Monday, November 17, 2003

Well, there were no deer seen today. However, I got there this evening and clearly they are in the area in the morning. Unfortunately, although there are a few rubs, it isn't yet the rut here and I've not seen any bucks at all. All deer seen, some probably more than once, are does. None have been seen at more than 90-100 yards, well within range of the .41 Remington Magnum Contender carbine.

In doing chores this morning I had to pass the public range and picked up several pounds of rifle brass. Mostly .243 Winchester and .30-30 with some .30-06 and .30 carbine. Undoubtedly, there are some similar rounds, possibly .260 or 7mm-08 Remington, as I didn't have a chance to actually sort through it on the range. About one third is in the vibratory polisher now.

This brings me to a related subject, the relative popularity of various rounds. Among the non-reloaders of the centerfire rounds #1 is clearly the .30-30, with .30-06 a close second followed by .270 Winchester, 7.62x39mm, .308 and .243 Winchester, and the .44 Remington Magnum. Also in the running is the .30 Carbine but I hesitate to include it as it is clearly being fired in "fun" guns as are HUGE quantities of .223/5.56mm ammo. While I've no need for the brass for reloading, now that I have a buyer for scrap brass I'll probably be picking every single case up for one use or the other.

Pistol rounds are represented by 9mm Luger/Parabellem, .40 S&W (police shooters practicing I think), .45 ACP, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .380 Auto, .45 GAP (Glock Auto Pistol), and even the .50 AE! I don't have any idea what I'd use them for, but I couldn't let those huge cases just sit there!

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Well, finally, a post!

Today was the first day of the "regular gun season" here in VA. I wouldn't have been able to go but we had an electrical problem at work and so were closed today. I went to Mom's farmette and set up in the aptly named Doe Hollow. After about 30 minutes the squirrels and other fauna were back to their normal routine and shortly after that a mature doe came quietly up the hollow. Completely unaware of me, she moved to a slash pile in the middle of the recently cut over area and after going all the way around it she was satisfied it was safe and bedded down where she could look both ways up and down the hollow. I had several opportunities but it is not a doe day and in any case, I don't want to take does in this area. However, try as I might, I could not will a buck into following her in to my sights. After 3 hours the wind changed and I think she felt a little uncomfortable so got up and moved back down the hollow and out of sight. I didn't pursue but felt that this was a pretty good indication that there weren't any other deer there today so I went home.

I don't know about you but on the first day of the season, and a Saturday (we can't hunt in VA on Sunday), I don't really feel safe on public land. I used to and that is when there was more hunting pressure than today. However, I think there are some real bozos out there who weren't brought up hunting by their fathers/uncles and just come unglued when they think there's a deer around.

I was carrying my .41 Mag barrel, the one that has the Simmons Turkey 4X scope mounted. For some reason I can't get used to this scope and I guess one reason is the narrow field of view (compared to my other 2.5X scopes) and another is that I can see the inside of the scope when looking through it. However, the cartridge and scope were well up to taking this deer if needed as she was within 70 yards of me.

Temps got to 48 degrees (from 32 this morning) but it was overcast all day and threatening rain. Also it was sporadically windy which made it slightly uncomfortable to sit on the ground for over 4 hours. I'm not 18 any longer!

Friday, October 17, 2003

I guess I've done a lot of random thinking the last few days. These are some of my random thoughts.

Reloading New Brass Over the last 30 years I've used a lot of brass made by various manufacturers. I've found that the best way to ensure the necessary uniformity when loading new brass is to full-length size (this makes it the same as all your other ammo) and square the case mouth (as a minimum, you may have to trim...). There are almost always case mouths that are out of round and not square. While a particular lot will let you get by without doing this, there may be one case within any given lot which will give your problems if you don't. I've even had some cases in which the mouth split, even before the first firing. To me this is a quality check and assurance step which you can't avoid.

Magazines and Books I've been going through my old magazines and books this past year. A number of books on military history, etc. were given (yep donated gratis) to the 116th Infantry Regiment Library for the use of the Regiment and the library's other patrons. You'd be surprised as to how much you'll be able to write off, if you can get the institution to accept the books.

The magazines are another story. Most magazines I have subscriptions to are of the shooting and hunting variety. Several of these I keep. The question is, how do I keep them out and available and still leave my office looking as though it is clean? Easy, Walmart, and any office supply store, has these neat plastic magazine holders designed for exactly this use. WOW! Clean and neat. About 18 issues of any particular magazine will fit in one of these. I sort mine by magazine and the rotate out the oldest as the newest comes in.

Now, of course, I'm not just tossing these. Why, that wouldn't ber very environmentally responsible, would it? What I do is to clip the articles that I simply can't do without. They are filed in one of those neat see-through plastic things that goes in a 3 ring binder. Filed by caliber, gun type/model, etc. the articles are always easy to find (relatively). All the magazines then go to another shooter. Now, he might not be happy about having articles (and sometimes, parts of articles) missing, but then again, he's not paying anything for the magazine!

.38-55 Winchester Just found a new (to me) magazine called Shooting Illustrated. In the most recent news stand copy was an article by one of my favorite writers, Sam Fadala. The subject?, the .38-55 Winchester! Whoooo-hoooo!! However, one of the loads he uses in his modified M336CB is 31 gr. of H4198 with the 255 gr. Winchester jacketed bullet. The Hogdon manual shows 28 gr. as a top load, but the pressure is a very low 26,000 CUP or so. I'm not willing to endorse this load, but I might try it, it produces 2000 fps in his gun! Note please, that he's getting his bullets from factory ammo. He pulls them and reloads with H4198.

Monday, October 06, 2003

I had a great day at the range today, if one counts a lot of time wasted as a great day. Well, you know the old saying, "A bad day at the range beats a good day at work."

Anyway, I took the .22 WMRF barrel and zeroed at 50 yards. Also found how to hold when shooting the .22 WRF at that range. Good.

Chronographed the .38-55 loads:

18 gr. H4227, Leadheads 249 gr. PB, CCI 200, 1225 fps/833 fpe, AD 20, SD 24.
28 gr. IMR 3031, Cast Performance 265 gr. GC, CCI 200, 1553/1420, 13, 17.
32 gr. H322, Barnes Original .375 255 gr. JSP, CCI 200, 1768/1770, 5, 7.

My rifle has a.375" bore and weighs 6 lbs. Recoil energy for the above loads was 8.07, 15.59, and 19.40 fpe respectively. Groups were about .5-.75" at 50 yards. This is with a Williams FPRS. The front is a bit high and I'm going to file it down a bit so that I can lower the rear sight. I want to do that so that it isn't so exposed to damage.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

210 gr. XTP over the Hogdon charge of 22.5 gr. Lil'Gun when used in the 16¼" Bullberry barrel :

For 5 shots - 1872, 1845, 1871, 1863, 1837, avg 1858, ad 13, sd 16, for 1609 fpe at 7 yards. This is better than what I get from factory Winchester 200 gr. .35 Remington ammo in my 21" factory barrel. It probably doesn't carry as well as the .35 caliber bullet but it is usable without sight adjustment to 150 yards, shooting into just under 2" at that range from sitting position. My Rynite stocked Contender weighs just 5 lbs, scoped. For our area, this is one handy little deer gun!

BTW, these were taken in 50-55 degrees and correspond very closely (as I remember it) with the velocities taken on a 90 degree day.

I also took the .25-35 out with the load of 8 gr. SR4759 under the Remington 86 gr. JFP intended for the .25-20. Avg velocity/energy was 1191/268. Using the lower vertical leg of the duplex reticule as a post it went into a cloverleaf at 25 yards, on POA. This is exactly the use this load was intended for and I'll be making up more of them.

Friday, September 26, 2003

So, now I've got time to discuss recent events.

First, I thought I'd sit down with the 7mm TCU and form some more brass. Let me digress a bit and say that I like to have lots of ammo on hand. I don't know why, but I do. Anyway, I wanted to form some more brass for the 7mm TCU and after I ran the mil surp brass through the sizing die I needed to fireform it. Looking around on the bullet shelf revealed that I had 140 gr. Nosler BTs, 139 gr. Hornady FPs, 120 gr. Hornady VMAX (the replacement for the discontinued SSP) and a cast 140 gr. FPGC from Beartooth Bullets. Due to the shortness of the 7mm TCU neck, I don't think it is suitable for the cast bullet (I don't want the lubed bullet to extend into the body of the case or for the lube grooves to be exposed).

I decided to load up some of the 139 gr. Hornady FPs over 25 gr. of H4895. These bullets were intended and purchased for loading in my 7-30 Waters (also a Contender carbine) but I was not really excited by them in that cartridge and they were going to sit on the shelf if I didn't use them now. I had my Chrony along with me and these clocked an average of about 2000 fps from the 21" 7mm TCU. Now that's not moving very fast but it was accurate, giving 1-1¼ inch groups at 100 yards. Accuracy out to 150 yards was gratifying. So...

I wanted to see if I could speed it up to forecast velocities (the manual showed 2100+ fps in a 14" barrel!), so I loaded it over H335, a slightly slower powder which might do a bit better. Velocities with the H335 did get 2100+ fps but not plus by much! Mine must be a "slow barrel" as it gets only 2400 fps with 29.4 gr. H4895 and 2450 fps with 30.5 gr. H335 under the 120 gr. Hornady OR 130 gr. Sierra SSP bullet. Getting back to this particular load, the H335 charge didn't change accuracy one iota. I think this is a pretty good bullet, but I don't know in what application I'd use it. It gets a full 400 fps less in the TCU than in the Waters cartridge. I don't even know if it matters as I've run out of those bullets, don't plan on buying more and have moved on...

