Gary's Gun Notes #8
This time of year is always so hectic with the holidays and lots of people deciding at the last minute that they would like their gun for Christmas and there not being a chance in hell of that happening.
Also there is the Celebrity Handgun Hunt that is held the first week of December for charity. I enjoy that hunt if for no other reason to spend some time away from the phone and the engraving bench and renewing old friendships. This year was no exception.
The hunt is held at the Y.O. Ranch in Texas and hosts a maximum of 50 hunters, by invitation only. My hunting partners this year were Kelly Brost of Cast Performance Bullets, Dave Manson of Manson Reamers, and Gary Wrigley of RPM Guns. I was looking forward to the hunt for personal reasons too. A couple months ago a good friend back east who wishes to remain nameless asked to borrow my new 410 GNR for an African hunt. As I mentioned in the last Gun Notes he took a Cape Buffalo with it with the 250 grain LBT bullet from Kelly Brost. I had the 410 back and wanted to see exactly what it would do on large critters.
The first day of the hunt at the Y.O. our guide mentioned that they had a couple of what he called "water buffalo" back in a back pasture, and that they had been running wild and threatening anyone that came within range of them. We decided to check them out and found out one thing. They surely were not the welcome wagon! They charged everything in sight.
We spent a good while trying to figure how we could put a hunter out of the truck and sneak up on them without leaving him stranded and unable to get back to the truck should the need arise. Finally while they were watching the truck, I piled out and eased around all the live oak and managed to put myself in position for a shoulder shot. I was shooting the 41 caliber 250 gr. LBT that had been used in Africa and the same load of Win. 296. I put the gold bead on the left front shoulder and touched it off. At the shot the whole group ran off with the wounded bull in the rear. One of the other bulls was keeping an eye on me as if I owed him money, but other than a few mock charges he stayed well ahead of us. As we eased up the on bull I had hit he went down on his knees. By the time we got to within 20 yards of him he was down for the count. He was still alive and I saw no reason to let him suffer for the sake of a one-shot kill so I put another in the heart area.
My friend that took his Cape buff was right, the 410 GNR was gun enough. As we took the usual pictures I realized that he was no water buffalo. The horns were completely wrong for a water buffalo. He had the horns of a Cape Buffalo and the body size, but the coloring was all wrong. He was a coffee-colored bull as were the rest of the group.
Later I called a friend that knows buffalo a lot better than I do and he said it sounded like the Northern Cape Buffalo, which he said were lighter colored than the Southern Cape buff. Whichever he happened to be made no difference to me. He was as big and as bad as the regular Cape buff and the 410 GNR put him down with one shot. Later during skinning we found the bullet and other than a slight smeared nose it could have been loaded and shot again. And that is after breaking the front shoulder and ending up imbedded in the off shoulder. A helluva good bullet for large game. Kelly kept the bullet for his web site until I can con him out of it.
Late that day we talked Dave Manson, who by the way had never taken any large game of any type with a handgun, into trying for one of the other bulls with my 410 GNR. After an hour of sneaking and slipping from tree to tree Dave managed to put one of the 250 LBT's out of my 410 GNR into the boiler room. He didn't go down immediately as Dave had hit him a couple inches too far back, but he wasn't going far. Within 15 minutes Dave had caught up with the laboring bull and put a couple more into him, the last close enough to kiss him. Within less than 2 hours we had put down 2 big beautiful bulls of unknown origin. And best of all had converted a sometime handgun hunter to a fulltime handgun hunter.
Kelly and Gary had their hearts set on some of the exotic deer that inhabit the Y.O. and the next day Gary managed to get his wish. Gary took a large Fallow buck at 175 yards with one of his RPM pistols. The buck turned out to be well into the handgun record book. The last day of the hunt Kelly managed one of those 5 second shots at a large Sika deer. One of those shots were you have a maximum of 5 seconds to get the gun up and the shot off before the buck is headed for another part of the country. Kelly's buck was a very nice dark red 7 point Sika with almost pure white horns that the big ones have. He took it with one of his 44 mags, with the LBT bullets of course.
Our hunt aside, the weekend was a total success. We harvested over 32,000 pounds of meat to be given to charity and also raised a considerable amount of money that will also go to a good cause.