‘Safari’ Only in Group’s Name

The term “safari” usually congers a notion of big game hunting in Africa or some far-flung destination in the primitive outback. But that isn’t always the case.

This definition is all too limited, according to Don Giottonini, owner of Valley Lumber in Stockton and president of the nonprofit Sacramento Safari Club, which has donated more than $1.53 million to improve natural habitat and preserve wildlife.

From funding deer and wild pig studies to restoring populations of native bighorn sheep to historic ranges in Yosemite and herds of tule elk throughout the Central Valley, the Safari Club has accomplished so much for wildlife in California.

It’s the perspective of being purely a hunting group that needs to be changed, said Giottonini, who is trying to get his message to the public.

The Sacramento Safari Club has helped reintroduce bighorn sheep to their historic range in Yosemite National Park. Steve Kline/Courtesy

Safari Club programs attempt to educate the public about the important role sport hunting plays in managing wildlife in our state. Others support on-the-ground projects and studies to rebuild species that are in decline, or balance wildlife abundance with the amount of available habitat.

Preconceived ideas, especially among urban dwellers, and blatant false claims by narrow environmental groups make Giottonini’s challenge difficult.

“It’s tough to get the truth out there,” he said. “Our citizens are more removed from the land than ever and bombarded by mistruths on social media.”

Here’s a question: Did you know that legal sport hunting never has caused the extinction of any animal in California, or anyplace else in the United States?

“Don’t take my word for it,” Giottonini said. “That’s a claim made by the state Department of Fish and Game.”

Since its inception in 1978, the Sacramento Safari Club not only has given direct support to wildlife projects in the state, but also supported critters nationally and internationally, such as the re-propagation of the black rhinoceros in Zimbabwe and wood bison in Alaska.

In Sacramento, the group helped the Effe Yeaw Nature Center build an animal and riparian habitat display area, funded Scholastic Youth Shooting Programs at Stockton’s Waterloo Gun and Bocci Club and paid for films on mountain lions, bighorn sheep and disappearing wetlands that aired on PBS.

Get the idea? This outfit really cares about wildlife.

Safari Club International has more than two million members and affiliates. Giottonini said the group’s emphasis continues to focus squarely on habitat and conservation programs, and proper game management through hunting and legislation.

“Recently, we sponsored field studies of wild pig and deer herds at Angel Island State Park, Railroad Flat, Round Valley and the eastern Sierra,” he said. “At the same time, we’re underwriting youth scholarships, public school teacher trainings and research in biological conservation through the Cal State University system.”

As a passionate conservationist who believes in ecosystem management and the principles of sustainable use, Giottonini understands that hunting is not just part of his heritage.

“It is not just a pathway to connect with the land and the natural resources surrounding us,” he said. “And hunting is not just a sport or recreation. It is part of my identify and personal desire to conserve wildlife for generations to come.”

Now, if he could only get the Safari Club message out.–Peter Ottesen

This article is reprinted with the permission of Recordnet.com where it originally appeared. It was written by Recordnet.com Outdoor Correspondent Peter Ottesen.


Catalunya Fundraiser

catalunya SCI Chapter

The first international Chapter of SCI was chartered in Barcelona, Catalunya 28 years ago during a personal visit of C. J. McElroy to Spain. Today the SCI Catalunya Chapter works successfully on the foundations laid in 1984 by the original founders. Many monthly activities are offered by the Chapter, with one of the two social highlights of the events schedule being the late Spring Fundraiser Dinner. More than 130 persons attended this year’s event and all auctioned hunts were sold. Shown from right are, among Jose Maria Losa Reverte, President of the SCI Catalunya Chapter; and, seated, third from right, SCI Regional Representative Europe Norbert Ullmann surrounded by SCI, political authorities and members of the Press Corps from Catalunya, Levante, Madrid and the Balearean Islands.


Important Walther PK380 Safety Recall Notice

Walther-PK380During an internal quality review, Carl Walther GmbH has identified a condition that may exist in certain PK380 pistols that may permit a round to be discharged if the trigger is pulled, despite engagement of the manual safety. Walther has found that engagement of the manual safety may not prevent firing of a chambered round when the trigger is pulled.

This recall applies to Walther PK380, .380 ACP pistols manufactured by Carl Walther GmbH from May through September 2012, which have a serial number range from PK101201 to PK112155.


Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury, and we ask that you stop using your pistol until we have an opportunity to inspect it to make certain that there is no condition which will allow the pistol to discharge with the safety engaged.

