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Hog Blog Reader And Occasional Contributor Needs Suggestions

August 26, 2012

Some of you who’ve read this blog regularly will know my friend, Bruce Cherry.  Bruce is living in paradise over in Hawaii, hunting, fishing, and well… hunting and fishing anyway.  But all is not perfect.  Bruce recently sent the following to me, hoping for some input from the Hog Blog readers.  Check it out, and let him know what you think.

 

Aloha Phillip:

Seven years ago, one month before my wife and I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii, I was stopped in a line of traffic at a red light on a busy street in San Diego, right across from the sheriff’s substation.  A lady driving a black Chevy Suburban was chatting on her cell phone and didn’t see the traffic stopped up ahead.  She rear-ended me at 45 mph, never touching her brakes.  My truck and my body were totaled, and a couple weeks later, when I hobbled to the sheriff’s station to get the accident report,, arm and leg in casts and my neck wrapped in a cervical collar, I met the deputy who was the first on the accident scene.  He told me that the lady would not put down her cell phone because “This is an important conversation with my friend!!”  The deputy took the phone away from her and she threw a fit, shrieking, “How long is this going to take?  I’ve got important things I need to do!”   The deputy told me that she was angry with me because I had caused the accident.  She was in a hurry, talking to her friend on her cell phone, and I had the audacity to stop for a red light and cause the crash.

Long story short, besides fractures, I had damage to my left shoulder and damage to the C6 and C7 vertebrae and the disk in between.  The lady was from Mexico, had virtually no insurance, and I was moving everything I owned to a big rock out in the middle of the Pacific in 30 days.  We made the move, I went through physical therapy for 4 months, and the ortho surgeon in Hawaii told me that I was going to have major problems with both my shoulder and neck later on.  I spent the next 5 years hunting big game every week, birds in the winter, and fishing for game fish in between.  Lots of ibuprofen and physical therapy later, my shoulder fell apart and I underwent the Mumford procedure and two muscle reattachments.  Part of my collar bone was removed and the infraspinatus and supraspinatus were reattached.  The surgery failed and a second surgery was necessary.  That surgery was only partially successful, but both muscles could not be reattached and as a consequence, I lost 30% of the use of my left shoulder.  I was an avid archer and that came to a halt.  I applied for a disabled archery permit and got it.  That allows me to hunt with a crossbow instead of a compound bow.  I was happy.

Then 12 weeks ago, I awoke with excruciating pain in my right shoulder and arm.  My right hand was completely numb, virtually paralyzed.  Another long story short, 2 weeks ago I underwent Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion [ACDF] surgery.  The disc had completely fragmented and was pressing against the spinal cord and the nerve that branches out from the cord that controls my right shoulder, arm, and hand.  Paralysis would become permanent if I didn’t have emergency surgery ASAP.  And with my left arm only partially usable, losing the use of my right arm would be the end of the road.  Here’s a link to an animation of the surgery:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsYyVtBph7E

I now have a titanium plate and screws holding the two vertebrae together.  I also have a plastic cage and organ donor bone [from the femur of an accident victim] replacing the disk and stem cells, marrow, and bone shavings from my vertebrae that are inside the plate.  I have a scar across my throat that looks like Jack the Ripper had had paid me a visit.

Now, here’s where all of this enters into the domain of the Hog Blog.  My recovery time is LONG.  I have to wear a cervical collar for 6 weeks and can’t drive.  No lifting over 5 pounds.  Then another 6 weeks of limited activity, no lifting over 10 pounds.  Then 4 weeks of more activity with 20 pounds max and no overhead lifting at all.  Then [and this is the tough part] no shooting any rifles with any significant recoil [10 pounds or less] for 9 months after that, or until such time as the bone fusion is complete.  I can hike anywhere and carry a backpack, but the recoil limitation presents a problem.

I intend to go hunting again in about 3 months, but I need to go to the lowest recoil possible.  That means hunting pigs with my .243 and 7-30 Waters.  Sheep with 25-06 and light ballistic tips.  And I want to hunt the wild cattle again.  I may use a 25-06 for that.  Or my .270.  I need recoil that does not exceed 10 pounds.

