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  • April 29, 2013

    Some Old But Still Potent Cartridges from the Early 20th Century

    By David E. Petzal

    I’m old; I’m helpless; I’m feeble
    And the days of my youth have gone by
    It’s over the hill to the poorhouse
    I must wander alone there to die

    —19th century song sung by Flatt and Scruggs, which I find myself humming a lot these days.

    But that’s not important now. Recently I’ve found myself writing about a lot of old (early 20th century) cartridges, and reflecting on the fact that most of them are anything but feeble.

  • April 26, 2013

    How the Benelli Shotgun Factory Uses Robots and A Hint at a New Model

    By Phil Bourjaily


    Last month I traveled to Urbino, Italy, home of Benelli, to tour the factory. Urbino itself is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, an almost perfectly intact walled renaissance town on a steep hill in Italy’s Marche region. The building behind me is the palace of the Duke of Montefeltro, begun in the mid-15th century.

    The old part of the city is made of brick and full of narrow, medieval streets and views of snowcapped mountains around it. There is a university in Urbino, so it’s a lively place with many sidewalk cafes and gelato shops. Deer and boar live in the woods and there's a very nice gun club nearby with international trap bunkers.

  • April 25, 2013

    Gun Control: The Origin of the Mysterious 90 Percent Figure

    By David E. Petzal

    That whooshing, gushing sound you heard last week—sort of like the spillways opening at Hoover Dam—was the collective bladder failure of everyone who rejoiced in the thought that this time, at long last, firearms owners were going to get a good dose of sensible gun control shoved up their collective fundament.

    Manchin-Toomey did not get the votes, despite Michael Bloomberg’s money, the righteous exhortations of the New York Times, the arm-twisting of the Sandy Hook parents, and the impassioned speeches of both Obamas.

    Ninety percent of the American people wanted this, everyone said, so how did it fail? That figure came up again and again, as sacred and immutable as anything that God said to Moses when he went up on the mountain. All but 10 percent of us, went the Revealed Word, wanted Manchin-Toomey.

  • April 23, 2013

    Primitive Arrowheads: 'Bird Points' Weren't Used for Hunting Birds

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Usually we deal with guns only, but every once in a while you come across a video that takes a Gun Nut approach to primitive weapons, and this is one of the best. Were bird arrow points for birds or deer? Only one way to find out...

  • April 22, 2013

    Handloading Essentials: The Nosler Reloading Guide No. 7

    By David E. Petzal

    The first Nosler Reloading Manual appeared in 1976 and contained 234 pages, about the size of the French novels we read in college to impress girls with our intellectual powers. It has now morphed into a veritable tome of 864 pages, a work of such godless and massive thoroughness that one shudders at the thought of lifting it.

    Picking it up, however, is well worth the trouble. There are 117 cartridges in here. I did not see the .22 Velo Dog or the .498 Thunderfu**er, but they’ve got just about everything else, including a fair number of rounds of which I’ve never heard.

  • April 19, 2013

    Gun Video: Shooting Dimes (And Other Stuff) from a Shotgun

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Along with “splitting Oreos,” “shooting odd stuff out of shotguns”  is now a YouTube sub-genre. In this clip it’s dimes and pounded pellets. Others have bits of wire, hot dogs (seriously), washers, .22 pellets, and almost anything else you can fit in a 12 gauge hull. Don’t try this at home. Let other people try it at their homes and watch the results instead. It’s safer. These particular guys seem to sort of know what they are doing, but, to no one’s surprise, many YouTube reloaders do not.

  • April 17, 2013

    Being "Nervous" Around Guns

    By David E. Petzal

    After my fragile form stopped shaking from the laughter induced by Frank Bruni’s “Day of the Hunter,” a sober realization crept over me. Despite our differing lifestyles and world views, we do agree about something: He wrote: “It was impossible for me not to be nervous around guns..”

    Same here. There are a number of words you could substitute for “nervous” that would perhaps be more accurate: “Vigilant,” “Watchful,” and “Suspicious” are three. I’m highly suspicious of all guns at all times because, like all experienced hunters, I’ve had a good many demonstrations of what guns can do.

  • April 15, 2013

    Non-Toxic Shot: Why I Don't Use Lead In The Uplands

    By Phil Bourjaily

    In the comments to the 28 gauge Mystique post, HogBlog asked me why it is I shoot non-toxic shot almost exclusively in the uplands. The goose in this picture is a big part of the reason. I was pheasant hunting on a place I often hunt geese and suspected one might fly over too low for its own good.  One did. Because I had my waterfowl stamp, and my gun was plugged and loaded with HeviShot and goose season was open, I was able to legally add the goose to the rooster I shot that day, and there is nothing I like better for dinner than goose.

  • April 12, 2013

    Gun Control: Major Effects of Minor Inconveniences

    By David E. Petzal

    Two preliminary notes: First, I don’t like writing about gun control. I’d rather write about group sizes and feet per second. But these are extraordinary times, so a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

    Second, I was remiss in not thanking Frank Bruni for the best laugh I’ve had since the food-poisoning scene in Bridesmaids. His humor may have been unintentional, but it brought a smile to my careworn face.

    And now to cases. On my post of April 9th, one reader commented that because a Congressperson supports extended background checks does not mean he/she favors the elimination of guns.

    Yes and no. Most Congresspersons are indifferent to gun control. It’s an occasional annoyance that they wish would go away so they could get on with their real business of raising campaign money and lining up jobs as lobbyists when they are no longer sucking on the public teat. To them it doesn’t mean elimination of guns.

  • April 12, 2013

    The Remington 1100 Turns 50

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This year marks the 50th birthday of the Remington 1100, one of the handful of shotguns you can truly call revolutionary. The soft-shooting, reliable 1100 changed the way we thought about semiautomatic shotguns. This movie, the 1100 story, was produced internally at Remington and has not been seen much until now. It shows just how cutting edge the 1100 was in 1963. Plus, the narrator has the “60’s narrator” voice down pat and it is just fun to watch and listen to.

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