

    - Shooting Sticks – Standing, kneeling, sitting, or prone, Bog Pod offers a variety of shooting sticks, tripods, bipods, and monopods for every shooter’s style. Brian M. is hoping for a bipod.

    - Blind Chair – For the blind hunter, a new blind chair is never a bad idea. Kacey T. hopes the Cabela’s Comfort Max 360 ends up under his tree this year.

    - Wind Meter – With ballistics calculators available directly on iOS & Android devices, it makes sense to get a wind meter that is compatible too. The Geo Ballistics WEATHERmeter connects to devices via bluetooth to provide shooters with a complete atmospheric profile.

    - Predator call – Derrick uses the Fox Pro Fusion personally and also likes the Shock Wave. We’ve also been hearing good things about the Convergent Hunting Bullet HP. If one of those ends up under Cody S.’s tree, he won’t complain.

    - Knives – No hunter can have too many knives. Jason S. wants a Havalon scalpel blade skinning knife.

    • Posted on November 23, 2016

    Derrick_Apache_Cover

    Growing up in Texas everyone dreams of being able to go to south Texas and hunt the Muy Grande. Some people just get lucky and I was one of those people. Thanks to some awesome in-laws, I have been able to hunt the south Texas brush country for almost 12 years now and it is definitely one of those special places. Up until this year my biggest deer was a 159” 10 point that I had taken on the same property at 585 yards. Based on the way we do our deer management, this year was finally my year to take a big one.

    I knew my year had been coming, so in the previous years when I went to the stand I was always looking for the younger deer that one day would be the mature trophy deer. I had narrowed in on two bucks that I really wanted to hunt. We started out early in the year running cameras like most people. I soon realized that one of the bucks I was watching had really gone down hill and the unexpecting deer we called “Apache” had really grown up and was a really nice deer. I could not wait until the season opened. In the past years we have really always hunted hard for management deer and it was always a long season for me, knowing I had picked a mature trophy buck I expected nothing different.

    Opening week came and I was in the stand as soon as I could get to the ranch. Our place is under DMP 3 so that came in the hot part of October. As Tye, our ranch manager and camera man, and I sat in the hot stand swatting away swarms of mosquitoes, the sun was beginning to set. I expected not to see Apache so I was already planning the morning hunt in my mind and starting to gather my gear. Tye was looking out the blind window that I had my back to when he suddenly said, “I see some bucks moving through the brush, they will cross this sendero so you may get ready.”

    Up to this point we had not seen a single buck, so I really expected it to be a couple of young deer. When Apache stepped into the sendero I immediately knew it was him. We got the camera rolling just as we were losing camera light. I got my 28 Nosler steadied and ready to go. He was quartered toward me when I squeezed off the shot ... WHACK ... I knew I had just shot the biggest deer of my life!

    We gave it about 10 minutes and then walked down to retrieve him. I got a terrible eerie feeling when we found very little to no blood. How was that possible? It was my 28 Nosler. Tye and I decided to be safe and get the tracking dogs just to make sure. After a short 30 yard trail job, there was the buck!

    I immediately saw something strange with one of his antlers. There was a chunk missing. After watching the film back we knew exactly what it was. Somehow, in the split second of me pulling the trigger the buck had dropped his head and the bullet went right through his antler while still managing to break the shoulder and harvest the buck!

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    We got the buck back to camp and had him weighed and measured. I expected him to gross somewhere in the mid 170s but he actually gross scored 185 4/8” and weighed over 230 pounds!

    I am pretty sure I will never harvest a bigger whitetail in my life and I cannot wait to get the mount back and hanging on my wall.

    Derrick_Apache_28Nosler

    • Posted on November 15, 2016

    bushbuckmain When you go to Africa there will be the animals that people say, “trust me that needs to be on your list” and you look at them and go, “nope.” But then you see one and your mind is changed real fast. For me that was the bushbuck. Nearing the end of the hunt it was the only animal I lacked to take the spiral slam so we decided to go after it, and I was glad we did.

    Hunting bushbuck to me was a lot like hunting big muleys out west. A lot of glass time and then change your angle and glass some more. They are not a very large animal and really keep close in with the thick brush making them very hard to spot. We found ourselves on this steep cliff embankment overlooking a large creek bank. After about an hour of glassing my PH, Stix, decided to sneak down the hill a ways for a new angle. About five minutes later he came back over the rocks and I could see in his eyes that he had spotted a good one. I didn’t even have to ask and I was loading the 6.5 Creedmoor and getting ready for a shot. The bushbuck was going to come between two rows of trees but what looked like would be for just a second.

