Gary's Gun Notes #27

This time of year is always hard to get my Gun Notes done on time. It seems that as soon as I get off the phone with one person the other line rings. A lot of interest in many of the new products that are coming out this fall. There have been a lot of calls for the 204 Ruger in rifles and Encores over at our gun shop next door. The main problem is the ammo. It seems to have dried up and at the worst time possible. Colleen has it back ordered thru at least 5 distributors. 

The 475 Linebaugh in the 1895 Marlin has been dropped, at least that is what one of their techs told me recently. I was afraid of this. The 1895 is a long action and the 475 Linebaugh is a short cartridge and it's very hard to get one to work in the other.

Another Marlin is out that I feel very good about. That is our new Big Horn Hunter which is the 410 GNR cartridge built on the Marlin 1894. The only snags are small ones. The BHH is built on your base gun and the base gun has to be one of the newer Marlins with the cross-bolt safety and chambered in either 44 or 45. If you have a good used 1894 in either of those calibers then we can build you our Big Horn Hunter. It works extremely well too and accuracy is excellent. Larry Kovach hasn't had a chance to chrono the 255 in the 16 or 18 inch barrel yet but will do so soon. About a 3 month delivery time on this one.

I got a big batch of ammo from Grizzly Ammunition recently and although I haven't had time to shoot any of it. it sure looks good. They make it in 475 Linebaugh and 500 Linebaugh and in boxes of 20. This will be especially good news for those that shoot the 500 Linebaugh. Now there is some affordable ammo on the market. The 475 comes in 5 loads, the 500 Linebaugh comes in 4 loads. They also load all the standard calibers from 357 mag up thru 454 and load the 480 Ruger, 500 S&W, 45-70 +P, and 50 Alaskan plus a couple of other standard rifle loads. You can get in touch with them at 503-556-3006. They are based in Rainier Oregon.

If you shoot in the cowboy shoots and you use one of the Colt clones, you will need this next info. Parts for the Uberti, Pietta, Pedersoli, San Marcos and a lot of other replica guns are now available here in the states. The company is VTI out of Lakefield CT. You can call them at 860-435-8068 or get them on line at .

In case you haven't been on our forum lately and haven't heard about our bear hunt in Alaska 3 weeks ago, it was a helluva hunt. Unfortunately the weather played havoc with the grizzly population. It has been extremely hot in Alaska and the grizzlys are feeding from about midnite til 4 in the morning. The black bears are out all day and are very unusual in that area. It is like they have never seen people before. And when they do see you the either try to stalk you and come in behind you or stand and challenge you or they simply charge. We were seeing 6 to 10 bears a day and in most cases when they realized we were there they did just what I mentioned above. They would circle around and try to come in at us from behind, often to within 5 to 10 feet of where we were sitting in the brush. They would stamp their front feet and challenge us. Dave Manson was charged by a grizzly the second day and killed her within about 10 feet of him with a 348 caliber rifle. It took several shots to put her down. Unfortunately she had a cub that was about 1 1/2 years old with her (plenty old enough to live on his own), but the law there says if the sow has a cub she has to be turned into the state, which he did. Later in the hunt he took a large black bear with his 348. 

My bear was a medium size black bear, about 250 pounds, but he chose me instead of me choosing him. I was sitting on a point overlooking the confluence of two streams and had been sitting there for a couple of hours. I stood up to stretch my legs and took a couple of steps back from the camp chair where I had been sitting. I heard a grunt from behind me and turning saw a black bear standing on his hind legs about 20 feet from me on a small sand bar. I stood still for a couple of seconds figuring he would turn and go back into the heavy brush. Instead he came right at me in a full charge. I had a scoped 510 GNR revolver with me and at that range the scope was totally useless. As the bear came up the bank he slowed down long enough to swat the camp chair, sending it flying into a crumpled heap. When he did this I simply pointed the 510 at his chest and pulled the trigger. He was probably a foot from me at the time. At the shot he slammed into the ground at my feet, only to come back up and turn to run back the way he came. My second shot was back in his short ribs from about 3 feet. He showed no sign of a hit from that shot but ran off into the extremely heavy brush. At about 8 feet away from me he was swallowed up by the head high cat claw and undergrowth. I heard him thrashing about in the brush and decided to give him a minute or two to either settle down or go his way. At the time I didn't know whether I had hit him or not. Although had I looked down at my 510 I would have known for sure. It was completely covered in blood. I did reload the gun and replace the 2 rounds (which I didn't realize until later when I opened the gun and felt the two spent cases in my pocket) but must have done it by feel as I kept my eyes on the brush in front of me in case Mr. Bear decided to come back. This is where a freewheeling cylinder comes in handy. I couldn't have replaced those 2 rounds by feel with a standard set up.

