Based on the fact you were the third call (family No. 1, office No. 2) I made when my flight arrived in the U.S.A. from Central African Republic, you received an early report on the success of my hunt for Giant Lord Derby Eland and performance of my new "Shadow" 340 Wby. Now that I have had a couple of days to get settled back into my domestic life style and business routine, as promised, I will provide you with more details on the hunt.
I really appreciated the effort you put forth to get my new "Shadow" to me before my hunt. Although I lacked total confidence in how it would perform because I only was able to fire 15 rounds at the range the day before I left, I did have a certain level of confidence based on your comments and the solid grouping of shots I had with the 15 rounds.
My confidence was somewhat shaken upon arrival when my P.H. advised me of heavy trees and brush we would be hunting in, extreme temperatures (100-120 degrees), and his preference for clients to shoot a 375 or higher caliber rifle. Even after an impressive three shot grouping at the practice range, my P.H. reminded me that, "punch was more important than speed".
The uncertainty associated with my "Shadow" was put to rest after eight days of tracking and stalking the "Ghost of Africa" when I finally got into a position to take a shot at an exceptional Giant Lord Derby Eland. The bull eland was 220 yards away facing me at a 3/4 angle in heavy brush. To make it even more of a challenge, a tree shielded shoulder area and heavy brush shielded all but the lower left front shoulder area. Based on position of eland, my angle, and the brush, I had a window of approximately 6"x8" that if the shot was perfect would hit the lower front shoulder area at an angle and penetrate the vital heart area.
I squeezed the trigger, heard the 250 grain swift A frame hit something solid (tree or eland?), and was sure I saw the bull "arch" before running. As we learned later, it was a perfect heart shot, yet the bull eland managed to run 75 yards before collapsing. The P.H. said it was the most difficult shot he had ever let a client take on an eland, so he either had confidence in my "Shadow" or shooter, or both.
I went to the CAR to take a respectable Giant Lord Derby Eland, and as the enclosed photos document, I was successful in taking an exceptional trophy, it was a mature bull measuring 52 3/4" L and 50 3/4" R, with heavy ridges and basis. I was really only interested in hunting for Giant Lord Derby Eland in CAR, but I also took a bushbuck and hartebeest in the final days; three shots three trophies.
The rifle delivered everything in the field I had expected and you had promised. As an added endorsement after carrying a rifle for eight days in 100 degrees plus temperatures, I really came to appreciate the feel and weight of the "Shadow".
During the next five months I plan on spending more time at the range shooting at 300 yards plus, getting ready for my dall sheep and stone sheep hunts later this year. After my hunt in Africa for Giant Lord Derby Eland, I have decided to take my new "Shadow" 340 Wby on the sheep hunts and leave my 300 Wby at home.
In summary, I really like the performance of my new custom gun, thanks for delivering the quality, accuracy, and performance you originally committed.
During the next few weeks give me a call to discuss my possible interest in a 450.
Gary D. Parker