A blog by Bob Rich. Squirrel Hunting, Henry Rifles, Reloading, Range Shooting and More!

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Three in the cooler this morning with the Henry .410 shotgun


Today was opening day of duck season, and as one guy put it this morning, "It sounds like Baghdad!". Squirrels don't like that kind of commotion, but I was able to bag these three with the Henry .410 and 6 shot 2.5" shells before it got crazy. Next weekend begins pheasant season, and the new CT law prohibits hunters from being in the woods prior to 9am on Saturdays until the weekend after Thanksgiving. Thankfully they changed the squirrel hunting law this year which allowed us to hunt from the October 1st until opening day of pheasant season. Usually squirrel hunting is suspended during those weeks. Another law I could never understand. I guess I'll need to either head north to do my squirrel hunting or switch to pheasant hunting. I don't know if I want to wait until 9am when an army of hunters and their dogs will descend in military-like fashion on the WMA. That's not my idea of hunting. Thankfully a couple weeks after they end stocking, the bird hunters disappear and the woods once again belong to the squirrel hunter.

My search for a replacement pair of Uncle Mike's gloves.


I've worn these Uncle Mike's gloves on every hunt since 2006 and as you can see they're shot. Do me a favor and let me know if you run across a pair for sale. I have a feeling they stopped making them years ago. I should write the company. Thanks.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

6 in the bag this morning with the Henry .410

This morning. One hour with the Henry .410.
Between 7:00 and 8:00am.
6 in the bag.

It was one of those mornings that I wondered if I should stay home or not. It rained for the last two days and thunderstorms were predicted for morning. I did decided to go, and arrived at the WMA by 7:00. Two cars in the lot, but I figured they were hunting something else, maybe deer hunters and they always go deeper into the woods. The wet ground made it possible to walk in near silence and a flock of starlings landed on branches all around me. They were everywhere, on the ground, on low branches and at the tops, but for some reason they didn't seem to mind that I was there. There was movement everywhere and made so much noise that I has to reduce my muff's amplification. I expected the flock to flush but they didn't so I used them for cover. 3 deer jumped out of high brush less than 20 yards to my right and ran across my path. About 5 minutes later I either saw two more or the same ones appeared about 30 yards away. They just stood there and stared at me. Maybe I was pushing them closer to some deer hunters. They can thank me later.

In total I bagged six squirrels this morning. Unlike on earlier hunts this season, they were not on the canopy, but instead on the ground or the low branches. The nuts have fallen so they moved to the food supply, and doing so gave up their cover. Squirrels were moving between 7 and 8am, and after that it was quiet. I stayed for about an hour and a half. I usually hunt for about 3 hours, but 6 in the bag is enough. I'll save the rest for another morning and I had enough to clean in one morning.

No squirrel was within range when spotted, so I had to close the distance. The .410 has its advantages, but also its drawbacks. Each dropped with the first Winchester 6 shot shell, but half of them required a second hit to put them away. 

It's been years since we've had a squirrel season like this, many in recent years being nothing but discouragement. The hawk population appears to have decreased this year. There were mornings in recent years where I would stop, look around and have 4 hawks in eye-shot. This year I might see one. The decrease in predator activity and the increase in nut supply must be responsible for the boom in the squirrel population. There also seems to be less hunting pressure this year, since most of the time I'm hunting alone. 

The .410 has proved to also be an asset to early season hunting, being able to take shots into trees that I would have passed up with a .22 because it's just too dangerous. The Henry has also given me the ability to take the shot even when I don't have clear view of the squirrel's head. With full choke you need to be on target, but it does give me a few inches of leeway if I can gauge the center of mass. 4 and 6 shot BBs are big enough to easily see when cleaning the squirrel, and they usually are just under the fir and on top of the meat. Since I blog and post on facebook, a squirrel downed with the 410 has a better presentation than does a squirrel shot in the head with a .22. 

So even though my back injury has slowed me down considerably this season, the abundance of squirrels and the use of the 410 has more than compensated. The big question now in CT is whether the new hunting laws will keep squirrel hunters out of the woods before 9am from opening through Thanksgiving. I've contacted the DEEP and will inform you of their response. Good hunting friends. Until next weekend.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

What?!! NO SATURDAY MORNING SQUIRREL HUNTING during pheasant season in Central CT?

