Dead whitetail deer with a compound bow.

Deer Down — Tips for Processing Your Own Game Meat

So, you have hunted hard all season. You spent the summer cutting shooting lanes and putting up stands. You cemented relationships with property owners that give you permission to hunt. You worked hard all season, and things finally came together. You shot a deer. The adrenaline has risen and subsided, and you stand over your trophy. Now what?

The Kennedys and Connallys motorcade seconds before the assination

Did the Carcano Change History and Kill President Kennedy?

Fifty years ago today, the United States suffered the loss the 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy. Since that time, the event has been the subject of thousands of movies, books, documents and articles. Major events often spawn conspiracy theories and Kennedy’s assassination is no exception; in fact, it could be reasonably argued that it is the king of all conspiracy theories.

Game Camera Attachment

Game Cameras — Money on a Tree

During your preseason scouting this year try something new. Grab five or even 10 $20 bills and hang them on a local tree with a nail or bungee cord. Then, come back in a few days, and see which type of bucks you find—brown or green. It sounds crazy right? Yet that is exactly what thousands of hunters do each year when they strap a trail camera to tree with a simple tie down or bungee cord and walk away. We are all guilty and have felt that sick feeling when we went to check our camera and hoped it would still be there.

Hog Hunting with AR-15

.223 Remington for Hogs

We get a ton of questions in our call center. The usual ones involve concerns over how to buy a gun on our website or something of that nature. However, with the rise of the AR-15′s popularity, we get a number of people asking about taking their black rifle out hunting.

Cars and guns should be quiet

Scary Cars? Yes, Just Like Those Scary Guns!

Steam-powered street vehicles first appeared in noticeable numbers in England in the 1830s. They were eventually driven out of common use by legislation backed by their competitors and “self-propelled carriages” did not reappear until the late 1890s. At the time, gasoline and alcohol powered cars were not the obvious choice over the steam and electric competitors. While they had many advantages, they also suffered from a great disadvantage — the noise of un-muffled engines.

1908 Steyr-Pieper .32 tip-barrel pistol

“Amazing penetration and striking power!”

This marketing slogan of the early 1900s described pistols chambered in the lowly .32 ACP cartridge. The guns were touted as being good for everything from home defense to assassinating important persons to self-defense against brown bear. To the modern reader, such claims appear outrageous, but why were they taken seriously back then? The rounds that 32ACP superseded were mainly the black powder .320 revolver cartridges loaded with lead round nose bullets. 80 grain unjacketed bullet at about 550fps lacked penetration and typically did not expand. Five or six of those from a revolver were rather less likely to end a fight than eight jacketed pistol bullets propelled by smokeless powder at 900fps. Neither round would equal the performance of .38 Automatic or similar, but then neither would the larger guns fit pockets, whereas the .32 could. Note that neither the higher velocity nor the greater penetration were at all significant for target shooting, so the Olympic pistols use .32 S&W Long even today.

PTR91 clone of G3 rifle has very energetic extraction cycle

When to use steel cased ammunition?

The use of steel cased ammunition is hotly debated on web forums. The concept has been around since World War 2, but the controversy is far from over. Originally used to combat brass shortages, steel cases actually have a couple of important advantages. Let’s cover the disadvantages first. Steel cases don’t spring back as well as brass and aren’t effectively reloadable. They require plating with zinc or copper, or else a coating of polymer or lacquer to resist corrosion. Some people feel that even mild steel is harder on the extractors, and that is almost certainly true. However, the alternative to the increased extractor wear with steel cases is the increased likelihood of failure to extract because of a torn brass case rim in certain firearms. All in all, I used to view steel cased ammunition as something to avoid until a friend acquired a .223 FAL rifle.

Both are lethal, but the gun gets taken more seriously.

Being a Credible Threat

At the end of last year, an eleven year old girl armed with a single shot .22 rifle faced off three intruders. The perps fled in fear, even though they probably could have won by a determined attack. The defender posed a credible threat and they believed it enough to retreat. What do you think the outcome would have been had she relied on pepper spray or an electric stunner or a baseball bat? When people argue in favor of improvised weapons or “anything but a gun,” they are greatly increasing the chance that a criminal would try their defenses. The sword has been a lethal military weapon for millennia, but would a modern thug take it seriously? For better or worse, people are conditioned to treat firearms seriously for two reasons: guns require minimal strength to operate and they work at extended ranges.

