Archive for View From the Ridgetop

Deer Rifles

I’m just guessing, mind you, but I believe the first American deer rifle was the Model 94 Winchester. To be sure, a lot of deer fell to Model 73s, Marlins, Trapdoor Springfields and flintlocks, but the first sporting deer rifle was the 94. Since that iconic rifle there have been a whole lot more.

October 30, 2012

Tracks Tell a Tale

Everybody makes a bad shot once in a while. If you haven't, you probably haven't been hunting a long time. When you do make a bum shot on a game animal, you have a responsibility to track that animal down and finish it.

October 17, 2012

A Bit More Than They Bargained For

A pair of local wolf hunters got a little more than they bargained for on October 1. Aaron Wilkins and Matt Walker were working some black timber about 10:30 a.m. and headed back to their four-wheelers. The wolf sign was non-existent, but they did see some old bear scat and tracks up high.

October 12, 2012

Leave it to the Professionals

I just love these kinds of stories. Apparently last Sunday one Jaclyn Luby, a flight attendant for Republic Airways, had a brain-flatulence event and forgot to take her licensed Smith & Wesson Airweight revolver out of her carry-on bag. It was picked up by TSA officials as she went through security screening at Philadelphia International Airport. The TSA contacted the police who escorted Ms. Luby into a secondary screening room, where the responding officer allegedly attempted to unload the piece and “it discharged.” Hmm.

September 25, 2012

Some Good News for a Change!

For years it has seemed that hunters and shooters have gotten nothing but bad news: Our numbers have been decreasing, the public doesn’t like us, etc. Well, some numbers from the census bureau that were released last week offer encouragement. Between 2006 and 2011 there was a 9 percent increase in hunters and an 11 percent increase in anglers nationwide. If you include all wildlife-related outdoor recreation, it is estimated that 38 percent of Americans—a bit more than 91 million aged 16 or older—participate in these activities.

September 17, 2012

The .30-30 is No Yawner

A lot—perhaps most—modern-day hunters are infatuated with speedy magnum cartridges. Belt or no belt, the cartridge body had better be fat and/or long. To listen to some, a short shot is a quarter of a mile. I’ve heard several guys sniffle that the .30-06 is boring. And the .30-30 Winchester? Wasn’t it one of those old rounds from back in the day when every family had a buggy whip and the bathroom was a small shack several yards from the real house? Yeah, it’s a quaint little cartridge for an antique, but today? Yawn.

September 14, 2012

“Ol’ Reliable” Not?

I was surfing Internet shooting forums over the weekend and came across one with a video link that purported to demonstrate why the 1911 pistol is unsuited for self defense. The video—which lasts about a minute—shows a Kimber Ultra Carry with a failure-to-feed problem during a formal training event. Apparently, the instructor—who is a well-known shooting TV personality—has some issues with the 1911 platform and takes great pleasure in knocking it as a self-defense pistol. He is a dedicated devotee of the Glock platform and offers to refund the fee and ammo cost of his training to anyone who can go through it with a 1911 pistol that does not fail during the training. Hmm.

September 06, 2012

Our Time

Stick-and-string hunters have been out among them for a couple of weeks. A few gun seasons have gotten underway, but for much of the country hunting season starts Saturday. And by “hunting season” I mean doves. After nearly a half-century I continue to be amazed at the passion so many hunters have for a four-ounce bird. I mean it’s not like a gaudy pheasant with a long tail or a hefty honker.

August 30, 2012

Training to the Next Level

Training can be boring—and often is. Whether you are a TO responsible for getting a group to a certain level of expertise, or you are an individual working toward sharpening your skills, if the training bores you, it isn’t going to be effective. Training for professional operators and enthusiasts now often includes integrating physical fitness training with shooting.

August 14, 2012

The Best Bore Guide I’ve Ever Seen

You might think I am scraping the bottom of the barrel to write about a bore guide. Back when I got started in all this hunting and shooting stuff the only folks who used bore guides were the benchrest crowd. The rest of us just slopped bore solvent onto a patch and got after it. Getting bore solvent all over the action and wood was just part of the experience.

August 09, 2012

Performance Center Rimfire

No surprise—the AR platform is the most popular rifle in the United States today. Its chamberings cover the gamut from .22 to .50 caliber. Eugene Stoner’s brainchild of 1957 supports an entire cottage industry of aftermarket accessories that range from cheap to opulent. No doubt about it, the AR is one of the most versatile and accurate rifle platforms. There are also some rimfire versions out, and they, too, offer rifles from OK to stellar. One of the stellar examples is the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22. Introduced in January 2009, the M&P 15-22 was an immediate hit. I remember shooting it at the Media Day event at the 2009 SHOT Show and being amazed at its accuracy and reliability, as well as its “fun factor.” It’s just plain fun to shoot.

August 02, 2012

Rekindling an Old Flame

I must have been about 12 years old when I first became aware of her. My dad—who had absolutely no interest in guns or the outdoors—would occasionally relent to my incessant pleas to go shooting and take me to Red Larsen’s Indoor Range behind the hospital in Torrance, Calif., where for a couple of bucks I could borrow a .22 and shoot a hundred rounds or so. Most of the loaner guns were worn out .22 rifles, but on one visit none of the rifles were available, so Red let me shoot a revolver. I vividly recall seeing Smith & Wesson stamped along the long barrel. Even at that innocent time I knew Smith & Wesson meant quality.

July 31, 2012

Dumb and Dumber

From my old stomping grounds in southern California comes this imbecilic headline: More than 10 tons of firearms melted down in Rancho Cucamonga mill. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department—in its unassailable hoplophobic logic—made a big show of taking some 8,000 firearms to a Rancho Cucamonga smelting plant and melting them down to turn them into rebar. In a brash PR statement, they even named the event as “Project Isaiah,” a reference to the Bible and the story of melting weapons into plowshares. Wait! Doesn’t that violate the separation of church and state? Oops! My bad! That only applies to other displays of Biblical ideology that are inconvenient to secularists.

July 17, 2012

Unsung Hero

In June 2005, 19-year-old Rob Kislow was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne on patrol in the mountains of Afghanistan very close to the Pakistan border. The mission was to hunt down elements of the Taliban. A firefight broke out, and one of Rob’s closest friends was shot in the face and killed immediately. As the team maneuvered into a defensive formation another volley of fire from the Kalashnikovs rained into them. Rob took a round to the back of his head, along his right forearm, and a third through his leg just above the ankle. He told me that he didn’t remember much after that.

July 16, 2012

Another Kablooey

About 200 miles northeast of me they hold an annual event called the Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match—Quigley for short. It’s designed for single-shot rifles with cast bullets on steel targets from 350 to 805 yards. The idea came from the movie “Quigley Down Under” starring Tom Selleck and some beautiful Sharps rifle reproductions. This year’s match was held a couple of weeks ago, and there was a significant event that occurred.

July 06, 2012