New Cartridges, New Guns, and Not Shooting

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I just completed finished an article detailing all the new guns, ammunition, and cartridges for 2018. Shooters will be happy to learn you will have lots to choose from, and no, I cannot tell you what they all were.

I like new cartridges, guns, and ammunition introductions – I am not afflicted with neophobia. The introduction of new stuff for shooters is like a new episode of the Walking Dead for zombie lovers, like a new wine for winos, or like a new iPhone for – I don’t know – about half the population.

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The new Steyr RFP 22 LR pistol is not the defensive handgun that will stop any bad guy. It is a pistol you can use to become a better marksman. $ 425.00.

What I can also tell you is that new cartridges, guns, or ammo will not make you a better shooter. Just like new camo patterns or bottles of deer pee will not make you a better hunter. You get better at hunting by hunting, by making mistakes, learning, by being in the woods. You get better at shooting by shooting.

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A new cartridge – like this .257 caliber wildcat – can be exciting. It will not make you a better marksman unless you shoot it more than you were shooting your old cartridge.

 

I recently created a wildcat cartridge – the 6.5 Creedmoor necked down to .257 caliber. It’s new but its nothing magic. If you like quarter-bore cartridges, it is kind of cool. It will not make you shooter better or kill coyotes or deer any better than the old 250 Savage or 243. A reader recently asked if I was going to release the cartridge to the public. Um, I already did; there is nothing proprietary there. Anyone can neck the 6.5 Creedmoor down to .257 and call it anything they want. The notion that someone is going to get rich off of a wildcat cartridge is about as ludicrous as trying to get a grizzly bear to wear lace panties.

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The new Hornady 6.5 PRC will make a great long range cartridge, but it will not help you hold your rifle steadier or read the wind better.

We have two new cartridges introductions for 2018 from major manufacturers. They both offer something desirable, but like my 2Fity-Hillbilly, neither will make you shoot any better. We also have a bunch of new 1911s from various manufacturers and some of them a really cool. If you like one I’d suggest you buy it, but don’t expect your shooting to improve.

 

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If you’re looking for the maximum velocity possible from your AR 15, the new 224 Valkyrie from Federal might be just for you.

New rifles chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor abound as well. If you’ve been thinking about a rifle in that cartridge, but could not find the right rifle for you, maybe 2018 is your year. Still, that new rifle or cartridge will not improve your marksmanship.

The only way to become a better shooter is to shoot. Shooting, for men anyway, is considered one of the basic virtues of manliness. For men, shooting skill ranks right up there with the importance of never appearing lost, never crying, or never admitting you liked that chick-flick you watched with you wife the other day. Because of this, men are reluctant to seek training when it comes to shooting. And too, if they do, they often attend the training with the notion they will show the instructor how good they already are.

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Mossberg is offering their Patriot Revere chambers for the 6.5 Creedmoor. WooHoo! Do you know how to shoot from the prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing positions properly? If not, it will just be another pretty rifle in your safe.

Do yourself a favor for 2018; make a New Year resolution to become a better marksman. Sure, buy that new rifle, chambered for that new cartridge, brag to your buddies about it, paste it all over social media, and convince your better half it is that last little thing you need to become the next American Sniper. Once you’ve done that, buy lots of ammo – affordable ammo – and go learn to shoot. If you don’t know where to do that, CLICK HERE

How will you know your shooting skills are worthy of the title of marksman? Here is the Richard Mann-Shadowland-hillbilly marksmanship standard. Until you can achieve it – on demand, you might be spending your money in the wrong place.

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Defensive Handgun: Draw from concealment and put five shots into a five-inch circle at five yards in less than five seconds.

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General Rifle: From the standing – port arms – start position; hit a 16-inch target at 100 yards in less than two seconds.

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Precision Rifle: From the standing – port arms – start position; hit a 12-inch target at 500 yards in less than 20 seconds.

Shotgun: Seriously? The word shotgun and marksmanship do not belong in the same sentence. If you miss with a shotgun – a gun that throws a hoard of pellets towards your target – you are not a marksman.

