NAMIBIA: Namibia Hunt Report - pre-trip report

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by johncrighton, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. johncrighton

    johncrighton AH Member

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    I thought some of you would enjoy this as it chronicles everything I went through prior to the hunt, my thoughts and reasons for doing this, and a myriad of other useful (and useless) knowledge. Enjoy!

    My name is Eric, and for as long as I remember, Africa has called to me.

    Oh, there have been times when I have ignored the call. There have been times when I have forgotten it and it has been naught but a whisper passing me by as the gale-force winds of my life, career, and personal troubles have howled and drowned it out. But somehow, somewhere, it has always remained. And this year . . . this year, the call will be answered.

    I was born 41 years ago, to a good but troubled man, and a gentle, devoted woman. My father, who once hunted and enjoyed the outdoors, had by my birth become disillusioned of killing. Three tours of duty as a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam affected him greatly, and when he returned, 6 months after I had been born, he was a changed man. He locked up his hunting rifles and never touched them again. As I was raised on different military bases around the world, my quest for knowledge would lead me to the solitary pursuits of books and libraries, and my desire to learn more of history would eventually cause me to discover geology, science, and the realization that we all derived from Africa countless eons ago. I would also discover a thirst for adventure, the outdoors, and the skills necessary to enjoy and survive various outdoor pursuits.

    But I was blocked by my parents refusal to allow me to hunt, shoot, even own a BB gun. In frustration, I returned to my books, devouring tales of adventure, safari, and the wild west. History, especially that with a martial bent, allowed me to live vicariously through others, and I dreamed of a day when I, too, could count myself among them. And my favorite historical figure, seemingly larger-than-life, but upon further research all-too true and honest, was Theodore Roosevelt.

    As the years rolled by, I found myself trying to keep my dreams and desires alive, but all too soon discovered "real life" - high school, college, marriage, failed careers and hopes dashed with regards to what I thought I would become after my education was complete. And those dreams of Africa, and dreams of hunting or outdoor activities in general, seemed to shrivel and die like fruit gone months without water. I forgot about my dreams, just struggling to survive and keep my personal life and professional life together, when things changed dramatically for the better.

    A new career after much sacrifice and struggle, bold chances and risks taken, and success! A desired move back to Florida from a state that drove my wife and I to the brink of an almost fatal chasm. And as the dust settled and smoke cleared, there came a dawning realization that perhaps now, at this stage in my life, I could finally think back on those old dreams and maybe, just maybe, begin to make them a reality.

    And so I found myself, in November of 2007, with a sudden desire to learn more about traveling to Africa. As I researched and found this website, reading the tales, seeing the pictures, something welled up deep inside of me - I didn't recognize it at first, it had been suppressed for so long and it was so very thirsty. But that fruit . . . that dried, shriveled, nearly dead fruit . . . . began to ripen. The dream of Africa was back, stronger than ever. It literally made me weep with pain, with longing, with a love and passion that was akin to when I first met my wife. And I could not deny it any longer. I was worried, thinking that perhaps my wife, who had never really known or understood this desire, would intentionally or unintentionally sabotage my plans. Perhaps she would think it silly, or too expensive, or dangerous. So often I have seen the results of this play out with other friends. But thank all that is holy and divine, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "Follow your dream, make it a reality."

    And so, my friends, today I begin this modest journal. It will detail my thoughts, feelings, preparations, lessons learned, opinions sought and given, and perhaps a small, brief glimpse into the soul of a man who finally had the courage to follow a dream . . . a dream that many of us have. I hope my experiences will help those who have yet to realize their dream, and I hope it will rekindle the dream or passion of others who have been there and done that before.

    If my sometimes verbose, sometimes bellicose, and sometimes overly emotional or maudlin musings irritate or annoy you, then I ask simply that you move on and enjoy the things elsewhere that you enjoy. I remain unapologetic for what I say and what I feel, and wish you nothing but peace and tranquil enjoyment of life.

