Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I didn't shoot a hog this weekend.

Heck, I never even SAW a hog. I saw plenty of fresh sign, and must have done some decent stalking, because I got to within 30 feet of a pair of coyotes, and within a few dozen yards, crosswind, of some skittish whitetails and mule deer.

The local weatherman David Finfrock described the weather thusly: "In my 32 years of doing this, I have only once or twice before seen comparable dust storms." With the local humidity below 15%, the wind drove up to 50 and 60 mph gusts for over 18 hours on Saturday. The already fine red dust of the Panhandle blew southeast and on into the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Saturday hunting was shot. We stayed in the travel trailer and drank coffee, cleaned guns, and swapped stories all day... and that was probably my favorite day.

I shot a lot of very, VERY heavy loads through some highly customized revolvers that Ashley had with him. Included were plenty of Garret .44 Hammerheads through Hamilton Bowen and John Gallagher custom revolvers, as well as Ashley's own handloads through his Freedom Arms Premier Grade .454 Casull which I carried to hunt with. I'd previously shot one of these about 10 years ago while visiting then Sheriff Jim Wilson in Ozona, TX with my father. At that time, Freedom Arms were just about the only folks making the .454 Casull. I had been impressed with his then, and was again impressed with Ashley's now. Swinging the dinger at 50 yards with a 300 grain lead bullet at about 1600 fps is not really any trick with this 7.5" barreled pistol. I was highly impressed with the tolerances, which included a barrel-cylinder gap that was almost impossible to perceive in a dark room against a strong light. My guess would be 1/1000th or thereabouts.

Rich brought his highly modified NEF HandiRifle in .45-70. This had an enormous moonscope on it with target knobs, a trigger that had been lightened to an amazing weight, and a highly modified stock with a higher comb, black crinkle finish, and widened butt for a recoil pad that made the Buffalo Bore heavy loads seem like nothing much. On the side of the stock was a chart showing the come-ups in minutes to adjust the scope out to 400 yards. We found a target rock that needed killing at 440 yards, and extrapolated the drop. I hit it on the third shot, after doping the wind. Consider: this is a quarter mile shot at a rock about the size of a 19" computer monitor, with a cartridge created in the 1870s, during a rather windy day.

Rich's other .45-70 was the sweetest David Clay takedown rifle you've ever seen. While it may have started life in part as a Marlin 1895, it now breaks quickly into two components of about 15", to go into its custom-built, dust/waterproof box. Very cool, and Rich has taken 3 cape buffalo with it. Nifty feature-- the tubular magazine can be stored loaded, by virtue of the cutoff switch in it.

Due to the need to recover from recent eye surgery, Dad had to carry reduced recoil armament, and borrowed my 1953 vintage Winchester Featherweight M70 in .243, with Federal 100g loads. While he too was skunked, I am happy to report that Dad smacked the aforementioned target rock with his first shot. Nice.

Mostly, I just enjoyed hunting with my friends and my father. I never regret going, and hope to do so for many years to come.

Dad, in the rough country, seems to've gone native. Note the Afghani shemaugh sent to Dad by John Shirley. (See the 14 December 2006 post on John's Afghanistan service memoir blog.) With the British smock, it harkens back a bit to an imperial time, eh?

So we ate good food and saw good country and shot good guns and laughed so hard that there were tears that belied our failure to consume strong drink. Kinda like what Tamara said a month or so ago: You could tell me that you had as much fun as I did this weekend, but I don't think I'd believe you.

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At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 11:36:00 PM, Blogger Ambulance Driver said...

Good friends and good stories, and pretty country...isn't that the better part of hunting? It is for me...

At Wednesday, February 28, 2007 7:16:00 AM, Blogger Flo said...

Ah, JPG is a nice looking native. Ok, you look good, too. I'm glad you were both able to get away and have a good time.

At Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the name and who is the maker of that holster in ther first picture? Looks like a FDNY radio strap meets a holster.

At Wednesday, February 28, 2007 10:55:00 AM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

Sorry you didn't get anything; overjoyed you had a great time. Had *I* been there, I would have ruled with my slide-action .35 Whelen! Woohoo!

At Thursday, March 01, 2007 4:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that Rich of TFL and SWAT fame? I seem to remember him having a NEF rifle like the one described.

At Thursday, March 01, 2007 5:14:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

John, I found that my own Whelen did substantial work on running coyote, but the opportunity for a 7400 really didn't arise. Would've been different if we'd gotten into a herd of hog, though.

MGDavis, yes indeed that would be the same Rich Lucibella. He's got the most pimped-out Handi Rifle I've ever seen. It is extremely accurate.

At Thursday, March 01, 2007 5:17:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Billy, I'll get the maker for you. It's a great field holster, but I found the strap to be a bit narrow, considering it was supporting a 2.5 lb revolver on it. The nice thing about it was that, while it's not quick at all, it provided a lot of protection against that fine red dust in the low-tolerance Freedom Arms revolver.

At Thursday, March 01, 2007 8:19:00 PM, Blogger LawDog said...

Oh, I am so jealous.

At Thursday, October 25, 2007 8:12:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Never had a taste for pork, Losing the taste I had for bear. Must be cos the bear bait usually is a dumpster nowadays. Hunting Bear in WA, ID, MT, isn't hunting, it's varmint control. I bust clays nicely, but have little taste for birds. Due to local development, the deer bed down in my front yard. If it weren't for Elk and out of state licenses, I'd be an armchair hunter.

How exactly DOES one hunt an armchair anyhow?


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