Gary's Gun Notes #71
With the election only days away I am hearing more and more disturbing news. Several gun people I have talked to are voting for Obama because they don't agree with Bush on the war. This is the most asinine thing I have seen in a long time. Bush has nothing to do with McCain and both are totally different in respect to the war. Bush is doing what he believes is right and damn the consequences. Unfortunately the consequences are killing the republican party. But still I can't understand any conservative voting for Obama, the absolute most liberal politician in Washington. This man can and will do irreparable damage to this country, not only in the gun industry but in every aspect. Almost as insane is those that plan to vote for the independent ticket. That might as well be a vote for Obama.
Our only chance to keep this country whole and safe is to get out and vote for McCain. He and Palin can be a stabilizing factor in this country and stop some of the wave of liberal policies to come. For the sake of this country and all of us in it, we must defeat Obama. There is no second chance here. It is all or nothing.
Our Big Boar/Big Bore Hunt is history. And a great hunt it was. We had almost a full camp with 3 of our hunters moving back a week just days before the hunt. Still we had almost 20 hunters there and everyone had a great time. We hunted 4 different areas this time. Last time we hunted basically 2 areas. This time we hunted a large area behind the lodge, the overgrown corn field that is always loaded with hogs, the canyon area, and a new area (for us at least it was new) down the road a bit.
The canyon area is rough hunting with extremely steep hillsides and very thick areas where you can't see 10 feet in front of you. About half the group hunted the canyon the first day and several large hogs were taken in that area. The large area behind the lodge is loaded with hogs, sheep and various exotic deer. The other half of the group hunted that area all 3 days and several very nice Dall Sheep were taken along with some really nice Corsican sheep, an exotic deer or two and lots of hogs.
The 3rd area was the corn field which has been a favorite for a couple of hunts now. It is an overgrown corn field that is so thick you can be within 5 feet of a hog and not even see it. Several of the guys took their hogs at point blank range in the corn field.
. There are actually 5 areas to hunt at the lodge there in Monterey but I don't think anyone hunted a large area down the road from the lodge. It has lots of red stag, buffalo, feral hogs, sheep, various exotic deer, and huge elk. Using our binoculars we watched several monster elk feeding in that area along with some very respectable red stag. There were also a couple of absolute monster buffalo in that area, but as I mentioned I don't think anyone hunted in that area.
Down the road past that area is another large parcel that also has quite a few red stag and some really large elk. This is the area Kase and I hunted. On the previous 2 hunts the main guide, Bruce Wilson, had told me about a Muntjac in there that was extremely hard to find and hard to hit when you did find him. I have been wanting a Muntjac since a hunt in Ohio in '92 when I saw one on a ranch. I had heard a lot about them but never seen but that one. And a strange critter it is.
The Muntjac is also called the Barking Deer, and the Chinese Water Deer. It is a small animal weighing maybe 20 pounds, maybe. It has small horns that stick up maybe a foot. They are all gnarled and spiky with thorn like projections all over them. One of the unusual things about the Muntjac is his fangs. He has two long fangs, one on each side of his jaw, extending down from his upper jaw about 2 inches or more. He also is very aggressive and barks like a dog when pissed off.
Bruce had told me on one of the other hunts of seeing this Muntjac run out of heavy brush, barking and snapping his jaws and running other deer off. We looked for him on the last hunt but never could find him. That just made him more desirable on this one.
Besides wanting to hunt one of the very few exotic critters I have never taken, I also had a new cartridge to try out. The cartridge is one of the 3 new Raptor cartridges I developed over the past 9 months or so. The three cartridges are the 240 Raptor, the 257 raptor and the 6.5 Raptor. The 240 is actually a .243 caliber cartridge, the 257 Raptor is obviously a 25 caliber and the 6.5 is a .264 caliber. All three cartridges are based on the 204 case necked up. Each has a short neck and sharp 40 degree shoulder. Each of these three new cartridges were developed for small game hunting. They should all be fine for medium size deer and smaller animals, so the Muntjac was the perfect test.
We were eating lunch the second day and Bruce came in and whispered in my ear that he had driven past the area where the Muntjac stayed and had seen him walking into a heavy brush area and lie down. He said if we hurried we could probably catch him taking his afternoon siesta. Obviously there was no opposition to this idea. We grabbed our gear and headed down the road.
