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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.

Comments (4)

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from gary wrote 7 years 38 weeks ago

Hello, my name is Gary and I am a a compulsive shooter... I don't know what phase of my "get well" plan I am in right now, but several years ago I forced myself to not take any more than 8 rounds of ammo on my person when hunting deer. I now limit myself to 20 rounds when hunting woodchucks - never have I expended more than 15 in one day (ya', I do some heavy duty missing). Small game - never more than 12 rounds on my person. I have come to the relazation, with some dificulty, that when I hunt I am not going into Hue City at the time of the Tet Offensive. It's been hard, but so far so good. Reloading components -- now, I am working on that but it's tough to pass up a good sale....

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from craig curtis wrote 7 years 39 weeks ago

this is funny i never take too much ammo but hoarding is good for the pocket book . rising prices make bullets and brass a good item to hoard to beat those prices . i always worry about the shelf life of my powder and primers but ive never had a miss fire in 30 some odd years of reloading ! primers by the brick and powder by the keg, and if the price keeps going up im going to have to make my reloading shelf bigger!!

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from Mike Diehl wrote 7 years 40 weeks ago

Heh. 20 rounds on me and 20 rounds in camp. Finagle knows why. I carry several knives... in case a Raccoon hauls one away for a washing or something I guess. And two compasses, you know, because if the Earth's magnetic field changes rapidly it'll be important to record the event.But I still only use one compass at a time, one knife at a time, and one round per squeeze of the trigger. So no need to seek counselling yet. ;)

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from Mark wrote 7 years 40 weeks ago

Yup. ..We share the same corner of the Institution. My confession:--I pack 50-rounds for a hunting trip, but only take 12-rounds when I actually hunt.I never have used all 12-rounds, and come home with 30+ rounds.--I carry two drop-point hunting knives hunting. I don’t why.--I don’t scrub a rifle barrel very often, but I wipe all my guns at least twice a month.--I hoard bullets for .458 [500-grain and 350-grains softs] and 225-grain .35-cal for a 35 Whelen……although I seldom shoot the 458 and I most often shoot 158-grain pistol bullets through the Whelen at vermin. The hoarding goes for IMR 4320 and 4064 powder.--14-years ago I acquired 700-rounds of 30-06 military brass I’ve yet to work my way through.--I fondle a pair of Uberti 1851 Colt Navy’s w/ivory grips. These handguns are my choice over and above any recent manufacture…and are dream machines.Later.

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from gary wrote 7 years 38 weeks ago

Hello, my name is Gary and I am a a compulsive shooter... I don't know what phase of my "get well" plan I am in right now, but several years ago I forced myself to not take any more than 8 rounds of ammo on my person when hunting deer. I now limit myself to 20 rounds when hunting woodchucks - never have I expended more than 15 in one day (ya', I do some heavy duty missing). Small game - never more than 12 rounds on my person. I have come to the relazation, with some dificulty, that when I hunt I am not going into Hue City at the time of the Tet Offensive. It's been hard, but so far so good. Reloading components -- now, I am working on that but it's tough to pass up a good sale....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from craig curtis wrote 7 years 39 weeks ago

this is funny i never take too much ammo but hoarding is good for the pocket book . rising prices make bullets and brass a good item to hoard to beat those prices . i always worry about the shelf life of my powder and primers but ive never had a miss fire in 30 some odd years of reloading ! primers by the brick and powder by the keg, and if the price keeps going up im going to have to make my reloading shelf bigger!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 7 years 40 weeks ago

Heh. 20 rounds on me and 20 rounds in camp. Finagle knows why. I carry several knives... in case a Raccoon hauls one away for a washing or something I guess. And two compasses, you know, because if the Earth's magnetic field changes rapidly it'll be important to record the event.But I still only use one compass at a time, one knife at a time, and one round per squeeze of the trigger. So no need to seek counselling yet. ;)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark wrote 7 years 40 weeks ago

Yup. ..We share the same corner of the Institution. My confession:--I pack 50-rounds for a hunting trip, but only take 12-rounds when I actually hunt.I never have used all 12-rounds, and come home with 30+ rounds.--I carry two drop-point hunting knives hunting. I don’t why.--I don’t scrub a rifle barrel very often, but I wipe all my guns at least twice a month.--I hoard bullets for .458 [500-grain and 350-grains softs] and 225-grain .35-cal for a 35 Whelen……although I seldom shoot the 458 and I most often shoot 158-grain pistol bullets through the Whelen at vermin. The hoarding goes for IMR 4320 and 4064 powder.--14-years ago I acquired 700-rounds of 30-06 military brass I’ve yet to work my way through.--I fondle a pair of Uberti 1851 Colt Navy’s w/ivory grips. These handguns are my choice over and above any recent manufacture…and are dream machines.Later.

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