Thursday, April 26, 2007

Crossing The Continent

Well, I seem to be just about caught up with what's happening in the world. Took me a while because I'm completely engrossed in Stephen Ambrose's book on the Lewis and Clark expedition Undaunted Courage. Terrific read- and I'm sufficiently hooked to delve deeper into this topic. If you're not familiar with this epic voyage of discovery then this book is a great primer.

What I'm really searching for at the moment however are books on the early colonial period of North America. I want to know more about the continent when it was first discovered. Unfortunately the American history section at my local Waterstones is pretty appalling- there's nothing at all about the first settlers. So if you know any particularly good books on the subject be sure to let me know.

On a vaguely related note, it's given me much to think about in regard to Kim du Toit's Crossing the Wilderness thought-exercise. The L&C group made the journey with .54 calibre rifles- there was sufficient game around for them to not need small-bore weapons specifically for hunting (and given that the men were eating about 8 or 9 lbs of meat every day it would hardly have been practical). In addition to hunting buffalo, they seem to have come across quite a few grizzly bears and a goodly number of Indians. So the prime purpose of having firearms for the crossing would seem to be big game and fending off potentially hostile Natives. Given that it's also a solo crossing I don't think that a bolt action rifle would be of much use- I'm tending more and more towards the idea that a Garand would be pretty much the ideal weapon. A .30-06 with premium bullets for hunting in a tough, battle-proven action just in case defensive fire is needed against a raiding party.

The next question of course is what route to take across 17th century North America? What kit do I take? Which boots are going to stand up to the journey?


David Codrea said...

L&C also had air rifles they used for small game.

You can spend hours on this site exploring all the options:

Jay.Mac said...

Remarkable to think that air rifles were once actually used in combat. Apparently there was also a 20 gauge shotgun/fowling piece taken along too.

If the Kim du Toit rules weren't so strict I'd want to take along a .22LR upper for a 1911 pistol (along with one in .45ACP of course). It's a tough decision to make given the incredible expanse of the continent and the variety of plant and animal life across it.

Any thoughts on what long gun/hand gun you'd want along for the jaunt?

Tam said...

It would be my luck that I'd chamber my thumb in my Garand and die from an infected right thumbnail in the middle of the continent.

I'll take my Garand's contemporary, my FN-49, and my 4" Model 19.