    So much has happened in the past month. Many questions asked and answered, though for sure there are some on this site who must get sick and tired of seeing my name so often, and my sometimes inane and silly questions. But like my dad once said, there are no stupid questions, just stupid people - LOL. So much advice I have been given that it has been difficult to decide on various things. But as the year begins, there are some things that have been decided in regards to my first trip and safari to Africa:

    1 - My destination - Namibia. Originally I had planned on South Africa, and then had thought about Botswana. But three things changed my mind. Cost was one factor - although I could have hunted for a similar cost in RSA, it seemed like overall my best deal when all was said and done was Namibia. The second factor was the fact that I had a keen interest in the 70s and 80s history of southern africa, especially with regards to mercenaries, the proxy wars fought between Angola (and communist Cuba and Russia) and South Africa (and the U.S.) throughout what was then known as SouthWest Africa. The opportunity to visit there just about sealed the deal. Thirdly, a chance PM from a fellow member who booked hunts in Namibia led me to research and take a chance on a little-known but intriguing outfit outside of Omaruru. This ranch, owned by a wealthy retired German, had catered to European clients for years, but just last year opened up to a limited number of Americans. The price was very attractive, and the accomodations, perks, and description of the PH and his history excited me.

    And so, as of December 18, I paid my deposit.

    2 - On advice from many here, I engaged a travel agent who specializes in these trips. She has been a tremendous help not only in booking flights, but handling insurance, giving knowledgeable advice regarding what to pack, what to do, and what not to. She has also become someone who has never balked at spending as much time as necessary walking an amateur through it all and holding his hand. We have shared stories, experiences, and seem to have become "friends" of a sort, if I could be so bold as to say that. My advice to anyone doing this for the first time is to make use of someone like this and never second-guess the decision - it is a very wise one indeed.

    3 - My rifle. The research, discussion, threads, posts, etc. regarding what rifle to use is endless. But for me, it was fairly simple. All my life I had always used military caliber rifles, mostly carbines, AR-15s, AR-10s, Garands, H&Ks, and various subguns. None of which was suitable for hunting plains game (or even legal in many instances). I needed a real hunting rifle, and a real hunting scope. The .30-06 was an easy choice, especially since surplus practice ammo is cheap and ammo in Namibia is available. Always partial to Tikka rifles, I bought a Whitetail Hunter M695 long action with a synthetic stock. Incredibly accurate, smooth-as-butter action, and a trigger out of the box that ranks among the best ever made, it is a true joy to shoot. Adding a Limbsaver recoil pad was essential not for recoil per-se but to add an inch of LOP for me, as my arms contain the genetics of a tree-swinging monkey and belong on a 7 foot tall person, not a 6'2 person like me. The scope was a no-brainer - Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40 with #4 German reticle. I got a great deal online buying from CameralandNY (Cameras, Binoculars, Spotting Scopes, Rifle Scopes - Camera Land NY) The 4" constant eye relief is essential for me and my eyes. I'll never use another scope again, and got rid of my Nikons, Sightrons, and Swarovskis and replaced them with Zeiss scopes.

    4 - I also realized that I would have to get back into reloading again after a long hiatus. This was done with the help of MidwayUSA, and and RCBS Deluxe Rockchucker kit found its way to my door, along with a selection of Barnes XXX and Nosler Partition bullets to test out. That will be forthcoming. Until then, I've been amazed at the accuracy I can get out of 1970s era Greek Military Surplus 150gr. FMJ ammo - an inch at 100 yards? Unbelievable, I know, but possible with this rifle.

    5 - Clothing - thanks to advice given here, I went all cotton, and this includes Cabelas safari clothing as well as Woolrich Elite tactical clothing. I love their Lightweight pants. Boots have been tough, though, and I seem to finally have found a decent pair that don't hurt my feet too much - some Irish Setter Chukkas, in a soft, suede-like leather. Not the most protective, but quiet, fairly comfortable, inexpensive, and light. Still testing out walking shoes, but some New Balance leather ones are on their way and may finally give me what I'm looking for. Thank the stars for the internet and generous return policies! LOL


    And so now, with less than 5 months to go, I am awash in things to do, lists of gear to buy and pack, shots and medicine to get from my doctor, and those countless myriad of details that you hope you don't forget, but know that you will. But the dawning realization that 5 months will come and go quickly, I have to now make the most of my spare time and make final decisions on things, buckle down, and do what is necessary to make this the best possible experience I can make it.

    The dream is getting close to reality, and it is with trepidation, fear, excitement, and joy that I greet it.

