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Recent Phenomena of Camo and Magnums

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  • Recent Phenomena of Camo and Magnums

    At age 9, in 1951, I cut my teeth on squirrels, using a cut-down 22 single shot rifle. My Dad, growing up during the Great Depression, had been a subsistence hunter. Being one of fourteen, they all hunted and trapped and whatever fin, feather or fur they bagged, went into the pot, as they were usually hungry.
    Later, in the 1950s, I was able to afford a Montgomery Wards 4X scope on a full size 22 Hornet chambered rifle. Men in the generation before my Dad, saw my scope mounted rifle. Some remarked that, "Puttin' that telescope thing on a rifle is not fair to the game!" Being a modern young person, I kept my scope and reached out further to slay groundhogs.
    There was no season on whitetails, as market hunters had shot them out of all but the western mountainous region of Maryland. In the 1930s, the government began to bring whitetails back into the eastern part of Maryland and a one week season opened.... buck only!! This somewhere in the 1950s. (Oh yes, hunters paid for all of this and not tree huggers!)
    I did not get to hunt deer until 1964, when I came home from serving with the 2nd Armored Division for three years, I bought an as new US Model of 1917 rifle for $12.00 and promptly cut it down, having the barrel shortened to 24" and mounting holes tapped. Again, going to MW, I bought a 4X Japanese scope and mounts. The rifle was heavy, but I was killing groundhogs with it, so I knew it was accurate enough to kill deer cleanly, if I did my part.
    Here is my first point: In the hunting fields, I never saw anyone wearing camo unless they were water fowl hunting. My Dad and everyone else with whom I hunted wore the same clothes to hunt that we wore in cold weather all winter. My county was a shotgun only county for deer, but we had some private land and could use rifle.
    I bagged bucks for four years with the old, heavy Model 1917, until my friend bought a Ruger Model 77, in 243Win. I handled that rifle and fell in love. At Christmas I received a Ruger 77 and began hand loading 243Win cartridges for ground hog shooting. Early in the Spring, I loaded 85gr. bullets and began slaying untold numbers of Whistle Pigs.
    As the years passed, I killed a lot of deer with the 243Win. loaded with my hand loaded 100gr. bullets. The only thing that I did not like, was that if not hit deer just right, the deer could go a ways, even with a split heart or heavy hit through both lungs. Only neck, head and breaking both shoulder shots anchored the deer in place. Most times I went to head shots.
    After some research, I liked the ballistics of the 7mm bullet and so, bought another surplus rifle in 7x57mm Mauser. I could have likely stopped trading right there, as the 7x57 was a great deer stopper and plenty accurate enough to shoot groundhogs at 300 yards.
    By the 1980s many deer hunters were wearing head to toe camo with the compulsory hunter orange OVER the camo. Huh? What is wrong with this picture.
    For me, heavy wool trousers and a goose down filled coat always worked best. I still only wore camo to gun waterfowl on the Chesapeake Bay.
    Then in 2000, I had a chance to hunt elk in Colorado. It was a self guided hunt. The rancher had me a horse and cabin and said, "They are up there on that mountain. Go get them!" For whatever reason, I thought that I needed a very heavy bullet for elk. Maybe I believed that elk wore armor. Regardless, I took the 30-06, using a 180gr. Speer Grand Slam bullet. At the end of the third day, I had seen cows, no bull. Half hour before sunset, cows came over a knob, 300 yards down the steep slope. In the tail of the column was a rag horn bull, 3X4. No way I was passing up a legal bull. As he walked off the knob he was going downhill. My first round cracked his skull and lanced down into his shoulder. He leveled out, staggering but still trying to keep up with the cows, who now had turned left and headed for timber. Facing me, my second shot hit his chest, but even though he staggered, he was still on his feet. My third shot, as he faced me uphill, caught him under the left eye and he piled up, in place. The next morning when we loaded him on pack horses to carry him out, the rancher said that all three shots were killers, but it was good to continue to fire until he went down for good.
    For whatever reason, I decided that I NEEDED a magnum rifle. The 300RUM was being touted as hot stuff. I bought one and mounted a Shepard Scope on it. Hi-tech, no? Big mistake. I put nearly 1000 rounds through that rifle, finding that as soon as I got 200 to 300 fps more MV than I could get from my 30-06, the groups opened up!! I hand loaded different bullets, propellants, cases and primers. I never got that rifle to shoot accurately at the MV that would make it more effective than had been my old 30-06. I got it as good on target as I could and went to Durango on an elk hunt. The first morning the young man with whom I had been partnered up, hit a bull at 275 yards and jammed his 7mmRemMag rifle. I passed up the 300RUM, telling him to hold right on where he wanted to hit. He made a shot with my rifle and dropped the bull in place.
    When I got home, it was still early in the season, so I sold the 300RUM with scope and went back to research.
    Still loving the way that 7mm bullets fly, I bought a Browning Stalker in 7mmRemMag and that season, killed a good sized Muley Buck at 405 yards, in NE Wy.
    With all the critters that I killed, I had always managed to stalk within 300 yards, before shooting. That on Muley, shooting across a canyon, was the exception. The rig using 7mmRemMag fodder was a great rifle, but I kept on with my research and found that in theory, one could load 280Rem cartridges to do very close to what 7mmRemMag would do.
    I had picked up a Weatherby in 243Win in a swap. Not wanting the 243, I put it up for sale and a gent offered to trade a new, in box Browning 280Rem, even up! When I got the Stainless Stalker with black stock, I instantly liked it and it easily shot one ragged hole at 100 yards with three rounds. Out to 400 yards, I could kill deer, but getting a little older, I decided to limit my kill range to 300 yards. The quest has ended and I will die owning that Browning in 280Rem. It does it all. Last week I took a bull elk at 280 yards with that rifle. My elk hunting is likely over, because hunting in 10 to 12 inches of snow, with rocks underneath and climbing at 8000 ft. with snow falling was not easy for me. Thank God, I took the bull at the end of the second day of a five day hunt.
    Everyone else at the lodge was wearing expensive camo with brand names showing, head to toe. Living in FL, I had no warm coat, so I went on line before this hunt and bought an Eddie Bauer down filled coat used, for $30. Boy, was that coat warm. Dark green, not camo. For trousers, I wore dark gray plaid by Codet. They also were very warm, even when wet. I pulled a hunter orange watch cap over my baseball cap, so I'd have a bill to look toward the sun and not be blinded. At one point the sun was low and was burning out my scope. I took two dollar bills and taped them onto my scope, making a sun shade. That worked and I could see the game fine.
    So, no magnum rifle and no camo and I managed to score on a bull.
    Don't get me wrong....EVERYONE should wear and shoot whatever they choose. I criticize no one. I guess that my point is, have many of us been sold on wearing camo head to toe and using magnum rifles by the gun rag writers, or are these items essential to hunting?
    Maybe at age 74, I have become the old guy, telling people that using a computerized scope that automatically corrects itself for range, angle of the slope, and all else that was once doped out at the range and info taped to the stock, just seems like we are taking more away from the animal's natural advantages and making our hunt too technical.
    Who is a better hunter, one who goes after elk with a short range 30-30 lever action and stalks up on the bull to within 100 yards? Or the man with the heavy magnum with self dialing scope, taking elk beyond 500 yards, with the elk never realizing that he is being hunted?
    Merry Christmas to all,

