rachunter

stalking/still hunting

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I am also going to start shopping for new Adirondack still hunting rifle(s).  My heavy,  22" barrel, Ruger M77, 30/06 has killed every animal I fired it at, but is not very comfortable for that type of hunting.   In addition to a better still hunting rifle for myself, it should be something that my daughters could handle when they get old enough to hunt in the next couple years.   I have it narrowed down to two.  I may end up getting both of them, especially if both daughters decide to take up deer hunting.  

The first one is probably going to be a Ruger American compact, .243 with a 2-7 Vortex crossfire II scope.  That combo weighs in at 6.5 pounds with an 18" barrel.  The reviews say it has a very good, adjustable trigger. It will carry in the bush a lot better than than my current rifle, should be good on a deer to about 300 yards from a rest, and would be about perfect for my daughters.  The drawbacks are: First, it is ugly with a dull black metal finish and black plastic stock.  Second, scopes are bad in rain or snow.  Third, the smaller bullet will be more likely to deflect from a branch than my current rifle.  I will be keeping my 06 because I will need it if the girls hunt, it looks a lot better with a fancy laminated wood stock, and I just can't get rid of a gun that has never failed to deliver. 

The second one is Marlin 336 BL, 30/30.  This one is everything that the little bolt-action Ruger isn't.  It is a tad heavier at 7.5 pounds.  It looks a lot better with shiny blued metal and a wood laminated stock and grip.  The open sights should be good in the rain and snow.  The "big lever" should be great with heavy insulated gloves.  It also has a short 18"barrel, making it a good bush gun.  The slower, heavier .30 cal bullet should get thru some cover with less deflection or fragmentation.  A 44 magnum would probably be better yet and maybe they will offer this model in that caliber in another year or so when I am ready to buy it. The reviews say it has a sloppy, heavy trigger, but that should not be a big issue at shorter ranges.  I would not fire past 100 yards with open sights, and I would expect most shots to be half that or less. 

Both of these brand new outfits will cost in the $500 - $600 range.   I hope to have the .243 in the next few weeks, and start seeing how it performs on the range.  In rain or snow this fall, I will bring along my 12 ga Remington 870 slug gun and use that for still hunting.  I have brought down every deer I have shot at with that at ranges up to 100 yards (not always with the first shot however).  Another option this may be my father in law's new Marlin 336 (standard 22" barrel model) that he has never used.  He likes spoiling his grandaughters though, so I am sure he would let them use it if they ask politely.      

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Good luck with your choices...Bullet deflection in the thick stuff..ALL projectiles, including shotgun slugs, deflect when striking anything substantial... This has been proven  many times in  " brush busting"  tests...The key is to find an opening in the brush..

That said,  the .243 is not an ideal woods cartridge, because in that type of hunting  shots are often made from less than ideal angles, and bullet weight can be very important if you take a shot at the south end of a northbound deer...The  general max weight of a .243  bullet designed for deer sized game is 100 grains... Fine for open country shooting at broadside game, but not so good for  less desirable angles.. Either the 7mm08  or the .308  will provide an extra margin of error for less than ideal angle shots, without  producing  overly abusive recoil...Those chamberings also perform well in short, lightweight rifles.  The 30-30 is also a good proven woods rifle with enough bullet weight to get the job done, but you give up the option of an occasional long (250-300 yard) shot,  which the 7mm08 or the .308 are both very capable of making..

