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Petzal: Notes on the Vomit-Colored Rifle

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August 15, 2008

Petzal: Notes on the Vomit-Colored Rifle

By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

It occurred to me that as a responsible journalist I could not simply say that I had a vomit-colored rifle built and let it go at that. The rifle in question was a 7mm Weatherby Magnum, made by Ultra Light Arms in 1989. It was intended as a beanfield rifle, and therefore, since it was a gun made for use in the Deep South, I thought it should have an appropriate camo pattern.

However, I was sick of looking at trees and flowers and chirping birds, and wanted something original. So I hit on the idea of the puke pattern you see after a pig pull and asked the stock painter at ULA to make the background beer-yellow, and include green splotches that looked like okra* and dark brown gobs that looked like pulled pork. It was an artistic triumph.

The rifle, which had a No. 3 contour Douglas barrel, was one of the best all-around guns I’ve ever owned, and it went to such diverse places as Texas, Wyoming, Quebec, and South Carolina. I finally settled on a 160-grain Nosler Partition as my everything bullet. Velocity, as I recall was about 3,100 fps, which is plenty. On a hunt in Quebec, the stock was covered in caribou blood after I packed out the meat from one of the awful beasts, and it improved the gun’s appearance considerably.

Because the nature of my trade prevents me from keeping rifles forever, I sold it some years back and it has since been repainted in a drab and respectable color. But it was fun while it lasted.

****
One of you mentioned a piece I did years ago for Gun Digest titled “I Sold All My Lovely Wood,” which told the true and pitiful tale of how I said goodbye to just about all my wood-stocked rifles. There’s a subsequent story to that.

A few years after the article ran, I was seated at a table at the Swarovski cocktail party at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, stuffing down free food** as fast as I could. Across the table from me was a young man from Sweden who kept staring at my name tag, and then at my face, and then my tag again. And I mean he stared.

I tried to place his name, and whether I had insulted him at some point, and was looking for something to use as a weapon when he came across the table. Then he remembered:

“YOU…YOU…YOU…”, he said, pointing his finger like Bubba Clinton at a press conference. I braced to throw the first punch and then run. “YOU SOLD YOUR WOOD!”

I admitted that I had, and after stuffing my pockets with canapés, left in a hurry.

*In my yankee opinion, the best use of okra is as an ingredient for puke.

**Were it not for free food, most gun writers would collapse from starvation before the SHOT Show ended.

Comments (37)

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from Rocky Mtn Hunter wrote 5 years 34 weeks ago

Wood is Beautiful, syn is pratical. So guys, buy and use which ever suits your taste. Me I have both, and all depends on where and when and what I;m hunting. I darn near cry when I put a dent in my Walnut, but car doors, trunks, trees will make a mess of a fine Walnut stock. I've gotten pretty good with a damp cloth and a flat Iron and getting out dents so long as it don;t break the wood fiber, I worked on a Walnut gun for 2 weeks trying to improve a terrible dent, finally got as much out as posible, so rubbd well with paste stain, allow to dry, sanded with 000 steel wool, then a light spray of laqurer, did a pretty good job. Guns like shoes, if don;t use then o wear them they will look good forever. So use what you like, and then replace if replaceable. Kinda in my old age gotten to point I like the syn stocked, as I'm not as careful as I was 50 yrs ago. Now prefer to hunt not save the weapon for someone to argue over.But yet have a few Show adn tell guns I enjoy showing to my close friends. Never brag to un-knows about your frearms, you may be followered home and relieved of thoe prize collectables later.A friend of mine did that twice, now he keeps his mouth shut about his collection

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

All the information has been stored and filed and according to my notes it turns out the perfect rifle is a .338 Win Mag stocked in NYC fine wine / Beluga caviar / Kobe beef vomit colored synthetic...

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from TommyNash wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

DP,A filthy yankee you are. Boiled, fried or pickled...few things finer than a big plate full of okra.

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from OrangeNeckInNY (formerly RedneckInNY) wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

I love okra!! Guess I'm just weird. Being an asian redneck (hence the 'Orange' in my name), I've grown up eating lots of different cra...er, I mean foods. I like okra in soup or gumbo, piping hot and soothingly slippery on the way down. Damn, all y'alls just gave me a hankering for some right now. Double-damn!

