Before the advent of the self-contained cartridge in the mid nineteenth century, it was necessary to load not just the projectile or bullet, but also its propellant and a primer. The cartridge’s invention allowed for much quicker reloading, first with muzzle loaders and subsequently with breech loaders. The challenge then became how to further expedite the reloading process.
A wide variety of methods were attempted, with varying degrees of success. Samuel Colt invented the first percussion cap revolver in 1836, the Colt Paterson, which solved the problem of quick reloading by utilizing multiple chambers, each holding one bullet, which would rotate into place to be fired, enabling as many as six consecutive shots. Although it did not make use of a magazine, nor was it a rifle, the Colt was an important predecessor to repeater rifles, in demonstrating their practical utility. Texas Rangers and riders for the Pony Express became enthusiastic customers of the Colt revolver, as they frequently had to traverse dangerous Indian territories and couldn’t afford to stop and reload during confrontations.
The earliest repeater rifles made use of breech-loading technology as well as cartridges. Some, such as the Swiss-invented Vetterli repeating rifle which appeared in 1869, were loaded one at a time on the side of the rifle. It used a bolt action lever to advance cartridges into the chamber. Once fired, the shell was ejected. Other repeating rifles housed the magazine in a hollowed-out, spring-loaded tube in the butt of the gun, and utilized a pump lever to advance to load another cartridge.
The Vetterli Repeating Rifle used one of the first systems to allow for consecutive fire / public domain photo from The Gun and Its Development by W. W. Greener
Although repeater rifles were capable of impressive rates of fire, they suffered from a number of disadvantages when compared with the refined breech-action single shot rifles of the day. Extreme heat and stress is produced by repeated firing, and this necessitated the use of much smaller calibre ammunition as well as a lesser amount of powder. For this reason, repeaters lacked range, velocity, and killing ability, which was vital on the frontier. It wasn’t until centerfire ammunition became common that repeaters began to erode single shot rifles’ stature as the preferred weapon of hunters and professionals out west.
The detachable magazine “clips” that we now come to mind when we imagine “reloading” came about gradually, and were the logical next step from tubular magazines integrated into the guns themselves. Some of the first weapons to make use of removable clips included the bolt action Krag-Jorgensen rifle which featured a detachable rotary magazine, and the Mauser Model 1871, which accepted box-fed magazines. These new clips allowed a shooter to reload an entire magazine in just one motion, and would have a lasting impact on the nature of warfare after their use in World War I.
Hunting in Argentina
South America probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you consider your next exotic hunting destination, but increasing numbers of hunters have been visiting our neighbor to the south, attracted by its relative political stability, the unique game hunting opportunities available nowhere else on earth, and the world-class amenities at luxury game reserves. But there’s really just one country in particular that attracts the lion’s share of hunters when it comes to South America: Argentina.
It’s easy to see why – Argentina seems to have it all. For bird hunting enthusiasts, it’s tough to do much better than the colossal flocks of doves that darken the skies about 100 kilometers north of Cordoba, numbering anywhere from 23 to 50 million. Because the birds reproduce prodigiously and consume as much as a third of the wheat and sorghum crops in the area before harvest, they are regarded as pests, there are no limits; you may shoot as many as you like. Other popular birds to hunt include ducks and pigeons.
And that’s just the birds. The wide range of big game on offer in Argentina is equally impressive. There are Axis Deer (Chital) by Bahia Blanca, about 600 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, there are Red Stag on the Pampa and in the stunning Andes mountains – the second highest mountain range in the world - there are massive, one thousand-pound water buffalo, and ferocious Russian wild boar, as well as Indian black buck antelope and collared peccary.
Above: A Capybara enters a river. Tambako the Jaguar / Creative Commons License
But it’s the Capybara that’s probably the most unusual game animal on offer in Argentina. It holds the dubious honor of world’s largest rodent, with adults typically weighing 100 to 150 pounds and reaching lengths of three-and-a-half to four feet. Although to Americans these animals may appear inordinately strange and exotic, they are internationally classified as “Least Concern,” and are plentiful throughout much of the continent; they are endemic to every country in South America except Chile.
Once you’ve decided on a hunt that suits your interests, the next thing to consider is your accommodations. As in most countries, there is a wide range of options available, but in Argentina the very highest-end luxury lodges can be particularly extravagant , offering everything from a personal butler, high speed wifi, gourmet meals, and even massages – with a correspondingly eye-popping price tag.
