Hunting Season!

A few weeks ago we made a trip up to Oklahoma for a little deer hunting.The primary reason for the trip was for my oldest grandson to bag his first deer. Which he did:

Have I posted this before? I know I have…

I was able to get one morning hunt in that weekend as well and passed on a little year old (about) buck that hung out in front of my blind for fifteen minutes or so. I pretty much figured that was going to be it for my hunting season until we do our guys weekend/hog hunt in January.

Boy was I surprised when I got a text from my most favored son in law telling us that a coworker of his had some property that he wasn’t hunting and that Moose could hunt it all he wanted this season! We quickly set up some feeders, game cams and a blind. We cleared a few shooting lanes and made a path to get to the blind. We were out before dark on opening day. While gunshots were heard all around us we saw exactly nothing, except one really annoying squirrel.

To be honest I was a bit relieved as I had not had any time to verify that my rifle was still sighted in or to see where it would hit at the shorter distances that the thick brush on this place would allow for. We won’t have any shots over 50 yards at this place with 20 to 40 yards being the most likely distances we will be shooting.

Given the shorter distances I am tempted to switch to a lever action carbine in either .44 magnum or .30-30 however this whole work and family time thing has kept me from getting either of those rifles sighted in. I did take just enough time off at lunch one day last week to take the two Ruger Americans that I normally hunt with and verify they are still zeroed and test them out at shorter distances. At 50 yards I am dead on but inside 20 yards I will have to aim a bit high as I am hitting just about an inch low at 15 yards. The .308 took a few clicks of elevation added to the scope as it was hitting a bit low at 50 yards.

Ruger American Predator in .308 (50 yards). Hits in the lower left of the 9 ring was before a slight elevation adjustment

At this point I don’t know if I will stick with the .308 or go with the 7.62×39. Both are fine rifles and perfectly adequate calibers but I don’t really need the extra distance the .308 gives my and the 7.52×39 is a bit shorter, a bit lighter and has a good bit less recoil. I think I am slightly more accurate with it as well.

Ruger American Ranch in 7.62×39. Grouping down and to the left was at 2x magnification and the center ring hits were at 4x

I tested two different bullet weights on the .308 (150 and 180) and both impacted in the same spots at this range. For the 7.62 Commie I tested three different ammunition brands (Brown Bear Soft Points, Hornady SSTs and Federal Fusion) all in 123 or 125 grain weights and there was no noticeable difference in impact location. I have seen the effectiveness of the Fusion on a critter before and I was very impressed with how well it did so I am leaning towards that round in the Ruger American Predator.

We plan to be back in the woods tomorrow morning (I am typing this up on Friday) and hope to see a deer. We are already seeing hogs on the cameras so even after deer season ends we can still continue to harvest game from this property. It has been a while since we had a place we could hunt like this and I am super excited.

Take care and God bless.

Advertisements

Whew, What A Week!

It’s been a real roller coaster ride the last week or so. Saturday before last we had the whole family over to celebrate three birthdays, an anniversary and to announce my newest grand baby (due in February) to the rest of the family. Sunday was Sunday School, church and a Sunday School class pot luck. It was a short but crazy busy work week. We had a family friend pass away and we still made our planned hunting trip to Oklahoma.

Whew!

Wonderful Wife and my middle daughter made the trip down to visit our friend’s wife on Wednesday. They spent the day with her and the family doing what they could and helping out. When the family made the decision for a traditional Muslim funeral the girls made the call that the Oklahoma trip was back on. They will have a memorial for his non-Muslim friends to attend at a later date.

The trip to Oklahoma was long but worth every numb-butted mile. We were able to reconnect with some folks we haven’t seen in a few years, made it to a fall festival at Robber’s Cave, play around on a an ATV and made it out to hunt a couple times in between.

The most amazing part of the weekend was Friday morning. My son in law, my oldest grandson and I all headed out to a deer blind in the drizzling rain well before sunrise. It was my grandson’s first time deer hunting. We all sat together hoping that he would get an opportunity. It was close to ten o’clock when we decided to pack it in (the little guy showed amazing patience).

We were headed to the ATV when my son in law spotted a small buck moving our way. We hurried back to the blind and quickly got set up all over again. After thirty or forty minutes the little buck still hadn’t made an appearance so we figured he took a different trail and started to pack up again. Which is, of course, when he decided to walk right into the clearing we were set up on and with the deer only about twenty-five yards away we started setting up again.

We managed to get set up again (third time that morning) without spooking Mr. Deer or hurting one another (much). I managed to find the business end of a broad head in the scramble and was bleeding all over myself and the camera. It wasn’t a serious cut or deep but it bled like crazy. I was so excited for my little guy I didn’t even notice the cut until I saw blood on the camera (and everything else I touched). The fact that the drizzle had turned into a downpour probably helped mask any noise.

