I am writing this on the last holiday weekend of the summer. Labor Day is 2 days away and with that comes our favorite time of year, hunting season. As is typical for us, neither Colleen, Kase or I were drawn for elk, Bighorn Sheep, Antelope, either of the 3 species of deer found in Arizona or any other critter that creeps or crawls. Our deer archery season is in progress and in many areas is an over the counter tag. But archery just doesn’t appeal to me any more. It used to but I loath tree stands, the monotony of sitting there for endless hours watching chipmunks fornicate. Plus the archery sport is so loaded with gimmicks these days, even more than gun hunting, if that is possible. What all this means is that if I want to hunt, our HHCs or rabbits and squirrels are my forte. Our squirrel season starts in about a month and rabbit season is all year long. They are considered varmints here. Our jackrabbits are as big as an average Jack Russell and a lot faster.
As I get older, like a lot of hunters my age, I seem to long for the guns of my youth. I have mentioned this before on here so as not to repeat myself, I decided to buy the guns I grew up with. Those guns were a J.C. Higgins Model 31 (made by High Standard for Sears) in 22 LR, and a J.C. Higgins 12 gauge semi auto shotgun, Model 66, again made by High Standard for Sears. It is amazing how many of our guns back in the 60s were sold by Sears. Most were made by High Standard, Mossberg, Savage or Marlin with Sears name brand on them.
Anyway, my Dad passed away about 10 years ago and left me his guns and they were in really pitiful shape. Being in Florida the last 15 years of his life and not having the health to get his guns out and clean them or keep them from rusting, they were pretty bad. He had an old 03-A3 in 30-06 that I cleaned up and sold. It didn’t have any sentimental ties for me as I had never hunted with it nor had I ever seen Pop use it. He had a Ruger P-90 in 45. Same thing. Nothing sentimental there as he must have bought it somewhere along the line. I sold it also. But the J.C. Higgins shotgun was the one I grew up with so I took it down to the smallest part and cleaned the rust off everything and reblued the barrel and receiver. My Mom gave it to him for Christmas 1960 and he and I used it for several years thereafter. It is amazing how heavy the guns we grew up with are compared to today’s shotguns. This one was all steel, no aluminum in this one. The stock was big and beefy like most were back in the 50s and 60s. It has the ugly Cutts Compensator on the barrel and that was really high tech back in 1960. You just dial it to whatever spread you needed for the game in mind, from wide open to extra full. High tech.
The shotgun turned out really nice and I make sure and check it every so often to make sure no rust or gunk survived the bluing bath. It is doubtful I will ever shoot it again but I like to have it around.
The J.C. Higgins 22  rifle wasn’t in his collection of guns. I have no idea where it went so I set out to find one. Thanks to the internet I found several. After bidding on several and being outbid, I got smart and bid on 3 of them, one Model 29, one Model 30 and the deluxe version Model 31. And typically I won all 3. But one never has too many 22 rifles. Not satisfied with the guns I had in high school and shortly thereafter, I decided to go a step farther. My absolute favorite 22 rifle after I left home and got into radio was the Marlin 99M-1. To make a long story short I did the same and bid on several and got 2 of them. Now I am set. Now if I could just find that hot little cheerleader I dated in high school.....but I digress.
A couple of years ago I went to one of the dealer shows, sort of like a SHOT SHOW except it was to shoot all the new guns of the day. it was called the Industry Shoot and what fun. Gun shop owners were invited to a 2 day shoot and we could shoot all the ammo we wanted and shoot any gun on display. Jerry Miculek, who shoots for Smith & Wesson, was there and did some fast shooting and gun handling for us. Anyway, one of the guns there was the CZ 22 LR, model 452, if I remember right. I was extremely impressed by it’s accuracy and slickness. At the time I wasn’t looking for any 22 rifles so I filed it back in my memory for later. At the time I was doing a lot of Africa, New Zealand and Australia hunting and 22 rifles just didn’t push my hot button.
A couple of years later I had shoulder surgery and now have 5 screws holding my right shoulder together so my long gun collection had to change. I sold off all my 500 nitros, 586 Nyati, 416 Rigby, 3 1/2” 12 gauge magnums and so on. I scaled down my collection and scaled down the power of the guns I shoot. I am now a 28 gauge over/under fanatic and all of a sudden my interest in 22 rifles emerged. I remembered that CZ of a few years ago and started looking for one. I love the 22 Magnum cartridge and guns chambered in it and lo and behold I found there was a CZ chambered in 22 Magnum. None of our distributors had them in stock so I did my usual thing and went to gunbroker (I have no patience when it comes to a gun I want, if I want it, I want it now, not next week). Anyway doing my normal bidding and being smarter than anyone else on gunbroker I bid on 2 or 3 22 LR and a couple of 22 Magnums, the 452 and the 455. you know the rest of that tale, I got 4 of them, 2 of each. Again remember, one can’t have too many 22 rifles.
