Archive for category black powder

Rifle Build, The Beginning

Since getting into black powder a few years back, I’ve often looked with envy on many of the custom built rifles and muskets of the other shooters and the club. “Some day,” I’d say, “When I have the money.”

The rifle partsI also thought it would be cool to actually build my own, but that seemed even more remote than buying a custom rifle. Well, eventually I was able to acquire a Lyman Plains Rifle that hadn’t really been started and I got it for a REALLY good price.

Yeah, I’m crazy. But it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a few years. Luckily, I know a master gun builder. He’s built dozens of rifles, muskets and pistols over nearly 50 years. It’s also who I bought the kit from. Keith’s father has built some beautiful long guns over the years, so how could I refuse his offer of assistance on the build?

The beginnings of the build have been him showing me the various parts, the things we should change from the kit as well as the things we have to fix from the kit. We discussed some styles and finishes and came up with a plan. I think it’s going to be a great Hawken styled rifle when we (erm, Wes) get done with with it. I’m not sure exactly how long it will take, my goal is to have it completed and sighted in before September’s muzzleloading deer season. I’m going to chronicle the build here, if anything to keep a record of the progress but also to showcase Wes’ talent.

So to start, I thank Wes for taking me along on this journey and for sharing a bit of his knowledge with me.

Keep your powder dry.

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Is it deer season yet?

There’s only 124 days until Monday, September 19, 2011, the opening day of muzzleloading deer season. It’s going to be a long summer, feels like.

Notes From the Field, Fall Muzzleloading Season, Final Report

The Kansas Muzzleloading season has come and gone again. This year was slightly better than last year’s hunt. I did shoot a dear this, but I didn’t find it until the next morning. So, still no venison in the freezer.

I made a really stupid green horn mistake and didn’t follow the trail to its end. I happened to see another buck run out of the corn and thought it was my the one I had shot. Same size, running the same direction mine was. I just assumed it was mine. I followed the running deer and searched for an hour for that trail. We finally gave up in the dark. The next morning, I backtracked and came across the deer.

So yes, I’m extremely disappointed. No meat. That’s the main reason I go out. It seemed like such a waste.

On the plus side, I did make my shot. And it was a good shot I must say.

I’m taking my daughter out in December for her first deer hunt. I will probably pick up a game tag when I go along with her. Looking forward to shooting the Marlins.

Hopefully, Keith will have better luck as he finishes out the season this weekend.

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Notes From the Field, Fall Muzzleloading Season

The Kansas fall muzzleloading season kicked off this week. We’ve had deer sightings, but so far, nothing on the ground.

Keith is on the prowl for a buck he scouted in early September, but so far has only had a couple of does wander by his stand.

I finally was able to get out Wednesday evening,. There is plenty of sign around so I’m fairly certain I’ll see deer come in to feed on the corn still standing on the field I’m watching.

The wind is near gale force, so its noisy. Around 7:30, a spike buck wanders out of the corn about 10 feet from me. I never heard him coming. For the next several minutes, he just stands there and stares at me. I was able to take a few photos of him, he just would not spook.

I told him to “bugger off” a couple of times, “come back when you’re bigger.” But he wouldn’t. I just couldn’t bring myself to shoot him, he was too small. Not enough meat on him. Besides, I couldn’t show up with his tiny rack next to the brutes Keith has shot.

I set back and watched him feed in front of me, hoping that he would draw others in. he wandered about a 100 yards out. About the time the sun set, I could see a few other deer feeding around him. It was too dark at that point to determine what they were, but I plan on moving my stand  bit closer to that end. I’m looking forward to the next day as I drive off in the dark.

So here it is Thursday, and I’m writing  blog post rather than hunting. Why, you ask? It’s pouring out, has been since the early morning. Black powder and rain don’t mix very well. But its supposed to end and be clear tomorrow, I’ll be back out then.

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Some Call Them Wall Hangers

I believe that the most challenging and certainly most underrated hunting must be the lowly unappreciated dove.

Really, when was the last time you heard someone say “man I can’t wait for dove season”! But for pure fun, excitement and number of missed… er; I mean shooting opportunities, what compares to dove hunting?

The Dove CrewDove, commonly believed to be stupid are drastically underrated in intelligence. Dove purposely distract us by sending decoys to fly far out of range, meanwhile other dove suddenly appear directly over our heads. Dove also have the ability to control our minds.  When the above mentioned dove magically appear one always starts yelling “there’s some, Shoot em’!” completely forgetting he has a shotgun in his own hands.

Over Labor Day Weekend Bill, his daughter Mariah and our friends Sam and Vicki James joined my son Cullen and I for a dove hunt at a nearby neighbors place.

The action was fast, the shooting was constant and the birds were dropping… at least some did (To discuss the ratio of shots fired to birds recovered would miss the point of the article).

Can a father really describe seeing his seven year old son take his first bird? Cullen took a dove with the same twenty gauge H&R Topper I used to harvest my first bird (quail) when I was ten. Having your friends there to witness the event only made the memory more priceless.

