You may not know this, but it is possible to kill a deer with a cartridge that’s not the 6.5 Creedmoor or 350 Legend. Blasphemy, you say! But it’s true.
The concept of a deer cartridge has always been fluid, and in your grandfather’s time, there was a long list of “deer cartridges.” Here are a dozen that you may never have heard of, and I’ll wager most of you have never shot, yet back in the day they all had their time in the spotlight. In fact, many were the 6.5 Creedmoor of their era. For example:
.22 Savage Hi-Power
While the Winchester Model 1894 was the rifle of the deer hunting masses, the Savage Model 99 was the thinking hunter’s rifle. It’s the gun that “gun guys” gravitated to when the fall turned cold and the bucks were rutting.
The idea of introducing a hot new cartridge to spur sales is hardly a new marketing idea. Hitting the market around 1912 in the Savage Model 99, the .22 Savage HP was the brainchild of the great Charles Newton. A necked-down .25-35 Winchester, it used a .228-inch diameter 70-grain bullet at 2790 fps.
Soon enough its “magic killing powers” were being touted in the social media of the day: magazines. Savage ran advertisements of Reverend H.R. Caldwell with a tiger he killed in China with the cartridge. The patron saint of undersized cartridges, Walter D.M. “Karamojo” Bell, shot a Cape buffalo with the .22 Savage HP and lived to write about it. Here in the US, the .22 Savage HP was promoted heavily as a deer cartridge. One with “killing power well beyond its paper ballistics!” Sound familiar?
Anyway, a few years in the field exposed the truth and the .22 Savage HP faded as a big-game cartridge. Once ammo became scarce and the odd diameter bullet made life difficult for handloaders, a lot of rifles were converted to .25-35 Winchester. If you can find one that’s unmolested now, it’s a treasure and a piece of history. No worries about shooting it, Norma has ammo.
When Winchester launched their Model 1894—the rifle that would dominate deer hunting for a century—they introduced two new smokeless powder cartridges. The .30 WCF, later renamed the .30-30 Winchester, is even today one of the most popular deer cartridges on the market. For years it was said it had killed more deer than any other cartridge. I suspect the .30-06 Springfield has won that title in recent years, but there is no way to prove either claim.
The other cartridge was the .25-35 Winchester. Its main claim to fame is that it was the United States’ first sporting cartridge using smokeless powder, as it slightly predated the .30-30 Win.
At the time, .25-caliber rifle cartridges were popular, which seems to be the only logic in introducing this one. It was pretty much neither fish nor fowl, and quoting Cartridges of the World, “It has never been noted for great stopping power on deer or similar animals.”
Still, people bought the rifles and the cartridge has accounted for a lot of deer. Sales of its big brother overshadowed it by a wide margin until World War II gave the .25-35 Win. a merciful death. Other than a novelty, mini-run of rifles some years ago from Winchester, I don’t believe any American manufacturers have made rifles postwar.
Winchester had a .25-caliber, so “me too” Remington had to have one, right? In 1906 Remington introduced the first successful semi-automatic hunting rifle along with four new rimless cartridges. The .25 Remington was to compete with the .25-35 Winchester, and they both ended up on the trash heap of obsolete cartridges.
Remington later chambered the .25 Rem. in its Model 14 pump-action rifle. When that was replaced by the Model 141 in 1935, the .25 Rem. was dropped—at least officially. I have one that I researched and found to be a custom order. Just like many of my grandfather’s generation, I have even taken a whitetail deer with the rifle.
This is another Charles Newton creation and it set the hunting world on fire. In 1915 hunters were still in awe of cartridges that broke the 2000 fps barrier using that newfangled smokeless powder. The .250-3000 (.250 Savage) got its name because the 87-grain bullet had an impossible muzzle velocity of 3000 fps. Chambered in the Model 99 lever-action rifle, it was an instant success.
Newton wanted Savage to use a 100-grain bullet, but they refused. While the 87-grain turned out to be a sporadic performer, that “3000 fps” was a huge marketing tool. Old-timers scoffed while “enlightened” hunters flocked to the cartridge. With good shot placement, it dropped deer like you switched off their circuits. In 1935 Savage finally offered a 100-grain bullet and this cartridge has never looked back.
Newer cartridges killed it off, but the .250 Savage, as it’s called now, is and always will be the one that launched the modern era of deer cartridges.
Another “me too” cartridge, the .30 Remington was developed to compete with the .30-30 Win. As a rimless cartridge, it was technically a better design, but it lost the popularity war. It was chambered for the Model 8 semi-automatic and in the Model 14 and 141 pump-action rifles. I have one in a Model 141 and love to shoot and hunt with it. That said, I am a gun nerd and don’t mind making my own ammo for these obscure cartridges.
