When asked what his go-to hunting gear consists of, SCI Member Jeffrey P. responds:
“My regular hunting partner and I have been to Africa twice. Just returning on 10 June from the East Cape. We hunted plains game both times using .30-‘06. On this recent trip, we added another friend, also using a .30-‘06. The battery included one Kimber, one Ruger, and one FN-made Model 70. On our first trip I used Black Hills Gold ammunition with 180-grain Barnes Triple Shock bullets. My partner used handloads with 165-grain Barnes TTSX. Due to difficulty in finding Black Hills, I switched to Barnes VOR-TX 180-grain TTSX, while my partner stayed with his handloads. Our new guy also used VOR-TX in 180 grain.
“Performance from the .30-‘06 was excellent. All of my shots, with the exception of the blue wildebeest, were pass-throughs including a 252-yard kudu shoulder/neck shot. The wildebeest was shot on the shoulder at 90 yards and the bullet recovered on the opposite side. A number of shots on zebra, warthog, and gemsbok were angled shots with performance also being excellent.
“I took a .375 Ruger on my first trip, and a .243 Model 70 on the second trip, but ended up shooting the .30-‘06. No fault with the guns or calibers–just the way hunting goes sometimes. My Model 70 wears a Swarovski Z6 2X12, so sometimes the scope made the choice. I also shoot a custom .338 Remington that I use for elk, but like the lighter ‘06 for Africa.
“There has been a lot of press on the old standby. If I only owned one gun it would be an ‘06. I started my twin boys on deer with a Model 70 Featherweight and a Ruger Hawkeye. That Ruger was used by one of my pals on our most recent trip. The ammunition these days is so good that the use of magnums out to 300-350 yards is just unnecessary. We sight the guns in at 2 inches high at 100 yards resulting in a 200 yard zero.”
Board members of the Southern New Mexico Chapter in Roswell, New Mexico, stand in front of one of the seven wildlife water catch systems that the chapter purchased for the BLM and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Each tank holds 1,800 gallons of water and will be placed on BLM and NM Game and Fish Department land northeast and east of Roswell. With the catch system installed, one inch of rainfall will funnel 560 gallons of water into the tank. In times of low rainfall, the BLM will fill the tanks from one of their fire truck tankers. These water systems are expected to benefit the prairie chicken population and the deer and antelope herds in the area. Standing left to right are BLM representative Randy Howard; Board Members Kim Talbot, Charlie Thompson, Richard Wacker and Hud Rhea; Regional Representative Herb Atkinson; Chapter President Ed Garrett; and Chapter Member Bart Hanson.
SCI Life Member William A. Nerud, M.D., is a Korean War-era U.S. Army veteran, retired member in good standing of the Rodeo Cowboy Association, and served for about 20 years as a Washington State Hunter Education Instructor.
Dr. Nerud is an M.D. Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, College of Surgeons, and Diplomat of the Boards. He is a Life member of SCI, member of the Quarter Century Society, Master Measurer and spent more than 10 years on several committees within SCI, including the Board of Directors, and one year as SCICF Vice President. He received the SCI Conservation and Education award in 1990, Sables “Man of the Year” in 1992, and was inducted into the SCI Hall of Fame in 1994.
He has hunted on five continents, has been on seven African Safaris, completed the Grand Slam of North American Sheep, taken most of the North American 30, as well as African Big 5, plus crocodile, hippo and most of the spiral horns.
“I do not profess to be an expert, but I am no longer a green hand,” he notes.
Reloading and Ammunition Preferences
I have successfully hunted on five continents and display an excess of 100 species in my trophy room. Early in my hunting career, reloading was the thing to do. It was enjoyable and economically practical.
On my first professionally guided hunt (for Alaska brown bear), my outfitter inquired regarding ammunition: “The only problems I’ve seen are clients’ handloads–difficult to chamber, misfire due to moisture, etc. You and your ammo will be soaked through before this hunt is completed. You save and scrimp for years, obligate yourself for innumerable honey-do’s with the little woman and risk it all on a 10-cent handload.” That made sense to me, so I load only for varmint shooting and for an original 1874 old reliable Sharps .45/110.
Among the kinds of ammunition used, I obtained Federal Premium Safari ammo loaded with their “Bear Claw” Trophy Bonded bullets in both .300 Winchester Magnum and .375 H&H Magnum. Retrieved bullets had mushroomed beautifully, and had 90-plus percent weight retention.
Federal Premium .25-06 bullets lost only two grains of weight when retrieved from a Himalayan tahr taken on South Island of New Zealand, and I had excellent results on plains game in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The .470 Nitro Express Federal Premium Safari Grade bullet was not retrieved from an elephant it killed.
I have used heavy bullets–300-grain .375 H&H and 200-grain .300 Winchester Magnum– in Africa, desiring maximum impact at usually medium to close range. Also, those have done well in North America on bear, moose, elk and bison.
