Three Weeks out from a Cold Pheasant Shoot – It’s Cold Outside


The first time I shot in the European Pheasant Shoot at Quailridge we had a heavy wet snow in Dallas, heavy fog all of the way driving up to Oklahoma leaving at four in the morning and mushy snow and cold during the shoot that Saturday morning and then it got cold again.  I drove back to Dallas Sunday morning staying just in fron to another storm moving in with freezing moisture and that shoot that year was a whole lot of fun.

If we do shoot in sub freezing weather your gun needs to be clean and very lightly oiled.  Oil and gunk in the action of a gun whether it is band new or fifty years old gets thick and thicker as the temperature goes down and the innards of your gun don’t work very well.  That year I had to switch to my backup gun halfway through the shoot because the firing pin on my lower barrel decided to only work part time which meant that I was using a single shot until I switched over.

Now is the time to go to your favorite gun store and get a can of Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber, take your shot gun apart as far as possible go outside and wearing glasses or safety goggles follow the instructions on the can and flood the insides of the open action with Gun Scrubber Spray and watch the gunk wash out and if the wood butt stock will not come off, hold the action in a down position since the spray can affect the wood finish.  If you are using a side by side or o/u use the little straw attachment to force some gun scrubber in around the firing pins and trigger.  With a semi-auto this the time time you will want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and clean the little holes halfway up the underside of the barrel that allow the gas action to operate.

If the barrel or barrels and chokes have not been cleaned to a mirror finish this the time to complete cleaning your gun.  Now is when I use my spray can of Remington Rem Oil to very lightly put oil on metal parts before the gun is reassembled but leave the trigger area dry and wipe down excess oil on the rest of the gun.  Look at your manual that came with your gun or go on line to make sure that you don’t oil areas on semi-autos that are to be left dry.  A very clean lightly oiled shotgun will insure that you have a rewarding sub freezing hunt.

In the next day or two I will review some suggestions on getting ready to dress for success when the temp is in the 20’s and if you are like me I am not used to working outside in cold weather.  By the way, I am an expert of sorts in cold weather survival, since I got a certificate in 1967 for completing a ten day, jungle warfare course in the snow and ice from the good old US Army.  Actually living in pup tents with sleeping bags and no fires did teach me a little bit that I will pass on.

About the Author

Joe McElyea
I am an original member and founder of the esteemed High Plains Shooting and Dining Society which is dedicated to fellowship of bird hunters and shooters who also enjoy finding great local places to eat large, unhealthy portions of breaded and fried meats and gravies washed down with the appropriate libations. I am also a retired old man who enjoys fishing, shooting and my wonderful family.