    Jan 1, 2008:

    This past weekend was fun as well as frustrating. Met with a fellow AR member to go out shooting. I've been messing around with various mounting options on my rifle, not happy with most - I've always been a QRW fan and thought, since I was taking 2 scopes just in case, that I'd like them to be easy to mount and change out and not have to re-sight them. The Tikka has a clamping rail system, not the Weaver/Piccatiny rails that I'm used to. The rings supplied by Tikka are decent, but not conducive to quick release and return to zero. Bought some Millet railed bases and used some Leupold QRW rings, but this added way too much weight to the rifle, plus the bases came with screws that were too short - so I'm back to using the Tikka rings - but amazingly, when I put them back on they were dead-on and had not lost any zero. Hmm, maybe these aren't so bad.

    At the range, I sighted in both the Tikka and my 10/22 which has a similar LOP, weight, and the exact same scope as the Tikka. This will be my primary training rifle, especially out in the woods squirrel hunting, and it will be helpful in inexpensive practice of various shooting positions.

    I've always thought of myself as a good shot, but almost all of my shots were either from a bench, or at reactive targets with a semi-auto using iron or red dot sights. I quickly learned, after trying to shoot my Tikka from my home-made sticks, that I have a LOT of work to do. Granted, I suppose keeping 5 of 6 shots inside (well, two shots were just outside) of a 4" circle at 100 yards is decent, but this isn't acceptable to me, and that last shot that was nowhere to be found on the target, really pissed me off - I KNEW it was a bad shot the moment I pulled the trigger - I should have never taken it. My speed also needs improvement. I did discover, however, that I do much better with my scope on 4-6x vs. the 9x max - perhaps my old habit of using non-magnified optics (red dots) and iron sights are pretty drilled in to me, and I should rely on that style of shooting, using low power magnification. Truth be told, seeing the reticle bounce around like a pinata on 9x plays havoc on your confidence.

    So, my next trip to the range will see me testing my newly loaded 180 grain Nosler ammo, pinning down the final adjustments to my scope to be 2" high at 100 yards and dead-on at 235 yards as per many recommendations from my friends here, and then practicing a LOT with both rifles from sitting, prone, off-hand, and sticks. I pledge here right now that other than scope sighting and load testing, I will NOT use a bench or rest again.

    Ended up buying a Tuffpak from the fellow AR member for a good price, along with a Tuffsak. It is one of the original models, so I am going to modify it with an additional latch so that it can be locked with a padlock, just in case something happens and our friendly TSA agents cut out the tubular lock - I figure two locks is better than one, especially if the TSA ends up cutting them - I'll bring along an extra padlock too.

    Got to fire a .375 H&H - wow, some kick! Some of the "range regulars" were curious about it, especially when they saw the size of the cartridges!

    And today, with both the wife and me off (very rare occurrence), we went to the Lowry Park Zoo here in Tampa, rated one of the best in the nation. It was a lot of fun, but suddenly I'm looking at the animals with a whole different perspective. My wife caught me a few times setting up shots and looking at the best angles and areas (thank you, Perfect Shot!) - she had a good chuckle. Unfortunately there weren't any Gemsbok, Impala, Hartebeest, Springbok, or Mountain Zebra there - but there were some Warthogs and a baboon. I think that baboon was on to me, though - he didn't show himself much at all. Cagey bastard.

    And now, some "light" reading - I've just finished Sands of Silence: On Safari in Namibia by Capstick, and The Green Hills of Africa by Hemingway. Capstick was ok, but not up to his usual a la Death in the Long Grass. But I did learn some interesting facts about the land, people, and how to tell if an elephant is really going to charge you. Hemingway was just plain awful - repetitive, boring, mostly stream-of-consciousness writing. Blech.

    But now, I hold in my hands a most wondrous tome - African Game Trails: An Account of the African Wanderings of an American Hunter-Naturalist by Theodore Roosevelt. I can tell already I am going to really enjoy this book, as I do anything by Roosevelt. I will include some commentary on various things that I read of in this book and I hope you enjoy them, though I recommend everyone get this book and read it, as it takes you back 100 years to a time when things were so very much different in the world, but already changing rapidly and not for the better.
     