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from Buddy Hinton Sturmgewehr wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago
from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

My wife fries the Okry... and pretty much everything else and it makes me happier than a schoolgirl on prom night. What kind of man really has a custom built ULA rifle in his choice of puke pattern? Don't know whether to be more envious or disgusted by the whole sordid tale. Keep it up! Pun intended after that last comment.

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from O Garcia wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,I am truly sorry you've LOST your wood.But call Bob Dole, he might be able to help. He made that ad for Viagra some years ago.(Now I will find a really good place to hide so Mr. Petzal doesn't bludgeon me with a vomit colored rifle.)

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from Jim in Mo. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Wa Mnthunter,Clay,Did some checkin and that $399 wby is only syn. Wood is $549. Both vanguard and not sub-moa, which still sticks in my craw (should have put that on Phils blog). When bean counters realized they had a fine shooting rifle they separated the good shooters and tagged extra on. Don't put a pork chop in front of my nose then exchange it for a hot dog. Someone else mentioned if your going to buy a Wby. get a normal caliber. Thank You! In Missouri I can't imagine shooting a deer at 40yds. with a 257Wby screeming at 3300fps. It won't hold together.

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from james ti wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

aren't you supposed to fry okra with eggs or something like that? i have a .270 weatherby mag and have to use weatherby ammo. 56.00 a box last i checked. thank God for the .300 mag!that was some good stuff buckstopper! wanna correct anything there dave?

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from buckstopper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

A vomit rifle, gimme a break Dave. Let me guess what happened:You had one of your all-nighters at the Gun Writers Ball and got sick on all that free liquor, tumpt your vahment gun in your vomit which attracted a bear but you could shoot straight because you knock your front sight off, the bear didn't charge you because it was laughing too hard after you sprayed yourself with pepper spray, then you shot your PR guide in the foot so you could outrun him and the bear, but the bear caught up with you anyway, then you fought it off with your just-crockstick-sharpened knife just as Bourjaily shot it with his new 12ga custom engraved Kolar shotgun. Take that Heavey!

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from Scott wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Wood-stocked rifles are a must if one is to impress the uppa crust, dahling... However, a synthetic-wearing rifle will, without hesitation, impress the guide and get the game every time. I am fortunate enough to have both types. I'm from Southern Illinois... Okra should be used to create some form of biodiesel. Nasty stuff.

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from Zermoid wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Don't need the intern, Obama will give us plenty of that action if he gets in office! Better stock up on vaseline cuz if Obama wins we will lose, big time.......

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from Buddy Hinton Sturmgewehr wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

When Obama is President my Intern and I are going to party naked with plenty of Vaseline!

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from Steve Ferber wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

I've noticed that none of my condemned friends ever ordered okra--or eggplant--as part of their last meal.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave,Is it vomit or varmint?A Southern lawyer once told me, "A vahmint is anything what will kill yore chickens".Words to live by.

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from Gomer Pyle wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

http://nimbusters.org/forum/forum.php?board=8 Free 300 Win Mag Weatherby give away! Sweet!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Clay,Exactly.Get yourself a Mark V in .30-06, .300 Win Mag, or other non-Weatherby caliber and beat the Weatherby ammo cost for a mere 50-100 fps! That's what I did! But I love my Remington rifles just as much, btw.

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from Buddy Hinton Sturmgewehr wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago
from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

JeffOne would think individuals like David Petzal and group would get special deals on trips and equipment by the manufacturers as “PR” to get more sales by the editor.Have you noticedWeatherby has made it look like they got their head out of there butts and come out with a (here come the smoke and mirrors!)"As low as“ $399 dollar 257 Weatherby Mag rifle. I haven’t held one yet, but Weatherby ammo is still around like $500 dollar a barrel oil price and damn proud of it! I’ll take my Remington CDL 25-06 put it against one any day thank you!!If you can’t feed it? Why own it!!!

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from semp wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave ... this is a reach ... next time you feel this way, load the printer with Charmin and flush the output :-D .

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from jeff wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave, I understand where your coming from on the free food issue. How are you supposed to afford all those beautiful weapons if you pay for your food. We can all learn a lot from you Dave.

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from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

And I thought Dave meant a "varmint-colored rifle" but he'd written it with an accent.

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from ishawooa wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Hell you guys need to find a good cook to boil or fry your okra, that is the only problem I see here. I bet you don't like baked moose nose either and dislike shooting magnum rifles as well.