I just sent the DEEP 2 emails. I want to know what they are doing?! From what I can tell we can't enter the woods until 9am on Saturday from October 21st thru November 18th when they stock pheasant for the last time. That means squirrel hunting is dead for a month for us guys who work on weekdays. The season is short enough as is, ending the 1st of March. No wonder they gave us a few extra weekends to hunt in October this year. My option is to hunt at more distant WMAs, which wouldn't be a bad idea considering how miserable it is for squirrel hunters who struggle to hunt side by side with loud pheasant hunters and their dogs. I think I'll pass on a pheasant stamp this season.

PHEASANT PROGRAM Changes in 2017: 
This year, the DEEP will purchase a total of 15,000 adult pheasants. In addition to our statewide stocking efforts, seven areas will be also be stocked on Saturday morning and afternoon and will only be open to hunters with a Saturday AM (9:00 AM -12:00 noon) or Saturday PM (1:30 PM - 4:30 PM) permit. These select areas will be stocked prior to the morning permit and during the afternoon break to assure hunters that birds will be available at these areas on the weekend. 

These areas include: 
Cromwell Meadows WMA 
Durham Meadows WMA 
Housatonic WMA 
Nathan Hale State Forest 
Naugatuck State Forest (Hunter's Mountain Block only) 
Simsbury WMA
Skiff Mountain Coop WMA 

 All hunters wishing to use these areas on Saturdays must have a Saturday permit and will only be able to be present during the specified time on the daily permit. Saturday permits for these areas will only be available on the Online Sportsmen Licensing System the Monday preceding the Saturday hunts starting at 12:01 AM. Daily Permits can be found by selecting either the OTHER or BIRDS AND WATERFOWL tab once in your licensing profile. Permits are free and need to be printed on your license and carried in the field while hunting. Hunters must have a valid firearms hunting license or a combination license to secure a daily permit. All hunters must also purchase a CT Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp to hunt pheasants on these areas. Hunters wishing to use these areas but not acquire a Game Bird stamp should avoid going to these sites on the designated Saturdays below. Daily Permits will be needed at these areas on the following Saturdays: Saturday, October 21 Saturday, October 28 Saturday, November 4 Saturday, November 11 Saturday, November 18 (Does not include Nathan Hale, Naugatuck SF, and Skiff Mnt.) Compliance with these requirements is necessary in order for birds to be stocked prior to 9:00 AM and again between 12:00 -1:30 PM. If hunters are present, birds will not be stocked. Permits are not needed to hunt these areas Monday-Friday, except at Skiff Mountain Coop WMA.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

5 in the bag this morning with the Henry .410


It was a weekend much like last, warmer than usual, soon to be hot, humid, miserable, with record breaking heat. I had stayed at home, and I was not about to miss two weekends in a row. As I approached the WMA there were two squirrels running in the road, a sign, an omen of things to come? How quickly our attitudes change with the glimpse of a bushy tail or a bounce of a branch or a distant bark from a tree.

I entered the woods with a .410 in hand, a Henry, lever action, traveling as light as I could, knowing that the heat would soon become intolerable. I walked through what I call "my hot spot", but nothing was moving, the grass was still, the blazing disk of the sun slowly rising and blinding though the branches. But the trees were still. Motionless, with not even a breeze to sway a leaf.

30 yards away I spotted a flicker along the trunk of a tree. Was it imagined, a bird or a leaf and an over active imagination, or the actual reason I get up so early in the morning to be here? People laugh when I tell them that I squirrel hunt, joking that their yards are full of them. In the woods they are smart, not on porches or eating bread off the lawn like suburban tree rats, but sharp, aware, ready and rarely relaxed. Waiting to be attacked by coyote, or fisher-cat, or hawk, or man. These are the survivors, a higher breed of squirrel, animals worthy of respect, higher evolved. An intelligent and skilled master of escape, with no fear of heights, able to balance on the thinnest branch, and vanish before the eyes of a man, making us look like a fool.

