Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Photo and Caption!!!

I am going to take a different approach to My Hunting & Fishing Photos blog. I will begin today posting individual photos and a short caption about what is happening in each of the pictures. Hope it is as exciting for you as it is for me....
Why start with a picture of two big game rifles? We'll you have to start somewhere, and I don't have or even remember my first fishing pole… so, even though I started fishing long before I started hunting, this is a logical place to begin the new improved My Hunting & Fishing Photos blog.
The origin of the rifle above, to the untrained eye, may be a bit of a mystery. My father purchased it for me for my first deer season, back in 1992. I was only twelve years old, but I remember clearly when I had recently completed a Hunter’s Safety course and my dad said, “Well… now we’ll have to get you a “blunderbuss” of your own to hunt with this year.” I was in no way disappointed when I got my hands on my WWII era .303 caliber No. 4 Mk I. It had a wood stock that went all the way up to the end of the barrel, a ten shot clip and a very smooth bolt action. The guards for the front sight looked like two fox’s ears or something of the sort, and that brass butt plate wasn’t exactly easy on the shoulder… but the recoil produced by the 180 grain bullet and smokeless powder was bearable. The hardest trick was carrying the heavy rifle for hours in the field.
I killed my first deer with the .303 that first deer season and also killed my first (and only) elk with the same rifle. Those are stories for another time
As you can tell the rifle no longer holds true to the description above. One day I got a wild hair and decided I would “sporterize” it. I had though about it for years, but always figured it best to have somebody do it professionally, even though I never got around to it. I know this was probably morally wrong on many different levels, and if I had it to do all over again, I would probably decide against it, but hindsight is 20/20.
It wasn't too big of a deal to take the big stock off and see what it looked like underneath all the wood. I became a little more nervous when I cut it in half and replaced it with a smoothly sanded fore-end. Hey, it looked a little more like a regular rifle now!
Now, at this point, at least I knew that if I changed my mind, it wasn’t too late, because I they sell stocks for the rifle on eBay, so I could still restore it to it’s original configuration.
However… when I held the hack saw in my hand and contemplated sawing about two inches off of the barrel to get rid of that hideous front sight, I paused for a uncharacteristically long time… knowing that I was destroying a piece of history, just to have a more normal looking rifle. Should I do it? Would I be sorry? I really wanted to hunt with the rifle again, but had somehow convinced myself that I would never do so unless I finished this project. Finally, the curiosity and my characteristic bone-headedness got the better of me and I did it. I hacked that barrel right off.
Then, I did a lot more sanding and this is end product (as of now). I still have to get the barrel re-crowned and get a good sold scope mount and scope for it, not to mention take it to a good gunsmith to see if it is still safe to shoot after all my belligerent craftiness.
Ok, this caption is beginning to turn into a novel. Sorry about that.
To shorten this up, I will finish with a brief description of the bottom rifle….
That is my Ruger M77 Mk II in .243 caliber. I purchased it after a very enjoyable but unsuccessful (on my part) trip to hunt mule deer in Colorado. For more about me hunting with my .243, click here, here and here.
Finally, I guess you are wondering about the book. Well, that is a fine book called Deer Rifles & Cartridges (Outdoorsman's Edge (Woods N' Water Press))
I highly recommend it if you are looking to buy a new deer/elk rifle.
Happy Hunting!


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