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  • October 29, 2010

    Bourjaily: Sign of the Times

    By Phil Bourjaily

  • October 28, 2010

    Petzal: A Cautionary Tale About Lighter Fluid

    By David E. Petzal

    Lighter fluid is one of the handier things a gun nut can have on hand. It’s a great degreaser, and because of the bottles in which it comes you can dispense tiny amounts, which makes it economical. My last 12-ounce bottle of Ronson lighter fuel lasted me more than a decade, and when it ran out I went into the local hardware store to ask for a new one.

    “Aisle three, on the left,” said the clerk, but when I went there all I saw was charcoal igniter and bottles of butane.

  • October 27, 2010

    Bourjaily: Theodore Roosevelt's Shotgun Sells for nearly $870K

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Earlier I reported the F-Grade A.H. Fox 12 gauge Theodore Roosevelt took on his famous 1909 African safari was for up for auction. On October 5, the James D. Julia auction house sold TR’s gun for $862,500 (including buyer’s premium) making it the most expensive American shotgun ever sold at auction by a good $600,000 or so.

    I asked Wes Dillon Of Julia if the price reflected an upswing in the gun market or simply the historical value of this particular gun. “The market in general is not what it was a few years ago and there certainly are not as many strong buyers today. The Roosevelt Fox results were a direct reflection of the significance and importance of the man and his gun,” he replied.

  • October 26, 2010

    Petzal: The Gun Nut Voters' Guide

    By David E. Petzal

    “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”—Woody Allen

    Election day is nearly upon us and as someone to whom America looks for guidance, I feel obliged to give you my thoughts on what to do come November 2.

    *First, you can’t not vote. Too many people have paid too high a price for you to shrug off that privilege and duty.

  • October 22, 2010

    Petzal: CNBC’s Remington 700 Trigger Coverage A Clean Miss

    By David E. Petzal

    Editor’s Note: In light of the recent controversial CNBC program that deemed Remington Model 700 rifles unsafe, we asked Rifles Editor and Gun Nut blogger David E. Petzal to view the broadcast and offer his thoughts in this extended post. Petzal, a 54-year shooter, NRA Certified Rifle Instructor, former Army Drill Sergeant, and one the country’s foremost gun authorities, had this to say:

    On October 20, CNBC ran a program entitled “Remington Under Fire: A CNBC Investigation.” Claimed to be the result of 10 months’ of investigation by CNBC, it was narrated by a Senior Correspondent named Scott Cohn. The focus of the program was the trigger designed in the late 1940s for the Remington 721 (the predecessor to the 700) by Remington engineer Mike Walker. According to CNBC, the trigger was known to be defective almost from its inception; its design allegedly allows the rifle to be fired without the trigger being pulled. This has resulted, the program claimed, in thousands of complaints caused by accidental firings, as well as injuries and deaths.

    Those are the bare bones. As I expected, “Remington Under Fire” was a hatchet job. The verdict is guilty from the get-go. No one from Remington would come on the program, nor would anyone from Cerberus, Remington’s parent company. This is not because they have something to hide, but because they know that if they appear on a program like this they will be made to look like liars or fools or both. If you’d like an example, consult any of the “documentaries” made by the lovely and talented Michael Moore.

  • October 21, 2010

    Petzal: Your Chance to Chat with Chivers

    By David E. Petzal

    In my post of October 8, I introduced you to C.J. Chivers, a senior correspondent for The New York Times, former Marine officer, and the only Times staffer who knows which end of a gun the bullet comes out of, which makes him as rare as a coelacanth. Due to an arrangement far above my pay grade, Chris has agreed to field questions from you on his book, AKs, the military, The New York Times, or anything else he could reasonably be expected to know about. To prime the pump, here are my two along with his answers. When this post appears, chime in with your own questions and Chris will answer them shortly.    

    Petzal: In your book, our small arms procurement system, and in particular the Army Ordnance Department, come off very badly, and over a long period of time. Based on what you’ve seen in the past ten years, are things better now?  

    Chivers
    : How could they not be better? The introduction of the M-16 into American military service (to which The Gun devotes considerable space)  was so badly executed that it’s hard to imagine worse.

    But let’s do a fuller answer about the present day, and channel some of what I hear from the field or have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • October 20, 2010

    Bourjaily: The Decline of Country Music

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Last time I tried listening to a country station I heard “Drinkin Beer and Wastin Bullets:”  an ode to the simple joy of getting hammered on light beer* in a deer stand and drunkenly spraying lead--specifically Winchester 100-grain bullets--across the landscape.

    It’s meant to be taken lightly, I know, but it exemplifies the aggressively dumbed-down lyrics that come out of Nashville these days which contribute so much to the ongoing decline of mainstream country music.

    While I was never a hardcore country fan I discovered country radio in the late 80s and listened to it throughout the 90s. I could station-surf in the car on my way to go hunting and regularly find songs by “New Traditionalists” like Patty Loveless, Dwight Yoakam, George (“All my exes live in Texas”) Strait and Randy Travis as well as Allison Krauss and the Mavericks. Their songs were styled after old-school country and written with clever word play and some wonderful lyrics. It was intelligent music for grownups. It’s gone and I miss it.

  • October 20, 2010

    Bourjaily: Abandoned O/Us

    By Phil Bourjaily

    I walked into my local sporting goods store yesterday to find one of the employees stocking the ammo shelves with slugs. Deer season doesn’t open until early December.

    “It’s crazy,” he said. “Pheasant season opens in 10 days. We should be getting ready for that right now, not deer season, but nobody’s pheasant hunting this year.”

    Besides the very sad epidemic of abandoned bird dogs in Iowa (The Gun Nuts reported on this back in April, long before the Chicago Tribune got hold of the story) another consequence of the decline of our pheasants is a glutted market of O/Us and side by sides, both new and used. With our bird populations bottoming out, the same store—which used to hold an Opening Day pancake breakfast for pheasant hunters—has been unable to sell the Browning Cynergies and Citoris they ordered two years ago.

  • October 18, 2010

    Bourjaily: Ghillie Suit Bandit Bitten

    By Phil Bourjaily

    “The only answer,” mused Garvey as he typed the warrant for Vincent Booker's house, “is that crime makes you stupid.” – a favorite line from Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon.

    Dumb crook stories are always fun, and this one has an outdoors/camo angle to it to boot. Gregory Liascos, of Portland, Oregon, planned to steal the gold nugget collection from the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. He spent several days tunneling through the outdoor bathroom into the museum. His plan evidently included a bicycle and a ghillie suit (or “moss suit” if you’re a clueless news anchor) to aid his escape.

  • October 15, 2010

    Bourjaily Tests Winchester's Blind Side Shells

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This week I went to Winchester’s Nilo Farms in Alton, Illinois, to learn about and shoot a new steel load they are calling “Blind Side”* which will be available next year. As you can see in the picture, Blind Side pellets are not round but hexahedronal – that is, rounded, but with six flat sides, like dice. The advantage to the shape is two-fold: the pellets pack more compactly into a hull, allowing higher payloads (1 3/8 ounces in a 3-inch hull, 1 5/8 in a 3 1/2-inch), and the shape increases shock trauma on tissue when it hits.

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