Browning High Power sights were marked to 500m

Imperfection of Vision

Looking at historic arms, we often see sights graduated to extreme distances. Rifle open sights were marked out past a mile, and pistol sights sometimes went past half a mile. With such inspiring examples, how do people justify festooning their modern guns with lights, lasers, red dots and tactical kitchen sinks?

New is Well-forgotten Old

Boberg XR9-S

Boberg XR9-S

Chiappa Rhino .357

Chiappa Rhino .357

Among the most noteworthy recent handgun designs, two stand out through their original technical solutions. Mars autoloading pistol of 1900. But that’s all very recent history as far as gun designs go. It turns out that the concept of a bullpup handgun with a very low bore axis goes back much further.

This percussion revolver fires from the bottom chamber and it is a bullpup, so it is effectively a distant ancestor of both the Boberg and the Chiappa designs. Not bad for a weapon patented 154 years ago!

Percussion bullpup revolver

Percussion bullpup revolver

1857 patent drawing

1857 patent drawing

A case for off-body carry

Most people frown on off-body, considering it an amateur approach. The cite the slow access, the possibility of purse-snatching and other practical problems to dismiss the practice. And yet gun purses for women continue to sell well, as do various man-purses. Turns out that off-body carry has several advantages.

Evening dress doesn't lend itself to concealing a sidearm. Carrying in a gun pruse provides a reasonable solution.

Evening dress doesn't lend itself to concealing a sidearm. Carrying in a gun purse provides a reasonable solution.

Wulstenhume gun purse and a Kel-tec PMR30. Thirty rounds of 22Magnum with reloads in the purse.

Gun Tote'n Mamas gun purse and a Kel-tec PMR30. Thirty rounds of 22Magnum with reloads in the bag.

The first advantage is that it permits amateurs to carry guns. And, imagine this, most of us are amateurs and we carry guns for non-professional reasons. We have to carry other items — laptops, cameras, diaper bags, grocery packets — as primary, while guns ride along against the rare case of dire need. Depending on the weather and the social occasion, dressing around the gun may be impractical or nearly impossible. Could one conceal more than a P32 or a PSA .25 in the outfit shown on the left? A woman can try to justify a cover garment on an evening dress or she can bring a purse and have a decently sized defensive pistol available in it. Would that be an ideal solution — probably not, but then fighting for your life while wearing heels isn’t ideal either. Then point is that many people do not want to subordinate their lives and their wardrobes to concealment of a sidearm, and off-body carry allows them to still go armed. Under less glamorous circumstances, a diaper bag attracts less attention than a dedicated gun purse and new parents have to carry such items anyway. Adding a revolver to the child welfare and protection kit is a logical step. It is important to separate the weapon from all other contents and to practice rapid access. A fouled-up zipper or snagged grip should be discovered at the range, not during a defensive shooting. Cold weather is another circumstance when off-body carry may be advantageous. Trying to reach a gun under a thick winter coat can be difficult, while carrying an extra weapon in a pocket means that it would have to be somehow secured or transferred once the person takes the coat off indoors.


Zebra pattern small purse by Gun Tote'n Mamas

Zebra pattern small purse by Gun Tote'n Mamas. Most makers offer a wide variety of patterns to fit dress style and the expected environment.

Keltec P11: purses allow carrying double-stack pistols comfortably

Keltec P11: purses allow carrying double-stack pistols comfortably

PLR16 .223 pistol is large but offers a corresponding increase in performance

PLR16 .223 pistol is large but offers a corresponding increase in performance

The plus side of such a carry method is in being able to tote a fairly large weapon comfortably. Double-stack pistols with larger magazines than typical of subcompacts fit in a shoulder bag just as easily and they are usually easier to shoot well. The major requirements are keeping the bag secured at all times and training with it at the range. The mechanics of deploying from a holster not attached to the body can be quite different from the expectations. The payoff can be quite considerable: being able to go with a full-size service pistol or even a rifle-caliber handgun instead of a subcompact.



Sub2000 carbine folds into a 16" long package and unfolds in one second.

Sub2000 carbine folds into a 16" long package and unfolds in one second.

Where legal, off-body carry even enables bringing a long gun along. Most useful in conjunction with a handgun, a carbine like a folding Sub2000 can be carries easily behind a laptop and deployed rapidly if greater reach is required. Too slow to counter a mugger at five feet but just right for a rampaging active shooter at thirty yards. Commonality of magazines with the carry pistol means that you would never confuse two kinds of ammunition under pressure.

