Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Converting a Pre-64 30-06 to 300 H&H Part 2

A majority of machine work has now been completed to the magazine cavity and feed well but the rail width modification is still required.  The OD of the belted case as well as the shoulder OD is larger than the 270/30-06 class of cases so additional room through the rails must be made to accommodate for these larger case diameters. 

It is the height of the case that protrudes above the rails and allows the lower edge of the bolt face to engage the protruding case and then allow the bolt to shove it towards the chamber. The case must stick up through the rails ENOUGH as its pushed forward or the bolt face will override the case head and cause a jam. Most 270/30-06 Model actions are approximately .545 to .550 in width from one feed lip or rail to the other side at the very rear of the feed well opening directly above the magazine box and then widens to .600 to .610 directly above the bottom of the bullet ramp. This geometry has work since the 1st Pre-64 stepped off the bus so it's hard to argue that it isn't adequate, is it prefect? well...............

All the next cuts will be made from the center-line of the receiver so you must establish the best means to do so. Again the fixture I use allows me to do this very easily. Finding the center-line I start off and finish using only a 3/32" carbide end mill. I widen the existing width at the rear of the rail from the original .545  to .610. Taking a photo of this operation is difficult at best due to the close proximity of the mills spindle being so close underside of the action. 

With the help of the DRO I will now cut stepped flats into the rails in incremental lengths from the rear forward and later on file and blend these transitions. If you had a CNC you could write a program to do this parabola shape, push start and step back. 

You can just make out the stepped width progressional flats cut into the rails 

Cutting the width and or SHAPE of the rails becomes a matter of interpretation and just how anal retentive you choose to be and still live with yourself. I would say that every Pre-64 70 I have ever worked on left the factory with the rails being straight in nature and wider across the front of the rails above the feed ramp. What I prefer to do today is the widen the rails in the partial parabolic fashion. Tom Burgess referred to this as a candle flame shape. Wider in the mid section of the rails than in the front and in the rear sections, How much you say ? at the widest point .620 to.625 seems to work out pretty well for me for the 300 H&H. When the parabola cuts are blended you also need to file or stone a radial profile to the top and bottom side of each rail. Failure to so will cause the brass to hang up as each case if rising out of the feed well and mag box. Time spent polishing the blended rails will pay off 

The ejection port is next and again carbide is your only reasonable option. I make a pass or two usually removing .006 to .010 of steel to clean up the leading edge of the ejection port and back of the front ring. I then begin opening up the ejection port to the rear. 

The number 3 scope base screw hole will always be cut away in this operation so you'd better have plans for repositioning that screw hole and what rear scope base you will ultimately use after this conversion.

How far you go to the rear is up for considerable debate and much of the next series of cuts will depend on your extractors length. The Standard OEM Pre-64 extractor is approximately 4.420 in over length. Some gun smith's will insist that the tail end of the extractor MUST be tucked under the right side of the rear bridge with the bolt turned down into full battery so the extractor's tail has no possible way of becoming jammed in ejection port. If you follow this as a rule then you can really only open up the ejection port to approx. 3.400. 

So if this is a concern you can modify the rear bridge as shown below, similar to the original factory receivers leaving a standing wall and blending an angular cut from the 3.600 opening you've established from the center line of the action out to the edge of the standing wall. 

This Pre-64 30-06 length action below has been chambered and set up for a 7mm Mashburn with an extended throat and uses up most the 3.600 real-estate in over all loaded length. To keep the 4.420 OEM extractor tail under the rear bridge I needed leave some standing wall as shown at the arrow. The OAL of the new opening is 3.600 but the port length is still 3.400. This still requires snaking the rounds in though the ejection port and under the scope mounts. While this takes some finesse and practice for rapid loading the extractor stays contained 100% of the in time in or out of battery. I've done many conversions in this manner especially when chambered for heavy calibers and are iron sight dedicated rifles. 