To the .30 Herrett (again). My base, standard, load is the 130 gr. Hornady SSP over 24 gr. of H4227. This exceeds the manual recommendation (but I've seen it elsewhere and in an older manual) so once again I can't accept any responsibility for your use of this data or application of this information. This load gets about 2200 fps from the 14" barrel with the Choate extension (now discontinued). It will give groups of about 1-1.5" at 100 yards. I understand that this bullet has also been discontinued by Hornady. It is hard for me to understand why. Perhaps somebody can explain this decision to me.

I thought that perhaps I might find a "varmint" load which I could substitute for my all purpose load using the SSP bullet when hunting groundhogs and coyotes. To that end I bought some Hornady 110 gr. VMAX. Looking over the various manuals, I came to the conclusion that 23 gr. H110 under this bullet would provide the best ballistic performance. The first test cases I loaded up to this level were primed with the CCI 200 primer.

I must digress again to say that while it is often recommended that one use Magnum primers with the ball powders, I've found that it is not necessary but also not always the best performer. However, the recommendation is not made lightly and it was true in this case!

Velocities ranged from 2490 to 2190 fps and the SD was 121! Clearly unacceptable, I thought to improve things by switching to the CCI 250 (a "magnum" primer) and adjusting my dies to give a stronger or tighter crimp. This did the trick! Not only did the average velocity come up but the SD dropped to the lower double digits. This had to bode well and it did. A 3 shot group at 100 yards (the target fell during the string) was less than 1" and cluster around the "X". I still don't know if Hornady intends for this bullet to replace the SSP, but at least I have a load for it.

I've also been messing about with the Leadheads PN30-149G .310" bullet. Using 5 gr. of Unique gave an average velocity of 892 fps and 12 gr. SR4759 gave 1320 fps. If I remember correctly, that's 245 and 575 fpe respectively. We're talking .32-20 power, suitable for small game and that is my intent. However, it is a bit more bullet weight than necessary so I was going to order a 115 gr. bullet from Beartooth Bullets but the on-line system would not work for me today. Oh well...

I need to get out and chronograph the .38-55 and .41 Remington Magnum loads. I hope to post the results and my comments on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Well, we've had two (2) storms since the last. So much for the every 18 years thing!!!! However, water never backed up despite all that Isabel and the next storm 3 days later... Plus, removing everything from the floor certainly helped.

I've been to the range and shot some to check some loads. I'm hoping I'll find time to do more than hit-and-run and provide some details. However, I've been disappointed with use of H322 in the 7mm TCU and the H110/Hornady .308 110 gr. VMAX combo. All I need is more time.

This year I've got several rifles of similar performance from which I must choose one (or two) to take hunting. We'll see.

Currently, early mourning dove, goose and squirrel seasons are in. No geese taken, 6 dove and I've not been squirrel hunting.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

After many months of distractions, I finally got around to trying higher velocity loads for the 200 gr. Sierra MK in the .30 Herrett. No go. Still tumbled. Not that I really expected differently, but I had to try....

I've also been rereading past posts. I must say that I saw many typos and for that I apologize. I'm often in a hurry to produce my posts, but that is no excuse for poor performance on my part.

I also discovered that 8 gr. of IMR SR4759 is the ticket for the 86 gr. Remington SP (intended for the .25-20 cartridge) in the .25-35 Winchester. Shoots to POA at 50 yards when sighted for the 117 gr. RN load. Excellent. However, rain has prevented chronographing this load for the moment.

I've also gone back and redone my ammo shelf. The Rubbermaid shelf was not rated for and would not handle the weight I was putting on it. Severe sagging made it difficult to store the amount of ammo and brass I needed to put on the shelf. The replacement shelf is made using 2x4s and a product that simplifies assembly/construction from 2 x 4 Basics. I configured mine for 6 shelves, each of which will hold 4 .50 cal ammo cans + 1 .30 cal ammo can or some combination. Interestingly, the .50 cal cans are 7" wide and 2 .30 cal cans are 7¼". A small, USPS Priority Mail cube box is 7" on the side. This made for neat storage of ammo and "ready to ship" brass. Although you can't see it in the picture (which may not be posted yet), there is room on the back side of the shelf for a second can for any particular cartridge. All the cans are labeled on the latch handle and on the top of the can with the cartridge contained therein. Cans are stored with the largest caliber cartridges on the bottom shelf in caliber order (more or less).

One of the reasons I moved so quickly to do this is that recent torrential rains had caused a flash flood in my basement. This is where ALL my shooting stuff is (other than my library and gun safes). Fortunately, this did force my wife to get rid of a large amount of junk she'd been saving for a yard sale. Some of it had been through several yard sales with no takers. Junk, now wet and now gone. One can actually walk through the whole basement, not sidle through narrow passages...

Fortunately, I had prioritized moving my good stuff up vertically and none of it was touched by the water. This seems to happen about every 18 years, we may not be here for the next occurence.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Cat Sneeze Loads

I’ve been told that I should post here more often and in greater detail. I’d like to, but I do have interests other than shooting. Yes, it is a bit sacrilegious, but true. In any case I do have several shooting projects in the works and am constantly playing about and trying new things.

One of those shooting projects is the so-called cat sneeze or silent loads.

Well, what is a “silent load” or “cat sneeze” load

What are these loads good for? Well, for me, the utility of such loads is as a companion to my deer caliber guns that I can use for small game hunting, or pest removal, when a full-power load would be inappropriate.

What are the parameters of such loads? First, of course, seems to be the necessity of silence or as near to that as is possible. This is often the over-riding concern of those interested in such loads. Often, silence or quietness has preference over terminal performance.

Second, bullet weight could be lighter than normal for the cartridge to heavier than normal for the cartridge. Using the .30-30 Winchester (aka .30 Winchester Center Fire or WCF) as an example, 100 grain bullets on the light side and 180 grain bullets on the heavy side. Both extremes are acceptable but serve different purposes. That is the lighter bullets being used for small game and the heaviest possible bullets being used to maximize terminal performance at the low velocities attained in these loads.

That brings us to the third primary characteristic of these “silent loads” (also called cat sneeze loads) and that is small charges of relatively fast powders for velocities in the 500-1000 fps range. I’d like to point out that the smaller the charge, the lower the gas volume resulting in lower sound levels (and velocity) at the shot.

So now, the question no doubt is, “What guns have you developed loads for?” and, “Hobie, what are your loads?”

Let me try to answer that. I am currently primarily interested in such loads for my Contender carbine barrels. It is here that they will have the greatest possible use. Those cartridges include: .25-35 Winchester, 7mm TCU, 7-30 Waters, .30 Herrett, .30-30 Winchester, .357 Maximum, .35 Remington, .41 Remington Magnum, .44 Remington Magnum, and .45-70. These are the cartridges for which I have chambered barrels at this time. Yes, I do carry these deer hunting and yes, I do want to be able to take squirrel, turkey, rabbit, and certain feral animals if the opportunity presents itself.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

As you might have noticed, hunting season of one kind or another has arrived. Doves, geese, and who knows what else (my mom's neighbor is running dogs on coons already during the "practice" season). Life is good. We've got plenty of rain and prospects of a good season all around. Please, be safe, watch where you're pointing that gun and check your backstop.
You might have noticed that sometimes you can get the pics and sometimes you can't. All I can say is that is the way it is. I've no explanation for it and I'm not happy about it. Some pics will sometimes show when others from the same directory/folder won't. Other times none show and usually, all will show. Don't know whats up with what on that.
This year I bought a TC Custom Shop 21" .25-35 Winchester barrel for my Contender. With the factory 117 gr. RN load (2150 fps)or the European version 6.5x52R (S&B, 2000 fps) it is a mild recoiling fun cartridge. Handloading can get "improved" performance if improved performance means higher velocity but I don't see it as necessary. I am loading the Hornady 117 gr. RN to 2250 fps and this load suits me fine.

Remington's 86 gr. ".25-20" bullet comes with 2 cannelures, the one closer to the base being correct for the .25-35 and giving the correct LOA. My goal is upper end .25-20 velocity or a bit more. I've tried 14, 13, 12 and 11 gr. of SR4759 but while accurate at 50 yards it is a bit "smokey". However, as I've said before, maybe that isn't important if I bother to clean the barrel! Today, I took out the loads with Rem. 86 gr. jacketed FP for the .25-20 and 10 gr. of IMR SR4759. Shazzam! Right on at 50 yards with the same sight setting as the 117 gr. for 100. Hooorah. I keep wanting to use this powder because of the high loading density.

Then... I had to try out some more of the 75 gr. VMAX burners. What do you know, I finally found out how to hold the duplex reticule for that load. As best as I can describe, I use the bottom of the top thick leg of the reticule, sort of like an inverted post reticule. Right on at 150, a little high at 100. Heck, these might even be usable!

BIG difference in recoil and muzzle blast between the two loads (not as though there is a lot of recoil in this cartridge).