Squirrels sense impending danger, usually, but this squirrel was preoccupied, focused on some fallen nuts, unaware of the distance closing between us. I raised the shotgun and put the bead on the silhouette. It was clear, sharp, motionless. This was too easy. But what about the distance? Longer than I usually shoot, out of range? I pulled the trigger. The gun recoiled but I didn't feel it. I cycled the lever, readying myself should the squirrel awake and run, or thrash, making it's way into the swamp or hole or and empty hollow in a tree. And another squirrel might appear. I was ready. But the carcass lay motionless, dead, as still as the roots that it lay against. 5 minutes into the hunt and I had one in the bag, my low expectations forgotten, replaced with excitement, and hope that this would be the day that I brought home my limit once again. I was amazed at how the flicker of a tail and the thump of a gray hitting the ground can fill me with such excitement.

It was 7:30 and my shirt was soaked with sweat, gnats swarmed my face, like a swarm of bees on a hive. Without my netting I wouldn't have been able to stand it, almost too tiny to see but relentless, untiring and biting. But netting creates a distance, in my mind anyway, even though the bastards were less than an inch from my face. But this protection has its price, and that price is heat. The enemy of the Fall hunter, fogged glasses, making it impossible to see. But the woods were hot and the morning was young, and the squirrels were surrounding me, hidden, cunning, eluding me but I was unwilling to let them go.

This was a better morning. Squirrels running in pairs, circling trunk like the threads of a screw. I bagged 5 of them, over 2 hour of time, each in different groups. By 9:00 it was too hot and I was tired. It was a fun morning, but I look forward to first frost.

A shout out to the Boy Scouts of America for doing an amazing job of cleaning out the area two weeks ago. You guys are a credit to your generation.

Firearm: Henry .410 5 shot lever action   
Ammo: Winchester 2.5" 6 shot

 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Three in the bag with the Henry .410 9/5/17

This morning's hunt was my fourth of the season. Once again I'm hunting with the Henry .410 with 6 shot Winchester shells. 

I entered the woods at 6:45, and what's the first thing I spot? 4 deer just standing there. I fumbled for my phone, turned on the camera and tried to take a picture. It's fuzzy, but you get the idea. It's true that deer come right up to squirrel hunters and squirrels enjoy kicking leaves around deer hunters.

This morning I only hunted for one hour because it was oppressively humid and I was already soaked. It was getting warmer by the minute and since I had already bagged three squirrels I decided to hang it up for the morning. I did hit two others, but they were out there, dropped, but ended up climbing into holes in the old rotted trees. This year is the first that I've seriously hunted squirrel with a shotgun, and the first time I've ever shot a .410. I'm loving it and my never go back! Hunting in September requires getting on the target fast and pulling off the shot before the squirrel is obstructed by foliage. The .410 with full chock gives me a little room for error but not much. You need to be right on the squirrel or it won't drop. But it isn't necessary to have quite the precision required with a scoped .22. I'm finding that the range of the .410 is about the same as a .22 without a scope. If I'd feel comfortable taking the shot with iron sights, I'll likely drop the squirrel with the shotgun. I like the idea that I can take a shot without having to worry about the bullet traveling for miles and landing in a residential area. In Connecticut where small hunting spots are surrounded with housing, that always has to be taken into consideration. Especially when shooting into trees and not having a backstop for the bullet.

Everything is working great so far, including the Brass Stacker sling and loop cover. I've read about some cycling issues with the Henry, but my shotgun has worked flawlessly. Just be sure to completely cycle the gun after each shot. I added a hammer extension and it's worked beautifully! I don't even think about pulling back the hammer, and it's basically effortless. This was a concern when I first handled the .410. I was afraid that if I put up a pheasant and needed to get off a quick shot that I'd be fumbling for the hammer and might not have time to pull the hammer back all the way. With the extension which goes for about nine bucks on eBay, none of my concerns were realized. The gun shoots fast, it's well balanced and very easy to get on target. I'm loving this shotgun, and I now have 10 for the season.





Monday, September 4, 2017

9/4/17 Two more in the bag with the Henry .410 Shotgun

Happy Labor Day! I hope you got out to hunt. I got a little later start this morning, arriving in the woods at 6:30. Surprisingly I was still the first one in the lot. I had expected to have a lot of competition this morning since it's a holiday. I guess people like to sleep in. 

