Disparaging the Guru


Bashing Jeff Cooper on social media or blogs seems to be the in thing to do now days. Mostly perpetuated by millennial shooters, Granny Hawkins would file these vain attempts to get attention under  (If you don’t know who Granny Hawkins is, you’re a millennial for sure.) This bashing runs the gamut of proclamations that the Weaver stance is outdated, that the Modern Technique of the Pistol has been superseded, and even includes declarations that anyone who reads or remotely admires Jeff Cooper is a grey haired, dust covered, lunatic who’s not advanced into the 21st century.

DC-2I get it, I really do. Most millennial gun owners received their firearms training on television watching Hollywood pretenders act like operators, or on the web watching other tenderfoots play with their pistols. Or, alternately, they’ve taken a class from some tactard trainer who developed his own doctrine in his mom’s basement, while waiting for his on-lines friends to join in on a Call of Duty game.

Then there are the gamers. The competitive shooters who negotiate courses of fire where they know where they will always shoot from, how many targets there will be, where they will conduct a reload, and the time they have to beat. All of this by the way happens in an environment where the targets will not shoot back, try to take their gun, or beat the ever-loving daylights out of them while they’re trying to drop the slide on their pistol using their thumb.

Don’t misconstrue this as a knock at competitive shooters. I know several who are masters with a handgun. Shooters like Dianna Liedorff Muller and Mark Hanish. I have about as much chance outshooting them on the range as I do receiving a tantalizing invitation from Brittany Spears. I know this because I’ve tried. Here’s the thing; competitive shooting is not the same as fighting with a pistol in your hand. Yeah, I know, front sight – press. But let’s be very clear about something, fighting with a handgun is not just about shooting. If you think it is, you’re likely a product of paragraph two.

Here’s the other thing, and I’m paraphrasing Robbie Barrkman (ROBAR) here, just about everything related to handguns today, can directly be traced to Jeff Cooper. Cooper started the defensive handgun movement that continues today, and his 1972 book, The Principles of Personal Defense, is still the best resource on that topic. Oh, and for you competition shooters out there, would you happen to know who was the founding president of IPSC? For most, I doubt it. Were it not for Jeff Cooper, you would not have a game to play and we still might be shooting PPC.

What those of you who are not all that long out of diapers may not realize is that Cooper founded the way of life you like to think you’re living. At a time when this country needed it, he conveyed a message that struck at the heart of patriots and folks of good character. The sermons he delivered in print and in lecture shaped the future of firearms in America.

Yeah, you might have what you think is a better way and, hell, it might even be a better way – it might even be Timney trigger good. Regardless, and I’d bet my last can of Skoal on this, the last thing you or anyone else wants to do is get in a fight, in a diverse, dusky, chaotic environment, with a well-trained practitioner in the Modern Technique of the Pistol.

As a final thought, if your technique, tool, or opinion is so high-speed, low-drag, and better than owl-shit on a butter sandwich, there’s no need to belittle the work or opinions of others while you espouse its virtues. Cream has a way of rising to the top; tell your story with the respect due those whose shoulders you’re standing on. If your thing makes sense, shooters will flock to you like crows to a dead opossum. And, while it might not sound like it, that’s a good thing.




We had already called seven coyotes from the stand we were on. I had shot three of them. One of which, after dropping like a rock, got up and ran off three minutes later. I did not see the dog get up, I was busy engaging another coming in on a string to my direct front. We were about to celebrate our success when our guide – Cody Glause of Cole Creek Outfitters – spotted two other coyotes out at about 780 yards.

I did not pay them any never mind, they were well beyond my range, and they’d laid down, uninterested in the tempting music we were making. My partner on this hunt however said rather confidently, “I’m gonna shoot that coyote.” Now, had this been a common man I would have laughed. But Neal Emery of Hornady is not your average trigger puller. I’ve seen his stuff in action; he once took a whitetail buck as clean at 702 yards as anyone else could have done at 25.


Neal asked, “Will you spot for me?”

“Yep. I’m on him. Tell me before you send it.” We had a bout a 15 mph, 50° crosswind and Neal was using a JP AR 15 chambered for Hornady’s new 6mm Creedmoor cartridge. I figured this might be a bit of a stretch of Neal’s skill and equipment; the whitetail I watched him whack two years ago was shot with a 300 Winchester Magnum on a graveyard calm day. This was a smaller target and a lesser cartridge.

The bullet struck about a foot high, just over the coyote’s back. I relayed the info to Neal as the dog jumped to its feet, sprinted about 25 yards, and stopped. Cody called out a new range of 806 yards and Neal said, “On the way.”

The coyote nose dived into the sand hills, gained its feet, and tried to navigate the sage to make the distance even further. It did not matter, in less than 100 yards the song dog was down for the count.

Without question that was the best shot I’ve seen in the field. It was made by an employee of Hornady, with an AR 15, and a 6mm Creedmoor shooting a 108 grain ELD bullet, in a wind a pirate would have died for. If you ever run into to Neal, in the field or on the range, my advice would be to not challenge him to a shooting match.