I've been doing a lot of work with this cartridge. Funny, I never expected to. It is just a fun cartridge to work with and I really like it. Now, I've got a good small game load, a good big game load and a usable coyote load! I'm chuffed.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

This is a test post after the recent changes.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

I've been asked a lot of questions in my life. Everything from "How's it hanging?" to "Does this safety work?" (that was on a loaded M202 Flash!). Life can be pretty interesting. I thought I'd better record some of my answers to some of the questions I've answered on the net, so here goes...

What do you tell people when they find out you hunt?
I'm now married for the second time. My first wife did not like that I hunted, not so much because I was hunting but because I wasn't doing whatever she might have "needed" me to do. My second wife comes from a hunting and farming family. HOWEVER, the women (with one exception) don't hunt or even shoot. At least she's tried shooting and doesn't give me too much grief over the time spent. She will not knowingly eat anything but venison ("deer meat" where she comes from).

In between wives and before the first I did date and had some interesting experiences. Also, I used to get the same sort of response to revealing that I was a career infantryman as I did when I revealed I was a hunter. Sort of a "war for oil" type of response. In every situation I now respond with a BIG smile, the facts and just a hint of "try arguing with me, I know the answers" in my tone. Always keep the smile going!

To be frank, the only reason I give a crap what some of these mental midget, butter brained, swimmers of the shallow end of the gene pool think is that some actually get up on election day and go vote. Hence the big smile and ready facts to refute any misconceptions they might have.

Actually, I apply this approach to just about everything.

How did you get started with black powder?
Whoah, that's a question with a loooong answer. My interest in black powder (BP) shooting was initiated by the confluence of several factors. Those were my interest in history, particularly in the period 1700-1890, my interest in shooting, my interest in hunting, my parent's friends who shot BP (when BP wasn't cool) and my lack of interest in being cool. However, the availability of money kept me from participating with my own firearms until after I joined the US Army and had an income which could do a bit more than handle the few women in my life.

Soon after entering service I bought a Lyman .44 caliber Model 1858 Remington New Model Army revolver reproduction. I now know that it is mis-named and not all that accurate but it is well made, shoots accurately and has been a fun piece to have. That Christmas Dad gave me a Thompson Center Seneca, caliber .36. However, assignment to Korea and my subsequent marriage and assignments to California and back to Korea (for 3 years 9 months!) kinda put the lid on that interest. I did hunt and shoot some in California, but not nearly enough. After returning from Korea, transferring to the National Guard (after 8 years active duty) and moving "home" to the Shenandoah valley, eating was more a priority than more guns. Those guns I had were quickly turned to supplementing our protein supply. Shooting, hunting, and anything not directly in support of her interests was abhored by that first wife who quickly found somebody else, left me and the kids and discovered that her new husband (and father of the next 2 children) also hunted, fished and, well she's not married to him either, now!

My children and I moved on as well. We went fishing, I took them squirrel hunting with me and eventually I remarried. Now this lady at least supports me in my interests. So I soon had a .45 barrel for the Seneca so that I could deer hunt with the gun in Virginia. Then, I got a .54 New Englander. The Seneca and New Englander have both been very good to me and brought home a lot of good eats.

When my dad died he left me a bit of money. Before passing he told me that he wanted me to enjoy the money and not just put it in the family account (I will always put my family first). So, I took a portion of it and bought a Dixie Gun Works "Indian Gun" which is really just a Pedersoli 2nd Model (Short Land) Brown Bess Carbine. Sure fire, this gun is a lot of fun and a certain education.

Along the way, I've been tasked by many friends to help them with their BP guns due to my "extensive" knowledge. That has helped me to truly have a knowledge of the various BP (or should we now say "muzzleloading") firearms, how they work and their effectiveness.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

After shooting the 75 gr. VMAX load some more yesterday, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in MY performance. Clearly, the load will group (albeit 6" or more too high to be usefull) sometimes shooting tight cloverleafs at 50 yards. However, I didn't seem to be up to the load having some very bad problems with trigger control and having many called flyers. Putting a single shot in the right place is easy enough but running strings of 5 shots inevitably resulted in the groups opening up from .5" for the first 3 to 1" or MORE with the remaining 2 shots. It got so bad that I got up and went brass scrounging for a while to clear my head.

It really seems that I'll have to be happy with the 117 gr. Hornady RN in this chambering. My only other alternative seems to be the 86 gr. Remington FP intended for the .25-20.

Now that bullet is interesting. It comes with 2 cannelures. The cannelure closest the nose is CLEARLY intended for the .25-20 cartridge but there is another cannelure about one-half a caliber from the base of the bullet. This works well for establishing a seating depth in the .25-35. Loading this bullet to about 2300 fps should be a mild recoiling, mild report, WACKER for groundhogs and coyotes.

I've no problems with the barrel itself. It isn't picking up a lot of fouling so it must be fairly well finished. This is a custom shop barrel, 21" long with the standard carbine taper and the high lustre finish. I've got a Swift 1.5-4.5x scope mounted in Weaver mounts on a Weaver base. This arrangement is satisfactory EXCEPT that it doesn't have enough range of adjustment to permit use of the above mentioned 75 gr. VMAX load which goes about 500-700 fps faster than the factory 117 gr. RN loads.

Other than this the only shooting related activities I've been involved in is reloading the .218 Bee (and I'm having problems finding another pound of L'ilGun) and polishing brass and packing that away for this winter's reloading festival.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Yesterday I went to the range to test the .25-35 load using CCI 200, 27 gr. BL-C(2) and the 117 gr. Hornady RN .257 bullet. I also shot some more of the load using CCI 200, 34 gr. BL-C(2) and the 75 gr. Hornady .257 VMAX as well as the factory S&B 6.5x52R for comparison of both trajectory with the sights set for the 117 gr. RN load and group sizes out to 150 yards.

Interestingly, the average velocity of the new load (.25-35/117 RN/27 BLC(2)/200) was 2282 fps for 1353 fpe. This is some 200 fps faster than the S&B 6.5x52R load and the sights had to be adjusted to bring the POI to just 2" high at 50. This put this load right on at 100. What is really interesting is that the S&B load is right on at 50 AND 100 with this sight setting! Must have something to do with the dwell time. The much faster .25-35/75 VMAX/34 BLC(2)/200 load (2832 fps for 1336 fpe) still impacts the target 6" higher at 50 yards and 4" higher at 150 (it didn't even hit the target backing at 100 so I couldn't measure how high it was there). Groups at 100 were 1½" for the 117 RN handload and 2-3" for the S&B factory load. The 117 RN handload fell into even tighter groups at 150 (maybe I was just holding better?) and the 75 gr. VMAX kept right up with it for grouping ability.

There is virtually no "kick" with these loads, generating about 4-4½ ft lbs recoil in this 6 lb rifle.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

So much shooting to do and so little time! Sorry, but I've been so busy that shooting has taken a back seat for the time being. I've also got a huge backload in reloading and am now pushing through a lot of brass polishing (and counting into usable lot sizes).

One thing I've come up with a lot of is .30 Carbine brass. Now, how would that do out of a Contender carbine barrel with the Hornady 110 gr. VMAX going about 2000 fps?

I did pick up a Williams FPRS for the "Enfield" M1917 action (aka Remington M30). So in true gun crank style, I'm now looking for an action to build a rifle around the sight...

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Well, the rain finally let up and I was able to get out for something other than groundhog control (not that I actually saw any groundhog as stupid as me standing out in the rain!) and got to the range.

Took the 4" S&W M629 to the range along with a bag of the Hornady swaged 240 gr. SWCs over 8 gr. of Unique. A little smokey but accurate at 25 yards. Most shots from the 5 cylinders full were in about a 4" group a little left of but on the same elevation as the X-ring on a 25 meter pistol slow-fire target. I was using a 6 o'clock hold at this range. Tried adjusting the sight but something isn't quite right (maybe it is me!) and the group only moved slightly to the right.

I also took the Makarov in the original 9x18 Soviet chambering and a couple of magazines of the Barnaul 95 gr. HP loading. This load seems to be the most satisfactory of the factory loads and is available from Dan's Ammo for $60 per 500 rounds. Doesn't pay to reload at those prices. On the same target (well, a new 25 meter pistol slow-fire target) all shots from the single magazine fired were in the bull with several in the X-Ring. This was also fired at 25 yards.

I was then going to go to the 50 yard range but Mr. Greene and his buddy as well as Dave Rhodes and a friend had showed up and I really didn't have time to wait my turn to set up a target at 50 and then at 100. So, I came home.

Unfortunately the forecast for the rest of the week is for rain. That's for the next 6 days!

I have quite a collection of brass and need to load the .22 Hornet and .218 Bee brass. I've been putting this off in order to do other things. I also have a bunch of brass to polish and pack away.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Today I took the .30 Herrett barrrel back to the range to try out the load with the 140 gr. Leadheads LFN. In reformed Winchester cases with CCI 200 primers and 12 gr. of IMR SR4759, these loads must have been cooking because they followed the 130 gr. Hornady SSP bullet load all the way out to almost 150 yards. Intended to be a "sub-load", these are in effect a good match to the 130 but in lead. Not what I had in mind at all. Back to the drawing board on this one.

I also still had a box of 20 of the sub-sonic 200 gr. Sierra MK loads. Now this would not stabilize the bullets before but must be just under the required speed because with the ambient air temp 10 degrees warmer a couple actually hit point on! Pushing this bullet as fast as it will go may provide a shootable load. However, I did play with these at 150 yards. While they were all over the place (and I recovered 2 from where the lay on the face of the dirt bank, after obviously striking side on) I did hit my 25 meter pistol target center twice at that range! Another interesting effect is that you can hear them "buzz" as they fly down range end over end!

