The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Best Shot I Ever Made

Drawing by the author

Everyone I known that is involved with hunting or shooting has a story about an unforgettable shot. So do I.
Back in the last century Brazil still had reasonable, if somewhat restrictive, gun laws. A person could buy a long gun when 18 and a pistol after reaching 21.
Growing up in a rural community, first living in the farm, and after school age came, living in a town near to the farm, we always had shotguns around, but due to an accident that my father had with a pellet gun as a kid (this story will be told in the future) and because he considered the excessive range of rifles to be dangerous, we never had a gun that would shoot "bullets".
Finally one day, when I came to legal age, I bought a rifle (actually my Mom paid for it). There were always very few firearms options in Brazil, there were a couple 22 LR choices and one 38 Special lever action carbine. Due to the very high cost of ammunition I passed on the 38 and put my sights on a 22.
The rifle I bought was a CBC (in the US they are known as Magtech) Model 122, a very traditional bolt action with detachable magazine an open sights, probably based on some Remington design (Remington at one time controlled CBC).
Ammunition choice was as sparse as firearms. Twenty-two's were available either as Short or Long Rifle both with solid lead bullets and standard velocity. Wanting as much “power” as I could get I chose the 22 LR.
A certain morning I came to the farm, and I had to have my new rifle and a couple boxes of "bullets".
As I came to greet the farm manager he was talking with a local butcher. He told me that during the night a Nelore (similar to a Brahma) bull from my godmother's farm had jumped the stream that divided the two properties and got in a fight with our bull. The visitor got the short end of the stick, and trying to return to his side of the river, slipped on the bank and broke a hind leg.
The fracture was very ugly and there was no saving the bull, therefore the butcher.
The manager and the butcher were conferencing and not very happy. The bull had been in pain for several hours now, and he did not want anyone to come close to him. The discussion centered on how to get a hold of the animal without injuring any person.
I told them that I probably could help. I had a rifle!
I went back to the car, got my almost brand-new rifle, loaded the ten shot magazine and chambered a 22 "solid". The bull was facing us, maybe fifty or sixty yards from the fence and he was mad!
I took a rest in one of the fence poles by the gate, put the front bead on the bull's forehead and gently squeezed the trigger.
I don't think that I was ever so choked in my life. When the little lead slug hit its mark, the 1,600 pound animal tumbled feet up in the air and its huge rump hit the dirty. Everything happened much faster than it takes to tell you.
The butcher immediately crossed the fence and ran towards the bull to bleed it. Afraid that the huge animal could recover, I worked the bolt and put other two or three bullets in the bull's skull. But he was done in the first shot.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that twenty-two's lack killing power.
As payment for a job well done I commanded certain special pieces. The testicles (a.k.a. Rocky Mountain Oysters) and some nice liver slices that the manager's wife prepared in a good lunch for us. The almost four feet long penis I had it cleaned, stretched and dried so I turned in a "bull whip". Over twenty years later I still have that handy tool.
Many times in life it is better to be lucky than good, and this was one such occasion. I think that if I had missed that first shot the big injured bull would still be charging me.

1 comment:

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