    Stix ranged and said he will be about 350 yards and not to let him get to the brush. As the bushbuck came across it was clear that he was not going to stop. I gave him a little bit of a lead and quartered away at 350 the Creedmoor struck true. Once we got to the Bushbuck it was really an impressive animal and I could tell we had killed a big one when Jimmy our tracker was even excited.

    africa-201605-0333-orgInterested in joining us in Africa in July 2017? Sign up to join our Africa Hunt List to receive more information including Derrick's tips & tricks, an invitation to our Africa Info night, and more.

    • Posted on November 3, 2016

    Kat_WhitetailStoryI feel like I need to start this post by saying that even though I’ve worked in the hunting industry over the course of 10 years, for some pretty prominent companies, I’ve never had the opportunity to hunt outside the state of Oregon. I’ve never hunted out of a box blind. I’ve never hunted with a guide. I’ve never hunted on a ranch that officially manages wildlife population. I’ve never heard the word corn used as a verb. This hunting trip was full of firsts for me.

    And I was fascinated by the whole experience.

    We got to the ranch on Friday afternoon with barely enough time to change out of our office clothes and into camo before heading to the stand. Derrick was with me step by step, walking me through the ways of hunting in South Texas. It was hot, but the animals were moving. There was a bobcat walking down the sendero about 700 yards out, beautiful birds I’ve never seen before, and deer. So many deer! I’m pretty sure I saw more deer that one night than I’d seen my entire life of hunting combined. Hunting aside, I was so excited to just be watching the wildlife around me.

    Not long before we were about to call it a night, I saw a huge buck walk out from the brush toward the feeder. It was so big I may or may not have let a bad word roll off my tongue. I couldn’t help it. It was a completely involuntary reaction. Derrick knew the buck we were after but refused to tell me anything about him. We watched him for a bit, and then he told me we were just going to continue to watch him. He was too young.

    My jaw dropped. It was literally the biggest deer I had ever seen with my own eyes. I couldn’t imagine him not being “a shooter.” Derrick assured me he was not the one we were after.

    After the sun set, we headed back to the house for dinner.

    Saturday morning, I was up before my alarm and down in the kitchen making a pot coffee. They make fun of me for how much coffee I drink … maybe it’s an Oregon thing. We hopped in the truck and headed out to the stand.

    The fog was so dense over the sendero I felt like I was back at home. But not much was happening.

    IMG_2869

    After an hour or so in the stand the deer finally started moving. Off to our right there were two doe working their way down the sendero. Out in front of us, nothing but fog. Off to our left there were two more doe and a small buck. [Let me pause here to make note that the “small” buck was bigger than anything I’d ever shot back in Oregon.]

    Only having experienced spot and stalk hunting, sitting in a blind was so foreign to me. At one point, I turned to Derrick and asked, “do you even get buck fever hunting like this?”

    “Oooooh yea,” he responded, “just wait.”

    I’ll be honest … I was skeptical.

    We continued to glass and chat when I saw another buck come out of the brush to our left. I casually mentioned it to Derrick who proceeded to spend a long time studying him through the spotting scope before drawing in a sharp breath.

    “I don’t want you to freak out, but I’m pretty sure that’s the one we’re after.” He counted points again, then sent a text to the ranch manager. I continued to watch him through the binos, my heart beating faster and faster with every passing moment.

    After exchanging a few texts, Derrick looked and smiled. This one is the one. My first shot at a whitetail. That buck fever Derrick assured me would happen? Happened. It happened big time.

    I slowly moved the rifle to the window. With the rifle ready, I watched the buck through the Leupold Mark 4 scope. The doe started browsing behind the buck and so we waited. All of my senses were heightened. Every noise we made in the stand seemed amplified. Could he smell my coffee? I was sure we’d be blown. In reality we probably only had to wait 5 minutes as the deer moved about the sendero, but it felt like an eternity.

    As soon as the doe cleared out behind him I flipped off the safety of the 28 Nosler. Squeezing the Huber trigger, I sent the Hornady 175-grain bullet straight toward the buck. Thwak!

    The buck ran off the sendero into the brush and Derrick slapped my shoulder, “great shot!” We waited a few minutes before heading down to recover him.

    We found the buck about 10 yards off the sendero. As I walked up toward him my heart was racing again. I did it. I’d harvested my first whitetail. And it was a bruiser. 251 pounds of bruiser. This whole hunt was like nothing I’d ever experienced before, but it was more than I could have imagined.

    South Texas Whitetail

    • Posted on October 18, 2016

    caracal

    During my trip to Africa, I focused primarily on big game species but any of you that know me know how much I love predator hunting. So when the opportunity came up to hunt a caracal cat, I was all about it.

    In Africa they hunt the caracal much like we hunt our mountain lions here in the states. It’s all about having good dogs and moist scent conditions for the dogs to stay on the trail – and that’s exactly what we had. The rain that had pushed through on our Nyala hunt left the next morning with a heavy dew on the ground. I met up early that morning with two different houndsmen and their respective packs of dogs. What looked to me like a bunch of walker and blue tick hounds, much like what I had seen in Colorado on a failed lion hunt.  

    Being a houndsman in Africa is serious business and is a pretty prestigious position amongst the tribes people. They hunt these cats every day to keep them from killing the bushbuck as well as the ranchers livestock. The most popular way to hunt these animals is to let the houndsman find the cat and come back to harvest it once it’s been treed. I wanted to see what the action was all about and elected to follow one of the hounds groups.

    We released the dogs and they took off. We had not even walked a mile when we received a call on the radio. The pack we didn’t go with was hot on the trail of a cat, so we rushed back to the vehicle and drove like crazy to get to the other dog pack. We had to hurry because these dogs are not just trained to tree the cat like they are here in North America, these dogs are ready to kill the cat if possible.

    We could hear the hounds as we bailed out of the truck and rushed up a small hill and down into a big box canyon. When we arrived there it really was a chaotic event. The cat was up about 9 feet in thick brush, the dogs were barking and growling everywhere, and here is this houndsman speaking to me in a different language while loading a double barrel 12 guage that was older than my granddad… it was AWESOME! I snuck in closer to the cat with the houndsman. Then he grabbed a small stick and pointed it up at the tree. I just assumed that meant shoot the cat. I was right Boom went the double and the cat fell.

    Before it even hit the ground, the houndsman practically caught it out of the tree using the small stick he had pointed with. Otherwise the dogs would have eaten the trophy. The hounds started howling more of a victorious howl and just like that we had harvested a nice male caracal.

    It was a beautiful animal, much like our bobcat, definitely a hunt I won’t soon forget.

    africa-201605-0286-org

    Interested in joining us in Africa in July 2017? Sign up to join our Africa Hunt List to receive more information including Derrick's tips & tricks, an invitation to our Africa Info night, and more.

    • Posted on October 14, 2016

    The daughter of a consulting forester and general outdoor enthusiast, I essentially grew up in the woods of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. I tagged along on hunts with my dad basically from the time I could walk. Then as soon as I was old enough, I took my hunter’s safety course and started hunting blacktail deer alongside him. Hunting blacktail in Oregon isn’t easy. Spot and stalk hunting is where it’s at and you can be out hiking for miles, not seeing another person – or blacktail for that matter. Despite my love for the outdoors and hunting practically my entire life, the last few years (and a few kids) later, I’ve let life get in the way and my time in the woods has been sporadic at best.

    Now that I work for a firearms company I figured it was time to make hunting a priority again and my dad – and favorite hunting partner – was happy to oblige.

    My alarm goes off every morning at 5:15 AM. Most mornings I hit the snooze button at least once, sometimes twice before I will myself to actually roll out of bed. The morning of this hunt I was awake 10 minutes before my alarm went off. This was the first time in four years that I’d be out hunting. I guess you could say I was excited to get back out there. I met up with my dad at his house and we hit the road.

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    The morning was foggy. Really foggy. We drove to a few of our typical spots to get out and glass and couldn’t see much of anything, let alone any deer. We hunted down a couple of different units with no luck. We headed to a fork in the road and pulled off. I recognized the spot. We’d walk down the left road a ways, cut across through some dense forest, come out at the top of a unit, hunt down it to a road, then follow that road back up to the truck. The fog was finally starting to lift a bit and, as my dad assured me, this was an area the deer “liked to hang out.”

