Shooting from the hip

“Never approach a bull
from the front, a horse
from the rear, or a fool
from any direction.”

Do as I say not as I do

We were settling into the hut unpacking etc. and in walks three jokers two of which we had briefly met a half hour or so earlier.  The head honcho of this group points to our one and only rifle and declares it is unsafe as the bolt had not been fully removed. (The magazine however was empty and the bolt was open] “Hut rules state that all bolts must be removed” he went on to say.  Oh yeah… “what rules are these ?” I probe thinking quietly haven’t we got enough god damned rules in this world as it is and surely plain common sense has got to prevail sooner or later.  Upshot was he stalked over to our rifle and took it outside and propped it up against the wall muttering something about safety.

Rules of conduct that were taught to me were that you never touched another mans rifle,pack or dog unless of course having asked his permission  first….his wife goes without saying

I of course was close on his heels pushed him in the chest out of the way and brought my rifle inside in the same state it was originally and verbally abused the shit out of him. Fun and games if I had a sem-auto with me huh? By his reckoning I would have needed at least a screw driver and maybe a gunsmith!   Now these were the same jokers a half hour earlier two of which were reclined on the track waiting for their mate to conduct an impromptu stalk on a clearing that was literally just off the track.  We introduced ourselves and shook hands and after a brief verbal discourse decided to move on. The spokesman for the group (yes the head honcho mentioned earlier…and later as Gobshite ) suggested we stay and wait till till their mate came back as the track more or less ran alongside the clearing he was inspecting. Now it was well after midday so not really likely there would be a deer on this particular clearing plus I was in no real hurry to be party to hunting anything so close to a public highway (safety) so declined his offer and we carried on….after all I have my own life to lead.

Later that afternoon and with a frigid atmosphere still, I pulled out my map and proceeded to tell the group where we were intending to hunt (safety).  Only one of them made the effort to come over and inspect the map and check where we were going.  Later on our return to the hut we were told that one of these jokers had actually followed in our footsteps for quite a while before realisation finally dawned on him and he returned to camp.

Again the next morning these guys were determined to beat us out of the hut and absolutely not share their intentions as to where they were going to hunt with us.  Their alarm echoed at 04.30.  Not a word was spoken but just before they were about to depart.(safety)  I asked them where they were likely to be heading. I had to ask each one individually where they were intending to hunt that morning and only then did I get a mumbled reply from each of them but with no real detail.

Safety?  Don’t make me laugh these guys couldn’t even spell the word.  As a footnote it never fails to amuse me how some guys think they can talk the walk.  I mean these sort of guys have had trips in and around all the famous spots in NZ  (which of course does not prove a thing.  I have known excellent hunters that have not been out of their own backyard) If you listen to them and they are not slow making sure you know about it…there are bullets flying round your ears and blood and guts strewn about the hut within mere minutes of them entering.  What the silly bastards don’t realise is that when a guy has genuine hard won hunting experience under his belt then he has already weighed them up in the first couple of minutes of the first meet and will be influenced more as to their probable experience, safe practices and skill level simply by the way they physically look ,their equipment, general demeanor and overall behaviour plus a  whole lot more…..The picture as they say being worth a thousand words.

To be perfectly fair the two from out of town were good decent types but the local Gobshite ….well he was just that.

Ha! I need to get out more he should not have irritated me as much as he obviously did but it is a shame that some people can spoil what should be a peaceful and relaxing time simply by not respecting others and their space and otherwise safely kept equipment.

There is still good old world Gunsmithing service to be had

A month or so back I wanted my Sako Forester .308 re-barreled and the usual suspects  were approached to do  the work.  It involved obviously a new barrel and I wanted the same contour as my previous one, standard 1-10 twist S.S. contour #2.   The excuses poured out “can’t profile the same contour as it is- too much wear on my lathe”…” I can send it out to be done?”.. “will be a three month turnaround”… “we have the barrels you are looking for but can’t guarantee the profile. send your rifle down and we can work something out”… eventually I stumble onto Allen j Carr in Wellington.  I posed the same requirements to him plus I asked him to tidy up my rough Picatinny rail fitting and asked him to re attach my barrel band to the new barrel.  The barrel in question was a Shilen select SS which he bead blasted for me also.  He provided a new Stainless barrel band , worked on the rail, provided me with a new screw cut for suppressor [which i didn’t ask for-but obviously paid] but did such a good job I couldn’t see the join when the cap protector was screwed on. He fault found some bodge work done by a previous gunsmith at an attempt to true the bolt lugs and rectified the ongoing effect this was having in another area and fixed the  problem with a custom device and also made me up two action guard SS screws with hex heads free of charge…..(See Beretta the article NZ action screws below).  There was no hint of a problem with the profiling and the damage it can do to his Lathe etc.     He quoted his price and told me it would be a three week turnaround. It was three weeks and I am a satisfied customer.

