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Here's to your turn...

29 Sep 2020
@ 12:31 pm (GMT)

Daniel Schindler

Lord but how I can remember the good’old days. Just short of a young age, we were sneaking around the open fields of Pennsylvania hunting groundhogs with what we could afford…our .22 Long Rifles. And we were good at it…clean kills. Along came the .222 Remington and .225 Winchester. What Jim’s .222 would do to an empty Cola can!!! Holy crap!! 2 young kids in shock. I eventually got the .225. 225 had to be better than .222, right? Heads up all you groundhogs way, way out there…beware the boom.

If I may say so, I think you would have been proud of me. There I was at the back of the classroom, both hands holding up my World History book, studying intensely. I was focused!! Good on you Danny! Had you walked around behind me you would have seen me glued to the current issue of Guns & Ammo. A hint of a coming hobby? History has positively confirmed it was only the beginning of a grim and costly addiction.

See…I’ve always eaten, breathed, slept, dreamed and lived for rifles and hunting. I knew all the calibers, powders and bullets in the reloading manuals by heart. I did. Didn’t know my algebra worth a damn but I could quote chapter and verse ALL the internal, external and terminal ballistics, fps, fpe…you know, all the important stuff.

I learned that Jack and Elmer didn’t get along but…like a religion…I was listening to everything they preached. They may not have noticed me when they crept through the timber to close the distance on that bull Elk or Kudu…but I WAS THERE…as Elmer used to say. Time and time again, Elmer’s philosophy was…bigger was better. He was definitely right of course. Jack? Trust me on this…he was even more righter…for sheep and such.

First time ever, out for deer…I knew nothing…saw nothing all day except snow up to my eyeballs. Almost 14 years old, I had on every pair of socks I owned, long underwear, 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts and 3 sweaters. No coat. It was either the coat or the sweaters. Feet borderline hypothermic in my street shoes…by noon I was almost warm. My gun? A 6.5 Japanese that came off the shelf in Joe The Motorist’s Friend…maybe 20 hard earned dollars? I saved up. You’re wondering if I was OK with all that? SURE…I was hunting!!!

The rifles and calibers I’ve owned over the last 6 decades…I’ve lost track. However, I remember vividly watching my first deer go down to my Marlin, 35 Remington with a 200 grain CoreLokt…as in NOW. Was I the first to say DRT? Only Google knows. Many a groundhog could have told you how accurate I had become with that Marlin lever action and a Weaver 4x scope. Still couldn’t afford more than 2 rifles and the .35 had it all over my .22. Anyway…a fella came along and helped me clean that buck. People are good ya know. Not kidding when I say I wish I could go back and thank him again. An act I’ve done my best to repeat, asked or not.

Not long after…Life let me make some money and Mr. Walt Woodward built me a rifle. The way I wanted it built. Looked somewhat like the stunning Heym carbine I saw on the magazine cover in the 1960’s. OH how I wanted that Heym. All that stood between me and that rifle was a bank robbery. My rifle had an 18.5” barrel with a laminated, thumbhole stock. .338 Winchester got the nod. Ears ringing…folks walked over to my side of the range…wanted to know what I was shooting. Worked good on deer too…yessir. One truly horrible, frigid morning, no one else was on the mountain except my best friend Jim. I was working…told I had to…so Jim had my rifle. A monster 12 point came sneaking up the hill Jim was watching. Yup, took only one shot. You probably knew that already. Jim forgot what rifle he was shooting…got a bloody eyebrow for that. Did better than his 30-30 ever did though. Seemed that way to me any way…then again, back then, I thought everybody should be carrying a .338. At least!!

A voracious reader in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s…vicariously, I went with Warren Page, Townsend Whelen, Bob Brister, Elmer and Jack on many, many hunts. Sadly, after my silent love affair with the 7x57…ever heard of a guy named Karamojo Bell…I later learned of Eleanor Oconnor’s problems on game with the 7x57 in Africa. Folks smarter than me blamed it on the bullets of that era. Good enough for me. Long live the old warhorse! The cartridge.