It’s Raining 1911s

Umarex Regent R100

Umarex R100

Umarex Regent R100

The Regent R100 is an authentic version of the classic M1911 A1. Offered with Hogue grips and made under the strict requirements of ISO 9000 and AQAP 120 NATO quality standards, the Umarex makes the Regent with a level of quality that is unparalleled for a retail price of under $500. Umarex USA, one of the fastest growing sporting gun companies in the United States, introduced the Regent R100 pistol chambered in .45 ACP to match the original Browning. Umarex also introduced the Regent on the 100-year anniversary of the original M1911 pistol. They specifically engineered it for precision, durability, and accuracy. The steel investment cast frame gives the Regent the weight of the original M1911, while the 7-round steel detachable magazine allows for quick reloading. The wide spur hammer, arched mainspring housing, and low cut ejection port give maximum performance and accuracy for shooters. From the grips to the barrel, the Regent is truly an outstanding value to the consumer.




Iver Johnson 1911A1

Iver Johnson 1911A1

Iver Johnson 1911A1

There is nothing like shooting a 1911. The gun’s ergonomics are unparalleled, not to mention that sometimes you just feel like holding a chunk of ass kickery in the palm of your hand. It is no secret that the 1911 is one of America’s long lasting icons. When they gun cycles, nothing else feels like one. The Shooters Arms Manufacturing assembles Iver Johnson 1911s in the Philippines, but the factory made them to Iver Johnson’s specifications and design, using Iver Johnson’s parts. These pistols have a forged, CNC machined slide, and a cast CNC machined frame. All models have MIM parts and the slide and frame are hand fitted for a nice, tight fit. All models come with a magazine, gunlock, manual, and black plastic gun case. Own an icon at an affordable price.




Taylor’s & Company 1911

Taylor's and Co 1911

Taylor's and Company 1911

Remember your friend who had an Armscor 1911 that he had picked up for cheap at the local pawnshop? He was always bragging about how he spent hundreds less than a Springfield or Colt and his 1911 still worked fine and went bang every time. Ok, maybe that was my friend, I admit. However, Taylor’s & Company, the same folks who bring over the Italian cowboy guns from Uberti and Pedersoli, and the popular Chiappa .22 LR pistols, are importing the Armscor 1911s again. Taylor’s 1911AS has all the features you expect in a 1911A1 “government” model, with a 5” forged steel barrel, smooth arched mainspring housing, GI style sights, and a matte blued finish with nice wood grips. Two 8-round magazines are included as well. The spur style hammer is just a bit shorter than the original, to keep it from “biting” your hand when you shoot it, as the original Colts tend to do. Shooting a 1911 is much more enjoyable without a blood blister on the back of your thumb! Other than the improved hammer, all the other parts of the Taylor’s 1911AS adhere to standard 1911 dimensions, making this gun a great place to start for a custom build. If you so choose, aftermarket parts will drop right in!



Auto-Ordnance 1911PKZ

Auto-Ordinance 1911A1

Auto-Ordinance 1911A1

Of all the entry-level 1911 pistols currently on the market, only one can boast the “Made in the USA” slogan, the Auto-Ordnance 1911A1 “WWII.” The manufacturer intended to replicate a World War II issue 1911 down to the smallest detail, from the correct specification vertical slide serrations to the lanyard loop in the arched and serrated mainspring housing. Even the brown plastic grips are made to WW2 specifications (did you know that real WW2 1911A1s used plastic grips?). The Auto-Ordnance 1911 adheres to exacting specifications using computerized (CNC) manufacturing, made possible when Kahr Arms bought Auto-Ordnance a few years ago and revamped their entire pistol line. There’s no huge “billboard” roll mark on the side of the slide, just a simple military style “Model 1911A1 US Army.” The only change Auto Ordnance made was for the sake of safety—the 1911PKZ features a “Series 80” firing pin block to prevent accidental discharge if the firearm drops to the ground while cocked and with the safety off. The finish is parkerized, just like the originals, and the magazine holds seven rounds, just like the originals. An excellent condition survivor from World War II would set you back a whole lot more than $448. Leave that one for the collectors, and take the Auto-Ordnance to the shooting range!



