As I type this it sure doesn’t feel like the latter part of September. More like the first of November. Temperature is in the mid 40s, wind howling at about 40 mph, and a cold drizzling rain. Not a good day for man nor beast to be out. But our elk season is in full swing now so I am sure a lot of brave souls are out there beating the bushes. We have several elk seasons here. The early archery season just ended and the early bull elk season just started. The bulls are gathering up their harems and this is the time to take them unaware with a sweet sounding cow call. Our weather hasn’t been cooperating very well with heavy rains over the past week or two and winds bad enough to blow the human scent all over the woods.
And speaking of hunts our 81st handgun hunt is coming up in the next few days. We will be leaving out Tuesday evening and with 4 of us taking turns driving, good Lord willing, we should pull into the parking lot at the lodge about noon Thursday. This latest HHC is, like the last 12 or 13 hunts is scheduled to be held at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee. We started going there in early 2008 and have done so twice a year ever since. I had a fellow call yesterday asking about available space on the hunt. I told him there was always room for one more and he was more than welcome. He said the hunt must be a great one for you to keep going back. I told him it is a great hunt, but the hunt itself is just part of it. It is a chance to get away for a couple of days and see some old friends that I only get to see once or twice a year. Those over 50 know as you get older, close friends become more valuable. None of us are promised tomorrow. So if you have a chance to spend time with old friends, never pass it up. Along with that is the chance to make new friends and on top of that we get to hunt. What more could a man ask for?
This year, like most years, we get to hunt some unusual animals. How many hunters in this country of ours ever gets to hunt a white buffalo? Well, we can if we so choose. There is a whole herd of them there. We may not be able to go to Australia but we can hunt the Australian water buffalo. There is also a herd of them there. How about the huge Wood Bison. This is the monster Bison that will easily top a ton on the hoof. How about the African Watusi bull, or the New Zealand Red Stag. Or the Himalayan Yak. Or the north Africa Addax, or the North African Scimitar Horned Oryx. Or maybe the Blackbuck from India, or the Nilgai also from India. Or maybe the European Muntjac, the tiny little fanged deer. And we may not get drawn for elk out here in the west but we can still hunt them at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge and for about 1/3 of what they would run you out here. Out here a guided bull Elk hunt for a big 7X7 bull would run you at least $20,000 or more. At Wilderness, under $5000.  So you see, we can fulfill those dreams of hunting Africa, New Zealand, Australia or Europe and do it without all the extreme cost and expenditure of time. It is all there waiting for us at Wilderness Lodge. Plus all the normal wild boar, feral hogs, Sika, Axis and Fallow deer, Corsican, Merino, or Black Hawaiian sheep, or the hard to get Barbary Sheep, also known as the Aoudad. or the beautiful pure white Dall sheep. And of course the strange looking 4 Horned Sheep. All these and a lot more are awaiting us in this next week in Tennessee and if you would like to join us on one of these hunts, by all means, do so. Consider this my personal invitation to you to join un on one of our HHCs (Handgun Hunter’s Challenge).
Speaking of the HHC, I have been going thru my gear today trying to decide what guns to bring. As soon as I open the safe door, my G-2 in 41 GNR yells “take me, take me”. And of course I will. That little 9” 41 GNR has taken animals all over the world for me. It has accounted for more critters than should be allowed. I wouldn’t think about leaving home without it. I also plan to bring 2 more G-2 single shot pistols, chambered in my 356 GNR and the third one in my 257 Raptor. I have had the strong urge for the last couple of years to take a big critter with the 257 Raptor. At first I think, no, it’s too small. But them I remember Al Goerg took several Black Bear (2 in one day) with the 22 K-Hornet with a 37 grain bullet. He also took Caribou with the miniscule 256 Winchester in the Ruger  Hawkeye single shot pistol. He also took Brown Bear with a Smith & Wesson Model 29 44 Magnum revolver with loads that were nowhere near what we have today.  He did these things because there was nobody standing over his shoulder telling him he couldn’t do it. Al Goerg, and his Pioneering Handgun Hunting book are to blame for me doing what I enjoy today, building and hunting with handguns. So I feel I owe it to him to try the little 257 Raptor on something big. Hunting is all about 3 things, Bullet Placement, Bullet Placement and Bullet Placement. All else is secondary. Over the last 10 years that little 41 GNR of mine with a 210 grain bullet has taken 3 Bison bulls, 2 Water Buffalo, 2 Yak, 2 Watusi, a 6X6 bull elk and probably more that I can’t think of right now and each of those with one shot each. Plus a truckload of whitetail deer thru the last 35 years. So we shall see. If all goes well, maybe that little 257 Raptor will strut it’s stuff. If not then the 41 GNR is standing in the wings.
Gathering up the guns and ammo we will need and might need I have my 3 G-2s that I mentioned above. For back up my favorite 2 revolvers are my 429 GNR Alaskan Hunter and my 510 GNR 510 Hunter. I never feel undergunned no matter what I am hunting if I have one of those on my hip. Kase’s list of guns is the same as always with one new comer. His 378 GNR Encore has taken game all over the world, as has his Dan Wesson 445 Super Mag. He has added a 375 GNR G-2 in the last year or so and those 3 guns will comprise his handgun hunting battery for this hunt. Kase has a thing for 375 caliber anything just as I do the 41 caliber. But they work, so no need to explain why we choose them.
As of right now we have 47 people signed up for the HHC. In most cases one or two will drop out at the last minute due to unforeseen problems and usually one or two will bring along a friend or family member so we should have a minimum of 40 hunters there. And with around 15,000 acres to hunt in in several parcels of land we shouldn’t be crowded at all.
