July 14, 2006
The Compulsive Shooter
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
Did you ever watch a raccoon “washing” something it’s about to scarf down? Odds are that the coon’s ideas of hygiene are very poorly formed, but it washes anyway because it can’t help itself. When it comes to shooting, I'm pretty much the same way.
Take 16-yard trap. I use a tight Full choke even though enlightened opinion says that you should use Improved Mod or even Mod. Wow, I say to myself, I sure am blowing them birds apart. I also use 3-dram-equivalent shells a lot for the same reason, even though you get hammered a lot less with 2 3/4 drams.
I always take 30 rounds of ammo on a big-game hunt, despite the fact that the only time I ever used anything like that much was the first three times I went to Africa. The last three times I’ve gone I’ve fired five rounds, on average. And in North America it’s about the same.
My rifle barrels get cleaned to within an inch of their lives, even though you don’t have to go that far. Stop, stop, they shriek, you’re killing us.
But at least now when I now work up a load for a rifle, I don’t go out an buy 5,000 bullets of that brand and weight. When am I ever going to get to shoot all those bullets? I ask myself. So maybe there’s hope. The worst example of this I ever heard of was the late gun writer John Jobson, who decided to lay in enough .270 components for a lifetime. According to legend, he bought 215 pounds of Hodgdon 4831 powder, 25,000 CCI Magnum primers, 25,000 130-grain Nosler Partition bullets, and 2,500 Winchester .270 cases.
He did not use them all up.