Friday, December 9, 2011

The Perfect Repeater

Although I'm a die hard side by side guy, I do have a soft spot for American classics. So I've taken my Winchester Model 12 out of mothballs to be my duck gun this year; its literally been years since I've shot this classic American shotgun. My initial intention when I bought this gun years ago was to use it as my field beater or bad weather gun. Just after I bought it though I found my GDR era Merkel M8. With my love of double barrels and double triggers, the Merkel had basically sidelined the Model 12.

It should be interesting to see how well I end up shooting this gun. Pumping the action and the single trigger pull, I can see myself missing a few followup shots. I have in the past. I'll just have to see what happens. I believe I've only taken this gun out afield twice, once on a snowy duck hunt and the other on a pheasant hunt. On both trips I did not hook up with any birds.

Built in 1933, my Model 12 is now well patinaed. I can only imagine how many American farm fields this gun has seen. This is truly an American classic used by American celebrity sportsmen like Ernest Hemingway, Roy Rogers, Clark Gable, and Peter Hathaway Capstick to name a few. No self respecting American Sportsman of that era would not be seen without one.

One unique feature of this gun I really like is the ability to take down the gun without tools, making it convenient to travel with. This was one of the main selling points for me. The gun can easily be fitted in a duffle bag or an indiscrete gun bag. Neighbors or hotel guests in a lobby would never suspect anything and you can avoid any unwanted attention.

There are several iteration of this gun and there are nearly 2 million in existence. Equally at home afeild or at the clay range, the Model 12 has seen it all. Some even saw some action in world conflicts or in police actions. My gun I highly doubt has seen any of those as it's a 28 inch fixed modify choke in 12 gauge. All parts are original including the plastic Winchester butt plate.

The action is smooth as glass and with its ability to be slam fired, that is firing quickly by holding down the trigger while pumping the action as fast as you can, it makes sense that police and military chose this shotgun for up close battles. It was this feature that Capstick writes about (which book I forget)why he chose it when going into the thickets after a wounded leopard. Obviously this feature does not benefit the bird hunter but it is unique and eventually the legal teams believed it to be a liability and the feature was later removed. Mine still has this feature.

I've read that machining the receiver was not only time consuming but expensive as well. The reciever is forged and required numberous complicated machine operations to complete. Winchester at one point was losing money as the gun was just too expensive to manufacture. Instead of raising prices Winchester in 1964 began cutting corners and rebadged the gun as the model 1200. The new model never had the following like that of the Model 12.

When people say they don't make them like this anymore, they really don't make them like this anymore. The Perfect Repeater or more commonly known as the Winchester Model 12 is worthy of any American Sportsman's collection.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Contour Roam

For a long time I've been interested in finding a good video camera for all the activities I enjoy. Unfortunately typical cameras require, for the most part, the use of one hand. Fly fishing, hunting, shooting, and off roading, all require two hands to safely and accurately perform those tasks so I've never really had a desire to spend money on a video camera. That was the case until I found out about the Contour Roam. These simple video camera is designed for action and with the proper mount it requires no hands to operate (other than turning it on).

I intend on purchasing a head mount soon so I can now record my fishing and hunting trips. I'm trying to figure out a way to mount it to my dog so I can see his perspective when looking for birds.

This Roam was purchased from Grey Group during their 12 days of Christmas sale. The regular price is $200, I purchased mine for $150. That's not bad. I'll be trying it out soon as I plan on a waterfowl hunt and a pheasant hunt in the coming weeks. I'll review it once I get a chance to ply with it. Depending on how much I like this, future posts may contain only videos for now on but I doubt it as I actually like taking still photos.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lowa Desert Elite and Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

My first real hiking boot ever was a Lowa. I have always been a fan because every pair I've ever worn have been very comfortable. It has always seemed to me that they require little to no break in period. I've never had a blister or hot spot with their boots.

