Its time those who write for the gun magazines and the Internet learned something very important. When it comes to the name of a cartridge, drop the decimal point!
I had an editor once who insisted that when you wrote a cartridge name you included the decimal point because, in his words, “It is a measurement.” I argued. I lost. That is usually what happens when you argue with editors by the way.
You see, it’s not a measurement, its is a name. Now, if you are referring to a caliber that is a different story. A caliber is a measurement but too many gun writers, editors, and even manufactures use the word “caliber” incorrectly. For example, if you go to the Remington website and take a gander at the model 700 rifles you will be shown what calibers they are available in. However, instead of listing caliber, they list the cartridge or chambering.
A caliber is the diameter of the hole in the barrel. The chambering signifies what type ammunition the firearm will take. And, cartridges have names. Those names most often include a caliber reference but that does not justify the decimal point.
Some ammunition manufactures seem to understand this and others cannot seem to make up their mind. I guess that’s why some shooters, writers, and editors might be confused. If you own a 30-06 and write that it is a .30 caliber you are correct. (Actually, it’s a .308 caliber but hundredths don’t matter, right?) The thing to keep in mind is that a 30-30 Winchester, 308 Winchester, and 300 Winchester Magnum are also .30 calibers.
“What caliber is your rifle?”
“It’s a .264.”
“Cool. What cartridge is it chambered for?”
“The 260 – not the .260 – Remington.”
You might wonder how I know this. Well, I’m a gun writer, I know everything. But, if you won’t take my word for it maybe you will take the word of SAAMI. SAAMI is the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute. In other words, they set the standards for firearms and ammunition. According to SAAMI and their printed standards, cartridge names do not get, deserve, or need decimals.
I know this is a stunning fact and a difficult pill for many of you to swallow. Especially for those of you who confuse accuracy with precision. Editors and writers get this wrong all the time too. Accuracy relates to the ability to hit a certain spot. Precision relates to the ability to hit the same spot repeatedly. Those are two different things all together. However, if a rifle shoots a 0.50 inch (That’s a measurement, the decimal is OK.) group we say its accurate but what that group really proves is that it’s precise.
Measurements get decimals, names don’t, and it does not make you smarter when you use them where they do not belong.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve made this mistake many times until I learned better. If you see text attributed to me, and there is a decimal point before the cartridge name, it is either old or has been edited by a smart person.
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You see a lot of stupid stuff on Facebook about guns. Actually, you see a lot of stupid stuff on Facebook about everything. Some come in the form of posts but most are found in the comments section. Here are five of my favorites that have become Internet clichés. Don’t let the trolls post them on your page.
1: “The 223 is illegal for deer hunting in most states.”
Um…not true. In fact the 223 Remington is legal for deer – big game – hunting in more states that it is not. It is also very effective on deer when the right bullets are used. Then of course someone will say, “But with a 223 shot placement is very important.” Um…dude…shot placement is always important. Another argument is that the 223 will work for small deer but not big 200-pound northern deer. If you think a 200-pound deer is twice as hard to kill as a 100-pound deer; well, you’ve not killed very many deer.
2: “The 9 is fine but the 45 is final.”
The difference in the wounding afforded by the 9mm and 45 is so slight, trauma surgeons cannot tell the difference. The difference in bullet diameter is after all only 1/10 of one inch. (Some Doritos are thicker than that!) 9mm pistols have more capacity and velocity, 45s shoot a heavier bullet, and the 40 splits the difference. You don’t want to get shot with any of the three.
3: “It’s an answer to a question nobody asked.”
This usually comes up with the introduction of a new firearm and is often the argument presented when a new cartridge is invented. What the person is really, most likely saying is that, “I do not have the intelligence or know enough about guns to formulate a question that addresses the advantages the new cartridge offers.” And then too, maybe the question was, “Let’s make something fun to shoot.” There’s never anything wrong with that.
4: “Laser sights are a gimmick.”
Proudly spoken by folks who have never been trained in the use of a laser on a defensive handgun. Their advantages are many once you open a closed mind and become skilled in their application. They will help you shoot faster and more accurately, and they are very valuable at times when you cannot get the handgun between your eyes and the target. Shoot a bench rest group at 50 yards with your pistol using sights and a laser, and compare the difference. Laser sights are also a great training tool.
5: “I’ll just stick with my 30-06.”
First, nobody cares if you have a 30-06. Second, this is often another way of saying, you don’t have the money to purchase a new gun you secretly really like, or that you don’t understand the mechanical and ballistic advantage a new cartridge offers. And third, nobody cares if you have a 30-06. Really, nobody cares!
