There’s No Friend Like An Old Friend

Last week, quite by accident, I met an old rifle of mine that I hadn’t seen in 25 years or so. It was a .340 Weatherby that had been customized by Griffin & Howe back when G&H; charged about $1,200 for a job like this. They replaced the Weatherby trigger with a Canjar, made a classic stock for it, cut the barrel from 26 to 24 inches, and replaced the ultra-shiny Weatherby blue with their own beautiful silver-grey rust blue.

Its present owner has taken it to Africa several times and killed Cape buffalo with it, plus other stuff. The gun has had a lot of use, but has been taken good care of, and seeing it was like meeting an old friend who has had a hard and interesting life, but is still holding up well.

I never killed anything with that .340, and my chief memory of the rifle is an elk hunt I took it on in Montana in 1973 with my friend Norm Strung. This was an all-walking hunt, and we hiked up and down the mountains looking for elk, but the weather was warm and the herds didn’t move and in two weeks we never even cut a track.

Then one day we looked at each other and said, “Screw this. Let’s go sit in the sun.” And that’s what we did. I have a picture of the two of us on his back porch, looking vastly pleased at not having to climb mountains any more.