I have acquired two new pair of Lowa boots. My father picked a pair of Desert Elites for me. These boots retail here in the states for over $300 and I've seen them go for over $400. But for some reason, these boots in the UK are going for far less, around $200 USD. I have read that the British SAS and other Special Forces wear these boots. Perhaps there was a contract that was not fulfilled and now the UK has an overrun of these and thus the cheaper price there. My father picked these up from a UK dealer and bought a pair for himself and a pair me for roughly the price of one set that could be bought here.

Other than trying them on, I have not tested the boot. Although on our last hunt my father wore his and said they were very comfortable. One great thing about these Elites are that they are still made in Germany. They are water repellent and breathable and are 8 inches tall. Although these are desert boots they are more than capable for mountainous chukar terrain. Afterall the Brits are wearing these in Afghanistan. One thing I have to get used to is that these boots have closed eyelets. This is because these are designed for paratroopers and open eyelets can get caught or cut up cords. For me this takes some getting used to as all my boots have open eyelets. These boots will be my early season mountain quail boots or hot weather boots.

The boot is a combination of cordura and leather. Tongue is well padded and mountaineer styled.

Eyelets are closed throughout. The tongue is attached to a nice soft leather.

Threads are Vibram and have good grip.

Early models had problems with the toes peeling off. Apparently the knife that cut the rubber had a silicon compound that affected the glue. That has since been rectified. I've read that even with the toe peeling slightly, soldiers were reluctant to turn them in.

These pair are still made in Germany. The quality is excellent. Stitching is nice and tight.

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

Not knowing that my father picked me up those boots, I picked up another pair of Lowa boots for everyday use or camping. I have a pair or Timberlands I bought years ago because I read that Ed Viesturs wore them. Those were Chinese made junk. I couldn't believe Ed would ever wear a boots like that. I guess he gets them free but since he makes a living mountaineering I would expect that he would go with a more reputable boot company. Maybe he just wears those while in camp and not when hiking to the base camp. Most recreational boots found at outdoors stores are now made in China. Just go to REI and look for yourself. That is just sad. I, for one, will not purchase any of those.

These Lowa Renegade GTX Mids are not German made but at least they are not made in China. It is my understanding that these are Lowas most popular boot selling more units worldwide than some boot companies sell in one year. I can see why. These are some of the most attractive boots on the market.

Like every Lowa I've owned, this pair is out of the box comfortable. The monowrap comes up and wraps to the middle part of the boot which not only provides stability and durability but lessens weight as well.

These boots have trekking style lace ups which wrap around the contours of the foot. These are open eyelets.

There is a stabilizer in the sole that works like a shank. The soles are Vibram.

Made in Slovakia. I'll take that to China any day.

So far I've only worn these around town so I can not yet comment how they will do in the field. These boots will be for everyday wear, hiking, fly fishing, camping, off roading and other. Since I'll likely be hunting in the following months, its unlikely these boots will see any "real" use until the hunting season is over. I will however be bringing these to Texas while I take a CSAT Rifle course with Paul Howe in February.

When I get more "real" use out of these two boots I will make a new entry to report.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Had a Bit of a Scare

Two samples of Kaiser's urine, the bloody urine and one from the following day which appears to have cleared up.

After hunting all day we heading back home for a long drive. Kaiser worked hard the past day and a half. When we finally arrived home I took Kaiser out to urinate. While relieving himself I noticed that his urine had blood in it. I couldn't really tell as it was around 9pm by now and the artificial lights outside made it tough to really see. So I let him in and found a flashlight to check. He had pissed on an empty planter that had some light dried leaves in it. I saw that his pee did in fact have blood.

Having never dealt with anything like this, I freaked out a bit. After I showered him I called the local emergency vet to see if I should have him checked out now or if I should just wait till the morning to see my regular doctor. they told me to come in. So I did.