Then along came the Willams Firearms Company and their version of a M-70 retro fit extractors. The beauty of this Williams extractor is some of these were machined with an extra .130 in extractor length. I can't remember what date these came to my attention but I've used a dozen or so of these and still have a few squirreled away. This now gives us another option if you have one of these longer Williams units. To my knowledge Willams has ceased production and these are no longer available. 

Jim Wisner from time to time will make a run of an even longer extractor 4.900 as seen below for both right and left handed current production model 70 actions and these are also of excellent quality.

Williams Long Extractor 

Wisner Long Magnum M-70 

Provided you have on hand 0ne of the Williams longer than normal Extractors you can now open the ejection port to 3.600 completely. "But," you say "the tail will not be buried under the rear bridge !!!! " Well Yes and No as you lift the bolt out of the battery position and the bolt body rotates up the extraction cam the rearward movement in rotation places the LONGER Williams extractor tail under the rear bridge well before the bolt has completed its rotation.

To confuse the issue even more below is a standard Pre-64 action and OEM follower that is chambered for 280 Remington that has the ejection port opened up the 3.416. Note the tail of the extractor showing with the bolt in full closed battery and then the tail tucked under the rear bridge as the bolt is opened. The result is a longer loading port and a captured extractor tail. 

The wonder of it all !

A lot depends in any conversion or modification on the the materials at ones disposal. You will see similar adaptations of this on many of the Magnum length actions chambered for long cartridges. Note the visible exposed tail on this extractor fit to this H&W magnum 98 action, lift the bolt and the tail end slips under the rear bridge before the bolt rotates completely up the extraction cam, no fuss-no muss.

Time for lunch 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Converting a Pre- 64 Mod-70 action from 30-06 to 300 H&H Part 1

In the late eighties as I began to set up or build more 375 H&H's for hunters and finding suitable actions/rifles to do so could be a challenge. By this time I had used quite a few original Pre-64 Model 70's that had left the factory as 300 H&H and 375 H&H rifles and while they all mechanically worked except-ably there were a few things that seemed to crop up over and over again with these factory long-magnum receivers that could use some attention to detail and revision.

I began to consider using the standard 270/30-06 receivers as they came from the factory and modifying them to remove the factory idiosyncrasies that I felt I could correct. Do they need correcting ? Yes, No, Maybe, so let's see.

The one area of contention is usually the 300/375 magazine cavity that holds the magazine box in place just under the feed well is usually cut with a gross amount of clearance. In short most mag boxes rattle in place. Not always a great feature to have a full magazine migrating in recoil as it will begin to distort the mag box over time and use. Then there's the amount of material removed from the lower recoil lug seat as the actions underside is by design opened up forward to allow the 3.600 length cartridges to be used. Yet another major issue is the way the factory then changed the bullet ramp angle and usually left a razor sharp edge at the top edge of the bullet ramp. There had to be a better way.

A radial notch was then cut into the rear edge of the front ring and another large radial cut was added to the front of the rear bridge to allow loading the rifle quickly from the top side of the action with these longer rounds. All was great when those rifles were fit with the Lyman or Redfield receiver sights or even kitted out with the shallow V's found on many older Model 70's. You had an opening in the top of the receiver you could fill the magazine as you back peddled away from danger.

Scope use changed this paradigm radically. Once the 1 piece scope mount became vogue you then had to really practice to load that rifle quickly. A fault ???? not in the original design idea but the system still worked day in and day out. Especially by those that had to make a living with these Model 70's.

Thousands of standard length 98 actions have been altered too except the 300/375 H&H and those suffered the same fate. It works, no doubt about it and still does.

Where was I ? 

So in an effort to make a "better" mouse trap can we use a a Standard Model 70 chambered for a 270 Win or 30-06 ? You bet.

