From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Precursor to a range report

Pre-reader warning: If some of this seems like sentimental rambling it probably is, and I offer no appologies for it. I get that way with certain firearms, especially when I am preparing to hunt with them.

The weather is looking good for a nice day at the range this Saturday. In anticipation of a Hog Hunt in late March my oldest son, a hunting buddy and I will be target testing the firearms we plan to use. Also Accompanying us on the Oklahoma hunt will be my younger brother from New Mexico and a friend from Kansas. My Brother will be using a Pre-64 Model 94 30-30 and Mike will be using a Ruger 1B in 25-06 that he got for Christmas.

Enter the Glock
My oldest son is adamant about only using his Glock 23, 40 Smith & Wesson Caliber. We have done considerable research on the right load to use for hogs and have settled on the Remington Express 155 grain offering. Ballistically this appears to be a good load. It is also one of only a few loads in that caliber that meet the criteria to hunt Whitetail deer with in Nebraska. (handguns that deliver at least 400 ft. lbs of energy at 50 yards)

I was originally intending to use a Glock 23 as well, and the Remington 155 grain load has been very accurate in both firearms in the past. We are anticipating shooting distances from a few feet to a maximun of 30 yards So this load in the G 23 should by all accounts give good service if the hunter does his part.

My Buddy's guns
My buddy (he is shy and doesn't like his real name or picture on the net) whom I previously wrote about here will be bringing a short barreled Magna-Ported 44 Magnum 629 Smith & Wesson and a Marlin lever action in 45-70. He hasn't clued me in as to the loads he intends to use yet but he is an experienced shooter and hunter so what ever he has will be up to the task.

As for myself I am suffering the bane of all gun owners that own more than one gun. I am torn as to which to use. Since I had made my original decision to use one of my Glock 23's I have recently (in the last six months) aquired two firearms that each came with its own suitcase load of sentimentality.

Grandpa's Old Winchester
The first is a rifle I have written about previously here. It belonged to my Grandfather who passed away in 1977 and never got to see even a picture of his first great-grand son who had been born only days earlier. (My oldest son) This long barreld rifle is a made in 1907 Winchester Model 94 and sports (probably from the factory) a Lyman tang peep sight. It is in Winchester 32 special caliber and is the rifle featured in the picture at the top of this Blog being fired by my oldest son.

I had decided that this was going to be my primary firearm and aquired several boxes of Federal's 170 grain ammunition. I wanted to use this firearm simply because of the history that I have with it, but there is also a certain satisfaction that comes with adding your own history to a family heirloom. Now that we have that settled right??

Now enter the second baggage laden firearm.
A very dear friend that is also a veteran of the South East Asian conflict bestowed upon me a Smith & Wesson Model 629 44 Magnum round butt revolver. This particular non-fluted firearm originally came with a 4 inch barrel. Jerry sent the firearm to the Smith & wesson Custom Shop and had the action worked over and tuned. While it was there he had them install a 3 inch Magna-ported barrel on it. The first time I ever saw this gun replete with its rosewood grips I told jerry that it had to be about one of the most ugly pug-nosed guns I had ever seen and contemplated on the joy or lack there of in shooting such a beast.

This will be the primary firearm I use
Jerry has been insisting that I take the gun and hunt with it for more than a year now. He is also insistant that I use it in bowling pin competitions. I finally relented and accepted the gun over coffee a month or so back and the first pin shoot of the season is next weekend.

Jerry's disabilities preclude him from getting out and hunting like he used to and other than shooting this gun at the range he has never hunted with it. All he has asked from me is that I give him an 8x10 of me, a hog and the gun in the same picture. That readers is my intention.

I will also have the old 32 along in case I opt for the opportunity to harvest a second hog or in the rare event I don't have any within the range of the 44.

Having been a handgun hunter since the early 70's I have amassed considerable experience with (among other calibers) the 44 Magnum. Whitetail deer in the north east, Moose in Alaska, Mule deer in New Mexico and Montana, to name but a few. I have also spent hours casting bullets and reloading for this caliber.

For this hunt however I'm keeping it simple and sticking to factory ammunition. I have no doubt that Winchesters 240 grain Jacketed soft point will do its job if I do mine.

Why I chose the way I did
My Grandfather has been gone for many decades and knew that one day I would inherit the rifle from his son, my uncle Paul. I'm sure he also knew that I would put that firearm out in the field and use it as he had. This is something I can do another time.

My friend Jerry is still alive and even when he can't be in the field, he is with us in spirit. He has asked me to do something that he has not had the opportunity to do with that handgun and Jerry has always been the kind of friend that on the rare occassion he asks a favor I am happy to deliver.

Later this year
I am also planning a Whitetail deer hunt in Ohio this season. If the wife will be able to go it will be after Christmas for the Muzzle loading season. If her schedule won't allow that I will go for the regular firearms season in November for the sole purpose of providing Jerry with a picture of me, the 629 and a good sized Whitetail Buck. Yea Jerry is the kind of friend you go above and beyond for.

Hopefully I will be able to post a full range report complete with a few pictures either Sunday or Monday at the latest.

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