Armscor 51484

Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical Rail Semi Auto Handgun .45 ACP

Rock Island Armory 1911

Armscor has a reputation for building basic, no frills 1911s that work, while undercutting their competition by hundreds of dollars. They’ve been doing it for years and it seems to work pretty well for them. But with this model, number 51484, Armscor got all uppity and decided they would build an affordable factory 1911 with every “custom” feature found in guns costing $1000 or more. Novak sights, check, full-length 1913 Picatinny spec accessory rail, check. Skeletonized trigger and hammer, lowered/flared ejection port, ambidextrous thumb safety, beavertail grip safety, full-length guide rod, check, check, and CHECK. The 8-round magazine even has a rubber floorplate extension, as preferred by competition shooters. The features list is off the charts and yet somehow Armscor only wants $472 for this gun. Don’t tell them what the competitor’s railed 1911s with these features are selling for; they might raise the price on us! The finish is no-nonsense grey Parkerizing, the grips are checkered wood in the classic diamond pattern, and this model has a Series 70 type fire control group with no internal firing pin safety. The 51484 is flying under the radar right now. This may be because 51484 is not a very catchy name. If they named it the Punisher Special or something like that, it would not stay the best-kept secret in the 1911 market for much longer!

A Look at Some Guns for Range Day

S&W Sigma SW9VE

S&W Sigma SW9VE

S&W Sigma SW9VE

The SW9VE is the latest generation of Sigma series pistols. Packing 16 rounds of 9mm ammo, it uses a striker fired trigger system featuring a consistent trigger pull every time. The black polymer frame has an 18-degree grip angle, and 3-dot sights top the stainless steel slide and 4” barrel. Smith & Wesson built the slide from stainless steel, and gave it a matte finish to reduce glare. Known for reliability, innovative safety features and consistent trigger pull, the Sigma is a favorite world wide among military units, law enforcement, and individual owners.






Taurus 738 TCP

Taurus 738 TCP

Taurus 738 TCP

A tiny little pocket gun with a big name, and bigger reputation. The TCP is the lightest Taurus ever created! The 10.2-ounce 738 TCP is not only the lightest semi-auto in the Taurus line; it’s lighter than any of the Taurus small frame revolvers too! The 738 TCP offers 6+1 shots of .380 ACP, a durable polymer frame and low profile fixed sights. This little gun is perfect for concealed carry, or a backup duty gun. The curved trigger guard makes pulling it out of a pocket in a hurry easier, and the checkered polymer grips fit naturally in your hands. The matte stainless steel slide reduces glare, while increasing durability. The dual action only trigger is very smooth. You have to feel it to believe it!





Kahr Arms CW9

Kahr Arms CW9

Kahr Arms CW9

Feel like packing a little more punch than a .380 can deliver? If you feel that way, then the Kahr CW9 might just be the gun for you. I use a Kahr for concealed carry and I absolutely love it. The CW9 is a full-blown 9mm handgun with a 7+1 magazine capacity. It is almost identical to the far more costly P9, and the differences are negligible. The Kahr is a striker fired dual action only handgun specifically designed to hide on your person. There is no internal magazine disconnect feature, so the gun will still cycle without a magazine in place. Shooting a Kahr is somewhat similar to shooting a Glock. The trigger pull is very smooth but a bit long, since it is dual action only. I will say that it takes a little practice to be able to tell when the striker is going to fall, since the trigger is so darn smooth. Overall, the Kahr is carry gun perfection. It’s tiny size balanced with the hard hitting 9mm round is a perfect way to give yourself piece of mind when walking the mean streets.




SIG Sauer SP2022

SIG Sauer SP2022

SIG Sauer SP2022

The Sig Sauer SP2022 is the latest version of Sig’s popular polymer framed pistol and features a durable, lightweight, and wear-resistant polymer frame with the added tactical versatility of an integrated accessory rail. Sig machined the slide from a solid block of stainless steel and protected it with Sig’s black Nitron® finish. Available in 9mm, .357 Sig and .40 S&W, the SP2022 easily converts from a Double-Action/Single-Action to a Double-Action Only configuration through a unique integral fire control unit. It also features the Sig Sauer four-point safety system. The Sig Sauer polymer framed pistols has earned an enviable reputation and proven track record of reliable performance in the hands of law enforcement professionals. In December of 2004, the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command at the Rock Island Arsenal awarded Sig Sauer a contract for 5,000 Sig Sauer SP2022 pistols chambered in 9mm. The SP2022 – the only polymer framed pistol engineered to perform, built to protect and good enough to be called a Sig Sauer.



Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle (ACR)

Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle (ACR)

Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle (ACR)

The Bushmaster ACR is the World’s Most Adaptive Modular Rifle. The first of its kind, and the only rifle you need to master the infinite number of extreme scenarios you will face in the arenas of law enforcement and personal defense. Our new Bushmaster ACR redefines the term “modular” with the extraordinary ability to change calibers, barrel lengths, and stock configurations in minutes, all without the use of tools. Truly the most versatile and adaptive rifle ever conceived, it was born of a collaborative effort between Bushmaster, Magpul, and Remington to create the ultimate military combat weapon system. Shooters have tested the ACR and proven it reliable in the most brutal conditions imaginable. The Bushmaster ACR is an uncompromising choice when you demand a rifle as mission-adaptable as you are.

Positive reinforcement

A happy shooter

A happy shooter

The trick to introducing a new shooter is to make the experience fun. Nobody wants to be a failure and beginning marksmen are no exception. So we, the instructors, can play up the fun aspect of the sport and make sure that all new shooters have bragging rights. One way to do it is to start with the easiest targets possible. After safety rules and the manual of arms has been explained, it’s a good idea to make sure that the shooter can use sights properly and control the trigger well. A visible laser aimed below the line of sight for the shooter can be very helpful because it doesn’t distract the trainee while providing a point of aim indicator to the instructor.

Once try fire exercises have been completed, it is time to make holes in paper. For most new pistol shooters, a target at 21ft would present a formidable challenge. So set up a target at one foot from the muzzle. Have your trainee fire half-dozen shots with a .22. For noise reduction, I recommend subsonics, provided they cycle in your pistol. If the new shooter flinches badly, you will know it right away and be able to correct. Once your shooter has a tight cluster of hits, replace the target with a fresh one and move it back to two feet. Then three feet.

Time for larger targets. Still at three feet, let them shoot at a reduced silhouette. Watch for trigger control and sighting problems. If all is well, move the target back a couple of feet. Then a couple more. Now it is time for breaking things and not just punching paper. If your range allows reactive targets, set up sporting clays on the ground or place them on a clay target holder. The visual feedback provided by disintegrating clays is a good motivator for the new shooters. Clays are about five and a third of an inch in diameter and a hit on the edge usually breaks them as well as a hit in the center. Set up around ten feet from the muzzle, they are slightly challenging but still very reasonable targets for beginners.

Once your trainee has a solid track record of being good at everything he tried, offer a much more distant target. Set up a full-size silhouette at fifteen feet and tape a sheet of typing paper over the X and the 10 ring. The contrasting tone would make aiming easier and support “aim small, miss small”. Have your shooter take his time with this. Remove the white paper before showing the results to the marksman — the hits should be pretty tightly clustered and look very respectable. Have your shooter sign the paper and counter-sign it with a date. The keepsake from this range trip is now ready for hanging on a wall at home.

Obviously, the exact ranges can be changed and different targets would likewise be just fine. The main idea is that all challenges should be surmountable and at no time should your trainee be frustrated. Instant gratification combined with steady progress and individually appropriate pace are the key to making the first range trip work well.

PS: Have any hints or favorite techniques of your own for teaching newbies? Share them here!

Shooting Snub Nose Revolvers


~per Donna H/2011-10-11

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Short-barreled revolvers are known for being notoriously inaccurate. In truth, they’re not inaccurate; they’re just difficult to shoot accurately. The difficulty comes from the short sight radius. My grandpa called snubbies two-hand guns. Not because you held them with two hands but because he thought you should hold onto the bad guy with one hand and shoot him with the other.

Start your practice sessions with a full sheet of paper as a kill zone. Your goal should be to hit the paper every time, as fast as you can shoot.
Snub-nose, double-action-only revolvers are selected for defensive carry because of their reliability and compactness, not because they’re easy to shoot accurately. The key is learning to control that long, heavy, double-action trigger pull. The best way I know to master this skill is with dry-fire practice.

Take a for sure unloaded gun, pick a spot on the wall, and learn how to pull the trigger without disturbing the sights. Start by pulling the trigger slowly while keeping the sights aligned. Speed up your trigger pull as you begin to see improvement. It needs to become as natural as picking your nose. If you dry-fire practice 50 trigger pulls every night for 20 nights, you will begin to see a dramatic improvement on the range.