I going to assume you have already opened up the .473 bolt face to .538 or what ever you deem the right Magnum bolt face size and fit and chambered the 300 H&H barrel. At the same time you've also modified your standard extractor hook to a magnum hook. As you're going to need that H&H chamber to use for feeding trials sooner than you think. 

You also need to understand that this is not a one hour conversion, requires a milling machine, carbide tooling and a very secure way of holding the receiver while it is being modified. The barrel should be removed and in this case the rifle receiver was also going to be fit with my scope mounts. So the 1st course of action for me was to true up the underside of the receiver as my fixtures for fitting a set of my mounts are made to work with the underside of the action being machined flat, so we're now killing two birds with one sledge. With the underside of the action leveled off the feed rails I then make a number of passes along the bottom of the receiver with usually with a 4 Flute 1/2" carbide end mill until the bottom side of the feed well and trigger area and tang are of the same level. Then I insert a 1/2" end mill into the collet that has a .030 corner ground onto the end mill. I then cut the recoil flat pocket behind the recoil lug so it is also flat. At the same time the recoil flat pocket is being cut the back face on the contact surface of the recoil lug is also being machined 90 degrees to the the recoil flat. The pic below illustrates why this alone should be done.

While not the same Pre-64 we're going to open up the photo below display's a very common occurrence with all Model 70's and that is the recoil Lug being originally machined into a wedge shape unfortunately being wider or thicker depending on your perspective at the BOTTOM of the lug. All with complements from New Haven.

Below .006 has already been removed from the back of this G -series recoil lug face and were still not cleaned up or perpendicular. Tightly Glass Bed such an action with this integral wedge into a stock and you risk breaking the stock before you get the barreled action back out of your bedding job. This issue is more common than you think with the Model 70 having machined a couple hundred of them I can guarantee this anomaly. 

Since we're converting a 270 action to 300 H&H the next step is to carefully begin to open up the feed well originally set up for the 3.400 width and length magazine box. Now we're making room for the longer and more tapered 3.630 length 300/375 OEM mag box.

Since the client supplied and original 300/375 magazine we begin fitting the new box into the feed well cavity. We measure the thickness of the back wall of the magazine and note its .030 thick. The box will rest on the lip at the rear of the mag well. Usually this lip is recessed approx. 200 deep into the feed well just ahead of the middle guard screw. The 270/30-06 magazine box back wall is approx. .050 thick and the 300/375 box is .030 in wall thickness. So we can move the back wall of the feed well even further to the rear by another .015 to .025 usually. 

The lip that the rear of the box sits on is machined to the same thickness as the back of the 300/375 mag box. There must be a seamless transition for the base of the belted mag cases to slide up the magazine and into the feed well. As the 300/375 magazine is wider at the back of the feed well the width on our 270 action must also be modified to reflect this new width. Measure the width at rear of the 300/375 box and cut away for the center-line of the action accordingly on either side at the rear.

Note the 2 red arrows as they show other areas I will need to machine to allow for the proper width in the feed well with the new 300/375 magnum box.

But first the forward end of the receiver must be cut away to the overall extend length of the longer mag box. The cavity being cut will also serve as a Depth Stop for the forward end of the mag box like the shelf in the rear of the feed well. So it will also be cut to the same depth as the rear shelf at .200.

This OP is best done with a 1/2" end mill to match the radius on the front of the 300/375 magazine box. Cutting away from either side of the actions centerline establishes the front cavity shape. Again care must be taken to the cut this overall length to the numbers, now is not the time to be sloppy

The area inked in red will also have to go but not just yet.

If I have done my math correctly the new 300/375 length box should now PRESS into place. I have controlled the amount of steel removed to a minimum to try and arrest box migration in recoil.

