VOLUME 19-----------JANUARY 2004
SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'
WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY
Let me be the first to welcome y'all to 2004! Effective January 3rd, I will have been retired exactly a year, with Ann's one year retirement anniversary coming on January 31st.
What a year it has been! With the support, help, prayers and kind wishes of family and friends, we have finished Ann's cancer treatment as of December 12th! What a great Christmas present! We are very thankful that all looks well, and we will only be doing routine follow up as time goes on.
While all this has kept us close to home since last May, when warm weather arrives we intend to hook up the "Nomad" (Ann's new travel trailer), fire up "Big Red" (1999 F-250 Ford Diesel), and hit the road!
Take this as fair warning: Look out World, Look out Friends, Look out Relatives! We may just land in your driveway! (Heck, just to be safe, you strangers better look out too!)
This is Ann on one of our weekenders in July 03
As usual Christmas was much more kind to me than I deserved. (I don't know if you were aware of this, but I have been the "Poster Child" for the "Lump Of Coal In Your Stocking Society" since birth!) Our traditional Christmas Eve supper, featuring Little Heifer's famous Chicken Bisque, and family gift exchange with Rick, Christi, and Jennifer, did have an interruption in mid stream. Jennifer suffered a bout of upset stomach and headache, so it was home to bed before the presents were opened. When that girl feels too puny to open presents, you know she aint well!
So, we opened gifts Christmas afternoon, followed by Pa Pa's "roasted in rock salt" prime rib. My timing wasn't real good, in that the roast didn't get done until over an hour later than planned, but it was sure good eatin' anyway!
Even though the various deer hunting seasons are now all closed for this year, we never tire of watching them. We now have a foot or so of snow on the ground, and the leaves have fallen from the deciduous flora, so the deer are easier to see now.
Last month I mentioned having identified five different bucks around the house over a two day span. One of those I called a "freaky lookin' buck" because of his strange antlers. I saw him briefly with 8X binoculars at around 100 yards, and it looked like about half his left antler was broken off. After that brief look, my attention was diverted to another deer, that ultimately became Ann's "Suicide Buck" featured in last month's newsletter.
Rick and Jennifer hauling Grandma's "Suicide Buck" to the shop. (Folks, draggin' these things around by hand aint mandatory!)
Anyway, ol' freaky showed up again on Christmas day. It was about time for any does not bred during their first cycle to come into estrous again, so he was checking some does and yearlings that were milling around the house that day. Between daylight and noon the buck made at least two complete circles around the buildings, at one point passing within 40 feet of the house.
Inspection with the binoculars at that distance showed that the antler that appeared broken, wasn't. It was just a thick, straight horn with one short point sticking out about 6 inches from the end. The right antler was pretty typical with 4 short points. Perhaps an injury during early growth caused the oddity. Whatever the case, I'll have a 250 grain Speer Gold Dot bullet in my Ruger .45 with his name on it next fall.
The holiday season inspires us to exchange cards and letters with friends and relatives, some, with whom we've not been in contact since last year. (Shame on us all!) In this endeavor, my laziness shows through again, as the sending falls squarely on Ann's shoulders. In addition to the cards and letters, this newfangled e mail stuff encourages further exchanges. (It aint been more'n 10 years ago, I 'uz still swearin' I'd never touch one of these damn computers!)
Imagine my surprise when I recently checked e mail and saw one from a cousin back in Northwest Missouri that we've had no contact with for nearly 20 years! Cousin Clint is a couple years younger than our son Rick. Clint's Mom, Wilberta, was Rick's daycare provider when he was a baby, and our families were quite close when we all lived in the Kansas City area in the 1960's.
I'm sure you'll be surprised by this, but the inspiration to get back in touch was our mutual interest in shootin', huntin', and reloadin'! Clint's brother, Lanny, who is a veterinarian in Northern Colorado, had shown Clint our web site when they were elk hunting last fall. After reading the newsletters, he decided to click on the e mail link, and here we are. Clint's contact really awakened some fond memories!
One of the things mentioned in Clint's e mail, was that his dad, Buford, had given him his old Remington Model 760 rifle, and told him that I had one just like it. I quickly responded that this is true, except for one very important factor. My 760 has a gold trigger and his doesn't! Now, let's turn the clock back 40 years for the rest of the story!
Buford and I had a Western Colorado mule deer hunt planned for the fall of 1963. I didn't own a centerfire rifle at that time, and Bufe decided he needed to pass his old .30-30 Winchester along to son Lanny. (Aint that a recipe for buyin' new guns?)
I nearly wore out several reference books researching rifles and calibers. Being a southpaw, a bolt action was not a viable option for me. Left hand bolts were nearly non existent in those days, and very expensive if you could find them. This finally led us to the Remington Model 760-ADL, pump action, "Gamemaster."
As a side note, all the literature states that the push button safety in the trigger guard on that model, is "non reversible for left hand conversion." Well, a new hole drilled in the trigger group housing to relocate the spring and detent ball proved that theory wrong! Mine still wears a left hand safety today!
As to caliber, we decided we wanted nothing so mundane as a .30-06 or .270. So, based upon Remington's slightly over-optimistic ballistics of the day, settled on the .280 Remington. In spite of early struggles for acceptance, and suffering through a couple of name changes, it turned out to be a great choice! The .280 remains popular today with the "non magnum" crowd, and is a caliber often requested from custom gun makers.
The order was placed with a dealer of Bufe's acquaintance, and in due course, the rifles arrived, complete with mounts, rings, and Tasco 4X32mm scopes with post and crosshair reticle. I can't remember, nor can I find a record of what we actually paid for the rifles, but my 1963 Gun Digest gives a suggested retail price of $142.95. I know it was somewhat less than retail, but still a lot of money for a young couple with a new baby, and just barely the proverbial "pot and window."
When the new Remingtons were laid out on Bufe and Willie's living room floor, we discovered that one had a gold trigger and the other didn't! After spirited discussion, a method that I now disremember, was worked out to determine who got first choice. I Won! Thus, I am the proud owner of the gun with the gold trigger! Now you know the rest of the story.
Here's the rifle as it appears today. The only changes are refinished wood and the addition of the recoil pad. It'll still group inside two inches at 100 yards!
Remington Model 760 in .280 Remington
Starting this month I'll try to remember to add a bit of Hillbilly Wisdom or Folklore from the Missouri Hills to each newsletter. These will be sayings or superstitions that I used to hear as a kid. This month's tidbit is courtesy of Cousin Buford as regards Family Planning:
Head 'er Northwest 'n put yer feet in the slop bucket, 'n you'll get a boy ever' time!
Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!