  2. johncrighton

    johncrighton AH Member

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    I just realized that I am only 21 weeks away from the start of my safari. That means that I honestly only have about 5-10 (at the most) times to go to the range - this is the one thing, more than anything, that gives me the most concern - shooting accurately in field conditions. It is a lot of pressure, shooting at real, live animals, at distances, under conditions that you aren't used to, knowing at all times that if you miss, or worse if you don't hit the animal properly, that you could be out a LOT of money, plus feel horrible about a bad shot. I just hope that when the time comes I don't embarass myself or screw up and that all my practice will pay off.

    At least I think I'm finally almost done on my equipment buying. Other than some sunglasses and another pair of convertible pants, the only thing left is the meds and innoculations I need. So now all my money will go into my savings, as well as nailing down some after-hunt touring (car rental, hotels, etc.) Boy, this is getting expensive - LOL.

    I must admit, though, that perhaps the best thing that anyone can have when preparing for a safari is a faithful, supportive spouse. I feel blessed beyond all measure that this wonderful woman, whom I have known for more than half of my life and with whom I will celebrate our 18th anniversary with on the 20th of this month, is so supportive and encouraging. She is the most precious jewel on this planet, and I'm a lucky man to have her in my life.

    As I sit here drinking my coffee this morning, I find myself contemplating just what it is about Africa that draws so many like myself (and many unlike myself) to want to visit her. For the longest time, I had a goal to visit all 7 continents before I die. Obviously living in North America takes one off the list, and I lived in Japan for 1 year when my dad was stationed there - I was in the 6th grade, and it was an amazing place for a young lad to be. When I graduated high school my parents sent me on a 1 month trip to Europe with another group of students and we visited Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, and England. So three off the list but four left.

    But the question remains - why Africa? Certainly it appears amongst all of the continents to be the most unstable, most dangerous, etc. Is it the adventure, the animals, the danger itself, or is there some other deeper, more primevil reason behind the tug, pull, draw, almost magnetic power it has once you begin to think about it? I haven't even been there yet, and yet I spend hours thinking about it, having emotions wash over me.

    Perhaps, on a basic, instinctive level, we all are pulled towards our beginnnings - like homing pigeons, or migratory animals. Africa is the home of homo sapiens, where we all began (religious doctrine and beliefs aside). And the area I am going to, Namibia, is ground zero for where the continents first began to split apart billions of years ago. That intrigues me as well. The prospect of visiting a place like this, to stand on the oldest desert sands in the world, will be unlike anything I have ever done.

    As I watch the news today, and consider what I've read the last month, I am glad that I decided to make this trip happen this year instead of waiting till 2009. Not only is the world changing at a rapid pace, but political changes are coming to our country that may affect hunting and travel. Just last month a congresswoman attempted to sneak in legislation that would cut off all foreign aid to countries that allow trophy hunting. I shudder to think of what would happen if we end up with types like that controlling the White House and Congress. And the ongoing violence in Kenya reminds us all of just how tenuous normal civilizations are in Africa in many places. Add in our struggling economy, weak dollar, and my age, I am rapidly realizing that even if the cost of this safari hurts me some in the short term, far better to do it now and earn that money back next year, than wait a year and perhaps have it be too late to do it, or be unable to do it.

    Just last week I was reminded that the time to do these things, any things that you really want to do, is NOW, not later. I work in a hospital and see every day lives cut short, or people who planned on doing all of the things they wanted to "when I retire", only to be struck down with a fatal or debilitating illness way too soon. Many of them, of course, have no one but themselves to blame (smoking, drugs, drunk driving, pissing off the wrong person, etc.) but there are still others who just got unlucky. It makes me count my blessings that I am in good health right now.

    Today I call my doctor to set an appointment for my remaining innoculations and to get some meds for the trip. Although I don't need it, I'm thinking of getting a polio and diptheria booster, rubeola, typhoid - luckily working in the medical field ensures that I have Hep A&B already, and they will do my Tetanus booster at work, too. Also need to get my blood typed to make sure if I need blood we'll get the right type.

    Also will discuss with the doctor getting a script for Malarone, Cipro, Amoxicillan, and some Ambien (thanks, Les, for that suggestion) - the prospect of trying to sleep, sitting in a airline seat, as I jet across the ocean to Germany, and then the next night flying south to Namibia, will be an easier consideration if some drugs are assisting

    Also on the agenda - contact lenses. I wear glasses and my vision is horrible without correction. But I'd like to be able to have much better peripheral vision, as well as simply not having something else distracting me on my head and nose - often when I get a good-feeling cheek weld on my rifle, my glasses are turned in such a way that I'm looking at the top of the frame in the center of my field of vision - very distracting. Hopefully the newer contact lenses these days won't dry my eyes out so much like ones in the past have done. If this works out, then I'll have to shop for some new sunglasses - the Bolle Sport Vigilante look nice.

