Gunpowder & Lead

Discussion in 'Articles' started by TOBY458, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. TOBY458

    TOBY458 AH Elite

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    GUNPOWDER…..LEAD…. AND HEAVY RECOIL…..Big, angry beasts, with hatred in their eyes, a bumpy ride in the back of a Land Cruiser, destined for Buffalo country. A throat full of dust, washed down by an ice cold beer, at the end of a long day. These are but a few things that turn me on.

    As far as I’m concerned, the burning in my gut to hunt dangerous game began long ago. It all began with a deep passion for large bore revolvers. Revolvers that could take any game on earth. Ross Seyfried had me hooked at a very young age. Imagine me…a young kid, with no money, dreaming of someday facing down an angry Cape Buffalo or a determined Brown Bear with nothing but a five shot, heavy loaded, 45 Long Colt revolver. A mighty handful of steel and lead, a heavy dose of recoil, followed by a 320 grain Cast slug, blazing down the barrel at a lightning fast 1500 FPS. Elmer Keith would’ve been proud. But then my senses returned. Returned to the reality of my situation. Returned to my South Georgia existence, where no Bear or Buffalo roamed. I needed a plan. So plan I did. And after a bit of persuasion, and a healthy dose of yard work on my part, a TC Contender 357 Magnum pistol arrived on the scene. It was no 44 Magnum, it was no 454 Casull, and it definitely was no 500 Linebaugh, but it was mine.
    The following years lead to bigger and better things. 44 Magnum revolvers, 454 Casull revolvers, and even a mighty 45/70 barrel for the TC Contender. I was addicted to big bores, and bigger recoil. I rocked on like this for some time. Mowing down Whitetail Deer, and the occasional wild hog, until one day something changed.…..A video made it’s way into my reality…. A video depicting Huge Cape Buffalo, Lion and Elephant, being stopped in their tracks by a 600 Nitro Express double rifle. A guy with a larger than life personality was the ring leader of these proceedings. To my young eyes, he was the picture of courage. The picture of determination. I wanted to be him. I wanted to stop angry beasts with a large caliber rifle. If only I had…..

    The first installment was a Marlin 45/70 Lever Action Rifle. It was definitely big bore, and with my meager income, it was the best I could afford. Then…one day…I read of a man named Ed Stevenson. A man that hunted the biggest bears in the state of Alaska. The biggest bears in the world. The Coastal Brown Bear. And he used….of all things….a 45/70 Lever Action Rifle. Imagine my reaction! I was armed with enough gun to hunt the great bears, and someday I would do just that. So, after a few more years of saving and dreaming, I made a phone call to Ed, and booked a trip. A trip to the wild lands of Alaska. In the meantime while I scrimped and saved for this trip, my Africa dreams had not waned in any way. In the process I had picked up a Weatherby 375 H&H rifle. So this was the rifle that would accompany me to Alaska. Three trips. Three, long…..cold….sometimes miserable….sometimes thrilling trips. I’d like to tell you that I won. I would like to tell you I took a huge Brown Bear, and lived happily ever after. But I didn’t. After a total of 25 days in the bush, I took a total of one Black Bear. ONE BLACK BEAR in 25 days…
    You can imagine my disgust. Once the last of the three trips was over, I made a vow. A vow to quit pretending. A vow to hunt Africa. After all, anything else is just a compromise. Well, then there’s Australia….

    Many large bore rifles later…. several 375 H&H, a 375 Ruger thrown in for good measure, a Sako 416 Rem Mag, and a few 458 Win Mags to be exact. I booked a trip to Australia. I was to hunt the Asiatic Water Buffalo. That was close to a Cape Buffalo, right? After all, they were said to be larger in size, and could even be dangerous at times. And as I was travelling alone, somehow Australia didn’t seem as daunting as a lone trip to the war torn Africa I had read about. The hunt was on.
    I had chosen a Sako 375 H&H for this hunt. It was not the largest rifle I owned, not by a long shot, but I had read of the wonderful things this medium bore could do. I had to give the KING a chance to prove itself. And prove itself, it did. Three large Water Buffalo bulls fell to the king that week. None (required) more than one shot, but when given the chance, I kept pouring lead until the bulls were either down, or out of sight. None ran over 50 yards after receiving a 300 grain TSX to the chest. Then something very special happened. I had always dreamed of owning a large caliber double rifle. After all, that’s what many of the larger than life characters of the past had used. Imagine them facing down a charging Elephant, bent on ending their life. Imagine them stopping an enraged Cape Buffalo Bull with death in his eyes. Imagine it’s YOU holding the rifle. Just imagine…