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Mount cook Tahr hunting trip fiasco – June 1-9th 2015

We flew in with Heliworks chopper company for an eight day trip.    We were to stay in a hut for the first part of the trip and then when the weather cleared we planned to head up the valley and fly- camp.

We were told by Mark Hayes – pilot for the above company that he would let the rival companies know of our plans and that other than anybody that should be walking in we had the place to ourselves.

Imagine our pure joy on the morning of the third day when with the sun making its way into an increasingly blue sky and turning the early morning snow flurries into what was now looking like a very promising day…..we spied a mob of 14 Tahr in one group and four in another.

Plans were hastily being made for an afternoon hike up the valley and to camp there for a couple or three days.

Minutes later however the drone of a low flying chopper was encroaching on our well being and shortly after flew directly overhead heading up the valley. Its noisy approach panicked the mob of 14 and they climbed for the tops without a backward glance.   The chopper returned some minutes later.

We feared the worse so we took a short walk and climbed a high vantage point and spied the two man tent on an island in the middle of the creek about an hour away.

Our trip had been in the planning stage for months and my companion had traveled over from Western Australia for the adventure and I was gutted for him.

We were now reduced to a very small hunting area and also an area that had seen much indiscriminate shooting in the not too distant past as was borne out by the abundance of left over animal appendages and carcasses scattered right outside the hut.

The next day we rose at 4 A.M. and under torch light were making our way up to the 1600 meter band were we hoped to get a decent days hunting in. Sometime around 5 we were surrounded by brilliant light which lingered for some seconds. It took awhile to realise the light was caused by a parachute flare and two thuds were distinctly heard in the distance.

Now I am a very careful man during the deer rut in April and I treat every hunter as a complete “bell end” and I get the hell as far as I can from anyone and everyone who looks like heading into the bush and carrying a rifle.

It saddens me no end to see that it is not only the roar when the cowboys are about they also extend to chopper pilots too and I feel it is only a matter of time before we have fatalities in the open country and in the Tahr rut in particular that that has become so popular.

Night vision scopes and binos and parachute flares leave me very nervous I can tell you.

I feel that the helicopter company responsible for flying in these jackasses are part of this slack safety and ethical issue and should shoulder the blame.     They knew we were in a nearby hut and they still dropped these jokers just upstream of us regardless- unforgivable!

The Helicopter Line is the name of the company and they should hang their collective heads in shame.   Also if this goes to print it means I have not received any form of apology from them for their actions.

Mind you no apology will reimburse the loss of a once a year trip and a thousand dollars mind you!!!!

Finally if there is no respect from rival companies for each other what chance have you got!

 

Beretta N.Z.

Christ be careful with your action screws on your Sako L579/L461.  Mine were getting a little marred so I contacted the above for a set of two.  $70 dollars! was what I was quoted by Hunting and fishing. [one of the certified middle men]  For two screws! and they are still the slotted type so no choice of hex etc etc.  Man my Vixen only cost me $330 Australian “all up” back in the day.

A couple of days on the internet and I eventually got them for $6.80 U.S. plus posting with “Post shop” from Forster Products.  These screws by the way apparently fit all Sako’s except the 75.

Then just as an experiment I went to “Blacks” and picked up two hex screws of the same dimensions but a little longer went along to my local engineers and had them sized [as the hex was too large in circumference to sit in the floor plate neatly] and cut to size.  $20 for four!  OK they might need bluing later but  already I have eight screws and I still have $40 to spare !!!!!!!!!!!

Hardy Rifle Suppressor.

I recently bought two of these, one was for my .243 varmint rifle with which the suppressor stays on all the time and is sighted in that way-and I am more than happy with it.   The other was bought for my .308 hunting rifle and the idea was that I would sight it in without the suppressor on and then maybe use it when I had time on the tops at the longer ranges.   I would screw it on and take a more or less recoil-less shot.  Also it would be excellent for me to practice my 400 meter shots on my property without disturbing the neighbours too much.  Unfortunately the reality is that it shoots 5″ to the right and 2/ 3 inches high with the damned thing on.  Waste of money and time!   If only I had known from the start that they could shoot that far out.  I was expecting an inch or so low, at most what with the extra weight at the end of the barrel and such and was not aware of any windage problems at all.  After emailing  Dan I was told by him that if I remove the bushing it will again alter the harmonics of the barrel with no ill effects and maybe bring the wayward group back to the center.   I have not tried this as yet but if it does not then it will be a trade me job and good riddance…..  Watch this space…. Just took the baffle off 26/08/2012 and put three shots through it at 100meters.  They went low and right by a couple of inches…Live and learn !!!