    It seems amazing to me, in this era of political correctness and liberal media, in a land where every politician has to consult "experts" before giving an answer to a question, or needs someone to tell him what to wear or how to think, that there were once leaders who stood for something, who had rock-solid principals, who spoke from the heart. Theodore Roosevelt was one such leader.

    As I read the book African Game Trails, I am struck by so much - it pains me to know, deep in my heart, that we will never have leaders like this again. Cynical? Sure, but realistic, unfortunately. I have been a student of politics for years, as well as history, and the trend is going from bad to worse when it comes to our current and future leaders. Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, a President, Prime Minister, etc. going to Africa to hunt game? The press would crucify him.

    And so, allow me to regale you with the words, deeds, and opinions of a man sorely missed.


    "I speak of Africa and golden joys"; the joy of wandering through lonely lands; the joy of hunting the mighty and terrible lords of the wilderness, the cunning, the wary, and the grim.

    So began this book an account of the 1910-1911 safari in what was then British East Africa (mostly Kenya and some surrounding lands now). The Smithsonion partially sponsored this trip and Roosevelt and his son, Kermit, were to hunt and take as many different species as possible which would then be mounted by skilled taxidermists (some with him on the trip) and eventually housed in the Smithsonion and Musuem of Natural History in New York.

    From the very beginning TR uses the book to encourage further immigration of whites to this land, believing that only they could bring culture, civilization, and eventual order from the chaos to the native "savages", as he called them. He even makes comparisons to the progress of black Americans compared to the savagery he sees amongst the blacks of Africa.

    His stories of lion killings, not only the tales of Patterson (The Man-eaters of Tsavo) but other tales are chilling and remind you that even to this day Africa is a wild, dangerous place.

    Some quotes that I found interesting from the start:

    "The wise people of Maine, in our own country, have discovered that intelligent game preservation, carried out in good faith, and in a spirit of common-sense as far removed from mushy sentimentality as from brutality, results in adding one more to the State's natural resources of value and in consequence there are more moose and deer in Main today than there were forty years ago."

    I really like that - "mushy sentimentality" - for do we not face this very same problem today on a far greater scale? The anthropomorphization of animals (thanks, Walt Disney!) has turned many people into sentimentalists who think that animals are "cute", instead of respecting them for what they are - part of the order of life, the food chain, and something that must be managed responsibly instead of "protected" from what is natural and proper.

    Then we have this gem:

    "Game laws should be drawn primarily in the interest of the whole people, keeping steadily in mind certain facts that ought to be self-evident to every one above the intellectual level of those well-meaning persons who apparently think that all shooting is wrong and that man could continue to exist if all wild animals were allowed to increase unchecked."

    Truly a man who understands the way things ought to be, and yet isn't it troubling that even back then, 100 years ago, hunters and conservationists were having to deal with these issues and people who just "don't get it"?

    Wow - talk about a WEIRD thing that happened this morning (0500) as I was doing the morning x-rays on the different floors of the hospital. There, on the counter where the nurses do their work, was a small container with books in it. Among them a collection of Sherlock Holmes, and, get this, a book about hunting elephants in Africa!

    This book:

    Hunting the Elephant in Africa

    I can't find out whether it was something that one of the nurses brought in, or a patient, or what - very strange, eh?

    Wow, been busy lately and just now have a chance to write a little.

    Putting together the final itinerary of my "after hunt" portion of the trip. Plan on going to Etosha for a day, and then on to Walvis Bay and Swakopmund for some kayaking with seals and dolphins.

    A little apprehensive about renting a car and driving all over Namibia by myself, but what the hell - I'll give it a shot

    Here's a look at my itinerary:

    Friday, May 30 – Arrive Windhoek 0900 hours. Pick up by Otjikoko/Martin Walter Farms personnel at airport, ferry to farm.