The question of why we hunt is commonly asked. The answer is really very simple. We hunt because we are designed to do it. Hunting is deeply imbedded in the human DNA. It is how we fulfill the first – and all – of the three primary aspects of survival – sustenance, shelter, and sex. These needs are the underlying goal of the show Naked and Afraid, a show where a man and woman are forced into the wilderness and must survive on their own. Generally the first two priorities take precedence for the contestants and the third – much to the dissatisfaction of producers and viewers – is never realized.
We hunt because we must but what is hunting about. Some will offer it is about camaraderie. This is understandable; most of us prefer to hunt with friends. Humans are pack animals and from the beginning hunted that way because it greatly increased success. Today, to some extent that can be true, but with modern weaponry strength in numbers is not necessary except on the battlefield. Still, some of my most memorable hunts have been because I was with others like my wife, daughter, and son.
Then there is the idea that we hunt to interact with nature. This too is a very enjoyable aspect of hunting. I’ve seen, felt, heard, and smelled things while hunting that are forever engrained in my memory. Like the time I fed a Newfoundland fox my ham sandwich, listened to red stags rumble the German country side like trolls, smelled the pristine smell of wilderness on the River of No Return, and stood yards from more than a hundred African buffalo, all looking at me like I’d slept with their old lady.
Securing food of course is the primary endeavor of the hunter. The food nature can supply us with is protein rich, totally organic, and tasteful. Rough grouse roasted over a campfire will warm the soul, pronghorn steaks grilled medium rare will satisfy the pallet, and eland back strap cooked over warm coals will make your knees weak. I’d be derelict in my mention of wild foods if I did not also describe the delicacy of squirrel gravy and biscuits the way only my father can make it.
But will all those good reasons to hunt; hunting is really all about the shot. Hunters work endlessly in preparation for the shot. The meticulously assemble their gear, weapons, and ammunition, Work tirelessly on the range, hike over hill and dale, brave all Mother Nature can throw at them, and run, crawl, creep, and slither, into position to make the shot. For without the shot the campfire camaraderie is a little less exciting. Without the opportunity for the shot, the memories are a little hard to recall. And of course, the wild protein is impossible to taste.
“No,” you say, “I hunt for the experience, not the shot.” Well then pilgrim, just leave your rifle at home. For you see, without the possibility a shot may materialize, and without the equipment to make that shot, you are not hunting; you’re just walking around in the woods.
Yes, hunting is all about the shot: preparing for it, searching for it, and making it. For that reason and regardless of your weapon of choice, hunters should continually prepare for the shot. If you make it – if you secure that sustenance – and if you have a tent, cave, or hole to crawl into, you can then focus on that last element of survival, and life gets a lot more interesting.
Maybe the producers of Naked and Afraid should give their unclothed contestants a course in shooting, a gun or bow, and a tent. Then, each episode might be a bit more, um… exciting. Of course, it will still be all about the shot or they will starve to death and intimate contact will never cross their minds.
An uplifting tale about kids, parents, guns, and hunting. Some day the whitetail deer is the greatest game animal of all time, but the squirrel offers unique opportunities for young and old.
In Virginia, deer season ends as a new year begins. As such, most hunters put their guns away. However, I didn’t want the area youth to wait so long to get back into the woods so I did something. Through my youth foundation, The Green Bow Foundation, I created our first “Squirrel Scramble” to educate area hunters about the challenging fun of squirrel hunting and to help bridge a dormant span of hunting excitement between deer season and turkey seasons.
The Squirrel Scramble was held Jan 28, 2017 at the American Legion Post 247 in Remington, Va. Teams comprised of one adult and one youth paired up to hunt squirrels anywhere and any way legal, from half an hour before sunrise to noon. From noon until 1PM teams checked in and weighed their harvests to decide who would be our Squirrel Scramble champion.
Winners earned bragging rights and a Ruger American 22 LR Compact rifle. Mossberg also awarded the top male and female youth hunters with a Mossberg Blaze rimfire rifle. Second place netted a Simmons 22 Rimfire scope and third place a $25 gift certificate from Clark Brothers, a local firearms and outdoor equipment store in Opal, Va.
“I am thoroughly impressed with The Green Bow Foundation,” said Cainaan Nakamura, who used the Squirrel Scramble to introduce his son, Mason, to hunting for the first time. “From the day we registered for the event and even after the event was finished, we were met with happy, knowledgeable people that truly want to educate the youth (and the parents) about hunting and conservation. After meeting James Pinsky, the founder, I realized that this foundation is less about teaching the youth about responsible hunting and more about helping youth develop into responsible adults, that will have the confidence to make tough decisions and understand to results of those decisions.”
