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  • March 31, 2011

    Clay Pigeon, Meet Titleist

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Sporting Clays is sometimes known as “golf with a shotgun.” This would be sporting clays with a golf club. This video looks legit to me – although I have been fooled before.

    Besides the fact that they have only one projectile to sling at the target, these golfers have another big disadvantage: they have to look at the target, time it, then take their eye off the clay and focus on the ball to make this shot.

  • March 30, 2011

    How Much Ammo Is Enough?

    By David E. Petzal

    “The best lack all conviction; the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”—Sarah Palin

    In the post of March 18th, Johnnycanuck asked how many different types of ammo it is reasonable to try to see if your rifle shoots one of them well. He also asked how much ammo it’s sensible to buy at one fell swoop. Good questions, eh?

    By “types,” I assume you mean different types of bullets—soft, mushy ones, hard, tough ones, etc. First, don’t set your heart on minute-of-angle groups. You may get them, but you don’t need them. An inch and a half will do fine. I’d say if you don’t find something that will give you this kind of accuracy within three boxes, it’s time for a trip to the gunsmith to see if your rifle is ailing.

  • March 29, 2011

    Wanted: Dove Hunting Advice

    By Phil Bourjaily

    As Chad Love reported earlier, my home state of Iowa has finally joined the other 80 percent of states where mourning doves are classed as gamebirds. Those of you living in states where dove hunting is a long-standing tradition have no idea how emotional a debate over dove hunting can get. The anti-dove hunters trot out the usual arguments, most often that hunters shoot doves only for target practice and don’t eat them. Yet, when I wrote a letter to our local paper mentioning a couple of ways I like to cook doves (shot legally in other states and countries), the same anti-dove hunters who say we don’t eat doves were repelled at the idea anyone would eat doves. You can’t win with these people – but, you can beat them, and we finally have. Barring unforeseen complications, Iowa will open its first dove season since 1918 this September. It’s about time.

  • March 28, 2011

    Difficult Questions, Part Deux

    By David E. Petzal

    Some of the questions you asked in the post of March 18th were so good I feel compelled to answer them without further delay or, as we say in Latin, sine die. If I did not choose your question to answer here, it’s probably because it would take too many words or because I don’t like you. Oh, and by the way damo450, avoid men carrying nets unless you want to go for an unscheduled vacation.

    Q: How could Phil and I descend to doing television, since we are print guys, and better than that?
    A: Easy; they paid us.

    Whatever happened to the full-length feature article?
    A: It went the day of the passenger pigeon in the mid-90s.
    Magazines don’t have the space to do them any more because they can’t make enough money to publish the number of pages it takes.

  • March 25, 2011

    Top Level Shooting Advice

    By Phil Bourjaily

    That’s me with fellow Iowan and Pan Am skeet gold medalist Haley Dunn at last weekend’s Aiming for a Cure ( Celebrity Hunt in Riverside, Iowa. Haley has just beaten me at sporting clays. There’s not much shame in adding your name to the long list of people who have lost a shooting match to Haley Dunn. Besides, she’s a sweetheart.

    It’s always fascinating to spend time with top level shooters. During a break when a thunderstorm rolled in I had a chance to talk shooting with Dunn and Allan Treadwell, who has also represented the US in the demanding game of international skeet. We talked about frame of mind. I’ve always thought shooters do their best in a tranquil, zenlike state. Surprisingly, Treadwell said he shot best when he was angry. He even set a national record when he was particularly mad at one smack-talking opponent. Dunn agreed: “Being angry makes you more aggressive,” she said. “I used to have to get angry to shoot aggressively, but I ‘ve learned to summon the aggression without getting mad.”

  • March 24, 2011

    Police Seize Guitar Gun in Sweden

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Swedish police seized this shotgun-guitar in a raid on private home in the town of Lulea last fall.

    The owner was suspected of supplying illegal guns to gangs, but he insisted the guitar gun, the walking stick rifle and other weapons found in his house were “therapy to keep him off the drink.” The guitar gun was hanging from the wall. Upon disassembling it, police found the firing mechanism was unfinished. Had the project been completed it might have been the first functional guitar gun.

  • March 23, 2011

    Red Dots for Sure Shots, Part II

    By David E. Petzal

    The Aimpoint H34L has no parallax. Eye relief is unlimited. There is no vertical crosshair to align and there are no internal mechanical parts to come loose under recoil.

    These are fearsome assets for an optical sight, but what I wanted to know was, how well could I shoot with one on a rifle? To find out, I needed a rifle with an actual history of scores shot, and as it turned out I had one—a Savage Model BTVLSS .22 rimfire. Offhand, with a scope set at 4X, shooting at an NRA 50-yard slowfire pistol target at 100 yards, I regularly get scores of around 84x100. So I pulled the conventional scope, installed the Aimpoint, and found, once I got used to the lack of magnification, I could actually shoot better with the Aimpoint, averaging 88. Kneeling, with a military sling, I could score in the mid-90s.

  • March 22, 2011

    Honorable Scars: Gun Stock Dings Mark Mistakes and Memories

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This is what happens when targets attack. My sporting clays gun was sitting in a rack while I stood next to it waiting my turn to shoot yesterday and a large chunk of a broken incomer ricocheted off the forearm. Besides being a good reminder of why we should wear protective glasses, this ding is an illustration of what I would consider an honorable scar. (It doesn’t look this bad now that I have brushed the clay dust out of the checkering, some of which is now very flat).

  • March 21, 2011

    Red Dots for Sure Shots, Part I*

    By David E. Petzal

    Whilst at the most recent SHOT Show, I got to watch a snuff film—that’s what it was—of a pair of hunters in Hungary shooting wild boar from an elevated stand. Most of these porkers were running, and I could see that there was marksmanship of a very high order.

    The two nimrods were using Aimpoint’s new Hunter red-dot sights, a line designed for sporting rifles. Aimpoint has been around since the mid-1970s, is a familiar brand, and has just supplied its one-millionth sight to the armed forces. But red-dots show up on very, very few big-game rifles, and Aimpoint wants to change that. Unlike military red dots, which are small and unharmonious of line, the Hunter red dots look like conventional scopes, and are designed not to offend the eye of the traditionally minded.

  • March 18, 2011

    Difficult Questions Answered...But No Hat From Petzal

    By David E. Petzal

    As Mr. Bourjaily has informed you, we are looking for questions for Saison Deux of The Gun Nuts, and I am inviting you to submit yours. It can be anything relating to rifles, or hunting, or reloading, or optics. If I don’t know the answer I will make up something and pass it off as the truth, just like the Government does. Personal questions, such as why was I not invited to the Royal Wedding, will not be addressed. (I’m still pissed off about that. What the hell could they have been thinking?)

    I will not answer questions on how to summon the Devil. He has just been elected Governor of the State of New York, and is quite busy at the moment.

    I will answer questions on politics, but only if they pertain to gun control.

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