DIY European Skull Mounts

Here are a few of the European skull mounts that I have done. It just take a little time and work and you can make European Skull Mounts of your own trophies.  To learn more about how I do the mounts you can read this DIY European Skull Mounting Process article.

European Skull Mount 5 Point Elk
This is a bull I took in 2004 with my Adrenaline SX bow. You can read about this hunt in 2004 Archery Elk 5 Point Bull journal entry.
European Skull Mount Mule Deer
My non-typical monster buck (left) that my daughter created for my office and a buck I took in 2004 with a 270 WSM Winchester Model 70 (right). You can read about this mule deer hunt in my 2004 Mule Deer Hunt journal entry.
European Skull Mount 5 Point Elk
This is a bull I took in 2007 with a modified Browning Adrenaline SX bow. You can read about this hunt in 2007 Archery Elk 5 Point Bull journal entry.
 European Skull Mount 8 Point Whitetail Deer
This is a Whitetail Deer I took in 1995. It was my first experiment with European Skull Mounts. I boiled this skull to remove the flesh. The mount turned out pretty good although I found another process to remove the flesh that I like better. You can learn about this process in my DIY European Skull Mounting Process article.

My 243 WSSM Rifles

Here are my 243 WSSM rifles, two stainless laminate varieties of Browning A-Bolt rifles and a Winchester Model 1885.

As you can see I really like Quake Claw rifle slings. A leather sling would look nicer on my Model 1885 but function wise, Browning Clincher or Quake Claw rifle slings are the best at keeping my rifle in place on my shoulder and I use them on almost every rifle I have.

 243 WSSM A-Bolt Stainless Laminate Hunter

243 WSSM, Browning A-Bolt Stainless Hunter Laminate with 22" barrel
 Bushnell Elite 3200 3-10x SA Scope

This rifle in my favorite for coyotes and deer when serious hiking is involved. It has a beautiful brown laminate stock and a short 22 inch barrel. It's a great small, light mountain rifle with pretty good range. Dallen my oldest son has taken a liking to it and used it to make one shot kills on his first mule deer buck, whitetail deer buck, bull elk and cow elk.


 243 WSSM A-Bolt Stainless Laminate Varmint

243 WSSM, Browning A-Bolt Stainless Varmint Laminate with 24" fluted barrel
Bushnell Elite 4200 4-16x Side Adjustable Objective Scope (How the rifle was Pre-2014)

This is my all-around rifle. I use it for just about anything. It has a beautiful gray laminate stock and a longer, thicker, 24 inch barrel. I also had the barrel deep fluted to shave some extra weight off this rifle and it looks really cool.

A-Bolt 243 WSSM Varmint Laminate with Adjustable Comb, 20 MOA EGW Rail and Vortex Viper PST Scope
In 2013-14 I did a few upgrades to my Varmint Laminate. It now has an adjustable comb, a 20 MOA EGW Rail with low Four Hole Skeleton Weaver rings and a Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 MOA second focal plane scope. Because the 20 MOA picatinny rail places the scope higher I needed the comb raised to get proper eye, cheek alignment. I had Karl McKnight make the fully adjustable comb and add the extra length to the stock I need with a new recoil pad/spacer. Karl did a fine job! I like the look and especially the functionality.
A-Bolt 243 WSSM Varmint Laminate with Adjustable Comb A-Bolt 243 WSSM Varmint Laminate with Adjustable Comb
For ease in getting this stock to the gunsmith that is out of town, I just sent the stock. When I got the stock back the adjustable comb prevented the bolt from traveling enough to cycle the action. I should have been clear that I needed the action to cycle and make the cut short enough so that it would. Anyhow, a little trimming with a band saw, some sanding, some polyurethane and it works and looks great. The photos above show before and after I modified the comb to allow for the action to fully cycle.
 243 WSSM Winchester Model 1885

243 WSSM, Winchester Model 1885 with 28" barrel
Bushnell Elite 4200 6-24x AO Mil-Dot Scope

I love Model 1885 rifles. They were John M. Browning's first firearm designed in 1878 that went into production as the Winchester Model 1885 and is still in production to this date. 

This rifle is my favorite for prairie dogs and rock chucks. It's a heavy rifle but it shoots bullets really and I mean really fast, thanks to the long 28 inch barrel. The Winchester 55g Ballistic Tip factory loads are clocking in at 4240 fps out of this rifle.

It may be a single shot but with a cartridge holder on the side of the stock I can still get off a follow-up shot pretty darn fast as you can see in my 243 WSSM Model 1885 Coyote Double article.


243 WSSM Rifles, Two Browning A-Bolts and a Winchester Model 1885
 This photo shows all three of my 243 WSSM rifles together to give a better size comparison.


Snow in the Barrel — Clearing Debris from the Barrel in the Field

Barrel Weasel or Bore Snake 243 WSSM Cow Elk Hunt

A Barrel Weasel or Bore Snake work great for clearing debris from you barrel while in the field.

After clearing the snow and ice from my rifle's barrel we later caught up with some cow elk and the 243 WSSM A-Bolt did the job.

While on a cow elk hunt I stumbled and fell when my foot went into a badger hole hidden under the snow. I didn't drop my rifle, but the tip of the barrel went into the snow and packed it full of snow.

The logical first thing to do was just blow the snow out. It sounded like a good idea however with the temperature right at 15 degrees my breath melted some of the snow and the water now froze inside the barrel and chamber. I confirmed this by trying to chamber a round and it wouldn't chamber. After some time and a lot of hot air I was able to clear the barrel and chamber of ice.

The thought occurred to me at the time "What if I got mud in my barrel?" How would I clear a barrel of debris while I am in the field? I really don't want to pack a collapsible cleaning rod with me. I found the answer with a Barrel Weasel or Bore Snake. Just drop the brass tip in from the chamber side then pull the weasel through pulling all the debris out the muzzle of the barrel and you're back hunting. These little barrel cleaners are very lightweight and can stuff into the smallest of pocket in your pack.

I don't use Barrel Weasels for my regular barrel cleaning process when I have my rifle in the man cave at home. But I do really like how small and lightweight they are to carry when I'm hunting and if I get something in the barrel I'm better prepared to clean it out.

Nov. 2010: Although I still carry a Barrel Weasel with me I also do a little preventative maintenance by placing electrical tape across the end of my rifle barrel.

Update October 2014
In 2014 I started using a Neoprene Rifle Jacket and love it. I no longer tape the end of the barrel or mess with scope covers. I use the rifle jacket and the whole rifle is protected from snow, rain and scratches. You can see more thoughts and photos of this product in Dallen's 2014 mule deer hunt.

Additional information