As I type this we are exactly 4 weeks and one day from our upcoming Africa Hunt. And as usual I am far from being ready. My guns are built so that is one step. We have had horrible winds every weekend for the last 6 weeks and no chance to get out and sight them in. I sighted them in at the shop but that is only 25 yards. I realize I can sight them in for 100 or 200 from 25 yards but that is in theory only. Murphy’s Law resides in Africa. I learned that long ago. As is normal I am bringing 2 Encores and a revolver. The Encores are chambered in 338 GNR and 378 GNR. Both have proven themselves over and over in Africa, New Zealand, Australia and in quite a few states here in the U.S. The revolver was a toss up, either 510 GNR or 429 GNR. My normal back up gun overseas has been the 510 GNR and it has done a great job for me. This time, I am not looking for any 2000 lb critters so I opted for the 429 GNR. This will be the first time in many years I won’t have brought my 41 GNR in the G-2 and I am not sure why. But it stays home and will probably teach me a lesson by never hitting the right spot again. When I open the safe I hear a small voice saying “take me, take me”. But this time she stays home.
As I look back at some of the videos of the early Africa hunts I find it a bit humorous. Back in ’92 thru ’95 I believed all the BS that certain gun writers spouted, like use a heavy bullet and go for a heart shot and so on. On the first couple of safaris I used my 450 GNR and went with the 510 grain soft point bullet and the 500 grain solid, both from Hornady. This was in the Contender and no muzzle brakes. I found out real quick that heart shots are not the way to go. Point of shoulder shots are a much better way to go. An animal has 30 to 40 seconds after his heart has been blown up before the message reaches his brain. He can run a long ways in 30 seconds. They don’t run far with a broken shoulder. The bullets worked but beat hell out of me and my gun. On the second trip over the first morning I got my guns out to check the scopes as they sometimes get shaken up on the trip over. Plus the PH wants us to check the guns anyway. At the first shot with the 450 GNR, the front lens in my scope rolled out and fell on the ground. Thank the Lord I had the foresight to bring along an extra scope so all was not lost. The same happened a year or so later with my 416 GNR and the 400 grain soft point. First shot OK, 2nd shot a foot to the right, third shot a foot to the left. Blown scope. And back then our choices in scopes weren’t as varied as today. We had Burris, Leupold and Bushnell if I remember right. I normally go with Burris as they are best for my eyes. Second choice is the Leupold but to my eyes the field of view is smaller. Kase is just the opposite, with Leupold as his first choice. We have quite a few options these days in handgun scopes, and to be honest there really isn’t a “best scope”. If there were all the others would be out of business as nobody wants to admit they are using the 2nd best or 3rd best scope. Human nature.
We have 12 hunters heading to Africa this time. That includes Don Wood, Larry Farley, Britt Jackson, Alcorn Russell, Irv Coutts, Nate Henning, Tom Cothrun, Blake Naugle and Rick Sim’s whole clan. We normally work 2 hunters to a PH but in Rick’s case there will be 3 with he, his wife and grandson. That leaves 9 hunters and 2 to a PH doesn’t work out. So one of our hunters gets to hunt by himself with his PH of course. We will draw straws to see who gets it and then we will tell Alcorn he lost.
The flight over is about 16 to 17 hours. That won’t be too bad. I understand South Africa Airlines is working hard to please the people on the plane, and this time they will have a gay rodeo on there. Lots of squealing involved in that. Looking forward to that. Last trip over they had a rooster neutering contest. I heard this time it was a toss up between a wino flogging and the gay rodeo. Boy, that would have been a hard choice to make.
The first night we are in Africa it will be too late to drive the 6 hours to camp so we will stay in Margarita’s Bed, Breakfast, Bar & Hospital. The next day we will drive to camp and the hunt start the next day, June 1st.
Most of the folks going on this hunt are FNGs (the last 2 letters stand for New Guys). Only Rick Sim and myself have been over before. So it will be enjoyable watching the new folks experience Africa for the first time.
Speaking of hunts our HHC will be held only in October from here on out. The March hunt is a bad time for a lot of folks with bad weather plus tax time shortly thereafter. The Octrober hunt is always packed and usually a full house. Several people have already signed up for the hunt. If you want to join us, call Sandy at 931-979-4050 to sign up.
The NRA show was this weekend in Atlanta and it was good to see Donald Trump was the keynote speaker. The last time our president spoke at the NRA show was Ronald Reagan in the early 80s. It is good to see a common sense conservative president for a change. He may not be exactly what some folks wanted but he is a helluva lot better than the alternative.