Within the first 10 minutes I spotted the first squirrel. It was high in the trees, so I waiting a few minutes until it began to make its way down. This morning I hunted with the Henry .410 shotgun with 6 shot Winchester shells. Since this is the first year I've ever hunted with a .410, I'm experimenting with ammo. The last two times out I hunted with 4 shot and today 6 shot. I wasn't sure what to expect, but if anything, it worked better than the 4 shot. I took 2 shots and bagged 2 squirrels, both before 7:00. Both were stone dead when they hit the ground, and that wasn't always true of the 4 shot. The first squirrel was around 40 yards out and the second 25. That means that I'm getting a good group with the full choke that the Henry comes with. 

To get 4 shot shells in 2.5" cases I have to drive all the way to Cabela's, but I can pick up 6 shot at WalMart. For some reason they carry 4 shot in 3" but not in 2.5". Unlike most of their ammo at WalMart where you have to run around the store to find an associate to unlock the case, they don't lock up shotgun shells so they are fast and easy to buy. And it seems that they're always in stock. Even better, it's a couple bucks cheaper for a box of 25, so I'm switching to 6 shot and I'll save the 4 for pheasant. 

By 8:30 I could feel in my bones that it was over. It was quickly heating up and the sun was blasting through the trees. That's when everything goes back to sleep. So I have 7 so far this season. I plan to cook a couple on the grill tonight so I'll shoot video when I do. I'll be back out there tomorrow.

The first squirrel down, downed with Winchester 6 shot at around 40 yards.

The next squirrel was about 25 yards out and was taken with the same ammo.

I gut my squirrels within an hour of bagging before they stiffen up.

 Slow cooking for 4 hours, then flower and fry on the grill.

Fried squirrel on the plate tonight!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Squirrel Calling


Do any of you have a good squirrel calling technique? I heard a guy once who perfectly mimicked a squirrel bark with is mouth, but since I can't do that I use a call. This really doesn't bring them in, but sometimes when things are dead it will bring them out. It's more of a locator. I'm sure you have squirrels in your yard. Instead of shooting them, pull up a chair and listen. Then grab a call and try to talk to them. Especially if you live in a place like I do that prohibits summer squirrel hunting. It's a good time to learn their language.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bagged a woodchuck with the Henry .17HMR Golden Boy with Iron Sights


This Golden Boy is dead on! With iron sights I was able to take out this woodchuck at over 50 yards.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Turkey Targets by Birchwood Casey

Birchwood & Casey sent me two target frames and 6 splatter turkey targets to use when patterning the Henry 410. The frames slide into the corrugated cardboard backers and tabs hold the target. A cross-bar allows you to drive the frame into the ground with one step. Tabs eliminate the need for a stapler or tape to hold the target. The colored splatter effect makes your pattern much easier to see from a distance and makes shooting more fun. I can't wait to get to the range with the 410 to see how various loads pattern at different distances. Zoom in and check out the turkeys. They are beautiful. After taking these photos I put one on my computer screen and all of a sudden I hear a turkey gobbling. I'm thinking "What the hell?!!" I turn around and my daughter is playing with the dog, and the toy has a squeaker in it that would make the prefect turkey call. Almost freaked me out. Thanks Erin.


Check out the complete Birchwood Casey line and ask them to send you one of their beautiful catalogs. https://www.birchwoodcasey.com/

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Browning SA-22


The Browning SA-22 is an amazingly beautiful, light and accurate .22. Right out of the box this rifle shot dead nuts at 25 yards. Its sights are fine, with a thin blade front sight that allows for great accuracy. The rear sight folds down and elevation adjusts by loosening a screw, similar to the sight on a 10/22. Since I often hunt in the early morning with low light, I need a scope to look into the trees and amplify the little light that is available. That's why I mounted a cantilever scope mount and an inexpensive ($50) scope with parallax correction to dial in close shots.


The major down-side to this 150+ year old Browning design is the ejection port which is at the bottom of the receiver. I can't tell you how many times I was burned by hot brass flying down my sleeve. The positive side of the design is that when I lean up against a tree to brace myself for a shot, I'm free to position myself on either side since there is no side brass ejection. A drawback of the scope mount is that it interferes with the rotation of the barrel which separates the barrel from the receiver. Since the mount was installed I haven't been able to remove the barrel. This is a terrible design flaw. 

