01 May 2006

.222 reloads, animal harvesting, and costumes

Did about 60 yesterday afternoon with the guy who led me through the 20 rounds of .44 magnum I handloaded a few weeks ago.

40 of them used old brass (Ron tells me he's been reloading much of that same brass for 25 years. That surprised me, but he said that when you get into magnums, the very high pressures dramatically shorten your brass life), 50gr Speer soft points, and 19.5gr of IMR 4198 powder. We keep those on hand on the farm for harvesting pork & beef through the old over-and-under .223/.410 we have on hand for just that purpose.

So, I'm happy to be part of the process for feeding the farm. Of course, I generally tend to be on hand for butchering. I've slaughtered a couple of cows. Nasty but necessary if you like meat on your table.

Which brings up another story...I had my first hunting experience with my .45 at the onset of winter (this past September). At -25 I and a friend of mine (Rich, the neighbor of mine I go shooting with every so often) spotted a grouse in some brush by the side of the road, and I took it at 40 ft through brush (gotta love the accuracy of a H&K).

Yes, there was meat left on the bird. It was a back-through-the-gut shot. The breast meat was pretty much intact.

Then Rich showed me how to dress it out: Simply put your feet on the bird's wings, and pull the legs. It comes apart, leaving you the wings and breast. Toss the rest, pull the feathers off, clip the wings, and voila, a little meat for the fridge.

I was jazzed about it, and called my folks and wrote my brother about the experience. Dad, who used to hunt a lot out in West Virginia, appreciated the news (even if it were only a grouse).

My brother, a 32-year-old aspiring actor out in eastern NC (to give you an idea of the ideologies in my family), on the other hand, thought it was gross. So, I wrote back to him, asking him how he thought the packaged meat he buys out at Food Lion got to be that way from a live animal.

"Civilized" folk don't seem to take that into account much. Especially the self-righteous (more self-clueless) animal rights crowd.

But, getting back to yesterday's reloading...Ron also had me help make 20 rounds of .222 for varminting. There, he pulled out his bottle of Vihta Vuori N133 and some 50gr Speer TNT hollow points. Loaded those with 23gr of the powder. I noticed how the TNT bullets were scored, designed to rapidly expand upon impact.

Then, that night, the farm held a costume party to welcome our speech kids back home from their latest competition out near Anchorage (debate, drama, expository, etc.). A few placed 1st through 3rd, but overall, the team scored the highest points our school had ever earned.

We had pirates, gangsters, Johnny Cash (who sung "Ring of Fire"), even a headless motorcyclist. I went as a Secret Service Agent, complete with nice suit, earpiece, and (unloaded) .45 with two (again, empty) spare magazines on the opposite hip.

Someone suggested I go as Agent Smith from the Matrix. I could have pulled that off, with the right sunglasses and my Desert Eagle. But I had no real way to carry the Deagle comfortably in a holster and suit (tactical and chest holsters seem just a bit out of place with a suit).


ranger nick said...

You and Ron picked the right bullet for the 222. Excellent old cartridge. I use TNT's for my 222.

By the way, i enjoy your blog.

The Mad Hatter said...

Thanks for reading! Sorry I haven't been as prolific as I could be. Lotsa stuff going on outside of cyberspace, you know...

Murphy said...

Nice Guns and great article