The vet checked him over. There are a few causes of bloody urine such as eating poison, trying to pass a stone, among others and the vet asked me question so to see if these could be the cause. Another cause is overexertion. When a dog overexerts himself his muscles breakdown and is passed through the body through urine or feces. The doc x-rayed the dog to see if he was trying to pass anything, she also did other tests such as blood and urine analysis.

After some exhausting tests, the main culprit was overexertion. With the results in from the analysis in, it was determined that Kaiser had some abnormal readings that concerned her. She worried that he could suffer from some kidney damage and suggested that he say overnight so she could put an IV in him so he could recover quicker and reduce any chance of kidney damage.
I left him there for the night to pick him up the next morning before 8am.

I arrived at 7:30am to pick up Kaiser and after paying the $710 bill we were off. The vet said he should be fine but have him rechecked in three days to make sure he didn't suffer any damage.

I'm having several hunts that are becoming extremely expensive but as long as my dog is okay, I'll just have to live with it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day Two. The Gate and Joel's

The Merkel 47E 20 gauge

Kaiser with the first bird of the day.

The Merkel 47E and my father's 20 gauge French over and under.

Although while at the motel I was beat tired, for whatever reason I could not fall asleep. The last time I checked the clock it was 5am. Managing a few hours of sleep I finally woke up to head out to The Gate. Just like the day previous, within the first 10 minutes quail were flushing. Again for whatever reason these birds were also very wary. They either held extremely tight or they flushed wild far from us. Kaiser gave me 10 points for the day. Some were false points from old scent but many were legit. Of those legit points I only managed one bird from them. I literally shot like shit. Shooting is a perishable talent and since I spent no time at the clay range this summer it was clearly apparent. Most birds were small loose coveys flushing in singles or doubles.

Within a few hours we finally found a large covey of about 25. We chased them through a draw managing a couple and missing more than I care to admit. The birds literally held tight. At one point we rested for 10 minutes, once we began moving again there quail flushed just feet from where we were resting. Talk about holding tight. I lost two this morning. One I hit my father saw the bird go down and then proceed to run into a tree. Kaiser followed but lost the scent as the trees roots were dense. The other we lost cause I hit one bird and while we were moving to retrieve it Kaiser went on point. The hit bird must have ran somewhere and kaiser couldn't locate the scent.

We stopped hunting around 1pm after my dad's over under had trouble closing completely shut so we headed back to the Rover. While heading back we ran into more and more quail. All in all this morning we must have seen at least 150 birds. Incredible.

After taking an afternoon nap we headed to a new area. Quail called in the background. We headed toward them. In no time we were on birds. We spent the last few hours of daylight looking for more birds but didn't find quite as many. Previous years have been spectacular but this year they were hard to find. I know the birds are still there as there was fresh track everywhere. If I were not so tired I'm sure I would have been able to move into the high grounds to find them but I simple didn't have it in me.

This day I took 4 quail losing 2. Dad didn't manage any for the day. Pics to follow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Birds of the Season- Moore's Place

The Hubertus Small Game Knife ready for gutting.

The Quails of the day taken with a Merkel 47E and a French U/O.

Kaiser and I take a rest while searching for chukar.

I missed the early dove season. I missed the early season mountain quail. I missed the regular season opener. The Rover was packed last week and I was ready to go up until I hopped in the driver's seat and the truck wouldn't start. As a result the trip was cancelled as I went to go replace the battery. In addition to that I had them do my routine maintenance. They found that I needed to replace my front bushings. Great start to the season.