So, readers, what light loads and what specific bullets would you recommend for hunting sheep [thin skinned], pigs, and wild bulls if I’m limited to 10 pounds of recoil and my calibers are .243, 25-06, 7-30 Waters, and .270?  The .243 and the 7-30 Waters are already hand loaded at about 8 pounds of recoil, the .243 with Nosler partitions and the 7-30 with Sierra Flat Nose, but the 25-06 is loaded with Ballistic Tips and that makes me nervous with pigs and really nervous with wild bulls.  Maybe the Barnes TSX or TTSX?  Anybody got a way to get the .270 recoil down to about 10 pounds?  The trick to keeping recoil down is to use the lightest weight bullets possible.

Here’s a link for figuring recoil.  The little 7-30 Model 94 weighs 7 pounds and the other rifles weigh about 8 pounds:

http://www.handloads.com/calc/recoil.asp

So that’s my sad story.  I moved to the Big Island to hunt, but in the past 2 years I’ve been disabled for 18 months and I’ve got another 4 months to go, all because a thoroughly self-centered woman could not manage to put her cell phone away long enough to drive her Suburban to wherever she was going.

Any suggestions?

Mahalo from the Big Island.  I’ll be out in the field again, soon I hope.

Bruce Cherry

So help a brother out.  I sent Bruce my suggestions via email earlier, but I’d love to read what you guys think, and whad you suggest.

Comments

13 Responses to “Hog Blog Reader And Occasional Contributor Needs Suggestions”

  1. Hog Blog Reader And Occasional Contributor Needs Suggestions … | Hunting Tips on August 26th, 2012 19:05

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  2. Lisa Goswick on August 27th, 2012 05:37

    Hi Phillip, tell your friend yoga has gone a long way for me (same speed, no brakes, older gentleman who perhaps should not have had a license, forced our car into the Frito/Lay truck in front of us and our little Dodge Neon moved it 10 feet into the car in front of it, and of course our impact into the truck slammed us back into the car that hit us and back into the Frito/Lay truck). It has also helped many people, including a teacher I know. She was on the back of a motorcycle, her driver was killed as they slid underneath a tractor trailer and slammed into the concrete median, her right hand was almost severed and she was in a wheelchair for over a year with nerve and spinal damage. Despite the medical community telling her she would never walk, she started doing yoga in her wheelchair, then was able to start walking and doing more yoga….now she is teaching yoga. Not only will your friend probably feel less pain, but his body will heal and improved both from the original accident and the many surgeries he has undergone.

  3. Phillip on August 27th, 2012 05:39

    Thanks, Lisa… and you just told him. 😉

  4. Ban Nock on August 27th, 2012 19:58

    When I switched to the Barnes I kept shooting the same weight I always had, and I’ve since made some shots where the bullet had to go through a lot of animal and they always have come out the other side. I’ve heard that you can move down some in weight with the Barnes as the weight retention is so high they can actually penetrate better at a lower weight than a typical controlled expansion bullet. I’m not familiar with the game you’re talking about but it’s something to think on.

    I’ve learned I can’t talk on a cell phone and drive. Wish we outlawed it like drinking.

  5. Jean on August 28th, 2012 08:59

    Okay, don’t laugh at me.

    If I recall correctly, from the days of reading Jesse’s, Bruce also shot a 45-70. I used to shoot a 45-70 with a 300gr gas check bullet with 9 or 10 grains of Unique behind it. While the rifle I was usually shooting this in was quite heavy, I could invite a 10 year old kid to shoot and enjoy it at the range. It seems to me that this was in the range of 45 ACP speeds,
    I don’t know where the data I had on this is located at the moment, or even if this could actually be helpful to you, but I always enjoyed your stories.
    I would also look at handgun loads as place that might yield some helpful information. If I find something else, I will post it here.
    Hunting is healing for the spirit, too.

  6. Bruce Cherry on August 28th, 2012 11:03

    Aloha, everyone. Thanks for all the input. Just for background info, I hunt the wild bulls with a .458 Mag, a 45-70 with really hot loads, a 7mm mag, and my favorite, a .300 Win Mag with 200 grain Barnes TSX’s. Sheep are hunted with a .270 Win, a 25-06, and a .243. Jungle hogs take a 30-06 Remington pump [my favorite jungle pig outfit], a Winchester model 100 in .308, a 7-30 Waters model 94, a .356 Winchester model 94, and a 100 year old Remington 14 in .30 Remington. Open country hogs [looks like the scrub country around Tehachapi] take the 7mm mag or the .270.