  • #2

    Steven— Merry Christmas to you, too!

    Enjoy your writing very much. It would make it much easier to read if you would put a double-space between your paragraphs.
    Homo sapiens, [ˈhōmō ˈsāpēənz] Noun. An advanced primate characterized by a large brain which it seldom uses.


    • #3

      Merry Christmas back to you, Steven, and may your coming years be filled with joy.

      Enjoyed your elk hunting thread; good read.

      There are many on here who will agree with your feelings about hunting. You might try this thread:
      It's not that Democrats are so damned ignorant. Their problem is that everything they know is wrong.

      Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui

      He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool.
      He who knows not and knows he knows not, is wise.


      • #4

        Plainsman, I will take you advice, Sir and double space more. Sometimes I do get very wordy, but you guys are the only ones who, sometimes, listen to what the sewer in my mind manages to float to the surface and as I become aware of conscious thought, my fingers go to the keys.

        I never got rich, because most all of the minutia that I come up with is totally worthless to the great unwashed masses. Only anointed hunters pay any attention!! LOL



        • #5

          Your contributions here are welcome and appreciated.

          (You can edit your piece and put those spaces in, if you want. )
          Homo sapiens, [ˈhōmō ˈsāpēənz] Noun. An advanced primate characterized by a large brain which it seldom uses.


          • #6

            I think a lot of the time it doesn't come down needs as much as wants. I'm at a point in life where I can afford some nicer hunting gear and clothes. I don't need it, but for the most part it sure makes the outdoors more tolerable on a bad weather day. Before goretex we had rubber boots for wet conditions. They still make rubber boots but I prefer goretex. A 270win will do everything a 270wsm will do, just a bit slower. I have a 270wsm, because I wanted it. I've killed many turkeys while wearing denim jeans and a flannel shirt. You can hide in the woods pretty well if you can sit still, however, I have a closet full of camo clothing. I have no doubt it helps you hide, especially if you tend to fidget a bit. I wash with scent free soaps too because I believe it helps. When I was younger with a young family I didn't have the discretionary income so I made do with what I needed.
            If it weren't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

            "Ammo and really good friends are hard to find in a gunfight so I bring them with me" E. J. Owens


            • #7

              Merry Christmas Steven...!!
              "I am, therefore I\'ll Think."- John Galt "Atlas Shrugged"

              "Arguing with a Marine is like wrestling with a Pig. Everyone gets dirty, but the Pig loves it."


              • #8

                Viva la difference! I really do pity the poor gun rag writers. Regardless of their true beliefs, they must come out every month, touting the latest "WhizBang" cartridge or new style "Minus 30 degrees to plus 120 degrees, works in all weather hunting clothes.

                Jack O'Connor put the 270Win on the map by killing everything in the world, using that caliber. The 30-06 is still right up there, if not tops, than close to the top in being the most popular hunting cartridge. However, the guys who write every month about hunting can't say those truths. They must push something new.

                Given that the gun rags would go out of business if NEW IMPROVED BETTER STUFF did not enter the marketplace to be touted as the greatest event since the invention of the wheel. How long ago was the 260Rem being shouted about as the new world beater. Sure, the 260 still has a following but few can argue that the older 7mm-08 is not a better, all around cartridge.

                I agree with Ozark Ed; people buy what they want and not always what they need.

                Heck, I am even glad that God invented Golf, so all those funny dressed people go somewhere other than in the hunting fields.

                Lastly, most of us are gatherers of firearms. Even though we could likely get by owning only three differently chambered rifles, we have much larger batteries of many calibers that cross over in use and function.

                I am going to pull out that Ruger #1 in 280Rem and hunt deer in Georgia with it next week, giving the Browning Stalker in 280Rem a rest, after that elk hunt. LOL