    As we made our way down the draw, I found myself in the middle of the most bear sign I had ever seen in one area. I couldn’t decide if I was bummed I didn’t buy a bear tag, or worried I’d end up a viral video courtesy of a bear attack. I tried to keep my mind on the task at hand. After making it all the way down the unit with hardly even seeing any deer sign, I was starting to feel a bit defeated. It was already 11:15, the fog was burning off and with the sun hitting the side of the mountain things were starting to heat up. The deer wouldn’t be moving much.

    We started walking up the access road that would lead us back to the truck. I was glassing up the hill we had just hiked down, and then down the rest of the unit below the access road. That’s when I saw it. The faint outline of what I thought could be a face among the tall, brown grass.

    I am notorious for creating deer out of things like stumps and bushes, so I almost didn’t even bother pulling up my binoculars. But I’m glad I did because sure enough, it was a deer! And it had antlers! I signaled to my dad who came over to me so I could show him where the deer was. It was a little guy, with tiny little forks. The first deer we’d seen all day and he was looking right at us. As my dad and I tried to figure out where I could even steady myself to shoot from, we saw the other buck. He was also a fork but with a much deeper V and a much larger body. He was grunting and snorting like crazy and my heart was racing.

    Before I was able to find a place to shoot from, they started moving. Down below this unit was another access road, so our plan was to stalk our way down there. Before we could even start making our way down there, one of the deer popped up toward the bottom of the unit. He wasn’t spooked and wasn’t in a hurry so we decided to wait it out instead of go after them.

    I saw what was left of two burned stumps side by side and I decided that would be my spot. Only once I got over there, I realized that the stumps were too short to rest the rifle on and sit behind. I started feeling the pressure to get situated. I didn’t want to miss my opportunity. So I wedged myself between the two stumps, with my left leg resting over the top of one and the barrel of my 6.5 Creedmoor resting on the toe of my boot.

    I dialed back the zoom on my scope and located the deer. It was the little guy. “Where did the big one go?” I wondered to myself. My dad was standing off to my right glassing the area. I whispered that I didn’t see the bigger one. He told me to be ready, but to wait. The buck would make his way down there.

    We could hear him grunting again, and before long he was standing broadside right next to the smaller buck. This was my chance!

    At 250 yards, I settled in, took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger. Nothing.

    I missed.

    The deer were oblivious so I quickly chambered another round and settled back in. The smaller buck passed in front of the bigger guy so I waited. As soon as he was out of the way I zeroed in right behind his shoulder with another deep breath. I squeezed the trigger again and sent the 140 grain ELD flying. The deer dropped on the spot!

    I cleared the chamber and looked over at my dad. Words cannot describe the look of pride on his face.

    He quickly started making his way down to the deer. Too quickly actually, because when we got down there we discovered the buck was still alive. This was a first for me and I felt terrible. To keep him from suffering, I chambered another round and took one last shot in his head to end him quickly.

    I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. My shot placement was good. I couldn’t dwell on it right then as there was work to be done.

    Now, my dad is old school enough that he doesn't wear camo, he doesn't care about the latest & greatest gear, and doesn’t really “get” taking trophy photos and is actually mildly annoyed by it – he wants to get right to cleaning out the deer, get it back to the truck, get it home, and get it hanging. I had told him before the hunt that if I shot one, I’d need to take some photos because this is my job, after all. He agreed and when I went to set up to take some photos I discovered that my last shot to end the deer had split both of his antlers right at the skull. Another “what the heck!?” moment. We snapped a few photos as best as we could, then got to work.

    Kat_Blacktail

    Once we got the buck back to my dad’s and hanging in the shop we discovered what had happened with the shot. The bullet had hit a little too far forward in the deer’s shoulder, hit a bone and basically exploded. There was no pass through and the bullet essentially annihilated the entire front right shoulder, the lower neck, and part of the left shoulder, rendering the deer completely incapacitated at impact. There was a lot of blood shot meat and I was finding shards of bullet as we were cleaning him up. Thankfully we didn’t lose much “good meat.”

    I still can’t stop thinking about what I could have – and should have – done differently. The hunt may not have played out exactly as I had wanted it to, but the end result was deer down with a Horizon Firearms rifle, a freezer full of meat, and a day back in the woods with my favorite hunting partner. Overall, I’d consider that a success.

    • Posted on October 5, 2016

    Every hunter has their animal. The one animal that fills their dreams and the one they would give up all hunting just to chase them one more time. For me, that animal is the elk. There’s just something about them. I’m not sure, but I have to assume that it’s a combination of the beautiful country they live in, the size of the animal, and the size of the antlers. Or the fact that a bugle can haunt your dreams day in and day out.