    All this has to change, at least temporarily. I’m going to use the 7-30 Waters for the jungle hogs [7.5 pounds of recoil], the 25-06 for open country hogs and sheep [10.2 pounds of recoil], and stay away from the bulls for awhile. All the loads I feel confident hunting 1500 pound highly aggressive animals generate at least 20 pounds of recoil. The 300 Win Mag, my favorite bull round, is loaded hotter than the hinges of Hell and generates 30 pounds of recoil. That’s in a Ruger 77 MK ll with a skinny-butted old fashioned synthetic stock with no recoil pad, just a hard rubber pad. My head would fall off.

    Just got back from my first post-op meeting with the surgeon. All very good news. Will be able to start hunting 6 weeks after the surgery, which will be September 19 at 8.31 AM, 6 weeks after the precise moment the surgeon put down his instruments and left the operating room. I’m counting minutes here, people. I’ll be up on the arid slopes of Mauna Kea hunting open country hogs. Very little hiking and the 25-06 will be fine.

    Just a note of interest. If you study the physics of firearm recoil, the weight of the bullet and the weight of the rifle are of extreme importance. For example, if I load my .458 with 500 grain bullets, a very popular load, the recoil generated comes close to 45 pounds, which is awful. If I use the same amount of powder but load a 300 grain Barnes TSX and then put 8 ounces of birdshot into the buttstock of the old Ruger model 77 that already weighs 11 pounds and has a thick Decelerator recoil pad, the recoil drops to about 28 pounds and that is softened even more by the pad. Compare that to the 300 Win Mag Ruger 77 which doesn’t have a recoil pad, and the .458 is very pleasant to shoot. The 300 Mag generates about 3500 foot pounds of muzzle energy and the .458 generates just shy of 5000 pounds of energy. But then again, carrying a 12 pound rifle thru the thick jungle is not as pleasant as carrying an 8 pound rifle.

    That’s it for now. To keep from going crazy, I’m refinishing several gunstocks, using Tru Oil, and they’re coming out really nice.

    Oh, one other thing, if I ever have to reduce recoil on a permanent basis, as the person in one of the comments above suggested, I’d load all my rifles [20 of them] with Barnes TSX or TTSX in the lowest weight bullets available for that particular caliber. Recoil drops off tremendously and the penetration/weight retention is quite good. I still have some of the old Failsafe bullets from a decade ago and have shot a couple of bulls with them. They really penetrate, ending up just beneath the hide on the far side, even after a double lung shot. Problem is, and I recovered both bullets, they don’t expand at all, just like a solid used on dangerous African game. I’ve shot hogs with them, double lung shots, and they run off as if nothing happened, leave virtually no blood trail, and die 200 yards away. Very hard to find them. I’ll take the expansion of a Barnes TSX anytime over the solids.

    Aloha for now.

  7. Phillip on August 28th, 2012 16:14

    Good stuff, Bruce, and glad to hear that you’ll be back in the field soon(ish).

    I know a lot of people hate them, but because of my issues with my neck, I went with a brake on my .325, and even on my go-to 30-06. It allows me to shoot all day at the range without the whiplash injury that really inflames my neck. I haven’t measured the change in recoil, but to me, the 30-06 with 180gr Winchester ETips feels more like my .243 (very lightweight BLR). Yeah, the brake is loud. You will not be the most popular guy at the range. But between a proper handload, a good recoil pad, and a muzzle brake, I expect you’ll be able to shoot almost anything in your safe… with the possible exception of the .458 or the 7mag (the most disproportionate recoil-to-terminal power gun I can think of).

    The only animal on your list that absolutely requires a BIG boomer is the wild cattle. I can see where a solid follow-up on those could be life or death. Anything else, including the hogs, you can get by going lighter. I’d never recommend it, but my .243 has killed a couple of whoppers and plenty of smaller hogs with bullets from 85 to 100grains. Your 25-06 will cover all of that and some.

    Good luck, my friend! And heal well!

  8. Bruce Cherry on August 28th, 2012 19:26

    Again, thanks for all the advice. I use so many different rifles [and shotguns] for hunting that a muzzle brake may not be appropriate or feasible. Also, there are no gunsmiths on my island that thread barrels and then fit the brakes. I’d have to send the rifles to Honolulu or the mainland. I have way too much time on my hands, being laid up, so I spent a few hours doing research on the Internet and working up some physics, like ballistics and recoil. Here’s what I’m going to do:

    300 Win Mag [bull rifle, because it has quick detach scope and open sights]—Pull the 200 grain slugs, use the same powder loads, and install 130 grain Barnes TSX. Muzzle energy drops from 3600 to 2900, but that’s quite adequate since penetration is so good. Recoil drops from 28 pounds to 19 pounds. I’ll use a Limbsaver slip-on pad.

