Man Magnum

Pistol Packing Preacher

SOMEWHERE ON THE seemingly endless stretch of per-f straight road between Bloemfontein and Jagersfontein, Ernie remarked that one of the termite mounds dotting the grassla would make a perfect rest for a handgun hunter. The problem with that, I informed him, was finding both a termite mound and a shootable animal within range of it.

An hour earlier, at the Bloemfontein airport, I had met Ernie Bishop of Gilette, Wyoming – preacher, handgun hunter and speciality pistol fundi. Our hunting destination was a 33 000 hectare game reserve straddling the Gariep River. On the backseat, in a hard case, lay Ernie’s custom handguns; an XP100 and a Ruger GP100, affectionately known as the Franken-Ruger.

The XP100 is a speciality pistol on a Remington XP action with an 18ˡ ˡ barrel in 7mm Dakota, a muzzle-brake and a Leupold 4.5-14x40 rifle-scope with an ARM reticle. He loads 180gr Berger VLD hunting bullets at 2 900fps.

The Franken-Ruger(originally 15 barrel is free-floating with a partial barrel shroud and wears a Leupold 2.5-8x handgun (LER) scope. Ernie’s hunting load was a 158gr Swift A-Frame bullet at 1 400fps. With the original 15'' barrel Ernie shot a 3'' group at 500 yards.

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