HuntingPA

The experiences of a hunter and trapper in Pennsylvania

Turkeys!

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This year for the first time I’ve been playing with a trail camera. Its been very interesting to get to see what all wildlife is out there. So far I’m starting to recognize different bucks and notice the size difference in the does.

Tonight I was out later on moving my trail camera and I saw/heard a turkey fly up to a tree. When I walked out of the woods I spooked three of them out of the trees! I still need to shoot me first turkey maybe I’ll get a chance this year when the season opens up. I’ve been seeing turkeys show up on my trail camera from time to time so they seem to be staying in this area.

Remington 1875 Replica

The other day on my Remington 1875 replica the ejector pin snapped off the ejector handle. I was only able to find that part for this gun two places online: vtigunparts.com and taylorsfirearms.com It turns out that taylorsfirearms was about $4 cheaper and the shipping was the same so I bought it from them.

Sadly, neither stores sold a nickle plated version of the ejector rod/nut so now my gun has a black one. I also replaced my main cylinder pin because of a mod I did a while back to make it easier to come out, which ended up making it too easy to come out in the long run.

Above the gun is leaning on my case of Winchester gunsmithing punches. They came in handy because of the nylon punches which took good care of the finish.

Really the black does not look too bad.

A couple handy tips I learned while replacing these parts.

The underrib under the barrel gave me the hard time coming off. The secret is that there is a pin that enters the frame of the gun in parallel to the barrel. So to remove the underrib you have to first unscreen the screw at the point of the underrib then you have to gently tap downwards on it away from the frame until you can wedge a screw driver in there to pry it out the rest of the way.

The second thing I learned is that my Craftsman impact driver could work very nicly to break screws lose. Originally, when I first took the screw out of the underrib I remember having a very hard time with it. I’ve seen a gunsmithing tool that is a screw driver you tap with a hammer I’m thinking that the impact driver if used very carefully could work just as well.

Other than the finish the fit of the parts from TayorsFirearms was pretty good. I did notice the cylinder pin was a tiny bit shorter and the fingernail catch at the end was smaller. Right now though it seems to work fine. I do worry though that I will have troubles getting it out, without a screwdriver to pry on it, after putting some rounds of blackpowder through the gun again. If it gets to be super hard to get out I might take it out and put in the old pin some day. We will see how it goes.

The time it took for me two do the job was about 45 minutes to disassemble and maybe 30 minutes to put back together. I’ve had the gun apart a few times though so I pretty much knew what I was doing and I also had all of the screws already broke free. On the otherhand, I was enjoying myself and was not in a rush.

Well, hopefully I get in some shooting this weekend.

I’ve heard many times that people new to reloading ammunition should start with a single stage press. Then later after they understand the basics they should move up to the kind of press the want whether it be progressive or a turret press.

A couple weeks back I upgraded from my Lee single stage press to the Lee LoadMaster progressive press. Back when I bought my Lee single stage press I paid like $30 for it and I was in business after buying dies and all the other things that go along with reloading. It taught me a lot of things about reloading that came in handy with my new press.

First it taught be how to adjust the dies. It can take some trial and error to adjust each die properly. On the LoadMaster you have all the dies sitting there in front of you and you have to worry about going from station to station. Of course you can pull the indexing pin and spin the case to the station you want, but I knew what each die is supposed to do and what the case/bullet should look like after each step. When I first started loading I had to read the instructions continually to figure out which die did which. After a couple of times I got it, but there was a learning period.

Secondly, my single stage press taught me about working up a load. When I am trying a load I’ll make up a round and then go outside and shoot it right then. I’ve made some rounds that weren’t crimped right and hardly shot. I’ve loaded round balls and trail boss powder in my .45 Colt without much load data other then guesstimation. I’m not an expert, but I can load a round and shoot it and then know reasonable well if there is something I need to adjust. A multi-stage press is made for churning out ammo. I have not messed with my loads very much, because I already know what my .45 likes. I still got to go through that process with my 9mm, but its not a big deal because I have that experience.

Thirdly, I know what a properly primed round feels like. Primers need seated at a certain depth. To high and it might catch on the frame and interfere, take a second strike to ignite if you have a light hammer spring, or worse go off while loading. To low and you crush the primer. I know how a primer feels when you seat it in the press. I know how hard you should have to push down. If its not smooth as you prime the round you might have caught the edge and wrinkled the primer. I had to set the primer depth and adjust it quite a bit before my LoadMaster started working knowing how to prime properly really helped.

Fifthly, you can start reloading on a single stage press almost immediately. When you try something new its great to have instant success. On the other hand setting up my LoadMaster probably took me eight hours before I had adjusted it enough to be churning out decent rounds. Of course the LoadMaster may be harder then most presses to setup, but I would suspect most presses have at least some adjustments to do.

Finally, if you already have a single stage press you can use it for priming or de-priming. If you want to clean the primer pocket or trim the case after you re-size it might simpler to just use the single stage press. Its a handy tool to have. I’ll be keeping my single stage press around, because I already needed it once, when my press failed to prime some rounds and I did not want to reset the whole process just to prime a couple rounds.

So those are my initial observations about reloading on a progressive press. Maybe I’ll do a write up soon about the Lee LoadMaster itself and some of the issues I faced during setup and how I resolved them.

Well, I went all flintlock season without getting a deer. I did see some anyways. Last Saturday I had a doe run within 10 yards of me. I tried to fire, but the pan flashed without setting the gun off. I re-primed and fired into the hill side and then it went off fine. I suspect the foggy air may have had something to do with it. I’ve heard people say that changing the pan powder in wet weather is a good practice–I probably should have been more careful to follow that advice.

