The small parts including the hand and springs show discoloration and pitting as a result of being uncleaned during a three-week hunting period.
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During the production of my 7-part YouTube video series on “Modern Percussion Revolvers” I hunted with Cabela’s Buffalo stainless steel revolver which is made in Italy by Pietta. While using this gun on squirrels and deer I would sometimes fire a chamber or two, clean those chambers and the barrel and brush off any residue from the Triple Seven Powder (A black powder substitute.) for the next day’s hunt. When I had secured my deer, I completely stripped the gun down and found that corrosion had pitted some of the small interior parts and discoloration started on the trigger and hammer.
Although it is a pain to fire all the chambers, completely clean in soap and water, dry and reload, this is still necessary when using either black powder or the majority of the black-powder substitutes. This needs to be done if the gun is made of regular blued or stainless steels. Although called “stainless,” this steel will corrode when exposed to black powder and atmospheric moisture. In extremely dry climates this may not be such a factor, but it is in the humid southeastern U.S. where I live.
There are trade offs in life, and the ones related to stainless steel firearms are that these steels do not machine as cleanly as high-carbon steels. The result is that screws may be very hard to remove the first time the gun is disassembled. However after they have been removed and replaced 10 or so times, particularly when lubricated, the threads will “clean up” and the process will become much easier. These steels are also softer than the typical high-carbon steels used on firearms. Care must be taken not to cross-thread the screw seats when replacing screws or percussion nipples. It also pays to use fitted screwdrivers and are ground to fit the heads of the screws to prevent buggering them if they are difficult to extract. With these precautions and a tray or towel to hold the small parts these guns may be dissembled and reassembled without fear of damaging the gun; provided that you are patient and take your time.
Always make sure that you remove and clean the nipples as these tend to clog, sieze in the cylinder and cause misfires. Twists of damp and then dry paper towels are very useful for cleaning the tiny holes in the nipples.
As the concluding part of my 7-part video series, “Modern Percussion Revolvers,” I planned to take deer and/or hogs with two stainless steel pistols. One was made by Pietta in Italy (Cabela’s Buffalo) and the other the American-made Ruger Old Army. In a pervious post I described how the Buffalo revolver took a small doe with two shots which demonstrated the potential usefulness of the revolver as a hunting tool. Having multiple-shot availability is helpful if you have a wounded animal on the ground that might run off, you have the potential for several targets or you might need another shot to keep from being chomped upon by a wild hog.
The Old Army was not new to me. Previously, I had taken squirrels as well as finished off alligators beside the boat by sending a pistol bullet into their brains at point-blank range. The advent of Triple Seven powder, which gives higher velocities, and new percussion revolver bullets designed by Kaido Ojamaa provided a load that exceeded 500 fpe. of muzzle energy giving the Old Army big-game killing potential. The details of these results are reported on a previous blog, and will also appear in the 2013 Edition of the Gun Digest Annual.
While I had previously dismissed the percussion revolver in favor of more powerful single-shot muzzleloading handguns, others, such as Florida hunter Rudy Betancourt, had been quite happily killing deer and hogs approaching 200 pounds with these revolvers and Triple Seven loads. I arranged to get some of the new flat-nosed 240-grain bullets from Kaido Ojamaa in time to confirm that with a 35-grain load of Triple Seven FFFg powder they gave an average velocity of 987 fps and 519 fpe from the gun’s 7 1/2-inch barrel. (Inquire about the 240 and 255 grain versions of these bullets and 6-cavity molds for them from Ojamaa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All I needed to do was to find a cooperative deer. Six set ups did not produce a deer that I could shoot because the animals were too far, running or obscured by brush. Ultimately I went out before sunrise and set up about 30 yards from the boundary of an overgrown cut-over area and more mature timber. Deer frequently walked along this edge.
Because I had spooked deer before with the noise of cocking these revolvers (three distinct clicks), I pre-cocked the gun. This is a very dangerous practice, and I cannot recommend it. If you must pre-cock the gun because you expect close-range game, make sure that there are no possible twigs, etc. that can touch the trigger as you raise the gun. Also do not put your finger inside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. Lay the finger alongside and above the trigger. I got into this habit from years of shooting set-triggered muzzleloading guns that fire at a touch of the trigger. There are single-shot muzzleloading pistols that you can “silent cock,” but not percussion or cartridge revolvers. This is also a dangerous thing to do in a tree stand as the cocked revolvers will fall butt first with their barrels pointing upwards, toward YOU, and frequently fire.