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I am also going to start shopping for new Adirondack still hunting rifle(s).  My heavy,  22" barrel, Ruger M77, 30/06 has killed every animal I fired it at, but is not very comfortable for that type of hunting.   In addition to a better still hunting rifle for myself, it should be something that my daughters could handle when they get old enough to hunt in the next couple years.   I have it narrowed down to two.  I may end up getting both of them, especially if both daughters decide to take up deer hunting.  
The first one is probably going to be a Ruger American compact, .243 with a 2-7 Vortex crossfire II scope.  That combo weighs in at 6.5 pounds with an 18" barrel.  The reviews say it has a very good, adjustable trigger. It will carry in the bush a lot better than than my current rifle, should be good on a deer to about 300 yards from a rest, and would be about perfect for my daughters.  The drawbacks are: First, it is ugly with a dull black metal finish and black plastic stock.  Second, scopes are bad in rain or snow.  Third, the smaller bullet will be more likely to deflect from a branch than my current rifle.  I will be keeping my 06 because I will need it if the girls hunt, it looks a lot better with a fancy laminated wood stock, and I just can't get rid of a gun that has never failed to deliver. 
The second one is Marlin 336 BL, 30/30.  This one is everything that the little bolt-action Ruger isn't.  It is a tad heavier at 7.5 pounds.  It looks a lot better with shiny blued metal and a wood laminated stock and grip.  The open sights should be good in the rain and snow.  The "big lever" should be great with heavy insulated gloves.  It also has a short 18"barrel, making it a good bush gun.  The slower, heavier .30 cal bullet should get thru some cover with less deflection or fragmentation.  A 44 magnum would probably be better yet and maybe they will offer this model in that caliber in another year or so when I am ready to buy it. The reviews say it has a sloppy, heavy trigger, but that should not be a big issue at shorter ranges.  I would not fire past 100 yards with open sights, and I would expect most shots to be half that or less. 
Both of these brand new outfits will cost in the $500 - $600 range.   I hope to have the .243 in the next few weeks, and start seeing how it performs on the range.  In rain or snow this fall, I will bring along my 12 ga Remington 870 slug gun and use that for still hunting.  I have brought down every deer I have shot at with that at ranges up to 100 yards (not always with the first shot however).  Another option this may be my father in law's new Marlin 336 (standard 22" barrel model) that he has never used.  He likes spoiling his grandaughters though, so I am sure he would let them use it if they ask politely.      


Just as Pygmy said 243 would be pretty low on my list for a "brush gun" lacks bullet weight for less than ideal angles. 30-30 although isn't my first choice is a much better choice for what you want to do. If a lever is what you're after don't over look a 35rem. Ammo is more expensive but it truly is in the shortlist when it comes to a brush caliber.


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No need for the big loop.  When you hunt on foot your movement keeps you warm.

Instead of the 243, look into a 270.  Recoil is not bad with 130gr heads.

That 3030 wold be ok.  444 marlin, 35 Remington, or 4570 would be better.

Buy I hunt on foot with a peep sighted 3030.  It works.  A few deer regret I came that day with that gun. 

I advise against fancy 3030 loads.  Soft cup and core unbounded bullets work great with the energy 3030 has.  I've done well with 150gr remember corlokts. To boot it's the only bullet that worked well in all my 3030s.

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I am not familiar with the 7mm08 and ammo availability might be an issue with that.  The .308 might be a little too much recoil for my daughters. I may sell or trade my 22/250, M77 woodchuck rifle when I get the .243, because I rarely use that any more.  The .243 can handle the 3-4 chucks a year I have been averaging, and would also be better for coyote hunting at night.   I understand that it is not the ideal woods deer cartridge, but think I can work with its limitations.   I know all about brush deflection and that was the most likely cause of my initial miss on a big-bodied eight-point up there at 300 yards, two years ago.  My first well-rested shot must have struck an unseen branch on the hillside when I shot at the buck standing down in a valley.   My second offhand shot also missed (I only took that one because I assumed the first one was a hit).  Fortunately, a tree showed up in the right place to rest my rifle against for the third shot, which put him down in his tracks.  Sometimes those trees are your friends and other times not so much.  Those two shots were my only misses on a deer in the last 10 years and the lesson of avoiding branches has sunk in.  A good scope should show every branch within 200 yards.  The only way I would consider a shot up there over 200 yards now would be if there was no chance of a branch hit, which pretty much means it won't happen.  