Sweet!!!!!! you say, but the job is far from over. Now we have to remove steel from the feed well that is currently still set up to facilitate the 270/30-06 box geometry and over hanging the the newly installed longer box. To do this OP we need to be able to rotate the action as well as off set the taper to make these cuts. As the fixture I use will allow me to pivot the action this it's not at all difficult. The taper is generated by running an indicator done the inside wall of the feed well with pivoted offset until it reeds as close to as you can get  to ZERO front to back. Being gang milled in the factory nothing on a 70 is every super  precise from one action to the next, frankly they didn't need to be. 

So the action is rotated on its axis and then locked down with which ever side of the action you chose to start on at an 8 degree angle. It is best not to guess. 

Then the new magazine box is place back into the feed well and you need to determine of much additional  steel to remove that is overhanging the new magazine box. This transition BEHIND the feed rib needs to be flush with the top or opening of the new box. This is done one side at a time and in this case with a 1/4" ball nose carbide cutter to match the original radius as cut into the action at the factory. The steel was removed .005 at a time until the top of the box and feed well blended seamlessly up to the rib in the box. DO NOT remove any material above the rib or there will be hell to pay.

With a smooth transition at the junction of the mag box and the feed well to the rear of feed rib we can now work on area ahead of the mag box rib. This feed well width in this area should allow clearance for just the loaded necks of the 300 H&H rounds and no more. Again a 1/4" ball end mill ties the 8 degree side wall cuts into the 1/2" ball mill cuts I will now make to finish up at the front end of the feed well. Confused yet ??? 

Remember the front of the 300/375 mag box has a 1/4" radius and feed well must reflect the same radius at the not only the front of the magazine on the level but also on the 8 degree taper in the feed well itself. Here a picture is worth a 1000 words. Now that we have one side done we rotated the action and re-adjust taper to cut the opposite side of the feed well. If you've gotten this far, take break for lunch you've earned it.

So far so good

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Hmmm ?

Recently I was asked to machine and partially replicate a Holland & Holland 98 Mauser stock. When the rifle was in my hands there were two things that really stuck out that I have yet to encounter in the past.

Chambered for 458 Winchester the H&H scope mounts had been installed with their own answer to heavy scopes moving under recoil. You simply drill through the ring bands and install set screws that bite into the scope tube.

I'm not sure if the Zeiss warranty covers this type of upgrade ? It would have been interesting and easier to have actually left the appropriate .030 gap between the upper and lower ring halves to see if that might have solved any recoil movement issue with proper ring tension. Clearly no attempt was made in this regard. Rifle making at its best.

Then we have the TWIN safety arrangement. Since I do not know how the rifle originally left the factory the following is purely a guess on my part.

Clearly the rifle began life set up for iron sight use as the butt stocks drop and cast off is perfect for acquiring those sights, you throw it up and you're looking straight down the line of sight. All the parts carry the original Mauser Serial number stamps. The Mauser Wing/Flag safety would have been a perfectly serviceable set up in tandem with its original 98 trigger. You can see they engraved the SAFE into the wing.

Then at some point the rifle re-entered the factory with the idea of adding the scope. Here's where things get a bit interesting.

Clearly with the scope in place this original wing safety is not going to be our best choice. It's either On or Off SAFE. Not really convenient in a tight spot. I suppose you could slip a round into the chamber and lower the firing pin carefully onto the primer as some do I'm told and then when required to shoot you'd lift the bolt to cock the rifle and you're into game, so to speak.

I would imagine your professional hunter would require physical therapy by the end of your hunt by spinning his head around trying to monitor where that muzzle was pointing every minute in the field.

I THINK ????? the barreled action was then fit with a very nicely inletted secondary Sako style 98 Trigger with a recessed pocket for the safety button to nestle into. The inletted mortise for the Sako style trigger and the an original 98 trigger require a very similar inlet footprint so we have to assume the Sako unit was the 2nd trigger unit fit into this stock. 

Now For some reason that is not at all clear the Sako trigger assembly was then modified in such a way to keep the safety in the FIRE position permanently, So the rearward, falling sear block would not rotate into the SAFE position on this trigger unit. I could not move it at all, it has been completely deactivated.

