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My 2022 South African Hunt
October 2022 -- Patrick C.
Note from NOSA Webmaster: In October 2022 Patrick (Pat) C., a new NOSA Member, sent us an email with two photos and this brief message:
"Hi. I joined late in the summer to fine tune my rifle before going to Africa. Dad mail ordered this surplus WWII Springfield from an ad in American Rifleman magazine. He sporterized it in the fab shop at Montana's Hungry Horse dam circa 1962. I started hunting with it two years later. I recently completed several upgrades and had it reblued in time for my third trip to South Africa in August. Patrick C."
Click on the individual images here to see a larger view.
Note from NOSA Webmaster: Of course my curiosity was greatly raised, and I immediately sent Pat a message requesting that he write up his hunt and provide some more information about the customization that had occurred with that fine Springfield rifle. He quickly replied:
I have already written up the African trip for friends and family. Attached are chapters one and two of six. Enjoy." [Other chapters were sent later.]
"Dad originally stocked the Springfield with a roll-over cheekpiece piece of junk he mail ordered from Herters. A few old timers may remember them. They were the precursor to Cabelas (who eventually bought the Herters brand). An accident with my horse broke that wood in two circa 1981 and I replaced it with a much better quality factory second from Les Bauska's gun shop in Kalispell, Montana. I suspect it was a Bishop stock. Earlier, in 1972, I pitched the piece of junk Bushnell Banner 4x Dad put on the Springfield down the mountain and replaced it with a new Weaver K3. Dad also put an aftermarket "adjustable" trigger in it that was never any good. Half a mile of creep and ten pound pull. The Buhler style scope relief striker safety was not installed properly and always something of a safety hazard. If the bolt handle caught on my jacket pocket when slung on my shoulder, it would disengage the safety. And finally, the late production WWII two-land barrel probably saw too much combat in the salty South Pacific. Dad cut off more than three inches from muzzle but there was still a badly corroded section about 2/3 from receiver. The rifling was also badly pitted. Needless to say accuracy was always hit and miss. However, that was never a big issue for me as I preferred to track animals in the snow in heavy timber for up close shooting. But now in my old age I almost exclusively hunt African plains game or the plains of Montana. I needed it to be more reliable long distance. I'm also frequently hunting in poor weather and always wanted the option of iron sights.
Three years ago I started upgrading the Springfield. First, I replaced that reliable beat up old K3 with a new 30 Nikon BDC. My old man eyes needed better glass. Then I tossed Dad's junker trigger and dropped in (with some difficulty) a Timney (the old style that works with striker safety). Great addition! Next I removed the glass bedding in the fore end to free float the barrel. Accuracy still wasn't consistent so I replaced the barrel with a used sporterized 4-land 03 barrel. It was a pig in a poke but all I could find during pandemic. Turned out it was in very good condition. Of course, changing barrels required that I rebed the rifle. Then I added iron sights. Replaced the new barrel's banged up Williams ramp and front blade with new stuff in better condition. I bought a like new 1990s Winchester Model 70 barrel mounted rear sight (drop leaf adjustable all ways). Built a jig to drill and tap the barrel using my Shopsmith as a drill press. I bought Warne quick detach rings but had to lose the Weaver bases for a rail (Weaver bases required extended rings to fit the short tube Nikon scope and no one makes quick detach extended rings). The Warne rings allow me to pull the scope off and go to iron sights in very heavy cover or bad weather. Then I ordered another striker safety and after some modifications finally have something that is 100% safe. I used my Shopsmith as a lathe and cut off the trademark Springfield knurled striker knob to facilitate right thumb operation of the new Mauser style safety on the left side. And finally, just before this last trip to Africa I had a fella in New Brunswick reblue the rifle. Incidentally, the Warne rings hold zero when reattached to the rifle."
Now here are links to read the pdf files for all of Patrick's six chapters.
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