I have already provided my dear readers with the picture of the Gaur Shikar , as the unpleasant surprise is much more terrifying
Due to the immense amount of support shown by my respected fellow forum members about my accounts of Shikar in Darjeeling , India , from 1962 to 1970 , l have decided to provide my dear readers with an account of one of the more unusual Shikars in my career , albeit one which l look back at now and consider very interesting . Any professional hunter will tell you that they occasionally have some quite unusual experiences in the field and today l will relate you the account of a large double barrel rifle , a Gaur and an unpleasant surprise. So let us begin .
It was an afternoon of 1966 and Karim and l were sitting on the veranda outside Sundar Raj Shikar. We were reloading 12 bore cartridges cases with SG pellets and treating them with molten wax from bees. During bird shooting events , our clients would often leave behind a large quantity of expended shot-gun cartridges behind . Given that these were invariably 12 bore and could usually be recycled , it is safe to say that we always had an ample supply at hand.
There is also something very strangely peaceful about reloading your own cartridges , l find.
A model T Ford car ( which belonged to Sundar Raj Shikar for transporting clients and their possessions ) came and stopped right outside the veranda. The chauffeur opened the door and a gentleman came towards us. It was a favorite repeat client of ours , an English gentleman. We immediately went up to greet our client and we all walked into Sundar Raj sir's office. The gentleman had brought two beautiful leather gun cases with him which Karim and l carried for him into the office. The rest of the gentlman's luggage was transported by the chauffeur to Darjeeling Circuit House , where he would be staying. As Karim and l walked with the two leather cases in our hands , we wondered eagerly what fire arms the gentleman had brought. He was a gentleman of extremely refined taste. We knew that he had a decided preference for the beautiful English double barrel rifles. In one of his previous Shikars with us , he had used a most magnificent .400 bore double barrel rifle built by the firm , Jeffery and a stock of cartridges from the manufacturer , ICI Kynoch.
Sundar Raj sir laid out our duties for us. Our client wanted to engage in some bird shooting and he also wanted a Gaur Shikar. Even though client was king and we treated every client like royalty , this English gentleman was a person whom Karim and l were both genuinely fond of , as he would always follow our advice and would provide us with most generous tips. We agreed at once , to guide him. It was at this point that we finally got an opportunity to examine the fine fire arms which this gentleman had brought for his Shikar with us. His fire arms were indeed of very high quality , but were a little unconventional for a the English Gentleman's tastes.
The shot-gun was a beautiful 12 bore over-under with 70 millimeter chamber . It was made by a firm called " Boss"which sounded very American , but had the unmistakable feel and ornate nature of an English gun. Infact , knowing the tastes of my client , l dare say that it was an English over-under . How strange , indeed. The upper barrel and lower barrel were choked as a half choke and a quarter choke , respectively .
The gentleman's rifle was an excellent double barrel rifle built by my favorite English firm , Holland and Holland. However , the choice of calibre was quite unusual for our English patriot of a client. It was a magnum .458 Winchester. This was an American calibre and l could not help but wonder why he would replace his excellent .400 bore double barrel rifle by Jeffery for a magnum .458 Winchester. We were very friendly with this client and l even asked him , " Shahib , did your .400 bore rifle break ? " . The client explained that cartridges for the .400 bore double barrel rifle by Jeffery were no longer being manufactured and lamented that American mass produced fire arms and cartridges were pushing the fine hand made English fire arms and cartridges into obsolescence ( please note , my dear fellow forum members , that l am speaking of the respected client's views and certainly not my own ).
The 12 bore cartridges came in boxes from the firm , Eley and he had brought cartridges in the shot sizes of number 6 , and number 2 .
The magnum .458 Winchester cartridges came from the firm , Winchester and weighed 500 grains for the metal envelope bullet cartridge , while weighing 510 grains for the expanding nose bullet cartridge. These were certainly most interesting fire arms and so , our Shikar was to commence after two days.
And so it would , but everything does not always work the way we imagine it will , as the next three posts will elaborate.