Today marked the start of the 2012-2013 flintlock season for deer. In the season your buck tag can now act as a doe tag in any WMU.

Twas a bit snowy today so I had to leave early for my apartment so I did not make it out for any hunting. Hopefully, I get some hunting later in the season.

I had fun doe hunting on my week of vacation. The first Saturday both my Father and one of my brothers got antlerless deer. On Tuesday another one of my brothers shot a deer.

I saw a few deer here and there, but except for the first Saturday none of the deer gave me a shot.

While I was figuring out where different PA gamelands where at on Google Earth I got the idea to overlay the gameland maps from the PGC’s website. It worked out pretty well. There is supposed to be a way to export the overlays so I’ll have to post them up here sometime. I only focused on game lands in Armstrong county, but someone else might find them useful.

Well I’m missing out on the first days of buck season back in WMU 2D. That’s life I guess though. The great thing is I have the whole week of doe season off from work. So that is a pleasant change from the past couple of years where I had to work deer season around college finals and weekends.

I’ve seen deer for the past two days driving to and from work down here in Washington county, PA. The first morning it was a doe running across a field. Tonight I saw four or five out in a field. I’ll have to do some hunting down here in the flintlock season after Christmas.

BuckStoneCreek is a new website like woot.com for hunters and fishers. They offer items at discount for a limited time, aka a “flash sale.”

In an email interview I did with founder Michael Land, he said they are “currently…working with about 30 brands” in the hunting and fishing industry and they are “adding new ones every week.” The concept behind a “flash sale”  is its a way for companies to advertise their products and to gain brand recognition. It’s almost like Sam’s Club giving out samples of food in hopes that you will buy more food in the future. In fact the concept was originally called a “sample sale.”

One thing you will notice immediately when you go to BuckStoneCreek.com is you can’t see the products they currently have for sale unless you sign up for a free membership. I asked Michael about this and he said that “discounts…often violate Minimum Advertised Price or MAP requirements established by brands.” Essentially, by being a “closed” site they can “avoid MAP requirements.”

I’m a bit a of security nut when it comes to giving out my email address to anyone. As a test, I often create addresses on my domain-name that I can tie to the organization I give it to. Given BuckStoneCreek’s closed policy I was a little wary giving them my email address right off the bat. Today I looked at the tracked address I gave BuckStoneCreek when I signed up for an account on September 18th, 2012. They have not sold my email address to date and their founder has said they “never will.” Since signing up I have only received a weekly email from them announcing their latest items for sale. Of course,  that was the point of signing up for an account in the first place. The emails they send comply with the CAN-SPAM act in that they included a way to unsubscribe at the bottom of the email. Also when I log into my account online I can see they have an easy to find way to mange email alerts.

Anyway, the real question is, if you sign up for an account will they really have anything on sale at a decent price? The site says it sells items at 50-80% off retail price so I requested some past sales information from Michael. I took a sampling of the data he gave me and focused on the price differences between BuckStoneCreek and Cabela’s. Here are the results:

Product BuckStoneCreek Cabela’s Amount Saved
 Morrell Combo Target $59.99 $99.99 $40
 Vanguard Spirit Plus Binoculars 8x36mm $125.99 $219.99 $94
 Hunter Safety System Ultra Lite-EXTREME Harness $79.99 $119.99 $40
 Hunter Safety System Tree Stand Life Line $24.99 $44.99 $20

So that gives an average of around 40% off when compared to Cabela’s. To be fair BuckStoneCreek’s claim is for retail price and this is a small sample size. However, beating Cabela’s price consistently like this says something. In a few other instances, BuckStoneCreek beat prices on sites like WalMart and Gander Mountain by as much as 70%. Prices like these show their site is heading in a direction that meets their goal.

Shipping is where most shopping sites kill you. To check I took a look at what BuckStoneCreek charged to ship their “Hunter Safety System Tree Stand Life Line.” Shipping would have cost $7.99 for a single item and five of them would have cost $19.99, so shipping seems average and certainly not a killer.

After trying BuckStoneCreek.com for over a month, I would say that it is a site worth watching if you are into hunting or fishing. According to their founder, “you won’t find items they feature cheaper anywhere else.” Even if they don’t have something you want now, you may find something good down the road.

During my interview with Michael, he offered to make available a unique coupon code only available to the readers of huntingpa.info. When you enter huntingpa72 you will get and additional 10% off your first order. Sign up at BuckStoneCreek.com

Well, last Saturday I spent most of the day in the woods hunting the last day of the October Muzzleloader season here in Pennsylvania.

In the morning I saw a small buck. In the afternoon I jumped a deer in some brush, but could not get a good look at in. Then when I was driving home after dark I saw three does in a field not to far from where I had been hunting.

Despite the rain on Saturday when I fired my gun on Sunday it went off quite nicely. I give credit to the poor-man’s cow’s-knee a zip-lock plastic back over my lock. It worked.

Last Saturday I had a fun opener for the October Muzzleloader season.

I spooked two deer in the morning as I was walking into a field. They were in the woods before I got a chance to really look at them though.

Later in the day I hunted a wooded area that had been mined in the past leaving behind hills and ravines. Later in the afternoon as I walk down to a ravine I saw a deer standing broadside to me at about 100 yards on the opposite side. It was just far enough away that I could not quite make out its head for sure, so it ended up running away before I got a shot at it.