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The Rookie Reloader
by Scott Ross

Pueblo, Cororado

It was the 2nd Annual Ross and Sloan Deer and Elk Festival and we were looking forward to a great trip. My twin brother Jeff, Pete Sloan and I had made all the preparations and were ready for a great week. This was a special year because Jeff had taken up reloading and was pretty proud of himself. He loaded some rounds for me to sight in my rifle and they actually shot real well. Needless to say, I used up all of these rounds so Jeff loaded up another 20 for me and gave them to me the day before we left.

We got to camp, set it up and turned in early to be ready for opening morning. The next morning we decided to split up. I went with Pete in his Toyota truck and Jeff took off for the other side of the mountain. When Pete and I got to the jump-off point, we hopped out of the truck and started loading the rifles. This is where the trouble really started. When I tried to cycle a round into the chamber, I couldn't get the bolt seat closed. I figured that Jeff had left one a little long. The next one was the same and the next! I was starting to panic because Pete shot a different caliber than me so I couldn't borrow any rounds from him.

Pete watched as I was fighting with my bolt and told me to lay the rifle across the seat so we could look at it under the dome light. When I laid the rifle down, I cycled the bolt to try to jack another round in the chamber, and didn't notice that the round was still in the chamber. When I jacked the next one in, the point of the bullet hit the primer of the one in the chamber and lit it off. The recoil came back and caught me right in the jewels and dropped me like a dirty shirt. The bullet went through the seat and made a great big mushrooming exit hole out the door. Pete was laughing so hard he fell down. He then made me get a hammer and try to pound out the mushroom so it wouldn't be so obvious.

Easy Shot?

When I got done with hammering the hole, I took his truck 60 miles back to town and woke Jeff's father-in-law up so I could use his reloader and seat the bullets in a little farther. I then blazed back up to camp and decided to hunt around camp. Sure enough, I walked up on a big four-point muley and had him dead to rights. I pulled up on him but when I squeezed the trigger nothing happened. The deer took off into the black timber and that was that. I looked at the round and there was no primer in it. I couldn't believe that my own twin brother could derail my opening day so bad. I never did get my deer that year.

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