Savage introduced this cartridge in the Model 99 in 1920. It was said to produce .30-06 Springfield ballistics from a short-action cartridge. (Again, sound familiar?) Actually, it really did come close to the .30-06 ballistics of the day.
Soon enough, most of the rifle makers were chambering the .300 Savage. It proved to be outstanding on deer, and was extremely popular until the .308 Winchester came along in 1952 and rubbed it out.
Old guns are common in the .300 Savage, and I have several. My favorite is an early Remington Model 760 pump that my wife gave me for Christmas a few years back. I try to get some deer-hunting time with this rifle every year, and have shot a few whitetails over the years with several different .300 Savage rifles, including an interesting “cull” buck in Texas. That one fell to a Remington Model 722 bolt-action. The .300 Savage is a legendary deer cartridge and it deserves more appreciation than it gets today.
This was America’s first smokeless-powder cartridge. It was developed for the military in 1892. It was also the first small-bore military cartridge, but it only lasted until 1903 when the .30-03 replaced it.
Still, the cartridge lived on in the multitude of surplus rifles that were easy and cheap to buy, back in the days when purchasing a rifle was as easy as procuring any other tool. Far too many got carved up into “sporter” rifles, though, meaning that today, an un-butchered Krag is highly sought after by collectors. In my youth I had a .30-40 Krag carbine that was in very good shape. Like the dumb kid I was, I traded it for another gun, and can’t even remember which it was. Such memories are why I can’t sleep at night.
The cartridge was chambered in a lot of other rifles over the years. I was recently in a camp where one of the hunters had a Winchester Model 1895 in .30-40 Krag, which I unabashedly coveted.
Many believe this was Savage’s attempt to cash in on the popularity of the .30-30 Win., but it’s not true. Savage developed this cartridge for military use. The trouble is, the military never took to it, so in 1895 they introduced it as a sporting cartridge. That’s the same year the .30-30 Win. was introduced, so Savage was certainly not “chasing” it in the market.
The .303 Savage is slightly more powerful than the .30-30 Win. and it was extremely popular in the Model 99 lever-action rifle with deer hunters. Like so many other great cartridges, World War II killed it off.
.32 Winchester Special
Legend has it that Winchester introduced this cartridge in 1902 to appease those handloaders who still wanted to use black powder. It was said that this “cross-over” cartridge let them use the powder of their choice. It’s probably all bunk, another one of those oft-repeated legends perpetrated by gun writers.
Winchester promoted it as a more powerful option to the .30-30 Win. with about 10 percent more whack. A lot of hunters bought into that idea, and I can remember late-night arguments in our deer camp about how the .32 Win. Spl. was better than the .30-30 Win. I have one, and every time I shoot it I remember those wonderful years as a kid, discovering deer hunting and finding my place in deer camp. That’s why it’s special.
The .32 Remington was another “me too” answer to Winchester’s .32 Win. Spl. that never caught on. My Model 14 is special to me because of its history. The woman who sold it to me said it was her dad’s rifle, and it was important to her that someone who appreciates such meaning owns it. She later wrote me a letter saying she used the money to buy a necklace with her dad’s name engraved on the back, so she can be close to him every day. I hope to shoot a deer with it someday to honor the memory of a man I never met.
This cartridge was developed in 1884 as a blackpowder target round, and used mostly in single-shot rifles. Then Winchester and Marlin started chambering it for their lever-action rifles. The cartridge adapted well to smokeless powder and became a fan favorite. It’s hardly a powerhouse with a 165-grain bullet at 1752 fps, but it has killed a lot of deer. I have a Winchester 1894 made in 1901 that’s been in my family for all that time, and has put more than few deer in the coffers.
The .38-55 Winchester also started out in 1884 as a blackpowder target cartridge used mostly in single-shot rifles, but it was shortly adapted to a wide-range of rifle designs, including Marlin and Winchester lever-actions.
John Kascenska prefers a Model 94 .30-30 Win. when he is tracking whitetails.
This is the case that a lot of those cartridge above were designed from. The .22 Savage HP, .25-35 Win., .30-30 Win., .32-40 Win. and .32 Win. Spl. cartridges all used this as a parent cartridge. I have fond memories of hunting with my uncle Butch’s .38-55-chambered Marlin rifle when I was a kid. This rifle was special to a green kid because he used it to stop a charging bear at powder-burn distance. That’s pretty awesome stuff for a 12-year-old.
The cartridge pushes a 255-grain bullet around 1500 fps. Factory loads were as low as 1300 fps, and as high as 1700 fps. The hotter loads were said to be unsuitable for some rifles and could cause them to come apart, but I guess we had fewer lawyers in those days.
A lot of these rifles survive in closets, attics and dusty gun shops. If you seek them out and follow your ancestor’s footsteps into the deer woods, you’ll close the circle of tradition and discover that even those old, “antiquated” cartridges kill deer just fine.
