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  • September 28, 2012

    3-D Gun Printing: People Already Making Their Own AR Lowers

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Last year I blogged about 3-D printing and the possibility that someday soon we could print firearms parts and, possibly, whole guns. That future is arriving: people have already printed plastic AR 15 lowers.*

    Defense Distributed, a group that hosts the Wiki Weapon project, is trying to make a whole, functional, printable gun. Their goal is modest: a .22 pistol that will fire at least one shot. Think of it like World War II’s “Liberator Pistol” for the 21st century. They then intend to make the information and plan available anywhere so anyone with a hobby grade 3-D printer can make a public domain pistol.

  • September 27, 2012

    Shooting Drill: Elevate Your Heart Rate and Fire Quickly

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Dave rants often about the need for hunters to leave the comfort of the bench and the Lead Sled. It’s the only way to learn to shoot quickly from field positions and to deal with recoil. Let me second that. This picture shows what can happen when you not only heed the talk about getting away from the bench but you walk the walk—literally.

    My grade school pal Jim shot this buffalo in Mozambique earlier in September. Jim had been planning the hunt—his first buffalo hunt—for a couple of years.  Jim shoots a lot and as the safari drew close he added a special buffalo hunting drill: he would hike a couple miles at a fast pace in the fields behind his farmhouse to get his heart beating hard, then he would quickly fire four shots from his .450 Rigby at a cardboard target at 50 yards. At first he used reduced loads with lead bullets to keep the cost down, then he switched to his hunting ammo to get the full effect of Rigby recoil.

  • September 26, 2012

    Bullet Wisdom from the Past

    By David E. Petzal

    Back in the late 1970s I began rooting around in the last earthly remains of critters I had done in to recover the spent bullets that did them in. I then put the slugs in little paper change envelopes that I got from the bank, and recorded all the data—range, scope setting, bullet weight, how the animal reacted—on the envelope.

    Recently, I went through my bullet collection and am currently meditating on the following:

    On my first trip to Africa, I took a 7mm Weatherby Magnum loaded with the old 160-grain screw machine Nosler Partition bullets. I recovered four of them, and each weighed precisely 111.6 grains. Not 111.5, or 111.7, but 111.6. What are the odds on that?

    From the 1970s to about 2000, I recovered lots of bullets. After that, the numbers fell off drastically. In recent years, the only time I find a bullet is if I shoot something really sizeable, like an elk, or bigger. Of the bullets I’ve used most in recent years—Swift A-Frame and Scirocco, Hornady GTX, Barnes all-copper bullets in their various forms—the only one I’ve found in an animal was a .416 Swift 400-grain A-Frame that ended up under the hide of a Cape buffalo on the far side.

  • September 25, 2012

    Elkslayer Wins Llama Photo Caption Contest

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This picture of Comos the Llama getting a little face time with Peter in the Ringer blind on a failed pigeon hunt generated a ton of responses. Peter and I are undeterred by our llama-interrupted fiasco and we plan on visiting the farm again, although Peter tells me next time it’s my turn to hide in the Ringer.

    Anyway, here are some captions we liked:

    Peter liked this one from spuddog:

    How many times have I hunted in Argentina and never had this problem? Who'da thunk?

    As a sucker for a haiku, I especially enjoyed the entry submitted by Ajax2112:
    A shower-like blind:
    A curious llama comes;
    His breath smells like poo.

  • September 24, 2012

    Shotgun Stocks: There's Mystery in Wood

    By David E. Petzal

    This past week I shot Sporting Clays with a friend of mine named Charlie Yellott, who is not only a hell of a shotgunner, but a fine gunsmith as well. Charlie was shooting a Remington Model 32 o/u which had been built in 1934. He had rust-blued it and stocked it in an iridescent piece of black walnut. It was a reminder that wood can’t compete with chemicals for a working-rifle stock, but on a shotgun, wood is the only thing to have. (Unless, of course, you want to do something like hunt waterfowl or turkeys, and then who cares?)

    A figured wood stock is like a snowflake; it is unique; there has never been one exactly like it and there never will be another one like it. Moreover, it will change over the course of time. Walnut usually darkens as it ages, and its colors get richer. One of the great satisfactions in working with walnut is sanding a blank as smooth as glass and then applying the finish. It is at that point that the thing is literally transformed. All the shades and tones jump to life in an instant.

  • September 21, 2012

    Why I Like Hunting Squirrels With a Shotgun

    By Phil Bourjaily

    A while ago we posted the story of a hunter who had taken North America’s Squirrel Slam in a single season. I thought it was one of the coolest stories we ever ran, but a lot of readers could not see past the fact that the hunter used a shotgun.* Comments ranged from condescension to outrage.

    I can understand that someone might prefer to shoot squirrels with a rifle--I have shot them with .22s, air rifles and muzzleloaders--but I don’t get the hate for shotguns.

    If I were going squirrel hunting tomorrow (which is not a bad idea), I might take my 10/22 but I would be just as likely to pack a shotgun, especially as the season is young and there are lots of leaves on the trees. I would unscrew the turkey choke from my 20 gauge 870, put in a Modified and shoot field loads of 5 or 6 shot. I might even leave the red dot on it.

  • September 20, 2012

    Keep the Change

    By David E. Petzal

    One of the things for which I have been taken to task is a statement I made in, I think, a Nosler reloading manual to the effect that the .222 is a 200-yard gun, and if you want to shoot farther, you need something more powerful like a .22/250.

    This is, of course, arrant nonsense, and when I’m done writing this post I will go and kill myself by way of apology. But that notwithstanding, I think the reason I made that statement was as follows: The things you learn early on retain their force, despite change, and despite massive evidence that they are no longer true.

  • September 19, 2012

    Dove Decoy Placement: Getting My Mojo Working

    By Phil Bourjaily

    It has taken a while for Mojo decoys to spin their way into my affections. I have learned to put aside my dislike for motorized hunting gear and bring them with me, especially when the quarry is wood ducks, which rarely decoy well to conventional floating decoys, and for doves. The new Mojos by the way – the is the Voodoo Dove – have magnets to attach the wings to the bodies, a huge improvement over the old thumbscrews which were easy to drop underwater or into the weeds.

  • September 18, 2012

    An Outdoor Philosophy

    By David E. Petzal

    As a rule, I try to avoid philosophy as strenuously as I avoid honest work. I would as soon read Hegel or Kant or Nietzsche as I would pound a darning needle up my nose. But sometimes one is forced to think about something more all encompassing than Ms. Mila Kunis (pictured here).

    While hunting in New Zealand this past spring, I ran into a South African hunter of vast experience who said, in the course of our conversation, “The purpose of hunting isn’t to kill some stupid animal. It’s to give yourself a chance to stand alone in the wilderness and realize how insignificant you are.”

  • September 17, 2012

    Caption Contest: Write The Best, Win a Hunting Knife From Gerber

    By Phil Bourjaily

    The other morning my friend Peter took me to a barnyard where we attempted to shoot pigeons. We did kill one, but mostly our morning was spent being in the wrong end of the farm at the wrong time, and/or bumbling in a variety of other ways. We have all been on hunts like this one. The plan was to put out two spinners on the spot where the birds were landing last time we were here. I hid behind a burn barrel, Peter set up in an Ameristep Ringer blind. We lurked in wait.

    One of the many things that went wrong: the premises were protected by a llama. The llama’s name is Comos and here he is nuzzling Peter.

    You know the real story behind this shot, now write a caption for it in the comments section below based on that, or make up your own backstory.  We'll pick the best and have a  Gerber Myth hunting knife to give away to the winner. --The Eds

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