Got to the fields too early in the afternoon for groundhogs (and it reach 80 today) so didn't see any for tagging with the Hornet. Perhaps we'll have a better day tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Well, the weather has not been cooperating and when the weather has, my family hasn't so I've been unable to shoot much (or anything else related) and have had nothing to talk about. Until today...

Went back to the .22 Hornet barrel on Contender #1 and off to the range this morning. Dave R., John T., Adam H., and Scott H. were there and Mr. Greene showed up with his buddies to test yet more .54 NSSA barrels that Mr. Greene has made. Got to test the Hornet at 50, 100, and 150 yards with both the 35 gr. Hornady VMAX loads and the Remington factory. VMAX won by a large margin. I shot one 3-shot group at 150 that measured .3"!!! The Remington was nothing near that. One reason has to be that it doesn't put the bullet close enough to the lands. There is quite a bit of difference in that regard.

Anyway, after a morning of fellowship (the other fellows shot a Marlin 1895SS .45-70, a Ruger No. 1B in 7mm Mag,, a Marlin 983(?), a "sporterized" M96 Swede, a Ruger Ranch Rifle in .223, the .54 Mississippi rifles, and a stainless Savage 110 in .308 with a heavy barrel), I headed home, mowed the lawn, walked the dog, ate lunch and then headed out to Mom's to put new flowers on Dad's grave and check out the local groundhog (aka whistlepig, aka woodchuck) population, .22 Hornet barreled Contender carbine in hand.

Now, I've heard of groundhogs climbing trees but I've never seen it happen, until today. It was pretty warm, about 76 degrees Farenheit, and I was mosying along when I heard what I assumed to be a mighty big fox squirrel on tree trunk. I looked towards the sound, to my left, to see a 8-9 pound groundhog about 4 feet up the trunk hugging that old pine for all he was worth and looking directly at me. Range was about 30 yards. I shot him and then moved in for the post-mortem. Yep, he was dead. The 35 gr. VMAX had done a fine job (as it should have). I don't know if he climbed up to get a look at me or thought he was escaping, but it wasn't a smart thing to do. I'm sure he's feeding something tonight.

This is my first varmint with this particular barrel. I'd hoped to get a shot at 150 to test the bullet (loaded over 13 gr. L'ilGun for an estimated 2800 fps) but that was not to be.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

I have (acquired in this order) a TC Seneca .36 (traditional caplock), a Lyman Remington "M1858" New Model Army, a TC New Englander .54 (traditional caplock), a .45 barrel for the Seneca, and a Pedersoli Brown Bess "Carbine" .75 cal. flintlock. In use in the western Virginia hunting conditions, I see no advantage to telescopic sights or in-line ignition at the ranges at which I will use these guns.

Obviously, I expect to have reduced "firepower" and perhaps range. I do not expect less accuracy from the rifled arms. The Bess is a smoothbore and with ball it simply will not be as accurate at ranges past 50 yards as rifled arms. If you hunt with a bow, you've already learned that your range will be limited. This is much the same thing but with a firearm.

In most cases, those buying the in-lines and scoping them are correctly perceived by the industry as wanting to hunt during the muzzleloader seasons without giving up range or power. In short, they are not interested in history, self-limitation, new hunting challenges, etc.

You need to determine the why of your muzzleloading hunting and choose accordingly. Good luck!

Thursday, April 17, 2003

I have finally gotten to do some shooting this week. Today I took out my .22 Hornet barrel. Loads tried were the Winchester 45 gr. HP, the Remington 46 gr. SP and my load using H110 and the Hornady 35 gr. VMAX. Despite the wind some good groups were shot, but not spectacular, averaging 1-1½ inches at 100 yards. Some 3 shot groups went ½ inch but I could not maintain that for an entire 5 round string.

Tomorrow I will be wringing out the .218 Bee barrel by Bullberry. Both of these barrels have 4X scopes mounted.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

.25-35 Winchester Research

I've been doing some research on the .25-35 Winchester known in Europe as the 6.5x52R. Apparently, I'm one of the few users others just don't have much to contribute. Chuck Hawks has a good short write-up on the cartridge. I would still like to learn more about actual experiences in the use of this cartridge so if you have used it feel free to write.

We do know that it is (was?) used in Europe for Roe Deer in drillings and combination guns. Here in the states it was chambered in the Winchester Model 1894 and Marlin chambered a proprietary "copy" of it called the .25-36 Marlin in their guns. Also, Remington thought enough of its commercial viability to chamber a rimless version (with a different case shape) in their Model 8 auto-loader and Model 14 pump action rifles. While the Marlin is more on line in ballistic performance with the European version known there as the 6.5x52R, it's 117 gr. bullet going about 2000 fps in that cartridge. That's compared to 2250 fps for the same bullet in the Winchester version or 2350 fps in some loadings of the Remington rimless version. Now it seems that the only new made guns are in the form of Thompson Center Contender barrels. Many have apparently been made by the custom shop.

Ken Waters points out that the .25 Remington was touted as an "expert's" cartridge and loaded with 87, 100 and 117 gr. bullets including some full metal jacketed. One of the uses touted for this round was the shooting of geese on the water! In any case it is a mild recoiling round that can take whitetailed deer with care and be loaded as a small game cartridge equal to the .25-20 Winchester. I believe that it could also be a fine eastern coyote cartridge for use at ranges to 175 yards or so.

If you've been following my posts and/or my topics on Accurate Reloading, you've seen that I've had an interesting journey with this particular Contender barrel. Produced by the custom shop, it is 21" long, standard taper, high lustre blue, and drilled only for the scope mount. I've mounted a Swift 1.5-4.5X scope in Weaver mounts and rings. All up weight mounted with the Rynite stock is only 5½ pounds! I purchased it second (?) hand from Ron Sable (I would include a link but his page doesn't seem to be working!) and as usual, it was exactly as described. I don't think it was ever fired much and it is in really good condition (aka NRA fine). FYI, another good place to look for Contender (and Encore) barrels is Ed's Contenders. Ed is a fine gentleman and has a wide range of barrels. Even if you don't see want you want, call or send and e-mail and ask. Please be patient, Ed has at least 2 other jobs and is often out of town.

Of course when reloading one must start somewhere. After I have gun or barrel in hand I generally look at the game I expect to use the particular cartridge on and then seek appropriate bullets. For the .25-35 Hornady makes THE 117 grain round-nose (curiously, factory ammo is all flatnosed!?!) which is, by all accounts, an excellent bullet. Remington also produces an 86 grain bullet intended for the .25-20 Winchester that has a second cannelure which allows one to use your .25-35 seating die set to load both these fine bullets despite the length difference. Both of these bullets are easily obtainable from Midway if you've got difficulties getting your local shop to order for you. There was one other bullet that interested me and that was the Hornady VMAX, a 75 grain, .257" BT type bullet that I thought would be the cat's meow!

My original intent was to take the VMAX and load it with 34 gr. BL-C(2) to about 2800 fps. This part worked out well, I was able to go to the 34 gr. maximum load without signs of excessive pressure and attained 2832 fps average velocity at 10' from the muzzle. So far so good. Accuracy with cases from the same lot is better than factory ammo, averaging right around 1" at 100 yards compared to the factory ammo's (both the Winchester and Sellier and Bellot (S&B) 6.5x52R load) 1 3/4" at that same distance. Unfortunately, there always seems to be a complication, Murphy being alive and well in Virginia.

With the scope mounted and zeroed for the factory ammunition, I attempted to fire my first groups with my handloads consisting of Winchester brass, the 75 gr. Hornady VMAX, 34 gr. Hodgdon's BL-C(2) and a CCI 200 Large Rifle primer. Velocity was, as noted, 2832 fps, a considerable step up from the 2000-2250 fps of factory ammo. At 50 yards bullet strike for this load was a full 10 inches higher than the factory ammo and I don't even have an idea as to where it struck at 100 yards since it was completely off the target backing (but into the berm). Well I didn't want to re-zero, but soon discovered that I was still going to be 3 inches high at 50 yards and the scope had no remaining adjustment. This was a disappointment but never one to give up I tried shimming the rings and base to bring the groups into a usable distance from the point of aim. I was only able to move bullet strike down an additional inch and was uncomfortable with the amount of shim material being used. I was also unhappy that I would not be able to shoot the factory ammo with that sight setting. Indeed, I was not going to be able to zero the rifle with factory ammo with the shims in place. So, out came the shims and this load will be abandoned.

I am now working on the Hornady 117 gr. round nose bullet. Maximum velocities come with 27 gr. of BL-C(2) and the same CCI 200 primer and are averaging 2350 fps or so. This is about 100 fps faster than the Winchester factory but beats the "anemic" 6.5x52R S&B load by 300 fps, a substantial amount. I suppose I should pause and make a couple of comments about the factory ammo.

The Winchester ammo is of the usual high quality we've come to expect from this manufacturer. Brass is good quality and reloadable, it is fairly accurate and dependable. No barn burner but a good solid performer. S&B ammo is a somewhat different story.

