The Record Grizzly of 1953

The story that gave me the most confidence in my single-shot 22 rifle was the story of Bella Twin – the grandmother who took the largest grizzly of 1953 with her single-shot Cooey 22.  She didn’t even have long rifle shells – she had a few 22 longs.  They were cheaper back then.  Her bolt action 22 wasn’t self-cocking – you had to work the bolt, put in the shell, close the bolt, cock the striker, and then you could shoot.  I sold a few Cooeys back in the eighties – they were a decent “bottom of the line” 22, but the Winchester 67 had a better extractor. 

Her encounter with the grizzly was in Alberta – a bit to the north of my neighborhood.  In the photo below, her left hand covers the spot where, because of a missing screw, the rifle she used was held together with tape.  I doubt if she ever knew how much confidence her story, her accomplishments, gave to a kid with another single-shot 22 ten years later.

The picture shows a tiny woman and the hide from a huge bear.

The whole story is here – including photographs of the bear’s skull and instructions on where to aim should you also need to take the real bear up close and personal.  Now we have bear spray for this sort of encounter – but in 1953, a Canadian grandmother showed Voltaire was right – “God is not on the side of the biggest battalions, but the best marksmen.”  

It’s as good a read now as it was in the sixties.

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