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  • November 30, 2009

    Bourjaily: Stop New-Shotgun Misfires with Break Free CLP

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This really is about gun care, but I will begin by digressing:  my 13 ½ year old English setter Ike (pictured here hard at work guarding my hunting clothes last year) went completely blind two weeks ago. When I go pheasant hunting,  Ike still gets to ride in his crate to the field and back. I let him out to wander around sniffing things as I get ready,  then I put Ike back in the box, get Jed out, and that’s the extent of Ike’s “hunt.”

    In 12 full seasons Ike had a bunch of pheasants, a few quail, half a dozen woodcock and two Hungarian partridges and a snipe shot over his points. He has been a beloved house pet, too, and now is a blind, beloved house pet.  I have few regrets about his life as my dog.

  • November 25, 2009

    Petzal: How I Almost Made My Fortune

    By David E. Petzal

    I spent this past week in an elevated stand in Maine, looking for deer that are no longer there, and in the process, hit upon a way to make the money all of you think I have. I was part of a group of 12 or so geezers who get together the third week in November every year and dodder around with rifles. Some of us have been attending these soirees for almost 20 years, and it is a pleasure to be around people who know the lyrics to “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?”

  • November 25, 2009

    Bourjaily: The Turkey Fryer of Death!

    By Phil Bourjaily

    We sometimes deal with edible birds in this space -- ducks, pheasants, crows, turkeys and so on – and today’s post has a Thanksgiving theme.  Some of you, I’m guessing, may be planning to fry turkeys you killed during the fall for your holiday dinner. In the interest of keeping you intact for the rest of hunting season, the Gun Nut brings you this cautionary yet highly entertaining video as a public service.

  • November 24, 2009

    Bourjaily: Three Generations of Shotguns

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This is Rick Frees, of Riverside, Iowa (self-proclaimed future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk) hunting pheasants with his sons Brian (l) and Drew (r) and their springer spaniel, Clem. The occasion is Rick’s annual celebration of his late father’s birthday, which he marks by getting his dad’s old Winchester 1400 out of the cabinet and taking it pheasant hunting.

  • November 23, 2009

    Petzal's Picks For New Hunting Fashions

    By David E. Petzal

  • November 19, 2009

    Shotgun Shell Review: A First Look at Federal's New Prairie Storm Pheasant Loads

    By Phil Bourjaily

    The pellets you see here make up the content of a pre-production sample of Federal’s new Prairie Storm pheasant loads,  a lead version of their Black Cloud.  The normal looking shot is copper-plated 4s. They are mixed with “Flitestoppers,” which are also 4s but have rings around them that look like Saturn, or like WWI helmets. The white stuff is buffer, which helps the pellets keep their shape as they go down the barrel.

    Both pellets and the buffer are loaded into ...

  • November 18, 2009

    Rifle Review: Petzal Tests the Marlin .338 MXLR

    By David E. Petzal

    With all due respect to the many great Marlins of the past, this rifle bears an uncanny resemblance not to them but to the cult favorite Winchester Model 71. Both rifles are lever guns that deliver Serious Thump—in fact, the ballistics for their respective cartridges are almost identical. The main loading for the 71’s cartridge, the .348 WCF, is a 200-grain bullet at 2,530 fps. The sole loading for the .338 Marlin Express (developed and loaded by Hornady) is 200 grains at 2,500 fps.

    The rifle I got to try out is ...

  • November 16, 2009

    Bourjaily: Beretta's Shotgun Break-In Machine

    By Phil Bourjaily

    The machine pictured above is one more interesting things I saw at the Beretta factory: the shotgun break-in machine.

    Every A400 Xplor action gets a turn on the machine. Two barreled receivers go in the rests at a time and metal arms clamp onto the bolt handles (the break-in machine operator is about to put a second barreled action in the machine. You can see the arm that will fit over the bolt). The other end of the arm is attached to a wheel which spins very fast, working the arm back and forth, slamming the actions open and shut. It loolks like an old-fashioned steam locomotive  when it gets going.

    In two minutes on the machine the action cycles 500 times --  the equivalent of running twenty boxes of heavy ammunition through the gun.

    A lot of people recommend ...

  • November 13, 2009

    Petzal: Winchester's Wonderful Model 71

    By David E. Petzal

    Last week, while rooting through the used guns in a sporting-goods store upstate, I chanced upon a Winchester Model 71 in very nice shape. “That rifle,” said the store owner, "belonged to Floyd Patterson.” Patterson, who died in 2006, was heavyweight boxing champion from 1956 to 1962. He was one of the best men, and one of the worst fighters, ever to hold that title. In any event, he had fine taste in guns.

    The Model 71 was a modification of Winchester’s Model 1886, which has my nomination as the finest rifle ever built in America. Technically, the 71 was ...

  • November 12, 2009

    Petzal: The Best Camo for Hunting Away from Home

    By David E. Petzal

    On my recent trip to Oregon, a bunch of us were sitting on a ridge waiting for a mule deer to do something stupid, and one of our number left to walk down an adjoining ridge. When he was 1,000 yards away or so the head honcho of the ranch said: “You know, I can see him as clearly as if he were wearing blaze orange. That camo of his doesn’t work.”

    And it was true. The ridgerunner was wearing some kind of dark camo designed for sitting in a tree in a Southern swamp, and at a distance all the branches and leaves and Spanish moss and  cottonmouths in the pattern blended together into a dark and highly visible mass. I’ve seen this many times; very few camo patterns travel well.

    There are three that do, and they work because ...

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