Moose, my son in law, did a great job coaching the boy and Mr. Deer did his part by coming in another few yards. My little guy did his part too placing the arrow nearly perfectly.

While the downpour help hide our activity from the deer it made tracking it almost impossible. After an hour and a half we were soaked and cold to the bone and grudgingly headed back to the cabin. Once there Moose asked for help from the friends we were visiting and they headed back out into the cold rain. After another three hours they called it quits again. Heading back to the vehicles they walked through the same clearing where our blind was set up and there it was. After all that searching Mr. Deer was down just 50 yards from the blind and about thirty yards from where he was hit. He had doubled back on us and we never saw him do so.

Little Man and his first buck

Whew!

What an effort from a loving dad and a friend of the family. It was all worth it and an amazing experience for all involved.

Oh yeah, I got a hunt in Sunday morning and passed on a small six point buck. The few does I saw were a little to skittish to come within bow range. But that’s ok. Being out in a blind as “the forest wakes up” was a wonderful experience that I never seem to tire of. One that recharges my batteries and renews my faith like few other experiences I’ve had.

So much has happened in the last week it is amazing.

All I can say in whew…

…and thank you Lord!

Take care and God bless.

Note: Please excuse any errors in this post. It was written on my cell phone while riding back from Oklahoma. As this is posted I’ll be flying to Dallas for a customer meeting. Back to the grind…

Change Of Plans: No Hammer This Weekend

I purchased the Smith & Wesson Model 69 (The Hammer) the other day to be by sidearm when hunting and engaging in other outdoor activities where I might encounter a serious threat from the wildlife. Unfortunately, life, the universe and poor planning on my part have put me in a position where The Hammer will stay home for my fist hunt of the season.

With my current workload (personal, business and spiritual) I did not have enough time to order the ammo I want to use. Few local gun stores carry .44 Magnum and almost none carry .44 Special. I could get a decent .44 Magnum load but no shot shells locally. So it would have to be an Internet purchase and there is no time left for that. Even worse I haven’t found a good carry holster for this monster locally so that will have to be an internet purchase as well and, again, no time.

Instead of The Hammer, my Smith & Wesson 340 will get the call. I already have shot shells in .38 caliber on hand and .357 Magnum is a bit more common down here so I was able to grab a box of 158 grain soft-points that ought to suffice against all but the biggest and most determined critters. I also carry this revolver regularly and have several holsters that work quite well already.

This weekend’s hunting carry

We are heading out after deer and the area we will be hunting does not have anywhere near the feral hog population that we have down here in Texas. We will not be near any alligator infested waterways either. On the other hand, there is a slightly higher likelihood of encountering black bears in the area and we will be bow hunting so I won’t have a long gun with me. All in all, I have no doubt that the .357 Magnum should be just fine. It is significantly lighter and easier to conceal for travel through populated areas. I was just hoping to be able to bring The Hammer along.

Take care and God bless.

Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum: The Hammer

There are times and situations in life that call for skill and finesse. There are also times when the rapid application of as much pure brute force as possible is the best solution. For example, when a big ole momma gator decides that she wants to occupy the same little stretch of sandbar where you are camping and fishing, having a whole lotta brute force available would be a very nice thing. When you realize that the 200 pound boar with a rather impressive set of tusks that your son in law wounded has found his way behind the little scrub oak you are leaning against it is another situation where having a lot of brute force available would be extremely comforting.

While I am a big fan of 9mm and .38 Special those rounds don’t quite deliver on the level of brute force I would like to have had in those situations. There are many who will swear that .45 ACP was god’s gift to John Moses Browning and is the end all be all when it some to stopping two legged predators but against a big, angry boar with six to twelve inch, self-sharpening tusks on either side of his jaws and a couple of inches of soft body armor wrapped around his vitals I’d still prefer more power, more brute force. Something, along the lines of a .44 Magnum…

With hunting season fast approaching (and a little bonus money in my pocket) I decided it was time to make a purchase I have been thinking about for a good long time; a carry revolver for when I am out in the woods and the swamps around of (south) East Texas. A carry revolver that can handle a pissed off “Mr. Pig” or a determined dinosaur.

I did quite a bit of research on this over the years. I looked at the Taurus which definitely has a good price point but does not have a reputation for quality that I want to base my life on. I bet my life on Ruger firearms most every day of the week but was a bit heavier than I would prefer to carry while fighting through the thickets and undergrowth that most piggies like to call home. I really liked the Smith & Wesson 329 which has a super light (relatively speaking) Scandium frame however the N-frame is a bit too large for my short, stubby fingers. Like Goldilocks I eventually found one that was “just right;” the L-Frame based Model 69 Combat Magnum with a 3″ barrel.

Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum
Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum

At 34 ounces this is no lightweight but with the short 3″ (2.75 actually) barrel I think it will carry pretty well. The sights are a nice setup with a red insert in the blade front sight and an adjustable rear notch. The trigger pull is long and nowhere near as smooth as must of my other Smiths. It is also pretty heavy but like most of my Smith & Wesson’s have it will probably get better with time and use. The rubber, combat style grips fit me pretty perfectly. They don’t do much to absorb recoil though…

So, let’s address the (.44 Magnum) elephant in the room.

I like small revolvers and even enjoy shooting them. Even my Titanium-framed .357 Magnum that only weighs 14 ounces. Nevertheless, truth be told shooting hot .357s thought that gun is a lot like catching a fastball barehanded…five times in a row. It snaps and it stings. The .44 is a bit different. There is more recoil energy. It’s more like catching the bat someone swung at the fastball…barehanded. All in all it is more pleasant to shoot that the .357 but not by much and you I could feel it the next day as my wrist and elbow were both sore. Swap out the full bore .44 magnums for either some lightly loaded magnums or .44 Specials and the monster is tamed. In fact she is quite a pleasant shooter with lighter loads and extremely accurate.

But that is not why I bought this revolver. I bought it to be a roaring, fire breathing beast. I bought it to be a hammer when I need the brute force to stop a charging pig or a creeping gator and I think she will do just fine.

Take care and God Bless.

Hunting And Gathering – Meat Eater Style

I finally made it grocery shopping today (yesterday by the time you read this) and I discovered something very odd. Cheap hamburger meat was $5 a pound. On the other hand nice, untrimmed brisket was only $1.99 a pound. A little work in the kitchen with a good knife and a cheap grinder and we have some great ground beef at a great price.

Breakfast sausage was $4 a pound but nice pork roasts were only $1.29 a pound. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow (today by the time you read this). So, a little seasoning and the same set of tools and a little more work and we’ll be putting some sausage in the freezer.

I also made it over to my son in law’s place and knocked the rust off my bow skills. We also made sure it is properly dialed in. Now I just need to get my gear together and pick up a case for the bow to prevent damage during the trip. T-minus 10 days and counting to (hopefully) adding some nice, free range venison to the freezer. My oldest grandson will also be going for his first deer that weekend. I am even more hopeful that he will be successful and that I am there for the event.

Take care and God bless.

The Lever Gun Has Had Its Day

The lever gun has had its day, and a hell of a day it was. But the present and the future belong to the bolt-action and the AR.

-David E Petzal, Field and Stream (link)

Well, I am not sure where ol’ David lives but it sure isn’t around here.

He is correct about some things. The increased interest in long range precision shooting tends to move people away from lever actioned rifles. The bolt gun tends to be a better platform for that particular sport. He is also correct that the AR platform is now incredibly popular and a new “wonder cartridge” is released every few years which tends to keep them selling. So, the days of a deer rifle in every pickup truck and every deer rifle being a lever action from either Marlin or Winchester are gone. That’s true as well.

However…

It doesn’t take the incredible popularity or success Henry has had in recent years. with their lever actions. Typically you don’t see new models and new chamberings being released as often as Henry does in a platform that is dead.

Remlin sales are probably still suffering these days but that has more to do with their quality control and production issues than the the demise of lever action rifles. By the way, a quick check of the biggest sporting goods store in my area has the Marlin 336 as a top seller.

Winchester may have sent production to Miroku in Japan but I sure don’t see their prices falling or spare inventory sitting on the shelves. And we won’t even go into the replica manufacturers like Rossi, Uberti, etc. who also seem to be doing quick well selling this deceased platform.

Now let’s take a look over at the used firearm market. JM manufactured Marlins, especially pistol caliber carbines, sure do seem to be hold their value pretty well. I have seen worn out old Marlins and Glenfieds going for the same price as brand new bolt guns. Finding a pistol caliber carbine, especially chambered in .38/.357 for less that eight or nine hundred dollars. Go ahead. Try.

In the leftist occupied sections of the country there is a renewed interest in lever action rifles, especially in pistol calibers, as self-defense weapons. Because ARs are essentially banned in many of these locales.

Folks, these are not the signs of the end of the lever action rifle. It is a sign of a writer out of touch with the real world.

Take care and God bless.

Weapons Systems: SIG BDX

It looks like the technology of shooting is taking another step forward.

SigSauer released this video on their new BDX (Ballistic Data Xchange) system. The video teaser leaves is pretty light on the details but basically they are adding Bluetooth technology to their lineup of rangefinders and rifle scopes. This will allow the devices to communicate with each other and with the app on a smart phone to provide shooting solutions based on distance, angle and weather conditions. The rifle scopes appear to have an illuminated reticle incorporated that provides the appropriate aim point based on the data collected from the other devices.

The techno-geek in my thinks this is pretty darn cool. Hunting and shooting are my escape from that world…

Take care and God bless/