A year or so later in an estate sale we bought out, I found a mint Remington 541-T in 22 LR. Such a little beauty. needless to say it ended up in my safe too. In another estate sale I found a new in the box Winchester 9422M in 22 Magnum. Guess where that went. Are you keeping score here? In that same estate sale the old gentleman had several other lever guns, among them a Marlin 1897 Texan in 22 LR with the long octagonal barrel, new in the box. Add one more to that tally. I already had a Ruger 10-22 and a couple of the 77-22 rifles, one in 22 LR and another in 22 Magnum that the Reeder clan has used extensively in Africa on monkeys and such. Here a while back a fellow traded in an almost new Weatherby XXII, the pretty little 22 LR semi autos from Weatherby. The fellow also traded in a mint original Armalite AR-7 in 22 LR. This was the original survival rifle that probably a dozen companies have manufactured. It is the one that takes down and the barrel, trigger guard and action goes into the stock to make a floating little survival rifle. Well, you already know where that one went.
So come squirrel season I am ready for whatever they throw at me....except...anyone know where I can find any 22 ammo?
Speaking of hunting, our Handgun Hunter’s Challenge (HHC) is coming up just a bit over 4 weeks away. Four weeks from this coming Tuesday evening, good Lord willing, Kase, Robert Runquist, Brent Foy, Beau Foy and I will be loading the Expedition up, hooking up the trailer and heading out.  if all goes well we should be pulling into the lodge about noon on Thursday. If you are not familiar with the HHC, it is a very special hunt we put on twice a year, in March and October. This one is October 2 thru October 5. We should have almost 50 hunters there from all points of the compass. The lodge holds 55 but we cut it off at 50 as often at the last minute someone brings a buddy or relative. That is fine and there is always room. The hunt is all day Friday and Saturday and Sunday morning if you haven’t tagged out. The hunt is at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee. If you would like to join us, consider this my invitation to you to join us. The lodge can be seen at www.wildernesshuntinglodge.com  Alan Wilson is the owner and currently has almost 15,000 acres under fence and a great selection of critters to hunt. His prices are about half of what the other preserves charge and no hidden charges. There will be probably close to 100 guns on display there for you to look at, shoot if you like and hunt with if you like. I always give away about $1000 in prizes plus we have a special prize to give away again this year. It is a great time for all and they treat you like kin. If you can, join us and if you do call to sign up, let me know so I can keep up with the amount of folks going and not overbook. The numbers to call are 931-839-2091, 931-260-1600, or 931-260-8081. Remember they are out in the boonies so if the call doesn’t go thru, try again later.
Not much happening in the new gun market. Prices went up the first of July so nothing new there.  All the gun magazines are pushing scopes, binoculars and spotting scopes.and as I have mentioned here before, I know it is just good business, but I hate it when they constantly push Zeiss, Swarovski and one or two other high dollar scopes and binocs. Don’t let me mislead you here. They are excellent optics but there are a lot of others just as good and hundreds if not thousands of dollars cheaper. I couple of gun writers have caused the term “gun whore” to be coined as they will say and write whatever they are paid to write. Unfortunately gun writers today, with few exceptions, would make great used car salesmen. There are a few that I can think of that I would believe, John Taffin, mark Hampton and one or two others come to mind. But that is about it.
Mossberg is busy these days as they have teamed up with several different TV personalities and are producing special guns with that logo on them. One they may regret promoting is teaming up with the head man of Sons of Guns, Will Hayden who was just arrested for child porn. Oooooops.
Those preppers that are gathering up gear “just in case” might want to check out the Taurus kit called “The First 24” and it is to help one survive the first 24 hours after a disaster. It is a small emergency kit includes a Taurus Judge, 45 LC/410, Aimpro Tactical Enhancement package, Bianchi Speed Strips, CRKT Sting Knife, Zippo fire starter, Suunto compass, Energizer batteries, a caddy for the batteries, Hornady Critical defense ammo, and a 550 paracord bundle. What, no condoms?
The big trend these days, and I am totally for it, is women hunters. This is getting really big all across the country. There are several women guides for dangerous and non dangerous game. There are rifles and shotguns designed for women, and special hunting clothes and accessories for the ladies. Browning has a new line of hunting clothes for the ladies called Hell’s Belles. Several rifles are designed for the ladies with shorter stocks and slimmer pistol grips. If you guys will give the lady in your household a chance, she might just kick your butt in the hunting field. Women have been on the front line in the military too. When Russia fell years ago and lots of secrets leaked out it was found that most of Russia’s snipers from Viet Nam onward were women. Women are just inherently better shots than men as they control their emotions better.  Give the ladies a new rifle or shotgun of her own guys, and you will have a new hunting partner. Back in ‘91 when Colleen and I got together she had never hunted and shot only a little bit. I took her to Africa and she took to it like a duck to water. She has hunted all over the world with me ever since. Get your lady into shooting and hunting, you won’t regret it.
That is it for this time. I will have more info on new products in the next issue. Like I said above, take a youngster or lady shooting and hunting. They are our future.
Til next time,
God bless,