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Archive for February, 2012


My watercolor painting of a Canadian trapper in winter.

Several weeks ago, I met up with my trapper friend in the woods, while hunting the elusive snowshoe hare. He had just bought a new snow-machine and was out checking his traps.  His machine was a real beauty; we had a nice conversation about the local news as well as hare hunting and he suggested I come out for half days instead plus later in the afternoon. This would increase my chances of seeing game. And I knew that animal activity was busy in the early mornings and later in the afternoon nearing dusk.
 
So, on Sunday I came out to my favourite hunting grounds and the trapper was absolutely right. He also knew that I was coming out soon, so he took his new snow-machine and drove through the woods and formed a very large trail in the shape of a circle, just like cross-country ski trails in some of our parks. This way it would be easier for me to hunt and walk in the thick snow but also use the trail as a guide to find my way back.
 
It was a perfect circle alright, a circle of friendship.

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Ducks

The sun was slowly setting over the hunting camp with its bright pink lines cutting through the cool October sky.  Six field dressed ducks sat in the freezer as our duck hunt had come to an end for the day. Now we were all sitting around the table sharing stories, laughs about family, life and the day’s hunt. Each of us with our cold drinks, and various snack bags, bottle caps littered the table top along with a chipped crystal clear ashtray where seniors’ cigarette was smoldering and its smoke was spiraling into the ceiling fan. Wet pants hung on the line right above the wood burning fire-place, and the boots stood neatly by the door. In the morrow, we would set out for the wetlands again, so I took a few minutes to clear the shotguns outside and put a light coat of oil on them before calling it a night.

During my quick cleaning, I grabbed my Remington 870 pointed it in a safe direction cleared the shotgun running though the action to activate the ejection steps, nothing came out since it had already cleared twice before down by the creek. Always treat a gun like it is loaded eh! I inspected the chamber first visually and then with my fingers and also checked the tubular magazine making sure it was also cleared. Once I deemed it safe, I squirted a few drops of Break Free oil on some swabs and gently covered all metal parts of the shotgun. I then proceeded to use my cleaning rod and pulled through the barrel several times first with my wired brush and then with a lightly coated swab, then with my shotgun barrel cleaner.

The action was pulled back to the rear of the receiver and the shotgun was aimed down on an angle, so that I could see down the barrel; it can be difficult to see if the barrel is clean and cleared of swab lint, gun powder residue or debris, depending on the lighting. Break-Action shotguns are much easier to look down the barrel once you have pulled through with the cleaning rod.

My friend handed me a piece of white cloth and I placed it at the back of the receiver, so that I can still see in through the ejection port. I then turned the gun around and looked down the barrel. Having the white cloth or even a white piece of paper allows light to reflect and now I could see clearly down the barrel with the outside light.
It was all clean and free of any obstructions, ready for the next outing.  I always practice the ACTS & PROVE when handling a firearm or preparing it for cleaning.

ACTS
Assume every firearm is loaded.
Control the muzzle direction at all times.
Trigger finger must be kept off the trigger and out of the trigger guard.
See that the firearm is unloaded – PROVE it safe.

PROVE
Point the firearm in the safest available direction.
Remove all ammunition.
Observe the chamber.
Verify the feeding path.
Examine the bore.

Be Safe!

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