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March 28, 2008

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More Nostalgia, and Rat Shooting

Continued from Dave's earlier post, On Dear Days Gone By ...

Shooting at a shooting gallery paled, however, when I went off to college and discovered the joys of shooting rats in a dump. A few miles from campus was an old-fashioned country dump, out in the middle of nowhere, that was the preferred habitat of Rattus norvegicus, the common brown rat.

This remarkable mammal actually evolved in northern Asia. It is prolific (a fertile lady rat can produce 90 ratlets a year), able to live anywhere, and eat anything. Rats are the only animals aside from man and a few primates to possess metacognition; i.e., the ability to think about thinking. This gives them an astounding learning curve and explains why the little bastards always seem to be a couple of steps ahead of us.

My brother and I would take our chosen rat rifles (I used a Remington Nylon Model 66) to the dump and have at it. In addition to the many funky smells available, there was no end of targets, either rodent or inanimate. If you saw something that looked like it needed a bullet, you gave it a bullet. No one cared. And if you heard the unforgettable bwooooo that a ricocheting .22 makes at it howls past your head, so what? We were at the Age of Indestructibility.

Now this is no more. All dumps are sanitary, and even if they weren't you couldn't shoot in them. I've gotten most forms of hunting pretty well out of my system. But if I had the chance to go rat shooting one more time I would grab my .22, a brick of ammo, put on a pair of shoes I no longer cared about, and have at it.


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OH Boy...bears and rats at the dump in MI...OHH the memories!!

Made one hell of a marksman outta me young...When i joined the Jr. NRA Marksmanship team at 12 i HATED to give up my Winchester Model 61 with open irons for those heavy bolt action and peep sights.

I went EVERYWHERE with that old Winchester and never got a second look...still got that ole shootin iron...and shes still a tack driver...even tho she shoots better than i do these days...training up her 3rd generation of marksmen/persons...too bad my kids wont/dont have the opportunities I/we had.


Clay, when loading for the 7.7 Jap using 30-06 brass, it only takes one pass, then trim a little.But using a little larger bullet is not like using a smaller one.

Clay Cooper

After watching the news this morning, there is one kind of vermin I like to clear out with a #2 pencil. Too bad the voters can’t recognize one when they see one!

Jim in Mo.

Cause I have piss poor eyes anymore. Focus on rear focus on front but I can't use v sights and post and focus on all three, v, post, and game.
But there is hope.Went to gun show yesterday and visited with and old gunsmith I met years ago who specializes in repairing or enhancing Marlin rifles. Told him about my dilemma and how I think the scope on my 336 detracks from the natural look of the lever action (I've never seen a cowboy with a scope). He pulls out an old 30-30 (mine is a .35) and says look thru those sights. He has a Williams aperture or peep on rear (don't remember which he called it) and the front post has been removed and replaced with a orange sight. It looked like a Tru-Glo, a little torpedo shaped thing. Anyway I throw it to my shoulder and everthing lines up. Even the picture on the wall I was aiming at. Those things may not be for precise shooting but for hunting purposes I think thats the direction I'm going to go. Any guys have field experience with this set-up let me know.

Brian T

There will always be a point to shooting rats: rat-crap in the grain takes the grade from #1 to #4 feed in an instant...... as such, it wasn't worth the fuel to grow it. Grandpa had sold off all his livestock and parts of the barn were used for wheat storage. For me, it was my _job_ as a kid on that farm. The big "click-click grasshoppers with a BB gun: there's a challenge.


Citrus rats in the orange groves down in Florida with a .22 was much fun. They got pretty fat and gave off a nice "thump" when you popped one. Thanks for a fun memory Dave. Oh, and Mark, because its fun...just another advantage of being elevated on the food chain. Fun doesn't, and shouldn't, always make sense.

Del in KS

Jim in MO

With the peep sight the eye will naturally center the front sight and you don't have to focus on 2 sights at once. Works much better than the various buckhorn type sights. I have a Lyman on one of my muzzloaders. There are no scopes allowed in our ML season and this is the best open sight there is IMO. Check out the Lyman it is excellent.

Del in KS

Tommy Nash,

When I was a kid in Lake Co FL we shot a lot of doves, quail and rabbits in orange groves. Now Lake Co has few groves. The freeze got most of them. I still go home to visit the family once in a while. KS is a better place for hunting by far.

Jim in Mo.

Not sure what the Lyman looks like but this Williams sure was sturdy looking. He said it was about $75. Didn't mention price of front sight but would need to pay attention to getting correct height.

Dr. Ralph

Mark-(A) you can eat a rat. I've never eaten coyote but will shoot every one I see because they are killing quail, sheep, rabbits etc... kill lots and lots of blackbirds too. It's our responsibility to control the population of nasty disease spreading varmints... I think PETA mentioned the Black
Death Bubonic Plague which killed one third of the inhabitants of the world in the 1300's.