One of the most important attributes of a true marksman is the discipline to not take shots you cannot make. You learn what those shots are by practicing.

 

A Most Affordable Scout Rifle

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If you’re looking for an affordable platform to build a Scout Rifle on, check out the Mossberg Patriot. In 2016 Jerry Dove of Dove Custom Guns and I pioneered this concept and since then it has been a base rifle for a custom scout by Granite Mountain Tactical.

Here is another Jerry Dove rendition, this is a scout he built for my wife on a Patriot Youth – which comes with an adjustable length of pull – and with Muddy Girl camo. I’m not a fan of the camo but my wife likes it.

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Suggested retail on this rifle is less than $ 450 but you can find them for less than $ 400. The Dove Custom scout scope mount is about $ 150 installed, and if you must have open sights, you can get them from XS Sights. My wife did not want the open sights.

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Either way, you’re into the rifle for about $ 550 and you cannot find a better Scout Rifle for that price anywhere. Weight as shown: 7 pounds, 2 ounces.

For more on Scout Rifles, check out The Scout Rifle Study.

I’m the Devil, the 30-06 sucks, and don’t drop your SIG.

Last week NRA’s American Hunter published an article on their website titled, “The 30-06 Sucks.” I wrote that article. In less than a week, all over social media I have been branded as just about every bad thing a human could be. The NRA has received demands that I be fired, and I’ve received death threats.

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The 30-06 Sucks – NRA American Hunter

One reader messaged me to make sure I was OK, after all the stuff being said about me. I assured him I was, and that if what folks said about me worried me, I’d have never written the article or became a cop.

Actually, what I’m really worried about is the emotional state of the folks who left the hundreds of thousands of comments. The idea that a human could be so emotionally attached to an inanimate object is kind of frightening. Imagine what would have happened if the article had been, “Ford trucks suck.” (They do by the way, and so does Pepsi Cola.)

I stand by the article and the facts that support my conclusion/opinion. An African professional hunter friend of mind likes to use the phrase, “the big thing is,” and I’ll borrow it in here. The big thing is, if you shot 10 elk with a 30-06 and 10 elk with a 308 Winchester, using the same bullet, and then conducted an autopsy of every animal; you could not tell which cartridge killed which bull.

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Would a 30-06 have killed this bull at 320 yards just like the 308 did. Sure. But, the undeniable fact is that the rifle would have been longer, weighed more, and kicked harder.

The other thing is, I’d recounted the story of an uncle whom everyone in the family despised. I shared that his love for the 30-06 prejudiced me against it. Many of the commenters said that was a “silly” reason to not like a cartridge. But the truth is – and the underlying message of the article was – that’s as good a reason as any to not like any cartridge.

If you don’t like a cartridge because its 100 fps slower than another, that’s fine by me. It won’t matter unless you’re shooting at distances where you can’t hit anything anyway. If you don’t like a cartridge because it has Winchester instead of Remington on the headstamp, that’s just fine too. It still does not matter. And, if you don’t like a cartridge because your wife’s x-boyfriend used it to kill a bunny rabbit bigger than the one you killed, hell, that’s even a better reason.

We have so many cartridges that essentially do the same thing, pick one you like – for any reason at all – and learn how to shoot. 260 Remington, 308 Winchester, 270 Winchester, or even the over rated 7X57, for the true rifleman it will make no difference.

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Cartridge choice is really not that important. It’s mostly a personal thing and that’s really how it should be.

Sadly, the political correctness overcoming our nation has slipped into the world of guns. It’s just not acceptable anymore to state facts, because someone will get their feelings hurt. Fortunately for me some guy on the Internet realized that if you drop a SIG P320 a certain way it just might go bang. That little gem of a video might have saved me from some lunatic trying to attempt an exorcism.

The lesson here is, regardless of who made it, don’t drop you handgun on a hard surface. There will be, and always has been, the potential for something bad to happen.

