Rifle Build Is Done!

I was wondering if I would ever make it to this point. But I have finally finished the Hawken Rifle or Plains Rifle, whichever. It’s not a true Hawken, but pretty dang close. I’ve put a few rounds through it, and it didn’t blow up! Need a bit more work on sight adjustments and then I’ll give a range report. I never thought it would take me this long. I think it turned out awesomely!

It has some neat little touches that we did to make it unique. The front site is an old Mexican silver coin. We poured a pewter for-end cap. Had to add some metal around the lock as it didn’t line up. The walnut wood grain is beautiful and took the stain and finish well.

I’m really looking forward to taking it hunting this year.

Here’s the beginning

Here’s about midway through it

Below are some pictures.

Full View
Full View
Cheek Rest
Cheek Rest
Right side of butt stock
Right side of butt stock
Pewter foreend cap
Pewter foreend cap
Front sight
Front sight
Left side of stock
Left side of stock

Savage 99 Takedown

If you’ve been around on this site before, you know I love me some lever guns and especially the 30-30 round. Well, I have a new love. I just picked up a Savage model 99 Takedown in 30-30. I wasn’t even aware it was made in that caliber. Here’s a few pics to wet your appetite. I plan on a longer write up and range report soon.

Close up of case hardened lever Savage 99 Forearm of the stock

Range Time

Spent some time at the range this last weekend testing some new reloads for the rifles. Pretty much settled on the bullet and powder for the 30-30. Still working on the bullet for the 45-70 and not real sure about the powder yet either.

On the 30-30, I’ve settled on 3031 for the powder. I didn’t see too much difference with H4895 that I compared it to. The Speer Hot-Cor bullet I used performed tremendously. Now I have to just find more of them! They’ve been out for months. I just want to tweak the charge a bit first and see if I can squeek a bit more performance out of it.

On the 45-70, I’m down to H4895 or black powder, just depends on the round I settle on. More range time needed there (and who can complain about that?). I recently put an Wild West Trigger Kit on it and man, what a difference that made. The rifle had a strong trigger before, now it’s down to about 3-3 1/2 pound pull. Beautiful. Best $90 bucks I’ve spent on that Marlin. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed in the rifle, but that new trigger has made all the difference in it. I can’t recommend it enough.

I also played around with my wife’s crossbow, trying to learn how they work. I know next to nothing about archery. I’m fairly certain that the string needs replaced. I just don’t think it’s getting the performance it should be getting, so I’m guessing the  string and cables are probably shot. That’s my guess. I’ll have to take it down to the local archery shop and see what they say.

So that’s the report, great couple of hours at the range. One of the best ways to spend a Sunday afternoon in my opinion.

New Kansas Hunting Regulations

I’ve been waiting to see how the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission was going to vote on a few new regulations. It’s now legal to use a crossbow during deer archery season. They also dropped the rifle cartridge limit, so all those new AR owners can now use them to hunt during rifle season.

I’m waiting for the actual regs to be posted on the KS Wildlife and Parks web site, but if this article on Kansas.com is factual, the new regs say any centerfire cartridge is now legal. Here’s the quote:

Any centerfire rifle or handgun cartridge can now be used for big game hunting during the appropriate firearm season.

I’m not totally sure what I think of that. While I don’t have a problem with a .223, I’m not sure a 9mm pistol cartridge should be legal. I know that it’s all about placement, but really? I’ll guess we see. Overall, I think most of the new regs are a good deal. The good wife is excited about taking her crossbow out.

What do you guys think about the new regulations?

Rifle Build Update 2

gun stockThe 50 caliber plains rifle build continues, not nearly as fast as I had hoped. We’ve been working on the stock recently and it’s really starting to take shape. There is some really nice looking grain in the stock. Good looking for a kit gun in my opinion. My goal is to have it ready for the Chisholm Trail Spring Rendezvous. It will be sweet to compete with a rifle I’ve built.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Keep your powder dry.

It was the rifle, really!

So another muzzleloading season has come and gone, and my luck has proved itself out again.

I spent 4 days in Meade County the first week of the season and only saw deer 1 of those days. I made a quick trip out to El Dorado reservoir on the last Saturday of the season and came up short there also.

In Meade, I was hunting a silage field. They had a test cut through the center of the crop circle and the irrigation pivot was leaking so there was a nice little marsh of fresh water that I was sure the deer would come in to. I sat off the pivot about 30 yards watching back to the east figuring the deer would come in from that direction since the generator for the irrigation equipment was running and sitting at the west entrance to the cut.

Sure enough, about 30 minutes before sundown, a small 4 point buck stepped out of the crop about 150 yards or so and walked away from me to the east. He was joined by a few does who came in from the east entrance. I watched them for nearly 20 minutes before they spooked at something (probably me) and ran out of the cut.

I set back and contemplated my plans for the next day’s hunt, figuring I’d need to move my stand further east in the cut.

Have you ever had that feeling something was watching you out on the stand? As I was sitting there thinking, I happened to glance towards the pivot and there he is, a nice 8 point standing there watching me. I’m frozen in place as I’m caught totally off guard.

I slowly pull the rifle up to my shoulder. He doesn’t move. I pull the hammer back. He’s still there. I set the trigger. He doesn’t flinch. I pull the trigger…

My view is blocked by the black powder smoke as there was practically no breeze that night but I can hear him crashing through the crop back to the east. While reloading I’m thinking how bad I don’t want to have to try to track the buck through that silage. He was so close, there’s no way I could have missed, I’m sure of it.

A bit later I see him step out of the silage into the cut. He’s about 100 yards or so and walking away. He stops, turns and looks back down the cut towards me. I’m frozen again. I’m afraid to move thinking he’ll run so I hunker down and glass him watching to see what he’ll do.

“Drop! C’mon, drop!” I say to whoever…

I watch him for over thirty minutes, until it gets too dark to see. So I get my flashlight and head down the cut to see what’s up. Meanwhile I had texted Keith to let him know I thought I had a deer down. I get to the place I think he should be…

Nothing. Nothing! No deer, no blood.

I keep walking, nothing. I don’t see a trail at all. As I meet Keith at the east end of the circle he asks if it was a nice looking 8-10 point. Yeah.

“Well, he was just in my head lights and then took off across the next field to the east. He didn’t look hurt to me.” Keith says.

That can’t be right! I’ve been to the range, the gun was shooting fine. I can’t believe it.

The next day I do some target practice, trying to figure out what happened. I set up  a steel target at 25 yards ad put a square of orange duct tape on it. First shot, dead on. Next shot, 4 inches to the left. Next shot, dead on. Then 4 inches to the left.

I check the front sight and find that it’s moving back and forth about a 1/16th of an inch. So sometime between my range time and the hunt, I must have knocked it loose. So really, it was the gun.

I didn’t see any deer the rest of the hunt or the last Saturday. I blew it by not checking my equipment over before going into the field. Stupid mistake.

Oh well, there’s always December right?