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from Mark-1 wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

I've had fried okra, and I thought it very tasty. The boiled stuff is rather sci-fi looking.I do like grits....good grits with my eggs.Chitling's.....Chirst, I can't even spell it.....Not for this Yankee Anglo-Saxon!!!I believe I remarked, "What's this doing on my plate?" at my first exposure to Chitlin's.

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Jim in Mo,Fried Okra is one of my favorites. I have a patch in my garden every year. Don't care much for boiled okra. It does make a gentle laxative

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from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Tony C.There is one thing those northern folks have in common.Can’t read a road map or change a tire and they drive like Europeans!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

A rifle isn’t a rifle without giving it a personality!David, am I getting the impression you abused the privilege? LOL!

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from Tony C. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dang,Here I thought Petzal was "one of us" and he goes splitting us up again based on the Mason-Dixon line.I had fried okra as a side item with my lunch and it was so good my tongue nearly beat my brains out.Don't forget what those hopelessly outnumbered Rebs did with their shooting irons in the 1860s.I hunted in Yankee country a few years ago. We had hashbrowns instead of grits, but that Iowa grub was mighty fine to me.What is it about hunting and food that goes togehter anyway? I guess that's why I weigh 250.

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from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Jim in MO.Boiled Okra was lunch time staple of the older generation. My wife loves the stuff fried but she cooks it so crip that it is almost like popcorn! I Still don't care for the stuff...It will thicken a gumbo or vegetable soup though...

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from jstreet wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Having been born in the south (and forced to eat okra more times that I care to remember).I too have to say okra (cooked by any method) is in my opinion, disgusting and a piss poor excuse for food.Jim

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from Jim in Mo. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Beekeeper,I can't imagine anyone from the south would boil the stuff. Even up here I only bread and deep fry okra. Now its fit for eatin.

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from The Eds. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Jim in Mo.:The link is to the post in which Dave first mentioned his rifle, not to a photo of the rifle itself. That, sadly, does not exist.

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from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave I'm from the south and I agree with your opinion on Okra!My grand mother made me eat the boiled slimy (an eel has nothing on boiled okra) stuff when I was a kid... nasty...If I tried to choke it down today I could paint several of your rifles!

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from Jim in Mo. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave,1. Your link to your vomit colored rifle doesn't work.2. I saw your rifle after it was repainted. Drab? I thought it attractive even for a synthetic.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

BTW , Dave, your yankee opinion ain't worth a hoot when it comes to okra. I never met a good gumbo that didn't contain some okra! If you drink too much hard liquor, you might puke anything up! LOL

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Great tale, Dave. I love to look at and hold my wood stocked guns and use them once in a while, but my 'daily drivers' are synthetic stocked and gripped. My S&W Mod 28 Highway patrol .357 wears a set of Pachmayer grips and my M870 wears a hand painted synthetic stock. If one were to run amok and need some corrective guidance, those would most likely be the ones to apply the required measures. One of them is almost always close at hand.But my favorite piece of all is a nickel plated S&W Mod 19 Combat Magnum with beautiful claro grips. I think I'll put it in my will to be buried with it.....

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from jes wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Everybody's got a right to change...and change we will. Never, ever, thought I would stoop to having one of those plastic stocked sobs, myself... Now, I have three, four, including handgun, and use them more than all the others...(I just don't mind beating um up, and they don't change zero, what can you say?) And the oldies are still around, showing their scars, too! No puke colors, tho! Are you still welcome in the South, not liking okra, and it reminding you of puke...Dave, you need to quit drinkin so hard! At least go for the smoother stuff, next time!

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from Rocky Mtn Hunter wrote 5 years 34 weeks ago

Wood is Beautiful, syn is pratical. So guys, buy and use which ever suits your taste. Me I have both, and all depends on where and when and what I;m hunting. I darn near cry when I put a dent in my Walnut, but car doors, trunks, trees will make a mess of a fine Walnut stock. I've gotten pretty good with a damp cloth and a flat Iron and getting out dents so long as it don;t break the wood fiber, I worked on a Walnut gun for 2 weeks trying to improve a terrible dent, finally got as much out as posible, so rubbd well with paste stain, allow to dry, sanded with 000 steel wool, then a light spray of laqurer, did a pretty good job. Guns like shoes, if don;t use then o wear them they will look good forever. So use what you like, and then replace if replaceable. Kinda in my old age gotten to point I like the syn stocked, as I'm not as careful as I was 50 yrs ago. Now prefer to hunt not save the weapon for someone to argue over.But yet have a few Show adn tell guns I enjoy showing to my close friends. Never brag to un-knows about your frearms, you may be followered home and relieved of thoe prize collectables later.A friend of mine did that twice, now he keeps his mouth shut about his collection

