Category Archives: Gear

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Classic Deer Guns and Crapshoot Accuracy

Classic deer guns and crapshoot accuracy with those. On the other hand, I have a Winchester Model 70 Classic Compact in 7mm-08 that won’t put three shots inside a cantaloupe no matter what I feed it. Them’s the breaks.
When a new rifle shoots well, you’ve gotten what you expected. Big deal. But with a classic gun, you have no idea what to expect, or what you’ll get. It’s a crapshoot. A gamble. And it’s all part of the charm. The reason why people gamble is because there’s the off chance of a genuine thrill. And I got one from the old Winchester Model 100 .308 Carbine pictured above.

I (roughly) sighted it in for the first time last week, during a big rifle-accuracy test about which you’ll hear more soon. I got the gun for a steal last summer on, but because I needed to replace the long-ago-recalled firing pin and because the gun shop was backed up and because I got crazy busy, I just hadn’t had a chance to really shoot it.

Finally, this would be that day. When I uncased the rifle, the other shooters and I took bets on how it would group at 100 yards. Competitive shooter and gunsmith John Blauvelt, who’d seen some good 100s, guessed it would do pretty well. Our own David E. Petzal, who’d seen many bad 100s, figured it would stink up the place. And I, trying to manage expectations, bet on 3-inch groups, telling myself I’d be happy with anything under that.

Then I put the rifle on the sandbags, shot the two groups in the photo—and the angels sang.

Big game ammo

Write Best Anagram and Win a Pair of Redington SonicDry Waders

play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once; for example orchestra can be rearranged into carthorse. Any word or phrase that exactly reproduces the letters in another order is an anagram. However, the goal of serious or skilled ‘anagrammatists’ is to produce anagrams that in some way reflect or comment on the subject. Such an anagram may be a synonym or antonym of its subject, a parody, a criticism, or praise; e.g. William Shakespeare = I am a weakish speller.”

Good luck and get to writing. We’ll pick a winner next week.

High-Speed Video: Shooting Federal Shotgun Loads

is a buckshot load intended for home defense. Most HD encounters take place at very close range, and while a shotgun is devastating at close quarters, its pattern is overly tight. Federal engineers wanted a pattern that would open up quickly to make it easier to hit with at close range under stress. They eliminated the plastic shot cup found in most shells and instead just used a basewad over the powder. They also used softer lead 4 buckshot with a lower antimony content — antimony being the element alloyed with lead pellets to make them harder. With no shot cup to protect them, the pellets deform against the bore and the pattern opens up very quickly. I shot this target at five yards and the pattern spread out to an eight-inch circle at that distance, which is remarkable. Most buckshot loads spread about three inches at that range.

The second shot is a Heavyweight turkey load which, like all turkey loads, is made to shoot the tightest pattern possible. It uses the densest commercially made tungsten-iron pellets, which are very hard and resist deformation. They are loaded into the Flitecontrol wad, which holds the shot together for several feet out of the muzzle and then releases it cleanly as little vanes on the back of the wad act as brakes. The result is some very tight patterns.

I shot this target at 40 yards. By my count it put 27 pellets into the pink vital area indicating the brain and neck vertebrae of the bird, which is quite a bit more than enough to kill a turkey.
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Prepare hunting camp: Making Bannock Bread at Camp

bread was a welcome meal, and an easy one to prepare hunting camp as long as some type of leavener was available. (Traditional bannock was often made without a leavening agent, but adding baking powder, buttermilk, or a sourdough starter made for a lighter, better tasting product).

Much like it was for Carson and his compatriots, bannock is still a delicious addition to a camp cook’s recipe box, especially if you make the mix ahead of time and add the water just before cooking. Bannock can be fried in a skillet, baked in a Dutch oven, cooked directly in the hot coals, or, as the video shows, slowly turned over a hot fire using a simple stick technique.

Bannock Bread Recipe

– 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp. baking powder
– ½ tsp. salt
– ½ tsp. sugar
– 3 Tbsp. lard, bacon grease or canola oil
– 1 cup cold water

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. (This mix can be made in advance and kept in a zip-top bag or other airtight container until ready to use.)

2. Stir in the fat and slowly pour in the water, while stirring, until a firm dough forms. You may not need to use the whole cup of water.

3. Knead the dough for a minute or two, then set aside to let rise for at least 30 minutes.

4. Divide and flatten the dough into small round discs. Fry in a greased skillet set over a medium fire, turning once, until cooked through about 20 minutes.


Gunfight Friday: Mini-14 vs M1 Carbine

Mini 14, while moonshiner David “Carbine” Williams came up with the basis for the M1 while serving time in prison.


The Mini-14 is one of my favorites. It has that Garand style gas-operated bolt/operating rod that reminds me of my dad’s M-1. And I like the fact that it is wood and steel. There are folks who say the AR-15s are more accurate, and it’s probably so, but this one will shoot 2 to 3 inches at 50 yards with my bulk-bullet reloads while shooting fairly quickly. It is plenty accurate for me and also has the reputation of being super-reliable and working in conditions that will cause an AR to choke.

This one supposedly started life as a California Highway Patrol rifle and spent its time in the trunk of a patrol car. It’s a bit beat up, but the barrel and action show very little wear. I put a 2.5x compact scope on it and also I added a Williams peep sight that slides into the dovetail at the rear of the receiver that works well, too.


The M1 Carbine was bought from a friend who carried one from 1957 to 1961 in Southeast Asia. He lived next door, and I paid about $100 for it and have never looked back. It was made by Iver Johnson after World War II, but the parts are interchangeable with the military grade carbines. It’s a big boy’s .22, a lot of fun and the kids’ favorite rifle to shoot.

There are your choices.  Vote and add your comments below. Keep those gun pictures coming Last week’s Pledge Drive netted a number of new pictures, including Eugene’s Mini-14, but more pictures makes for more and better gun fights.