I still think the 30-06 sucks. For most stuff it’s too much, and for what little is left, it’s not enough. If that hurts your feelings to the point you gotta go ballistic – yes, pun intended – dude, you need serious help. Oh, and by the way, cartridges don’t have feelings.

The Secret to Shooting – Its About the Basics

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Discussing guns and shooting at the fire ring at Fort Richmond Safaris.

Sitting by the fire ring the other night, several Gunsite Academy graduates and a few professional hunters were discussing personal protection training with handguns and shooting in general. Training courses and instructors were being compared and I offered a point that is not so commonly considered.

When it coms to the shooting of any firearm, in any discipline, the core of success is the basics. Understanding the basics and applying the basics, regardless of the stress tied to the situation, is key. You do not learn the basics at an adventure camp, and you’ll likely not learn the basics from an instructor who makes a habit of bashing other instructors and their doctrine on social media and to their students.

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With proper instruction and diligent practice you can be a winner as a shooter or in sports.

I wish I could say this wisdom come to me from multiple gunfights I’ve survived , wars I’ve won, and castles I’ve conquered. It didn’t. The revelation is related to sports and the lesson was taught to me by my son. You see, whether you’re playing basketball, soccer, or any other sport, if you fail to master the basics of that sport, you will have to find comfort in how cool you can look as opposed to how good you can play.

My son told me not to long ago that he has tried to win by looking cool and it did not work. You see, if you are going to play basketball you must be able to dribble, pass, and shoot. If you cannot perform these basics tasks, you will lose. That’s why he is up after midnight with a basketball in his hands or a soccer ball on his feet.

By the same token, if you’re going to hit what you shoot at you must be able to bring the firearm to bear, align the sights, and squeeze the trigger, with enough finesse to allow the bullet to go where the sights are pointing.

Its simple, learn the basics, practice the basics, and master the basics. If you can do that you will sometimes still miss but the odds of it happening are dramatically reduced. The secret is, it’s about the basics. If you’re looking for a shooting school to attend or an instructor to listen to, find one that focuses on the basics.

 

 

The Problem with Gun World

 

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Like going to a good movie or playing cowboys and Indians when you were a kid, guns and hunting provide an escape from the harsh realities we deal with every day. For many they are, simply, fun.

In 1973 the movie Westworld depicted an android populated world where want-to-be cowboys or gunslingers could live out their wild west fantasies. The price of admission was high but the potential satisfaction of being John Wayne for a week was alluring. Like all apparent perfect worlds, there were problems and in the movie things went haywire.

The Gun World – the place firearms enthusiast live, not the magazine – is experiencing similar problems. With the election of a pro-gun president consumers are not buying because of fear. Sales have flattened and while gun owners are reveling in a new-found ecstasy, manufacturers and publishers are struggling with how to remain relevant.

Like all things in life the answer to this problem is hillbilly simple. So simple its hard for most to see. This is partly because executives think they must present complicated solutions to justify their salary or position, and partly because consumers have forgotten that one of the best parts of gun ownership is actually hitting what they shoot at and having fun.

Here’s my advice.

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Let me introduce you to Bob. Bob is that faceless silhouette who allows everyone in the gun and outdoor industry to draw a paycheck.

Consumers

Consumers need to forget their firearm inspired happiness is directly connected to their neighbor. Take Bob for example, his neighbor Jake has lots of money because his wife works in the medical field. Jake spends lots of his wife’s money on guns. Cool guns. Bob is envious of Jake because he has cool guns, a Land Rover, and a wife with big boobs. So, Bob spends his free time at work surfing the web looking for a bunch of cool guns so he can be like Jake. Problem is, Bob’s wife wants big boobs too, and Bob will be in the dog house if he buys a bunch of guns.

Bob should forget about Jake and jake’s wife. Bob should sell some of those cool guns he purchased only because of Jake; he never shoots them anyway. And, Bob should take some of that money and pay for his wife’s boob job. But most importantly, Bob should take the rest of that money and purchase 2000 rounds of ammunition. He should then save up some money – it will be hard because his wife will need all new clothes to go with her new boobs – and buy a gun he would really like to shoot. Then Bob should save some more money and take a firearms training course at Gunsite to learn how to really shoot and enjoy shooting that gun.