The .25-06 has proven adequate for pronghorn, mule deer, whitetail deer, blacktail deer and Coues deer. I used the .300 Winchester Magnum as possible bear insurance on Kodiak Island when I hunted for Sitka blacktail deer there. Both have been uniformly effective in my hands. Logistically ammo for these standard calibers is usually available in areas of the world where hunters congregate, which is important if luggage does not arrive.
I remain completely comfortable with my venerable calibers: .25-‘06, .300 Winchester Magnum, .375 H&H Magnum, and .470 Nitro Express with Federal Ammunition.
I attempt to follow the three points of effective shooting:
Hit him in the correct spot, Dummy!
My all-time favorite rifle is an FN Mauser .375 H&H Magnum. The new-barreled action was a gift in 1967 from a patient whom I had treated during the last year of my Ortho Surgical Residency. He was referred for amputation of his right leg–an old war wound, and he went home walking well on his own two legs, convinced that I knew my business. The action was stocked by a friend, student and protégé of Al Biesen, gunmaker, of Spokane, Washington, who is well known to the late Jack O’Conner’s readers.
From its first hunt, bear in British Columbia, through much of the dangerous game in the world, there was a reflected sensation of quiet confidence and absolute dependability that I have never felt with any other firearm. It has never been on a hunt and failed to make one or more kills.
The following will explain my faith in the Mauser-type controlled feed and extraction. In the High Alti of Mongolia, I had taken my Ovis ammon ammon sheep and had a running shot straight away at 17 ibex rams 300 yards, 20 to 25 degrees downhill with a “shoot, shoot” from the native hunter.
One separated and cleared from the group. At my shot, he went down. I heard the bullet strike, but then he was back on his feet and disappeared into a huge rockslide. I circled to come in above him despite terrible footing (it was very steep — thank God for Vibram soles). I missed a snapshot and hit a rock by his shoulder due to a combination of adrenaline, hurrying and poor footing.
My customized Remington Model 700 with its “bump and slide” cartridge feed did not allow the bolt to close. I stopped and looked, and there was a live round in the chamber, and another live round between it and the bolt face with the bullet tip of the rear round resting on the primer of the chambered round. A bit more pressure and it could have ruined my whole day.
I resolved the problem and killed the ibex with the next shot.
Reconstructing the sequence, it seems as though the bolt moved forward, pushing a shell out of the magazine and into the chamber. As I stumbled and gyrated in the rocks, the bolt was pulled back and picked up another round. This is potentially an unwholesome situation. A dangerous game animal could tear most of the buttons off your shirt in the time required to recognize and resolve the problem.
My .25-06 Biesen customized Argentine military Mauser and my Model 77 Biesen Ruger .300 Winchester Magnum have controlled round feeding and quietly exude an air of confidence and dependability.
I believe effective marksmanship is 10 percent equipment and 90 percent mental. Having established positive relationships would be unwise to change.
My Beretta 686 Sporting Clays gun will at times toss her beautiful Italian head, mutter a few obscenities and refuse to break over 50 to 60 percent of thrown targets. Other times with a radiant smile, she is almost infallible. A Super Black Eagle Benelli 3 1/2-inch 12-gauge, a gift from my children, is the most dependable of all. Mud, snow, freezing rain and a goose blind are no problem.
Sheep and Goats
I have taken the North American Slam of Wild Sheep: Dall in Alaska; Stone in British Columbia; desert in Sonora, Mexico; and California bighorn in British Columbia. All were taken with the .300 Winchester Magnum–nothing over 300 yards. With the .25-‘06, I took aoudad in Texas, mouflon in Washington and Himalayan tahr in New Zealand. I took the Ovis ammen ammen and Ovis ammen darwini High Alti and Gobi with the .300 Winchester Magnum at less than 300 yards.
My late wife and I each killed two of the four Spanish ibex in what was a “community property slam.” Two were taken with her 6mm Remington and two with my .300 Winchester Magnum.
For my Rocky Mountain goats, one was taken in the Cabinet Wilderness area of Montana with a .30-‘06 and one in British Columbia with a .300 Winchester Magnum.
Sheep and goat hunting can become a disease. Treatment is only palliative with another hunt. Pre-requisite: positive attitude, good knees and climbing tolerance, a bit of money, a good rifle and competent marksmanship.
Archie Nesbitt, president of Calgary Chapter in Canada (right), is shown with Clement Lanthier, president & CEO of the Calgary Zoo, who donated, a priceless behind-the-scenes experience for six people to take the Penguin Plunge. “This is truly a unique and intimate experience,” explained Lanthier as he addressed the Calgary SCI Chapter’s 17th Annual Fundraiser. He also explained that the unique relationship between the Calgary Zoo and SCI makes perfect sense as they are both very conservation-minded organizations and can accomplish great things when they work together. The 100 percent donation sold at auction for $1,600 and Lanthier was so pleased that he offered a second donation to the back-bidder that again sold for $1,600!