    300 Weatherby Mag [long range open country pig rifle]—Pull the 200 grain bullets, use slightly stronger powder charge, install Barnes 130 grain TSX. Muzzle energy goes from 3800 to 3120 but recoil drops from 30 pounds to 21.5 pounds, which will make it tolerable. I’ll slip on a Limbsaver pad whenever I shoot it.

    7mm Rem Mag [bull rifle for same reason as 300 Win Mag—quick detach scope and open sights—I lend this to friends who go in with me after the bulls]—Pull the 140 grain Failsafes and Partitions, adjust the powder charge, replace with 120 grain Barnes TSX. Muzzle energy drops from 3100 to 2600, which is still fine because of the penetration and expansion of the TSX. Recoil drops from 16 pounds to 13 pounds, about the same as my .270. That’s an old style Ruger 77 with tang safety [which I love] and it weighs in, fully loaded, at 9.7 pounds.

    30-06 [jungle pig rifle]—Now this really surprised me. What I have loaded now has more recoil than I realized. It’s currently loaded super-hot with 200 grain A-Frames. If I replace those with 130 grain Barnes TSX and modify the charge a bit upward, the muzzle energy stays the same, 2775 foot pounds, and the recoil drops from 21 pounds to 15 pounds. It’s a Remington pump with no recoil pad, so using the slip-on Limbsaver will make it pleasant to shoot. I even used it on a bull and it dropped in its tracks, so I have every reason to think that the lighter Barnes will have almost the same impact.

    I only have to buy two bullets, 130 grain Barnes TSX in .308 and 120 grain in .284. I’ll do that today.

    The .458 is too much and the 45/70, loaded to be decent on bulls is also too much. I wish there were 200 grain bullets for each of these but I don’t think there are. I’ll look around a bit.

    Phillip—If you read this, do you have any use for 30 caliber bullets in the 180-220 grain range? I’ve got a lot of them, and if you or a good buddy can use them, I’ll box them up in a USPS Flat Rate box and send them to you. I don’t think I’ll ever use them again. I’ve got A-Frames, Nosler Partitions, Nosler Ballistic Tips, and a couple of others. I’ll be pulling some from cartridges when my new bullets arrive, but most are in the original boxes. Just email me your address and I’ll send them off in about a week. It’s on me.

    Aloha.

  9. Phillip on August 29th, 2012 08:15

    Glad to hear you’ve got it figured. The Internet is good for something after all, no?

    One note… I’d be a little hesitant to go to a 130gr for hogs out of that -06. That’s a lot of force behind an itty-bitty bullet. Even with the Barnes, I’d be concerned about cratering on the bigger hogs. Would probably be good for goats, and real medicine for axis, but I just don’t know about hogs. Meat loss would also be a concern. Maybe just my imagination? You don’t think a 150 gr with moderate powder will get you where you need to be? All that said, from what I’ve seen in the field so far, that 25-06 is a great all-around option (except the bulls).

    As to the brakes, I thought about your access to gunsmiths. Living in the islands has its drawbacks, no? But should you decide to get one gun set up, you can always ship the barrel to someone like KDF to be threaded and set up. I’m not sure about Hawaii, but generally if you’re not shipping an actual action, there’s no restriction on sending gun parts back and forth. They did my Savage, along with a Timney trigger, all in the neighborhood of $200. It turned that Savage that was already a tack driver into a semi-custom rifle. But yeah, I wasn’t suggesting that you put one on every gun… just pick your favorite all-around (maybe one of the .300s) and get it set up. But it sounds like you’ve got the plan to address the recoil issue.

    And the 30 cal bullets… I’m sure that once I get my bench set up in the new shop, I’ll definitely be playing with new loads and can certainly use some fodder for my experiments (it’s so nice to be able to just pull a gun out of the safe, walk out back, and start shooting). I’ll shoot you an email. Thanks!

    Thanks also to everyone who offered Bruce some input.