A lot of keen effort has been expelled to properly install this Sako trigger unit such as to machine and then hand file a slot through the tang to allow the bolt lock feature to operate as designed. Which then begs the question if you de-activate the SAFE position mechanically and freeze the mechanisms rearward movement so it can't move reward.

 What was the goal ? 

It would have been nice to install and original looking Oberndorf style bolt knob but with the proper geometry to clear the scopes ocular bell as seen so often since the early seventies.

Another question is instead of removing the original wing safety altogether and perhaps plugging the cavity at the rear of the original shroud/sleeve they choose to leave the safety wing in place. If this rifle is carried in the field with the scope in place it's again either on SAFE or FIRE until you remove the scope and rotate the original wing into the desired position then replace the scope. 

Did someone really signed off on this ?

As a new stock is being made to replace the original the Stock Maker requested I sort out the safety-trigger issue as we're starting with a clean slate. The rifle will now a a conventional 2 position wing safety to clear the scopes Ocular bell and a 3rd trigger installed which is a Swift Blackburn trigger unit. 

Now if we could just get someone like Steve Heilmann to replace the forged bolt handle with a proper looking conversion for scope we'd be in tall cotton. These are just one guys thoughts. 

Its a grand old rifle and needs to go into the field again.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Lightning strikes twice

On the Friday before Memorial Day I asked my wife Rebecca if she wanted try and shoot a spring Gobbler ? Having shot her first turkey, a hen, during our protracted fall season months earlier she gave me the thumbs up and a plan was put in motion. Following Lexi's preference for the afternoons we drove onto another property shutting off the engine about 3pm. As we drove in we saw a mature Gobbler displaying to a lone hen approximately a 3rd of a mile away from where I planned to park. Having hunted this property before I thought I had a fairly good idea of how to approach those two birds, concealed hopefully from view and then set up within a 150 yards or so. No doubt love struck this one Long Beard might consider a blind date engagement if given the chance.

While we tippy towed through the cedars we caught glimpses of another Gobbler that had shown up on the scene and at least two more hens had appeared. A half an hour later we crawled to the very edge of our selected cover and settled into the landscape. I let out a string of yelps and was met with immediate reply's from both Gobblers. For the next hour the gobblers and hens answered my calls and it was easy to tell they were slowly feeding in our direction.

The next time we heard the gobblers it was evident they had changed plans and dropped down into a very steep ravine and were headed over to very spot we had originally come from. A third Gobbler had joined the two other toms and the hens had vacated the area maybe to return to the nest. Gobbling to beat the band the 3 mature birds walked out of sight heading up the ridge-line. From where we sat going after them now would have only spooked them due to the terrain so we headed to the truck to prospect another location on the ranch. I was already formulating the next attempt.

Memorial day we pulled to a stop at just before 4pm, quietly shut the doors and listened intently hoping for a clue as to where the three Long Beards might be. Slowly we slipped down an over grown two track that I hoped would put us in good position to maneuver whenever we finally heard the birds. Not a gobble did we hear. Feeling more than confident the birds were close by I was reluctant to try and cover too much ground but did step out of the tree line to glass further up the fields above us. When I did all three gobblers spotted me about the same time I spotted them roughly 300 yards above us. Spooked but not frantic they started trotting up the hill away from us. Oh fudge !!!!!

My original plan A was now clearly down the toilet but as plan B was now showing even better promise. The birds were now traveling away from their preferred roost trees and it was still well before sundown. We dropped out of sight and clawed our way up that very steep ravine I mentioned from two days before. We were in fact following them uphill and in doing so now had put the roost sight 150 yards below us. Shortly we poked our camo netted heads over the lip of a dike and without seeing the gobblers I began to assemble an ambush spot at the edge of a clearing between two major groves of maples. A few limbs were cut and pushed into the ground, my camo netting strung between some other limbs and soon Rebecca had a nook to slip into that while offered a limited field of fire it gave her 100% concealment. It would have to be as if my plan worked the bird or birds would be right on top of her before she saw them.

