The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Friend Sandor Hauser

One of Mr. Hauser's many creations
I first met Sandor Hauser around 1992 or at the latest 1993 at that time ACTA (Associação Campineira de Tiro ao Alvo) on a Saturday afternoon when I was trying to get started into shooting, not an easy undertaking for someone with very little money in Brazil, where everything connected with guns and shooting is brutally regulated and expensive.
Through a number of deals I became the owner of a Caramuru 32 S&W Long revolver, a virtual copy of a Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector of outstanding quality. I had but a handful of shells and store bought ammunition was out of my reach, so after I fired no more than a cylinder full I had to put it away and just hang around at the ACTA “back shooting aisle” where all the informal shooters congregated to look at guns and people using them.
Then this older gentleman approached me and asked me why I was not shooting, and I explained my situation. He told me to go ahead and shoot and give him my empty shells and that he would reload them for me. He gave me his address and said that I could come Monday evening to his home if I wanted to learn how to reload ammunition.
Let’s say that that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
What I found was a paradise for an engineer-to-be and gun lover. On the back of his home Mr. Hauser had a “bunker” by his own definition, and besides all the machinery, reloading equipment, ammunition and guns I found a heart of pure gold, endless patience and a willingness to share his knowledge, time and personal history that is extremely rare.
Rather than reload my ammo, Mr. Hauser made me take sit by the press, and guided me through each careful step. When we finished he told me to come to the club again next Saturday and shoot with him, and I told him that although his price for ammo was much less than at the local gun shops, it was still expensive and I could not shoot every weekend. Again his kindness came to play and he told me that rather than charge me for the ammo, he would sell me the components in quantities that I could afford (100 cast lead bullets, 100 primers and an amount of smokeless powder to suit, plus some extra shells so I could have at least one full box of 32’s).
I remember coming home with a small bundle that contained all my ammunition and supplies like it was a treasure, and thinking back twenty years, it was.
Sometime later, Mr. Hauser decided to build some reloading presses, one of which is shown above. The process was heavily labor intense, and I eagerly awaited the final product. The price was one hundred and twenty US dollars, and I paid him in six monthly installments. This is arguably the best single stage press I ever used.
My son was born on January 31st 1995 and I graduated a couple weeks after that. Mr. Hauser and his wife, Mrs. Therezinha, were the first couple to come visit, and we drank the “baby’s pee”, in this particular case part of the content of a bottle of Ballantine’s Gold Seal.
Another piece of equipment that Mr. Hauser designed and built was a shell tumbler and washer. Mine was made using a plastic milk jug and powered by a discarded IBM typewriter and a baby cart wheel.
When we “graduated” from handgun to high power rifle we both had 7x57 mm rifles, and ammunition was even harder to come by. I don’t know exactly how, but Mr. Hauser was able to acquire a large quantity of World War II vintage Brazilian Army ammo, made at Fábrica do Realengo and market 1942. The small problem was that most, if not all primers, were dead due to poor storage.
But that was no problem at all to Mr. Hauser. He patiently disassembled each of the 4,000 plus cartridges, put the beautiful 173 grain spitzer bullets aside, collected every grain of powder for future reuse, and then started the even more labor intense process of reconditioning each shell.
The problem was that the old military ammo used corrosive Berdan large rifle primers, so each shell had to be inspected and grade good or not, then as Berdan primers are slightly larger than the boxer primers we would use to reload, he developed a die and tool to reform and close the primer pocket to the proper dimension. After the operation each shell would be good to three or four reloads if we used lower pressure lead bullets, or two or three if would use the military specification.
There were many other projects. The least successful one was our attempt to use three 7 mm bullets as a “flechette” for 12 gun shotguns. We never could hit anything with it. The more successful ones were to convert available cartridges to unavailable one. Cutting down 38 Special and 32 S&W Long to 38 S&W and 32 S&W was easy and straightforward. Much more complex was reforming 38 Super cases to fit Dr. Nivaldo’s 30 Luger pistol.
At one time when there was no or very limited choice of jacketed pistol bullets, Mr. Hauser made a lot of .357 jacketed hollow points using old TV antenna aluminum tubes.
Another of his pet projects was to recondition once fired bullets that were recovered from the club dirt trap. He would wash and sort them and then swage and calibrate each one. The reconditioned 9 mm 115 grains made great reloads for my 2 inch 38 snubby revolver due to the very low recoil.
I couldn’t ever repay what Mr. Hauser has done for me. My feeble attempt is to try to bring new people to shooting and hunting. If a new shooter shows up at the club (and I mostly shoot shotguns nowadays), I will always volunteer a gun and box of shells so this person can cut his or her teeth at a couple clay birds.
Even leaving outside of Brazil for over 13 years I visited Mr. Hauser at least annually, but about two years ago, due to age and health issues, Mr. Hauser and Mrs. Therezinha moved in with their only daughter, and since that time I was unable to contact him. I am still trying.

1 comment:

  1. Once time Mr. Hauser came into my shop with a big bag of empty cartridges brass and asked me to make a model O with they. I asked to melt the cartridges and make the body of the press , after that I finished. Mr Hauser stayed very proud with the press. He always came to visit me,he was a very sympathetic person.
    Eloir from Brazil