As I type this I have my duffle on a chair next to me and as things for Africa come to mind I jump up, grab it and pack it away. Then I type some more of this. There is a method to my madness, I just haven’t found it yet.
About 3:30 AM Monday morning I will be meeting Don Wood, Nate Henning, and Tom Cothrun up at my shop. We will try to pack 4 large gun cases, 4 large duffles, 4 medium carry ons and 4 excited hunters into my Expedition. We will get it done, even if we have to hold the gun cases on our laps. I am not real sure why I am so excited about this hunt as I have been to Africa 11 times before this one, but I am. Maybe it is because I haven’t been in 9 years. When Obama was elected I decided I did not want to be out of this country with that yoyo in the White House, so I held off booking Africa in ’08. Then he was re-elected to my amazement and I held off booking Africa in ’12. If Clinton had won, I would have chalked up Africa for good. But when Trump won and as soon as the electoral college declared him the winner, I got on the phone to South Africa that day and booked this hunt. Within 1 week we had all but one spot filled. So maybe it was all the tension of the election that made me look forward to this hunt.
We have 11 hunters going on this hunt and all but one of them is a newbie, so I am looking forward to watching them discover the magic of Africa.
A little over a month ago we lost a good friend and my mentor of many years ago. Lee Jurras died of cancer on April 24th. Lee was a good friend since the mid ‘70s and encouraged me to get into this crazy business. Although I guess it wasn’t as crazy as radio that had been my career for a dozen years at that time. It took me another 10 years to get the guts to retire from radio and get into this business full time. I have had several friends ask me what I liked about radio. I told them everything. My Dad never could understand how I got paid what I did to sit on my ass and play rock & roll. I told him sometimes I did it standing up too. An older friend who was in the Flying Tigers in WW2, and who went with me on almost all my hunts up until about 6 years ago when he died also of cancer, asked me one time what was so good about radio that I made a career out of it. I quoted the words of a popular song at that time.. ”Money for nothing and the chicks are free’. That pretty much said it all.
Over the last 2 years I have spent as much time with Lee Jurras as I could. We knew the cancer was bad but had no idea how bad. Then last summer I spent a few days with him and he asked me to build some special revolvers. I told him I would and as I mentioned last month, that was the inspiration for the Lee Jurras Memorial revolver and the re-release of the Howdah single shot pistol. The Jurras Memorial will be built on a special single action frame. It will be one of our frames and a super tough slightly oversized frame and it will be in blue steel. It will also be available on our of our new blue steel stretch frames in larger calibers and at a slightly higher price. A picture of the prototype that I gave Lee is on our front page. This revolver will be offered in a presentation case also.
Lee also developed what he called the Howdah. The original Howdah was, for the most part, a short sawed off double barrel pistol in a large caliber. It was carried by tiger hunters in India. They rode in a large basket that was also called a Howdah, on an elephant’s back. Sometimes they would wound the tiger or simply just piss him off enough and he would leap up on the elephant’s back to get at the hunters. That was where the Howdah pistol can into play. But that was the inspiration behind Lee’s Howdah pistols. They were built on the Contender (no Encores at that time) and in 6 calibers that Lee came up with. They were ferocious calibers at that time like a 500 Nitro cut to a bit under 2 inches and necked down to 375, 458, 475 and so on. By today’s standards several of our custom calibers have considerably more punch.
In the new revised Howdah, we plan on it being made in the G-2 and the Encore. Lee liked the 356 GNR a lot and it was his favorite caliber thru his later years and he asked me to include that cartridge in the line up, which we will. The others are much larger cartridges in 375, 416, 458, and 475 caliber. We plan on building 100 of them. Each is full custom as we start with a G-2 or Encore frame but everything else we build in my shops. The sights are made from scratch, as are the custom forend and grip. We plan on bringing the Howdah out in various exotic grip and forend materials including Mongolian stag and some fancy woods. Each gun will be numbered and be in the caliber the customer wants. Each gun will be available in either a special presentation case or you can have it without the case. Again this gun is shown on the front page of this web site.
Now to make this even a bit more confusing, we also are bringing out a series of revolvers under the Howdah banner also. These, like the Jurras Memorial revolver, will be built on our new frames, both standard and stretch frames and can be built in the caliber of the customer’s choosing. We already have orders for calibers from our 429 GNR, to 510 GNR, to the 460 S&W and so on. Like the guns above the new Howdah revolver will be offered in a custom presentation case or you can opt out of it and just go for the gun alone. We are working on the prototype of this new revolver right now and we should have it ready to show shortly after we get back from Africa.
By the way, there will be some special sales going on each day while I am gone. So make sure and check out the forum each day for the daily specials. I am not sure what Colleen has in mind as she has been real sneaky about the sale items. Whatever they are they will be good for that one day only, sort of like our Christmas specials each year.
Our Trail Gun has been very well received. When I came up with the idea I planned to release it in small calibers only. That has sort of changed a bit. The first ones were and are built on a highly customized Ruger Single Six. We convert it to centerfire and build special barrels and cylinders for it. Once it started rolling I got ideas for other Trail Gun versions. We are now building it on a couple of double actions also. The calibers in the single action so far have been 32-20, 327 Federal, 30 Carbine, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 10mm. The .400 is the largest caliber we will build it in as anything larger I don’t consider a safe way to go. We are working on experimental guns right now in a couple of other calibers and will know more in a bit.
Another new caliber is our new 321 GNR. This is basically a 357 Magnum case necked to 32 caliber. It is very powerful, considerably more than the 327 Federal and we got our first batch of the new 321 GNR dies in from Hornady earlier this week and I think all but one of two sets are already gone. But I did order more. This one we are building in the Blackhawk frame, so far. Other frames may be added later after a more complete testing.
We have several more calibers coming out soon. Our 256 Falcon which is the 30-30 necked down to 257 has been very well received. To add to the Falcon line up, we are coming out with a 221 Falcon, which is the 30-30 necked to 22 and the 241 Falcon which is the 30-30 necked to 243. Sean Harper is doing the ballistic testing right now and he says both are very powerful cartridges. These are for the G-2 and Encore frames and probably on the marlin 336 rifle. More on these as we go along.
In August it will be the 30th anniversary of our original Black Widow. It was the centerfold playmate of the month in a couple of magazines back in ’87. To commemorative this we are planning a special short run of our Black Widow later this summer. More on that next month. For now I need to finish packing for the hunt. I don’t remember packing any underwear while typing this. Until next month, remember, take a lady or youngster shooting and hunting. They are our future.
Until next time, God bless.