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  • May 31, 2013

    Gun Fight Friday: Walking Guns for Deer and Hogs

    By Phil Bourjaily

    We have one more week of Marlins, then we’ll give some other guns a chance. However, after the 336 crushed the Model 94 Winchester in last week’s voting I am eager to see what happens in today’s Gun Fight. It’s an asymmetrical matchup: the Marlin 1894c squares off against a Glock 10mm pistol. Which is the better walking gun for pigs and whitetails?

  • May 30, 2013

    Two Must-Reads: 'It's Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It' and 'The Guns At Last Light'

    By David E. Petzal

    This morning, I learned that the politically correct term for “hungry, starving, etc.” is “food insecure.” It will take weeks to get over that, if I ever do. But in any event, I shall now take time out from flinging lead at all points of the compass in the hopes of hitting something to review a pair of standout books.

    "It’s Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It" is an odd and unclassifiable book by the odd and unclassifiable Bill Heavey. The publishers of Slow Food offered Mr. Heavey money if he would feed himself by foraging—everything from dandelion greens to persimmons that fell from a Washington, D.C. tree and had lain on the sidewalk for quite some time to things so rank and gross in nature that I cannot list them here, and then write about it.

    Bill’s quest took him from Washington to San Francisco to Louisiana, and along the way he met the real subject of the book, which is not so much food as the people who forage as a way of life. No matter what Heavey writes about, he ends up with people, and if you have any literary acumen you’ll recall that this is what Bill Tarrant and Robert Ruark did as well. There is some hunting here, and some fishing, and quite a bit of information on food, and some fine-sounding recipes, but Slow Food is irresistible because it’s very funny and very sad and filled with unforgettable characters. Heavey is a strange and repellant character, but he writes like hell. Oh, and if you want to make a salad out of the stuff that grows in your lawn, watch out for dogs**t. $25, Atlantic Monthly Press.

  • May 29, 2013

    Handloading Advice: Signs and Causes of Excess Pressure

    By David E. Petzal

    In my post of May 13, I touched briefly on high pressure, undesirability of, and I think it’s worthwhile to elaborate on that. As a rule, if you manage to blow up a gun, you are guilty of such horrendous negligence that you should not have owned a gun in the first place. The corollary to that is that most modern rifles are enormously strong, so if you do manage to generate enough force to shatter one, the results will be dire.

    If you’re a handloader, excess pressure is not something that sneaks up from behind you in the night. There are several warning signs that you are getting in over your head. First is cratered primers, although this is not infallible. Second is primers that are flattened, or are bashed so flat that they fill the primer pocket. Third is difficult extraction. Fourth is case head expansion that you can measure with a micrometer. Usually, you get a couple of these symptoms simultaneously.

  • May 28, 2013

    Shotgun Review: Stoeger Longfowler is a Turkish Delight

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Well, okay, the Stoeger Longfowler O/U isn’t a “delight” per se, it’s much too crudely finished and heavy for that, but “Turkish Pleasant Surprise” isn’t catchy. Honestly, I didn’t expect to like this gun. It weighs well over eight pounds and sells for less than many pump guns. I figured it would swing with the grace of a railroad tie. My friend Clint, a hardcore duck hunter, had the same preconceived notions I did as we took it out of the box.

  • May 27, 2013

    The Bravest Soldiers of All?

    By David E. Petzal

    Memorial Day is a time to honor bravery, and we have shown plenty of it in the history of our republic. But you wonder, sometimes, who was bravest? The soldiers at Valley Forge, freezing and starving with no hope of victory? The men who survived Bataan? The troops who charged Omaha Beach? Maybe. But here’s my nomination:

    At the end of 1863, the enlistments of many of the original Union regiments was coming to an end. These were the men who had put on blue in 1861 when it was assumed the coming war was going to be short and glorious—one or two big battles, and then everyone except for an unfortunate few would march home with their flags to much fanfare.

  • May 24, 2013

    Gun Fight Friday: Battle of the Lever Actions

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Two American icons square off in this week’s Gunfight Friday: Dave Hurteau’s Winchester Model 94 vs. T. Edward Nickens’s Marlin 336. Both are chambered for the classic (or “obsolete,” depending on how you see these things) .30-30 Winchester, so caliber isn’t at issue here—just this: Which of these two great lever actions do you prefer?

  • May 23, 2013

    Q&A: David E. Petzal Answers Your Questions About Reloading, Sectional Density of Bullets, and Anniversary Gifts

    By David E. Petzal

    Q: What is the most demanding game animal for a rifleman?
    —Cole Karsins, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

    A: Your question is vague and imprecise. You need to focus. In terms of which North American big-game animal have I seen the most lead flung at in vain, it’s the antelope. That’s because they’re small, and always in the open, and people think you have to shoot at them from a long way off. The highest number of consecutive misses at one goat that I know of is 19, at a yearling buck that was 100 yards away.

  • May 22, 2013

    Defense Contractor ATK to Buy Savage in $315M Deal

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has announced the purchase of Savage Sports for $315 million. Currently there are few details and the people I know at ATK Sporting aren't ready to talk much about the deal.

    ATK is a $4.8 billion Fortune 500 company with aerospace, defense and sporting divisions. They make the solid rocket engines that put the space shuttle into orbit as well as Bushmaster chain guns and 120mm rounds for battle tanks. ATK bought Federal Premium Ammunition about ten years ago and has since added several companies—Weaver, Blackhawk!, RCBS, Speer Ammo—to ATK Sporting headquarted in Anoka, MN (also the home of Federal).

  • May 20, 2013

    Win Shooting Stuff: Get Your Question On Gun Nuts TV

    By Phil Bourjaily

  • May 17, 2013

    Introducing Gunfight Friday

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Because no good idea goes un-copied, today we present the first installment of Gunfight Friday based on (and by “based on” I mean “shamelessly ripped off of”) the Wild Chef’s Food Fight Friday. The format will be eerily similar: You send us pictures of your gun (see below) and write a little about the gun and why you like it for a specific purpose. We’ll pair up two guns, and readers will decide which is their choice. Unlike Food Fight Friday, which sometimes pits, say, venison vs. fish, we’ll try to confine this to guns for similar purposes like, say, elk rifles for black timber or squirrel rifles.

    I have wanted to get pictures of readers’ guns onto this blog for a long time, and this seems like a good way to do it. I hope you agree, participate, and enjoy it. Because we don’t have any reader pictures yet, Dave Hurteau and I are going to face off on the first installment, which pits my 20-gauge turkey gun against his.

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