This rifle was manufactured in Japan, and I personally can't tell it from the early Belgium models. The manufacturing is flawless. I love the fact that the receiver is milled from a single block of steel, and I'm guessing that's why these rifles are so expensive. The wood is like glass and the checkering flawless.


Another thing I'm not crazy about is the loading system. First, I find it awkward to rotate the loading tube that is recessed in the recoil pad, then pull it all the way out to slide the cartridges into a loading gate located at the right side of the stock. Cartridges will jam if a bullet has any imperfection. If you're like me, when you return from a hunt, you unload the rifle and reuse the ammo. The last few rounds need to be manually ejected through the bottom of the receiver, and more often than not the bullet will slightly bend, causing the loading problem. This system makes for an elegant rifle, but I find the handling clumsy. 

Ammo: The Browning can only shoot LR, while a lever rifle can shoot any .22 ammo (other than magnums). I recently tested CCI Quiet 22 in the Browning and I was amazed that this light load was able to cycle the rifle! The action is not nearly as stiff as it appears. The Browning with Quiet 22 will make an awesome combination.

Should you buy one? If you're looking for a beautiful, light, accurate hunting and plinking rifle, and money is no object, this rifle might be for you. But if you're a real small game hunter and don't plan to baby your rifle, I don't recommend it. I much prefer hunting with the Henry Small Game Carbine which is short, light, accurate and gives me numerous ammo options.


This is the beautiful Belgium-made Browning which my brother willed me when he died last year, purchased in the 60's. This rifle hangs on the wall in his memory, and I'll be hunting with my Henry's.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Brass Stacker Lever Wrap on my Henry 410 Shotgun


A couple months ago Brass Stacker, who supplies my beautiful slings, sent me a new product to check out. It's a lever wrap that binds to your rifle's lever to give your knuckles some cushioning. The problem I had was that the instructions seemed so complicated that I put the package on the shelf and forgot about it. Sorry, but I'm not Mr. Crafty and I have no patience. Maybe I'm just stupid, but then too, for the past 22 years I've been designing corporate sign programs, so I can't be that dumb.

Oh well. I guess I'm a more visual guy and suck with instructions. So today I just threw the instructions out and did my best to hack my way through. Brass Stacker sent a lever wrap for my Golden Boy, but since I'll be hunting in the Fall with the new Henry 410 shotgun, I installed it on that gun instead. It really does cushion the knuckles, especially since the 410 is stiffer than my Henry rimfires. Hey, for a lousy $18 bucks you can't go wrong. I'm guessing that unlike me, you'll do fine with the instructions. If not, send Brass Stacker a message or post a comment here and someone will gladly walk you through. I'd still like to see them come out with a video for people like me, hint hint.

Here's a link to the product..
https://brassstacker.com/Lever-Wrap.html


Friday, June 30, 2017

"What's the best ammo for my 10/22?"

Tom Gresham took a call on GunTalk radio recently from a new shooter who purchased a Ruger 10/22 and wondered what was the best ammo to shoot out of it. It sounded like he bought the gun for survival purposes and was talking about wanting to be able to shoot a squirrel if necessary for food. Tom is a wealth of information, but he had nothing for this guy other than to try a bunch of ammo and see what shoots best. the caller never hunted before, but guessed that he'd likely need to make a kill at between 20 - 40 yards. He was right about that. Not much chance of hitting something the size of a squirrel with iron sights much further out. Especially for a novice.

I wish the guy was able to leave some contact info so I could have given him an answer. Here's my thoughts on it in case he's checking around and runs into this blog...

I've discovered through  range testing that at 20 - 25 yards, all ammo shoots just about the same. In fact, I was amazed that what I consider junk bulk ammo shot almost as good as the much more expensive ammo. As the target goes out to 50 yards you'll see the minor variations in quality magnified immensely. Tom was right that you need to try different ammo to see which shoots the best through your rifle. Like I just said, at close range it doesn't matter much, but as the distance increases, you need to do some testing.

