I have been very negligent about my writing the past few months. I apologize about that, especially since it is finally spring time and there is so much going on. I will be hunting turkey in Nebraska next Saturday, so I am really looking forward to that. In preparation for that trip I wanted to get out and do some shooting with my turkey gun, and today was a beautiful late afternoon. My boss was nice enough to let me skip out of work a little early and get up to my shooting spot in Pike National Forest about a half hour away from home.
I also have a couple of other new guns I wanted to shoot today; a Springfield 1911 semi-automatic pistol in .45 ACP caliber, and a Henry Big Boy lever action rifle in .45 LC caliber, the same caliber as my .45 Colt revolver. While I am excited about the 1911, I am very excited about the Big Boy; it is probably the nicest looking gun I own, other than the .54 caliber muzzle loader rifle that I made myself, that will always be my favorite gun. The Big Boy is also a living piece of history; this is one of the guns that won the west in the late 1800’s. It is made with excellent craftsmanship of American walnut for the stock and fore stock, and brass for the receiver, butt plate, and barrel band. I have wanted a gun like this for a long time, and I finally found a really good deal on this gun, so I had to get it. You can see all of these guns in a video by clicking here.
I arrived at the place in the national forest where I like to shoot at 4:15, and hiked down to the floor of the valley. This place is so gorgeous, which is one of the reasons why I prefer shooting here over a shooting range. I started with my Mossberg 535 shotgun with the turkey barrel on. I set paper plate targets with turkey heads drawn on them at 20, 30, and 40 yards. I am very confident with this gun, but I hadn’t shot it in a while, so I needed to make sure I am still sharp for next Saturday, and I was. I blasted all three targets nine consecutive times without a miss, so I figured I was good for next week. You can see a video by clicking here.
Next I loaded up the Big Boy; it holds one shell in the chamber and ten in the tube. I was very pleasantly surprised at how well I shot this gun for the first time. I was hitting targets at twenty to seventy yards with consistency from the very first shot. This gun just feels so good in my hands, it handles so well, and it sights in quickly. It has a half-buckhorn iron rear sight that is adjustable, and a brass bead front sight. I did not have to adjust the sight at all today, I would imagine the way it is set today would be accurate out to 100 yards at least, maybe more. I don’t know that I will ever hunt with this gun, maybe if I am hunting in thick timber where I need a quick sight-in and a quick shot, it would be great for that. The action is very smooth with almost no recoil; it was fun to fire off so many shots so quickly. You can see a video of me shooting this gun by clicking here, and here .
Lastly I shot the 1911 at pretty close range, about 10 yards. I had not shot a semi-auto pistol in almost 30 years, so I really just wanted to get a feel for this new gun. I probably should have put up a target so I could see where I was missing, but I was just shooting at remnants of my turkey targets that I destroyed earlier. For handguns I shoot a Colt .45 and a .357 magnum (both revolvers) fairly often, so I am used to a kick from a powerful handgun. But the main difference between the kick of a semi-auto and a revolver is that the semi-auto uses the energy of the shot to eject the empty shell and reload another cartridge, so that took some getting used to. I only shot seven clips (49 bullets), but that was enough to let me know what I need to work on with this gun. I wouldn’t say that I was horrible; if I were defending myself I definitely would have hit whatever was attacking me, but next time I will put up a target so I can hone my accuracy with this gun. Overall it was a blast to shoot! You can see a video by clicking here.
I had a great afternoon of shooting today, and I’m feeling confident about my turkey hunt next week; I think if I can find a bird I will shoot it. Really I am just happy to be taking the trip and getting outdoors for a little bit. Now that spring is here, I will be getting out a lot more than in the past few months. It’s staying light out later and later every night, and I love that! I’m going fishing tomorrow, and I will be doing a lot more of that in the coming months, as well as shooting my bow to get ready for elk season in September. I love this time of year!