FACE TO FACE WITH A 2200 LBS BUFFALO.

An old-style hunting story told by Rino Chiappa

March 2010, New Mexico: Rino Chiappa, General Director of the Chiappa Group is enjoying the emotion of traditional hunting, together with Ron Norton – President of Chiappa Firearms in Dayton and the friends of the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe.

“For two generations we have been producing replicas of the most famous firearms models which, a century and half ago, were used for military purpose and for hunting. I wanted to try first-hand what it meant to hunt with a 1886 Lever Action, the last model produced by Armi Sport. It was a stirring experience that I’ll never forget”.


Rino explains that his expectations were very far from the experience he went through. He thought that the buffalo hunt organized in a special reserve would be a sort of vacation with an “extra thrill” for tourists. He would never expect he would have to endure the fatigue of trailing the buffalo for a whole week, on horseback from morning till evening, with a pungent cold and temperatures constantly below zero.


Bonanza Creek

The buffalo was covering huge distances in the 5000 acres area, and as early as the second day the strain and the longing to find it had already transformed the participants, creating a strong determination, an ancient drive, the true spirit of hunting.

“I consider myself a very civilized person, I am a fan of technology and feel strongly projected towards the future. I did not believe I would feel so strongly involved, but when you hunt down a prey for days, enduring a thousand strains and hardships, your sole desire is to find it and beat it".

There have been many moving moments: living many days in the open with your pals among breathtaking landscapes and learning to survive in an intact environment is rebuilding a part of yourself that seems to be buried under our cultural superstructure.

 

 

The finale was a great satisfaction to Rino. The 1886 rifle caliber 45/70 harvested the buffalo – a 12 years old specimen weighting approx. 2200 pounds – at the first blow with a fatal lung shot and a second shot at the shoulder that dropped him.

 

“The rifle Model 1886, though an initial production prototype, yielded an excellent performance, with a very smooth action and impeccable precision and power”. The 1886 Lever Action model by Chiappa Firearms is now ready to be launched on the market, serial production has already started and the first deliveries are forecasted by the end of July for the version in caliber 45/70 and octagonal 26” barrel. Within the end of 2010 the other three version will be available, that is, the rifle in caliber .444 Marlin (8 + 1 rounds) and the carbine with 22” barrel (7+1 rounds) in both calibers. The weight is 9 lbs (about 4 kg) for the rifle and 8 lbs (about 3,5 kg) for the carbine, with an overall length of 45” (114 cm) and 41” (104 cm) respectively. Receiver, lever, butt plate and forend tip are colour case, while breech block, barrel and loading gate are blued.

It took more than 5 hours’ work of all hunters to quarter and pack out the meat, which was donated to the Santa Fe orphanage.

 

“I feel enthusiastic about this experience.  I was believing in traditional hunting, that is to say hunting without sophisticated firearms, and always supported and sponsored it. But now that I tried it personally, I feel it as a moral value, as a personal growth towards a deep relation with nature”.