Vintage Hunting Conclusion


Vintage Hunting Concluded

A little Auto 5 action and war memorabilia.

The pressure was off.  My son had taken the largest buck of his life.  I had shot the largest deer that I had ever taken…..well, I mean with a 70-year-old rifle/scope combination.  We were both ecstatic but we weren’t going home early. We had two days left and there was waterfowl in the air.

We downloaded the proper permits, loaded up our Auto 5’s and headed to the river.  The ducks and geese were flying by the thousands and landing in live spreads numbering in the hundreds scattered all up and down the river.  Unfortunately we were prepared for deer, not ducks. We had a dozen decoys and hip boots.

As the ducks and geese were swarming I looked at Cort and said, “We have to make some rules.  What are the rules?” He looked at me like I had two heads. About then a single mallard drake whizzed over and Cort pulled up to shoot.  I called him off of the shot. “We have to decide how many have to come in in order for us to shoot.” He said, “well, we have six shots so how about six.”    OK, that sounded reasonable to me. We would wait for a group of six.

I didn’t realize it at the time but Cort had no idea why I was making him pass small groups waiting for a flock of six, but a few minutes later, a group of six came by and then he knew.  I couldn’t shoot because of brush in the way but Cort let two shots fly. After he fired two rapid shots, every duck and goose for a mile up and a mile down the river took to flight. He relaxed his gun, looked into the air and watched thousands of birds swarming and calling.  We were now talking full voice due to the racket. He said, “We did that. Now I know why you were making us wait for the right shot.”

The rest of the day we were spoiled with constant small groups of ducks looking for a new place to set down.  We managed to pick off seven ducks between the two of us that day and then a couple more the next morning. I have to say that hunting with Auto 5’s, although favorite vintage experience of mine, is no handicap at all.  They are as effective any autoloading shotgun as there is made today. And that big old hump sure makes it easy to get down on the sights.

My secret duck recipe is out. I could throw down with Bobby Flay

My secret duck recipe is out. I could throw down with Bobby Flay

Our trip to Nebraska was rapidly coming to a close.  We headed back to the camp to pack up, cook some ducks and get some rest before starting the long migration back to Montana.  But at camp there was one more surprise waiting for us. Uncle Francis was at the farmhouse that evening and he had something to show Cort.  Grandpa John’s Arisaka. Francis brought out the old WWII trophy as well as Grandpa’s sword from the same war. Cort got to hear from Francis the basic history of Grandpa’s five years of service as an infantry Sergeant.   Both of my sons had now heard this story from Francis and seen this rifle. They both admire vintage war rifles whenever they see them at a gun show or gun dealer but I could see this was different for Cort. I said “It’s a little bit different hearing the history of a rifle from a real person that you know who fought a real war, huh?”  “Yes, that is for sure,” he said. It’s the reason why we do not take serious any of the people around us, no matter their education level who speak unintelligently about the second amendment. 60 million people died in that dreadful war, which, if it weren’t for gun control in Europe, would have never amounted to much more than a skirmish.  Certainly the United States would have never been there, and Russia would not have had to sacrifice 20 million. Grandpa, by all statistics, given where he was and how long he was there, should never have survived, and Cort wouldn’t be standing here today.”


It was this family history lesson that started the conversation on the 16-hour drive home that he, myself, and my oldest son, Grant, would build vintage WWII Sniper rifles this winter for CMP shooting next year.  That’s the beauty about firearms. Their history is rich...

James Brion