This year Mossberg’s 500 pump turns 50 years old. Millions of Model 500s have been produced since the gun debuted in 1961. I have been thinking about the Model 500 lately for a couple of reasons.
For one thing, I have a large and tender bruise on the web of my left hand from shooting two rounds of buckshot out of a pistol-gripped police-style 500 on the Gun Nuts TV show this week.
Also, our video editor Michael Shea asked me which shotgun had the first factory camo stock. The earliest factory camo job I can find record of was on the M-500 back in 1986. It would make sense given Mossberg’s history of industry firsts that the Model 500 was the first camo shotgun.
To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Cabela’s is offering its public a series of commemorative guns that are re-creations of firearms that were built in 1961. This presently includes a Browning, an S&W, a couple of Rugers, and Winchesters. Rich Robbins, who works on this project for Cabela’s in collaboration with Winchester, sent me the following, which I found so interesting I run it here:
Model 94 (pictured above): For the Model 94 we wanted something really different, and the big thing on this gun is the button magazine, which I don’t believe they’ve used since the early 1950s. It also has an octagon barrel with double gold bands at the muzzle, Grade 4 walnut, a crescent buttplate, and is chambered in .38/55.
When I was in Texas in April, my friend Chris Paradise of Mossy Oak he showed me his secret weapon. This has to be the ultimate strutter decoy, as it’s made from a real gobbler he shot and had mounted. Obviously this is not a decoy I would set up in my home public turkey woods, but Paradise uses this it on secure private land. It’s very light, and as you can sort of see in the picture, the feathers move naturally in the wind. Real feathers have a sheen that no plastic or vinyl decoy can match.
Gobblers attack this decoy and it is kind of fragile. Therefore if you hunt with Chris you have to follow one rule: the shooter has the decoy’s back. There is no sitting and watching the show when a gobbler comes in looking to fight. You pull the trigger before the tom starts pecking, spurring and beating on the stuffer so it can survive to fool another turkey on another day.
Along with financial collapse, the End of Days, nuclear war, and what will become of Arnold’s movie career, long-term gun storage is a source of anxiety. We’ll have to wait and see about the other stuff, but the gun storage part of it seems to have been solved.
ZCORR products has developed (at the request of the U.S. Marine Corps, which was looking for a way to store refurbished M-16s) long-term, re-usable, vacuum-sealed firearms and ammo storage bags that utilize a vapor corrosion inhibitor called Blu-Gard-VCI to protect whatever is in them for 20 years. ZCORR’s original storage bags close with a Velcro flap. The new Vacuum FSP bags use a zipper closure, and are apparently effective for much longer.
One of the other guests in the Texas turkey camp where I hunted was singer Darryl Worley, who brought his guitar and did some picking at night.
Besides being a nice guy, being a genuine authority on coon hunting and catfishing, and having several hit records, Worley is devoted to entertaining our men and women in uniform. His next stop after Texas was South Korea, as seen in the video below.
My earlier post about shooters being made or born started a discussion of eye dominance. Almost everyone has one eye that is stronger than the other, just as they are left-handed or right handed. While many people have their strong eye and strong hand on the same side, not everyone does. The question was raised whether it is better to shoot from your dominant hand or dominant eye side if they are not one and the same.
With new shooters, I strongly believe you should test them for eye dominance and have them shoot from their dominant eye side. Even if someone has been shooting for a few years on the “wrong” side, I think switching is a good idea. Otherwise they will have to shoot with one eye closed.
On my legendary, almost mythical, nilgai hunt, I had the near-orgasmic pleasure of hunting with a McMillan Custom Collection rifle. McMillan is best known for making synthetic stocks that are the gold standard for that art form, but the McMillan family has, since the 60s, produced top-grade competition, tactical, and hunting rifles as well.
The Custom Collection consists of eight big-game rifles in varying configurations that use McMillan’s G30 bolt action (made in both controlled-round and push-feed versions), Lilja or Schneider barrels, Jewell triggers, and of course their own stocks. I had the chance to shoot four of the Custom Collection models ranging from .270 WSM to .338 Lapua, and can tell you that they are as fine and as accurate as anything you can get.
Just about the time the wind picked up, the rain started and I had decided turkey season needed to end last Friday, this jake wandered into range. His timing was bad, my aim was good, and spring 2011 was on the books. It is a tiny turkey, only 13 ½ pounds, so I plucked it and we will roast it whole on some special occasion.
Since I insisted in print last week that every turkey is a trophy, this jake got the same trophy turkey photo treatment as any other bird. And, if I do say so, the picture came out okay.
A blogger of my acquaintance asked me to explain the difference between controlled-feed bolt-actions and push-feed bolt actions, and the importance thereof to shooters.
Controlled feed refers to the system developed by Peter Paul Mauser for his Model 98 bolt-action. When the bolt is cycled, a cartridge rises up from the magazine and the extractor—that long, flat piece of metal that rides alongside the bolt—snaps onto the rim of the cartridge and holds it in a death grip on its trip into the chamber. When the round is fired, it pulls the case clear until it is kicked out of action by the ejector, a small, unattractive piece of steel that is fixed in place behind the follower and rides through a slot in the bolt face. So, controlled feed: Each round is held in place throughout the firing cycle.
Push feed was introduced by Remington in 1949 in the Model 721 (which eventually became the Model 700). Here, as a cartridge rose up out of the magazine, the bolt simply pushed it forward into the chamber without holding on to it. As the case chambers, a small unattractive clip snaps onto the rim, and pulls the case out when the round is fired. The shell is kicked clear by a spring-loaded plunger in the bolt face.
I recently came across an update from Kel Tec on their new bullpup KSG pump shotgun that garnered so much attention at this year’s SHOT show in January and that Phil Bourjaily called the most innovative new shotgun. This video shows how Kel Tec addressed concerns brought up by folks who got to handle the weapon at the trade show.