posted on January 04, 2010 08:38
Another deer season has come and gone. Although I hate to see my hunting time expire, I do enjoy hearing the tales and stories of other hunters who like me, look forward to the November MN deer hunt.
We had a recent gathering of friends and family and while sitting around the dining room table, my buddy, Calvin, made comment of the old .38-55 Winchester hanging on the wall. “I remember my old man taking many deer with his old .38-55. Not much for distance, but it got the job done.” Calvin was right. The 255 grain slug at 1300fps wasn’t the finest deer killer ever invented, but just like his folks and mine, many families relied on the old firearms to provide the winter venison. A couple of the older men started talking about deer they had taken with .22 LRs, .410 shotguns with slugs, 20 & 12 gauges filled with buckshot, black powder .45-70s, and a host of other old, obsolete, cartridges that will never be seen on the ammo racks at Gander Mountain.
I remember taking deer with .22 LRs while baling hay during the hard economic times in the 1980s. The little rifle was stored next to the fender on the Massey Harris tractor (neither I nor my father will make any apologies for doing so either). After a long, enjoyable talk, it was quite clear the high-powered magnum cartridges of today vastly outperform the older rounds and they offer the hunter more capability than the cartridges such as the .38-55. However, the memories while using the wall-hanging firearms in our houses can never be replaced.
The old rifle mentioned by Calvin is nothing more than a decoration at this point. The barrel is completely shot out. The gun was used to kill countless deer during hunting season along with, hogs, and beef cattle for the farmers market. I tried to have some cast bullets made for it, but there simply isn’t any rifling left. I could rebarrel the old girl, but my dad has asked me not to do so. He wants to see his grandfathers useful tool left in its original condition. For as many memories as I have of the rifle, my father has twice as much.