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

All the information has been stored and filed and according to my notes it turns out the perfect rifle is a .338 Win Mag stocked in NYC fine wine / Beluga caviar / Kobe beef vomit colored synthetic...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TommyNash wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

DP,A filthy yankee you are. Boiled, fried or pickled...few things finer than a big plate full of okra.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OrangeNeckInNY (formerly RedneckInNY) wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

I love okra!! Guess I'm just weird. Being an asian redneck (hence the 'Orange' in my name), I've grown up eating lots of different cra...er, I mean foods. I like okra in soup or gumbo, piping hot and soothingly slippery on the way down. Damn, all y'alls just gave me a hankering for some right now. Double-damn!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buddy Hinton Sturmgewehr wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago
from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

My wife fries the Okry... and pretty much everything else and it makes me happier than a schoolgirl on prom night. What kind of man really has a custom built ULA rifle in his choice of puke pattern? Don't know whether to be more envious or disgusted by the whole sordid tale. Keep it up! Pun intended after that last comment.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,I am truly sorry you've LOST your wood.But call Bob Dole, he might be able to help. He made that ad for Viagra some years ago.(Now I will find a really good place to hide so Mr. Petzal doesn't bludgeon me with a vomit colored rifle.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Wa Mnthunter,Clay,Did some checkin and that $399 wby is only syn. Wood is $549. Both vanguard and not sub-moa, which still sticks in my craw (should have put that on Phils blog). When bean counters realized they had a fine shooting rifle they separated the good shooters and tagged extra on. Don't put a pork chop in front of my nose then exchange it for a hot dog. Someone else mentioned if your going to buy a Wby. get a normal caliber. Thank You! In Missouri I can't imagine shooting a deer at 40yds. with a 257Wby screeming at 3300fps. It won't hold together.

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from james ti wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

aren't you supposed to fry okra with eggs or something like that? i have a .270 weatherby mag and have to use weatherby ammo. 56.00 a box last i checked. thank God for the .300 mag!that was some good stuff buckstopper! wanna correct anything there dave?

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from buckstopper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

A vomit rifle, gimme a break Dave. Let me guess what happened:You had one of your all-nighters at the Gun Writers Ball and got sick on all that free liquor, tumpt your vahment gun in your vomit which attracted a bear but you could shoot straight because you knock your front sight off, the bear didn't charge you because it was laughing too hard after you sprayed yourself with pepper spray, then you shot your PR guide in the foot so you could outrun him and the bear, but the bear caught up with you anyway, then you fought it off with your just-crockstick-sharpened knife just as Bourjaily shot it with his new 12ga custom engraved Kolar shotgun. Take that Heavey!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Wood-stocked rifles are a must if one is to impress the uppa crust, dahling... However, a synthetic-wearing rifle will, without hesitation, impress the guide and get the game every time. I am fortunate enough to have both types. I'm from Southern Illinois... Okra should be used to create some form of biodiesel. Nasty stuff.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Don't need the intern, Obama will give us plenty of that action if he gets in office! Better stock up on vaseline cuz if Obama wins we will lose, big time.......

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buddy Hinton Sturmgewehr wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

When Obama is President my Intern and I are going to party naked with plenty of Vaseline!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Ferber wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

I've noticed that none of my condemned friends ever ordered okra--or eggplant--as part of their last meal.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave,Is it vomit or varmint?A Southern lawyer once told me, "A vahmint is anything what will kill yore chickens".Words to live by.

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from Gomer Pyle wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

http://nimbusters.org/forum/forum.php?board=8 Free 300 Win Mag Weatherby give away! Sweet!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Clay,Exactly.Get yourself a Mark V in .30-06, .300 Win Mag, or other non-Weatherby caliber and beat the Weatherby ammo cost for a mere 50-100 fps! That's what I did! But I love my Remington rifles just as much, btw.

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from Buddy Hinton Sturmgewehr wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago
from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

JeffOne would think individuals like David Petzal and group would get special deals on trips and equipment by the manufacturers as “PR” to get more sales by the editor.Have you noticedWeatherby has made it look like they got their head out of there butts and come out with a (here come the smoke and mirrors!)"As low as“ $399 dollar 257 Weatherby Mag rifle. I haven’t held one yet, but Weatherby ammo is still around like $500 dollar a barrel oil price and damn proud of it! I’ll take my Remington CDL 25-06 put it against one any day thank you!!If you can’t feed it? Why own it!!!