The following is just a selection of the options available:
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Many of you have seen our Extreme Distance Hunting video where we showcase how Precision Guided Firearms can make ethical extreme distance shots on game. For our newest release, we wanted to showcase other incredible PGF features like tracking and hitting moving targets, extreme accuracy at varied distances, and shooting while flying.
TrackingPoint would like to congratulate Scott Speed and the Leavine
Family Racing #95 NASCAR Sprint Cup Team for finishing ninth at the Talladega
Superspeedway this weekend! Although this past Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 was the
second race of the NASCAR Spring Cup Series Season ran with restrictor plates, it
didn’t stop Scott Speed from the second best finish of his NASCAR career. Here at
Tracking Point, we are especially proud that Scott and the Leavine Family Racing
team dedicated their efforts at Talladega to the victims of the West, Texas explosion
that killed 14 people, including 12 first responders, on April 17th.
Many celebrities were in attendance at Talladega including the Alabama Tide’s own
2013 Heisman Trophy candidate A.J. McCarron, who drove out the honorary pace
car to start the race. 42 laps in there was a large group leading the pack that ran into
trouble when Kyle Busch hit the rear of Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 car leading to a huge
16-car wreck that Scott Speed narrowly avoided.
Three Ford cars finished 1, 2, 3 as David Ragan finished 1 st, David Gilliland finished
2nd and Carl Edwards rounded out the top three.
The Bojangles’ Southern 500 is the next race on the NASCAR Spring Cup Series
schedule this Saturday May 11th at the Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South
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With a rich cultural heritage and the largest economy in Europe, Germany is probably more easily associated with precision automotive manufacturing or beer gardens than hunting. With more than 300,000 active hunters, hunting is actually a popular pastime in this Western European nation of more than 80 million.
Although it is just the seventh largest country in Europe, slightly larger than the US state of New Mexico, Germany is possessed with widely varying terrain. Its elevation ranges from some nine thousand feet in the south Alps to the shores of the Baltic sea in the northeast and the North Sea in the northwest. Marshes and wetlands dominate close to the Dutch border in the northeast, while the northeast is home to a great number of glacial lakes. The country is crisscrossed by a number of rivers including the Elbe, Elms, Oder, and Weser. The Rhine cuts through the southern portion of Germany, forming the Rhine valley.
There is a healthy variety of big game available here including Russian boar, fallow deer, red deer, mouflon sheep, and roe deer (Russian boar and roe buck are the two most commonly hunted). The hunting season varies from state to state throughout Germany. Hunting areas may be part of a hunting cooperative or privately owned, and hunting rights may also be leased to a third party. Although hunting is quite popular in Germany, it is also subject to myriad rules and regulations.
For Germans, obtaining a national hunting license is a prerequisite for obtaining a gun license, and can prove to be an arduous and expensive process, costing as much as four thousand euros from start to finish. These licenses are only issued to men and women with spotless police records, after he or she passes comprehensive oral and written tests, as well as a shooting tests. Failure rates are high, and the whole process might be compared, perhaps with the slightest measure of exaggeration, as approaching the difficulty of a master’s degree. It involves a minimum of 130 hours of theory as well as field activities. Though still strict, the permit requirements are much less onerous for foreigners. Foreign hunters must present a valid hunting license translated into German, evidence of hunting liability insurance, a passport picture, and a fee of less than 100 euros.
One of the more intriguing and elusive big game animals on offer in Germany is the wild or “Russian” boar. Characterized by bristly black or brown fur and reaching weights of up to 200 pounds, wild boar are known to vigorously defend themselves if they perceive a threat to themselves or their young. Males, who possess tusks that grow from 2.4 to 4.7 inches and can be as tall as 43 inches at the shoulder, will charge if surprised or cornered, making it a particularly challenging and exhilarating animal to hunt.
Above: A wild boar at a watering hole Steve Garvie / Creative Commons License
Traditional hunting in Germany is done in the early morning or evening, and, especially for roe bucks, is done from a tree stand. Boar hunting is often done at night during the moon’s bright phases. For safety’s sake, hunters are recommended to use good optics at a distance, as boars up close can prove to be extremely aggressive. Boar can also be pursued in a driven hunt with both dogs and drivers, although this typically requires a larger group. Quotas for large game in Germany vary with the seasons but tend to be generous, as the strict wildlife management and firearms regulations in place have allowed large game to proliferate at an accelerating rate.
The following is a small selection of hunting outfitters available. You should do your own research before signing up for any hunting expedition, and familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations that govern the import of firearms and export of hunting trophies, as well as game fees and licenses: