THE SIGHTS WERE ALL WRONG
By L. V. CAROTHERS
I'll give you a little experience of mine this last fall. My partner and I each bought a '95 Model Winchester 30 U. S. carbine and not long after the new guns came I chanced to look upon the mountain above -the cabin and spied an object up under the top rims that later proved to be a fair sized bear with a decidedly light colored face. We went ahead and finished our lunch, then taking the guns, went after him. I went straight up the mountain while my partner made a detour up a creek trying to head him off. I got about half way up the hill when I saw him coming down a sharp hogback jutting out from the face of the hill. As I was out in the open and in plain sight I could only stand still until a more favorable chance to get closer. Well, he finally went around the point out of sight and I started post haste for the spot but had hardly started when here he came back and started working down the hill towards me. At this time I was about even with him but across a large gully and perhaps 300 or 400 yards from him. He came to within about 250 yards and then winded me and turned at right angles and made down the canyon towards a quaking asp thicket. Then I unlimbered the "old tea kettle spout" and started in on him. I shot four times as he ran down the hill but didn't ruffle a hair on him. When he made cover I sprinted clown the hill to a point of rocks that afforded a complete view of the terrain below me and I at once saw that Mr. Bear could not get out of there without showing himself for another shot. About this time my partner shows across the point at exactly the same place the bear had come around and wanted to know just what the argument was about.
I yelled to him to go down that ridge and thus get the bear in between us, but at that distance failed to make him understand, and while I was talking "his majesty" broke cover with a bound and started full tilt around the point below where my partner was standing. Well, to make the story short I emptied that gun at him and failed to score a single hit. He was gone this time and we soon lost his track among the rocks. To say I was disgusted was putting it too mildly. The very next day I put the saddle on a little stocky gelding we call Jiggs and threw a dozen No. - Victor traps on behind and started for the top of the ridge. I figured to leave the traps there and later would set for fox along the high rims. I had nearly reached the top when I stopped to "blow" a little and as I sat there chanced to glance along the edge of the timber off to my right and below me and there he was — the king pin deer of the whole mountain, the big buck of Wickiup, and he was looking at me, so it was either shoot from there or not at all. So I shot, not once, but four times while he gave me the "once over." Again I had raised nothing but a disturbance. I threw off the traps and leading the horse worked around that way looking for signs of blood.
Nothing doing. And while I was standing there wondering how in blazes any one animal could jump so far I heard a rock rattle and here come another one, a two pointer this time and right for me. He stopped at one hundred yards distance, and with murder in my heart I calmly prepared to assassinate that deer. But I didn't, I merely shot four times more and that pesky deer galloped off up the hill and stopped a couple of times on the way to look back. I wouldn't shoot again, I was through. I set that gun carefully up against a tree and started to frisk myself. I needed a smoke and needed it badly and at once, and, while I was getting the old pipe to working I was trying to think of something suitable to do to that gun.
When the fracas with the bear was over I thought I had merely done some mighty poor shooting, but now I was convinced it was the fault of the weapon. I took a look at the bumps on the barrel where the sights should be and that apology for a wind gauge sight was a full quarter of an inch to the left and goodness knows where I had been shooting with the thing.
On going home I took time to try out the sights and found the gun shot 8 inches left and high at fifty yards. I am now having new sights fitted and will feel more satisfied.
I afterward killed a deer at very long range with the fourth shot while he was on the run. Two bullets took effect, one just cutting through the flesh low down on the hindquarter and the last one through the back just ahead of the hips.
Guns are so high priced now that it seems like rubbing it in to be forced to re-sight a weapon at an additional expense. And anyway, why a wind gauge on a sporting rifle?
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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