Bob will be happy. He will have a good gun, 1000 rounds of ammo left over, and a wife with bigger boobs than Jake’s. The moral of the story is that having a gun, even a really cool gun you do not know how to shoot or can’t afford to shoot is pointless. However, having a wife – a happy wife with nice boobs – and being able to hit what you shoot at is priceless.

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Because of the passion associated with guns and the outdoors, successful companies are those that maintain a cohesive connection with their consumers.

Manufacturers

Those who build guns, accessories, and ammunition, undeniably need to make money. But, as large as many of the companies in this industry would like to believe it is, the industry is small. Historically, the companies really successful are those started by a family and that have remained family owned.

This is party because big corporations tend to get executive heavy and those executives soak up a lot of profits. It’s also because big companies feel the pathway to success is to sell lots of units. It becomes about numbers instead of customer satisfaction, and when the fear buying stops, numbers cannot be met, dollars stop coming in, and the high paid executives think of complicated solutions, and spend more of the company’s money.

Most importantly, big companies forget about Bob.

Family owned companies tend to focus more on quality and their customers because the family name/legacy is on the line, and Bob likes to buy stuff that works. This is why companies like Nosler, Hornady, Mossberg, Wilson Combat, Timney Triggers, and XS Sights remain successful. They understand connecting with the customer, providing a quality product – and quality service after the sale – will always be the foundation of a successful small businesses. And, as I’ve pointed out, gun and outdoor companies are really  small.

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Its not the gun tests that inspire readers, its the stories about guns actually being used the way the readers use or fantasize about use them.

Gun Magazines

It used to be that gun magazines purveyed stories about guys using guns, they way Bob uses guns or the way Bob fantasizes about using guns. That’s no longer the case. The need to seek advertising dollars has driven the gun press to produce essays crafted to convince guys like Bob he needs the next coolest thing. This helps sell advertising, and without advertising magazines would not exist.

Many publishers and editors have forgotten that Bob wants to be educated about guns and entertained at the same time. They’ve also forgotten that high distribution numbers – the numbers that help magazines sell advertisements – are a result of providing consumers with educational and entertaining stories, not one article after another about how every new gun tested is great. (Yes, a lot of new guns are great but consumers want to read about guns being used, not tested.)

The old axiom remains; if you provide good content, your magazine will sell. (This is why there are best-selling authors who write about guns – and monsters – like Larry Correia.) The solution is simple; educate and entertain your readers and the subscriptions will come. Good content comes from people who use guns, and who convey the fun they have while doing so.

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The Internet has turned into a smorgasbord of click-bait, intended to drive reach and views. Sadly this translate to nothing truly tangible.

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Every manufacturer and magazine will acknowledge they need an Internet presence. But, just like old cops are reluctant to trust new techniques or technology, manufacturers and magazines are afraid to dedicate to the Internet. They will use the excuse that they don’t understand it. Well, guess what? No one really understands the Internet. It is a very dynamic subsection of life, the answers to which – just like the answer to the question of what women want – are forever clouded in mystery.

Gun magazines will pay three to four times the fee for print articles that they do for Internet articles. They claim those using the Internet have short attention spans and are not looking for in-depth content. (Maybe that’s because supposed Internet success is wrongly based on views or traffic.) They think all consumers want is visual stimulation. Granted, visual stimulation is a large part of what the Internet delivers. This is partly why boob jobs have become so popular; today anyone can be a porn star on the Internet. (No, I’m not talking about Bob’s wife.)

But, here’s the thing: using the Internet for the purpose of getting traffic, views, clicks, or likes, is another example of instant gratification. Does it really translate into a sale or a satisfied reader? That’s unlikely. That type of “high” the reader or viewer experiences only fuels the need for the next high…Its like crack cocaine. Click here, click there, click some more, and then forget where you clicked and go fix the toilet or mow the lawn.