Like many parents, Cainaan took the Squirrel Scramble as an opportunity to mentor his child into the world of hunting, which quite frankly is the very best thing possible for this kind of event.“
“Our experience was great, not only during the event but also leading up to it,” Cainaan said. “Mason had to pass three (Dad imposed) guns safety tests before he could go on the hunt. The tests included a written test, memorization test, and practical exam. We began the hunt 30 minutes before sunrise and hunted until 11 a.m.,” said Cainaan. “There were very few squirrels that morning but I figured this would be the case since we were hunting squirrels. It seems like whenever you are hunting deer you typically see 1,000+ squirrels. Overall it was a successful hunt, I was able to experience my son take his first squirrel and watch him apply all the skills he had learned leading up to this hunt. Needless to say, he is hooked.”
The Squirrel Scramble did a lot more than challenge local hunters to harvest squirrels. It celebrated squirrels as a viable game animal in Virginia, with a seminar on the squirrels of Virginia by Green Bow Foundation’s senior conservationist, Dyllan Chapins. Additionally, American Legion Post 247 member and U.S. Army veteran Joe Cole taught participants about the proper field dressing, cleaning, and cooking of squirrels; two aspects of the event which weren’t lost on hunter and father Cainaan Nakamura.
“During the weigh-in and before the award ceremony we were able to learn all about the indigenous squirrels we were hunting, the proper way to process his kill, and even some different ways to prepare the meat. I really respected the balance of education that was married to the hunting portion of the event.”
In the end, the success of the Squirrel Scramble wasn’t seen in trophies, but in memories and one-of-a-kind moments. There were many, including seeing a mother and son – Tammy Lusk and Austin Shutt – hunt together for the first time. Austin wound up winning his division with an impressive harvest of a 2 pound 12 ounce fox squirrel with an air rifle.
A summer squirrel season in Virginia has inspired a second Squirrel Scramble for June 3, 2017. For more information about the Green Bow Foundation, visit the website www.greenbowfoundation.org
By: James Pinsky
There are five rifles from New Ultra Light Arms (NULA) that live in my house. I could not bring myself to part with any of them.
The other NULA rifle I have here does not belong to me but I convinced Melvin Forbes to build it. It is chambered for the 300 Blackout, has a 20-inch barrel, and weighs five pounds, 11 ounces, with a Leupold VX3i 1-5X riflescope attached. It would make an ideal deer, hog rifle and predator rifle, and it would be great for a recoil sensitive shooter. This rifle also has a threaded muzzle so it is suppressor ready.
I used the rifle to work up some 300 Blackout handloads for an article. I also hunted with it one deer season but never got the shot I wanted. This thing is a joy to carry and with the option of subsonic and supersonic ammunition, it is very versatile. It shoots like all the rifles from New Ultra Light Arms. Itty-bitty groups are the norm, and point of impact shift at 100 yards when you switch loads (supersonic) is non-existent. The trick to this accuracy is the precision with which Forbes builds these rifles, and the Timney Trigger, but the magic is in the stock.
You see the stocks on the NULA rifles are unlike any other rifle stocks made. They are painstakingly built by hand in a proprietary manner, and the barreled action is bedded from the tang to the tip of the forearm. This means there barrel harmonics past the stock are almost non-existent, and the stock actually makes the thin barrel think it is an inch thick.
In fact Forbes is so good at making these stocks, he builds one similar, but not identical, and under anonymity for another major rifle manufacture. Some of the technology for his stock was even stolen by another big name maker, and several have tried to copy these stocks but they have all failed to find the secret.
As much as I’d like to write a check for this rifle, I’m sending it back. (There is this boy who lives in my house too, and he will be attending college next year and a rifle cannot be traded for tuition. He already has his NULA.) This rifle is too good to live in Forbes’ shop; it needs a good home, a home where the other occupants of the house will appreciate its precision, dependability, and weightlessness.
Many who lust for a 300 Blackout have visions of an AR 15, dressed up to look like it just got home from the sandbox. If that’s your thing, that’s fine with me. However, if you like real rifles and want one that is second to none, this gem from NULA is special and unique. It’s also an opportunity to own a one of a kind rifle from one of the legendary rifle builders of our time; the man who started the lightweight rifle craze. To quote gun writer Jim Carmichael, NULA rifles are, “First, and still the one to beat.”
I named it the “Pathfinder, “ but if you buy it you can call her anything you want. And, I bet you’ll be calling it often.
If you would like to read more about this rifle, click HERE.
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 www.doodlysquat.com (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.
I 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.