Ruger, as usual has quite a few new guns out, most of them not shown at the SHOT show. They have their 3” GP-100 in 44 Special, a new 5” GP-100 in 44 Special, a new 4” Redhawk in 41 Magnum (I am hoping they will bring back the old 5½” or the 7½” 41 Magnum.) That was a great gun but maybe a bit ahead of it’s time. The 41 Magnum is much more accepted these days and I think would do a lot better than in the late 80s.
I saw and handled one of the new 2nd edition Colt Cobras this past week. I have not been the biggest admirer of Colt these last few years but I will have to admit this little revolver is nice. It locks up tight as a bank vault and the finish and fit are about as good as it gets. If the rest of them are as nice as this one and they keep the price reasonable this one will do very well. The last I heard the suggested retail was $699.
A couple of companies that have previously only built extremely good bullets have for the last couple of years been building rifles in their own proprietary calibers and have been stressing ”the fastest bullet ever” etc etc. They don’t say anything about accuracy. This may come back and bite them in the ass as quite often the faster you push a bullet the less accuracy there is. My humble opinion.
There are already rumors going around concerning a new Gen.5 Glock. We have already had young guys come in asking if we have one. There is no such thing. Glock has been working on a new version of their pistols aimed at the law enforcement market. But it is only in the prototype stage, nothing concrete yet. The funny thing is the picture our Glock rep showed us was almost exactly like the Gen 1 Glock except for the light rail. I guess what goes around comes around.
Another trend that I hear more and more about every day from the young shooters, and this will probably piss some off, is “ballistic coefficient”. It seems that they assume if the bullet has a high BC, they will hit whatever they aim at. They don’t mention bullet placement or reasonable distances of the shot. A hunter doesn’t need to even worry about ballistic coefficient if he is a decent shot and can put the pullet in the right spot and most importantly, keep his shots within a reasonable range. Personally I think 400 to 450 yards should be max for any common sense hunter. Taking those 700 and 800 yard shots and longer is for idiots that read too many sniper type gun magazines and watch way too many You Tube videos of other idiots. All the long shots do is leave a lot of wounded animals around. Look at how many deer and black bear have been taken with the 30-30 Winchester or Marlin, and the round nose or flat nose bullets required in these rifles have pretty much no BC at all, yet more critters have been taken by the 30-30 and of course the 30-06 than all the other guns combined. Also look at all the handgun hunters in the country that shoot flat nose bullets or JHP bullets, again with no BC at all, yet they get their game every year. Again as above, my humble opinion only.
A good example of a good handgun shot and someone that always gets their game is Lee Jurras. Lee has been a good friend and a mentor to me since the early 70s and the man could work wonders with his Contenders and Auto Mags. Lee passed away this past week from cancer but he taught many young handgun hunters a lot before he left us.
Speaking of Lee Jurras, knowing he had cancer I tried to spend as much time with him as I could and talked to him on the phone 2 or 3 times a week for the last year and a half. One weekend spent with him we were talking about our Africa hunts, which always seemed to perk him up. During one of these conversations he asked me to do him a favor. I told him absolutely. He asked me to build a Lee Jurras Memorial revolver with his birth date, 1934 and date of death, 2017, on it. He knew he was on his way out and 2017 would be the year. The gun was built on a Ruger single action in 475 Linebaugh and also had his signature on it and some other special engraving. We rushed the gun into production and got it to him about 6 weeks before he passed away. He wanted it in 475 Linebaugh which we did. Hamilton Bowen furnished the rear sight and John Linebaugh the front sight. Even in Lee’s weakened condition he shot the gun several times just days before his death. That gun was his baby up til the end. We are going to do what he asked and make 20 very special guns, in the Lee E. Jurras Memorial series. Each one numbered and each one in a nice presentation case. There is more info on this on my front page.
Also as a tribute to Lee we are bringing back his Howdah pistols. He asked me to do this and asked for the 356 GNR as one of the cartridges it would be built in. The 356 GNR was Lee’s favorite, I think as it is much like his 357 Auto Mag which was his favorite semi auto cartridge and one he made some great shots with, like antelope at well over 200 yards. We have 6 of our own cartridges we plan to build the new Howdah in, starting with the 356 GNR. The others are 375 GNR#2, 416 GNR, 440 GNR, 450 GNR and 476 GNR. This will be a very limited edition series. More info on this can be seen on the front page of this site.
There is a lot more to tell you about but it will have to wait until the next edition. The next one will be just before the African hunt so I may do it a few days earlier. That is probably just as well as it will keep Jason Parr (Puffy) from bitchin’.
Until next time, take a youngster or lady shooting. They are our future.