Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.


  • December 24, 2013

    Gift From Above

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Every once in a while in the field you receive what can only be explained as gift from above: a bird or animal appears out of nowhere and gives itself to you. My last one came the other day while I was out goose hunting.

    It was a sunny afternoon, without quite as much wind as the weather man promised. In those conditions a layout blind in a snowy field looks like a refrigerator on its side and casts a huge shadow that spells danger to birds overhead.

    After the first four or five flocks steered clear of my decoys I accepted the idea that I wasn’t going to shoot a thing that day. Then I heard a single goose honking, low and coming from directly behind me. I scrunched down lower in my blind to hide. When the goose came over I saw it wasn’t alone: it was flying with a flock of 25 mallards. I have seen single ducks with flocks of geese before, but I have never seen a lone goose flying with ducks. Who knows why this goose was hanging out with the mallards, but it was, and if it hadn’t been honking to announce their arrival they would have taken me completely by surprise. [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 20, 2013

    Gunfight Friday: Browning Auto 5 vs. Baikal MP 153

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Today's Gun Fight pits the Browning Auto 5 against the Baikal MP 153. One is a classic, the other a tool. Along with all its other good qualities, the Auto 5 is hand-fit and finished and is as nicely put together as any semiautomatic shotgun that has ever been offered on the U.S. market. It has a gold trigger, tasteful engraving, and a steel trigger guard. It also functions very reliably. I shot a Light 12 as my first pheasant gun, and while it was anything but light compared to a modern Maxus or Benelli, it was an excellent gun and I wish I still had it.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 19, 2013

    Gun Oil: Lube Lessons

    By David E. Petzal

    I read with alarm, a few posts back, that one blogger never went to the range without his chosen gun lube in order to prevent malfunctions. In the experience of this hoary, embittered old observer, however, far more malfunctions are caused by gun lube than the other way around. This is because most lubes attract dirt, and because they gum up or freeze in cold weather.

    In 1973, I was hunting in Montana with a rifle that had a Canjar trigger that was, like all fine triggers, made to very close tolerances. I had happily honked it full of gun oil, and when the weather went down to -20 degrees, the rifle refused to cock; the bolt rode right over the sear and into the locked position with the firing pin pressing on a live round. Such fun!

    I had to take the barreled action out of the stock, pour boiling water through the trigger until it unstuck, put the rifle back together, and re-sight it. Such joy! [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 17, 2013

    I Wrote What?

    By David E. Petzal

    In 1969, Ed Zern wrote this sentence as a lead to an Exit, Laughing column: “Lacking the low animal cunning necessary for a career in law or politics, I decided to become a writer.” I considered the sentence to be a work of genius, and when I first met Ed shortly thereafter, I quoted it to him, and told him how highly I thought of it.

    He looked at me blankly, as though I had quoted Louisa May Alcott, George Gissing, or Helen Gurley Brown. He had absolutely no idea what I was talking about, and I slunk off like a whipped dog.

    Ed tended to be forgetful, which may account in part for his not remembering, but I think it was due more to the fact that, at that point, he had done Exit, Laughing for 11 years, and reams of other writing, and was so focused on what he was going to have to produce in the future that he had no brain cells left for retaining what he had already done. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 29, 2013

    Duck Hunting: Shooting in a Coffin Blind


    By Phil Bourjaily

    Last week I wrote about my duck hunt on the flats of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. We hunted out of coffin blinds, which was a first for me, although I have done a lot of shooting out of layout blinds and sneak boats. Coffin blinds are the same thing, but they are waterproof so you can use them in a few inches of water. Shooting off your back is a lot harder than shooting with your feet under you. 

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 26, 2013

    OSP Shooting School Tips: How to Hit a Left-to-Right Crosser


    By Phil Bourjaily

    This computer animation, narrated by instructor Gil Ash of OSP Shooting School, shows a very effective method for shooting crossing targets. Ash taught me to shoot crossers this way and I find it by far the easiest method for me.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 26, 2013

    Wild Bill's and Jesse James' Guns Don't Sell at Auction, but Oakley's Gun Goes for $293K


    By Ben Romans

    While guns reportedly belonging to the famous outlaw Jesse James and legendary gun fighter Wild Bill Hickok recently failed to sell at auction, Annie Oakley's shotgun sold Sunday for $293,000.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 20, 2013

    Duck Hunting on the Mud Flats of Utah's Great Salt Lake


    By Phil Bourjaily

    A traditional coffin blind hunt on Utah’s Great Salt Lake is as close as you’ll come to duck hunting on Mars — if Mars had water and thousands of ducks. I got to experience it last week and it was one of the coolest duck hunts I have ever been on.