I had brought one Jake decoy that evening and placed it 27 strides away from her hide and in the direction of the the roost.  I quietly told her I felt the birds were less than 200 yards above maybe feeding but still on alert. I thought they would stay above us until actual sundown and then slowly make their way down the edge of the maples downhill towards us and the roost. If my guess was right the birds would just appear hard on her right side and may never utter a gobble or a cluck, in short they'd arrive silent and without warning.

I told she'd better have the shotgun at least leaning on the cross bar in front of her to keep her movements to a minimum if they did indeed arrive. I said they might get distracted long enough by the decoy to give her a chance to maneuver for a shot if it presented itself,  That I wasn't going to call at all and then said if they do arrive it likely wont be until after 8pm. She nodded and pulled up her face mask as I slipped into the tangle of maples 10 feet behind her. I had almost zero field of view but it didn't matter what I could see.

It was about 7:30 that I felt that leaving the Bug Spray on the kitchen counter was definitely a mistake as the mosquitos became persistent. Both of us endured the onslaught as best as possible and kept as still as we could. The sun dipped behind the horizon behind us and the stage was now set. If something was going to happen it would be pretty soon.

I saw the partial outline of a Gobbler hard to my right and his red head at what later turned out to be approximately 8:15. He was perhaps 15 yards away at the edge of the maple tree-line walking down hill. The maples were so thick he never saw me or Rebecca. I didn't dare hiss or whisper about his arrival I just watched. Then another bird appeared right in front of my wife perhaps 15 yards in front of the hide. Head out stretched it peered into the very space she was sitting and she never moved. Then the presence of the decoy got the best of him and he turned towards the fake. As he gathered himself into a fighting stance I saw her raise the the 20 gauge and pull the trigger in one fluid motion. The bird was flopping his last as we crawled out of the morass. I think my wife's eyes were the size of tea cup saucers. Her smile alone was worth the price of admission. I had seen this bird before as he had a distinctly crooked beard that a left hand twist. We'd seen him on Friday and I had seen him a number of times the year before hunting with Lexi.

The bird was big, typical of an older mature Rio in our area and in prime condition even this late in the breeding season. We sat for awhile and talked about how he just appeared on her right flank almost close enough to touch when he walked in front of her blind. I congratulated her on not moving until he was distracted by the decoy and for a moment I think she'd forgotten all about the deek and its role in the ruse. She hadn't seen the other birds as she was riveted on the one almost standing at her feet.

The trip home in the twilight was quiet with both of us turning the evening over in our minds, Lexi was most impressed when we arrived and wanted all the details of how it happened having sat within 20 yards of that very spot the year before and had seen the that very Gobbler a number of times. All our tags were now filled, it has been a very short season for us. Hunting in Idaho was off limits due to Covid so we cleaned the guns, sorted gear and now wait for the fall season which can't get here soon enough.

Spring Gobblers

Eventually this spring we became bored with being bored and decided to flatten our own curve and slipped into the May Turkey season without asking permission or getting anyones approval. This year we'd be hunting a new piece of property and Lexi and I managed to spend an evening with the landowner as he gave us the lay of the land. Quite a few birds were seen and I spent the next couple days scouting at dawn and late in the afternoon putting together a plan.

One group of four Long Beards got my attention as a pattern emerged and a rough blind was built late one afternoon while those Gobblers fed towards their roost. When the evening gloom began to take hold I made a few last minute adjustments and slipped out of sight back to the truck. I texted the land owner that evening and told him where we'd be at sunrise and he asked if I also wanted to shoot a bird along with Lexi if the chance presented itself ? Now really, what could I say ?

