Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Botswana Tusker

We just received this pic from PH Campbell Smith. Cam has just returned from Botswana after a successful hunt with Dr. John Couvillion where they took this bull after a long hot hunt in unit NG-47. This bull was found after picking up the tracks following them for hours then looping ahead by Land Cruiser and finding the bull later on 40 K's from where they had first started. Water is apparently very scares in the concession this year and the buffalo are in such large herds that the limited bore hole pumps are having a hard time keeping up with the watering buffalo mush less the Elephant coming into the area. Cam felt what elephants were entering the concession were leaving just as quickly. But patience and perseverance paid off in the end with this very nice bull. The bull was taken with a Legend Heavy Sporter chambered for 458 Lott and a 500gr Woodleigh FMJ Norma Factory load. Well done Dr. Couvillion & Campbell.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jerry Fisher Barrel Vise: Part 3

Jerry Fisher Barrel Vise: Part 2

The vise comes with one set of Aluminum bushing with additional sizes being available for different diameter barrel shanks. The idea is to buy the bushing so the ID of the busing matches the  shank diameter PLUS the thickness of a new business card. Example: Shank OD is 1.150,  card stock thickness is .012. As the card should wrapped around the shank about 340 degrees the ID of the bushing should be 1.170 to 1.172. The card stock protects the bluing and engraving during the process. This procedure, done properly will allow you the spin actions on and off barrels shanks with no damage to the surface finish on the shank. I am not all sure how this system will work with a Teflon or Cera-Koted barrel shank but will know soon enough.

Disclaimer: I am not being given a vise for this endorsement ! I am paying the bill just like everybody else. The cost for this vise is going to be $575.00 US. The barrel bushings will run $50.00 US per set if you can make your own. At this time the first run of 20 vises are bring completed. Needless to say I do not have one in my shop at this time but I know that if it leaves Jerry's shop it will be an excellent product in every way. It is not often that I put in a plug for anything but this will be an exception. If you have been wanting to up-grade your current barrel vise this is going to the Cadillac of vises.

             Jerry Fisher can be reached at 406-837-2722 MST. A brochure is available on request.

Jerry Fisher Barrel Vise: Part 1

Over the past couple years we have been asked to build a couple of Legends fit and chambered with two  different calibers. This can be done if the parent case geometry is very similar for both cartridges. Examples of this would be for cartridges such as the  257 Roberts, 6.5x55, 75x7 as well as the 300 H&H and 375 H&H or a 300 Weatherby and the 416 Remington. You get the idea.

Now our switch barrels are not something that can be done with the flick of the wrist. The barrels must be removed by removing the front scope base and placing an action wrench over the front ring of the action and then clamping the barrel in a proper barrel vise. The last such rifle we assembled found me looking for a commercial vise for our client overseas and I could not find a single vise that I liked the looks of and I really searched the web. I'm sure some would have worked but to insure that the bluing is not scratched in this conversion requires both care by the operator and vise that is made with precision and versatility. Last December while visiting Jerry Fisher I was made privy to a barrel vise that he was having made at that vey moment for retail sales. The design is based off the original vise that he has used in his shop for over 40 years. I have used that vise many times in the past and the vise as well as concept work very well indeed.

This is not rocket science so a lengthly text is not required. The upper vise Jaw is supported by a group of coil springs located between the upper and lower halves of the vise. This feature alone is real asset as it allows you to slide the barrel and barrel bushings into the vise without the need of a 3rd hand. My present vise does not even have this feature and we need to be very diligent when installing the barrel in and out of the vise so as not to scratch the freshly blued action or barrel during the assembly. Jerry's vise also eliminates the use of a larger Allen Key and a  dead blow hammer to snug down the vise as the 4 nuts on the top side of the vise are to be tightened and then loosened with a socket head wrench instead. This eliminates the chance of the Allen key from bouncing loose as it's being slapped with the lead blow and ricocheting off your newly engraved and blued barrel. It short it's just a damn better mouse trap and would be a welcome addition to any shop that installs barrels of any type.

Spring Roe Buck Hunting In Poland

Frank from Germany sent us this photo of this respectable Roe Buck he recently took while in Poland. Frank was using a Legend chambered for 300 H&H for the hunt. He shot the buck at 186 meters with a hand-load made from a combination of components  two of which were a Barnes 168gr TTSX driven by a charge of Reloader 17. Some would consider a 30 caliber magnum over kill for such a small deer but I have always been skeptical of such claims. Use what you feel most comfortable with and let the result speak for itself.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dancing at Dawn: Part 3

The two hens and three gobblers once again stepped into the clearing, the range looked like 35 to 40 yards all three gobblers were all facing away from me and my only target was the back side of three fans. Then from over my right shoulder one of the hens that had been coming in from behind me finally must have made me out and let go two very loud "Puts". I knew the gig was up and as the toms lowered their fans to confirm any danger I selected a bird, swung the bead to blot out its head and squeezed the trigger in a singular motion. The tom was instantly consumed by a bee hive of 5's and wilted into the grass. As I racked the slide for any follow up that might be required the two other gobblers took off at a trot but when seeing their companion down for the count reversed direction and came back to get in a few licks of their own. For the next minute the two remaining toms assaulted their fallen comrade until they saw me slowly getting to my feet. A calliope of puts erupted from the surrounding area and within seconds all was quiet as the remaining members of this flock beat feet or sailed out of sight.