When we got to the area where Bruce had seen the Muntjac, he told us to walk to the far side of the field and hide in some heavy brush and he would walk thru the area where he had spotted the animal and hopefully spook him out toward us.
We sat in the grass waiting for the small critter. I had the 257 Raptor loaded with the 75 grain red tipped Hornady V-Max bullet doing somewhere around 2800 fps I hoped. Not having any chance to get a barrel to Sean Harper who does our ballistic testing, I was just guessing at it's speed. That bullet is extremely accurate in my 12" barrel and I figured the Muntjac would be a good test for it.
As we waited we saw some movement way out there down by a fence row. He was so far out I had a really hard time finding him. Kase's eagle eyes spotted him first and finally I found him. He was way out there and much smaller than I remembered. He looked like a rat sneaking along. All of a sudden he turned and ran back into the heavy brush, which I assume meant safety for him. As he ran back into the brush I grabbed my Encore and ran up closer to where he came out.
When he came out the first time he was maybe 200 yards out, the second time he eased out he was maybe 140 to 150 yards away. Again he didn't like being in the open and ran back into the head high brush. Again I grabbed my gear and ran a bit closer, this time getting to a bit under 100 yards from where we had last seen him.
Bruce was still zig zagging in the heavy brush trying to get him out. I was flat on my stomach and the only rest I had was a water bottle that I had yanked out of my vest pocket and placed in front of me and rested the forend of the encore on the bottle cap. Not much of a rest, in fact a very wobbly rest, but all I had. Finally I sensed more than saw the slight movement to my left. The sun was beating down on my back and head causing a bit of sweat to dribble down from under my hat. Dropping my face, I wiped the sweat off my brow before it got into my eyes.
Finally he eased out into the open area. He didn't like it at all and constantly moved back and forth, wanting to get back into the heavy brush. I finally gave up on him coming to a full stop and when he slowed down I pulled the 2 pound trigger.
Kase was maybe a hundred yards behind me watching thru the binocs and he said he saw the Muntjac slam to the ground before he heard the shot. The 257 Raptor had been blooded and had done a great job.
Later as we were watching the skinners skin him out, one of them called me over to show me something. The little 75 grain V-Max bullet had gone all the way thru the animal, hitting him just above the shoulder. It made a small hole in and a slightly bigger hole coming out, so I figured the bullet had acted like a FMJ and just zipped thru. But when we opened him up, everything from the stomach forward was mush. The bullet had not opened up but the hydro-static shock had exploded everything inside, for an instant kill.
As we picked him up to take him to the truck and head back to the lodge, Bruce asked Kase if he wanted a large hog. Obviously Kase did as he had a rifle we had built in '93 for an African hunt and the rifle had never been blooded. The rifle was a Ruger #1 chambered in Kase's own cartridge, the 450 KNR. This cartridge is a 470 Nitro case necked down to .458 and an impressive cartridge it is. Using about 95 grains of powder and a 500 grain soft point, it was perfect medicine for a large hog.
Bruce said when he was driving back to the lodge to tell us about the Muntjac, he saw a large hog rooting around in a shady spot and he figured the hog would lie down for a nap and probably still be there. We put the Muntjac in the truck and walked over past an old ramshackle barn to some extremely thick brush. Bruce told Kase to stand on one side of the patch of brush and he would pitch a rock in to wake the big hog up and get him out.
On the first throw the hog stood up but Kase could only see a slight image of him. When Bruce threw the second rock into the heavy brush the hog moved enough for Kase to see which end was which and put a 500 grain soft point in a perfect Texas Heart Shot right up the big hog's ass. The big bullet came out the back of the hog's neck and dropped him like a rock. The animal was still flopping around and Kase put another round into his neck to end it all. The big hog weighed in at a bit over 400 pounds. As Kase said later, the only bad thing about taking that hog is that it pretty well ruins his hog hunting days. The chances of finding a hog bigger than that are pretty slim.
All in all it was a great hunt with some fine trophies taken. And some unusual guns were used too. Ray Massey took a couple of big hogs with his Marlin 45-70 and then topped all that off by taking a bison with the same gun. Several 45-70s were taken to the fields and other large caliber guns were used on the hunt too. Javier Bringas brought his double rifle chambered in 9.3X74, which is very close to the 375 H&H ballistics. He took a couple of nice critters with it. Several revolvers in 510 GNR were used and at least one or two encore barrels chambered in 510 were also put to good use. A couple of 429 GNR revolvers were there as were one or two 410 GNRs and 41 GNRs.. My congratulations go out to all the guys on their good shooting.
