Monday, December 26, 2005

I got out this morning at about 1130. Went to my mom's place, mostly to just check the snow banks for sign. More than I expected and more regular (old and new tracks). Was a bit "crunchy". I moved and stopped and then heard a loud rustling and 4 does came out. They seemed on the small side and moved steadily over the fence and down the logging road on the adjacent property. I was happy to see 4 deer as I was thinking that it seemed there were never more than 2 in that area. Then I heard the rustling again and hoped that a legal buck would step out. At first I thought I'd been had but even I could see the "buttons" on this buck. He seemed bigger than the does as well. Hungry for venison, I thumbed back the trigger, brought up the TC New Englander and swung the bead on his shoulder. I kept up with him but he seemed to accelerate and I was not leading enough when the hammer dropped. Even 100 gr. of Pyrodex R under a 325 gr. Buffalo Bullet didn't seem to recoil as the bullet struck him through both hips. At this short range, the .54 caliber conical gave complete penetration (as should be expected). It also put him right down and cut an artery. He bled out into his abdomin and died in less time than it took me to reload and move the 45 yards or so to him. The meat is good.

However, I noticed several weaknesses in my behavior, aside from poor shooting. I had to notch my license and notched the wrong one at first. Buck fever. I'm out of shape and dragging the deer only about 100 yards uphill to where I could get the truck left me breathing hard. I didn't gut him well. I didn't skin him well. I didn't cut the tenderloins well (but oh so good tasting!).

Then I get home and find my wife is scared to death of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). I may post some CWD links later but it hasn't been detected around here. Not good to confuse her with the facts though. She's just recently discovered her own mortality and is desperate to hold on. We ALL go through this some time or another.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I've not been hunting much lately. The sleet/ice storm and continued cold weather have put quite a crunchy coating on the forest floor and one has to sit quite a while before the squirrels will come out. Deer? Well the season here is out except for bow but there will be no still hunting at all. Just can't move.

Can't get to the range either. One can now get back there but other committments prevent going out there. A bit cold for "serious" work as well. Interesting to check loads in these temps but not for load development. Kinda hard to isolate shooting errors as well since I'm never certain that I wasn't just shivering. Winds are worse on this range this time of year as well.

Christmas is just around the corner. It is pretty wonderful to think that we are only some 2000 years removed from the birth of our savior.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The PCS Gun

I've not hunted the last 2 days so that I could work and pay for my wife's Christmas gifts.

I've been wanting to put down on "paper" the story of my PCS gun. Perhaps I have time now.

A way back in 1973 I'd hied myself out of highschool government class and to the recruiter to enlist in the US Army. I was fortunate enough to qualify for language training and asked for (can you believe this) Chinese (Mandarin dialect). I knew I was going places but I had no idea what places those might be. I'd also just turned 18 and what better reason than that do you need to buy a gun. I actually got 2, a Winchester M320 .22 LR bolt action and an Harrington & Richardson Topper 12 ga. The .22 is pretty straight forward but the shotgun was going to take some "fixing".

That shotgun came to me with a full-choke 28" barrel. After my first travel as a soldier I could see that the barrel length was going to be problematic. However, if I simply lopped off some barrel, I'd have no front bead and no choke. Choke is useful. I figured an adjustable choke would be yet more useful. To that end I had the barrel cut to 20" and a Lyman Adjustable choke installed. The length is such that when it is disassembled the two parts (barrel w/forearm and stock w/receiver) are just the right length to be packed in the center of the issue duffle bagwith boots at the bottom and clothes all around and shoes on top. Despite the probable abuse it suffered from baggage handlers I never had a problem.

I did get it modified too late for my first assignment in California at the language school (Defense Language Institute - West Coast) and subsequent assignment to Goodfellow AFB outside of San Angelo, TX but the gun made the trip to Korea, California again, back to Korea and return to Virginia. It has been used on pheasant, hogs, rabbits, squirrels, mourning dove, grouse, and groundhogs. It has even stood ready to repel home invaders!

The PCS Gun as it is today. Still in pretty good shape after all it's travels/travails!

It was only many years later that I installed the Uncle Mike's sling swivels. I never found that I needed them when I was in service. The sling is a 1907 that I received in pieces but there was enough to use on this gun. It is very handy sometimes!

I have other shotguns, some bought for various reasons, some gifted, and some inherited. There are pumps and fine doubles but I often use this gun for our rather limited bird hunting.