Well, it's deer season here in the Bluegrass state. People from all walks of life have picked up their latest and greatest super-duper magnum monster deer rifle that they probably spent a month salary on, then topped with the cheapest scope they could buy. Then they more than likely took it to someone else to sight in for them "because it just kicks too damn hard!" Of course they need the rifle to shoot 1" groups out to 600 yards, but they only want it sighted in hitting about an inch above zero at 100 yards cause that's good enough. If they see a monster buck out too far, they will be able to hold right on him and hit exactly where they're aiming.
I used to enjoy deer hunting when I was younger. I had a great place to hunt with no pressure from outsiders to mess up a hunt. I stopped hunting deer when my dad decided he could save money on groceries through the winter by stocking up on venison. He worked with a bunch of guys who liked to hunt but didn't like to eat deer. So dad volunteered to take any deer that they shot and if they wanted to keep the head as a trophy that was fine with him, he just wanted the meat. There was a sweat gum tree right beside our house, and on opening day of deer season, I would come home and dad would have 2-3 deer hanging in the tree to dressed and processed for the freezer. As the season would progress, and more guys would tag out, there would be more deer hanging for me to help clean.
|This is about how many deer I would have to help process every couple of days during our 11 day season.|
With all this venison in the freezer, here is what our typical menu would be:
- Fried tenderloin (awesome) with mashed taters and gravy, biscuits, mac'n cheese.
- Venison soup - venison ham or shoulder cubed and browned cooked in with typical soup ingredients (taters,beans,corn,onion,tomaters).
- BBQ venison shoulder
- Smoked venison ham
- Roasted venison (ham,shoulder, or neck roast)
- Summer sausage
|.358 Winchester (l to r) 225 gr Nosler AccuBond, 250 gr Nosler Partition, 180 gr Hornaday XTP, 158 gr Remington semi-jacketed lead point.|
Browning BLR '81
The rifle I found in this caliber was the Browning BLR. I am no fan-boy of Browning, but I do like this particular rifle.
The only other lever action that I have owned was an old model 94 Winchester in .30-.30. I never shot the 94 very much, and a .30-.30 has the ballistics of a flying brick. The .358 in a BLR allows the reloader to use spire pointed bullets for better velocities and ballistics because the rounds are loaded from a box magazine in the bottom of the receiver. A few bolt rifle were also chamber for this round, but are quite rare to find, but they also allow the shooter to use pointed bullets.
I liked the short and fast aiming of the BLR. One advantage of the BLR design is the trigger and trigger guard all move with the lever when cycling the action. This prevents unintended pinches and also allows the shooter to work the action quite fast. My rifle is equipped with sights, but I attached a Leupold Vari-X III 1.5X5 power scope on it for quick target acquisition and ease of aiming. With the scope on the 1.5 power setting, I can see the tip of the front sight, but the field of view is large and clear, and there is no parallax to have to adjust.
If you like old calibers and like having a round that can be loaded with a diverse number of bullets, try out the .358 Winchester. I know you'll like it.