Jim in Mo

My dad used a lyman peep on his rifle for 50 years or so and shot more deer then I ever will. Look up articles on "ghost ring" I think thats what the name is for the set up. It has a white ring around the rear peepsite and an orange front dot. I have an old mauser action chambered in 22/250 with the peep setup on it, lots of dead prairie pups scattered about southern ND.


BTW Jim in MO how much scope will you get for $75.00 ?

Jim in Mo.

I wish they would standardize the lingo on stuff. Ghost, peep, aperture etc. When your trying something new its confusing enough. I wasn't sure ghost figured in this, so its the white ring that gives the peep a different name?
P.S. Just went thru Brownells catalog and Marble gave some 'easy' way to calculate front sight height. Ha!

Jim in Mo.

BTW, I was one of those very lucky guys who did luck into a good cheap scope. Some years ago my step son wasn't shooting well and I thought he couldn't get the hang of iron sights so while at a gun shop saw a Bushnell sportview for $60. I didn't no how dedicated he was going to be to hunting cause I had told him no range work no hunting. So I bought it. That same scope is still on the Marlin and after hundreds of rounds point of impact is still the same. As i said I'm one of those lucky sob's who got away with it once but I've never bought that cheap again. It turns out the boy had a bad case of the 'flintches'. Took awhile to work that out.


I've shot a few dump rats, as well as dumped aerosol cans. The ultimate? One day I shot a dumped can of yellow spray paint when a rat was right next to it. It didn't kill the rat, but it wasn't hard to see the yellow rat running around. My Marlin 99 M-1 was deadly accurate, and the rat went home to meet his Maker.


Clay C.

How much should a .30-'06 be trimmed when necking down to .270?


Clay Cooper

30-06 == 2.494”
270 == 2.540”
No case trimming required, but I would still check the OAL regardless!
I’d opt for Military Match cases if you can find them!


you missed it. You should have told Bubba to trim it a negative .o46"

josh from maine

I always hunt rats up close and personal at night with a pellet gun on my farm. I sneak down to the chicken barns at night with a flashlight and somebody to flush them out of their holes and usually have some good action. Ocasionally I see one that is stupid and comes out during the day that I can get with a shotgun or rifle. Got one with my turkey gun at about five feet before...that was quite a mess.

James V

This business about not being able to carry guns in public anymore like the good old days reminded me of a good story about someone who did.

I lived in Ketchikan AK for 2 and 1/2 years when I was in the Coast Guard. One of out local hunters had an interesting experience with the law and a tourist. Our brother in arms was hunting some forest outside city limits and got hungry and thirsty, so he went to a little roadside convenience store by the side of the highway leading out of town. The rifle was slung over his shoulder, but the mag was empty and the chamber was clear when he went into the store (I don't know make or model). Some blue state tourist lady was also in the store and absolutely freaked when she saw hunter and firearm. She slipped out and called 911.

Alaska State Trooper showed up, now he did have to do his job and investigate. During the time I lived there we had two murders which were a big deal, so although Alaska is a lot better off than most other states, it's still not perfect.

The state trooper casually walks in and eyes the situation, he asks the hunter about his firearm and the hunter is cooperative. He's doing nothing wrong, and open carry isn't against the law at outside the city limits (at the time of the story; now I hear Alaska doesn't have any restrictions on open carry except the usual about courthouses, schools, etc.). The trooper makes small talk with everyone, nobody needs to get riled up and no one really does.

When the trooper walks out, he approaches the trembling tourist waiting outside and basically tells her that this is Alaska and if she every calls for something stupid like that again, she'll be the one arrested.

Lord do I ever miss Alaska!

I live in Chicago now because it's the location of the Bible college I attend. I was surprised to find a story in the archives about the schools shooting club. They actually had a small range set up in one of the basement areas where they kept a rack of various small arms. Nothing like that here now.

Del in KS

Jim in Mo,

The Lyman has quarter min. adjustment knobs for windage and elevation. It's also sturdy.


I don't think it is a great idea to be feeding that 270 a steady diet of "necked-down" -06 reloads. One-in-while is OK - but isn't this asking for some erosion issues??


gentlemen, I have a buddy in south west Alabama who has a beaver problem on a certain tract of land, he asked a few of his buddies to help him minimize their impact, I have never shot at Beaver before, but let me tell you it was a lot of fun. I had only a .40 Sig p229, and my now best friend Tikka .270, we didn't get 'em all, but we did get afew.I was shooting federal ballistic tip 130 grain in the .270, and had heard that at short range the bullet might not expand properly which I thought was fine considering that i wanted to keep the pelts of the beavers that I shot, but when I recovered the beaver I discovered an entry hole of about 3/4" in diameter(just behind the right ear)and an exit wound of about 2" -2 1/2"(just behind the left ear). I shot the beaver at less than 20 yds from a bluff over looking a dead creek,...would it be safe to say that had I hit a deer at that range, I could expect a similar effect?

Old Bull

Most likely.
Except you might not get splashed with creek water quite as much...


Old Bull,
isn't that the truth, what a splash! and a blood plume and pool almost twice the size of the beaver!

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