While the quality seems to be pretty good and accuracy is pretty good, the brass leaves something to be desired. Out of 2 boxes, 2 cases have had splits in the shoulder/neck region on the first firing. One seldom sees such a propensity for splitting in US made ammunition. This bothers me, and I'm sure it would bother you. Obviously the pressure is not very high, it has to be rooted in the quality of the brass. I'd not use this brass for maximum effort loads and will in fact be using it for loads with the Remington .25-20 86 gr. which I intend to move at about 1800 fps.

Now this should be a useful load, firing a fairly light bullet at very moderate velocities it should be a very mild recoiling round in even this light gun. This will make it a good training cartridge as well as a light but effective groundhog gun and it shouldn't be too destructive of rabbits and squirrels. With any luck I'll be able to get it to shoot to the same point of aim as the 117 gr. bullet load to 100 yards. My first powder to try will be the IMR SR4759. I am hoping that 12-14 gr. will do the trick. SR4759 is often a good powder to use for "reduced" loads where you want to maximize loading density.

That is about all for now. I'll post the results of future work here as well.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Well, I went shooting again today. Beautiful. Took the .41 Mag and .25-35 (6.5x52R) back to the range.

The .41 Remington Magnum Bullberry barrel is a beaut and I am starting to like the Simmons Pro-diamond reticule. Using a load of 22.5 gr. Hodgdon L'ilGun with the Hornady 210 gr. XTP gets about 1800 fps from this 16" barrel. This just about equals the Winchester factory 200 gr. silvertip load for the .35 Remington. Now this may not seem like much but a load this powerful that shoots fairly flat to 150 yards and is in a 5 lb. rifle platform with a scope that has a built in "ranging" capability (once I figure it out). That has to be a good thing. Maybe the pistol shooters don't agree, Well, this is a Contender, maybe pistols aren't for everyone (and I shoot one fairly well) and this will suit somebody's needs.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

I've also just started experimenting with a 16½" blued bull .41 Remington Magnum barrel by Bullberry. The first loads fired were the Winchester 175 gr. Silvertips. I understand that these are not loaded to top velocities and I believe it. This was a very mild recoiling load. Playing around, a human-head sized rock was VERY easy to hit at 50 yards.

However, I have a Simmons Wild Turkey Federation 4x scope mounted on this carbine and I experienced some of the same problems with the scope adjustment as I did in the .25-35 setup mentioned below. Also, this is using the Millet rings which are adjustable for windage (both the front and back) and I played the devil of a time to get them centered. That did work well however, as my boresighting with the rings had all groups centered. The only problems were with elevation. To correct those problems, I am already experimenting with the Hornady 210 gr. XTP. Loaded on top of 22.5 gr. of Hogdon's L'il Gun, I feel that this will be a real performer as velocities should go 1800+ fps in my long barrel.

Of course I've got lots to do with my .22 Hornet, .218 Bee and .223 Remington barrels. Until I run out of them, I'll be loading the Hornady 35 gr. .224 VMAX over 13 gr. L'il Gun in the Hornet, 14 gr. L'il Gun in the Bee and loading the Sierra 63 gr. SP in the .223 Remington. My son-in-law says thet his dad has lots of groundhogs that "need" killing! Better get to work!

They also have lots of coyotes. For that reason I'll be going up in bullet weight when I run out of the 35 gr. VMAXs. I understand that there is still a bounty in some counties.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

I've been busy with other things, like shooting!

One of the products I've been working on is the Thompson Center Contender Custom Shop .25-35 21" barrel (standard taper profile) with Weaver mount and Swift 1.5-4.5x scope.

I acquired from some person who will remain un-named, approximately 250 cases of which 55 cases were reformed .30-30. All were supposed to be "once fired". They were not. Also, it seemed that they had been fired in an assortment of chambers. The end result is that even after the standard case preparation (polish, lube, resize/deprime, trim, chamfer, clean primer pockets) there was still some difference in case neck tension. This seems to differ based on manufacture and date of manufacture (based on headstamps).

Still, even with mixed brass, groups were acceptable if not at all impressive, running in the 1½-3½ inch range with like brass grouping in tight 1-1½ "sub-groups". Unfortunately, differing bullet weights do not shoot to anything like the same POI, differing by as much as 10"! Also unfortunate, my scope does not have the range of adjustment required to make it usable with the desired range of bullets.

What range of bullets am I talking about? Well, first I had zeroed with the Winchester factory load which features the 117 grain "RN" bullet (actually a flat point). This load moves out at about 2200 fps from my barrel. I was pretty pleased with this load. It was accurate, I was able to zero quickly and the recoil and muzzle blast was pretty mild, even with the 21" barrel and 6 pound weight of my carbine with Rynite stock. I then tried the Sellier and Bellot (S&B) 6.5x52mmR load which features a FP jacketed bullet of the same 117 grain weight and a velocity of 2008 fps. That it is a mild load goes without saying. I'm sure it would be effective on smallish deer in found in some parts of the country, but on our local whitetails I'd want to get closer AND I wouldn't feel comfortable in stretching the range given the trajectories of these "slow" loads.

So, I decided I create an effective coyote load (which has proven impractical) of the 75 gr. Hornady VMAX, 34 gr. of Hogdon's BL(C)2, CCI200 and a factory .25-35 case. Velocities are supposed to be high and they are. Averaging 2837 fps, I sure the spread (from 2937 to 2766 fps) being due to the aforementioned varying case neck tension. Still it grouped fairly well and "sub-groups" of 1-1½" gave hints of great promise for this load. Unfortunately... yes, there is a "but"... groups were a full 10" higher on the target than the Winchester factory POA... at 50 yards. This was unacceptable and the scope's range of adjustment was insufficient to adjust the bullet strike to the proper place on the target.

So, the base was shimmed and scope remounted. That did not make enough difference, bringing the group only 3" lower. Doubling the shim thickness (to the limit of my personal comfort zone with this modification) predictably only lowered the group another 3", still a good 4" above the POA. Also, factory loads would have required equally radical sight adjustment. I decided I just did not want to mess with this further.

Now, I will be trying the Hornady 117 gr. RN and the Remington 86 gr. FP (for the .25-20). I'll push the former at max velocities (for this case) in new factory brass and load the latter bullet to approximate the .25-20 velocities it was built for. Approximate because I will adjust the velocities so that the sights will not have to be changed in order to use both loads. If this works out I'll be very happy with this light and light recoiling rifle. Additionally, it will clearly do what it was intended to do, provide me with hours of enjoyable shooting in experimentation.

As a side note, I have noticed that better velocities can be achieved with the .257 TCU cartridge. Provided the throat is properly matched to the barrel this would make it better for those wanting to achieve top velocities in the Contender with the .25 caliber bullets. Another alternative is a custom barrel for one of the improved forms of the .25-35 such as Francis Sell's Tomcat, the .25 Bullberry or slightly different .25 Bullberry Improved.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

There was a discussion about the safety of using the oven to dry cartridge cases that had been washed in water. The consensus is that the brass does not reach a temperature hot enough to change it's properties when the oven is set at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

My experience is that I shoot some BP .38-55 ammo and washing BP is recommended. But after my first experience with new brass and the oven technique, I'll never dry in an oven again. Fully one half of the cases split, down the body, on the second firing. (.38-55 Winchester, Winchester brass). Now I wash in hot soapy water, rinse in hot water, towel off and leave to dry. If there is stubborn water on the cases, I might use a hair dryer to blow dry the particular case, if it doesn't burn my hand, the brass will be fine. Maybe this is one of the few instances of some sort of OC behavior on my part but, well, this is what I do and why.

I'd like to hear more about it.
I am searching for an ammo box appropriate to the .22 Hornet and .218 Bee. Most boxes allow for too much length and the ammo rattles around in the box. If anyone has a product recommendation, please pass it on.

I got the new to me .25-35 barrel out and zeroed it, pretty much. The wind was blowing so hard that I had to hurry to shoot before my target would get blown off the backer!

Went by the shops today and saw one of the new Para Ordance .45s (the Companion?) with the double action trigger AND grip safety. WOW! I don't know how it shoots but that is the lightest double action trigger I've ever seen. Smooth, breaks like glass and light. A single stack pistol, I think it would carry better than my Combat Commander OR my Makarov.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Today I completed loading the 100 Graf & Sons/Hornady 7.65x53mm cases. I picked up 2 boxes of the .41 Hornady 210 gr. XTPs (and was a bit surprised at the round ogive, I expected more of a truncated cone form). I started forming some more 7mm TCU brass from milsurp (LC 97). This last I plan on loading with H335 to compare to the H4895 loads I've been using.

I need to get some more Midway sliptop 20 round boxes. They seem to be the best size for everything bigger than .223 case head cases.

I also learned today that the Hornady 7mm SSP bullet is now the same as the 120 gr. 7mm VMAX. That was a surprise. I am wondering if they did the .30 SSP the same way and the .30 130 gr. VMAX is the new SSP. I've been thinking of going to that anyway.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Again, my shooting activities have been limited due to weather and work.

I've been doing some reloading and cleaning up the odd, unloaded cases. One thing I've done is taken a leap with the 7.65x53mm Argentine. Having received 100 of the Graf & Sons/Hornady brass, I felt these needed reloading as well. I just don't feel comfortable plinking with the Woodleigh 215 grain RNs at $28+ for 50 (from MidwayUSA)! So, I developed a load, safe in my 1891 carbine, of 46 gr. H4350 with the Sierra .312" 180 gr. SP. I don't think that, despite Norma loading a very similar load, that the sights of military weapons in this chambering were ever calibrated for loads with 180 grain bullets. However, this load is VERY similar to the 174 gr. British MK VII loading. In fact, I use this same bullet in my .303 military ball duplication loads and they do very well in shooting to the sights

With the coming of very much warmer weather this week, I hope that I'll be able to zero my .25-35 barrel with the factory 117 gr. FN (billed as a RN it really is a FN) load. Also, I hope to do the same with the .41 Remington Magnum barrel.

