Tracy Parker of Warsaw Indiana with her Indiana opener, a Massive 8 point buck taken with a Thompson Center Carbine chambered in .357 Maximum. Tracy took this buck with a single shot using the author’s hand loaded Hornady 180 gr. Single Shot Pistol Bullet.
I was born in 1962 in Shakopee Minnesota. At a young age, my parents migrated southeast to Illinois and then Indiana. In my adult life I have moved around a bit, but for the most part, Indiana has been my home. I lost my wife to a tragic death at the age of 33 and I am currently a single parent of two, which are adults now and out on their own. My daughter Jennifer is finishing her bachelor’s degree as an artist and working as a technician for an ophthalmologist and my son Tommy is working for an advertising agency and is helping me with this website. I am very proud of both of them.
My hunting career started when I was 13 years old and I took squirrels and rabbits with a Sheridan 5mm air rifle. I can still remember my first squirrel I bagged with that air rifle. I remember the position of the squirrel in the fork of the shagbark hickory and how he dropped to the forest floor after a single shot. I remember carrying it by the tail through my neighborhood with a feeling of accomplishment. I remember my parents words of praise and the twisted faces of my sisters who thought “how gross”. All I could think was, get used to it Sis, I’m a hunter now and the menus are changing around here!
At 17, I combined the receiver from a single shot 20 gauge shotgun that my brother, Scott let me borrow, with a slightly pitted 12 gauge barrel that my brother-in-law, Mike loaned to me. A range session before the opening day showed the shotgun printing very low at 40 yards. I glued 2 popsicle sticks to the top side of the rear portion of the barrel and scribed a groove down the center to serve as a rear sight and raise the point of impact. A successful 60 yard shot, at a 4 point buck, on the opening afternoon of the 1979 Indiana firearms season, was the day I filled my first deer tag. The following year I took my first archery season buck, a small 6 point, with a 50 lb. PSE compound bow I purchased new for $50.00. That was the start of my deer hunting career and since then, I have had the opportunity to take a fair number of deer with many different weapons and enjoyed many hunts with relatives and friends.
I started loading shotgun shells when I was 16 years old but did not start loading metallic cartridges until I was in my early 20’s. I can still remember loading my first .22-250 varmint loads. Those first loads grouped 1.5” for 5 shots at 200 yards. Since then I have hand loaded over a hundred thousand rounds. Handgun, rifle, and shotgun I have enjoyed loading for all of them. More recently, aside from chasing whitetail deer, I find myself enjoying South Dakota prairie dog shoots and taking on the local Sporting Clays courses.
My goal with this site is not to give you a history lesson of the .357 Maximum. I do not wish to give you all kinds of load data to show how versatile the round can be (even though it can be). What I would like to do is give you specific information on how I accomplished my goal of coming up with what I consider, The Ultimate Indiana Deer Rifle.