If the economy hangs in there and nothing drastic happens between now and next spring, I will be planning another of our HHC hunts in Monterey in February or March.
Well, let's see. What is new, or somewhat new. Lots of recalls of new products and re-releases and rebates to spur the sales on. Ruger made some minor changes to their new 19 shot SR-9 automatic. They have reworked the gripframe and trigger and re-released it and it is doing very well. Taurus also did some minor re-working their 24/7 auto and it is doing very well as is their 1911 45 auto. Both guns have rebates of $75 and $50 on them thru the end of the year.
The trend toward making hunting guns out of what used to be assault rifles is continuing. Remington's new R-15 in 223 and the R-25 in 308, among other calibers are now on the market. The price surprised me on both guns. I haven't seen yet exactly what they are selling for, but the wholesale on the R-15 is about a grand and the wholesale on the R-25 is over $1100. With the economy being a bit tight right now, I don't know how these higher than normal prices will work. Also out with a "hunting" AR rifle is DPMS, and Armalite. The Armalite is being promoted chambered in the 338 Federal cartridge which to me is sort of ho hum, as it is pretty much identical ballistically to the old 358 Winchester, a 308 necked up to 338. It should be a good deer and black bear round, but not for really big game. Oh yes there is a new name for these sporting tactical rifles. DPMS has coined it and it is a Sportical rifle. Sounds reasonable to me.
Speaking of Taurus a moment ago. They are coming out with a new series of handguns called the 800 series. The gun comes in 40 caliber or 45 acp. The 45 is the model 845 and looks much like the 24/7 that is out now except has an external hammer. It was developed for the Special Forces Operations guys and is said to have a very high rate of fire, ambi safety and decocker, accessory rail, a checkered grip and a black Tennifer finish. This is the same extremely durable finish found on the Glocks. It has what they call the Strike Two trigger system that is supposed to be something completely new.
A while back Bushnell bought out Simmons scopes. Now they have bought out Millett Sights. Millett of course, has been one of the leaders in replacement handgun sights for years and recently added scopes to their line-up.
CVA is stepping in to take advantage of some new rules in various states, especially in the south. Many states now are allowing the 45-70 cartridge to be used in their primitive weapons hunt. So CVA has come out with a new rifle called the Optima, chambered in 45-70. A single shot that looks strikingly like the New England Firearms 45-70, the Optima should do very well in these states.
Surprisingly Ruger is getting into the quick draw sport. In the past most companies have shied away from this sport for liability reasons. But now Ruger has gone full bore into it with their New Vaquero CFDA model which is Cowboy Fast Draw Association.
Many years ago there was an all bronze receiver revolver chambered in 444 and 45-70 caliber and was called, if I remember correctly, the Golden Bison. Well, the company is back with another model of huge revolver called the Super Six Classic. It is an all bronze frame and 10 inch octagonal barrel. I have truly mixed feelings toward this revolver as I really feel it to be a gimmick. The 45-70 has to be loaded with rifle powder and all that powder simply will not burn in a 10 inch barrel. But probably a lot of people will buy it because it looks mean. Oh well.
As we have been mentioning here before, the trend now is for extremely high capacity semi autos. Ruger has their 19 shot 9mm out and now Springfield Armory has followed their lead with their XD-M in 9mm. It also is 19+1 rounds of 9mm.
Savage has come out with what I think is the first commercial "snow camo" on one of their rifles. It is the model 10 Predator Hunter package and comes with scope and all and the full package is done in snow camo. And speaking of a light colored type camo, Sig has come out with their Tactical Trainer which is their Mosquito in 22 LR in desert camo and comes with a fake suppressor. The whole package is called the Desert Mosquito.
Those of you that shoot the old match Garands in 30-06, there is a new match ammo made just for this rifle. Hornady is making it and it is called the M-1 Garand Match 30-06. Loaded up to the highest specs, it has a 168 grain A-Max bullet at 2710 fps and is loaded especially for the Garand's gas port system.
Hopefully the next Gun Notes will have some good news for our country in it. But it all depends on you. Get out and vote McCain and get your buddies to do the same. If we lose this one, we stand to lose everything. VOTE!!