Half an hour after I arrived at my spot a buck approached from the right walking the edge of the cut-over. When he reached a path, he hesitated and spotted something strange (me). He took two steps towards me along the path and stopped again. I had already raised and sighted the pistol on the deer. When it started to turn away I shot, putting the bullet at the point of the shoulder. The deer bounded off at the hit, and I heard it crashing through the small trees in the overgrown clear-cut before it went down.
The 240-grain bullet broke the shoulder joint and exited the buck after passing through its lungs. It had penetrated about 12-inches of deer on its diagonal path through the animal. The wound channel was perhaps not as big as it would have been with a .44 Remington Magnum, but was quite impressive. I cut up most of this deer for the freezer that afternoon and made deer burger from the cuttings the next day.
One problem that I found with the 240-grain bullet was that after two or three shots the other bullets would creep forward in their chambers under recoil pressures, hit against the barrel and tie up the gun as the cylinder was rotated. These could be pushed back into the chambers under finger pressure and the shooting continued. The slightly longer 255-grain version of this bullet may alleviate this problem.
The first meal from the deer used the boiled neck roast to make “Perlow with Green Balls.” The “green balls” come from the fact that I also put Brussels sprouts in this rice-based dish. An approximation of this free-form recipe is given at the end of this post.
“Modern Percussion Revolvers. Part 7 B. Big game hunting. Blog version.” is an 8-minute video that may be seen on YouTube by activating the following live link: http://youtu.be/YligBXZFFQg if you have any difficulties in viewing it here.
A 12-munute version of this video with more information on hunting techniques and deer habitat is also on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/LWNh24pbpZs.
Perlows are rice-based dishes often done with chicken and/or wild meats to which peppers are added to make a spicy after-hunt meal. These are free-form creations, but most commonly have some fowl, any wild game meat, sausage, peppers and more or less vegetables as they are available. Traditionally they would be cooked in a cast-iron pot over campfire coals or on a wood stove.
This particular one was constructed with:
2-medium boiled ducks with meat stripped from bones
1 deer neck roast boiled and meat removed and shredded
12 Brussels Sprouts
6 small mushrooms
1 cup brown rice
2 cans tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 pound frozen butter beans
1 chipped large Spanish onion
1/4-chopped bell pepper
1 small diced very hot red pepper
1 medium hot round red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pressure cook and shred all meat. Retain broth. Add all ingredients to pot and boil until Brussel sprouts are tender. As rice cooks and absorbs broth (start with 4 cups of broth to one cup of rice), adjust liquid content as needed to keep from sticking. The dish, as shown here, is a very thick soup; but could be served dryer if desired. The rice should be slightly firm and not cooked completely soft.
Regrettably, the Georgia based company Tree Lounge that was started by Bob and Margaret Hice is no longer in business. The Hices sold their company, but the new owners went bankrupt and they got their company back with a load of debt. In addition they received something of a black eye because the new owners sent production to China, and the resulting stands were not as rugged as the originals.
Bob and Margaret resumed production at the original factory in North Georgia. They re-introduced the original model of the stand with an elaborate set of accessories, added a new line “Elusive Whitetail,” and made a “Ground Lounge” and “Ladder Lounge” to enlarge their product offerings. During this time Bob died and Margaret, who always ran many aspects of company operations, took over management.
With much reluctance the last of the company’s 40-odd employs were let go and
the company closed its doors last spring. To hear a more complete version of the story, listen to an interview that I did with Margaret on “Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures that aired on Oct. 17, 2011, on WebTalkRadio.net. This show is available as an “archived show” and may be heard by activating the drop-down menu. I found Margaret, who is the secretary of the the Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International, representing the Chapter.
To listen to the show from the EPIC Game Fair, which includes Martaret’s interview, go to my website www.hoveysmith.com , and click on the “Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures Radio Show” link just below the banner. That will take you to the WebTalkRadio.net show page.
The original stands were rugged and can be expected to last for generations. I do not know of anyone supplying parts and accessories for them. If someone is, please reply to this post.