    This year, I got the opportunity again to go to New Mexico and hunt the first week of rifle season. This is a hunt that I typically do every other year. The place we hunt is situated in northern New Mexico and base camp is a three-room wood cabin with no electricity – but we do have running water and propane lamps and cooking appliances. I had the chance to come up a day early and spend time working and refocusing while getting time to scout for elk. The cabin sets right at the base of a dormant volcano and the side that faces the cabin is full of lush thick grass and stringy aspen and spruce. While it looks mild it is actually a very challenging hike to the top of the mountain at over 10,000 feet elevation. Of the morning and evening, the elk like to work the thermals and move from one side to the other crossing the wide open mountain, allowing for a great view from my Vortex spotting scope.

    The evening I first arrived at the camp had me a little concerned, I did see a nice 6x5 with a few cows but the bugling, even through the night, was almost non existent. That is rare for me in this area and I was concerned that the elk weren’t here this year.

    The next morning before the other hunters arrived, I got up early and sat outside looking to locate elk and hear some bugles. There were a few more bugles and a solid herd of elk with one nice 6x6. I watched as the 6x6 crossed the front of the mountain stopping to bugle a few times. He had a unique high pitched bugle always ending in good growl. Later that day the other hunters arrived in camp and we picked sides where we were going to hunt then headed to bed. I had got the side of the mountain away from where the elk went but there are elk all over this country and I was looking forward to the next morning. The next morning arrived and one of the hunters decided he wanted to switch areas with me as he knew the country I had better. I actually knew the country on the side he had much better so it worked out great.

    As I left the cabin right at grey light and worked my way to the mountain I heard that same bugle from the day before and I knew that elk was still in the area. The only issue was he was working his way toward me and the mountain but my thermals were dropping right off the elevation and right to where he was at. I was very familiar with the area he was in, and knew there were some long stringy openings that he had to be traveling in. Because of the thermals, I made a large loop away from the elk but moving generally in his direction. My plan was for my thermals to pass him and let him pass me until I knew he was up wind of me. As soon as I heard his bugle pass even with my location I began the stalk into position.

    As I got closer to the bugle I saw 2 smaller bulls in an opening. They were actually fighting and it was a first for me to see. The smaller bull was a 3x3 and must have just got done wallowing as he was black with mud. The other bull was a smaller 4x4 but it was amazing to watch. Every time the bulls would quit fighting the big bull would bugle in the woods, but I still couldn’t see him. After about 15 minutes the bulls stopped fighting and the 3x3 moved into the brush toward the big bull and the 4x4 moved more down the mountain into the opposite brush. I made my move and crawled out into the open and set my 28 Nosler up on my Sitka pack and waited. After another 15 minutes, five cows came walking by being trailed by the 4x4 bull. As he pushed them into the brush I could see the big bull step out into the small opening. I could tell it was him just by the tails on his antlers. Two seconds later I snapped off the Timney trigger and boom the hunt was over.

    Immediately elk were running everywhere so I quickly got on my cow call to calm them down. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a bull run into the brush and for a moment I had that flash through my head of did I miss, what happened. But as I packed my gear and headed to where the bull was standing, there he was. Right where he had been standing. The 28 Nosler and the 175 ELDX bullets did the trick. Now the work was about to really begin – getting the elk down the mountain.

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    The next morning I still had elk on the brain and could not sleep, so I got on the spotting scope. There were another 30 elk with 3 nice bulls, one perhaps even bigger than the one I harvested. As I watched them move off into the dark timber I knew it meant, God willing, I would be back to that place to chase them again.

    You may leave elk country, but your heart never does.

    • Posted on September 20, 2016

    hunting in africa nyala

    If you’ve been following us for anytime here over the last few months, I’ve been going through blogging about my trip in Africa with John X Safaris. I left off my last post where I had just taken a kudu up in the Karoo. Now that our Karoo time was over, based on the list of animals that I was really wanting to take while in Africa, we came back to camp after the kudu to spend the night and enjoy the time with friends. At that point Stix, my PH, decided we would leave camp early, while the other guys were still finishing up in the Karoo, and head down to the coastal range.