After a minute or so I started pushing my way into the brush. That was when I noticed a large blood trail, more like a spray. As I eased farther into the brush I saw him in a heap about 20 yards from where I had seen him last. About the time I got to him I heard Larry and George Faerber splashing thru the stream coming to the point where I had been sitting. Larry had gone about 100 yards downstream to check out some fresh prints George had found and had been gone maybe 10 minutes when it all broke loose. Larry said when he heard two shots within about 1 1/2 seconds of each other he knew something was up, and probably not good. When they stepped up onto the bank where I had been sitting, I think they thought a grizzly had stopped by for lunch. My chair was crumpled up and my backpack was trampled with gear strewn about and there was blood spray all over. They both had guns out and pointed into every dark corner so I let them know real quick that it was me walking back thru the brush. 

On examining the bear the first shot had hit him point blank in the chest exiting the other side. This was the shot that sprayed blood all over everything including my 510. The second shot had hit him in the short ribs exiting the opposite shoulder. He wasn't a large bear by any means but the fact that I had to shoot him in that type of situation made it my kind of hunt. Pictures of the bear and bloodied 510 GNR are on our photo page.

On the last day Larry Kovach spotted a large black bear from the same spot where I had sat a day or two before and put a 435 grain 510 GNR slug thru him center chest, side to side. Even then he ran like hell thru the heavy brush leaving a swatch of blood with every beat of his heart.

All in all it was a good hunt. We all 3 took bears, not the grizzly we had hoped for but just seeing the amount of bear we did each day and having those little encounters with them made it a hunt we will all remember. And if the state of Alaska has that special hunt next year we will all be back.

On another subject we are now finishing up the second of two guns that we are building that are based on the original Keith #5 revolver from 1929. This revolver, in 44 special, is a classic and I have wanted to build one for years. Now it looks like we will be building two versions of it. Our first one, shown here on the site, was the one we planned to make as the #5, in fact it is shown with the #5 logo on it. After finishing it we realized it was a bit too beefy to be a copy of the original #5. At first I planned to just drop that model and work on the second one that should be more like the original #5. But I had so many people say they liked that model that we are going to keep it and rename it. It will officially be our #6 revolver. It is #6 because of a comment gun writer Gary Paul Johnston made when he saw it. He said "this gun is what Keith and his gunsmith Croft would be building today if they were still alive". Thus the #6 name. For those of you that are not familiar with the #5 designation. Croft built 4 others for Keith, each one different, and each one not quite what Keith had in mind, until the 5th gun. Keith liked it and dubbed it the Keith #5. 

Our new version is also based on our own frame but is on one that we have never shown yet. It is a familiar looking frame but completely different from what was. I had a wax casting made up of the original Colt first generation and a wax made up of the first generation 3 screw Ruger, then started cutting, and moving parts around. We ended up with 2 new frames, one flattop, 3 screw the size of the Colt and the other a round top 3 screw for another series we have coming out eventually. It is also the same size and weight as the early Colt and the early Ruger. The flattop will be our new #5 and I hope to have a couple of these finished and out to gun writers within a week or two. I hope to have a deluxe grade and a standard or field grade. I'll keep you posted on the progress of these two as we go along.

Also our next Africa hunt is coming along well. We now have 5 hunters booked and room for 7 more. So far we have Keith Kallsen, Sean Harper, Joe Butler, Tracy Marshall and myself booked on this one. This should be an excellent hunt as they all are. On the last two hunts we took 36 animals and 32 animals respectively and of the 36, 32 went record book, and of the 32 on the most recent hunt, it looks like 29 will go record book. We will know for sure in a couple of weeks. You have to wait 60 days before final scoring.

This is a great hunt if you have always wanted to hunt Africa. It is a hard hunt too but the type of hard hunt that you feel good about at the end of each day. Everyone thinks an Africa hunt has to be expensive but that is not so. The average spent on our last hunt was $5300 plus airfare. If you book an elk hunt out west with a guide and outfitter you will normally pay from $6500 to $10,000 and you pay that whether you see an elk or not. In Africa you only pay for what you kill. The evening of the last day you sit down with the PH and figure out what you killed and you pay for that, nothing more.

On this last hunt, Jason Parr worked his butt off for an eland, walking miles each day, but was never able to get within range of the big bull he was after. So, even though he hunted for at least 2 or 3 days for this big bull, he didn't have to pay for it because he didn't kill one. He took several extremely good animals but no eland. So it's like that. If you don't kill, you don't pay. 

Our camp this coming year hasn't been set yet. I will decide which one as we go along and as we see what animals the guys want to hunt. The camp may well be a tent camp or it might be a thatch roof hut camp, but either way it will be first class all the way. Our hunt dates are April 9 thru the 15th. We get there late in the day the 8th of April and leave out the morning of the 16th of April. This is their fall as the seasons are just the opposite of ours and as such our airfare should be decent. From mid May thru September is their prime time and is the tourist season and the airfare is higher at that time.

If you are interested in the hunt of a lifetime, give me a call at 928-526-3313. get a buddy and the two of you hunt with us. Last year a couple of good friends since childhood, Chuck Place and Greg Schuchmann, went with us and had a helluva hunt. In fact Chuck and Greg are trying to arrange it so they can go back with us again this year. It's a great hunt, and not expensive. Don't miss out on it. Call me today and get on the list of hunters that will be going with us next April.



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Reeder Custom Guns
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