I ejected the two remaining rounds and walked over to the bird. I always marvel at these big birds as I love to hunt them. In the past few years I have passed up a lot of birds as I know once the trigger is pulled the hunt is over, this year was different. I sat down in the cool grass and then looked at this old Model 12 closely. Was this the first turkey to fall to this gun? I have no history to draw from, no accounts of birds before me. I'll have to make my own.

I tagged then gutted the bird and noticed that I was now thirsty with all the water being at the truck. So I gather his legs together and slung him over my shoulder and with the Model 12 in the other hand I began to hike down canyon. The walk out was just as sweet as the dance.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dancing At Dawn: Part 2

As I eased to the edge of this clearing a gobbler sounded off just up the hill to my right. Screened by the spring canopy I softly cleared the ground litter from around the base of a tree and sat down. Another gobbler opened up ahead of me on the other side of the clearing. Hens began to call all around me, I had hit the mother load. In the next ten minutes five different gobblers hurled challenges to one another and birds began pitching out of trees like rain. When the majority of the birds were on the ground three gobblers began working down the slope towards me just out of sight. I could hear hens with these toms and certainly the hens held the attention of all three suiters. Another gobbler opened up behind me with another unseen hen that carried on like a used car salesman. Up to now I had not uttered a single call, it wasn't necessary. I shifted my position in the direction of the gobblers working down slope towards me and slowly raised the muzzle towards the racket. Then I made out the shapes of  birds quartering off my front heading for the edge of the clearing. Two hens scratched their way into the open 60 yards in front of me bringing up the rear were all three toms.

For the next 20 minutes the birds carried on in front of me just out of my self imposed maximum range. The hens began to feed back into the trees and began working away from me. I softly yelped twice for the first time and all three toms instantly hammered back replies. Both hens in front of me joined in and the hens behind me broke into the chorus. The whole damn hollow went platinum with a bullet. I think that's when I noticed I was trembling. I yelped and pleaded and they reversed direction again. The heads and fans of the gobblers could be seen behind the incoming hens but taking a shot just wasn't possible as the hens were in the way. A hen began calling behind me again and sounded as if she was about to tap me on the shoulder. Did I mention I was trembling? Then the hens to my front changed direction once again and angled away from me taking the gobblers with them. They dropped into a shallow depression screened by understory and slowly increased the distance between us. I yelped again, the team responded instantly and I sent back a reply in earnest. The older hen paused, I sent another string of yelps and purrs her way and she spun on hers heels and stepped back toward me. The gobblers followed her every move and came as if they were on a string. I slowly pushed the safety off and found the trigger. The largest tom took a step away from the bunch but in doing so stepped behind the only damn bush between us. Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of another gobbler coming from my left into view across the hollow about eighty yards away. The arrival of this new gobbler sent the three toms in front me into a frenzy of calls and a never ending strut but they were still bunched together with both hens in the way.

Dancing At Dawn: Part 1

Last fall I rekindled an affair with a Sweet Sixteen. This 16 gauge Model 12 got little use last fall but the few birds that fell in front of the muzzle cemented the relationship. Early this spring I sent the barrel to Briley's for a set of thin wall, flush fit choke tubes, one of which was to be made Extra Full as this 16 was to become a generalist. I explained to the tech this particular choke would be used with either # 6 or # 5 coppered or nickeled lead shot. A week before our general Turkey season was to open the barrel and chokes arrived. I headed straight to the range to pattern some loads hoping that at least one would throw enough pellets into a Turkey head silhouette at 35 yards to deliver a decisive blow when the time came. The first rounds I tried were Fiocchi, Golden Pheasant, 1-1/8 oz, nickeled # 5's with a velocity of 1300 fps. I shot three rounds at three silhouettes and averaged 11 pellets in the neck and head. The pattern was centered perfectly, I never tested another load. Note to self: place Briley on the Christmas card list.

The first day my daughter and I hiked into an area we have hunted for the past three years. Where we planned to start found us in competition with another hunter that had stumbled onto the property in the dark. Undeterred we moved on and hunted until eleven before circling back to the truck. We had covered roughly 4 miles both gaining and losing some credible elevation. Lexi suffered through the last 1/2 mile with blisters but never complained. That morning she had heard four toms that I never managed to hear and soon after sunrise she said they all went silent. We have become quite a team.

The following weekend I rose at 4am and tried to pry my daughter out of bed. After three attempts I gave up, shut out the lights and stepped into the mild predawn darkness, it was slightly overcast and humid. This morning I was traveling light. Three shells, a small folding knife, one old Lynch box call I have had since I was a teenager, and a diaphragm call that somehow still sounds seductive. As I stepped from the truck robins had already begun to stir and soon Nighthawks rose at my feet as I hurried up the old two track. I had less than a half an hour before the show I hoped to see would begin. As I neared my objective I paused for a moment to catch my breath and slid three rounds into the Model 12. As I wiped the sweat from my brow I heard the unmistakable sound of a turkey leaving the roost and seconds later a bird sailed 100 yards over my head on a glide path that would take her hundreds of yards down the draw. Moments later another bird yelped softly in a tree to my left and then pitched into space and followed her sister. I hurried the last 50 yards to the edge of a small clearing that lay at the base of two hollows. I had learned over the last three years this one area was the preferred roost for many of the birds on this property. When they left the roost they went one of two ways. Landing either in or close to this clearing or dropping almost horizontally into the ridge and heading straight uphill. If they went uphill I was in for quite a walk to try set up in front of them. At this location I have never called one downhill.