Least one think that all we gun writers have to do is to step out our back door and pop a deer with whatever hunting tools we happen to fancy at the moment, that is not quite how it works for me. After so many trips in the field that I lost count and one trip out of state to a hunting preserve, I finally managed to get a smallish doe with two shots fired from Cabela’s .44-caliber Buffalo Revolver.
This is an interesting gun as it has the strong topstrap of the 1858 Remington design, adjustable sights, a 12-inch barrel and my version is all stainless steel. There is a less expensive brass-framed model which is not recommended for the load I used. This load consist of of 40 grains of Hodgdon’s Triple Seven Powder (FFFg)(10 percent more powerful that black powder), an Ox-Yoke Wonder Wad (lubricated felt), round ball and topped off by Ox-Yoke’s wax Revolver Wonder Seals. This is a powerful load in this gun and approaches 500 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy. I had previously condemed all percussion revolvers as being suitable only for small game or for point-black kill shots on deer, but this load has big-game killing potential on the smallish deer and hogs that I mostly shoot.
I attempted to use heavier elongate bullets in this revolver, but found that they shot less well than round balls at 50 yards. These efforts are documented in a series of seven YouTube videos on the wmhoveysmith channel. “Part 1. The Pistols” may be seen at: http://youtu.be/PB0SYhonsqM. As this work progressed I received correspondence from other pistol shooters, notably Florida hunter Rudy Betancourt, telling of their experiences with this gun and load. Betancourt has killed hogs weighing up to 170 pounds with this load and several smaller hogs and deer.
I tried one shot at a deer, but the ball was deflected by an intervening branch and did not touch the animal. My next opportunity was when I was sitting on the ground and a deer walked past at about 30-yards across the valley. My first shot hit a bit high on the spine and knocked it down. My second shot penetrated the heart and finished the animal. Both bullets passed through the small deer with the heart shot penetrating about 10-inches of fur, hide, bone and flesh.
This experience illustrated the chief advantage of using a revolver – having the possibility of a rapid second shot. This is particularly important to me as my aging eyes no longer see iron sights well, and I must now shoot without my glasses to use them at all. Disadvantages of this revolver for hunting are the loud cocking noises (three distinct clicks as the mechanical parts function) and its shiny finish. On previous attempts I spooked deer on both accounts. On this hunt I did the particularly dangerous practice of precocking the revolver and laying it in my lap so that I only had to raise the gun and fire as the deer approached. (I do not recommend this practice as it is an easy way to shoot oneself in the foot, leg or somewhere else. If anything, it is even more dangerous to have a cocked revolver in a tree stand because should the gun fall it will frequently fire, and because of revolver’s weight distribution, the butt will hit first with the barrel pointing upwards – towards YOU. I say this because pre-cocking the gun is such an obvious solution to the problem of close-range deer being spooked by the noise of operating the gun.) With many single-shot muzzelloading hunting pistols it is possible to silent cock the gun by pulling back the trigger, pulling back the hammer and then releasing the trigger and slowly lowering the hammer to to allow the sear to catch on the hammer’s full-cock notch. Such an action is not possible with the revolver. Even if the gun was on half-cock and the hammer “silent cocked” from there, there is still the harsh metallic sound of the spring-powered pall locking up in the cylinder notch. Starting from half-cock would eliminate two of the three “clicks,” but still be quite loud. Although, working from half-cock might be only marginally safer as falling half-cock guns will often fire too.
If I were to design the ideal muzzleloading revolver for hunting I would employ a dull matt or black finish, make the gun of stainless steel, give it a longer cylinder, adjustable sights (and a scope rail for us older hunters), 12-inches or more barrel, a fast twist barrels for elongate bullets, a hammer-blocking quiet safety and a larger grip, while retaining the loading lever style of the Remington 1858 or Ruger Old Army (better). Will there ever be such a gun? There could be. However, for something that a person can purchase today, the Cabela’s Buffalo stainless revolver is the best available, now that the Old Army is no longer in production.
The Ruger can shoot elongate bullets better and run over 500-foot pounds of muzzle energy with a newly designed 240-grained bulled designed by Kaido Ojamaa which works both in percussion revolvers and in cartridges such as the .45 L.C. He also has a similar bullet that weighs 255-grains. I am now deer hunting with the Old Army. I passed on a spike this morning. More on my hunting experiences with the Old Army as they happen.