John Moses Browning’s M1911 persists as one of the most prolific handguns in the modern era, but how has this pistol maintained its popularity more than a century after its inception?
The Model 1911 surfaced in the early 1900s after American soldiers realized they needed more firepower and capabilities than the standard M1892 revolver, which had been found wanting during service in the Philipines. Browning answered the call for a more robust handgun, introducing the Model 1911 which was adopted by the U.S. Army on Mar. 29, 1911. As the best Valentine’s to gun culture, Browning’s patent on the design was issued Feb.14, 1911. The M1911 offered a .45 ACP chambered pistol with a standard 8+1 capacity and versatility that made it a sensation.
Seeing service during both World Wars, the M1911 was renowned for its reliability in combat. In fact, during initial military testing, the gun underwent an intense 6,000 round torture test with no malfunctions.
After seeing action in World War II the Model 1911 underwent refinements to its design — namely, it gained an arched mainspring housing, better ergonomics, a shorter trigger, and improved sights. The revamped edition was renamed the M1911A1 to set it apart from the original design.
The M1911A1 was employed in combat in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars in addition to riding alongside law enforcement personnel in the U.S. Border Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Texas Rangers. Though the military eventually replaced it with the M9 in 1985, the M1911A1 remained a steady companion for many special operations units.
Diving into the world of guns, there aren’t too many that have enjoyed the long-term popularity and success as the 1911 platform. Still, a preferred concealed and open carry pistol for many gun owners, the M1911 has proved itself with a slimmer width that often neatly slips into a holster. Available in three sizes —Government, Commander, and Officer — the M1911 allows owners to select a size that fits individual needs, be it carry, competition or home defense.
With an easy to maintain and easy to use design, the M1911 is the go-to for many new .45 ACP gun owners learning the ropes of ownership and carry. Not to mention, for new shooters that manual safety often brings a sense of security while carrying. The M1911 also brings versatility to the handgun game with customizations galore, which has even led to custom 1911 makers like Wilson Combat and Nighthawk Custom making out-of-the-box high-end 1911s.
Whether its the nostalgia that its history brings, its tested reliability or its ability to easily integrate into most facets of gun ownership — be it casual ownership, carry or competition — the M1911 is a stalwart pistol with a steady trajectory that doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon.
Chronic wasting disease is a bureaucrat’s dream come true. It is a problem with no solution that affects the culture of the entire state. You can’t throw enough money at it, and you can’t hire enough people to study it. It’s an open tap to a bottomless keg.
Since 2016, when the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission found its first deer afflicted with chronic wasting disease, deer management in Arkansas has subtly morphed into disease management. In the process, the commission is gradually drifting from a traditional wildlife management model to a veterinary science model. Drifting too far down that path, with pejorative references from staff about feeding and baiting wildlife, might create an irreparable rift with the state’s deer hunting community.
For three decades, the Game and Fish Commission managed the state’s deer herd with distinct, measurable objectives. The result created a high-quality resource and a high-quality opportunity for deer hunters. The agency’s preoccupation with CWD represents a net loss for the agency’s license-buying constituents.
Game and Fish Commission member Bobby Martin of Little Rock has said repeatedly that the agency’s response to CWD lacks sufficient evidence to support the efficacy of the regulations. Furthermore, the commission’s staff offers no hope that the regulations will effect a desirable outcome. Martin said he believes the agency’s response should be more measured at a time when hunting participation is rapidly declining in Arkansas.
“Three years from now, if deer aren’t behaving way they are today, would we remove these restrictions and restore the three-point rule?” Martin asked. “These are permanent changes, and I don’t think the public thinks of them that way. I believe we are disincentivizing deer hunting in our state. Reducing harvest is an eventual outcome. Loss of hunter recruitment results in a shift of dependence of land to the supermarket. The negative economic and social impact is real, with lasting, if not permanent, results.”
Martin noted that the commission’s wildlife management and research staffs do not know how many deer have died from chronic wasting disease since 2017, nor can they project how deer will die from CWD within the next three to five years. Epizootic hemorrhagic disease and blue tongue are known to kill a lot more deer historically and annually than CWD. Martin said it is essential from a scientific standpoint to know how many deer die from CWD compared to other diseases so that CWD’s actual impact can be distinguished from its presumed impact.
To fill the data gap, Martin asked the wildlife management division to shift a “meaningful” portion of its research effort and budget to conduct a serious mortality study in areas with the highest CWD prevalence and in controlled conditions behind double high fences.
“I recognize the seriousness of this disease, but the question about mortality is one we have to answer,” Martin said. “People ask me, ‘How many died in my county?’ I can’t tell them. ‘How many do you expect to die?’ I can’t tell them that either. We need to do all can, but we need better balance.”
Steven Beaupre, the commission’s non-voting member, said that the commission implemented its chronic wasting disease management plan to try to preserve high quality deer hunting in areas where CWD was not known to exist.
