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  • May 31, 2012

    Who is Downsizing Their Hunting Rig?

    By Phil Bourjaily

    No one told me when I bought my hunting truck, a 2004 Jeep Liberty, that it is an unmanly vehicle and that the vast majority of Liberty drivers are women. So what? It is paid for and it has given me little trouble. I have hauled lots of dead animals in it. It is small but with careful packing, most of the time it holds what I need it to hold: stacks of guns and ammo for the range, a dog box or two for pheasant hunting, a deer cart and a deer carcass.

    A few times a year I fill every cubic inch of its cargo space with goose decoys and, like any goose hunter, I wish I could carry more. Every once in a while I toss a Poke Boat on the rack for duck hunting. But, really, the Liberty is the worst of both worlds as a hunting vehicle: it is small, yet also not very good on gas. It is powerful enough for towing boats and trailers (neither of which I own) and thus gets 20-ish mpg on the highway, much less in town. I have started thinking it’s time for something new that will give me a break on fuel costs.

  • May 30, 2012

    FEMA Follies, and Other Notes On Survival

    By David E. Petzal

    Ordinarily, I wouldn’t dwell on survival but I got a response to “More on Preppers,” post of May 4, that I think will interest you. It comes from a friend who did two tours in Vietnam as a Captain in Special Forces, and finished out his time in the Army Reserve. He wrote:

    “This post reminds me of the time I worked with a dozen other Reserve officers on a project for FEMA.

    “FEMA at the time was little better organized than a Boy Scout troop [maybe less organized, actually] and our project was to inspect all the supplies remaining in the in the basements of the Civil Defense shelters in the Bronx, New York City.

  • May 25, 2012

    Police Arrest CA Man Who Built a 20 Gauge Shotgun from a Super Soaker

    By Phil Bourjaily

    I had never seen a Super Soaker shotgun before, but apparently turning Super Soakers into zip guns is a trend among criminals. As this news story points out, the Fresno police had been briefed on Super Soaker conversions, so when they spotted a 54 year old man with a Super Soaker slung around his neck they became suspicious. And they were right: the Super Soaker turned out to be a home-made 20 gauge.

  • May 24, 2012

    Nonsense Product Names: WEN Will it All End?

    By David E. Petzal

    Well, there I was sitting at the old Mac, trying to work instead of listening to bluegrass, when I got a press release announcing that Redfield now has a scope out called the “Revenge.” I thought this was a pretty odd name to give an optical sight, but then I remembered that last year, Winchester came out with an all-copper bullet called Power Core, which has no core, so I guess the rules about product names have been relaxed.

    But then, just a moment ago, I received word of a new crossbow called the Barnett Vengeance. Vengeance on what? The last time a crossbow was used in an act of vengeance was on March 25, 1199 when Richard the Lionheart, King of England, was killed by crossbow bolt to the neck that was fired by a French boy who claimed that Richard had killed his father and brothers.

  • May 22, 2012

    Should Young Hunters Start With Deer and Turkeys?

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Here’s me, on the set of the Gun Nuts TV show, holding my pick for the ideal youth turkey gun: a 20 gauge 870 Express Jr. with a red dot sight.

    It is short, light, doesn’t kick much with the right loads, and it’s easy to hit with. My younger son shot his one and only turkey with it, and I have since taken it from him and killed turkeys with it, too. While you don’t have to put a $500 Zeiss Z-point on a kid’s gun, I think some form of red dot sight (and a lot of target practice before the season) is the best way to be sure a kid doesn’t miss.

  • May 22, 2012

    Rifle Recoil: Oh, Mommy, My Shoulder!

    By David E. Petzal

    As a number of you pointed out in my post on the Forbes Rifle, light rifles kick more than heavy rifles of the same caliber. But weight is only part of the equation, and recoil is a highly subjective matter.

    In the case of NULAs, you get kicked less than the figures would indicate because the stock is an extremely good design that gives you plenty to hang on to, and directs the recoil into your shoulder rather than into your head.

    I myself am not a good judge of recoil because I shoot all the time, have been reduced to an insensible mass of protoplasm, and don’t care anymore. I’ve shot NULAs ranging from .22/250 up through .340 Weatherby, and the only ones whose kick I really noticed were a .338 Win Mag and the aforesaid .340. They were not more than I could handle, but they weren’t fun, and I realized after a while that I could do the same amount of damage to the critters with lesser cartridges.

  • May 17, 2012

    Good Turkey Gear: Primos Pocket Hen Decoy

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Mostly, I am of the school of thought that it’s best to make a turkey come look for you rather than put out a decoy that might make him hang up or even walk away. Nevertheless, I always have decoys in my gamebag just in case I am staking out an open field, especially late in the season when hens are not interested in going to toms. This year I used the new Primos P.H.D. (pocket hen decoy, about $55). It’s an inflatable hen with a non-shiny cloth photoprinted skin that shows iridescent feather detail.

  • May 16, 2012

    Turkey Hunting Tip: Have a Backup Plan

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Today’s tip: Have a backup plan, and have a backup to your backup plan.

    This morning’s Plan A was to hunt a gobbler I found earlier in the week. The season is almost over and the wildlife area I hunt has been deserted for days so I was very surprised to find the only other vehicle on 6,000 acres parked at my spot this morning. So much for Plan A.

  • May 15, 2012

    Forbes Model 24B Rifle: A Light Gun at a Great Price

    By David E. Petzal

    Melvin Forbes started Ultra Light Arms (now New Ultra Light Arms) in 1986, and is still very much in business, which is a towering tribute to the quality of his rifles. Small gunmakers riseth up and are mown down, but Melvin is still turning out the best truly light hunting rifles in the world.

  • May 14, 2012

    Shooting Clays: Field Stocks vs. Target Stocks

    By Phil Bourjaily

    As I mentioned previously, raising the comb of a field gun with moleskin or a slip-on comb pad makes it work better for clay target shooting--especially trap. The question arose in the comments to that post: Why should guns have different stock dimensions for clays or birds, seeing as how both are flying targets? Good question.

    The gun in the picture is a Remington 1100 trap gun. I bought it (for $250. Score!) from a friend who used it as his duck gun for many years. It’s the gun I give to any kid who is having trouble hitting trap targets, especially kids who are struggling to hit trap targets with a field gun.

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