    The PH I was hunting with was carrying a vintage 475 No2 double rifle, and was quite a collector of doubles, and other fine rifles. In his collection he had a Merkel 470 double that he offered me to shoot. I couldn’t get it loaded fast enough! Once a target was placed at 50 yards, I placed the double on the sticks and took aim. I fired a total of 4 shots. We couldn’t see the holes in the target, so I figured I’d missed. As we strolled down toward the target, my embarrassment began to turn into pride. For three of the shots were in the black, and the fourth was just to the left of the black. “Let’s go shoot a buffalo Toby!” The PH replied. I couldn’t get the double loaded fast enough…
    I had ran out of money for the most part, but after a little negotiation, we agreed on a buffalo cow. As I plunked two 500 grain Woodleighs in the chamber, we were off. The herd of cows up ahead consisted of a few young calves, a few young cows, and some old matriarchs. We circled downwind a bit and pretty soon we were in their path. The path they would take to their demise, if I had anything to do with it. But I couldn’t let greed get the best of me, so I settled back into taking just one. As the group began to close within range, I readied the 470. I couldn’t believe my luck! I was actually about to take a buffalo with a double rifle! I was about to quench my thirst. I was ready.
    Then I heard a whisper, “take the second one Toby” BOOM!!!! The 470 spoke. “HIT HER AGAIN!!!!” My PH replied. But a second pull of the trigger was silent. OH SHIT!!!! I pulled the first trigger twice! When composure returned, I realized my mistake, and let fly with the second barrel. Now she had two 500 grain Woodleighs in her chest. How is she still standing??? The rest of the herd began to move in towards us, as I quickly re-loaded the 470. Calmly, the PH whispered “hit her again mate”. The third bullet brought things to a close, as her rear end collapsed, then her front followed suite. After a few tense moments, the rest of the herd retreated.
    I HAD to own a double rifle……..

    Once I returned to Georgia, my quest began. A few weeks of searching, and there she was. A Merkel 470 almost identical to the one I had used in Australia! Clean as a pin! Very fair price! Dear LORD help me….A Wells Fargo truck soon arrived with the money needed to send this cruel individual payment in full. Now we wait….
    We wait for that wonderful brown truck to arrive. Santa’s sleigh, so to speak….
    A call soon came from my FFL saying “you’ve got another one in here Toby”. Once I got the news, I was off like Dale Earnhardt at the Daytona 500! The brown package was heavy. Over 10 lbs of Beautiful walnut and steel stared at me from inside. I had rehearsed putting this thing together in my mind many times. Once the forearm was snapped into place, I took aim. My dealer had a small amount of paperwork to complete, and she was mine.

    I’ll never forget that first trip to my outdoor range with that monster. I was Sullivan, Ruark, and Taylor wrapped up into one! I plunked two Hornady 500 grain loads into the chambers and let fly at around forty yards. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Perfectly regulated at that distance. Two barrels full later, confirmed my findings. Four perfectly centered .474 holes in the bullseye. I was pleased.

    A couple years passed after that day. I still dreamed of Africa, but work intervened, and time wasn’t easy to come by. The Merkel sat patiently in the safe, other than an occasional trip to the back yard for a couple of shots. Ammo, as you know, is very expensive for these things, so it was with some trepidation that I fired these rounds into the dirt bank, never to be seen or heard from again. And it was this trepidation that lead me to part with this beauty. That and the fact that I am a dyed in the wool bolt action rifle man. I’ve used bolt guns for the vast majority of my life, and it only makes sense to use something very familiar when hunting things that bite and stomp. So, after some careful thought, I put her up for sale. Then I took her off sale. Then I placed her back for sale. I was in limbo! Should I keep her? Or should she go to another person who would use her for what she was meant for? I soon found my answer. A man named Charlie caught me at the “right” or maybe “wrong” moment, and we made a deal. The Merkel was sold.

    On the bright side, with this sale came something much better than a rifle. With this sale came a friendship. The friendship of a great man named Charlie Austin. The friendship of a whole community of people. The good folks at AFRICAHUNTING.COM. Soon after, a trip was planned. But not just any trip….an African Safari. A Safari that included Cape Buffalo. My dream was becoming reality. Now…two safaris later, two Cape Buffalo, a Lioness, and many head of plains game, I am hooked.


    I will return.

    And that, my friends, is how it all began…

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2019
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  2. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    Cool story, thanks
     
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  3. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Toby,
    I’m wondering if maybe we just might be related brother! Lol
     
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  4. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    Great story Toby, I am sure that we can all relate to your words.
     
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  5. TOBY458

    TOBY458 AH Elite

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  6. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Thank you for the kind words Toby. We had a great time in Africa and I suspect we will do it again. I do like I when you find fine rifles at good prices and then let some of share in your good fortune.
    Now you have two Cape buffalos to your credit! Can we talk you into a hippo next?
     
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  7. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Yes sir!
     
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  8. TOBY458

    TOBY458 AH Elite

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    A Hippo? Only if I can get my dad @Ridgewalker to pay for it! :LOL:
     
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  9. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Enthusiast

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    Very cool story! Thanks for sharing it!
     
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  10. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    You are a dreamer....
    But you are also a doer.......
    well said............FWB
     
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  11. Mr. Zorg

    Mr. Zorg AH Veteran

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  12. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Fun short story Toby! I hope you are compiling all your short stories for a book someday? I’d buy it!
    Oh and when I win the lottery, we’ll have to do a DG hunt safari to the Caprivi or BVC area of Zim. I’m thinking $100k each should cover us. I’m a dreamer too!:LOL::D:ROFLMAO:
     
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  13. TOBY458

    TOBY458 AH Elite

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    Great idea DAD!!!
     
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  14. meigsbucks

    meigsbucks AH Fanatic

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    What a great story Toby. Your telling of the evolution through your hunting life was enlightening and entertaining. We all can, at least in part relate to some part of your journey.
    Ridgewalker is right... you do need to write a book.
     
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