Follow this up with another 20 days of handgun presentation practice. Again, be sure the gun is unloaded. Start with your hands normally at your side and draw the revolver from the holster or pocket, depending on your carry method. Once the gun is out, dry-fire a single “shot” at your wall target. Do this at least 50 times per day. Drawing and triggering a single “shot” within two seconds is a good goal to strive for.

After you’re sick of dry-firing, go to the range. Set silhouette targets at 3, 5 and 7 yards, and staple a sheet of paper over each kill zone. Start with slow fire at 3 yards and practice until you can keep all your shots on the paper. Then move to the 5- and 7-yard targets. When mastered at a leisurely pace, start over and speed up. As a goal, strive to get five or six hits at 7 yards in 5 or 6 seconds. When you can do this, fold the paper in half and start all over.

Next, include drawing the revolver. Start the drill with the handgun holstered or otherwise secured as you intend to carry it. Work slowly at first. When you can get your five or six hits in 5 or 6 seconds—including the time it takes you to draw the handgun—fold the paper in half and start over again.

The LaserLyte LT-PRO inserts in the muzzle of your handgun and projects a laser flash when the hammer falls. It’s a great dry-fire training tool. A handgun with a minimum barrel length of 2 inches is required.
As you progressively get better, try the same training progression, but use only your strong hand. When you find you can complete the drill in the same amount of time with your strong hand only, try some hip shooting at targets 2 yards and closer. Hip shooting is an important skill to master at these distances because you should avoid sticking your handgun out to where you attacker can grab it or take it away. A trick to hip shooting is to draw to the same point every time, locking your gun arm tight against your body. Adjust your aim by rocking at the hips as opposed to twisting your wrist or arm.

Once you progress to the point where you are getting hits at a relatively fast pace, training with a short-barreled revolver is really no different than training with any other defensive handgun. Add in reloads, movement, weak-hand drills and so on. The trick is learning to work through that long and usually heavy double-action trigger pull without disturbing the sights. Dry-firing is the place to start.

Tracking Your Prey

Call me a softy, but when I shoot a deer, I like to kill it immediately. I hate tracking deer in cold, muddy environments, and I especially hate to cause unnecessary suffering on the part of the deer. I usually hunt in south and east Texas, so our whitetail deer are not normally very large. I use a .270 or 30.06 caliber round with one of a couple scoped bolt action rifles, so as long as my gun is properly sighted in, I usually do not have a problem. There are occasions however, that despite a perfectly placed shot, the deer just seems to be able to run forever. I chased a deer that had a hole in its heart 200 yards in the thickest, briar patch infested scrub brush you have ever seen. Tracking deer is something that most deer hunters will have to do eventually, so it is best to be prepared.

Preparation starts at home. Gather some supplies together before you leave for your hunt and put them in a bag. Any small pack or dump pouch will do, my backpack/hydration bag works perfect for me. Gather up a flashlight, some snacks, water, hydrogen peroxide in a squirt bottle, and a roll of biodegradable flagging ribbon. If nothing else gets packed, the flagging ribbon and the flashlight are the absolute must have’s.

White Tailed Deer

When you first take the shot, and the deer doesn’t go down, watch its reaction, if it jumps when it’s hit, it might be a heart or lung shot. It will most likely not get very far if this is the case. If your shot went awry, and you hit it in the leg, you might see it go down, and try to stumble away. Should this happen, it would be a good idea to deliver a finishing shot before you attempt to approach your prey. A gut shot is the worst type of scenario. The deer is going to be wounded and frightened, and will probably run quite a distance before it decides to bed down. If it is a gut shot, the deer might run with its tail down.

When you shoot, don’t jump out of the stand immediately. Make a note of where you shot the deer and watch where it runs. It will most likely head to thick brush to hide. If you follow the deer too soon, it will hear and smell you coming and keep running. Go to the spot where he took the hit. If you see a great deal of fur, you might have grazed the deer. If you don’t see too much hair, you probably have a body shot. If you see bits of bone, a leg shot is probable.