Lawyers, Guns, and Money – Triggers and Nonsense

Timney AR Trigger

Not too long ago Mossberg acquired the rights to a patent for a drop in trigger; a trigger designed by someone else. Mossberg then proceeded to file suit against a host of trigger manufacturers – including Timney – for infringement on the patent they now owned. There is nothing uncommon about this behavior. It is simply a way for companies to protect their intellectual property. Uncommon or not, I didn’t see this as a good thing. This is partly because I felt the patent was issued without merit. At its basic level it was like trying to patent an aftermarket wheel that matched the lug pattern on a common automobile.

Timney Install

This all caused some bit of hoopla in the firearms industry, partly because there were of lot of manufacturers involved in the litigation and partly because it seemed, well, like sort of a devilish thing to do. I like Mossberg as a company, mostly because they make reliable products for an affordable price. I own, use, and trust their stuff frequently. I also like Timney triggers because after years of pulling them I’m convinced they offer the best interface between a shooter and a gun. In a way it was like two of my friends were fighting it out.


Fortunately, it seems logic has solved this problem. As reported on the Firearm Blog, the patent in question has been found invalid. It also seems that – as it should be – the free market will sort it all out. Instead of leaving it up to lawyers and the like, may the best trigger win. I’m still gong to buy and use Mossberg products – I strive to not let the work of lawyers influence my life, happiness, or shooting.

There is a lesson here for all, in business and in life: If you want success, just be the best, litigation generally just causes a mess.


Introducing: The Scout Rifle Study – A Web Book

SRS Logo 3 white

The Scout Rifle Study is a project that began so long ago I’ve forgotten when. It started as research for an article and morphed into an obsession that has consumed much of my time. When it was announced that the findings of the study would be published in book format I received many requests for pre-orders along with a host of advice. Everything including a coffee table book to something as simple as one in the Kindle format was suggested.

But times are changing and the Internet is now the main source for information on just about everything. Just the same, the popularity of Scout Rifles is at an all time high, with interesting and exciting news occurring frequently. For these reasons I’ve decided to publish the 60,000 + word manuscript, chapter by chapter, on-line, in web page format.

This publication method offers multiple advantages over common printed or digital manuscripts:

The content can be updated with new information at any time.

Multitudes of images can be included, some of which are historical and of a resolution not suitable for print.

The web-based format will permit video integration.

It will allow for forum based reader discussion, reader contributions, and social media sharing.

Most importantly, with a single click the Scout Rifle Study can inform interested parties all over the world about Scout Rifles.

And YES, it will be FREE!

The registration website is now live. Click HERE and you’ll be able to sign up to receive e-mail notifications when new content is posted.





Asking for Research Assistance


I’m conducting some research with regard to shooters who own Scout Rifles or who are interested in Scout Rifles. I’m of the opinion that even though the Scout Rifle is considered a one-rifle answer or the only rifle you need, most who own or want one have a lot of other guns and are avid shooters and hunters. If you own a Scout or Scout-like Rifle, or if you are considering a Scout Rifle, I would appreciate your help by answering the poll questions below. Everything is anonymous so the NSA is not going to come and kick down your door.

Guns Owned

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Do you plan to buy a new gun, other than a Scout Rifle, in the next 6 months?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Which of the following are you most likely to purchase in the next 6 months? (Check all that apply.)

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

How much ammunition will you purchase in the next 6 months?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Which of the following best describes you?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The 257 Wildcat or 25 Somethinganother

I need your help – but more on that in a moment. (See poll at bottom of post.)


Introducing the 257 Wildcat, or whatever you want to call it.

I’ve always been a quarter-bore kind of guy. The allure of the 257 Roberts hit me early and lasted long. However, of the near dozen Bobs I’ve owned, I’ve never had one that I really liked. Some would shoot well, others not so much. And then there is that long-action/short-action thing with the Roberts. I loath long actions but like long bullets.

I had a brief affair with the 250 Savage and have flirted with the 25-06. One is short and slow, the other long and fast. The former has always proved accurate, with the latter its been hit and miss. The 24-45 Sharps really inspired me and has proven to be a tack driver in several rifles, while nearly duplicating factory 250-3000 ballistics from an AR 15. Still, its not a big game cartridge for the world.


This Remington model 700 for the 257 Wildcat was put together by Jerry Dove using a Remington action and a Proof Research barrel.

Driving back from a hunt in Montana last year Hornady’s Neal Emery and I had the idea of necking the 6.5 Creedmoor down to .25 caliber. It would provide +P Roberts or 250 AI ballistics, in a true short action cartridge, for which there is a lot of quality brass available. And too, all you need to make the brass is a 6.5 Creedmoor bushing die. I suggested Hornady launch the new cartridge. They failed to take much interest so I decided to have a go at it.