The shot angle point is well taken.   I probably would not have taken a Texas heart shot last fall with a .243, but it was like shooting a duck in a barrel with my 30/06.  If a .243 had struck the same spot, the buck would have died just as quick, but I would not have had nearly the margin for error.  A kill that I was 95% sure of making would have dropped to about 75%, which is a no-go for me, even late in the season when I need meat.  Most of the deer I have killed have been heart/lung hits and I am willing to pass or wait for a better angle on some, in exchange for a little more comfort, carrying the lighter gun.

As far as the lever, I just thought up another option.   My father in law won't like me taking his Marlin 336 out in rain or snow, but if I offer to put a scope on it, he might let me take it out in good weather.  I had one just like it years ago, and those side-eject Marlin levers are great with a 3x scope.  That would be my still-hunting gun in good weather conditions and the open sighted 336 BL in the bad stuff.   Sticking with the 30/30 will simplify the ammo situation.  I will tell him that I am setting it up for his granddaughters, which is the truth.   They have a nice rifle range up there and we may put that plan in place over Memorial day weekend.   This will save me some cash and allow me to delay the purchase of the .243 until when and if both daughters decide to take up deer hunting.  

The 336 BL just took the #1 slot away from the .243 bolt.   The 18" barrel is more important to me than the "big loop", but it would be nice while sitting in the cold.   I will probably get a 3X scope and mounts for it, but put those on my father in laws gun if he goes for the deal.  If he don't go for it, I will just suffer thru the foul weather with the scope as I have gotten used to anyhow.    Thanks guys, It did not take much to steer me away from that black .243 Ruger American.  If only it were not so darned ugly.   If my daughters want one, they can get it in pink cammo.  I don't think I will be carrying it.                   

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I am not familiar with the 7mm08 and ammo availability might be an issue with that.  The .308 might be a little too much recoil for my daughters. I may sell or trade my 22/250, M77 woodchuck rifle when I get the .243, because I rarely use that any more.  The .243 can handle the 3-4 chucks a year I have been averaging, and would also be better for coyote hunting at night.   I understand that it is not the ideal woods deer cartridge, but think I can work with its limitations.   I know all about brush deflection and that was the most likely cause of my initial miss on a big-bodied eight-point up there at 300 yards, two years ago.  My first well-rested shot must have struck an unseen branch on the hillside when I shot at the buck standing down in a valley.   My second offhand shot also missed (I only took that one because I assumed the first one was a hit).  Fortunately, a tree showed up in the right place to rest my rifle against for the third shot, which put him down in his tracks.  Sometimes those trees are your friends and other times not so much.  Those two shots were my only misses on a deer in the last 10 years and the lesson of avoiding branches has sunk in.  A good scope should show every branch within 200 yards.  The only way I would consider a shot up there over 200 yards now would be if there was no chance of a branch hit, which pretty much means it won't happen.  
The shot angle point is well taken.   I probably would not have taken a Texas heart shot last fall with a .243, but it was like shooting a duck in a barrel with my 30/06.  If a .243 had struck the same spot, the buck would have died just as quick, but I would not have had nearly the margin for error.  A kill that I was 95% sure of making would have dropped to about 75%, which is a no-go for me, even late in the season when I need meat.  Most of the deer I have killed have been heart/lung hits and I am willing to pass or wait for a better angle on some, in exchange for a little more comfort, carrying the lighter gun.
As far as the lever, I just thought up another option.   My father in law won't like me taking his Marlin 336 out in rain or snow, but if I offer to put a scope on it, he might let me take it out in good weather.  I had one just like it years ago, and those side-eject Marlin levers are great with a 3x scope.  That would be my still-hunting gun in good weather conditions and the open sighted 336 BL in the bad stuff.   Sticking with the 30/30 will simplify the ammo situation.  I will tell him that I am setting it up for his granddaughters, which is the truth.   They have a nice rifle range up there and we may put that plan in place over Memorial day weekend.   This will save me some cash and allow me to delay the purchase of the .243 until when and if both daughters decide to take up deer hunting.  
The 336 BL just took the #1 slot away from the .243 bolt.   The 18" barrel is more important to me than the "big loop", but it would be nice while sitting in the cold.   I will probably get a 3X scope and mounts for it, but put those on my father in laws gun if he goes for the deal.  If he don't go for it, I will just suffer thru the foul weather with the scope as I have gotten used to anyhow.    Thanks guys, It did not take much to steer me away from that black .243 Ruger American.  If only it were not so darned ugly.   If my daughters want one, they can get it in pink cammo.  I don't think I will be carrying it.                   