I've also been cleaning and re-organizing the loading area and ammo shelf. Not exactly the Ritz, but pretty comfortable and safe.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

It has been days since I've done anything really shooting related.

I have been cleaning the reloading area and made room for more bullets. I'm also going through things looking for AR-15 related gifts for my son-in-law. I bought some .25 VMax 75 gr. bullets for the .25-35 and a new powder trickler for use with those darn fine ball powders like H110 that bind up my old trickler. Last, I ordered some Hornady .41 cal XTPs for the .41 Mag barrel.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

I'm happy to report that I received a set of RCBS carbide dies for the .41 Magnum today. Whooohooo! Now to settle on a bullet. Any suggestions? In the load tables, the 170 has the highest energy figures but I'd lean to a 210 or heavier, maybe even a 275 LFN (LBT design) GC.

Also, I need to acquire a set of .25-35 dies.

All this going on and Mike Bellm is trying to get me to get a .250 Imp (using .444 Marlin or .307 Winchester cases). Then, a .358 Bellm? A .32-20 with a .312 bore? Heck, I've not wrung out everything else yet and my dear wife wants to go to "someplace" for spring break. YUCK!

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

As mentioned yesterday, I've been reorganizing my shooting stuff. This was initiated by the use of my son's former bedroom as an office. This has followed the usual way of things and one task has beget another.

I never realized just how much "stuff" I have. Ammunition for all my Contender barrels and other guns, collected accessories, hunting clothes, keepsakes from various hunts and my own and my father's time in the military, etc., have taken up residence in sort of a hodge-podge with a life of it's own. Labeling, organizing and cleaning have been the major sub-tasks of this general house cleaning. Fortunately, the weather has cooperated being either too windy, too cold or both for me to spend much time outside or do any constructive range work. At least there's room in the safe for everything.

However, new stuff continues to come in. I'm now waiting on some 350 .25-35 Winchester cases to wend their way here. I'll need dies, bullets (and a plan for loading), and storage for that as well. I'm thinking I'll need to redo my bullet and powder shelf.

Watched "Safari Hunter's Journal" on TV along with lunch today. I've seen it before. These guys are quite supportive of the Blaser R93 rifle. So much so that if I was to lose all my current battery somehow, I'd get an R93 in .222 Rem., 9.3x62mm and .416 Rem. I think I'd also get one of those Ruger SxS 12 ga. guns. I'd also get a good traditional muzzleloader (actually one flinter volunteer musket type and one .54 rifle, percussion or flint) and a .22. I'd have to get a good carry pistol and that would probably be a .45. I hope it never comes to that!

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

I spent a good part of this afternoon reorganizing my shooting stuff. A big chore. Also, I need more ammo cans. I am labeling everything so that if something happens those that are responsible for cleaning up after me can sort it out with minimal hassle. Not writing those labels either (that WOULD be counterproductive). I am using a little P-Touch labeler to write out all the labels including for reloads.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

A friend on just posted this link to the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners which includes a link to the Headstamp Index. This could be VERY useful for some of us.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

What have I learned at from the internet? Well, let's see:

1. Double rifles require repair every 300-500 rounds. I never knew this. Having never owned a double rifle (but several double shotguns) and only read about them, I thought that they only needed repair when a spring broke or some such thing. I would never imagine that they are constructed such that they needed to be refit every 500 rounds or so. Now I have heard of double shotguns "shooting loose" but these were cheap guns and it hasn't happened even to my old Springfield/Stevens 20 and 16 ga. guns much less to the Parker Brothers or Ithacas.

2. So many people are incapable of expressing a complete sentence or properly using capitalization and punctuation! Sentences that run on, seemingly without end, are nearly unintelligible. These same sorts of people use obscenities as if they have the same impact in the written word as they do when uttered with the appropriate vocalizations. Simply amazing.

3. There are lots of people out there that know much more than I do about a lot of things. Ok, I didn't learn this, but the subject did receive some reinforcement.

4. There are lots of people out there that know much less than I do about nearly everything. I suppose that Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segment didn't actually teach me this. However, with proper reinforcement, I am trainable.

5. There are so many people worldwide who hunt, who own firearms, who are intelligent. I did not expect to find so many who have overcome some really intimidating regulatory limitations to manage to get out and hunt. These people really impress me. Also, they are often technically savvy and well spoken, at least with the written word, in a language other than their native language (English). How many Americans can say the same. I know that I can no longer carry on a conversation in Korean or Mandarin.

6. There seem to be lots of people going to Africa to hunt. A corollary to this is that hunting in Africa is much more a business than here in the states. That is, guiding and paying to shoot animals is much more reduced to a system than it is here with all our public lands. I wonder how long our hunting patterns will last given that hunters as a group are aging and land use is becoming more regulated.

Ok, so that is not a great number of things. At least those are all that I come to mind as I write this. I do have other shooting concerns...

One of those is finally getting all my Contender barrels zeroed and the loads for them finalized. I get new barrels but don't get them zeroed or load development done. Among the tasks I have in this area:

1. Zero the .22 Match barrel with Winchester Power Points.
2. Zero the .22 Hornet and work up a load with Lil'Gun and Hornady's 35 gr. V-Max.
3. Zero the .218 Bee and work up a load with Lil'Gun and Hornady's 35 gr. V-Max.
4. Zero the .223 with the 63 gr. Sierra bullet load.
5. Zero the new .25-35 barrel with the factory 117 gr. RN load.
6. Check out the 7-30 Waters with the lead bullet/SR 4759 load.
7. Find a load for and zero the .41 Remington Magnum barrel.
8. Re-scope and zero the .38-55 barrel with the Barnes Original bullet and LBT bullet loads.
9. Zero the .38-55 Williams Foolproof Receiver Sight with the 249 gr. Leadheads PB bullet load.

I have other things that are on my "to do" list as well:

1. Help my son-in-law reduce the coyote population on his dad's farm.
2. Ditto for the groundhogs.
3. Ditto for coyotes on my mother's place.
4. Spring turkey hunting.
5. Get ready for the season's fly fishing.
6. Finish my office so that I can work in peace.
7. Finish cleaning my basement loading area so that I can be more efficient.
8. Redo the fence along the road at my mother's and repost the property boundary.
9. Plant bois d'arc along one fence line at my mother's.
10. Set up a dozen arrows for my hunting bow and practice.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Yesterday, I received a Bullberry, 16½", blued, bull, .41 Remington Magnum barrel from Mike Wittmer of Sanford, FL. This is really and outstanding barrel! Very well made (as is most of Bullberry's product) and finished and Mike took very good care of it as well. I've got it mounted already (so I can zero it if the weather ever gets good enough) with a Rynite 14" forearm (which works with the spacing Fred Smith of Bullberry uses for his hanger system) and carbine stock. For a sight I am using a Simmons 4X National Turkey Federation, turkey scope on a Weaver mount with Millet Angle-lok rings. Of course, the Rynite forearm for the 14" barrels does not have provision for a sling swivel so I've installed a .800-.850" Uncle Mikes barrel band (remember that the Contender barrel measures .812-.815") and this looks good and is working really well.

I will say that I have not cared much for this scope so far but it sure looks cute on this set-up. I'm not really thrilled with the Millet rings either but they were on hand so...

The whole deal is compact and should give another 400-500 fps to the 170-180 grain bullets over the 10mm Auto in the 14" with Choate extender. However, I am most interested in using a 250-275 gr. LBT design cast GC bullet in this cartridge with this barrel. Both Beartooth Bullets and Cast Performance offer bullets of this type in the required diameters.

Monday, February 03, 2003

I just received a barrel I bought from Ron Sable of RJ's Guns . A .25-35 Winchester, 21", blue, standard taper, it is everything that Ron said it was (as usual). Ron seems to be a great guy and has fair prices and some difficult to find things. He will also take the time to help if your ignorant. Take it from me, I know from personal experience.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

I received a nifty little knife I had bought from an eBay auction. It is the Frost (of Sweden) Swedish Army Knife. A 4" Mora stainless blade and plastic grip and scabbard. Eminently practical. For $9.95 + shipping I am VERY pleased.

Of course, even though money is now tight as I await the final price including shipping for the .41 Mag 16¼" barrel, I had to get a box each of .41 Mag and .25-35 ammo. I've got a bid in on dies for the .41 on Auction Arms ($20 and fingers crossed) and am looking for a set of .25-35 dies. I have lots of .30-30 brass and so can form my .25-35 cases but the .41s will have to be bought.

For the .41 I'm thinking of loading an LBT design LFN and for the .25-35 I'm thinking in terms of a 85-100 gr. bullet. This will probably be a varmint cartridge for me, although it could do for deer in a pinch. That's why the 100 gr. bullet is in the running.

I worked on getting the scope mounted and ready for the .25-35 barrel. I'll probably get a 2½X Weaver for the .41 but the scope I have is a 4X Simmons "Turkey" scope with one of those diamond reticules. We'll see how it does for coyotes and maybe turkeys (did I say varmints, guess I'll need to take that back).

