Re: Most memorable shot
Well jimm this one's for you. Not the coon dog story as that one involves no shooting. This story from my youth involves tracking and shooting but not long range.
As some may have noticed from my posts, I will accept no less than 3200 FPS muzzle velocity from a 270 Win with a 140 grain bullet and no less than 2800 FPS muzzle velocity from a 338 Win Mag with 250 grain bullets. Also note that my personal project rifle (338 Win) is being rebarreled in 338 RUM to achieve at least 2900 FPS with the 250 gr bullet. I wonít even mention the rifle coming from up north one of these days.
The experience described in this story of my youth reveals the beginnings of my need for as much velocity as possible.
When I was about 15 years old I earned the opportunity to go hunting with an original White Pennsylvania long rifle. It was a beautiful curly maple stocked 36 cal flint lock. It was original in every way and was a work of art to be appreciated.
I earned the opportunity to take it hunting by delivering many hickory sticks, over a period of several years, to the rifle's owner. There were turned into cleaning rods for the collection of flint locks that were on the collectorís wall. I just knew, in my youthful mind that Olí Henny would keep his word and let me use one of his rifles one day.
I did every thing , and more, that could be expected to gain his favor. Slave labor duties included running targets, bringing wheel weights and the best of hickory for cleaning and ram rods.
One winter the day finally came. I selected the rifle I wanted to use. Of course it was the White! It was the one that I could out shoot everyone with. I knew I could get the job done with that rifle.
Under the watchful eye of the owner I loaded and primed it myself. I had to stand on a chair. The rifle had to be perfectly vertical for this operation. He would never allow us lean the rifles over. I can remember the excitement of the moment.
About 6 inches of fresh powdered snow had fallen in the night. Any tracks I would cross would be fresh. There were plenty of fox in that area of western Pennsylvania. I had spent many hours tracking them but not owning or having access to a rifle I had shot none. My hopes were high that day.
I trudged out the back door and headed for the woods. I had about a half mile to walk before there would be any opportunity of game. As I approached the woods I cut some bunny tracks but walked on. Bunnies would not be an adequate trophy for this young man this day.
About half way to the strip mines I cut some tracks that caused the heart rate to go up a bit. They might be fox! The powdered snow made it difficult to identify the track's maker.
I brought the long rifle off of my should into a two handed carry, being careful to not to let the muzzle touch the snow. I started my stalk along the tracks. The oak and maple trees were large and fairly dense, only a little underbrush was mingled with them. Tracking was good.
What wind there was, was in my favor so I stalked along at a decent pace. After about a half mile I decided that what I was tracking was a bobcat! The tracks meandered too much to be a fox in the woods. The excitement elevated.
I felt I was getting close to the cat. I slowed. I squinted into the woods ahead of me as I carefully placed my feet like Iíd read in the Zane Grey books. I was in a different time.
I thought I saw movement ahead. I stalked very slowly towards the movement I thought I saw. I kept a large oak tree directly between me and the suspected quarry. The wind was still in my favor. I got to the tree and eased my head around it to take a peek. There it was! A beautiful once in a lifetime bobcat! I judged it to be about thirty yards distant. The problem was that it was crouched on a tree limb about 5 feet off the ground. It was looking directly away from me, its tail flicking this way and that. It was intent on something up ahead.
How to get a shot? I didnít want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Many thoughts ran through my mind. What about the pelt? I didnít want to ruin it. A head shot would make prevent making a nice rug out of the hide. What to do?
I had to get a better position. The tree I was using for cover was alone. The closest other tree was twenty feet away with no cover between. I was getting nervous. How long would the cat stay on that limb?
I pulled my head back behind the tree. I wrapped the trigger in my jacket and set the trigger. The click was deafening. Had it spooked the cat? I sneaked a peek. The cat was still there focused on what was somewhere in front of it. At that moment I knew what to do!
From behind the tree with the trigger set, I held the long rifle vertically in front me and began to slowly ease around the tree. The catís tail was flicking. It gave no indication that it was going to move its gaze.
The wind remained in my favor.
I very slowly eased around the tree. It seamed like a long time until I was on the other side of the tree with my back against it leaving no outline to break the treeís form. The tree was as wide as I was.
I very slowly brought the rifle to firing position. Iíd decided to take the rear shot, just under the tail so as to not put any holes in the pelt. I knew I could make the shot.
I steadied the rifle. My heart was pounding. The length and weight of the rifle more than compensated for the pulse. The fine front sight was perfectly centered in the rear sightís small indent. The base of the catís tail was flicking just about the front sight. I touched the trigger. Fah-poom! I knew the ball would find its target.
And it did! At impact, as quick as a cat can it switched direction to see what hit it in the butt. The round ball came out its mouth and I felt the ball strike the tree I was using for cover, just above my right shoulder. Had that cat been a tic quicker I would have been a gonner with a 36 cal. Round ball in the neck!
That was the very last time I shot a smoke pole. From then until this very day I have ensured that projectile velocity was sufficient to never have to relive that near death experience.
jimm's dancing chicken goes here [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!