146 Year Old Rifle Used by 93 Year Old Sharpshooter Takes Deer

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In rural Minnesota, there lives a wise old hunter by the name of Ken Felt who still gets out on these bitter cold mornings during the season, looking for bucks. This year, he brought with him his grandfather's gun. Both Felt and the vintage rifle still work perfectly.

The setting

Nestled in the rural community of Shevlin, population 176 or so is the Felt family. The paterfamilias of which is Ken, age 93 or so. After looking at his grandfather's old gun, which had been a family heirloom for more than a century, Ken decided to hunt down some shells for it. You see the gun, a Husqvarna Remingtongevar Nr 7, came over from Sweden in 1885 in a bag with his immigrant grandfather. While he had brought the rifle with him to the New World, its supply of cartridges was left behind in Scandinavia. This left the gun as a wall hanger, long held and passed on but never fired. Until this winter.

(Rolling block HVA made .50-caliber single shot rifles were very popular in Scandanavia for nearly a century)

The hunt

Laying stock to a group of rounds, Ken decided to give the vintage smoke pole a notice to come out of its long dormancy. After a few test shots, he took to the field this last week to see what he could get. According to the Grand Forks Herald :

"Out along one of the many trails traversing his 260-plus-acre lot in Clearwater County, Felt spotted a big doe, standing broadside, off in the reachable distance.

Intent on a buck, Felt shrugged it off and moved on.

But when he came over a hill and saw yet another large doe, again broadside, he accepted it as a sign. He took aim, fired and took her down. "

(Mr Felt and his gun, photo from the Grand Forks Herald )

The Husky '67

In the mid-19th Century, the New York based firm of Remington Arms had come up with a breech-loading rifle that was simple, fast, and effective. Compared to the muzzleloaders of the day, this 'rolling block' single-shot rifle was an immense improvement. It was soon sold to overseas customers as far away as Spain, Egypt, and Denmark. The Kingdom of Sweden also ordered 10,000 for their own army. The King's military liked the gun so much that they placed it into licensed production at the Carl Gustaf Arsenal and the much larger private firearms company of Husqvarna Vapenfabriks Aktiebolag (HVA). Yes, the same Husqvarna that makes gas-powered chainsaws and tractors today.

(The rolling block rifle armed the Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish militaries for nearly fifty years. After being retired these guns proved popular with local hunters for nearly another century)

Husqvarna made no less than 78,640 Model 1867 rifles for the Swedish Army and another 80,000 (labeled as the "Remingtongevar Nr 7," or Remington Rifle No 7) for commercial sales to hunters and marksmen. The last of these guns left the factory in 1877. These rifles fired a blackpowder rimfire cartridge with a copper case, called the Kaliber 410 in Sweden that measures out to 12.17x42mmR. After the 1920s when the Swedish army sold their stash of these guns, they were converted to fire centerfire 12.7-44mm rounds.

In recent years many former military and civilian Model 67's were imported to the United States. While the ammunition they used is next to impossible to get, they are often capable of firing modified .50-70 Government, a cartridge of about the same dimensions of the original. This is likely what Mr. Felt used in his gun. The old 'fifty' government is one heck of a moose, bear or buffalo round, so that Minnesota doe never stood a chance

Good shooting sir, we admire your swagger.

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December 3, 2013  •  01:56 PM
Very cool. Always good to see the old stuff (Men and weapons alike) get the attention they deserve.
December 3, 2013  •  03:01 PM
This is an awesome story!
December 4, 2013  •  01:09 PM
I am not at all surprised. I lived in Grand Forks, ND, 1973-1979, and loved most of my time there...( it DOEs get cold...Mighty cold in winter, which seems quite long...say September to March......and the sub zero weather, Jan onward tries out your resources). The people there are tough and great, as this elderly gentleman can testify. I wish I was back there...I picked up a few guns and shot my 45 cal Model 1911 and a blackpowder handgun. The rats at the dump,... never had a chance.
December 5, 2013  •  06:44 PM
Awesome story