A few years back…maybe 10 or more…I decided to go to Alaska…hold out for a 7 ft Black Bear…spot and stalk. My rifle? A Winchester Model 70 in .458 Winchester using a Cutting Edge bullet out of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Wasn’t about practicality…it was all about what I wanted to take on this hunt. It was Mother’s Day around 4 PM, well into my trip, and my guide Johnny and I spotted THE bear. Later, Johnny said he’d seen a few hundred bears expire…but never bounce after hitting the ground. DRT. Maybe Elmer was onto something?? Still think I was the first to say DRT.

Walt’s rifle is still in my safe today, now a more manageable 30-06. We changed barrels right before he passed. Good man, Walt was. You could count on him for quality work, all the time, no excuses. That kind of work is still around, but harder to find these days. God bless you Sir.

And now, like some before me, the time has come to decide…what rifles do I want to keep? I’ve seriously considered the few hunts I still want to make…selecting a rifle/cartridge specifically appropriate for each of those hunts. The rest will all be sold…already have actually…including the .225; 6.5x55; 25-06; 35 Remington; 7mm Rm Mag; the Rigby # 1; the .375 H&H and the .458. Say what? You want the truth…the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Not for Miss Cheryl’s ears…but that’s the short list of prior ownership.

What’s still here is the .243 for Southeast deer and coyotes…works a treat; the .270 Win for deer of all sizes…works exceptionally well with 150 gr Partitions; my ’06 for pretty much everything else…never a doubt, uber dependable; and finally, my “pet,” a Remington Classic .35 Whelen (The Hammer) for Elk, hopefully in 2021. Replaced the trigger so I’m good to go. Not a large battery by any means but one chosen with some long and painful indecision.

In closing…my hunting experiences, while not few…in truth are not vast either. That said, I have no complaints, none. Blessed and privileged far more than one imperfect soul has a right to be, good friends and God’s majesty have kept my hunting adventure plate full. Africa’s still on my Bucket List…hoping. Contributions welcome.

If you made it to here and are still reading…thanks. I appreciate it. Please know that no criticism was stated or inferred…what rifles and calibers you may prefer over mine. Nothing is being “recommended.” Just some ramblings of a hunter who is happy to realize his time afield is not quite yet over…and he still has a few “connoisseur” rifles in his safe, waiting impatiently for their turn. I am committed to make sure each gets their turn.

Here’s to your turn. Cheers.

Nathan…hopefully I’ve put this in the right place. If not…blame Jim. He sure has made a lot of mistakes in my life.


03 Oct 2020
@ 08:54 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Here's to your turn...
Hi Dan, that was a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing your experiences and fond memories.
03 Oct 2020
@ 02:11 pm (GMT)

william badgley

Re: Here's to your turn...
Dan, Cant tell you how much that post of yours meant to me. I suspect we are about the same age and am sure we have gone through the same process in this world of all things guns. Same love of guns, same hero's, same love of hunting, same thoughts about which guns to keep in the event some need to be sold. As of right now I have a list of who each gun is to be gifted to in the event of my sudden death. I've told my two non-hunting daughters I don't want them sold I want them loved. They know where the list is and will honor my wishes. Some of the people on my list love guns as much as we do but were never able to afford them. Nothing would please me more than to see them fall into their deserving hands. The list will be updated occasionally as I see younger and younger but deserving new hunters coming along. If circumstances change and I have to sell some of them it will be agony deciding which go and which stay. So thank you again for that beautiful post. It does my heart good to know others feel as I do about our guns/hunting and all things related. In case you are wondering, I never tell the potential recipients. Don't want anyone speeding up my death !
07 Oct 2020
@ 11:47 am (GMT)

Daniel Schindler

Re: Here's to your turn...
Thanks William. Wish we were closer. So many stories to share. First Ale is on me.


We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.