    Stay at farm until Saturday, June 7

    Saturday, June 7 – Leave Martin Walter Farms in Omaruru and be ferried to Windhoek for arrival in early afternoon. Staying at Casa Piccolo night of June 6. Will leave rifle case with Claudia Horn (owner).
    6 Barella Street - Klein Windhoek





    Sunday, June 8 – pick up car

    Drive to Otavi, staying at Khorab Safari Lodge

    Khorab Safari Lodge

    Get them to make Pack lunch for next day.


    Monday, Jun 9 – drive to Etosha, drive through most of it during day, stay at Okaukuejo – waterhole chalet-
    Okaukuejo | Etosha National Park

    Tuesday, June 10 – get up EARLY to get on road to Walvis Bay – make sure all fuel stays topped off, car in good shape mechanically –

    Courtyard Hotel - Courtyard Hotel | Walvis Bay


    Wednesday, June 11 – Kayak tour in early AM with Jeanne Meintjes, Eco Marine Kayak Tours :: Eco Marine Kayak Tours - Home Page :: –

    Stay in Swakopmund night of June 11 – Sam’s Giordano

    Sam's Giardino


    Thursday, June 12 – Drive back to Windhoek - One night stay at Casa Piccolo

    Friday, June 13 - leave for Frankfurt in the evening - will use car for driving around town, shopping, visit a taidermist or two, and try to visit Namibian Professional Hunter's Association.
     
  3. johncrighton

    johncrighton AH Member

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    Oh, I must say this:

    Claudia Horn at Casa Piccolo is quite simply one of the nicest, most responsive, and helpful people I have ever encountered. I can't wait to see what staying at her guesthouse is like - she has really been a wonderful calming influence and has been very helpful in providing information and suggestions. She doesn't even require a deposit for the room nights - a very trusting person who really sees to go out of her wayto make a guest feel at home.

    My biggest project this week was burning ALL of my music on CDs as MP3s, and I bought a nice used CD/MP3 player, with all the accessories, AC adapter, car adapter with cassette adapter, extra battery pack, and headphones, and also got portable speakers for it. This will be a gift to the PH, his wife, and son. More than 4700 songs of various genres for them to enjoy. They have very little access to entertainment and music, and I really hope they will like this.

    So, here I find myself 7 weeks away from this grand adventure. I sit here this morning, sipping my coffee, talking to my wife, and realizing that soon I will be a half a world away from everything I know, in a foreign land, in one of the least populated countries in the world. My wife will be away from me for 2.5 weeks - it is a little sobering, as she and I have been together for over half of our lives, and we are best friends.

    But the excitement is growing, and I'm counting down the days.

    A funny thing ocurred a few days ago at my job. I work at a hospital as an X-ray tech, and I was taking an x-ray of a lady and just making small talk. She mentioned she had just gotten back from overseas, and I asked where she had been. She says, "Oh, you probably have never heard of this place - Namibia." - LOL - my mouth hung open and I laughed. She works as a consultant for airline flight attendants, and was training the Air Namibia crews for a few weeks. She went on to tell me how wonderful all the people were in the country, and how beautiful everything was over there, and clean. She was so excited for me going on my trip, and when I mentioned hunting her eyes lit up and she went to the waiting room and got her husband, who hunts. They were really nice people, and we talked for a while and then they left. 30 minuets later the husband comes back with a beautiful coffee-table book on Namibia and gives it to me to borrow, telling me to call them when I'm done with it so he can pick it up, but he also offered to take me to a friends house some day who has hunted all over the world and has a HUGE trophy room filled to the rafters with trophies.

    Small world, eh?

    Wow! T-minus 10 days and counting. It hit me today, hard, that in 10 days I'll be in Namibia fulfilling a life-long dream. I almost had to pull over on my drive to the range.

    Getting to the range, I was a bit anxious, as lately I've been berating myself for my shooting. I've been a bench-shooter for so long that it has been hard to transition to off-hand and sticks. My outfitter told me I really need to work on the off-hand, as I may find myself in situations where I don't have a rest for my rifle.

    Today, everything seemed to click pretty well. I started off with my "Pocket Rifle" to get some practice and loosen up. What's a Pocket Rifle, you ask? Take a 10/22 rifle, put a special 1:9 twist barrel on it, cut it down to 5.5", slap a suppressor on it, and put a folding stock on it. Use 60 grain Aguila SSS (Subsonic Sniper) ammo. Place a Weaver 1-3x scope on it. Amazingly accurate (was smacking bowling pins at 100 yards off-hand with no problems) and so quiet all you hear is the action of the rifle working.

