Ask Petzal: Dinosaurs, Suppressors, and a .375 H&H Deer Rifle

David E. Petzal answers your questions about guns, shooting, hunting, and life.

Illustration by Mark Matcho

Q: If you could be transported to any moment in history, what would it be? And what gun would you carry?
—Aaron Dalton, Meridian, Idaho

A: In recorded history? It would be Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, at the moment when the smoke from the cannon bombardment cleared to reveal 13,000 Confederate infantry lined up for a mile, ready to step off into immortality. I would not be carrying a gun. I would be hiding somewhere. If it were non-recorded history, I would love to see what a T. rex looked like, and I would see if I could borrow a Barrett M82A1 .50 BMG for the occasion.

Q: If you had to guess, how many guns have you owned, and how many shots have you taken?
—James Nolan, Carlisle, Pa.

A: This is not just a guess, but a wild guess. I've been shooting on a regular basis for 58 years and probably owned 500 or so firearms over six decades. My present collection, however, is so small that people burst into tears on seeing it. Rounds of ammunition expended? Hundreds of thousands, at least.

Q: Which is the better choice for deer, the .243 Winchester or 6mm Remington?
—John Bigbie, San Antonio, Texas

A: They are so close in performance that there's no practical difference. If you handload, a slight edge goes to the 6mm Remington because it holds slightly more powder and the case necks are not as prone to stretching.

Q: Have you used the new ­Nosler AccuBond Long Range? The concept seems great, but I can't find a single example of anyone having shot a game animal with this bullet.
—John Lind, Ontario, Canada

A: I've shot the AccuBond Long Range, but not at game. It's very accurate, highly aerodynamic, and probably considerably tougher than most bullets with that kind of ballistic coefficient. Quit worrying and be of good cheer, man, this is Nosler we're talking about.

Q: My friends think I'm crazy for using a .375 H&H on whitetails, but my rounds punch through thickets and knock deer down. Am I nuts?
—Col. Michael A. Abell, Mount Eden, Ky.

A: You are partly nuts. Nothing punches through the thickets. All bullets, regardless of size, can deflect. Nor does any "round" knock anything down. That said, the .375 H&H has taken every species of animal that poops, and handles deer with the same deadly efficiency it does everything else.

Q: What do you think of using a silencer on a hunting rifle?
—Luc Henry, Raleigh, N.C.

A: I think it's an excellent idea. A suppressor (which is the correct name) can save your hearing, which is no small thing in hunting or in life. I wish something had saved mine.

Q: What gives you a thrill?
—Kim Portman, San Bernardino, Calif.

A: My liver quivers hardest when I am able to hit the X-ring on a 600-yard F-Class target, which is only 3 inches in diameter. Seeing the scoring marker rise up out of the pit, indicating that I have hit the bull's-eye dead center, gives me a warm, gooey feeling that I can't seem to obtain elsewhere.

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