Iron Sights Still Work
By Keith Kerr
Okay, I decided to wax traditional this past Saturday in the woods. I left my scoped instruments at home and opted to hunt with a bit of history.
My Step-Grandfather had an old Winchester Model 94 in 30 WCF (30-30) that he bought used in 1936. He had given it to his only son, who was killed during the invasion of Iwo Jima. My grandfather Bush had died in January of 1967 at the all too young age of 49. My Grandmother remarried Roy Smith, from Coushatta, LA, in the mid 1970's. Thus, I came to call Roy Smith my Step-Grandfather.
Roy passed away back in 1989 and left his guns to us three grandsons. My older brother inherited the 1928 Browning Sweet 16 shotgun, my younger brother the old Remington Single shot .22 and I the Winchester 30-30. Roy always wanted to take the rifle and go deer hunting, but age and opportunity worked against him and he never pulled it off.
I pulled the gun out and gave it a good cleaning. The bluing is mostly gone and the receiver is covered with the patina of age. The old walnut stock has its share of dents and dings. The old metal butt plate reminds one of the time before plastic was the rule. I decided I would honor him by using it this year. I am not a fan of the rear buckhorn sight that came with the rifle, so I ordered a Lyman #2 tang mounted peep sight. I mounted it on the tang, removing the buckhorn rear sight.
Some folks in the area go to the Game and Fish shooting range to zero their rifles. I did not have that much time, so I stepped off 50 yards, took the old rifle and set it on my “custom” shooting rail, which in reality is the top rail of my deck.
After a few adjustments, the old gun put three 150 grain Federal factory loads about ½ inch high and centered. I was pleased that the old rifle could still group well, as long as I did my part. I can only hope I function half as good when I am over 80 years old!
The old rifle was with me this past Saturday when I dropped my oldest daughter off at her stand and went over to my father's box stand. I was not there more than 30 minutes when a group of three does appeared at 80 yards, munching on acorns. I watched them feed for about 15 minutes, mainly to make sure a buck was not trailing the group.
Now, in south Arkansas, we almost have an overpopulation issue with deer and we are encouraged to take two does for each buck. My family enjoys the finest organic meats that south Arkansas can offer, so I decided it was time to stock the freezer.
I cocked the old rifle, settled the sight on the shoulder of the biggest doe in the bunch and fired. She dropped as soon as the shot went off and the other two scattered. One of the other does came back out onto the opening to look around about three minutes later and the old Winchester spoke again. She went down, as well. Two nice does weighing about 130 pounds each was a gift the family really enjoyed.
I have taken a lot of deer in my life, including a number of good bucks, but I must admit that these two doe with the old Winchester made for a lot of satisfaction. Papa Roy could be cantankerous at times, but he loved to hunt. He would have smiled to know that, here in the 21st Century, his old 30-30 "made meat” the old fashioned way. Incidentally, my daughter, shooting a 4-12x scoped 25-06 rifle, MISSED!
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