For 2018 there will be a new feature at Empty Cases. It’s called “Ask the Gunwriter” and it’s sponsored by Mossberg. I receive gun or hunting questions every day and I do my best to answer them all. But I realized there might be other folks with the same question, looking for an answer. So now, when someone submits a question—a good question—I’ll crate a video response and post it on the Empty Cases website and on social media. If I do not know the answer, I’ll reach out to other—smarter—folks in the industry for help.
The really cool aspect of Ask the Gunwriter is that if you submit a written question your name will entered for a chance to win a Mossberg Patriot Revere chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor. But even better, if you submit a video question, your name will be entered 10 times! In October, I’ll draw a name and announce the winner. For instructions on submitting a question, click HERE
But, before this all gets kicked off I thought I’d save some folks some time and tell you what questions not to ask; remember, to be selected your question has to be good.
The guns, gear, and gadgets will all fawn over are interesting, but the real stories – the good stories – are always about people. Those are also the stories I like to write the most. Here is one direct from the pages of the January 2018 issue of Gun Digest magazine. For those who may not know, I write the handgun column for Gun Digest and generally contribute a feature each month. Under the new editorship of Luke Hartle – yes, he is a yankee, but I think there’s enough redneck in him to balance it out – Gun Digest is becoming an excellent version of a modern firearms periodical. I’d suggest you check it out. You can subscribe HERE
The old man shuffled to a cabinet on feet that’d carried him for almost 80 years. He grinned, leaned close enough I could smell cows, corn, and diesel, and said, “This here’s the good drawer.” It contained a hoard of shot shells. He picked up a candy stripped example, handed it to me, and said, “This’ns worth five hundred dollars.” Marv had my attention.
Marvin “Marv” Briegel worked hard all his life, but the only paycheck he ever received was during his three years in the Army. Marv is a farmer, always has been, always will be. He’s damn proud of it too, because he knows it’s a profession too good for most. Marv’s also a hunter. On his farm along Nebraska’s Republican river he once used a 270 Winchester to put a Boone & Crocket whitetail on his wall. That wall, by the way, is in a vault that’s part of Marv’s otherwise inconspicuous farmhouse.
Inside it’s the Marv Show, and it starts with a four-bore shotgun. “I ant shooting that!” I said. Marv grinned, “I ant letting ya.” Then there are the near dozen lesser gauges, Herter’s rifles, and an example of every Knight muzzleloader made. But the Marv Show is mostly about cartridges. I spent hours fingering through drawers of paper-patched cartridges, all-brass shot shells, and other munitions I’d never seen, all while Marv gave John Madden-like color commentary. “Now here’s a shell you don’t see often. I got that’n from an old boy in Oklahoma. That’s a window shell. You know what a window shell is?”
As editor of Gun Digest’s 13th Edition of Cartridges of the World, I’m sometimes referred to as the, “ammo guy.” Amazingly, while deer hunting in the no-stop-light town of Arapahoe, Nebraska, I’d uncovered a physical manifestation of the encyclopedia I’d worked so hard to publish. Historical cartridge collecting is a niche but serious endeavor. Marv’s passion likely exceeds that of Trump voters and, yes, even turkey hunters. He’s even been to Germany to scavange ammunition antiquities.
I asked how a fellow might start cartridge collecting. Marv said, “My first was a 45/100 Pacific Ballard,” Nudging me with his elbow, “but rimfire cartridge boxes are where a guy should start. They’re affordable and easy to find. Just make sure they’re full”
But most of Marv’s collection is shot shell related and I asked why. “With shot shells the information is printed on them, and it matches what’s on the box. It’ll tell you gauge, shot size, and so on. With rifle and pistol cartridges all you got’s the head stamp and no idea bout much else.” Then, with the intensity of a stock trader sharing his first inside tip, Marv leaned in, looked around like, to see if anyone was watching, and whispered, “Robin Hood. Any Robin Hood shot shell is good and the boxes are better-n gold.”
I left Marv a signed copy of Cartridges of the World and a .25 caliber wildcat cartridge I’d based on the 6.5 Creedmoor. Marv gave me something a bit different; a little, but well endowed, bobble-girl off the dash of his – dirtier on the inside than outside – pickup truck.
Passing through the vault door I looked back and Marv was fondling the cartridge I’d given him. He’ll put it in a drawer and someday show it to some guy like me. The bobble-girl? She’ll go on the dashboard of my truck, just to remind me who the real ammo guy is. I named her Casey.
I did not think a more visible handgun sight than the XS Big Dot existed. I was wrong. Check out the sequence of images in this video that illustrates how visible the new F8 sight from XS Sights can be through recoil. If you cannot see this sight all the time, its time for an eye exam.
Yes, its hard to buy for gun guys and hunters and get it right. This partly because they are a picky lot, and partly because its hard to know what kind of gear and guns work if you have no experience with them. Well, I’m here to help. Here are 10 items from FREE to a bit more than a grand that any real gun guy/hunter should appreciate:
1. Shooter’s Guide to the AR: This is a great book for the new AR owner. It will educate them on how and AR works and teach them how to shoot it better. It’s $ 15.00 or FREE when you buy Under Orion – the next item on the list. While supplies last of course. (Comes with a training DVD on using laser sights.)
2. Under Orion, Hunting Stories from Appalachia to Africa. For a hunter this is a great beside the toilet or bed book. Short hunting stories guaranteed to make you feel something – even if its regret for spending the $ 20.00. While supplies last it comes with a free copy of Shooter’s Guide to the AR.
3. XS F8 Sights: Great new sights I’m really excited about, that kind of bridge the gap between the XS Big Dot and conventional notch and post sights. $ 142.00. Now available for Glocks and a few other guns I do not own.
4. Jagdhund USA Brand shoes: Here is a great pair of outdoor general-purpose low-top shoes. Not sure what you have to do to wear these out. $ 218.95.
5. Bushnell Engage 2.5-10X 44mm Riflescope: This one of the best values going when it comes to a long range riflescope. We used one in Africa last summer and it performed exceptionally well, good enough for my son to collect animals out to 600 yards. $ 299.00. (Click image for video.)
6. Timney Calvin Elite AR Trigger: The single best thing you can do to your AR is put a good trigger in it. Factory ARs are notorious for triggers that are harder to pull than a Ford out of a ditch. $ 299.95.
7. Crimson Trace LINQ: This might be the best light/laser alternative for an AR. With bluetooth like connectivity, when you grab the grip the unit comes on in your predetermined configuration. Right now its on sale for $ 389.00.
8. XJAGD Buffalo 2 Jacket: When temperatures in Africa dropped below freezing last summer, I thought the hunt was doomed. Fortunately, my son and I both had one of these. They busted the cold, blocked the wind, and the neat binocular retraining strap is kinda cool. $ 396.95.
9. Remington Model Seven LS: I think this the best firearm currently in the Remington line. It is good looking, light, compact, and shoots exceptionally well. That’s why I own one. $ 1039.00.
10. Swarovski CL Companion Binoculars: I hate carrying around big binoculars but I also hate not being able to see when I’m hunting. With these compact CLs you get all the glory of Swarovski glass at a fraction of the cost. I’ve used them from Vancouver, to Texas, to Africa and got no complaints! They only weigh 17 ounces. $ 1199.00.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Defensive Handgun: Draw from concealment and put five shots into a five-inch circle at five yards in less than five seconds.
General Rifle: From the standing – port arms – start position; hit a 16-inch target at 100 yards in less than two seconds.
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.