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Gotta Have It My Way

Hunting from my Real Bark stand: Several months ago, I wrote about a new stand I had just purchased.

Now that hunting season has been in full swing for a little more than two months, I thought I would report back on how this stand has worked for me.

I will start by telling you I placed a pretty darn big executive office chair in my stand instead of the pedestal and pedestal seat it was designed to accommodate.

I like to be comfortable, and this giant chair allows me to get some real relaxing sleep. Now I know I am not supposed to be sleeping while I am hunting, but no matter how much sleep I get the night before, I almost always catch 40 or more winks in the stand.

Bow season (or crossbow for me): I hunted a total of 14 times during bow season. Three of those hunts were in the pouring rain, and despite having two of the six windows open to allow a breeze to pass through, I did not get even a drop of water on me, my bow or inside the stand.

The stand, even with the giant chair, provided me with plenty of room to cock and shoot my Excalibur crossbow. The Real Bark stand worked great.

Gun season: My stand is set up so I have a shooting lane straight ahead down my food plot with a maximum range of 220 yards, as well as a road to my left with a shooting distance of 1,200 yards (realistically out to about 650 yards).

To my right, the road continues for a distance of about 90 yards of shooting distance before bending to the left.

With the windows open, I have a nice padded rifle or pistol rest on the bottom of each window opening. The soft rubber pad provides a real good non-slip surface for my firearm.

So far I have harvested two deer from this stand. The first was taken with my S&W Model 624 – loaded with my handloads – at a distance of about 20 yards. The first deer came from my right and walked within five feet of the stand, but never saw, heard or smelled me.

The next deer was taken at 255 yards using my Steyr .300 Win Mag.

We had extremely warm temperatures during the month of October. This stand is hot on the inside when it is hot outside, so I purchased an electric fan that runs on 8 D-cell batteries and had it running when it started getting warm.

Both of the deer were shot while the fan was running, so I have to think the stand design and construction keeps most noise contained. The fan was running as the deer walked within five feet of the stand, and it never looked up or acted alarmed.

So far, I have had four deer walk within 5 to 10 feet of this stand, and none have acted as if they smelled or heard me – even with at least two windows open.

So far, I have found the Real Bark treestand (http://www.realbark.com/) to be the ultimate in stands.

Too Heavy: Last month I wrote about the Savage 112 target rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum and mentioned it would be my long-range hunting rifle.

I was wrong.

Unless you have a gun bearer (someone to tote your rifle), it is way too heavy for hunting.

Even during the short walk from the ATV to the stand, I was very aware of the 14-plus-pound rifle.

Then, once in the stand, I found it was too long and way too heavy. If you are after a long-range bench rest target rifle, this one works very well, with little recoil and great accuracy.

Gotta have it my way: About seven months ago I went pig hunting and shot a rather large pig (around 400 lbs.) with my EAA 10mm Hunter. I was using a flat nose, hard cast 180-grain bullet and shot the pig in the left shoulder.

The bullet traveled through the shoulder blade, passed through the heart and exited out the right side. The pig ran a few yards and fell over.

I had been used to shooting jacketed or semi-jacketed handgun bullets and was concerned with the exit hole on this pig. It was the same size as the entry.

The bullet making such a small exit hole meant it did not mushroom, and because it passed right on through, all of the energy was not dispersed into the pig.

Therefore, I did not get nearly enough KNOCK DOWN power.

The semi – or jacketed – hollow points make a BIG hole when exiting, and disperse most of their energy in the targeted animal.

I wanted the same performance from a hard cast, solid lead bullet (300-plus grains in weight) that I could use while hunting with my .44 Mag revolver.

I went to the internet, but could not find what I wanted. So, I made it myself.

Here is what I did:

I took out a pipe flaring kit and, using the part of it that the pipe fits in, I attached a couple of blocks of wood to my drill press plate.

I then used two clamps to secure the pipe flair tool to the wood. I put a Penn 320-grain SSK hard cast lead bullet in the pipe flaring tool, lined up the drill bit so it would drill dead center into the bullet, and drilled out the nose of the bullet until I had removed about 15 grains of lead.

I then took a larger drill bit and – using my hand – spun it on top of the hole in the bullet to flare out the hole and clean up the rough edges.

Then I headed to the backyard for some testing. I fired three of these into wet phone books, and all of them almost doubled in diameter – retaining about 90 percent of their original weight.

I now had it my way – a 305-grain hard cast lead hollow point bullet that would disperse most, or all, of its energy into what I shot.

I am now ready for Mr. Piggy.

If all firearms were treated as if they were loaded, there would be no more accidental shootings. Shoot Straight, Shoot Safe!

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Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”