I highly recommend the big loop! I don't own a lever that I haven't put one on. I don't wear gloves very often and if I do it's lightweight wool insert gloves. I find the big loop faster to get your hand in and easier on the hands to operate. I even had one custom made for my BLR.


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9 hours ago, Buckmaster7600 said:

 


I highly recommend the big loop! I don't own a lever that I haven't put one on. I don't wear gloves very often and if I do it's lightweight wool insert gloves. I find the big loop faster to get your hand in and easier on the hands to operate. I even had one custom made for my BLR.


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Besides, 7600 is a big John Wayne fan..

" You can take that to the BANK, Pilgrim !"

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On ‎3‎/‎23‎/‎2017 at 5:53 AM, rachunter said:

but i'm going to check out rifles instead.my boss swears by his rem. 7600 3006.

I will probably get crucified for this but here goes just one opinion: I owned one and while it was a great shooting rifle and very accurate I found it very loud and to much recoil for my liking.

Edited by Steve D

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2 hours ago, Steve D said:

I will probably get crucified for this but here goes just one opinion: I owned one and while it was a great shooting rifle and very accurate I found it very loud and to much recoil for my liking.

Recoil   and muzzle blast don't bother 7600...

He's got cojones as big as grapefruit and enough hair on his chest to weave an army blanket...

 

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It is much more a woodsmanship skill that let's you read the land and knowing that game should be there.. I always see move slow then move slower.. I think its more important to know the lay of the land and when to move fast or slowly.

An example I walk a ridge from south to north and I can usually kill game every time I walk it. My friend walks the same ridge and never sees anything..a nice four in snow fall revealed why. He walked it first right after the snow.. A straight line following the ridge  at the same level the whole mile. My tracks the next day high on the ridge so my head is not visible from below..with spurs that jut. Down every one hundred yards or so so I could just see down below.. These spurs were done very slowly and quietly..then I backed out on same tracks and would move fairly quickly down the ridge to make another spur one hundred or more yards down the ridge depending on cover that was present down below me..if it was open I may go 200 yards.. Brushy maybe 75. While my body was his over 90% of the time my friends was visiabke the entire walk and deer simple would see him several hundred yards away get up and leave before he ever saw them.

I can scan and find them in their beds or feeding by just peaking over the edge and glassing.. If I see one I want out of range I simple back out travel the appropriate distance out of sight and sneek back in to glass and locate my target and finish it with a short stalk if nessary or shoot from my observation pt..

Knowing how/where to walk is just as important as moving slow.

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I've hunted almost everyday of my life.. the rest have been wasted!

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I got within shooting range (bow) first day I ever hunted, alone, by just walking around looking for deer. Dumb luck.

I've tried to reproduce that many times since and I have spooked tons of deer and I only ever see them after they hear me and start running with one exception: I walked up on two deer who seemed as surprised to see me as I them. I couldn't get ready and they bolted.

So, I suck at it. Some things that work badly when still hunting:

1) Doing it in an area pressured so heavily there are no deer left (I've done this a LOT)
2) Doing it on a still day, no wind, and tons of fresh scrunchy leaves (lol I've tried this a lot, too)

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10 hours ago, Steve D said:

I will probably get crucified for this but here goes just one opinion: I owned one and while it was a great shooting rifle and very accurate I found it very loud and to much recoil for my liking.