At 19 a Dawn Patrol attempt is never Lexi's favorite tactic as she's been just as successful hunting from noon until sundown for anything, sleeping in is always good duty in her mind. But she never starts to debate this approach unless it's well into the season. Rebecca decided to go so we saddled up under a star filled sky and nosed the truck through the darkness. We left the truck 45 minutes before any hint of light could creep into our valley and walked the last 700 yards to the hide.

I set up three deeks as team settled in, looked over the scene one last time slipped into the trees and sat down. The Model 12's were fed some teeth and a hunt that is always a favorite of mine began to unfold once again. 15 minutes went by before Lexi pointed a finger to our right indicating she must have heard birds calling from a limb above us. Then she pointed directly in front of us into a tree line 400 yards away, it was that direction that most interested me as the gang of 4 roosted in those trees. Then she pointed to her left and across the wheat field.

10 minutes later six birds sailed into the field coming off a high ridge on our right flank. Another group including the gang of 4 ran out of the wood line and into the field at our front and then I saw a Gobbler sail into view from our left front far across the field. The older Gobblers quickly assembled to sort out who was actually in charge that day. The Jakes that had also arrived stood off to the side minding their manners.

I yelped and cut with a 50 year old Lynch box call now wore and repaired more than once. That Lynch has been the voice of the grim-reaper ever since my father gave it to me as a teenager. The response was immediate and for the next five minutes I tried my best to sound attractive and looking for companionship and it must have been convincing this morning as the mob headed our way. The birds soon dropped into a swale that would hide them until they were almost in range.

For ten more minutes the birds were out of sight, I had just given a few clucks and purrs when Lexi's muzzle began slowly moving to left. I about pushed my eye balls out of their sockets looking left when a big red head appeared very close to the blind followed by a scrum of other red heads all in wad. It was about that time that the first bird in really began to pay attention to the deeks. Likely a 2 year old and wanting to extract some justice on any interloper made a bee line for the Jake decoy. The mob followed with the gang of 4 in the middle of the scrum. No shot was offered as it was clearly a case of safety in numbers. For the next 3 to 5 minutes the Gobblers worked over the look-a-like with reckless abandon. Finally one of the long beards stepped to the side offering a shot that would put the other birds out of harms way. I was waiting for the shot as Lexi is now a seasoned hand at this.

When nothing happened, I softly whispered "shoot him" and again nothing happened, I then slowly looked at my daughter to see her in a mild state of confusion as she mouthed "the gun won't go off".

Wouldn't this be great at time to know a gunsmith.

I told her to push the fore-end slide fully forward and heard the gun lock up. She aimed at the same Gobbler again and pressed the trigger. In the early light that morning I actually watched the shot column of Heavy 7's sail right over the Gobblers head, I think my daughter was a bit rattled.  The birds never flinched and continued their aggression on the fake. Another one of the gang of 4 stepped away from the scrum and wilted when I pressed the trigger on my 16ga. Lexi reloaded selected another Long Beard as all the participants stepped back, separated and began to wonder why one of the team was laid out in the wheat. Her 20 gauge barked and that bird also folded into the wheat.

In more of a state of confusion than fear the remaining gobblers hot footed it away never really knowing where the danger was coming from. Concealment and choosing the right location is a discipline that comes with time. The remaining birds finally trotted over the rise and we all stood up.

We admired the pair as we sat in the wheat while soaking it all in.  With the morning sun now now bathing the field in light we began to pick up our kit and then lined out for the truck with weight of success balanced on our shoulders. I never seem to tire of hunting these grand birds and the apple has not fallen far from the tree as both of us have come to look forward to this season a great deal.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Stanley Garnett 1952-2020

I lost a friend in January and it's left a bitter taste. Stanley Granett slipped the bonds of this world and is now embarked on another adventure carried by a high desert wind. Born in Carlsbad New Mexico he then grew up in rural Tucumcari NM. Stan and I met at the Colorado School of Trades four decades ago. He had been working cattle on a ranch in eastern Montana and had sworn to his brother Joel if he survived that one particular cold Montana winter that he was going to find a line of work that didn't require a saddle combined with an arctic wind boiling out of Saskatchewan.