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

2 New Barrels

I'm certainly enjoying the Contender. I just committed to the purchase of 2 more barrels for my Contenders! This will make 21 barrels.

The first is a .41 Mag, 16¼" bull barrel and the second is a .25-35 Winchester, standard taper 21". As most of you know this also requires at least one additional scope sight (I already have a mount, rings and one scope), dies for each, at least one hundred cases for each, bullets, and time to shoot. Don't even ask how I am rationalizing this.

I await load suggestions.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Hopefully, after I take care of some administrative requirements for the Foundation and get my truck inspected, I'll be able to get some hunting in. This will be for coyotes. Since I've not done a lot of predator calling, at least I don't think it is a lot, I'm sure that it will be a steep learning curve.

I intend to use my TC Contender carbines in .30 Herrett, 7mm TCU and 7-30 Waters. Will wait on the .22s until I can get them to the range to verify zero. That would be the .22 Hornet, .218 Bee, and .223 Rem.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

I went to the Old Dominion Gun Show today. Almost a misnomer, this was about 66% gun show and 33% "other" including military surplus, miscellaneous leather goods, coins, etc. VERY disappointing. Went to find 3 things in particular. TC Contender barrels, Ruger #1 (preferrably 1A or 1S), and Savage 99s. There were 3 Savage 99s, 2 in .300 Savage and one in .358 Winchester. There was one Ruger No. 1-A in .270 Winchester and NOT A SINGLE CONTENDER BARREL!!!!

I did buy a single pound of GOEX FFFG and 100 Winchester .218 Bee cases.

Terry McFarland, the proprietor of Old Dominion Gun Shows, Inc., is apparently having problems getting any dealers to his shows. I doubt that I'll attend another. Trouble is, there are no others to go to within reasonable driving distance.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Shooters are so fickle, at least I am, well, not really I just want more, all the time, more guns, new cartridges, etc. "So what started this?" you may ask (or simply page down to look for something more interesting). Somebody on the Accurate Reloading forum asked about rechambering the Savage 99.

Now there is a subject! I had a history teacher at Turner Ashby High School in Dayton, VA who used a Savage 99. I'm not sure of the chambering (.243 Winchester?) but I remember her name Mrs. Shelvie Carr (yeah, I spelled it correctly). There is even a picture of her "on stand" with her rifle. She wasn't the only hunter I knew who used a 99. As a matter of fact, this rifle in .250-3000 was my "dream" rifle for a while. That is until reality set in and I found I could only afford a Marlin M336. Although that was a great rifle, it is one of the few I've ever let go (and, of course, I regret it!).

Most of the talk has been about the .358 Winchester in the 99. Other topics have mentioned the .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .260 Remington, .300 Savage (a pre-military .308 ) and even the .22 Savage Highpower. This has really gotten my juices flowing! However, one of the problems mentioned is getting the rotor correct for the particular cartridge. I'd like to hear about the conversions to .260 Remington. That with a .358 Winchester would be a great 2 rifle battery in the U.S.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

As you might know I've been seriously hot for a "real" rifle other than my TC Contender carbines or a mil-surplus. My recent exposure to the Accurate Reloading forums and the popularity of the various 9.3mm rifles among posters there has made me look in that direction for the chambering I should get. Of course that forum is much more international and with many European and African shooters on board, the 9.3x62mm Mauser and 9.3x74R are the 2 cartridges of this ilk most mentioned.

Now, I am not as dogmatic as many and I soon noted that the performance level as well as bullet diameter (.366") is very similar to a slew of American cartridges such as the .358 Winchester, .35 Whelen, .350 Remington Magnum, .338-06 and .338 Winchester Magnum. Also, while I was initially drawn to the Mauser CRF rifles many used I have to admit that my long standing prejudice against bolt rifles (it HAS to be more than a preference for single-shots!) finally returned and I am now looking at the Ruger No. 1 in either the "A" (light sporter) or "S" (medium sporter) formats. Both have the slimmer and trimmer Alexander Henry style forearm, the barrel mounted sling band, barrel band front sight ramp and differ only in barrel length being 22" and 24" respectively.

Getting a rifle of this class, I would expect to mount a Leupold 1.5-5X in the factory mounts (although I would prefer a quick release type) and I might get a NECG aperture sight for back-up. I imagine that this whole thing would set me back $800-$1000 depending on whether or not I buy used. Unfortunately, of my preferred range of cartridges, only the .338 Winchester Magnum is offered and only in the No. 1-S. I have played with the idea of buying a used rifle, a new action (to have barreled and stocked), a used No. 1 in another cartridge (I found a .270 for $535, sans scope of course) to be rebarreled or to get a new .338 Winchester Magnum and shoot it to death and then have it rebuilt. Now that last is going to take a while and I don't really want to wait. Although Ruger may have made a 1-S in .35 Whelen, I can't find one. The .270 Winchester and .30-06 just don't float my boat.

Also, if I got one like this, I'd feel a very great urge to do something I know I'd regret and simplify my life by selling off all of my guns and passing the legacy guns on to my children early. Still, my .45-70 Contender carbine will do what this proposed rifle will do, albeit at much reduced range... Anyway it is quite a conumdrum for me. Knowing me, I suppose I will ponder this one for quite a while, while my money goes to support my other interests!

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Sorry to say that I've been painting and refurbishing a room in my house to use as an office and not out shooting or hunting. I did mount my Dave Van Horne 28 gauge barrel on my Contender. Hopefully I'll be able to get out and hunt before most seasons end this month. Best to have it ready to go, just in case!

An aside, this has got to be the largest case you can chamber a Contender barrel to. There just isn't much chamber wall left and the gun is extremely light. Dave did a fine job on it though and I've not experienced any problems with it yet.

In relation to my previous post regarding the various case dimensions of formed and commercial purpose built 7.65x53mm Mauser ammo I must note that there is currently an auction on eBay for a .30 Herrett barrel that was rechambered (supposedly by TC) to 7.62x39mm. Aside from the fact that this is a .308 bore and there are safety concerns in firing .311 milspec ammo through this on a Contender frame, these folks are advertising that it will now shoot BOTH .30 Herrett and 7.62x39mm ammo!!! What they are REALLY doing is forming 7.62x39mm Rimmed cases from the .30 Herrett brass. As pointed out by somebody on the TC List, there is .025" difference in the 2 case heads (the Herrett being the smaller). This is quite a bit (as I noted in the previous post) and I don't expect that they have particularly long case life even though they are only neck sizing (and supposedly in the 7.62x39 die). One has to wonder, "Why?" In my mind this is one of those barrels that should be welded up and tossed in the scrap steel pile but undoubtedly somebody will get some use out of it. Won't be me!

Sunday, January 12, 2003

I was posed an interesting question about the varying rim diameters of the 7.65x53mm Mauser cartridge. Since I have cases made from many different brands, and Norma, Argentine commercial (albeit made by the national armory), and the new Frontier as sold by Graf and Sons, I've measured and posted the results here:

Argentine commercial - .473"
Norma 7.65x53 - .473"
Frontier 7.65x53 - .468"
PMC 8x57 reformed - .468"
RP 8x57 reformed - .467"
FC 8x57 reformed - .468"
RP .30-06 reformed - .468"
FC .30-06 reformed - .470"
Win .30-06 reformed - .466"
FC.270 reformed - .470"

Interestingly, while this got boring to do, it pointed out a couple of interesting things:
- .473" seems to be the standard we should "shoot" for. There's a reason the Argentine is that size.
- .007" inch is the maximum difference between cases but all function without problems in my M1891 carbine.
- 8x57 is the easiest to reform (simply lube, run in the die and trim to length, then fireform), it may NOT provide the best parent brass for some users.
- Winchester .30-06 brass has the smallest rim diameter of commercial .30-06 brass available to me.
- My military .30-06 cases are buried so deeply in my reloading area I can't find them!

I think that it just doesn't matter that much. Once fireformed to the chamber of the rifle you are using, it will work very well indeed. And I think it should be formed to the chamber of the particular rifle you're using as the chambers seem to vary, sometimes widely. The only other consideration is whether or not the extractor will be able to grab the rim.

Additionally, I was asked about the .30-06 vs 6.5x55 case heads. Interestingly, all case heads .30-06, .270, 8x57, and 7.65x53 consistently measured .470 +/- .0005" and all the 6.5x55 measured .480 +/- .0005". This is to my mind one of the critical dimensions to look at when reforming. While .470" dia case heads MIGHT function in the .480" chambers they certainly won't last long.

Friday, January 10, 2003

As I've mentioned before, I'm am seriously jonesing for a 9.3 or .35 rifle of serious capability such as a .35 Whelen, .350 Remington Magnum, 9.3x62mm Mauser or 9.3x74R. Why? Come on, is that REALLY important? I suppose that I want a rifle to take Elk or Moose hunting that won't cause serious concerns on the part of the guide, outfitter, or PH.

I did buy the .45-70 barrel for my Contender for the same purpose but I continue to get the feeling that most people feel that a 6 pound (scoped) rifle is just not serious medicine for anything regardless of what it is chambered for.