    There are miles of mud flats around the lake with a bottom that is almost concrete-hard and covered by 2-8 inches of water. That’s it. There’s no vegetation except some algae that floats in the water and no living creatures except brine shrimp. There’s a hilly, rocky shoreline. It's barren. We saw several rafts of countless thousands of ducks as we ran out in airboats. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 12, 2013

    An Answer To Flying With Guns

    By David E. Petzal

    In light of the recent unpleasantness at LAX (never was an airport more aptly named), if you are planning to fly with a gun, I would give the matter some thought. Airports vary widely in how they treat travelers with firearms — one of the more exciting parts of the process is its complete lack of consistency — but in light of what happened, I would be hesitant about showing up with a gun case, or even a bow case.

    Airport security has never been noted for restraint or common sense, and I believe that even if I showed up with St. Michael the Archangel at my right side, ready to swear that I was no threat whatsoever, I would quickly find myself either under arrest or Taken Away for Questioning, and my gun confiscated. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 7, 2013

    The Blackhawk! Diversion Bag: Hide Your Guns From Thieves (And Haters) On Your Way To The Range

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Blackhawk!’s new Diversion Bags are gun cases shaped like gym bags, backpacks, messenger bags and racquet cases. The idea is that you can carry your gun to the range and back without people knowing what’s in the bag, so as, in some cases, not to offend their urban sensibilities and, in other cases, to keep people from stealing your guns. The line was originally developed for undercover law enforcement officers but now Blackhawk! (yes, it is spelled with an “!”) is marketing them to civilians. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 6, 2013

    What You Need To Know To Take A Tactical Shotgun Deer Hunting


    By Phil Bourjaily

    The year 2012 came and went without a Mayan apocalypse. The undead zombie hordes still haven't risen to eat humanity. Anarchy does not yet rule. That's all good, except that the tactical shotgun you bought just in case isn't getting much exercise. So take it deer hunting already.

    In a soft shotgun market, tactical guns are the ones selling. A lot of first-time gun buyers these days get an AR-style rifle or a handgun first. Then, when they buy a shotgun, they choose an inexpensive tactical model and try to make it work as their all-around shotgun. (I ran into a guy in a dove field this season who had a Mossberg 500 tactical model slung military-style across his chest.) I've seen people at my local store buy tactical-style guns for deer and turkey hunting, and I have hunted turkeys with tactical-stocked shotguns myself.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 5, 2013

    Over/Under Shotguns: The Return Of The Ruger Red Label

    By Phil Bourjaily

    The Ruger Red Label is back. Introduced in 1977, the Red Label Over/Under officially disappeared from the Ruger catalog in 2011, although it had been missing unofficially for a couple of years. The Red Label is the most complicated and labor-intensive gun Ruger makes, and I figured it was gone for good since the shotgun market is soft while the handgun/home defense/tactical market is booming. I was wrong. It was on hiatus, undergoing a redesign.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 29, 2013

    Waterfowl Hunting: Don't Worry About Shotshell Velocity


    By Phil Bourjaily

    It’s pretty common advice that you should practice with steel shotshells of the same velocity as your hunting loads to get a “feel” for shooting steel shot before waterfowl season. That way you learn to lead birds less at close range and more at long range to make up for the fact that steel starts out fast and sheds velocity quickly. If it makes you feel more prepared to practice with your steel hunting loads, go ahead and do it. You probably should.

    I never do. I practice almost exclusively with 7/8-ounce lead reloads at 1,150-1,200 fps, then load my gun with whatever and go hunting. Yes, I pattern my gun first, but honestly, when it comes to velocity I can’t tell the difference in how I lead a target, whether the pellets leave my gun at 1,150 fps or 1,550 fps, or whether they are made of lead, steel, tungsten or bismuth. If I had to think about how much forward allowance to put on a bird every time I switched shells, I would never hit a thing with any ammunition. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 24, 2013

    Glock in a Solo Cup

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Trolling people on Craigslist is a malicious internet sport, but it can be funny in a juvenile way. This string of e-mails between a buyer looking for disguisable weapons and a seller with home-made wares is a classic of the genre. It’s four years old and it would have lived on in the ether forever unknown to me had not one of my kids found it when he was supposed to be studying and sent me the link.

    If you shop for disguisable weapons on Craigslist and you catch the eye of someone who is either a cop or a Class III license holder with too much time on his hands, this is what happens:

    Original ad:
    ****Disguisable weapons wanted ***
    Wanted: hidden blades, belt buckle knives, cane swords, etc . . .
    Offering: cash, items for barter
    [ Read Full Post ]