No worries. Heard a guy at Gander Mountain the other night telling the gun clerk a .223 kicks too much for him. When guy left gun counter I told clerk "if he slapped on a little Vagisil he'd be ok"

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On 4/2/2017 at 6:12 PM, wolc123 said:

    

i've seen you mention your ruger  m77 is heavy a few times.So i weighed mine it's 7.9 unloaded my marlin is 7.14 unloaded.I never had a problem carrying a gun.Now i always thought it was a pita carrying a bow around.

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I will probably get crucified for this but here goes just one opinion: I owned one and while it was a great shooting rifle and very accurate I found it very loud and to much recoil for my liking.


They can be a little brutal, especially the 760's with a metal butt plate. I have aftermarket recoil pads on all my 7600's and they help. The carbines are certainly louder but not crazy. That being said I don't own a center fire rifle that I ever use with a barrel longer than 20" and most are under 18".


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51 minutes ago, turkeyfeathers said:

No worries. Heard a guy at Gander Mountain the other night telling the gun clerk a .223 kicks too much for him. When guy left gun counter I told clerk "if he slapped on a little Vagisil he'd be ok"

What???  On semi or full auto he would need some of these:

 

 

wipes.jpg

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wolc,

You were upset you missed a 300 yard deer.  When shooting through woods, it's close to impossible to make it past 100 yards without hitting a branch.  People get away with it,  but many would consider it unethical.  That 300 yard one gives you mptivation to go out the next time, maybe he'll be closer.

If you do go the 30-30 route with a scope, zero it at 150 yards.  It will shoot and cleanly harvest a broadside shot at 200 yards.

The standard 22 inch gun is just fine.  It's still light and easy to carry.  That extra bit of weight and muzzle blast reduction will be appreciated by young kids.  The noise makes people think it kicks.  Some do says 223 kicks more than other guns because it's loud.  when you start going 3000fps, it's too loud for my liking.

Remington makes reduced recoil rounds.  they work great.

I'm not a big fan of 22-250.  However, a very experience and successful hunter using that gun deer hunting.  He limits himself to 150 yards, and he harvests deer.  The exit hole wasn't too bad.  The meat did the typical fast bullet bloodshot mess in the area.  Heart was beat to a pulp like my 30-06 does....  you could use that for now.  

 

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I want to see a pic from anyone who has a 300yd view/shot in the woods. Not a tree-line overlooking a clearing, not shooting from the woods into a field, a full on 300yd view through the woods! I'm sorry, 300yds through underbrush and trees is rare. If in a tree stand it's impossible in the woods! 

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20 minutes ago, ....rob said:

I want to see a pic from anyone who has a 300yd view/shot in the woods. Not a tree-line overlooking a clearing, not shooting from the woods into a field, a full on 300yd view through the woods! I'm sorry, 300yds through underbrush and trees is rare. If in a tree stand it's impossible in the woods! 

I've never seen a clear 300 yard shot through the woods. I have seen plenty of clear 300 yd shots in the "big" woods. Could be across an old or new beaver dam swamp. 1 ridge to another, river banks..etc..

Given a choice I wouldn't  limit myself to a "short range weapon".  Farm land is not the only place for long shots... I know I check out many spots in Letchworth that make me long for my 300....lol

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16 minutes ago, ncountry said:

I've never seen a clear 300 yard shot through the woods. I have seen plenty of clear 300 yd shots in the "big" woods. Could be across an old or new beaver dam swamp. 1 ridge to another, river banks..etc..

Given a choice I wouldn't  limit myself to a "short range weapon".  Farm land is not the only place for long shots... I know I check out many spots in Letchworth that make me long for my 300....lol

Where are your "big woods"? I am talking ground level. Standing eye to terrain, where can you see 300yds in the woods?