I've personally found the CCI Mini Mags shoots great through every rifle that I own. Federal Auto Match Premium bulk ammo works surprisingly good as well. Cheaper ammo like Thunderbolts doesn't shoot bad at all, but it's dirty, leaving a lot of crap in your gun. In a survival situation where you can't clean your gun all that often, that's something to consider. Also think about reliability. I rarely have a misfire with CCI MiniMags, but with Thunderbolts I've run across bad primers. The same is true with all Remington ammo. When you're hungry and need a kill for food,  you can't afford to pull the trigger and not have it go bang. Also remember that you need hollow points for hunting. The bullet expansion (mushrooming) creates a much bigger wound, instead of passing straight through the animal like ball ammo would.

Now go out and start shooting. Don't think you are going to buy a Ruger, throw it in the trunk and in an emergency situation be able to fill your stomach with wild game. You need to learn how to shoot and hunt. Your rifle needs to be sighted in with at least a couple types of go-to ammo. I've discovered that in my guns Mini Mags shoot many inches higher than Federal. If you didn't know that and needed supper tonight, you'll be in a lot of trouble. During an ammo shortage Mini Mags will likely be impossible to find, so you need to ready yourself to shoot with whatever you can get your hands on. I'd definitely suggest purchasing a bore laser to sight in your rifle. When the chips are down, you can't afford to waste ammo trying to get your gun sighted in. The laser will get you on paper and then all you'll need do is tweak your sights to get on target.

I hope this was some food for thought and gets you moving forward. Good luck and I hope you'll never need to use that Ruger during a disaster situation. Just go out and have fun with it. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

.22 Ballistic Curve and 50 yard targets, no scope.


Yesterday when I was at the range I sighted in 4 .22's. The closest I can position a target at that range is 50 yards. At that distance most of my rifles shot high with my rear sight set in its lowest position. Today I found this ballistic curve for CCI Mini Mags that gives a good picture of what was going on.

When I told my son that after 50 yards a .22 bullet begins to drop, he said that .22's  can travel for miles. I told him that's true, if the muzzle is pointed high into the air. When shooting normally, the bullet continues to rise for about 50 yards, then begins to drop. At 100 yards you're just about hitting the dirt.


What we can learn from this is that if most of our shots are at 25 yards, the bullet will rise until it reaches it's peak at 50 yards, then it begins to drop. At around 80 yards the bullet will be at the same height at it was at 25. That means that you can aim to a squirrel at 25 or 80 yards with no sight adjustment.

Since my rifles were shooting high at 50 yards, they might be right on target at 25 or 80 yards. The next step it to go to the 25 yard indoor range to dial the sights in.

More ballistic curves for the .22 can be found HERE.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spent some quality time today with my rifles

My wife and kids asked me what I wanted for Father's Day. I usually ask for ammo or something similar, but this year I asked for range time. It's expensive around here to shoot at a private range; $34 for the day. Add ammo and targets and a 4 hour shoot could run well over $100. So this year everyone gave me cash. I know it seems strange, but I will be able to spend some quality time the way some women would enjoy going to a spa. Give me the smell of burning gunpowder any day.


Today I took a bit of that money, used a much needed vacation day and headed to the range. It's something I haven't done in about a year! With this year's back surgery, I've had to lay low. Even today I had to limit myself to shooting .22s.

Since I'll be hunting with the Henry 410 this season, I thought I'd remove the scopes from my rifles and return them to a more standard look and feel. So today I brought 3 Henry's to the range, along with my M&P 15-22. I put a green laser in them and roughly adjusted the sights. Today I would get to see where the POI actually is.

During that time I sighted in the M&P 15-22, The Henry Golden Boy .22, Henry pump action .22, and the Henry .22 Carbine. I actually accomplished something today, though there is still some work to be done. Videos to come

My childhood Ithica M-49



He I am back around 1970 with my single shot lever action .22. I never could remember what rifle it was, but Ithica came to mind this morning and the photo was shot around 1970. My older brother gave me the rifle when he bought the Browning which I received last year when he died. No need for rifle ranges in those days. Connecticut was the sticks. We'd find a clay pond, climb to the top of the surrounding hills, throw a can in the water and start blasting. Those were some great memories. Today if I ever tried that I'd be surrounded by police cars, arrested, my guns would be confiscated and I'd lose my pistol permit. In my opinion life here was much better then.


