Thursday, May 31, 2012

More on Primitive Firearms Season

When I opined earlier that the new Primitive Firearms regulations seem to include a .357 magnum Handi-Rifle, Old NFO responded, in comments:
LOL, good 'read' of the regulations, but I'm betting some DNR folks will argue that point with ya...
Actually, old buddy, Louisiana has very liberal regulations concerning what can or cannot be used to hunt whitetail deer. The basic regulation says that:
It is illegal to hunt or shoot deer with firearms smaller than .22 caliber center-fire or a shotgun loaded with anything other than buckshot or rifled slug. Handguns may be used for hunting deer.
In Louisiana, we can hunt deer with a .22 caliber centerfire and lots of deer are taken each year with .223 or .22-250. Perfectly legal, if not perfectly ethical. Still, it's done. One buddy of mine was very good with his custom .22-250 and used to take his deer every year with it. Making eyeball shots. Bang-flop, drag your deer out.

Louisiana started letting hunters use primitive firearms back in the early '80s with what we called the muzzleloader season. It began a week before the standard gun season and gave us an extra week to hunt deer. Originally, the regulation called for a muzzleloading firearm with an exposed hammer, using flint or percussion, no less than .45 caliber and using black powder or an approved substitute and iron sights only. Lots of us went out and bought Hawken replicas and used them very successfully. My rifle is a .54 T/C Renegade and I've taken several deer with it. During my poor-folks years, when I couldn't afford ammo, I hunted deer with it during the regular season. One shot, bang-flop and I never felt under-gunned. There is still a lot to like in a big slow bullet.

Later, Louisiana started watering down the regulations, and allowed things like (gasp) inline muzzleloaders and then, later (gasp) optical sights. Then, in 2008, they threw the season open to certain centerfire firearms that they classified as primitive firearms. As it turned out, the modern Handi-Rifle was on the list, because it is almost an exact copy of a rifle that Frank Wesson made in the 1870s. Go figure. Nowadays I hunt the primitive firearms season with an H&R Handi Rifle in .45-70. I haven't scoped it yet, preferring to use iron sights on that rifle.

However, it's not a stretch to think that the .357 magnum Handi is legal.  That seems to be the intent of the new law and in the proper hands, that caliber is very capable to taking our smallish whitetail deer.

1 comment:

Gerry Nygaard said...

Washington State allows any centerfire arm with a bore diameter 6mm or larger and a 4" barrel measured from the breech face. Muzzleloaders .45 cal or larger with ignition systems open to the elements firing black powder only during primitive season. Almost any type of muzzleloader or muzzleloader fuel is allowed during general hunting season.

Gerry N.