An unusual thing has come across my desk lately that I thought I would pass along. A company by the name of Umarex has worked out deals with Colt and Ruger to make air guns with the Colt and the Ruger logos on them. The little Colt pistols are pellet guns and also 22 LR pistols, both that look exactly like the Colt Government model, except not in 45 caliber. Now they have worked out a deal with Ruger to build and sell air rifles. Most of these are 22 caliber pellet guns and seem to be very well made. They boast velocities up to almost 1300 fps and that is not bad at all. Some of the air rifles also come with scope mounted and the prices are about half of what comparable European air rifles cost. If you are thinking of picking up an air rifle or pistol, check these out.
Another company has done somewhat the same but I don’t really think they have Colt’s OK on this one. The company is Gletcher Military Precision. They make air pistols that look just like the Colt Government Model 1911 and another that looks like the Russian Makarov. On the side of the air pistol that looks like the 1911, it says CLT 1911, not COLT, but CLT 1911. Sneaky.
Last year the hot color for firearms was pink, hot passionate pink. This fall the color is purple, Possum Puke Purple. And several companies are jumping in the purple bandwagon. Beretta, EAA and Khar Arms each are premiering putrid purple pistols this fall. And I thought the Muddy Girl camo pattern was rough on the eyes, the purple pistols are even worse.
Glock pistols are now pretty much all made in the states. They are smart in heading off any idiotic ban on importation that our White House may decide to do. Most of their series are now listed as the model 17USA, model 19USA etc. The only ones I have seen lately that still say made in Austria are the longslide 40 caliber model 35 and the 45 Gap model 39. The 45 Gap has been a terrible flop for Glock. It was the solution to a problem that didn’t exist.
Ruger has a new super low priced pistol coming out called the 9E. It is 9mm and I assume the E stands for economical. And it is that. It is a plain Jane 18 shot 9mm that looks like a plain SR9. But knowing Ruger, the gun will shine in all other areas like all theirs do.
If from time to time I mention something new and say it is ready to ship, you may have already seen one at your local gun shop. For the last couple of years so many new guns slated for delivery at a certain time have not been actually released for nearly a year later than announced. So I have set several things aside to actually see if they are coming out or not. And if it looks like they are then I mention it.
Four years ago there were 9 registered AR-15 manufacturers listed. Today there are 201 manufacturers listed as making either the full guns or the uppers and lowers for the guns. And with the glut on the market of these guns now is the time to buy one. We have the S&W M&P AR-15 at our shop for well under $700-. This same gun was well over $1500 2 years ago. So if you would like to add one to your stable. or add another one, now is the time. With elections coming up in a little over a month, it wouldn’t surprise me if another democrat orchestrated “event” should show up to get the liberals screaming to ban “assault” rifles again. If that does happen the prices will skyrocket again.
Speaking of prices skyrocketing again, since Obama “punished” Russia by banning the importation of Russian guns and parts the prices on AK-47s have tripled. It is not unusual to see a Russian made AK go for over $2000. Even guns not made in Russia but look like AK-47s have jumped in price. One of our distributors sent out flyers last week with SKS rifle “on sale” at only $400 dealer price. These are the same ugly, well used SKS rifles that sold for $99 to $125 2 years ago. And none of them were made in Russia. People just think “Russian made” when they see an SKS, even though a large percentage were made in several other slavic countries.
Muzzleloaders continue to advance in the high tech departments, and several states are just as quick to ban them from their “Primitive weapon” seasons. I really don’t blame either side. It is good for muzzle loaders to continue to get more and more accurate and more dependable and on the other side of the coin, there is no way these guns can be considered “primitive weapons”.  A lot of the older muzzle loading hunters have not even gone to the in line rifles, much less the bolt action rifles and such that are expanding every year but the younger generation wants firearms capable of better accuracy and longer range, so I can see the rationale in both. But the newer more high tech rifles are simply not “primitive weapons”.
I mentioned a while back that several companies were jumping on the hog hunting bandwagon with so many hunters in the South hunting the wild boar and feral hogs that are destroying farmer’s crops everywhere. Not to be outdone, Fiocchi has come out with their own super duper hog killing slug. This is a 12 gauge slug, all steel, no lead. Lord knows we wouldn’t want one of the California Condors to take a Greyhound bus to the South and eat some hog guts with some lead in it. This 1 ounce slug (437 grains if you are not up on the ounce/grain conversion table) comes out at 1630 fps for 2577 foot pounds of lay down, don’t ever get up. This one should be popular among the hog hunters everywhere. It is call the Boar and Buck Slayer. The name says it all.
Above I mentioned the abundance of AR-15s on the market (I know I am supposed to call them the MSR for Modern Sporting Rifle so as not to hurt anyone’s feeling by mentioning those horrible black rifles...but they can just shove it). Anyway, if you run across an AR-15 at a gun show or elsewhere at a good price (Your brother-in-law for instance) be very careful. With so many parts out there and many of these lowers have no serial numbers and have been put together by a wannabe gunsmith, take a good look at the gun. Make sure it is made by a reputable company and has a serial number on it. Making a gun from scratch is legal, BUT by the way the law reads a person can make one for his own use but cannot sell it without a serial number. The Federal law is so confusing and to fully understand it you have to be a lawyer or a mentally retarded politician, (I just repeated myself, didn’t I?). We are a licensed manufacturer and I do know I can build a special firearm for my own use with no serial number but cannot sell it. I am sure that holds true with other folks as well, especially those not licensed to do so.  I have seen 2 of these come into our shop in the last month or two with no serial number, and have passed on them. Most guys that are putting them together know what they are doing but be very careful of one that does not have the correct markings on it. Nuff said.
That’s it for today. On our next Gun Notes I will hopefully have the results of this coming HHC. In the meantime, as always, when you go shooting or hunting, take a lady or youngster. They are our future.
Til next time,
God bless.