After a lousy start, I decided to today was going to be the first time out. I was in no mood to wake up early to beat morning traffic I choose to leave the house late morning. We arrived the on the hunting fields at 3pm. Within only a few minutes from the car, we flushed a loose covey of about 8. I took a 30 yard right to left shot. I missed with the first IC barrel of the 20 gauge Merkel 47E but managed him with the second Mod barrel. My intetion was to climb to get some chukar so I was using B&P F2 Classic #6. I with my father through a dried out riverbed where we've had great luck in the past. No other birds appeared. Once through, I decided to climb the mountain for a chance at chukar. I left dad at the flatlands and walked parallel to each other. I climbed higher than I've ever climbed on this mountain. Unfortunately Kaiser and I were unable to find any birds. Unlike me, dad managed better than I. He flushed two small conveys and took two quail for his efforts. We met back at the truck by this time it was alittle after 5. We began driving out, not far from the main road a covey of at least 20 flushed to our right. Stopping the car, we jumped out and pursued the birds. Singles and double flush wild but shots were difficult as we were in some thick stuff along with a forest of cholla, yucca and other desert plants. We managed none of those birds. These birds acted like late season birds. They must be holdovers. After all the rain this spring I'm surprised I didn't see more birds and more dumber young birds.

Kaiser and I are not in hunting shape. This is completely my fault, I should have done alot more to get us ready for the season. Oh well. I'm typing in motel and I'm beat. Pictures for some reason will not upload so they will go up later.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Preseason Warm Up At Prado

I got a call earlier this week to see if I wanted to do some dog training at Prado since Lou has trapped a boat load of pigeons recently. Originally I intended to train Tuesday but since Ed called me to fish I decided to fish instead since Lou was hitting Prado twice this week.

Kaiser showed alot or rust and you can tell I have not been keeping up with his training. He is no longer stead to wing and shot as he was before. I really need to work on this and get him back to being steady at least during training. Lou asked if I wanted to come back on Tuesday, I told him I'd have to look at my schedule. If I do I'll bring both my e-collars and attach one to his waist. That should remind him that he needs to be steady.

After the bird session I had Kaiser doing some water drills for duck hunting. He still remembers his hand and whistle commands even in the water. This good so I'll bring him to the blind this year if I end up hitting San Jacinto or Wister with Ed.

I shot my Merkel 147SL today as I've not shot it in some time. The gun as always shoots like a dream. It fits me perfectly so hitting targets is never a problem.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

East Fork San Gabriel River Fly Fishing

Because I've been busy with work, I haven't done much other than that. I was supposed to do some dog work today at Prado but I decided to fish with Ed instead. I'll save the dog training til Friday.

The last time I fished the East Fork, the river was running high and fishing was beyond tough. Although we managed a few, it certainly was probably one of my worst outings there until today. This time the river was low, making wading a breeze. Unfortunately the water was milky and once I waded through it, I noticed that the floor was completely covered in silt. Looking at that water I commented to Ed that we ought to be fishing for lake trout. It honestly looked like glacial river water. I figured the fishing was going to be poor. I managed several dinks on my first several casts. Perhaps it was not going to be that bad after all. The first hour fishing was not difficult, the river fished as I always remember it. Fish were where they were supposed to be and they came up to take a perfectly placed dry. One thing though is holes, pockets or any "fishy" water would only produce a trout or two at most before that hole died. Normally these areas would produce at least a dozen rises.

About an hour fishing, the fishing essentially stopped. Trout would rarely rise to a dry. In fact I managed only a few after that. Ed commented how warm the water was, I had a hard time differentiating as its been some time since I've been on the water. This most have been the culprit. Ed managed more than me during this time as he fished wet and subsurface. I refuse to do so on this piece of water.

All in all I caught somewhere in the teens mostly all within the first hour. All were dinks. None had any vibrant coloration as the ones I've caught in the past. All were faded. I asked Ed and he said the same was true with his fish.

Although I enjoy anytime on the water, today was a bit of a joke. I have never worked so hard to get fish at the San Gab before, I was a bit discouraged. I eventually quit really fishing after a while and mostly watched Ed fish and threw my line only once in a while. Disappointing. Too bad, I guess that's fishing.