Ok, so what rifle do I want to get this Elk/Moose slayer in? Well, I've been considering a bunch of options. First, I thought that I'd get a vintage rifle (I LIKE vintage rifles) in 9.3x62mm but found out that it is not the easiest thing to mount a scope and would often require alterations that I would not want to make to a vintage firearm. Then, I thought that the CZ-USA 550 American in 9.3x62mm would be just the ticket. However, it will still require several customizing things such as a banded front sight, a rear sight and perhaps slightly shortening the barrel and a set of slightly lower rings. Not impossible but discouraging.

Now I'm thinking of going the single shot route (big surprise, huh?) and for that am considering either a Ruger No. 1 (I'd prefer the Alexander Henry forearm used on the 1A) or TC Encore. I'm really not excited about the Encore. It just doesn't have that feeling of quality that the Contender has. This despite their common methods of manufacture, etc. I also don't like the Encore stock form, the way the hammer is shaped, the handling characteristics, etc. Finding a Ruger No. 1 action might be a bit of a problem though (unless Brownells still sells them). I will be mounting a Leupold 1.5-5x and would like to have a way to ALSO mount an aperture sight as a backup. If I have to start with just the action (i.e. without factory wood) I'll be stocking in a laminate like Boyd's.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

No shooting this week although the weather has improved to above seasonal temps. That goes away tomorrow but I'll be working anyway...

Finally found a Uncle Mikes paddle holster for a 4" medium revolver (#2). This has the adjustable thumb snap. After several false starts in getting this adjusted correctly, it now is and won't come unsnapped with pressure from the gun against the strap. Interestingly, there are a couple of ways to adjust drop height and angle of the holster.

I'm using it for a Ruger Speed Six .357 Mag Dad bought in 1973. This was his first handgun and he was 47 (my current age)! I can't imagine going that long without a handgun. In any case it really swallows the gun and protects it while fitting it well. As you probably know this isn't always true. I purchased it from my local dealer for $35 including the 4.5% tax. Dad had a Hunter holster from 1973 but I am not very fond of it.

I also received some Leadheads .310" bullets today. Weighing 145 grains, gaschecked and with a nice broad flat meplat I intend to use these to create small game loads ahead of SR4759 for both the .30 Herrett and .30-30 TC barrels.

I've also been considering a couple of "new" cartridges for my next Contender barrel(s). The 6.5x50mmR and the .300/221R. I'm also trying to get a good elk/moose class cartridge other than my .45-70 such as the 9.3x62mm Mauser or 9.3x74R.

I'm also getting my 28 gauge DVH Contender barrel out for late season grouse, squirrel, etc. Hopefully, I'll be able to get out next week before the next snow!

Wednesday, January 08, 2003


In response to a correspondent who thinks I am responsible for his new addiction to TC Contenders. A little research has corrected some errors, also corrected here.

Hello, my name is Hobie and I am a TCholic.

I can't help myself and although I don't quite know what has happened but I know how it started.

In 1968, Dad and I went to Hudson's, one of the local gun stores, and I saw my first Contender. At the same time I saw my first Ruger No. 1 and handled a cute little Remington .22 LR Rolling Block "musket". I told Dad then, this little break open would be a great little carbine (I'd already shot an H&R .22 Hornet and just knew this had to be better). Dad did get me my first TC gun in the form of a .36 cal. Seneca which he presented to me that Christmas 1972.

However, I couldn't do more than fondle the Contender and was distracted (fortunately) by circumstances until 1978 when a fellow named JDJ started a little thing called the Handgun Hunters International. As a "charter" member (#500 if I remember correctly) I eagerly looked forward to every issue of the news sheet (just as I did for all the gun magazines I subscribed to so that I could actually get them in the ROK). Although I let almost all my subscriptions lapse (except my NRA membership) I'd already seen the advertisements for the Texas carbine barrels and Choate's extension to convert the 14" barrels to carbine capable. Still, I was able to avoid becoming involved in the Contender sub-culture, at least for the time being.

In what I see now as a desperate attempt to maintain my sanity after my divorce, I bought a pre-forward assist AR-15 carbine and devoted myself to the hi-cap, many round shooting scene. This worked for a couple of years until, well, I remarried.

While I accept responsibility for my actions, this woman has enabled my many addictions. Things are just out of control. She's even talked about hunting in AFRICA and Canada! It was nothing to her to watch me sell my AR-15 and keep the money to spend on GUNS!

That is exactly what I did. I thought I'd just get a single frame and a barrel in a good deer capable round (.35 Rem), varmint round (.223), small game round (.22 LR) and then in .410 ga for doves, etc. Well, first I still had a bunch of 30 round magazines that were suddenly more valuable due to the hi-cap ban and a friend offered to trade for my collection. Yes, more Contender barrels...

It snowballed after that. I got barrels chambered for cartridges "because" I had dies (.30-30, .44 Mag, .38-55), "because" they were on sale (.357 Max, 10mm Auto), "because" I had brass I could use (7mm
TCU, .30 Herrett). It goes on and on. Then I had to get another frame so that I could let my wife shoot one at the same time as I was shooting the other. Yeah right, she doesn't even know I have the second frame!

All this was just killing me. I was nearing retirement and I knew that my available funds would dry up. I'd sold my bayonet collection and I had to do something. Then it struck me. All I had to do was to bring others into my world. They'd spend THEIR money and tell me all about it. It wouldn't be quite the same but it would be close enough and get this... I could do it from my home, over the INTERNET! How good is that!?!

Well, I guess you see that I am indeed the cause of your addiction. However, I know that you can get this monkey off your back but it will take drastic measures. I hope you're up to it. All you have to do is send me all your Contender stuff. Be sure to send it all because if you have even one die, one cartridge, one screw, you'll fall off the wagon in short order.

I'll own up to one more thing.

I haunt the on-line auctions looking for that "deal" on a Contender barrel. I also go around to all the local yard sales. I've heard tales of the widow selling a box full of "old useless barrels my late husband wouldn't throw out", but, I've never met her... I drool when my friends pull out their barrels. No, it isn't subtle. I'm just a sad individual.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Yesterday was a good time, too. As I drove in I saw 4 does crossing the road. Stopped in the middle of the road to let them go at their own pace. After about 5 minutes they all had moved on across the road. I went down another 150 yards and parked at a turn-out.

It has been cold here lately (much colder than last year) and with intermittent snows and freezing temperatures has made still hunting difficult due to the noise from ice, crusty snow and frozen leaves underfoot. I prefer to still hunt, it is much more interesting if not so productive.

So... I tried to put the sneak on these 4 does (they were legal yesterday). After picking my way through the mountain laurel and other obstacles I found myself about 50 yards downwind of them as they fed/moved down the side of the ridge. However, a shot did not present itself as they seemed to know enough to keep the laurel between us. We played cat and mouse for over 2 hours as we all worked our way down the side of this ridge (and it is steep in some places!) towards an old logging road that runs the length of the hollow. Every time I thought they would mis-step and put one of them sufficiently in the clear for a shot from my .54 TC New Englander, they would halt and wait me out. I'd work out a way to move quietly over 2 or 3 feet to get a shot and they'd take advantage to move another 10 feet or so downhill to behind another patch of laurel (some of which is 5 feet or more across and 8 feet tall). This is how we spent our 2 hours or so.

Finally the vegetation opens up towards the bottom but they took the opportunity to quickly move another 50 or so yards away with many intervening oaks. Unbeknownst to me there was a party of hunters strung along the logging road although none were directly below me. The deer moved another 25 or so yards away from me (I was unable to quietly keep up and the wind was changing direction relative to me) and the other party opened up. 5 shots and enough drifting powder smoke to simulate a Civil War skirmish! But, no deer down that I could see!

Very exciting and enjoyable despite the 28 degree temp and 25 MPH gusts.

Friday, January 03, 2003

I've not been posting regularly, choosing instead to hunt. Not that I've been all that successful at my pursuit of the Virginia Whitetailed Deer. However, I have had two interesting incidents.

The first was 3 days ago. There was still a bit of ice/snow on the ground where I was hunting in the mountains west of Staunton. I took a seat and thought I'd wait a bit and see what transpired.

Those of you who hunt in this area know that the bear hunters are out and about with their hounds. It so happens that on this particular day there was a good number of hunters roaming the roads, their pickup truck dog boxes evidence enough of their particular interest.

After sitting for about 30 minutes, I became aware of a noise approaching. Soon, I was able to discern the rapid footsteps of some approaching two legged animal. Very quickly a turkey hen ran by. Only 30 yards or so away, she was moving so quickly that I didn't get my gun up before she had passed me by and moved on up the mountain and out of range. She was flat gettin' it. I've no idea why she did not take off and fly. The rest of the flock must have gone other directions as there was no sign of other turkeys. HOWEVER... in only about 2 minutes a rather louder crashing was heard. Not really load footsteps but the breaking of limbs and rustle of bushes and... in the distance... the baying of hounds. Oooooh, I was going to be in for a treat! The bear, about 150 lbs or so, passed just 50 yards away from my ground stand. Since the area I overlooked was fairly clear of brush, he was pretty noiseless but loped along at a pretty good pace and, at least while I observed him, did not pause or look back. Whether he was taking her lead or not he pretty much followed the hen turkey up the mountain. About 5-6 minutes later, here came the hounds. Lustfully baying now and again and strung out as the more fit animals were apparently in the lead. They paid me no mind what-so-ever. I had hoped that they would flush something more to my liking such as a nice fat dry doe but no evidence of that was heard or seen. Convinced that there were no quarry for me I moved on.

Of course I did not try to take the bear, those were somebody else's dogs and that just isn't done.