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  • February 26, 2010

    Bourjaily: Remington's Competition 1100 Prototype

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Clearly, the gun in this picture is not your father’s 1100.

    It’s a prototype Competition 1100 sent to me by Remington’s shotgun product manager Brian Lasley. The gun grew out of a conversation I had with Lasley about affordable youth target guns. I cannot take credit for the result because Brian sensibly ignored 99% of what I told him to do and took the project in a totally different direction.

  • February 25, 2010

    Petzal: Free Willy?

    By David E. Petzal

    Today’s New York Times contained two stories about fatal animal attacks on humans. One was by a killer whale named Tilikum who grabbed his “trainer” at Sea World in Orlando and drowned her. The second was about the police officer who was forced to kill Travis the chimp in Stamford, CT, about a year ago, after Travis attacked and nearly killed a friend of his owner.

  • February 24, 2010

    Petzal: Who Knows What Horrors Lurk?

    By David E. Petzal

    A Hawkeye borescope is a pair of steel 17-inch tubes (they give you two different views of what they see) containing gradient lenses and a light. When you poke it down your barrel you see what is actually there, as opposed to the bright, shiny surface you see when you squint down it with the naked eye. For about the price of a good scope sight, you can tell a bad barrel from a good barrel without firing a shot, see when you’re really done cleaning the bore as opposed to when you think you are, and detect what’s wrong with your rifle when the friggin’ thing won’t shoot.

    Here are some of the neat things you can see:

    A damaged land. I have no idea how this was done, but it has wrecked the barrel for good.That gouge is going to tear any bullet that passes over it.

  • February 23, 2010

    Bourjaily: Gun Inaccuracy in Hollywood

    By Phil Bourjaily

    The words “Terry Bradshaw’s nude ccene” should be enough to stop anyone from watching “Failure to Launch,” a 2006 romantic comedy with Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker.

    The movie is only okay, but it does contain a funny bit in a gun store. The character played by Zooey Deschanel wants to get rid of a mockingbird that annoys her with its constant singing outside her window and tries to buy a gun to shoot it with. Notice the rare Hollywood portrayal of the clerk as the good guy.

  • February 22, 2010

    Petzal: Fun Gun Wisdom from the World Wide Web

    By David E. Petzal

    Clint Smith, Director of Thunder Ranch, is part drill instructor, part stand up comic. Here are a few of his observations on tactics, firearms, self defense and life as we know it in the civilized world.

    1) "The handgun would not be my choice of weapon if I knew I was going to a fight....I'd choose a rifle, a shotgun, an RPG or an atomic bomb instead."

    2) "The two most important rules in a gunfight are: Always cheat and Always win."

    3) "Every time I teach a class, I discover I don't know something."

  • February 19, 2010

    Bourjaily: Naked Biathletes vs. Booth Babes

    By Phil Bourjaily

    A friend of mine – a former member of the US women’s ski team and a Class A sporting clays competitor --  once looked out over the crowd at a gun club and observed: “Shooting is not exactly a hardbody sport.”  The exception to that understatement would be biathlon, which combines the extreme physical demands of cross-country ski racing with shooting.

  • February 18, 2010

    Bourjaily: My History With Buck Knives

    By Phil Bourjaily

    The Buck family  -- the name is a lucky coincidence -- has been making knives since 1902. I am a Buck fan because my first hunting knife was a Buck Folding Hunter, the elegant brass-accented 110 model that celebrates its 50th birthday in 2014. I’ve dressed many deer with it, but the deer it makes me remember is one I didn’t kill.

    The year I took up bowhunting, 1982, I outfitted myself on a budget with Browning’s bottom-of-the-line Cobra XL compound.  The idea that a whitetail might come close enough that I would actually kill it with my bow seemed so far-fetched it never occurred to me to buy a knife.

  • February 17, 2010

    Petzal: Building a Big Bore Rifle

    By David E. Petzal

    While cruising the aisles at the SCI Convention and suffering from Fine Rifle Burnout, I spotted something truly different at Booth 744—the stopping rifles built by Ryan Breeding. African stopping rifles are used on buffalo and elephant, and are designed to either save your ass when you  are in bad trouble, or to keep you out of it. Mr. Breeding specializes in them. He will build you a rifle in any caliber you want, but his real forte is .40-caliber on up. Way up.

    Ryan Breeding learned his craft from a gunmaker named Gil Van Horn, who specialized in big guns during the second half of the last century, and taught him that building a good one meant more than simply clapping a massive barrel into a massive action. The rifle you see here is a .505 Gibbs; 600-grain bullets at 2,350 fps and 93 foot pounds of recoil, which is nearly double the kick of a .458. When you subject a rifle to this kind of strain, terrible things happen to it, and Ryan Breeding goes to considerable pains to prevent them. And he does so with artistry.

  • February 16, 2010

    Bourjaily: "Weary" Ducks, Bucks, and Gobblers

    By Phil Bourjaily

    “Well I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused.”-- Elvis Costello

    I do my best to be amused  by the gradual decay of the English language, much of which I blame on computer spell-checks, but it isn’t easy.  The one that sets me off?  “Weary” vs. “wary.”

    Somehow w-e-a-r-y has become the preferred spelling of “wary.”  “Weary” means “tired” while “wary” means “cautious.” Yet if you read a few ads in outdoor magazines or posts on hunting forums you will be surprised as I was to learn that our woods and wetlands are filled with weary gobblers, weary bucks and weary ducks.

  • February 12, 2010

    Bourjaily: Turkey Hunting in the Snow

    By Phil Bourjaily

    With as much snow as we have on the ground throughout the country, it’s hard to believe that turkey season – with its attendant wildflowers and warm days – will ever come.

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