The Split-Barrelled 160" Buck

June_21_06 This is me with a great 160-class buck I shot out in WY. Minutes earlier I didn’t have that nice smile on my face. I was dazed, confused and damn glad I hadn’t blown myself up.

It started when I shot a foot over the 10-pointer at a tad under 200 yards with solid shooting sticks. Even when I miss a deer, it’s not by that much. The buck bolted at the bang and ran straight toward me. I bolted another 130-grainer, fired, missed again. The buck kept churning closer and closer, and I dropped him at 60 steps.

As I sat muttering and wondering what had in the hell gone wrong, I happened to look down at the barrel tip of my .270. It was split an inch! This was a $2,000-plus custom job so I’m assuming no manufacturing/metallurgical problem (yes, that’s a lot of cash for deer rifle, and yes I got a sweetheart writer’s deal, and yes I did chip in more than a month’s mortgage for it, I swear).

I figure that as I belly-crawled commando-style on an 8-pointer that I passed up the previous afternoon, I ran the barrel along the ground and into the dirt and plugged the muzzle. The first bullet cracked the tip and who knows where the bullets flew. It was a miracle I got the buck—and didn’t get hurt.

Lesson learned: I have always taped the muzzle of my rifle in the snow, but now I’m gonna seal it shut most every day that I use it, regardless of when or where, especially when I'm crawling around on the ground.

BTW, the rifle is back in the custom shop in TX being fitted with a new barrel; with a deal, that’ll cost me at least a truck payment I bet.

This is the first of many real-life hunting bloopers we’ll post at the ZONE. I’ve even created a new category for it. So the next time you do something bone-headed, let me know so I can post it alongside my goofs in that infamous slot.