Bill was sure proud of his seventeen year old daughter Mariah. Mariah was the Top scorer for the night with a total of eight birds. I followed closely with seven but my cataracts have been acting up and don’t get me started on my medulla oblongata.

Sam also got some but mostly Sam and I just keep laughing at jokes other people don’t get. We must have an overly sophisticated sense of humor.

Mariah is an interesting girl; she shares my passion for double guns. At a gun show a couple of years ago Mariah decided she had to have a double barreled shotgun. Mariah had $175.00 to spend. Now bear in mind that was $175.00 a fifteen year old girl earned working at the mall. Mariah didn’t want shoes, a new outfit or more texting minutes, Mariah just had to have a Twelve Gauge, Double-Barreled, Shotgun. Yea I know what you’re thinking, I didn’t know any girls like that when I was young either, if I did I wouldn’t be married to my old ball and…

Oh, uh… where was I? Yea… the gun show, so Mariah finds a Stoeger Double in good shape and the guy only wants $225.00 for it. Well I am kind of the deal guy so Mariah asks if I would try to talk the guy down. I wisely told Bill to send Mariah over to work the deal, sure enough one look into the pleading eyes of Mariah and that crusty old trader caved like a Kentucky coal mine. He didn’t even try to counter her offer!

A few weeks later Bill and I watched Mariah go 2 for 3 on quail on her first hunt with the Stoeger.

You know I’ve always been suspicious of those hunting shows that show attractive young women hunting on trips I’ll never be able to afford. In the back of my mind I see a Hollywood agent taking a group of aspiring models to the range, picking out the best shot and saying “how do you look in camo”? Well, Mariah could hold her own anywhere from the runway to sporting clays and probably drop a charging rhino while she’s at it. (If any Hollywood agents are reading, I get a standard 15% finders fee on Mariah’s first three season contract).

Bill Hunts with a beautiful browning pump action. Which begs the question, how can Bill look himself in the mirror knowing that his teenage daughter hunts with a manlier gun than he does and out-shoots him in the process?

The Wall HangersBut I digress; I’m dove hunting with a couple of my treasures. A twenty-gauge double, American Gun Co. Knickerbocker circa 1920, and a Belgian, Damascus Barreled Hammer Gun certainly pre 1900 (black powder only). Some call em’ wall hangers but I love these guns! I knocked down three dove with the Knickerbocker (coolest name in weaponry). I switched to the hammer gun and got four. The only real draw back (other than cleaning) with black powder is that you need someone to spot your bird. I mean BOOM, powder smoke and shreds of paper all over…cough, cough… and then… the bird is not there. “Did I get it”? “Yea he fell over by that fence post” or (more likely) “no you missed, he’s gone.” “Oh.”

I admit I get a kick out of shooting black powder shotguns and these old hardware store guns can be found cheap. Sure shells are expensive ($17.00) but I can shoot a LOT of shells from my old Belgian gun before I make up the difference between the cost of a Holland & Holland or a Westley-Pritchards.

The next day we feasted on squab! Here’s my recipe if you’re interested.

You will need bacon, pickled jalapeno peppers and toothpicks.

De-bone dove breast and cut into two pieces.

Cut bacon strips in half.

Cook bacon until about half done and remove.

Cook dove breasts in bacon grease until half done and remove.

Place jalapeno slice on dove breast and wrap with bacon. Pin the bacon in place with toothpicks.

Place on charcoal grill and cook until done.

They are great appetizers and I guarantee you will not have any left over.

There is a down side to hunting dove. I took Cullen out to scout for deer, but now dove hunting is the greatest shooting sport in the world. Cullen has spent the past several evenings looking  for dove coming in. Consequently the deer scout goes something like this:

“Dad, there’s some doves.” Yea I see em.’ “Dad, There’s some doves.” Yea, I see em,’ now keep your voice down.” “Dad, there’s some doves.” I see em,’ we’re scouting for deer so you need to be quiet. Okay?” “Okay”… Dad there’s some doves”…

In spite of Cullen’s incessant chatter, squirming and deep sighs of theatrical boredom I was actually able to spot the buck I’m going to kill (or more likely the buck that will frustrate and elude me this year).

Oh, and further proof of the superior intelligence of Dove? Several landed on the barbed wire fence just feet from where we were scouting. They just stared at us. Dove can actually tell when you are not carrying a shotgun!

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Fall Hunting Season 2010 Begins

I’m off to do some dove hunting out in Western Kansas. My partner’s been saying that the dove are thick again this year, can’t wait.

We’re also going to do some scouting for the muzzleloading deer season later this month. I really can’t wait for that.

Anyone else going out this weekend?

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Hunting Season Countdown Begins

Well the countdown begins. I’ve set up plans for the opening weekend of dove season, which I’ll also get in some scouting for muzzleloading deer season. So now the waiting begins. I’ll go over my gear, again and again. Pick up my shotgun and rifles several times to check them out. Its an obsession.

But speaking of deer season, I just got notice that my Game Glides are on their way, so look for a review on them in late September. They sound like an interesting product. They also have a contest going on so check them out. Man, that really puts the pressure on me to get my deer this year. I hope I’m not jinxing myself.

Keep your powder dry.

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