Simply as a trivia kind of thing or interesting tid-bit I thought I would pass along one of my recent experiences. I have been traveling on business throughout the UK and western Europe the last 13 days or so and being an Alaskan gun nut I have tried to find out as much about the local shooting sports, laws, regulations, hunting and fishing as possible, given the time allowed. One thing of special interest happened two days ago as a Brit born German acquaintance of mine that knows I am into guns and such invited me for a drive to the “outfitter” in a small town about 35 K south of Landstuhl (Ramstien AFB) Germany. It is a chain type store, much like Sportsman’s Warehouse but on a much smaller scale. It very much reminded me of that gun store off of old Seward, at the end there next to new segiya……………..cant recall the name, but think it is………..no, I don’t remember, but you guys know the one I am talking about. Anyway, this store in Germany had pretty much everything, but really heavy on dog stuff and clothing. Real high end European wool and oil cloth stuff……………like 300 to 400 euros, and that equals like………..I dunno……..a Billion dollars (obviously an exaggeration, but out of my price range none the less, so it might as well be a billion) shot gun stuff seems to be a real big deal here and for rifles everything is geared towards the small Rea deer that live local to this area, so obviously many metric chamberings up to and including the 9MM’s but a lot of 7 & 8 MM chamberings and a few .30 cal and .264 (6.5). they had a pretty decent variety of bullets and brass, Norma, Seller & Belloit (spelled wrong I am sure) Nosler and Speer. Brass was either Seller and Belloit or Remington. The dies and reloading gear was ALL either Redding or Dillon. Didn’t see any RCBS or Lee stuff anywhere. As for powder I didn’t see ANY although they must sell it, I couldn’t get over the language barrier to figure it out and see what they had.
I expected to see lots of Mauser type rifles but did not see a single one. Merkel (also likely spelled wrong) was the main brand in this store, and strait pull bolt guns where plentiful as well as drillings and double guns albeit in calibers of 9MM and less. Air rifles were a plenty and where of quality never seen by these eyes before……..Prices likewise. .22 compitition rifles were also plentiful and equally high prices. Fingered one beautiful drilling with much engraving and superb wood chambered in 12 gauge, 7-57mm(or about) and 22 hornet………….5995 Euro……..yep, just as well been a billion.
My acquaintance made much ado about me being from Alaska, USA and although I generally try to keep a fairly low profile when over here, I was pleased to note that the German lad working the knife counter had some sort of fascination with Alaska and therefore discounted my stag horn handled boker knife down to 125 Euro from 159! Yea, I know you can by them in the states…………..and probably for less, but I couldn’t come home empty handed now could I?!!
What good is all this you ask………..ah………well none I guess, but it does give interesting insight into what out Euro buddies have to work with in the name of arms and reloading. I did actually see a small group of three Rea deer off the side of the road one morning and have been told they are plentiful enough that they wack about 5,000 per year with automobiles. Wild boar is also plentiful about these parts but I was not lucky enough to see any. Wanted to see Stag, but was told they live further south along the Swiss border. Hunting season opens on May and runs for 10 days for the deer, don’t know about the boar. Very little to no public land here so all hunting is on private land and by invitation ONLY. (read Expensive) Is common for the hunter to be invited, however there is a per pound fee for the game taken. This is obviously a who you know kind of thing to get invited. But to the uninitiated (me) the hunting looks pretty easy as there are numerous blinds set up all along the roads presumably waiting for the season opener. Is rather wooded so ranges are short, would suspect that 200 yards is a very long shot indeed.
Much emphasis is put upon the “sport” of hunting versus the actual “act” of hunting, as in the priority is in the “sport’ part and the expensive clothes, guns, ect. As well as the time honored rituals that must be observed. Bugles, funky German hats and such……….jager’s (hunters) and of course jagermeister…………..ahh, how I hate that stuff.
I am looking forward to getting back home to AK and have gone weary of defending my president (right or wrong) on numerous topics and speculating on the next president…………. It would seem that American politics is more popular here, and followed more closely than their own politics. Obama……………Oh please don’t make me shove my new Boker into my own eye socket to avoid the next “don’t you think Obama would be a great president” question……………
Thanks to the intranet and our fine forum here, I have been able to maintain my little habit and a tiny bit of sanity between the myriad of beers……………and yea, well you get the picture.