With some help from two fellow hillbillies – wildcatting professional Mike Cyrus of Lehigh Defense and my personal gunsmith Jerry Dove of Dove Custom Guns (Jerry is not really my personal gunsmith but it sounds really cool to say you have a “personal gunsmith.”) – we have built the first I know of .25 caliber wildcat on the 6.5 Creedmoor case. Mike arranged a reamer from Dave Manson and fabricated a bushing for the sizing die. Jerry trued and barreled a new for 2017, Remington 700 Magpul, and then fitted a Proof Research 1 in 9 twist barrel.


The 25 caliber wildcat cartridge based on the 6.5 Creedmoor is suitable for a wide range of bullets types from 70 to 120 grains.

This left me to have all the fun, working up the load data. (The mad scientist side of me really enjoys doing that. It’s a pressure push to reach the target velocity before having to pound the bolt open.) Load development is about one-third complete and I’m impressed with the cartridge and the rifle. Sub MOA groups are the norm and 70 grain Sierra Blitzkings are screaming out the barrel at 3500 fps + and 110 AccuBonds are breaking the 3000 fps mark.

What’s missing is a name for this cartridge and that’s where you can help. While it is technically a 257 Creedmoor it is not a long-range match cartridge like the Creedmoor name would suggest. This is a true, both-ways cartridge, suitable for big game and varmints, out to about as far as most humans have any business shooting. Here’ the thing, the article on this new cartridge goes to press in two weeks. It will appear in my Wildcat Cartridges column in Handloader magazine and I need to know what to call it. Right now I’m going with the 257 Wildcat – keep it simple right? – but the 250 Hillbilly is running a close second.

Please vote on one of the suggested cartridge names below or feel free to suggest your own.

Best name for the 25 caliber cartridge based on the 6.5 Creedmoor

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Better than the Bob, the 257 caliber wildcat based on the 6.5 Creedmoor will work in a short action and handle the longest bullets available in the caliber.



Christmas Gifts from $ 10 to $ 1000

It’s that time. Time to buy the gun loving, outdoor living, knife wielding, whiskey drinking person in your life something special. I know, you have no idea what to get them. Well, I’m here to help, with eight gift suggestions from $ 10.00 to $1000.00.

Less than $ 10 ($ 9.99)

Hornady Olive Classic Boonie Hat  – Nothing like a boonie hat to say you’re a real, outdoor, knife carrying, gun-toting, kind of guy or girl. Keeps the sun off your ears, hides your bald spot, and covers up any bad hair day.


Less than $ 20 ($ 19.99)

Under Orion – Yes I wrote this book and I am solely responsible for all of the editing errors it contains. I’m also responsible for the laughs and tears it might bring. If you know a hunter – a real hunter; not one of those folks who plays a hunter on TV – this is an ideal present – with a five star Amazon rating – they can keep by the potty to better help them make sure everything comes out OK. Autographed copies are available HERE


Less than $ 100 ($ 99.95)

Southern Grind Rat – This is an extremely well made, sharp enough to shave with, neck knife. It’s the kind of knife you’ll always have with you to open a box, open a deer, and even perform generalized surgery on your loved ones. A bit heavy for a necklace but you’ll appreciate it when you have to cut your way out of a bad situation.


Less than $ 250 ($ 209.00)

Crimson Trace Rail Master Green – Some folks do not appreciate the advantages of a laser sight. This is mostly because they do not understand lasers sights. The Rail Master from Crimson Trace will work on any handgun with an accessory rail and on most any AR. It’s a great introductory laser sight and a great gift as well.

Less than $ 500 ($ 299.00)

MGM Steel Challenge Plate Rack – Few things are more fun to shoot than a plate rack. Problem is, plates racks are notoriously heavy and even more expensive. Not this one! With 2, 8-foot 2x4s and less than $ 300 you can your own portable, affordable plate rack.

Less than $ 750 ($ 699.00)

Mossberg MMR – Over my years as a firearms journalist I’ve tested a lot of AR 15 rifles. The newly designed MMR from Mossberg is one of the best. I’ve put as much as 500 rounds through it in 30 minutes and now after more than 1000 rounds it will still shoot sub MOA three-shot groups. On sale HERE


Less than $ 1000 ($ 899.95)

Henry Big Boy Carbine in 327 Federal – This rifle might not be available before Christmas but if you want one you better get your order in soon. Shooters who appreciate the 327 Federal and who have been longing for a lever gun to go with their Single Seven now have one. If you know someone who likes the 327, they’ll like you even more if you order this rifle for them!


$ 1000

Gunsite Academy Gift Certificate – There are few things that make a Christmas better than a new gun. One of those things is a gift certificate at the oldest and best firearms training academy in the world. Being able to use a firearm efficiently and safely cannot be learned better anywhere else. If you have a kid I’d strongly suggest you gift them tuition at the Youth 250 Pistol Class. It will change their life! Some Gunsite classes are now available in Virginia!