“We don’t know the end game,” Martin said. “If we had more clarity about deer mortality [relative to CWD], certainly we would have something around which to judge our reactions.”
“I don’t think there is an endgame,” Beaupre said. “We’re going to live with this disease on the landscape for as long as we’re all here. There’s no good solution to this issue.”
Ultimately, the agency’s CWD obsession will require money and resources that the commission does not have. Its only recourse will be to ask voters to increase the conservation sales tax under Amendment 75, or to ask the legislature to increase hunting and fishing license fees.
Missouri deer hunters donated nearly 350,000 pounds of venison to food banks and pantries across the state this season, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) said in a news release.
The hunters donated the meat to Missouri’s Share the Harvest program, which provides “lean, healthy” venison to help feed hungry Missourians.
“Hunters started Share the Harvest because they saw a need in their communities and hunters remain the driving force behind this popular program that helps feed our fellow Missourians who are in need,” MDC director Sara Parker Pauley said in a statement.
“We sincerely thank the thousands of deer hunters who support Share the Harvest, along with the many participating meat processors and sponsors who help make it possible.”
The program, coordinated by MDC and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM), was launched in 1992. Since then, more than 4.3 million pounds of meat has been ground, packaged and donated to people in need. The fees to process and package the meat are covered by local sponsors throughout the state.
“We greatly appreciate the hunters, processors, and sponsors for their support of Share the Harvest,” CFM executive director Tyler Schwartze said in the news release. “The donated venison stays in the local areas where the deer were harvested so it truly is helping out neighbors in need.”
Anyone in Missouri who needs meat from Share the Harvest can contact their local food pantry.
Virginia legislators have clearly lost their minds on this latest bill that was drafted and filed this month, which will be open to discussion come January 2020.
This of course is in reference to Senate Bill Number 64, or SB64 as it may appear on various print or spoken discussion.
Virginia is attempted to chip away at the rights of citizens, one small hammer stroke at a time; and this bill is going to attempt to outlaw firearm training. We’ll display the language used in the bill and get into dissecting how it may be perceived generally, or even presented, versus how it can also be enacted.
The first portion of the bill goes as follows:
“A person is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity, punishable as a Class 5 felony if he: 1. Teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder”
How it will be Perceived/Explained:
The way that they drafted the bill, and the portions that will be either emphasized or broadly digested will be the portions related to people “knowing” that they’re preparing someone for some “civil disorder”.
They might even say that this law can be used against Antifa, which it could, but will it?
Talking heads will go on television, hyping up that this is a good measure that will criminalize people training for acts related to domestic terrorism; although why would we need a law for something there’s already a law for? That could be addressed already by Virginia law § 18.2-46.5.
How it can be Enforced:
The most dangerous words in this proposal are “knowing or having reason to know” and “in furtherance of”.
The reason being that intent is no longer really required, leaving every gun range owners and employees susceptible to prosecution for simply doing business. It’s plain as day why this language is the way it is, because with these key words, only loose connections need to be established to criminalize gun owners and enthusiasts.
Furthermore, civil disorder is also quite a broad term as well to be concerned about.
The second and also third portion of this bills is as follows:
“2. Assembles with one or more persons for the purpose of training with, practicing with, or being instructed in the use of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, intending to employ such training for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder; or
3. Assembles with one or more persons with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons by drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof.”
How it will be Perceived/Explained:
Well now this will try to put you at rest from thinking that someone can legally start up some kind of training camp to prepare people to wreak havoc on your city, which with the way the law is written it can certainly be applied in that fashion.
And that portion pertaining to marching, well that’s to stop anyone from making it look like they own your streets via a militaristic grip and toting their scary guns. Keep in mind, this is how it will be sold and broadly digested.
How it can be Enforced:
That last Section, 3, is the most unique part of the law. While Section 2 can be applied much like Section 1 can, that third portion has the ability to criminalize open-carry demonstrations and peaceful protests.
As we saw last year in Washington, D.C., the “March for our Lives” demonstration which had a theme that was about banning guns, encountered some counter-protesters proudly displaying their second amendment rights and openly carrying.
These few dozen individuals held what they called a “Patriot Picket” and that pesky third portion of the proposed bill can send someone to jail for having a firearm on their person whilst attending a march such as that.
I’ve never quite understood the anti-gun movement. Guns seemed to be the only object that gets blamed for murder when they’re used for murder. No one tries to ban Hondas when someone strike a pedestrian with one.
No one tries to ban Clorox when someone’s kid drinks it. Nor do people try to ban kitchen cutlery when someone is murdered with a knife, but for some reason guns are just so awful to some people.
The people that hate them, but don’t stand to benefit from their ban or confiscation are only one thing: potential victims of crime. Don’t stand idly while these laws slide into your state.