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In the daks looking down hill in the fall you can see alot further than one would think idk about being able to shoot that far but can definatly see it

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15 minutes ago, ....rob said:

Where are your "big woods"? I am talking ground level. Standing eye to terrain, where can you see 300yds in the woods?

I gave some examples above.. I live on the edge of the northern Adirondacks. The pieces of land I hunt have 10s of thousands of acres.. plenty of these opportunities 

Reading your response , makes me add.. standing on the level of these openings probably would not afford one a 300 yd shot.

Sitting on a small ridge,knol, or on top of a beaver house , could.. I have done all the above..

Edited by ncountry

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I want to see a pic from anyone who has a 300yd view/shot in the woods. Not a tree-line overlooking a clearing, not shooting from the woods into a field, a full on 300yd view through the woods! I'm sorry, 300yds through underbrush and trees is rare. If in a tree stand it's impossible in the woods! 

There are lots of them in mature forests in the adk's. Most don't realize how open mature forests can be, especially when you add elevation changes. The furthest shot of my life was in the woods ridge to ridge.

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SailHud25,

Those long shots were taken at this buck in 2014, from up on a ridge while he stood down in a valley, at least a hundred feet lower in elevation.  There was snow, which made it easy to see him as he approached from over a mile away.   There were only a few branches extending out from the side of the ridge, but one must have deflected my first, well-rested shot.  I held about 4" below his back, behind the shoulder, on both the first (miss) and the third (fatal) shot.  I am very thankful that I fired those two followup shots (bullets are cheap and venison is tasty).   After a very a close examination of the scene last fall, I am about 95% certain that the first miss was due to a branch strike.  Firing offhand without a rest explains the second one.  I think I may have located the clump of branches that caused me the trouble on the first shot.  I definitely located the tree that gave me a rest and cost this buck his life with the third shot.     

The smaller buck I took up there last fall was only 50 yards away, but was on the edge of mature evergreen forest where a shot up to 200 yards may have been possible.   For this season, my search continues for a rainy/snowy weather, short range still-hunting  gun.  What do you think about a Winchester 94, 16" trapper in .45 colt ?.  I am still leaning towards the Marlin 336BL 30/30.  That will be easier to put a scope on if the open sights don't get er done for me.  

 

 1129141212a.jpg 

Edited by wolc123

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SailHud25,
Those long shots were taken at this buck in 2014, from up on a ridge while he stood down in a valley, at least a hundred feet lower in elevation.  There was snow, which made it easy to see him as he approached from over a mile away.   There were only a few branches extending out from the side of the ridge, but one must have deflected my first, well-rested shot.  I held about 4" below his back, behind the shoulder, on both the first (miss) and the third (fatal) shot.  I am very thankful that I fired those two followup shots (bullets are cheap and venison is tasty).   After a very a close examination of the scene last fall, I am about 95% certain that the first miss was due to a branch strike.  Firing offhand without a rest explains the second one.  I think I may have located the clump of branches that caused me the trouble on the first shot.  I definitely located the tree that gave me a rest and cost this buck his life with the third shot.     
The smaller buck I took up there last fall was only 50 yards away, but was on the edge of mature evergreen forest where a shot up to 200 yards may have been possible.   For this season, my search continues for a rainy/snowy weather, short range still-hunting  gun.  What do you think about a Winchester 94, 16" trapper in .45 colt ?.  I am still leaning towards the Marlin 336BL 30/30.  That will be easier to put a scope on if the open sights don't get er done for me.  
 
 1129141212a.jpg 



45 colt is almost a reloader only caliber if deer hunting is your plan with it. There are a few company's that load hot enough loads for deer but most are very weak and wouldn't be sufficient in my opinion. I love 45colts and have 2 carbines chambered in them, reloading for them is a blast because I can load them very soft to pretty extreme.


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