The Wounded Warrior program was initiated by the U.S. Army to assist those from recent conflicts in making a more complete return to civilian life. This program offers a large variety of training and activities, including hunting and fishing, to supplement the Veterans Administrations’ rehabilitation efforts. As a gun writer and Vietnam-era veteran, I offered to host a Wounded Warrior on a deer hunt at my home. Former Sgt. Billy Deen who lives in Ellersile, Georgia, took me up on my offer.
As it turned out, Sgt. Deen has a 13-year-old son, Hunter, who had yet to take his first deer. Asked if he would like to accompany his dad on this hunt, Hunter replied that he would. The problem was finding a time when he would have an early out from school so that we could do a full week-end hunt. Although I have numbers of deer, killing one at any particular time is a chancy business. The more time we could spend “on stand” the higher our possibilities of success.
Hunter’s school let out early on one Friday in November. This allowed the Deens to drive from Western to Central Georgia in time to get checked out with muzzleloaders for a hunt on the last day of Georgia’s muzzleloading season. Sgt. Deen was having trouble shooting the unfamiliar CVA Electra, but Hunter shot well. Time was running short, so it was agreed that Hunter, who is large for 13 and could handle an adult-level load, would shoot that evening and his dad would use his bolt-action cartridge rifle the next morning when regular gun season came in.
After taking them to their built-up shooting box, I went to my location inside the woods on
the other end of this large field. I sat on the ground to cover a deer trail where I might have the short-range shot opportunity that I needed for the .44-caliber Cabela’s Buffalo Stainless percussion revolver that I was using. Darkness was approaching as I left to collect my “sports” and take them back to the house.
When I was half-way back to their stand, a shot rang out. This shot was shortly followed by Sgt. Deen’s statement, “He’s down.” I got to the shooting box in time to walk up on the deer together. To say that Hunter was excited would be an understatement. He and his dad had seen the deer approach from over 200 yards and come up to within 40-yards of the blind. Hunter, in his excitement about seeing his “first deer” approach, forgot that he had to turn the electrically-fired rifle on, and then tried to pull the trigger before taking off the safety. In the meantime the deer was moving so that it was partly obscured by a limb, and he had to wait for an unobstructed shot. His dad quietly coached him through the “flusters,” and Hunter made a nice shot through the center of the shoulder.
Well struck through both lungs by a powerful load of 100 grains of Hodgdon’s Magnum Triple Seven pellets and CVA’s AeroLite 300-grain bullet, the buck ran some 50-yards and collapsed in sight of the blind at the edge of the field. Hunter was trembling when he climbed down from the blind and on our walk to the deer. He temporarily overcame his characteristic microphone shyness, and I recorded his remarks as we approached the deer. (These may be heard on my radio show, “Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures” on an episode that first aired on November 7, 2011, on WebTalkRadio.net. To hear this show go to my website www.hoveysmith.com and click on the live link to the show just under the banner. If it is not the current show, it will be available as an archived show by activating a drop-down menu under the “Archived Shows” tab).
Hunter was blooded, and the father-son pair drug the deer across the field to my truck. That evening was spent cleaning the deer, including caping it out for mounting after mom told the pair in no uncertain terms to, “Mount that deer.” The deer was a 5-point buck, about 2-years old, with a symmetrical rack. This was not a buck that I would have taken, but I told Hunter that he could shoot any deer seen. I consider that this was a fine buck for a hunter to take for a first deer, and I was proud to have participated in the event.
The next day’s hunt produced no deer. The quartered deer had been on ice overnight, and I showed the Deens how to cut and package a deer, make deer burger and a custom sausage with less salt, relatively little pepper and no cure. The result is a low-fat healthier fresh sausage that can be used as is, or to make a one-pot meal when added to any vegetables.
This type of hunt and the subsequent processing of the deer into food is an approach that I commonly take in my books such as Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound, Crossbow Hunting and Practical Bowfishing. These books as well as my blogs are available at www.hoveysmith.com. I also have more than 100 YouTube videos on guns, hunting and wild-game cooking.
As of November, 2011, the now discontinued Electra rifle is available from the on-line outdoor company, Sportsman’s Guide, for prices that range from a little over $200 to about $170. These guns will be available until they sell out, and they are not likely to be re-made. To take a look at them go to www.sportsmansguide.com.
One more photo. Hunter Deen, freshly blooded, at the kill site with his deer.
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