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Old January 5, 2017, 10:05 AM   #1
Danny Creasy
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H&R Huntsman

I tired of seeing does and never a buck at the Lauderdale Wildlife Management Area during my mid-teens. I turned 18 in 1975. They were still building a herd in those days. After viewing the primitive weapons hunters' takes of either sex deer at the management area's weighing station, I decided to get myself a muzzleloader.

With nothing like today's vast array of choices, I eyeballed a .58 caliber H&R Huntsman at The House of Guns. $59.95! That was tough for a high school senior to come up with in the dead of winter with no yards to mow.

My Dad heard me talking to a buddy about the Huntsman at supper one night. The next day he proposed, "Dan, I'll pay ya' forty bucks to finish digging out the back of the basement.

I dove into the dark cavern at the west end of my folks' basement and had the dirt moved after a few after school pick, shovel, and wheelbarrow sessions.

I added the excavation proceeds to some Prince Albert-can-cash and having turned 18, I acquired the first firearm ever purchased on my own. I ordered a Lee bullet mold a few days later.

Over the spring and summer, I put more than a few big lead projectiles into paper targets, cans, and one unlucky Starling (only found a wing).

The next fall and winter rolled by and I had no luck with my Remington 742 Woodsmaster .30-06 Carbine during the gun season. The season ending Lauderdale primitive weapons hunt arrived on the last two days of January 1976. I was sitting patiently at the base of a big oak when a doe trotted by and stopped behind me (maybe 20 yards). I had to quietly stand and turn to get a shot. The big Lee "target minie" passed through the deer's lungs and after a 50 yard sprint, she was down and bleeding out. Another doe fell to it a few years later.

I have not shot the rifle in two decades, but I was giving it a wipedown a few moments ago and the memories of days afield on cold late season mornings came flooding in. I had to share. I recall these things were going for a premium in the 80s or 90s, but the plethora of inlines have erased that demand spike — not that I would ever consider selling the rifle I took my first deer with.



I missed a big doe at about 80 yards the next year. Some longer range work at the gravel pit showed the big minie bullets were tumbling past 50 yards. I did some reading and discovered that the H&Rs were slow twist weapons designed for patched round balls. I purchased a box of Speer swaged balls and never looked back. This patched ball combo could bust water filled plastic bottles at 100 yards with regularity.

The second doe mentioned above fell to one of these round balls. A sitting position shot across a small hollow, I figure the distance to target was about 50 or 60 yards.

I need to take this old friend out for a walk, huh?

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Old January 5, 2017, 10:41 AM   #2
foolzrushn
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Taking her for a walk will really bring back a flood of memories. Even after collecting more....interesting...expensive....etc. , there is still nothing quite like the first one that was your own, and the memories it brings back.

I have a .410 bolt action Hawthorne from Montgomery Wards that I feel the same way about. Don't know where it will go when I am gone, but can't see giving it away. Unfortunately bigger is always better these days, 12 gauges are on the grand kids list.
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Old January 5, 2017, 12:11 PM   #3
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Nice....still looks new.
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Old January 5, 2017, 12:25 PM   #4
Danny Creasy
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Thanks. One thing about the design, it was easy to clean at the kitchen sink with hot soapy water. Not a speck of rust.
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Old January 5, 2017, 12:49 PM   #5
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Simple, reliable design !!!

Danny,
In the evolution of the MML's, most have gone to break of box action just like your H&R. Too bad they didn't go there to begin with as they are a good design and well made. I owned one for a time and sorry I sold it as one of my Grandkids has a use for it. .......

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 5, 2017, 01:04 PM   #6
Hawg
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Minies should work well out of it, provided they're real hollow based minies. The original P53 Enfields had a 1:73 twist.
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Old January 6, 2017, 09:34 AM   #7
Danny Creasy
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Hawg wrote, "Minies should work well out of it, provided they're real hollow based minies. The original P53 Enfields had a 1:73 twist."

Possibly it was something in the unique design of that particular bullet. It has a hollow base but not quite as deep of one as the conventional rifled musket minie bullets.

You may find these pics of items from my memorabilia cabinet interesting. I came across one of the Lee target minie bullets (giant wadcutter, huh) and the section of the first doe's hide complete with bullet hole. I tanned the hide and made a pistol case out of it. I started to discard this "holy" section but ended up keeping it. The entrance and exit holes were identical. This hole (not sure which side) got misshapen during the tanning process.





That particular bullet has an interesting story. I went on one primitive weapons hunt and the ice from a storm the day before began to melt from the tree limbs. For all purposes, it was like being in a rain shower for a couple of hours. In spite of the enclosed breech design, my powder got wet. I could not discharge the weapon at the end of the hunt. Glad I didn't see a deer on that occasion — what a frustrating memory that would have been. Anyway, I removed the shotgun primer from the breech (aftermarket option – see pic below) for safe transport home. At home, I used a half-inch diameter dowel rod to drive the soggy load and O-ringed breech plug out into the sink. I rinsed off the bullet and tossed it on the odds and ends shelf of my reloading bench (a fascinating collection of memories). You can see some of the old dried lube still nestled up in the hollow base.



By the way, the Lee target minie bullets would shoot cloverleafs with perfectly round holes at 25 yards and nice palm sized groups at 50 yards. Contrastingly, they often punched oblong or even rectangular holes at 80 and 100 yards with large groups.
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Old January 6, 2017, 10:01 AM   #8
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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First time I ever seen one. "Typical H&R no monkey business receiver. I like that"
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Old January 6, 2017, 02:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Possibly it was something in the unique design of that particular bullet. It has a hollow base but not quite as deep of one as the conventional rifled musket minie bullets
Maybe that or too much powder.
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Old January 6, 2017, 03:07 PM   #10
Danny Creasy
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60 grains of fffg
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Old January 6, 2017, 05:44 PM   #11
4V50 Gary
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H&R are good guns, but difficult to get parts for if you have an older model. Well done on working so hard as youth to get the $$$ for one and for harvesting a doe with it.
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Old January 6, 2017, 05:56 PM   #12
Danny Creasy
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Thanks, 4V50.
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Old January 7, 2017, 10:56 PM   #13
Model12Win
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Now that's an inline I wouldn't mind gettin' behind!
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Old January 8, 2017, 12:29 AM   #14
JACKlangrishe
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Just beautiful.. Looks very loved and well taken care of.
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Old January 8, 2017, 09:48 AM   #15
Hawg
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I used to have a mold that threw minies similar to that but they just had three scraper grooves. They were just as accurate as my home cast Lyman minies at 100 yards or so. Never shot them further than that.

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Old January 8, 2017, 05:03 PM   #16
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I had one of these for a few years, and should have kept it. Bought it for $35 at a yard sale in 2002, and tripled my money when I sold it. The more powder, the better it shot. I went clear up to the *generally accepted* max of 140 grains FFg with a patched round ball, and it would nearly shoot one hole groups at 50 yards, but was rather punishing. Some time later, I read H&R had a recommended max load of 100 grains in the .58 cal version.
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