When looking at blood, take note of where the blood lies. If it is up high, in tall grass, you might have a shot to the heart or lungs. If there are air bubbles in the blood, you have a lung shot, and you won’t have to track your prey very far. Blood that is very dark red with bits of green in it indicate a gut shot, and you might be in for a long trek. If the blood trail gets thin, or you aren’t sure that what you are looking at is actually blood, use your hydrogen peroxide spray bottle, the blood will bubble up just like it does on an open wound. As you get into the woods, liberally use your flagging ribbon. Tie it around trees or branches at eye level or higher. Keep your ears open too, a deer falling on the ground can make a very audible “thud.” Remember not to let yourself get thrown off by tracks. If it is a trail often used by deer, you may be following the wrong buck.

Image Courtesy of Matthew J Obrien

While on the trail, don’t move forward until you see the next drop of blood. If you loose track, and don’t see any blood, move back to the last spot and search for more sign. Should you not see any blood at all, try to look for the path of least resistance. You could get lucky and pick up the trail again, if you still don’t see any, move back again and use your spray bottle. Take your time and don’t try to rush, if it gets dark, who cares, you have your flashlight and flagging ribbon, right? If the blood trail abruptly stops, look around for a spot with heavy brush. A deer on the run will try to bed up in order to hide, especially if it is running out of energy. Typically, this is where the deer will expire. Once it lies down, it usually won’t get back up.

Keeping these simple tips in mind will make it a bit easier to track your prey the next time it runs off. I figure there is no reason to shoot an otherwise harmless animal unless you intend to eat it, so recovering your prey is the most essential part of your hunt.

Ruger’s .357 Carbine

Something different came from Ruger today for us to test out. A while ago, Ruger developed the bolt action Ruger 77 in the .44 magnum cartridge. This gun was great for short to medium range hunting and incorporated Ruger’s rotary magazine design. Now Ruger has unveiled the 77 in the .357 cartridge. The concept of using large pistol calibers for hunting is not new. People have been hunting medium sized game with .357 pistols for years, but with the longer barrel and precision of a bolt-action rifle, the .357 is even more effective.

Ruger 77

The Ruger weighs in at a mere 5.5 pounds and the 18.5-inch barrel makes maneuvering in thick brush relatively easy. The one in sixteen right hand twist helps make the rifle deadly accurate. When fired, the recoil feels closer to a .22 than a magnum pistol round. Ruger used hammer-forged stainless steel for the barrel. The receiver is also stainless and has integrated scope bases for the Ruger scope rings, which I am happy to say, are included. Quality mounts and rings are costly, and Ruger used high quality stainless steel, which will stand the test of time with few issues. The rifle is an overall 38.5 inches in length and has a 13.5-inch length of pull. In case you aren’t using a scope, the rifle in equipped with iron sights and the rear sight is adjustable.

The stainless steel bolt lifts 90 degrees and the bolt locks at the rear of the receiver. When removing the bolt assembly, you have to open the bolt, pull the trigger, and engage a small bolt release button on the back of the chamber. The safety has three positions. When the safety is in the rear position, the trigger is blocked, and the bolt will not open, in the middle position, the trigger is still blocked but you can open the bolt and empty the rifle. While in the forward position, the rifle is set to fire or load.

The magazine holds five rounds and uses Ruger’s rotary magazine design. This design makes the bottom of the magazine flush with the bottom of the rife, as opposed to a tall box magazine in an AR-style rifle. Ruger included stainless steel feed lips on the magazine to increase durability. The follower is made of polymer and cycles .357 ammunition well. When extracting, the empty shells shot quite far forward and to the right, about six feet. It should be noted that Ruger included an instruction manual insert, warning that the 77 was chambered to shoot only .357 ammunition. While hand loading .38 special ammunition into the chamber directly will work, filling the magazine with .38 special will invite feeding problems, and should be avoided.

The stock of the 77 is made of a black synthetic polymer, and looks very modern when paired to the stainless steel barrel. The feel of the rifle is quite comfortable and feels similar to most standard carbine style hunting rifles. Included on the stock are swivel sling mounts, which is a necessity for any hunting rifle.

Out of the box, this carbine is perfect for hunting in thick brush, for up to 150 yards. The pistol ammunition is more than powerful enough to take down a deer or hog at close to medium range. The Ruger 77 is a perfect addition for any hunter who wants a ranch gun to throw in the truck, or take out on long treks in the brush.

Ruger 77/357 Ruger 77/357 Ruger 77/357
Ruger 77/357 Ruger 77/357