AFRICAN SAFARI 2001
TR Gun Kote is used in the United States, Europe and South Africa to weather proof everything from small arms to massive artillery. Here in the United States it is used by law enforcement, regular military and special operations units extensively. Ten-Ring Precision receives many verbal testimonials exalting the effectiveness of TR Gun Kote, but we do not receive any in writing that can be printed so we decided to do our own field testing under a wide field of conditions.
A custom built post 1964 Winchester Model 70 bolt action rifle chambered in 300 Winchester Magnum was taken to Namibia, Africa where my wife and I hunted with Jan Oelofse Safaris located in the dry northern reaches of the country. The time of year was June and July 2001…winter time in Namibia.
The rifle we used traveled in a soft case in the middle of a hard case that looks like a case that holds a set of golf clubs. My clothes surrounded the rifle to give it good protection. The rifle made the longest nonstop flight in good shape, bounced around in a South African URI hunting vehicle for another 300 miles to the hunting area and another ten miles to hunting camp in the bush.
Every morning the rifle was removed from the warm room, taken outside into the twenty degree air and placed upside down into the gun rack where in would sit most of the day supported in the middle of the barrel and the wrist of the stock. The rifle was removed from the stock many times during the day for ten days for foot stalks, carried by hand (I do not use slings), scraped against brush and trees, propped up against boulders, trees and laid in the dirt. The rifle was wet every morning from condensation including one morning when it was left outside in the URI gun rack where water condensed on it overnight. After the twelve day safari and twenty eight days traveling around Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa and Namibia there was no rust on the rifle and no wear on the coated surfaces except a slight hardly noticeable place on the barrel where it sat in the gun rack twelve hours a day.
The TR Gun Kote finish on the metal parts was exposed to dust, blood, water and mud and came through with virtually no wear and no rust.
ALBERTA ELK HUNT 2001
Forty five days after the African Safari, I flew to Alberta, Canada to take a very poor hunt with an outfit called Sherwood Outfitters. The hunt, booked through Blair Worldwide Travel in Flagstaff, Arizona, was poorly outfitted with poor quality equipment and few elk, but the test on the TR Gun Kote was excellent. The Winchester Model 70 in 300 Win Mag, the same rifle used on the African trip above was used and was not refinished in any way.
The Winchester was stored in a leather saddle scabbard strapped to a saddle horse for the entire hunt. If you have ever hunted on horseback in the mountains you know the harsh punishment you and your gear receive as the horse bumps and rubs against trees, rocks and brush. The forest was always wet and it rained about half the 10 day hunt. Most of the guns belonging to other hunters in camp were covered with rust. The Winchester was not!
One day we journeyed on a 13.5 mile trip into the mountains where multiple deep, fast moving streams were crossed. When crossing the streams, about one third of the saddle scabbard holding the rifle was in the water which filled the scabbard. This happened almost daily. The rifle was removed and replaced into the scabbard many times a day to hunt on foot. When replaced, the rifle was slid into the tight fitting scabbard where the muzzle rubbed the entire length as did the bolt handle.
On returning home the rifle was removed from the stock to see if any damaging rust had grown between the wood and metal…it had not (The wood stock and barrel are bedded full length and not float bedded). There was very slight wear on the TR Gun Kote at the muzzle for about 1/32″ and a patch of metal about 3/16″ inch in diameter beginning to wear on the outside of the bolt handle where it contacted the scabbard. There was no rust on any metal part, the rifle was cleaned and placed into the gun safe ready for the next hunt.
In closing, I would like to take a minute to mention guides and hunting. I have hunted all over the world from Nepal to Alaska and, for the most part, have had good hunts, even though I have returned home empty handed from many trips, mostly mountain sheep hunts. When you book a hunt through a booking agency you do so to be protected from unscrupulous outfitters. When trouble with Sherwood outfitters took my money and did not deliver a good camp facility or hunt Blair would not stand behind me. It would be like hiring a lawyer to defend you in a court battle and he does not show up at the hearing.
2002 UTAH ELK HUNT
The same rifle used on the two hunts mentioned above was taken on a Utah elk hunt and used on a horseback hunt on a 21,000 acre private ranch in the Cache National Forest. The TR Gun Koted 300 Winchester magnum with a custom wood stock was held in a saddle scabbard for 10 days where it was constantly rubbing on the inside of the suede lined interior. The rifle came through with no wear to the finish even though it was subjected to constant coating with abrasive dust that seeped into every piece of equipment. The rifle was removed and reinserted into the case approximately 30 times during the hunt with the bolt dragging on the case with heavy force. All surfaces that came into contact with the suede interior are polished to a beautiful dull shine, but there is no exposed metal showing.
The 7 X 8 elk pictured with Alex Hamilton scores 359 Boone and Crockett points.
This hunt was with an outfit named Alberta Native Guide Services and run by a man by the name of Ken Steinhauer. This was very high on the list of poorest hunts I have ever paid good hard earned money for and would never recommend anyone booking this hunt with this outfitter. The accommodations were in a well used motel that housed mostly oil field workers. The hotel stunk like stale grease in every room, the walls were thin and the food was marginal. There was no trophy game in the area and Mr. Steinhauer lied to hunters in one camp saying, “the hunters in the other camps were passing up 175 point bucks.” In six days, I saw five doe and six bucks which would not break the 100 point mark. None of the hunters in other camps saw any bucks in anything close to trophy class like this hunt was supposed to produce. If you come across the name Alberta Native Guide Services you would do well to move on to another outfitter.
My old Gun Koted 300 Win. Mag did not get much of a workout on this hunt with the exception of withstanding temperatures of 40C below, lots of snow and ice, but it came through without rust or abrasion.