Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I did not have a particularly good day hunting. While exploring, I came upon some fresh but unimpressive rubs (by spike bucks?) but only in one location rather than the several "used to be good spots" I went to.

Then, while exploring further, I apparently pushed a buck out of the laurel thicket and into the gun of another waiting hunter. Which points out the fact that hardly anyone moves around anymore, they wait for somebody else to get out there and push the deer to them.

Today, my truck is in the shop for the repairs noted earlier. Sadly, they expected me to drop it off, indicating that they expect to have it all day. Another days hunting lost, score another one for the gremlins of life who conspire to make things difficult or unpleasant for yours truly. Please note that this is a 1995 Dodge Dakota extended cab. I don't think I'll be buying another Dodge. The package is nice but it has had more than it's share of problems.

Yesterday evening, I was doing some reloading in pursuit of the "squib"/small game loads for the .357 Maximum carbine and discovered something. When I attempted to put a mild crimp on a buckshot load (1 gr. Unique, CCI Small Pistol Primer, #2 buck) in a .38 Special case the buckshot the shot stayed in the die. It was a simple matter to turn the seating stem out but with it came about ¼ inch of accumulated lubricant from Hornady's swaged bullets. I thought that was all then looked at the stem (for wadcutter and semi-wadcutter bullets) and could see that the seating stem was completely plugged with lubricant. that's over 3/8 inch of lubricant! Now, I've loaded about 2000 of those Hornady bullets in the .38 Special (I have separate seating dies for .357 Magnum and .357 Maximum) and that was all it took to strip that much lube off the bullets and leave it in the die. Seems I need to learn to clean my die more often. Yes, I did notice the dies going out of adjustment, but it was so subtle that I thought it was just my imagination. I can look back (hindsight being 20/20) and see just what I did wrong. The lesson learned: inspect and clean your dies every reloading session.

However, I am now ready for the next phase of the small game load experiment. I have 20 .38 Special cases loaded with 2.5 grains of Unique (recommended as being less position sensitive than Bullseye and slightly quieter) and the Leadheads 205 grain LBT GC bullet. I also loaded 5 cases with 1 grain Unique and a single #2 buckshot. The intent is to come up with an effective sub-sonic load for squirrel and rabbit.

I also found some 140 grain 7mm/.286 LBT GC bullets at Beartooth Bullets for my small game load in the 7-30 Waters. I suppose that I have it in the back of my mind that I should be able to simplifiy/reduce my gun collection and Contender barrel collection. Yeah, right. I have already had thoughts of a .300/221 (.300 Whisper) and .25-20 Winchester or .25-25 Stevens barrel.

Anyway, it appears that today will be taken up with reloading, working on the office and playing with my dog, Bailey.

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