As I remember Stan took to the required course work better than most and quickly developed an eye for what was good and what was junk. He grew up a rifleman and that's where his interest always found tracks.

While class ate up most of the week, the weekends were ours? Those weekends were for iron legs and good lungs and we spent a lot of time in the high country of Colorado. Not always with a goal or destination in mind just the desire to be out of doors. We were both eager, thinner and least one of us had more hair (for a while anyway). Often weatherbeaten and dog ass tired we'd return with a few trout, maybe a limit of grouse and some snowshoes hares for the freezer. We had little money but a lot of time and used it to our advantage. We always spoke freely with one another and didn't always agree on the subject, what you could always expect from him was honesty and incite.

Stan did a short stint at the David Miller Company after finishing up at CST and became good friends with Curt Crum. The two of them hunting Javelina and Couse Deer for many, many years in Arizona when they drew the tags. Stan moved back to New Mexico and settled in the 4 corners area to work for the Navaho Power Plant as a maintenance specialist and retired when he had enough years to so comfortably.

With pretty simple needs and desires he was looking forward to more time afield in his later years and he made a pretty good run at it. Hunting Oryx, Pronghorns, Mule and Couse deer when he could and chasing the same species in other states when he could draw the permits. We hunted big game a few times together later on but never enough I'm afraid. He put together a 404 over a period of time and toyed with the idea of going on one African Buffalo hunt but a year ago the wind shifted.

I will miss his southwestern drawl, humor and his capacity for fun. More than anything I'll miss his desire and excitement to look over the next ridge line even as the light is beginning to fade.

Audios Mi Amigo, save me a seat at the fire

Monday, February 17, 2020

Now that's a different twist !

I was in a local shop about a year and half ago and saw one of these laying on a desk. Being a snoop by nature I picked it up and chuckled. The driver of the desk said calmly " you're not suppose to see that ". Unfazed I already had a solid idea as to where this gem had evolved. My first thought was it wouldn't apply to jacketed bullets, but mono's, the sky's the limit. Certainly there was the potential for drag reduction in flight and I knew where this was headed. I placed the bullet back in the box and didn't need anymore information.Very interesting indeed.

 I went about by business and left it to stew as all good things require time properly cook.

The originator, Mark Thompson had once again been modestly pushing the edge of his envelope. Having just received a patent on this design he came by my place a couple of weeks to ago to put a few of these bullets in my hand and discuss the benefits.

As everyone knows I am not a proponent of shooting game at extended ranges, but you got to remember I don't like Fried Chicken either. The saying to each his own applies here. But the concept is quite interesting and very compelling. The twist on the bullet mirror the twist in the barrel, at least the barrels he used for testing, brilliant ! hard to machine? not for novice I'm afraid.

The helical grooves do in fact reduce drag and takes some of the drop out of the trajectory equation. Exactly how much? In his 30-378 and at 700 yards he repeatably pulled 7" from the rainbow.

To get a better incite into this marvel I'd contact Mark directly. Will I use any myself ? Anything that slick I've got to be try at least a few times, even if it's only out to 400 yards. Beside he's a homeboy.

Sneaky Mark, very sneaky, well done my friend !

390 W 1700 S
Logan, UT 84321


390 W 1700 S
Logan, UT 84321

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Digging Up Bones

If you push a pencil around paper long enough shapes will emerge that become more than an idle thought, lines drafted quickly with no real reference to scale can often pull you deeper down the rabbit hole. Sketches morph into twiddly bits, the itch needs to be scratched and in time you reach for an end mill or a file and that idea begins to leak out of you.

If you have a friend with a machine shop and the same desire the door is cracked open just enough to make retreat no longer an option.

Coming to a theater near you