Good content also drives traffic, but its loyal and trusting traffic. Loyal and trusting traffic is better for advertisers than lots of traffic. Manufacturers should support outlets that distribute quality content, not clicks. Loyal readers are influenced to buy guns and gun stuff. Magazines should focus on establishing a relationship with their readers through the Internet so ad buyers benefit from the loyalty those relationships foster.

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A surefire way to get consumers to shoot more is to make them better at it. This task falls on the shoulders of the firearms instructors.

Firearms Instructors

When Jeff Cooper founded the American Pistol Institute at the Gunsite Ranch in 1976 he had little competition. Today, everyone, their brother, and their brother’s wife with big boobs, is a firearms instructor. They all claim their way is the best way and many spend lots of time on the Internet criticizing other instructors and generally trolling their way to stardom.

A firearms instructor’s goal should be to teach folks to shoot safely and better at whatever discipline they desire. If you’re any good at teaching folks to do that you should not need to talk trash about others; your message should inspire shooters to flock to you or your school.

The best tool the Gun World has at its disposal are firearms instructors who teach gun owners to shoot safely, shoot better, and to have fun. This has an avalanche effect. It causes gun owners to buy more ammo, buy more accessories, by more guns, read more magazines, and surf the Internet looking for educational and entertaining gun related content.

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If Bob has more fun shooting, he will involve his wife,  kids, and friends more often. This would be a good – no this would be a fantastic – thing.

The Future

It’s unclear how long we will have a pro-gun President in office. I hope we get at least eight, if not 16 or more years in a row. That just might be long enough solidify the Second Amendment and eliminate the anti-gun brainwashing that has occurred.

In the meantime Bob needs to forget about Jake and focus more on his wife and his shooting skill. (If he does it right, his wife and kids might want to shoot with him more often.) Manufactures need to forget about how many executives they can afford to hire and focus on delivering quality. Magazines should rededicate to educating and entertaining their readers and to building relationships with them through the Internet, by using correspondents Bob trusts. And finally, firearms instructors need to stop trying to one-up their competition and focus on creating safe and effective shooters, who want to shoot more often.

This all reminds me of my best friend in high school who was convinced Christine McVie was not only a better vocalist but also better looking than Stevie Nicks. I tried to correct his misunderstanding of music and the female anatomy but in the end he ignored it all. Much to my despair, he ended up marring a woman and having a bunch of kids, only to learn she really liked women more than she did men, or maybe just him. She left him for another woman and his fairy tale turned into a nightmare. (If you don’t know who Christine McVie and Steve Nicks are, get up and go into the bathroom right now. Stick your head into the toilet, flush it, promise never to listed to Justin Bieber again, and then promptly replace the playlist on your iPod.)

Had he simply listened to some hillbilly wisdom with regard to his teenage infatuation, he might have saved himself from all the heartache that eventually found him. Few things are worse than misguided adolescent fantasies when it comes to spoiling adulthood. Youthful fantasies of big corporations with lots of executives in suites are what’s taking the Gun World down the wrong road.

Those of us who live in it know guns and their use are indelibly linked to the fabric of our life. They are not new smart phones or whiz-bang gadgetry that are best shown to us in porn-like presentations. They are tools to be used and we want to know how to use them better and how to use them to have more fun.

It’s not too late for the Gun World to learn, this is a small industry and the consumers that keep the lights on expect quality and they want a solid relationship where they spend their money and get their information.

It’s all about Bob.

It has always has been about Bob.

And, it always will be about Bob. 

Gun writers, gun manufacturers, and gun magazines who forget about Bob, and fail to establish that campfire-like relationship with him, will soon be wishing Obama were back in office so they could sell a story, an advertisement, a gun, or some more ammunition.

Of course I could be wrong. After all, I’m just a hillbilly.

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In life and in business, it’s all about relationships. Those in the gun and outdoor industry who fail to establish that long-term relationship with Bob will ultimately fail.