I was tip toeing through a thick stand of timber with Lance Jones last week (November 9, 2015) when a bull elk showed himself at just 40 yards. Head down, feeding, wind in my face. I raised my rifle, cleared my scope and leveled off on his rib cage. I gently squeezed the trigger and waited for the report from the barrel and the recoil against my shoulder. Instead all I heard was “Click”.
My mind raced and I looked at Lance who handed me his rifle. By this time I lost track of the bull who now knew something was up and moved away without offering another clear shot. I followed his tracks through 16 inches of snow until I knew it was too late to ever catch up with him before dark.
After years of hunting with my Ruger M-77 chambered in .338 mag I’ve never had any failures. I think this happened after hunting in snowy weather all day for three days straight and the moisture and condensation built up inside the bolt when I brought it inside my heated wall tent in the evenings. It thawed just enough to create water which then froze during the day.
The moral of this story is that when its cold out dry your rifle each day by opening the action and laying it by the woodstove, campfire or heater of your truck. If you don’t, the story of elk camp may have a different ending than you hoped for!
The bullet on the left is the one that didn’t go off because the firing pin was iced up and it barely dented the primer. The one on the right is what it’s supposed to look like after pulling the trigger.
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