 I just did some searching and it looks like I found it. It's an Ithica M-49. I clearly remember that loading gate at the top of the receiver. I see them all over for sale cheap. I need to buy another for memory's sake.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ariel's First Shoot


My niece's daughter Ariel just sent me a couple of short videos of her first shoot, and you know there's not much that pleases me more than seeing family and friends learn to shoot. Usually girls start out with a .22, but Ariel started with a .45, or at least that's what she's shooting in the videos that I received. Look at how well she's controlling that firearm. Too many times I see first time women shooters handed a small gun, like a J-frame .38 Special. Those small revolvers send all the recoil back to the shooter's hands, where a larger handgun like a .45 absorbs a great deal of the shock. You did great Ariel, and I hope someday you can shoot with Erin and I.

If you think you're a tough guy because you shoot a gun, check out what Ariel now does in her free time; hanging way the heck up in the air from a piece of fabric! You're an awesome girl Ariel. I look forward to seeing where your new shooting hobby takes you.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lobster Landing


I know it's not hunting or squirrels, but I thought it might interest the anti's that I do more in my spare time than hunting and shooting. I started oil painting last year, and just finished this 2' x 3' painting of my favorite seafood spot in the area. My next painting will be another in the series of my favorite hunting spots.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hammer Extention for the Henry 410


I've mentioned in the past that one issue I see with the Henry 410 is the need to cock the hammer very quickly when a pheasant is kicked up. At that moment there are only seconds to pull back the hammer, get on target and squeeze the trigger. The trigger has to be pulled way back and it requires quite a bit more effort than does the hammer on a Henry 22. Today I bring you the solution; the GrovTec Hammer Extension. The 410 uses the same extension as the Big Boys, so I was able to order one for about $9 on eBay. Henry sells them as well. It comes with two Allen screws and takes only a minute to install. Once installed, grabbing that hammer and pulling it back becomes almost effortless. I'd say this is a must have if you plan to take those quick shots. The hammer won't be a problem if you're squirrel hunting because an extra second or two usually isn't critical. After the first shot the lever cocks the hammer. Even so, the hammer extension makes pulling back the hammer so effortless that I can't imagine why you wouldn't want one.

At the range with Jay Perry, a compilation

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Changing out choke tubes in the Henry H018-410 .410 shotgun

I chose the H018-410 (24") shotgun instead of the H018-410R (20") because the H018-410 has changeable chokes. I need as much reach as possible to get September squirrels that will be high in the trees, so a full choke is the way to go. The H018-410 comes with a full choke per-installed, so there's no need to buy one. But from time to time I also plan to shoot slugs at the range, and Henry recommends using any choke other than a full choke. Never shoot the shotgun without a choke installed or you'll destroy the choke threads.

I discovered this weekend that Cabela's didn't stock 410 chokes, so I went on eBay and ordered a Browning Improved Cylinder stainless steel choke for $27. There are chokes listed for less, but one blogger posted a comment warning me that he ordered a complete set for less, but they didn't fit. There are plenty of chokes out there, but I've never gone wrong with Browning. I would have ordered from Henry but the company informed me that at this time they don't carry chokes. I'm sure that will change in the near future so keep checking their website. Be sure to order an Invector-type choke.

Here's a list of chokes and their pattern percentage: FULL: 55-85% / MODIFIED: 35-65% / IMPROVED: 25-55% / SKEET: 20-45%

 The new Browning 410 Improved Cylinder choke

The choke tool that comes with the shotgun really doesn't fit the 410 choke all that well. It works, but the smallest step isn't small enough to fit into the tube. The bottom step is a hair bigger than the outside of the choke, so you need to be careful when rotating or the tool will slip off the slots.

Backing off the installed choke. Once it comes out about a half inch you can back it out the rest of the way with your fingers.

I actually found it a lot easier to use the end of the tool. The choke backed out easily with little effort.

The pre-installed choke is stamped with the Henry logo.

 The Browning choke screwed in almost all the way with no resistance, so the tool is only needed when the choke is almost fully seated. When you clean your shotgun, check the choke from time to time to be sure it isn't starting to back itself out of the barrel.



