VOLUME 60-----------JUNE 2007
SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'
WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY
June 15, 2007
Late again, but better late than never, right? I always have good excuses though!
We returned a few days ago from a two week trip back to Missouri and Iowa to visit relatives. Ann and I drove back while Rick, Christi, and Jennifer flew a big bird into Kansas City. We met up in Bethany, Mo and made the Best Western Bethany Inn our headquarters. Jennifer was able to visit both her paternal Great Grandmothers, whom she hadn't seen for several years. Ann's mother, lives in Lamoni, Iowa, and mine just across the state line in Hatfield, Missouri.
Other relatives living in the area gathered at my Brother Ed's house on May 30th for a meal and a visit. We also celebrated Rick's 44th birthday at the gathering. Good food, good times, and lots of jawin' with siblings, in-laws, and out-laws; about 20 celebrants, not countin' Ed's 14 cats and 2 dogs!
We made another visit to Ed's that included a pickup ride to the woods, checkin' out the persimmon trees, gooseberry bushes, and the old huntin' cabin. Ed's wife Nancy is now Superintendent of the school district where Ann and I graduated from High School. In keeping with the Missouri Hillbilly theme of my website, I told her I was going to show people pictures of the cabin and tell them this is typical School Superintendent habitat where we grew up.
Ed built this cabin in about 1991, and it houses several friends and relatives each fall during deer season. The numbers of friends and relatives continues to grow, so an additional room is planned before hunting season this year. The cabin was constructed of cottonwood lumber from trees felled on the place and milled by Mom's husband Hugh, on his old sawmill.
The gooseberries were about ready to pick too! As we say back home, "If you ain't et Mom's gooseberry pie, you ain't et nothin' good yet!"
Trompin' around in the brush around the cabin gave new and personal meaning to a line in TICKS, a recent Brad Paisley song! The song puts forth the desire to take the girl to the woods where the, "I'd like to check you for ticks" line comes in!
We were told that this is a bad year for ticks, and they have apparently developed a new strain since we lived in the area. I'm long familiar with what we called the common wood tick, but most of these were much smaller and much harder to find once they got on you! I mean these things were tiny! No larger than a pinhead! I believe the little bitty ones were deer ticks.
Jennifer got one bite from a regular wood tick, and Ann and I ended up with two or three each from the little fellers. We will, of course, watch closely for any signs of the potential tick born illnesses. (On the plus side, takin' turns with the "I'd like to check you for ticks" thing during our overnight hotel stays on the drive home were interesting)
When we travel the I 90 northern route across South Dakota on our trips to Missouri and back, we have two mandatory stops. One is the Cabela's store in Mitchell, and the other is the Sportsman's Warehouse store in Sioux Falls. Of course the taxidermy in any Cabela's is always worth another look, while the Sioux Falls Sportsman's Warehouse has a very different look than the other four or five of their "cookie cutter" stores that I've personally visited.
I was told by a local manager in Sioux Falls that their store was not built as a Sportsman's Warehouse, but originally housed a grocery store. Just one man's opinion, but I much prefer the larger, more open layout of the Sioux Falls store over the look-a-likes I've seen in Washington, Montana, Colorado, and Utah.
This time our eastbound trip was I 90 across South Dakota and the westbound return on I 80 through Nebraska. This allowed for a brief visit to the Cabela's store in Sidney, Nebraska, the hometown of the now mega retailer and mail order giant.
I mention these stops at major sporting goods stores because, as a southpaw, I always try to take the opportunity to peruse their supply of left hand bolt action rifles, if any.
Ask an avid rifle enthusiast, and you'll likely be told that remaining stocks of Winchester Model 70 and Model 94 rifles flew off retailer's shelves after the 2006 closing of Winchester's New Haven factory where they were manufactured, and are now almost not to be found.
Last October Cabela's in Mitchell had a Model 70 Featherweight in .270 WSM, and this trip, Sportsman's Warehouse in Sioux Falls a Featherweight in .300 WSM and a standard model in 7MM Remington Magnum! All these were in left hand configuration and, since I've never owned a Model 70, the temptation to buy one of them was exceedingly strong. Even though I had Little Heifer's blessing, I managed to pass them up, each and every one!
If you read as much "gun stuff" as I do you've probably seen everything from "teary eyed" pieces lamenting the Winchester plant closing, to "should have happened sooner 'cause they were puttin' out junk" stories. Well, I wouldn't go so far as to call these later Model 70's junk, but they certainly don't have the fit and finish quality of the Kimber 84M I bought last fall at the local NRA banquet! Unfortunately for me, the Kimber is not available in left hand configuration at this writing, so Little Heifer will likely be the primary shooter of that one on game.
So, to make a long story longer, I'll probably try to live without a Model 70 and save my $ for a Serengeti semi custom job one of these days. The Serengeti Trading Company, located in Kalispel, MT, makes a fine rifle built around an action that is very similar to the Model 70. Ann and I visited Serengeti two years ago and were very impressed with their product. (For more information on the Serengeti Trading Company with pictures and details about their rifles and laminated stocks, see my June 2005 Newsletter)
As previously reported, the only factory ammunition I have been able to find locally for the Kimber .338 Federal has been Federal Premium stuff with either Nosler or Barnes bullets. Prices on these run $32 to $36 per box of 20. The two Cabela's stores and the Sportsman's Warehouse we visited on our Missouri trip netted 3 boxes of Federal's Fusion ammo I have been looking for. All three were at Cabela's in Mitchell, SD. These had a price tag of under $23 per box.
The Fusion bullets are 200 grains in weight, with a jacket that is applied through a proprietary electrolysis process that the company calls "molecular-fused." They claim this provides an even stronger bond to the lead core than earlier "bonded" bullets such as those from Hornady and Nosler, and they're much cheaper to manufacture. If the bullets live up to the hype, they should be excellent for elk or moose. I hope to shoot some of the Fusion stuff in the next week or so, and I'll report on their paper accuracy in a future newsletter.
This month's hillbilly wisdom is another from the list of advice on the wall at the Hauser Lake Gun Club:
If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around!
Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!