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  • May 27, 2010

    How to Shoot a Magazine for Fun and (Maybe) Profit

    By Phil Bourjaily

  • May 27, 2010

    Bourjaily: Weasels Ripped My Flesh

    By Phil Bourjaily

    I am just young enough that the phrase “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” recalls a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention album, not Man’s Life magazine, which kicks off the lurid gallery seen here:

  • May 26, 2010

    Petzal: More Good Books for Gun Nuts

    By David E. Petzal

    HORN OF THE HUNTER, by Robert C. Ruark. 1955. Still the best book ever written about African hunting, and likely to remain so forever. The original edition has photos, which are so-so, and Ruark’s drawings, which are terrific.

    THE GREAT AMERICAN CAMPING COOKBOOK, by Scott Cookman. 2007. Cookman, I believe, died of cancer in 2008 (If anyone knows different I would love to be proved wrong.). He was a wonderful writer, and even if you don’t give a damn about cooking you’ll find this fascinating. If you do cook, you’ll find it fascinating and invaluable.

    THE AX BOOK. The Lore and Science of the Woodcutter. By D. Cook. 1981, 1999. Everything, and I do mean everything, that there is to know about axes and how to use them. Great reading to boot.

  • May 25, 2010

    Bourjaily: Don't Block the Target with Your Gun

    By Phil Bourjaily

    A major cause of baffling misses on the range and in the field comes when shooters block their own view of the target with their gun. Your muzzle should always be below the line of the target’s flight. When you have an unobstructed view of the bird and the gun is in your peripheral vision, it’s very simple to focus on the target, see where the muzzle has to go, and put it in the right place. On the other hand, if you hold the gun up in such a way that you block your view of the target even for a moment your eyes will go to the gun, which then stops, causing you to miss over and behind. On crossing and quartering targets, be sure to start your gun below the line of flight.

  • May 24, 2010

    Petzal: The Three Best Rifle Scope Reticles for Close Range and Fast Shooting

    By David E. Petzal

    As scopes get bigger and reticles become more and more dedicated to long-range shooting, it’s wise to remember that sometimes you have to shoot close and/or fast in order to bring home the bacon, or keep something from doing the Macarena on your spleen. So let’s define our terms: Close is 25 yards or less; fast is the instant the rifle butt hits your shoulder. The best magnification for this is none at all—1X—up to 3X.
    For close/fast shooting, the reticle must draw your eye instantly to the center of the image and let you see as much as possible of what you are trying to drill. The three best reticles for this are:

    The Plex, perfected by Leupold as the Duplex, it’s a terrific all-around reticle, and works fine in a hurry.

     

  • May 21, 2010

    Bourjaily: Building a Best Gun

    By Phil Bourjaily

    The London Best gun is one of those things that I can’t afford and I don’t really want, but it nonetheless comforts me to know they still exist in the world.

    This video I found recently dates to 1956 gives a fascinating glimpse of old fashioned gunmaking. The man fitting the action to the stock uses the traditional black smoke. Wherever the smoke leaves a smudge on the wood, the stocker will file off a tiny bit more until the fit is perfect.

  • May 19, 2010

    Petzal: All About Barrel Contour

    By David E. Petzal

    This is mostly of concern to those of you who want to re-barrel a gun, or have one built. Or just want to become a better person. Anyway:

    Just about all barrel makers turn out six contours, or profiles, ranging from #1, which is light sporter, to #6, which is heavy bull. Number 2 and 3 are magnum, number 4 is varmint (a heavy tube, but with some taper), and numbers 5 and 6 are bull barrels with little or no taper. What is more important than the arbitrary numbers of the barrels is their weight.

  • May 18, 2010

    Bourjaily: The Next Olympic Shooting Sport?

    By Phil Bourjaily

    With two years to go until the next summer Olympics, it’s time to start campaigning for a new shooting sport. My suggestion? Bowling pin shooting.

    It’s no secret that shooting sports get the short shrift in TV coverage. Some people suspect anti-gun bias at the networks. That may be part of it, but the truth is, the networks don’t show shooting events because they are really boring to watch on TV.* The targets look tiny on screen. The shooters are almost perfect. It’s a dull combination. The father of one of our international shotgunners told me about watching full matches live on streaming internet. “It’s a chore,” he said. “When you can hardly stand to watch your own kid compete, that’s a boring sport.” Watching people shoot tiny holes in paper with air rifles and .22s is even worse. Don’t get me wrong:I am in awe of anyone who competes in an Olympic shooting discipline, whether it be rifle, pistol or shotgun. It takes exceptional eye-hand coordination and mental toughness.

  • May 17, 2010

    Petzal: A Perfect Example of a True Custom Rifle

    By David E. Petzal

    A couple of posts ago, I defined a true custom rifle as one that is wood-stocked, one-of-a-kind, and expensive. Last week, in Safari Outfitters, I saw the very embodiment of such a gun, a .338 made some time in the mid-1990s, by Steve Heilmann, who did the metalwork, and Darwin Hensley, who did the stock. Heilmann and Hensley are about the best in their respective fields. There may be people as good, but I don’t know of anyone who’s better. You can see more photos of the gun here.

  • May 13, 2010

    Bourjaily: An Odd Eye Dominance Solution

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This is a picture of my son John, who went from shooting trap scores of 4x25 last week to 19x25 this week. As you can see, I’ve put a piece of electrician’s tape over his off-side eye. That’s a common solution to cross-dominance, when a shooter is right handed but left-eyed or vice versa. The tape obscures the strong eye’s view of the gun enough to force the weaker eye to take over.

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