    As you head south in South Africa, and you approach the coast, the scenery drastically changes. It changes from very mountainous New Mexico-type country to very coastal, lush – a very very green, almost Oregon-looking environment.

    We drove south through some rainstorms. We were in a hurry to try and make the evening hunt as we knew the animals would be moving if the rain stopped. It was a 3 hour drive from the Karoo before arrived at the new basecamp which was a place called Lalibela. Lalibela is a photo reserve park where they have lions, giraffes, and other animals that you can see there right next to the lodge, and one of the most beautiful lodges I’ve ever seen – amazing great rooms, really nice kitchen and bar area, a traditional African thatch roof – just a really, really pretty place to go.

    We unpacked as fast as we could to try and get one hunt in for the day. We quickly got the guns in the trunk, grabbed all the gear, and the cameraman and we rushed off down these back roads to a new piece of property. This had to be at least a half-million acre piece of property that was right on the Indian ocean. It was kind of funny because as we got up to the top of the hill, I didn't realize we were that close to the ocean. Stix pointed out what I thought just looked like clouds was actually the Indian ocean. We were only a few hundred yards from massive sand dunes right on the ocean.  

    The rainstorms were just starting to clear so the animals were starting to come out and sun themselves. We saw some great waterbuck and started to see a lot of different nyalas. We went to the top of a look out, got out of the rig to set up our spotting scope and started to look at some trophy nyala from a couple of miles away. Right on the edge of this bluff, we could see 4 nyala bulls all grazing out in the grass outside of the thick brush. We saw one bull that looked like “the one” – he had really nice ivory tips, really good shape, just a good looking bull.

    We quickly packed up, went through a big valley, and got into some thick cover where we stashed the truck. We got out and snuck down, what we could call in the west, an old logging road. As we were sneaking up on this nyala, I looked over to my right and coming up over the horizon I see this big periscope looking head. It was a huge giraffe that had spotted us coming down the road. It was kind of a funny sight to see considering it’s not something you see every day here in North America.

    We went down the road a little ways and got set up where we could see where this nyala was. We ranged it and we were about 300 yards away. At this point in the trip, I’d switched to my 6.5 Creedmoor. This would be the first animal I was hunting here in Africa with my 6.5.

    We were set up and were glassing trying to find this nyala but it was obvious that they had gone back into the brush. We didn’t think we’d spooked them, but the wind was moving toward one of the younger bulls pretty strong. We were hoping that the older bull we were after had not yet caught our scent.

    I set up on the bog pod up and got the gun all ready. The giraffe we’d seen earlier ended up working to our advantage. In the distance we saw him going into the brush where the nyala were. Well, it spooked the nyala so as they were coming out of the brush, I spotted the one I was after. He gave me a good broadside shot. I waited for him to turn back and look at the giraffe to give me a good shoulder shot.

    I squeezed the trigger of my 6.5 Creedmoor, sent the Hornady ELD bullet flying, and hit him low in the shoulder. The nyala only ran about 30 yards and he was down.

    For me, the nyala was the main animal I wanted to take in Africa. They’re just neat animals – big spiral horns, ivory tips, they’ve got funny colored legs, a big wooly body. They look like God took ideas from 3 or 4 different animals and mixed them all up.

    The nyala I took ended up being 27.5”, which was a huge trophy. I could not have been any more happy. As the sun began to set while we were taking photos, I could see the Indian ocean and sand dunes. The whole experience was more than I could have hoped for. It was one of the coolest hunts I’ve ever been on.

    We left the meat from the nyala with the landowner, who ran a mission-based boys camp there on the ranch, and headed back to Lalibela. That night we had a low key evening in camp while we waited for the rest of the hunters to finish up in the Karoo and join us for the rest of our time in Africa.

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    Interested in joining us in Africa in July 2017? Sign up to join our Africa Hunt List to receive more information including Derrick's tips & tricks, an invitation to our Africa Info night, and more.

    • Posted on September 7, 2016

    6 Reasons You need a 65 Creedmoor

    If the search results that lead people to our website are any indication, 6.5 Creedmoors have been growing in popularity over the last few years. And for very good reason. In fact, we have put together six very good reasons the 6.5 Creedmoor should be your next rifle.

    1. Better Ballistics

    2. Design Matters 

    3. Affordable Ammo 

    4. Recoil? What recoil? 

    5. Versatility is Key 

    6. Accuracy Matters 

    To read more on those 6 reasons, head on over to CustomRifles.com where Derrick goes more in depth with each reason.

