Howard Delo

If you’ve been waiting for the start of the hunting season, it’s here! Several species are now legal to hunt or will be in the very near future. August 10 marked the opening of the upland bird season in Southcentral, with the various species of grouse and ptarmigan now legal to take. Snowshoe hares are also legal, but from a safety perspective, I’d wait until after the first couple of hard frosts have killed off any diseased animals.

Waterfowl will be opening on September 1. I waited too long this year to get a refinish job on my big shotgun, so I’ll be hunting with it as is and get the Cerakote finish applied after the season is over. I’ve also been busy getting some cartridges reloaded for moose hunting as well.

While we’re here, let’s talk a little reloading. I’m finally making good use of some gadgets I’ve acquired over the years to both speed up and make working with brass cartridge cases a lot easier. When I started reloading for my 38-55 blackpowder rifle earlier this year, I began looking for a better way to prime the cases than using either a reloading press or a hand repriming tool. I found a bench-mounted priming tool by RCBS that works well and sped up the priming process significantly.

I also dug out another RCBS tool I had bought a few years ago which is designed to ready cartridge cases for reloading. This tool can clean primer pockets, both inside and outside the case to improve the flash transferred to the powder by the primer. It can remove the crimping found on military brass primer pockets and can clean out the residual crud which tends to accumulate in the primer pocket when the cartridge is fired. It can also chamfer both the inside and outside of the case mouth.

I’ve been using this next tool for several years and it is great. Measuring the powder charge into the case is critical for having accurate and safe ammunition. I’ve used powder measures forever, but not all the powders I prefer meter very accurately through the measure. Measuring by weight requires some sort of scale and the balance beam scale I have used, while accurate, is slow to use when loading a large number of cartridges.

I now use a Lyman electronic digital powder scale which meters the powder out of a hopper and into the measuring scale pan. I calibrate the scale every time before reloading and, after keying the powder charge weight into the machine, start receiving weighed charges about as fast as I can pour the powder into the case. This electronic scale also keeps a running count of how many charges it has dispensed, so I can quality control this aspect of reloading.

The sheep hunters are already out hunting, and the goat hunters will be shortly. Those who enjoy chasing moose with archery equipment are also hunting too. The general season for moose kicks off around August 25, so final preparations must be happening in the next couple of weeks. Bear hunting will also pick up steam but will probably be more of an opportunistic hunt while either moose or caribou hunting. Some hunters might get their chance while hunting the mountains for sheep or goats. Be sure to read the hunting regulations.

On an unrelated topic, back in July, I received an email from the managing editor, Jeremiah Bartz, that a lady had contacted him and asked if I would be available to speak to her club. He gave me the name and contact phone number.

This is only the second time in twenty years of writing this column that I have been asked to speak somewhere and I didn’t think I did all that well the first time. I contacted Stacie and asked about what the group was looking for in a presentation.

We kept missing each other on the phone, so most of the details were handled via email. She told me the club was the Palmer Rotary and that they would like a short bio of me along with stories related to both my time with Fish and Game, my time on the Board of Fisheries, and various happenings since I’ve been writing for the Frontiersman.

I put together a bio probably longer than they wanted to hear and told some, mostly funny, stories from the BOF and my Frontiersman time. They seemed to enjoy the stories because they invited me back. That’s nice!

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