  10. Bruce Cherry on August 29th, 2012 10:11

    Aloha Phillip and others:

    I don’t have to worry about what loads to use for huge hogs here on the Big Island because we have very few really huge hogs. I doubt if I’ve ever seen anything over 200 pounds, and that, by comparison, was huge. The hogs I’ve taken have ranged from 50 pounds to 150 pounds, with a couple in the 175 vicinity. The pigs in Hawaii are of two types. The first, brought over by the original inhabitants several hundred years ago, are the smaller rolly-poly Polynesian pigs, jet black and usually topping out at 125 pounds. The second type is the Russian variety, brought over by sportsmen during the past 100 years. There are, of course, hybrids, but there is almost no domestic pig in the gene pool, and that’s where the really huge hogs come from. Every pig I’ve ever seen in the wild here in Hawaii, except for a very small colony down along the beach in Captain Cook that are either black or creamy white, have been jet black. I’ve shot quite a few pigs with my .270 when I was out sheep hunting, up above 8000 feet. That load is a 130 grain Ballistic Tip moving at a very fast pace. All were 1 shot kills with no meat wasted. My worst luck with bullets and hogs was way back when I used the old factory Core Lokt bullets with the generic lead-tipped slugs. A couple times they just blew up on the hog’s shoulder. I got the pigs, using follow up shots, but I was ashamed and bothered that they were dirty kills and not humane.

    3 weeks from today and counting [I hope] and I’ll be up on the slopes of Mauna Kea looking for porkers. I’ll get some photos and send you the story. It looks more like the high desert of Eastern Oregon, open and windswept, rocky everywhere, and scrubby trees with knee-high dry grass. Doesn’t look like pig country but they are everywhere. I’ve seen over 100 hogs in a morning hunt. And [sorry to rub this in] it’s all public property on a government maintained 4WD road, and in a typical all-day hunt, I don’t see another human or another vehicle. There are loads of pheasants, francolin, quail, and turkeys, and if it isn’t too cloudy, you can see the mountains of Maui rising up in the distance.

    Dang—I still have to wait 3 weeks. I’ll do some reloading today—reducing the loads—and maybe start refinishing another stock. Just something to keep my mind off the 3 week wait and something to make me feel like I’m getting ready for a hunt. Then I’ll go on a 12 mile hike here in the hills just to stay in shape.

    Aloha. Sorry for all the verbage and yacking, but I’ve got a lot of time on my hands and I was born to hunt and shoot and I’m going nuts. Wish a bunch of us could get together sometime and just chat about hunting and fishing. I really enjoy that during my recovery process. Thanks for this blog, Phillip. It adds a lot to my knowledge of hunting and the politics behind it.

  11. Phillip on August 29th, 2012 16:59

    Good stuff, Bruce… and really glad to have folks like you as participants and contributors to the blog. Trust me, if it was just me, there wouldn’t be nearly as much knowledge or entertainment around here.

    For what it’s worth, right now I understand about the stir-crazy part. I’ve been on pretty limited mobility now for the last three weeks or so, since I did something to my lower back digging a waterline. First day or so, I could barely walk. Finally went to the E-Room and doc couldn’t find anything. Gave me some pills and sent me home. Nearest orthopedic is two hours drive, and I’m lucky if I can get an appointment before October. I did find a good chiropractor out here, and that’s helped a good bit… but not enough. It’s nuts! I tried to carry a camera up the hill behind the house on Monday, and had to give up before I’d gone 100 feet. I could barely walk back to the house. Doc said if it hurts, don’t do it… but damn, that pretty much eliminates walking to the bathroom, much less getting ready for hunting season. Too much work needs to get done around here to sit on my ass and type on the computer all day. But that’s about all I’m good for right now.

    ‘Nuff whining, I suppose, but I can only imagine how it is for you.

    I keep saying I’m gonna join you out there one day, and I don’t know if it’ll ever happen… but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna quit dreaming about it! All that public land… all those critters… and hardly anyone else out there chasing them. Paradise.

    Mahalo, Bruce. Looking forward to hearing about your return to the field.

  12. Norm Green on August 31st, 2012 18:44

    Sorry to hear about your nasty accident. I had a friend grow up in Hawai, they hunted or trapped all there food, what a dream come true. I hope your injuries heal up well, and you get to enjoy the hunting. What about a good old 30-30 lever action? Decnt range, and not much kick.

  13. Leland on September 2nd, 2012 23:39

    Bruce,

    Just a quick note on the 130 gr Barnes on hogs. I used the 130 gr. Barnes loaded for .270 Win on hogs up to 280 lbs at distances ranging from 10 to 200 yards and had no issues with bullet failure. All of the Barnes bullets expanded well, retained weight and put a hurting on the pigs. I never saw any excessive meat damage, nor any issues with cratering. The majority of the shots were pass through.

    Sounds like you already made up your mind on those, just thought a little reassurance on their performance never hurts. It also sounds like I’ll have to make a trip over from Oahu soon, you have it good over there.

    Good luck.

    Leland

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