Found this at the parking lot. What the hell?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle

It has been a few weeks since I hit the carp waters. This morning I decided to hit it up before I headed into the office to meet my business partner. There were a few things going against me today. First I left the home way too late. I didn't arrive at the water until after 10:30. Way too late. By the time I was stream side the winds had already began picking up. Sight casting was going to be tough. Next the vegetation growth was out of control. My usual casting lanes are now gone, leaving only a few places left you can even cast a fly rod. Not only that but just navigating through it all was as if I was in some tropical jungle. I really needed a machete. Ultimately I managed to cast to a couple of carp but had no takers.

The day was a bust although I did find some baby bluegills nests. Unfortunately I was able to get any to bite. There was either a large bluegill or a normal sized bass near it that I managed a quick glance before it vanished in the deeper waters. Looks like I won't be fishing these waters for the rest of the summer

Friday, July 8, 2011

How To Disassemble A Darne Shotgun

To field strip a Darne, first place the gun on safe and open the action.

Underneath the sliding action there is a tang, push it upwards and the ears will pop forward a bit. Don't slide the action too far back you won't be able to reach this tang as the comb of the stock will get in the way. On subgauges its even more difficult as there is less real estate to get your finger under the action.

Slide the action all the way rearward. Once all the way rearward, you may need to push the ears forward a little, pulling the action upwards a bit.

Then you can remove the entire action from the rails by sliding it off.

Inside the receiver there is the barrel release. It works like a seesaw. Push the side closest the barrels downward.

Now the barrels can be removed. Depending on your Darne, you may or may not be able to do this without much force. Some shotguns are easy and you can remove them with simply your hands and just pull them off while others require tremendous amount of force to jar the barrels free. If the latter is the case then you hold the shotgun stock with one hand and the other on the barrels. Then you can tap the end of the barrels (not too hard) on the carpet to free it. The first time you do this its quite awkward as forcing your barrels down onto the floor is very counter intuitive and rather scary.

Once you've done that, you have now the gun field stripped for cleaning or inspection.

To reassemble reverse the order.

Place the bites in their slots. Then pull the barrels forward.

Once the barrels are put back, push the rear side of the barrel release downward.

Line the sliding action with the rails.

Pull the ears all the way back slide the action forward. You may get some resistance. If you do you'll need to wiggle the ears slightly forward and back until the action slides onto the rails and locks.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rascher Hunting Pants

I finally received a pair of Rascher hunting pants I ordered months ago. These are hunting pants are made from Rascher, a German hunting apparel company that specializes in traditional German hunting wear. With over a hundred years of experience, Rascher is designed by hunters. These pants are not only thornproof but wind and waterproof as well. Made with microvelour with a Cordura face, these pants are thick. Definitely designed for cold weather. My intention was to use these pants for big game hunting (although I don't do much of it), but these pants are also suitable for upland or duck hunting as well.

Like just about anything designed by Germans, these pants are well thought out with many features.

One of the main reasons I bought these pants was the integrated knife pocket. Traditional Bavarian hunting knives, like the Linder trachtenmesser seen above, do not have sheaths that attach to the belt. Knives are worn in the pant pockets. This is never done here in the States and no pants have a knife pocket so I would have to carry that knife in some sort of pack and not on my person directly. I did not want to do that so I started looking for German hunting pants.

These pants are made of microvelour and Cordura.

The pants are also loaded with pockets including a cargo pocket.

With a button closure, you can secure larger items in the cargo pocket.

The opening at the edge of the cargo pocket is where the integrated knife pocket is located.

Trachenmesser fits perfectly in the pocket.

The front, just like any pants, has traditional hand pockets but the right side also has an additional security pocket with zip safety. You can rest assured that cars keys, money clip, or whatever will not fall out while trekking through the brush.

Both rear pockets have zipper closures as well so you can secure your wallet or hunting license.

The waist allows for some elasticity as we all get fatter when we get older.

The Cordura is a thick material and good protection against all the nastiness one may encounter in the field. These pants are not early season pants at least not here in California. Being microvelour as well these pants are warm. My father's intention is to hunt British Columbia when he takes possession of his custom made Martini Hagn single shot later this summer. If I join him these pants will becoming with us.