Elmer Keith Says

(Continued from page 8)

hand. The action has two conventional heavy guard screws, one at front and one at rear of receiver, with a generous recoil lug on the front one.

Safety is positioned same as on the Remington and Enfield. It is perfect as to position, but is a flat plate that locks both sear and striker and is very hard to pull on. It will release at a touch. In fact, it releases far loo easily to suit me, and I believe Roy will have to redesign this safety and come up with something like the Remington 725 or Enfield 1917 safety. This safety is the only real criticism I have of this very fine rifle action, and am sure it can and will be improved over this pilot model I have been testing.

Bolt and magazine follower are beautifully Damascened. Trigger guard and floor plate of this rifle is gold plated and carries some engraving to break up the plainness. The receiver, bolt handle, and barrel have the finest polishing and blueing job I have seen on any rifle for a long time. The barrel is 26" long but very light and of most perfect shape and contour for burning the huge powder charge effectively. It has six narrow lands and wide grooves, is very highly polished inside and out and is made of Timken barrel steel.

Rear end of receiver comes back over the top of the grip like the later Model 70s and

The rifle is chambered for the Weatherby .300 magnum cartridge and is free-bored a short distance. I never did believe in free-boring or in over-bore-capacity cases. This huge capacity case will work well with 4831 powder and long heavy bullets, but I for one would prefer a case of less capacity and a proper bullet seat, to the big case and free boring, necessary to allow the bullet free jump to cut down initial pressures. In spite of the free boring and huge powder charge, the rifle shoots very well, and is extremely flat in its trajectory. In fact, it is one of the flattest shooting rifles I have used with 180 grain bullets. It actually seems to shoot closer out at 300 yards and beyond that it does at 100 yards. My last two 100 yard groups can be practically covered with a silver dollar at 100 yards, but the very high velocity bullet is no doubt still gyrating some at this range and I suspect it would shoot smaller groups at 200 to 300 yards than at 100 yards, as is true of our .285 O.K.H. Duplex load with 180 grain

Mk V bolt with nine lugs shrounds case base for great strength; aids shots to group under 2" (rt., I 5/8") at 100 yds.

Remington 725s, so it will not set back and chip a stock at top of grip. The rifle is beautifully stocked in fine figured wood. Butt stock is my old design of 30 years ago to the letter, and proven over the years to be the most comfortable stock of all for rifles of sharp recoil. The Monte Carlo comb is higher at rear than at nose of comb and, with the big comfortable cheek piece, simply slips out from under the cheek bone in recoil. Cheek rest and comb are also just the right height for the scope sight. The bottom of grip cap is flared for sure grip. Forestock is a radical departure from my own design, is rather flat on bottom and wider at bottom and then tapers up to narrower form at the top. The sides are rather flat. The tip is of a contrasting colored hard wood, square on the front end but sloping back at the top toward the barrel. All told, it is a comfortable and hand filling fore end, affording excellent grip without bulk or weight. Grip cap is also of a dark contrasting hardwood with ivory diamond inlay. A good recoil pad and excellent detachable sling swivels complete the stock. Grip and fore end are artistically checkered. It is a very light, handy rifle that balances and handles perfectly and will fit 90 per cent of the shooters just as it comes from the factory. Finish and inletting are very good for a production-line quality sporting rifle.

bullets. 1 never did make any very small groups with the 285 O.K.H. 180 grain Duplex load at 100 yards, but out at 300 yards have shot a good many five shot groups that could be covered with a silver dollar. I suspect this Weatherby 300 magnum may well do the same.

After shooting groups at 100 yards from a bench rest, I turned the rifle on rocks the size of coyotes and jack rabbits at 300 yards, busting them all, with the spotting scope showing the hits very close to center. Next, we tried it out at 600 yards. The rifle was sighted to shoot about 4" high at 100 yards and was dead on at 300 to 325 yards. At 600 yards, it seemed to have only about 12 to 15" drop, and 1 was able to make hits on small objects no larger than a jack rabbit by holding about that much over from a sitting position.

Incidentally, the front sling swivel is placed about right for perfect prone shooting with sling. All told, I would say this rifle gives very good hunting accuracy and would be dynamite on sheep, goats, caribou, or antelope at long range. I do not. however, share Roy Weatherby's enthusiasm to the extent of recommending it for everything from elk to elephant. It will be and has proven very destructive to meal on all I Continued on page 64)

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{Continued from page 17)

He winked at Milburn Stone and Amanda Blake as he said it. and I thought he was kidding. But—lie did it! The gag about his leg was just a gag. of course; although he plays the part of a cripple on "Gunsmoke," Dennis Weaver is 6 feet 1 inch tall and an athlete of real ability. He loves shooting, and would do his full share of it during this week-end; but he is not a hunter. When we rolled out of camp next morning, "Chester" wakened only to toss out a few disparaging remarks about "idiots who would leave a nice warm sack to go sky-liootin' over a mountain to scare a lot of inoffensive animals." In the pre-dawn chill, before the coffee was ready, I wasn't sure he wasn't right!

Three A.M. is an unholy hour, no matter where you face it: and it was just 3 A.M. when Warden Leavitt's pick-up came roaring into camp next morning, as inexorable as death or taxes. The early morning air was cold and heavy with moisture. In spile of his last night's excitement, even Jim Arness— drugged with sleep like a small boy on a school morning—grumbled sleepily for "just a few minutes" before crawling out of his blankets. But once he was up and fully awake, he was eager. Armed with a cup of steaming coffee and with a heavy Army blanket draped over his shoulders, Jim made a hurried check of his hunting equipment.