Monday, June 5, 2017

First Look: Brass Stacker's Henry H018-410 Sling, The Sootch00 Edition

I arrived home from work tonight to find that my new Brass Stacker .410 Rifle Sling & Cartridge Bandolier had arrived. Like everything from Brass Stacker, it's flawlessly made and of the highest quality. I quickly installed it on the shotgun and took a few photos for you to review. If it ever stops raining I'll be field testing it Saturday since I have an appointment with that chuck I missed last weekend. The wide cartridge bandolier nicely distributes the weight of this shotgun across the shoulder and holds enough ammo for two reloads. And like all Henry's, this sling is made in the United States.






Saturday, June 3, 2017

My personal reloading info for .38 Special, .357 Magnum & .44 Magnum

I've had some people recently ask me for reloading data for their Henry's. I took my Excel file and converted it to jpg for anyone interested. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. READ WARNINGS AND DISCLAIMERS IN RIGHT COLUMN.

I didn't reload much for .223 because I found it to be a pain to drop powder into that small case neck. I have been reloading the other handgun calibers for many year without the slightest problem. It's necessary that you check any reloading data accessed off the net with the bullet company's reloading manual to be sure you're reloading within the proper range. In fact, I insist that you do. I have to say that to legally keep myself out of trouble. If you use my data, please let me know how you make out in the comment section below. Enjoy!


Some of my Henry's back in 2013

.22 Frontier Model, Big Bog .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum and .17 HMR & .22 Golden Boys

Maybe I'm pushing it, but I needed to get out there



I know it's only been about two months since my back surgery, but I really needed to get back out in the woods. It's also important that I build my strength back so I'll be in shape for the September squirrel season.

(Top) I'm covered head to toe with Permethrin permeated clothing plus 40 DEET on all exposed areas. Bugs are bad here.
(Middle) My back surgery in case you think I made it up because I missed the shot.
(Bottom) My Henry .22 carbine.
 
This morning I was in the woods at 7:00 and I carried the Henry .22 Carbine with CCI MiniMags. Chuck shots are usually way too long for the 410, though there have been times that I've almost stumbled over them while rounding a bend in the path. There were two rabbits near the parking area when I arrived and a third when I left. I'm sure they'll be gone by the October hunting season. I rarely see a rabbit beyond the end of June. It must be because they are aggressively hunted by the large hawk population.

Along the way I came across a half dozen squirrels, but they are not legal to hunt until September first. Right now I just took note of their location. In 2016 went an entire year without seeing a woodchuck so my hopes of spotting one today weren't very high... until half way through the hunt I spotted a dark brown shape sticking out of the edge of the tall wet grass. "That's a chuck head!" It was about 60 yards away. There was no doubt. It's funny that so many times while I'm hunting I see things that I think might be a chuck until I get a closer look through the scope. But when I actually come across a chuck, I know it's a chuck and there is no doubt. That's exactly what happened this morning. I spotted the head, froze and slowly took steps to the side so I slipped out of sight. Within a few minutes it was up on its hind legs. There's nothing like seeing a chuck in that position. It's like a freak'n target!

The problem was that there were no trees close enough to brace myself against. When I lifted my rifle, my lower back begin to ache and I couldn't stop my arms from shaking. Damn! In a few weeks I see the neurologist again about this post-surgery upper body weakness But for now, I did my best to get on target and brace myself. Laying prone put the chuck out of sight. So did kneeling. I had no choice but to stand, and that was a lousy choice. Do I take my chances and try to slowly make it to a tree or do I take the shot and hope for the best?

Since the chuck was standing, I knew it was on alert. It wasn't sure it was in danger, but it wouldn't take much to send it running. Better to take my chances than to have it just slip away into the high grass. Especially since it's my first sighting in a year!

I held my breath, let half out and when the shaking seemed to put the crosshairs on target I took the shot. "CRACK!" I chuck kept standing! "Damn! Am I going to get a second chance?" No such luck. In seconds it slipped away into the grass. I waited it out for 20 minutes but it didn't reappear. I'm hoping I know know the location of the den. There are chucks here again. I'm encouraged, and I'll be at this spot again next weekend.