    Ready to pull the trigger? (Sorry, couldn’t help it.) Seriously though, if you’re ready to take the next step in building a 6.5 Creedmoor, we can help! If you have a general idea of what you’re looking for, you can visit our custom quote request page. Otherwise, take a look at some of the 6.5s we’ve built in the past then drop us a line and we’ll be happy to talk you through the quoting and building process.

    • Posted on August 30, 2016

    Hunting season is fast approaching and as manufacturers of custom rifles, nothing gets us more excited that seeing success photos of our happy customers! Well, to be honest, if we were the ones in the photos, that would make us happy, but we can’t spend every single day hunting. Can we?

    Over the years we’ve taken our fair share of trophy photos and we want to share some photography tips we’ve learned along the way, with the help of our good friend Tye Green, the ranch manager for South Texas Agarita Ranch. Before we dive into this, we’ll preface by saying that we love all success photos. We don't want to deter anyone from emailing or texting us photos of your rifles in the field.  

    1. Take care of the tongue. Always, always, always make sure you remove the animal's tongue (or at least shove it back in the mouth). Not trying to be politically correct, but a hanging bloody tongue really takes away from the presentation of the animal.

    2. Wipe away excess blood. Carry a paper towel or rag with you and if you have the chance, wipe as much blood away that you can.

    3. Contrast is key. Skyline the antlers or head of the animal. Good color contrast between the antlers and the background really show off your trophy.

    4. Get out of the way. Don’t cover up the animal by sitting in front of it. Sitting cross legged behind the animal is best.

    5. Think about camera angle. Take the photo from a low angle which helps proportion the photo to your benefit.

    6. Focus. Make sure your photos aren’t blurry. Nothing screws up a great photo more than being out of focus.

    7. Antlers first. Set the animal up parallel to the camera. You don’t want the rear of the animal to look bigger than the antlers.

    8. Level the photo. If the horizon is not level, consider tilting the camera to make it appear to be level.

    9. Less is more. Don’t grab the antlers with your fist – the less contact with your hand the more mass will show up in your photo. The animal is not getting away now so no reason to put a death grip on the antlers. Just prop them up.

    10. Get the whole picture. Try not to cut off your animal's head or your head. We need that proof in hunting camp that it was actually you that shot the beauty.

    Bonus Tip: Smile! So, it may not be the manly thing to do, but come on man, you just harvested a great trophy - it’s ok to be happy about it!

    This is what we're going for - good contrast on the antlers, level horizon, parallel animal. Makes a 140 buck look more like a 150.
     

     

    Another good photo, but notice the difference in how the antlers appear when all we do is adjust the angle - less contrast to the antlers.
     

     

     

    Bad angle, no skyline, no contrast, and why is Derrick twisting the antlers so much? Deer's face is straight on so we can't tell how many points he has.
     

     

     

    Don’t - just don’t ride your trophy.  People like to know what gear you were using - but don't hang them on the antlers. Make sure to stick the bloody tongue back in the mouth.
     

     

     

    Sit down. You’re a hunter, and you are not in a hurry! Focus the picture, and don’t death grip the antlers - he's not going anywhere.
     

     

     

    Who shot this deer and where are the rest of his antlers?….Who is even running the camera on this one?
     

     

     

    Are those antlers even connected to a deer? Did you drag a lodge mount out into the road? Or are you trying to hide the fact that you're the only person in the world who has actually shot a jackalope?
     

     

     

    Do these pants make me look fat?  Why is his rear end so big? Don’t take the photo from the side when your buck's antlers wrap really hard - makes the deer look small.
     

     

     

    Where are you draggin' that deer? You in a hurry? We want to see more deer and less hunter.
     

     

     

    Oh Derrick... there is so much wrong with this one. If you are taking a picture with this much junk in the back of the truck, at least smile about it.
     

     

     

    The infamous deer hanging and kissing you on the cheek picture. Had to crop this one - but there was also lots of blood on the ground.
     

     

     

    Now all kidding aside, have a good time in the field! Extend your hunt a little bit by taking some photos that will last longer than the new shoulder mount on the wall. In all cases, never forget to include your hunting buddy because you will cherish those moments forever.
     

     

     

    There you have it. Now, get out there, harvest a great animal, and send us your photos! You can share them on our Facebook page, tag us in Instagram, or email them to us (info@horizonfirearms.com).