He would, lie had decided, carry the Remington .280 this morning. The choice hinged largely on the scope. The Finnish Sako .270 had not yet been fitted with its scope, and Jim figured that the dull early morning light would put a premium on the brilliance and light-gathering qualities of the Balvar 8. In this country where the shot offered might be at any range from point blank to long, the variable-power feature of the Balvar might come in handy too. This was something Jim had never tried under actual hunting conditions, and he was eager for the opportunity.

Veteran Los Angeles sportsman Charles Bewley, Warden Leavitt. Jim Arness, and I made up the party that drove in Leavitt's pick-up to a hay field not far from the outskirts of the village. We turned there and followed a rutted ranch road for several thousand yards, up hill, along a narrow strip of pasture land bordered by brush and timber. The road was crisscrossed with deer tracks, many made within minutes of our passing, according to Leavitt. "They heard the truck," he said, "and spooked into the timber. We could stop right here and put meat on the table. But there's better places up ahead. I'm going to put this moving picture hero where he couldn't miss even with a pistol."

Arness chuckled. "You do that," he said, "and it'll be a question whether I shoot him or he horns me." He winked at me over his shoulder. "He's just tryin' to make me sorry I spent good money for a flat-shootin' rifle and a scope. You see that old relic he carries?"

Leavitt snorted with pretended indignation as I glanced down at the battered, 30-year-old Winchester .30-30 the Warden had brought with him. "Relic, eh? I've carried that rifle since I can remember and killed more deer with it than you could count!"

"And how many Indians?" Arness asked mildly. "That gun looks like it might've been with Custer on the Little Big Horn."

"Just you don't miss," Leavitt said, grinning, "or I'll drop him after you've emptied your rifle!"

The rutted track ended abruptly and Leavitt let the truck roll to a stop alongside the timber. "No more gravy train," he told us. "From here on. you dudes will have to walk."

The pick-up creaked and tipped as Arness stepped out of it. Dude this big man might be in the Western parlance, but he was far from fancy. In the old blanket still draped over his shoulder, he looked like a vastly over-size squaw as he uncased his rifle, checked it, and started sliding cartridges into it. I asked him what he was loading and his answer was quick and thorough. "Remington Kleanbore, 150 grain, pointed, soft point Kore-Lokt. I've used 'em before, but not in this caliber. Fact is, this whole outfit is new to me, far as real game shootin' goes. Makes me sort of, you know, nervous."

I've felt nervous too, of an early morning, with the prospect of game ahead of me, and companions before whom I'd not like to look foolish. It was nice to know that "the big guy" had the same feelings. He wasn't cocky in another way, either: I noticed that he put a half-dozen extra loads into his coat pocket.

Meanwhile, Leavitt had loaded his .30-30, I had draped myself with a couple of cameras, and George Bewley had hung a 16 mm movie camera over his shoulder. Leavitt led off with Arness, since they carried the only guns in the party, and Bewley and I followed.

Slowly, silently, we moved higher and higher, stopping frequently to listen, checking the tracks that were thick wherever the ground showed bare to record them, keeping carefully clear of the open areas. Forty minutes of this brought us onto a well worn game trail coming down between two hundred-foot-high knobs where a canyon opened down into the hay pasture. Leavitt knew his business; knew the country too; there was no doubt about it. This was a spot hunters dream of.

At this point, at Leavitt's suggestion, wc split forces. Arness would take stand further up-slope, where he would have first crack at any game moving down from the timber. Leavitt, Bewley, and I would set up our stand on the other side and somewhat lower, to shoot or take pictures or both, and also to shove any game coming up out of the pasture over toward Jim's position. All of us, by now, had fallen for the big guy's "homey" charm and we didn't want his first hunt in years to be a disappointment.

We waited, and waited. Game was moving; we heard and, as the light cleared, even caught a couple of distant glimpses of that movement. But my watch had ticked off an hour and forty minutes before we heard the sharp crack of a shot from Jim's stand above us. One shot... then the swift clatter of frightened hoofs and the rustle of brush as something plunged toward us down the canyon. Five does and fawns came rocketing out of the brush up-slope from us, hit the trail we were watching, then caught our scent and wheeled east up the opposite hillside.

"One shot," Leavitt murmured. "That's good as far as it goes, but—you reckon he let the does spook him? I doubt it; he's too cool and easy goin'. And there should've been a buck with 'em. Question is, did he hit it— or miss it?"

We got our answer. A blood-curdling yell echoed down through the timber, and Leavitt's face split into a wide grin. "Only two animals big enough to make that much noise," he said. "One's a bull moose, and the other's Matt Dillon. And there's no moose in these mountains. Let's get movin'."

We started up-canyon, Leavitt whistling occasionally and then changing course slightly as Jim's "ho" came back to guide us. It didn't take long to find him, standing big and all grin beside a dead buck that had made just two jumps after Jim's bullet hit him. I know it's hard to picture Jim Arness small, but this was no seven-foot gun-slinging Dodge City marshal; to me, he looked like a big, proud-as-a-peacock kid standing over his first sling-shotted rabbit.

But the evidence as we studied it pointed to a pretty savvy hunter. The buck and does had come into sight a considerable distance from Jim's stand, but he had waited, made his shot at about 40 yards. The dead buck lay a measured 140 feet from Jim's shooting position. The bullet had struck high in the

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