    I then did some shooting with the Tikka .30-06 rifle. From the bench with my handloads it was doing great and I'm no longer going to mess with any adjustments. I then did some practicing with it at 100 yards on sticks and kept everything, firing quickly, within 4-5 inches of each other, even with my milsurp ammo. Off-hand was pretty decent as well - at least 90% of the bullets hitting the pie plate. I didn't stay my usual 3-4 hours this time, satisfied with what I had done.

    One more trip next Saturday (when the 200 yard range is open) and that will be that - next stop, Namibia!

    PS - my last batch of handloads, with Nosler Partitions, is just about the most beautfiul ammo I've ever made. Everything has been meticulously checked and triple-checked, cleaned, polished, measured, etc. I'm normally not like that, but I want this ammo to be THE BEST I can make.

    Well, just got back from my last trip to the range before the trip on Wednesday.

    Wow - I feel very stoked! My rifle performed wonderfully - with my handloads, from a rest, on 4x with the scope, I placed 4 rounds dead-on at 200 yards, with a 1 3/8" spread - I had no idea my rifle, or me, was capable of such accuracy.

    Granted, that's from a rest. So I set up my shooting sticks, chambered a round, threw the safety, and shot from the sticks about 10 times. At 200 yards I hit a 10x10 steel target every time.

    So, I think the rifle and the shooter are ready to go! A quick couple of dry patches through the barrel, some light oil on the bolt, and a good cleaning of the lenses on the scope and the rifle will be packed into the Tuffpak and ready for Wednesday.


    Namibia plains game - LOOK OUT!

    Luggage packed, weighed, repacked, reweighed, and carryon stuffed!

    Final shift of work tonight should be fun, get off at 0200 and then leave for Orlando airport at 1030. Hope I didn't forget anything, but if I did, oh well - I can pick it up somewhere

    OK, guys - here I go!

    Thanks to everyone for all the help, advice, slaps upside the head occasionally, and well-wishes.

    If I get a chance while over there I'll post but otherwise look for my detailed (some might say long-winded) report when I get back.

    Eric
     
  4. 50lawman

    50lawman AH Member

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    Location:
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    My Photos:
    9
    Member of:
    SCI/ North American Hunt CLub
    Hunted:
    Namibia
    Thanks Eric, kinda going thru and/or went thru some of the same perdicaments as you. It's also great to know someone else experinced it and survived. Haven't had a chance to email Jeff yet but will try sometime today.
     
  5. 50lawman

    50lawman AH Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    My Photos:
    9
    Member of:
    SCI/ North American Hunt CLub
    Hunted:
    Namibia
    Aloha Eric. Made contact with Geoff and he mentioned that he was actually with you and took some of the pictures. I will be calling him after our APEC week Obama and Russian plus China presidents coming to Hawaii for meetings and our PD will be tied up with monitoring and reacting to any shenanigans. I hope that the 99% realize the police officers are also part of the 99% and not pawns or other lables they give us.
     
  6. johncrighton

    johncrighton AH Member

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    Doh - forgot to mention that - LOL - old age is getting to me :)

    Be safe during that week - I remember when I lived at Kanehoe MCAS and my dad had to fly Rosalyn and Amy Carter around the islands - lots of security. On a small island, always fun.


     
  7. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
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    My Photos:
    31
    Hunted:
    Namibia / South-Africa
    My word John,
    reading about your dream through all the years and longings for the dark continent is actually painfull at times. Hell you going to drive me to tears.
    At least this year ended on a all-time high.
    I told you in a previous post Africa did her magic on you, and from now on it is only going to get worse brother.
    Got a solution for you - move here permanently - and you can hunt every year 1-2-3 times a year - how's that?
    Stop punishing yourself man !
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2014
  8. johncrighton

    johncrighton AH Member

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    LOL - it is funny sometimes - when people do the "What would you do if you won the Lottery" question, I tell them immediately I would buy a few hundred thousand hectare ranch in Namibia and live there half the year. They just don't understand.

    Who knows - maybe in retirement I can do that.


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2014

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