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  • November 18, 2009

    Rifle Review: Petzal Tests the Marlin .338 MXLR

    By David E. Petzal

    With all due respect to the many great Marlins of the past, this rifle bears an uncanny resemblance not to them but to the cult favorite Winchester Model 71. Both rifles are lever guns that deliver Serious Thump—in fact, the ballistics for their respective cartridges are almost identical. The main loading for the 71’s cartridge, the .348 WCF, is a 200-grain bullet at 2,530 fps. The sole loading for the .338 Marlin Express (developed and loaded by Hornady) is 200 grains at 2,500 fps.

    The rifle I got to try out is ...

  • November 13, 2009

    Petzal: Winchester's Wonderful Model 71

    By David E. Petzal

    Last week, while rooting through the used guns in a sporting-goods store upstate, I chanced upon a Winchester Model 71 in very nice shape. “That rifle,” said the store owner, "belonged to Floyd Patterson.” Patterson, who died in 2006, was heavyweight boxing champion from 1956 to 1962. He was one of the best men, and one of the worst fighters, ever to hold that title. In any event, he had fine taste in guns.

    The Model 71 was a modification of Winchester’s Model 1886, which has my nomination as the finest rifle ever built in America. Technically, the 71 was ...

  • November 9, 2009

    Petzal: Testing Nosler’s New Lead-Free Ballistic Tips for Varmints

    By David E. Petzal

    One the one hand, I don’t give an assfull of ashes for the idea that shooting lead-free bullets will do the planet one iota of good. We get lead from the ground and we return it to the ground, albeit at very high speeds, so BFD. On the other hand, mandated lead-free zones have given us some dandy new homogeneous bullets by Hornady, Nosler, and Barnes, so it’s not a total waste.

    The most recent of this genre is from Nosler—a lead-free Ballistic Tip for varmint hunters. The batch I tested is .224-inch and 35 grains, but there will be lighter and heavier slugs out shortly. These new Ballistic Tips are made with a disintegrating copper core, an alloy jacket, an extra-large expansion cavity in the nose, and an attractive polycarbonate tip.

    To test them, I fired ...

  • November 6, 2009

    Is Dave Petzal Still Alive?

    By David E. Petzal

    This question came up on another gun blog when someone mentioned that they had seen a rifle of mine for sale, and another blogger asked about the gun—a 7x57—and inquired if I was still alive. Far from taking offense, I see this as a reasonable question, and will attempt to answer it as best I may.

  • November 4, 2009

    An Expert Gunsmith on Over-Pressure Rounds and Exploding Handguns

    By David E. Petzal

    A note to all you Gun Nuts: The photo below (and three more, which you can see by clicking here) came into my inbox attached to the following caption:

  • November 3, 2009

    New Concealed-Carry Permit Numbers Double in South Carolina

    By Dave Hurteau

    From The State:
    So far in 2009, the number of South Carolinians wanting to pack heat nearly has doubled over the previous year as people worry about violent crime and feel threatened by partisan politics.

    As of mid-October, 28,197 new concealed weapons permits have been issued this year by South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division.

  • November 2, 2009

    Petzal: Collecting Versus Earning Your Game

    By David E. Petzal

    Robert Ruark, writing in his journal about some particularly good African trophy that he had hammered, noted that it was “…collected, but not earned.” He believed, as many hunters do, that there should be a certain amount of work you put into bagging an animal or else you don’t really deserve it. This is a nice sentiment, but of course it is nonsense. You expect to have to work, and if you do work very hard and get something good as a result it is more rewarding, but that’s as far as it goes. Despite our touching belief that hunting is a matter of skill and perseverance, a lot of it is sheer dumb luck.