There is no way on gods green earth that I would hunt with a suppressor on my rifle.  Although nice to shoot with.   They are ugly to look at  and effect the balance of the rifle to such an extent that you may as well be toting an iron bar.

See “Trading Post” on this website- only shot a few rounds.

Picatinny rail on Sako L579 action

‘Good ole Dan Hardy’

Last year I went about seeking out a gunsmith to perform the above on my rifle. I had Sako medium rings in place at the time and a Vari 3 1-5 Leupold scope aboard. I wanted a rail that I could install that would see my scope remain at the same height or better still be mounted even lower -by using different rings of course.  I knew if even if I could obtain one that it might be a tall order for an off the shelf rail so I asked three of New Zealand’s leading gunsmiths if they could help me out even if they had to modify some bar stock.

After getting the go ahead to send my rifle up to a certain gunsmith and then being told it couldn’t be done I then contacted another and it was passed onto him etc., with the same result.   It ended up eventually with  all three saying it was impossible for them to do and intimating I was thick if I didn’t realise this.  In the meantime the poor rifle was suffering “courier lag”- journeying this way and that across the country.  I contacted a fourth it was Dan Hardy.  Dan seemed “onto it” straight away but after my experience to date I was definitely sceptical.  I phoned the gunsmith who had my rifle to tell him where to send it next and he phoned Dan asking him if he was aware of what I wanted.  Dan casually told him he was and the rifle finally ended up in Dan Hardy hands.

Job done and entirely to my satisfaction but still I wonder at the literacy skills of these previous guys who read my emails and fielded my phone calls and still could not grasp what I wanted done.  More worrying is the fact they couldn’t / wouldn’t do the job.

I don’t know what is the least desirable trait shown.  Couldn’t? and they call themselves gunsmiths? Wouldn’t? too much work involved – can’t be arsed, but on the other hand if you wanted a new barrel or such they would bite your hand off to do the job.   Or lastly not Comprehend what I was on about?  Well that is too scary to even contemplate so we are definitely not going there.

Meindl Makalu Boots

The agents for the above in this country are Stager Sports in Alexandra. That being said I sent my 2 year old boots down there just before winter this year for a resole and new rand. Two weeks later I received them back at a cost of $180.00 and half way through my first trip the rand on both boots started to peel away. I contacted the above and was told it wouldn’t make any difference for the rest of the winter if they remained in that state and that when I am ready to send them back they will have another go.

Well not wanting to damage my boots further after all the rand is there for a purpose- I reckoned even a fairy atop a Christmas tree has a job to do, so I contacted Stager and asked them if they could not post some glue up so that  I could do the job myself thus saving me more courier charges. They said they couldn’t. I then asked them what the glue was and maybe I could get myself some. They said they didn’t know!!!! There was also no offer to pay the courier when winter did finally come to a close. [this week for me anyway].

I must have done a half dozen four day trips over the course of the winter and my feet were constantly wet on every trip, what got me to sleep most of those nights was counting the pins that I had amassed in their collective eyeballs.

Anyway I sent the boots down there on Monday this week- watch this space.

OK. got them back Friday 7th – that is three weeks later!!! Hey what can I do, so long as they work this time it will be something I guess- man they are hard work though- not even an email to say they are on the way !  I find them arrogant, unfriendly and generally aloof .  I left the UK initially to put that kind of attitude behind me….yeah well.

footnote;  The rand did two summer trips and is peeling off as we speak just in time for the busy winter period.   Nuff said no more wasting time and money at Alexandra  !!!!!!!!!!!!

A thought that has occurred to me lately is that it may be the resole part of the mend is at fault with the water ingress? If that is the case then a resole is a complete waste of time and money…anybody got any input?

Graf Brothers fighting our corner.

Hey just browsing you tube [as you do] and came across the Graf Bros. “Poisoning in Paradise”. It was first published on the tube on October 11  2011. What you reckon?….  Yeah a pathetic 1700 or so viewers.  Is it any wonder we are in the state we are?  Mind you we would be in much bigger mess if it wasn’t for these good crusaders for justice.  If anyone cares a damn please click here to view.

Time wasters, No hoper’s and Dreamers

Yes I am afraid in this business you get to meet all sorts or in some cases not meet at all but have your time wasted to the nth degree just the same.  I have just had a booking cancelled literally at the 11th hour.  My pack readied transport organised, breakfast readied and Lunch prepared  for the both of us.   Then a bloody email! not even the decency to phone!  Ask yourself? Mind you I suppose you could call it a near miss god knows what these guys are like in the bush if they can’t manage to organise themselves in civilisation.