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from semp wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave ... this is a reach ... next time you feel this way, load the printer with Charmin and flush the output :-D .

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jeff wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave, I understand where your coming from on the free food issue. How are you supposed to afford all those beautiful weapons if you pay for your food. We can all learn a lot from you Dave.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

And I thought Dave meant a "varmint-colored rifle" but he'd written it with an accent.

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from ishawooa wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Hell you guys need to find a good cook to boil or fry your okra, that is the only problem I see here. I bet you don't like baked moose nose either and dislike shooting magnum rifles as well.

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from Mark-1 wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

I've had fried okra, and I thought it very tasty. The boiled stuff is rather sci-fi looking.I do like grits....good grits with my eggs.Chitling's.....Chirst, I can't even spell it.....Not for this Yankee Anglo-Saxon!!!I believe I remarked, "What's this doing on my plate?" at my first exposure to Chitlin's.

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Jim in Mo,Fried Okra is one of my favorites. I have a patch in my garden every year. Don't care much for boiled okra. It does make a gentle laxative

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Tony C.There is one thing those northern folks have in common.Can’t read a road map or change a tire and they drive like Europeans!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

A rifle isn’t a rifle without giving it a personality!David, am I getting the impression you abused the privilege? LOL!

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from Tony C. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dang,Here I thought Petzal was "one of us" and he goes splitting us up again based on the Mason-Dixon line.I had fried okra as a side item with my lunch and it was so good my tongue nearly beat my brains out.Don't forget what those hopelessly outnumbered Rebs did with their shooting irons in the 1860s.I hunted in Yankee country a few years ago. We had hashbrowns instead of grits, but that Iowa grub was mighty fine to me.What is it about hunting and food that goes togehter anyway? I guess that's why I weigh 250.

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from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Jim in MO.Boiled Okra was lunch time staple of the older generation. My wife loves the stuff fried but she cooks it so crip that it is almost like popcorn! I Still don't care for the stuff...It will thicken a gumbo or vegetable soup though...

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from jstreet wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Having been born in the south (and forced to eat okra more times that I care to remember).I too have to say okra (cooked by any method) is in my opinion, disgusting and a piss poor excuse for food.Jim

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from Jim in Mo. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Beekeeper,I can't imagine anyone from the south would boil the stuff. Even up here I only bread and deep fry okra. Now its fit for eatin.

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from The Eds. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Jim in Mo.:The link is to the post in which Dave first mentioned his rifle, not to a photo of the rifle itself. That, sadly, does not exist.

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from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave I'm from the south and I agree with your opinion on Okra!My grand mother made me eat the boiled slimy (an eel has nothing on boiled okra) stuff when I was a kid... nasty...If I tried to choke it down today I could paint several of your rifles!

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from Jim in Mo. wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Dave,1. Your link to your vomit colored rifle doesn't work.2. I saw your rifle after it was repainted. Drab? I thought it attractive even for a synthetic.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

BTW , Dave, your yankee opinion ain't worth a hoot when it comes to okra. I never met a good gumbo that didn't contain some okra! If you drink too much hard liquor, you might puke anything up! LOL

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Great tale, Dave. I love to look at and hold my wood stocked guns and use them once in a while, but my 'daily drivers' are synthetic stocked and gripped. My S&W Mod 28 Highway patrol .357 wears a set of Pachmayer grips and my M870 wears a hand painted synthetic stock. If one were to run amok and need some corrective guidance, those would most likely be the ones to apply the required measures. One of them is almost always close at hand.But my favorite piece of all is a nickel plated S&W Mod 19 Combat Magnum with beautiful claro grips. I think I'll put it in my will to be buried with it.....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jes wrote 5 years 35 weeks ago

Everybody's got a right to change...and change we will. Never, ever, thought I would stoop to having one of those plastic stocked sobs, myself... Now, I have three, four, including handgun, and use them more than all the others...(I just don't mind beating um up, and they don't change zero, what can you say?) And the oldies are still around, showing their scars, too! No puke colors, tho! Are you still welcome in the South, not liking okra, and it reminding you of puke...Dave, you need to quit drinkin so hard! At least go for the smoother stuff, next time!

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