I've been watching Max's Big Iron shows. A great tribute to revolver hunting "big stuff". In this currant lock down I've only been able to take groundhogs, but I got to thinking about my "big iron" adventures. I'd like to share them and the way I get prepare for them.
In the past I've had almost unlimited access to massive amounts of groundhogs. They're my proving grounds for my upcoming hunts. Sadly, their numbers are dramatically decreasing mostly due to me (13,666 as of Dec. 2019) and the local coyotes.
My big irons are my 10" .500 Taurus RB and 6" .500 Smith, plus a FA .475 Linebaugh.
.500s first. I've never had a scope on my Smith so it hasn't had really big game taken with it. I didn't get it until after most of my big adventures. My RB, though, has gotten some work. The way I go about my trails is first to shoot targets and see what works.
As you can see the RB is no slouch at 100 yds. That's 4 different bullets in 1.45".
The next step is groundhogs.
As I posted recently, this was taken with a head shot at 139 yds. with a 400 gr. Woodleigh. So much for cheap, inaccurate Raging Bulls.
The next step is deer. Unfortunately, my computer crashed and I lost the photo of a 160 yd. permit doe taken with a 375 X.
After deer the .500 was ready for serious hunting.
This 8' brown bear was taken from the little island to the right of me. 129 yds. Dropped at the shot, dead, but the guide had me shoot him again. Here's the bullet
As much as I like the .500s, they're very heavy and not friendly to packing for my old back and knees.
My other big iron, the .475L, is more to my liking. It's much lighter than the .500, and very close to the power level of the .500 while using 400/425 gr. bullets. They take a little toll on my old hands, so I use some lighter bullets, but at full power, then switch to the heavier ones in testing just before my hunts.
I'm not real big on taking a lot of photos of targets ( I make notes on groups/etc.), so I can't show a 5 shot, 1 1/2" group at 25( open sight) or a 3" group at 100 (scoped). They satisfied me that my gun is a shooter.
As usual, groundhogs first
Another milestone with a 325 gr. XTP, but a most recent one (2 days ago)
Notice the head shot, at a social distancing range of 55 yds. with a 400 gr. Punch bullet. The Ultradot helps a lot, but I have a "new" eye now (cataract repair) and I think open sights may be in my future. The Punch is very accurate with good penetration on groundhogs (!!!). I'm hoping to use this combo before my legs play out ( getting old really sucks).
After 'hogs come the deer
A corn eater at 40 yds., open sights, and a 275 gr. X
A little bigger stuff
Limpopo bushbuck, open sights, 70 yds, 325 gr. Speer Gold Dot. Dropped at the shot.
Now it was time to get serious.
90 minutes of tracking in soft sand. 325 #, 275 gr. X (excellent damage on this size animal). Shot a little high with open sights at 35 yds. (probably a little excited). Needed a finisher. A real rush.
It was time to prepare for a hunt of a lifetime. I neede to something pretty big.
40 yds., 425 gr. lead SWC. Dropped at the shot. It's buddy false charged to 20 yds. Wow!
Now it was time for the ultimate, rectum tightening, harrowing hunt.
Came on 3 sleeping rhinos. Sat on the ground at 35 yds. Told the PH he was crazy. They woke 15 minutes later, while I went thru 3 or 4 lifetimes. They all stood. I shot the second biggest one (#11 SCI. another was probably #1, $$$). 425 cast SWC. Got in a second shot before he ran. One of the others charged. Got to 3 FEET of me before PH threw me in a massive thorn bush. Closest I've ever come to dying on a hunt. After we calmed down! and I picked over 30 3" thorns out of me, and we changed our underwear, we went after him. 3 shots total.
So, that's my "big iron" story and my prep for using my big irons. I love this stuff and I hope I have enough life left in me to keep on doing this. I guess you could say I love hunting!