Hunters Diary competition

Hunter’s Diary: The Lithgow’s pig

Josh Hanson cherishes his great-grandfather’s Lithgow SMLE .303. This is his story of hunting with it.

My great-grandfather died in 2002 and left behind a collection of his old WWII army uniform and equipment that he’d stored in his shed. My father kept what he could salvage but, sadly, it had been neglected for decades so the slouch hat, webbing, paperwork etc were moth-eaten and rotten.

His service rifle, however, had been properly put away in greased paper and so survived. Naturally, it was not registered and dad, who wasn’t a shooter, never did anything about it. The rifle was stored away again as a sort of awkward family heirloom and no one seemed to know what to do about it.

Eventually, after serving in the cadets in high school, I got my gun licence and pestered dad about great-grandpa’s service rifle, which I’d heard about but never seen. When the police announced an amnesty, I pushed the issue and got the rifle, had it registered and will keep it forever.

A couple of times a year I take it hunting. Usually, I’ll open a new box of ammunition and shoot about 10 rounds at a target to make sure it’s still shooting well and get the feel of it again. It always shoots on target from the first shot and I have shot it so often now that I’m instantly at home with it.

It shoots Sellier & Bellot soft points to minute-of-pig accuracy all day.

The rest of the ammo is kept for the hunt. Last time, the Lithgow accounted for its biggest boar to date — about 80 kilos worth of paddock-churning grumpiness. I was walking the creek line early in the morning, hoping to bump a pig in the bush as it travelled from the feeding grounds of the paddocks back to wherever they bedded down.

I was quite surprised when I looked into the paddock and saw a large, black shape lumbering slowly towards the creek, frequently pausing to root the ground. The sun was up and the day was getting warm. I’d never seen a mature boar out like this so late.

I sneaked along a bit further to intercept it before it reached the creek. I waited as it gradually came closer until it was just 50m away — too easy for the faithful old .303. The boar turned broadside, I lined up the foresight in the rear notch and let off the shot. The boar dropped instantly, killed by a 180gn soft point through the chest.

I love using my great-grandfather’s service rifle. It’s a reminder of what he did for his country and a reminder of who he was to me, although my memories of him are not that good because I was so young when he died. The Lithgow is also just a great rifle.

After the pig, I finished off the ammo with some more practice shooting offhand, then gave the rifle a good clean and put it away until next time.

By submitting a short story like Josh’s, you could win some terrific Vanguard hunting gear! Click here to find out how.




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