Mr. Whitetail, Larry Weishuhn, Talks Handgun Hunting, July 18
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Larry Weishuhn, Mr. Whitetail, to millions of magazine readers, TV viewers and outdoor show participants is unapologetically one of my favorite people. I have enjoyed his writings for decades and he will occasionally slip me a DVD of his most recent TV shows. Weishuhn has been successful at what he does not only because he was a pioneer in studies of whitetail deer at a time when little hard science was done on the animal, but his “big as Texas” personality came across to make him an instant media personality.
We had a lot of common even though he lived on the other side of the Grits Frontier. We are about the same age, both had an early love of hunting and tried to hunt with handguns. He got off to a faster start that I did. He used an old 9-shot Harrington and Richardson .22 L.R. that required the user to remove the cylinder to reload the gun. My first serious pistol was a replica .36-caliber brass-framed Colt percussion revolver that I tried to hunt with, but not too successfully.
Both of us went through a time where there was a lack of pistols that were suitable for handgun hunting. The .357 Magnum was available in S&W revolvers, Elmer Keith was writing about hot loads in the .44 Special, but for those of us who had to buy “off the shelf products” it was grim. With the advent of the .44 Remington Magnum and the S&W revolver things were looking up for cartridge shooters. We black-powder guys were still left out, until the advent of the Thompson/Center Arms Scout pistol, which was a long-barreled single shot .50-caliber gun that could take a charge of 85 grains of black powder and generate sufficient energy to reliably kill deer.
By this time Weishuhn was knocking of things with a variety of pistols that I could only salivate over. Some of these were on the Thompson/Center single-shot pistol frame chambered for a variety of custom and semi-custom calibers. I owned an early T/C Contender too, number 1618, and hunted small game with it in Alaska and elsewhere. When T/C upgraded the concept with the stronger Encore frame Weishuhn got the first one and killed two moose and one elk with its .308 Winchester barrel.
I got the muzzleloading version in .50 caliber and took deer, hogs, warthog, impala and even finished off a blue wildebeest with it. I was shooting the equivalent of a 100-grain load of powder and a 370-grain MaxiBall bullet, and this combination will kill. Although now discontinued, the 209X50 Encore remains the most powerful and highest quality black-powder handgun shooting platform yet made. Traditions’ Vortex is the closest equivalent pistol that is still in production.
The gun-writing community is a small bunch of folks. Weishuhn and I would run into each other at conventions and meetings. We would blather to each other about our most recent hunts and guns each time we met. He now represents Ruger, and I managed to catch him for a telephone interview days before he was to take off on an African hunt for kudu, eland and lion. We need to get together and hunt something one of these days. Perhaps there is a hog or three in Texas that needs killing. I hope so.
On the show Weishuhn and I talk, sometimes at too great a length, about these things, have fun and even get around to cooking deer and wild hogs in the Texas style.