To facilitate the inspection and repair, if necessary, of your pistol, please contact Waltheramerica’s customer service department at 1-800-713-0356 to receive instructions and a call tag for the return of your pistol to Waltheramerica.

Additional information will be posted on Waltheramerica.com.  If you have any questions about this recall, please contact Waltheramerica at 1-800-713-0356.

Marlin’s .256 Winchester Levermatic

Marlin-Levermatic 256-Winchester
Marlin’s Levermatic and Ruger’s Hawkeye were both chambered in .256 Winchester Magnum.

Anyone younger than 50 will be forgiven if the name “Levermatic” means nothing to them.

This was a rifle produced by Marlin in the 1950s and ‘60s that can be charitably described as “ill-starred,” but it is one that is still intriguing after all these years.  And if, like your obedient correspondent, you spent your youthful years studying the 1965 Marlin catalog when you should have been learning trigonometry, then the story of the Levermatic is worth hearing.

No one will ever know what moved Marlin, maker of the multi-million-selling Model 39A lever-action .22, to design the Model 56 as a rival for its own star.  But that’s what Marlin did.

The 39A was a traditional lever rifle with a tube magazine – highly attractive in those days when the horse opera dominated the airwaves, and everyone was thinking cowboys and Winchesters.

The Model 56, conversely, had a one-piece stock, a box magazine, and a mechanism whose chief boast was a “short throw” lever that could supposedly be manipulated by flexing your fingers, with your hand never leaving the stock.  It was named for the year of its introduction.

The next year came the Model 57, with a tubular magazine, and later a model to accommodate Winchester’s new .22 Rimfire Magnum cartridge.

Brass for the .256 Winchester Magnum (r.) is easily formed using .357 Magnum (l.) as the parent case.

So it was no surprise, when Remington and Winchester each announced a new small-rifle cartridge in the spring of 1961, that Marlin decided to adapt the Levermatic to chamber them.  The cartridges were the .22 Remington Jet and the .256 Winchester Magnum.  Both were based on the necked-down .357 Magnum cartridge, and both were billed as “combination” rounds that could, like the .32-20, be chambered in either a handgun or a rifle.

Oddly, neither Winchester nor Remington chambered a rifle for their own creations; instead, they sent them out the door to make their own way in the world, like Oliver Twist.

Smith & Wesson did adopt the .22 Jet, creating the Model 53 “Dual Magnum” double-action revolver to shoot it.  This revolver came out around 1962, and lasted until 1974.

Ruger created its “Hawkeye” single-shot lookalike of a single-action revolver, with a pivoting breechblock in place of a cylinder, and chambered it for the .256 Winchester.  They made 3,300 of them (and created an instant collector’s item) before throwing in the towel.

The only riflemaker to take any interest was Marlin, which adapted its Levermatic action to the two centerfires and the result was the Model 62.  Although it was slated to be made in both the Jet and the .256, only one Jet (a test model) is known to exist.  It was sent to Ken Waters and Bob Wallack for a test article for Gun Digest.  The .256 Winchester did go into production, however, and Marlin made some 8,000 of them.

In 1966, Marlin added the .30 Carbine chambering and began phasing out the .256 Winchester.  Another 8,000 .30 Carbine Model 62s were made before the rifle was discontinued completely in 1971.

Factory .256 Winchester Magnum ammunition is discontinued, so handloading is the only option for an avid Levermatic shooter.

With only two handguns and one rifle originally chambered for these cartridges, they did not last long on the ammunition lists.  Winchester stopped making .256 Winchester around 1990, and the .22 Jet was gone from Remington’s list by 1993.  Today, both are strictly handloading propositions.  Although factory Remington brass is still available, .256 Winchester brass will never be made again; apparently, Winchester destroyed the dies.  It can, however, be easily fashioned from .357 Magnum brass, with a two-die forming set from C-H Tool & Die.

Owners of Marlin Model 62 Levermatics generally fall into two categories:  Those who would not part with them, and those who want to sell because they can’t find ammunition.  So, while not exactly common, they are not collectors’ darlings, either.

What a Levermatic is, though, is the source of a lot of fun shooting.  Once you have a supply of .256 brass, ammunition making is easy and economical, and the Levermatic is a very accurate, well-made rifle.  Noise is mild, recoil nonexistent, and you can stalk squirrels and ground hogs to your small boy’s heart’s content, regardless of your age.–Terry Wieland


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