The thing is also the week was fine and the location I chose has not been disturbed I have not visited it in some 12 months.  I could have gone myself if this guy had had the decency to give me at least two days notice.   I closed Triple Tui down guest wise for his supposed trip as Tracey is away in India.  So turned down at least two couples who would have liked to have stayed the whole of Easter with us.  Arrrgggghh!   Ha! at least in this column I get to vent my frustration and rid it out of my system. ………………………………….. Ahhh that is soooo much better.

There is always an upside and that is the few clients I get that fit in so well with the service I am trying to provide and they are the only ones I will ask for a testimonial.  [Success is not the governing factor here]  They are all in the testimonial column an absolute joy to spend time with in the back country and more than make up for the disappointments.

Triple Tui Fire

The fire was supposed to have started 40 meters north of the woodshed and spread either along the bank or from the deep gulley the prosecutors are unsure ;     You have three eye witnesses who saw the woodshed “only” ablaze and were totally ignored.

You have the supposed ash from the cabin which is said to have caused the fire;

The fire of that ash was an ambient affair.  I say ambient for the weather conditions of the day were warm to say the least.  The occupants merely wanted some flame in the firebox to give them an atmosphere in a log cabin in the wilderness.

They burnt if for eight hours from a small tub of wood and an extra armful that the wife later brought in.  It was stated that the damper was in an unknown position.   How could the damper be in any other position than fully open for them to get their desired effect?

The fireplace was cleaned out before the guests arrived, the damper was fully open as it was when they left.   I sifted out 4.5 scoops of grey powder from a fireside shovel the ash did not have any charcoal in it whatsoever.  The fire box was as cold as the grave and the ash had been sitting there for 36 hours  yet two hours after I put the ash out I am supposed to believe it started the fire that is to loose my home and work place.

I don’t have a clue how the fire started but this much I do know it was impossible  for my ash to have been anyway connected with that fire.  Three and a half years of experiments by myself and a couple more with an ash expert and even one of the prosecution experts could not get any heat out of his ash when the conditions where thus.

So how was I found guilty?  Mainly through the antiquated law of a fire starting on your property then you are deemed responsible.   Man that leaves you open to a host of criminal or negligent activities that can be heaped on top of you.  This law has to change!!!!

The ash pile on my lawn was the last nail in the coffin.  My ash measured around a foot as it was spread thinly at grass level.  The ash pile that condemned me was a meter long with charcoal deposits throughout how can that be?  It was not measured by the investigator either for depth length or width a thermometer was not thrust into it to ascertain a core temperature as you would have expected from a thorough examination.  Instead the investigator when asked in court what was the measurement of the ash pile…he vaguely held his hands apart and said “oh around a meter and hot”…very technical…………..Justice?  don’t make me laugh !!!!!

Butler Creek flip up lens covers for Nightforce 5-22 x 50

Yeah well this whinge is directed solely at Nightforce for not providing adequate scope covers for their expensive rifle scopes.    I had no problem with the Butler Creek ocular lens cover other than it looks pretty flimsy and cheap but at least it functions- for now anyway.

The Objective is another matter altogether!  The 44 size should fit but instead it is way oversize and needs insulation tape on the bell end to enable a snug fit- Yes insulation tape! that you have to fit on a $3000,00 scope!- christ!  -I despair.

The 43 let me warn you is too snug and means you have to soak it in hot water just to get it on and then you find that the cap doesn’t close with any degree of positivity and the slightest knock results in it springing open again.  Now my scope is used for long range var minting and as such is never off the 22x power setting so I am not bothered with the fact that the lens covers revolve when turning the power up or down.  The fact that Nightforce has not up to now addressed this simple prerequisite leaves me bereft of all feeling from the neck up!

As for Butler Creek- well they just know their product is short on the money cos they don’t leave any chance of you contacting them on their website.  Even dealers have the same problems.

N.B. Tenebraex scope covers are now available- are expensive but more befitting

4 Responses to Shooting from the hip

  1. Matthew says:

    at the end of the day they all fill the freezer.

  2. Matthew says:

    As far as hunting with a suppressor, you are a bit quick to write them off for hunting, you say they do not look good, I never knew hunting was a fashion show? Have a look at the titanium 3d printed ones by oceanic defense, best in NZ, weight is Bugger all and look great.

    • Steve says:

      Mathew if you looked more closely I not only said they didn’t look good but I also implied I don’t like anything about them full stop. That is why I have a website mate so I can get my views across. Surely I am entitled to my views?
      Good luck with your “titanium 3d printed ones by ocean defense” I am sure in your eyes they do look great.

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