Moose and I were up in the stand called Campground for the opening of 2006 KY Yute Season. Local sunrise was at 0740. By 0805 Moose had a doe down. He had sent one round from the Garand through both lungs and the heart. Her legs buckled and she crumpled. Few seasons are going to be that short. Mark another bang-flop for Mister Garand.
The doe appeared with a friend, walking through a creek bottom at fifty yards. Moose had about a minute to size things up and plan his shot. When the lead doe stepped into an open shooting lane, he punched her card. The trailing doe kept coming back and checking out the situation before finally realize she might be in someone's sights as well and took off.
I am always in awe of the performance of both the Garand and the 30-06. Although the exit wound was only about thumb-size, the damage to the ribs on the opposing side was tremendous-- well in excess of a four inch circle of ribs where just not there anymore.
This was Moose's first solo shot at the meat pole today. He did not have her gutted in anything approaching record time, but he did an excellent job nonetheless. He was using last year's Christmas present for the first time: a Ka-Bar 4062 Folding Hunter. Both of us were impressed with what it could do inside a deer. I got it for him based on a recommendation I got at the 24 Hour Campfire.com-- excellent knife. Thanks!
Some folks out there wanted to know more about the Garand. This is a 1942 vintage Springfield Armory M1 sent to purchased through the CMP. Outside of a good cleaning with Ed's Red and a new sling, the only thing it's had done to it is a hours and hours with a can of wood floor cleaner and some 0000 steel wool. I finished it off with one of those Poly/Tung Oil hand rubbed finishes.
Originally, I was just hot to own a Garand. Then I got one and shot it and it was fun and I went on to other projects. It was not until last year that my Remington 742 bit the big one and Mooseboy was stuck without a first choice for a rifle for Yute Season. In the back of my mind I had thought about using the Garand as an all-weather deer rifle. Heck, it had been through worse during its life, one more trip out in the rain would not hurt it. So it was not a big deal getting it ready for my #2 son for last years Yute hunt.
You may not think of an unmodified Garand, a 9.5 lb WWII battle rifle, as a good Yute gun. You have to remember that my Moose has never been what you would call an average kid. At 12, he was wearing the clothes I wore in my thirties. He's well over six foot, and he comes by it honestly. My Dad was in WWII. Because he was over six foot and grew up on a farm, he got thrown into the pack artillery, mountain troops. His job was getting mules up a mountain with a French 75 loaded on their backs. Moose has always been a bit of recoil hound too. Ought-Six is nothing for my Moose. A younger, slighter boy might have more trouble carrying this rifle, but the kick on this puppy is really not so bad. If the stock will fit the kid, then it might be a choice for a shooting off sandbags from a ground blind.
Last year, Moose took the Garand out and produced this target offhand with his first three rounds.
I knew immediately that boy and rifle were made for each other. I ordered up some 5-round enblocs so we would not have to deal with the full eight rounders flying about. Last year, Moose had a sure shot at a doe on opening day, but decided to pass.
That was one of those gigs where you walk out of the woods and enter your house justified on all counts. To put a cool finishing touch to it, those same two does have been keeping to that same haunt for a year now. This summer, we saw them out in the field with the next generation in tow. The fawn had grown up and given birth, and now there are three of them out in the pasture every night.
"Now we can nail all three of them." I said.
The Yute loads for the Garand are a minor variation of what I usually load for my Ought-Sixes. I used Lake City brass and 47 grains of H4895. On top of that I put 165 grain Hornady Interlok SP's. The weight of the Garand and the semi-auto action makes for a very comfortable shoot. You need to watch yourself loading too hot or too heavy for the Garand otherwise you'll bend the Op-rod. There are plenty of published sources of info on loading for the M1. Do not stray too far. A mild load is more than enough. Surplus loads are generally going to be a no-no, since they are full metal jacket and prohibited in a lot of states for deer hunting. I found normal Wally-World specials, Green Box Remingtons, in 150 or 165 grains do just fine as well.
The M1 Garand evokes a visceral reaction when you heft it. The term "solid" does not quite cover it. As deer rifles go, the Garand is probably not everyone's first choice. When you have over nine pounds on your shoulder, you pick your way carefully through the world. Of course Moose is 14, and well, he's a moose. The enbloc clips are sort of a pain. The Garand has a fast way to unload, but if you are not careful with a partially spent clip, the rounds go flying out and land scattered on the ground. This is a rifle that is ideally suited for the old Shoot and Move doctrine of squad level tactics. Whitetail deer are an opponent that seldom requires the laying down of covering fire while the rest of the squad advances. Unlike Germans, deer generally won't go to ground and stay put until they hear the distinctive "CHING!" after the eighth round to pop up and return fire. Hopefully, you won't have to dive into a water-filled foxhole or spend the night hunkered down in your rain-soaked dugout taking treebursts from the Eight-Eights. If your deer hunting comes to that, you might want to rethink your overall game plan. One thing is certain: it won't faze this deer rifle in the least.
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