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 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 This bashing runs the gamut of proclamations that the Weaver stance is outdated, that the Modern Technique of the Pistol has been superseded, and even includes declarations that anyone who reads or remotely admires Jeff Cooper is a grey haired, dust covered, lunatic who’s not advanced into the 21st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.

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

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

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

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

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Which of the following best describes you?

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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!


Sunday Hunting


Seeing as how I’m not a famous Hollywood actor or musical icon, I obviously do not have the qualifications to tell you who to vote for, for president. Apparently, by pretending to be someone else you are qualified to give that kind of advice.

I have however hunted my entire life. I’ve hunted all over my home state of West Virginia, across the United States, on four continents, and in almost a dozen countries. I know a thing or two about hunting. So, with that background established I offer the following:

On election day West Virginian’s in eight counties can vote for or against Sunday hunting on private land. 39 of our 50 States already allow Sunday hunting. It can increase revenue for businesses within West Virginia. And, in a time when the hunter numbers are declining, it can help the Department of Natural Resources better control game populations. What many who are firmly against or marginally opposed to Sunday hunting do not understand is that if passed, it will only allow Sunday hunting on private land. I’ve always been of the notion that on my own land I ought to be able to do what I want.


Why do I support Sunday hunting? For starters there are lots of hard working men and women across this state who work six and even seven days every week. Our buck season lasts two weeks. For those folks it can be very difficult to get in the woods. This is especially true if they do not have enough seniority at work to take vacation during that time. Sunday hunting would at least allow many residents two or maybe a few more days to hunt. It also gives those adults a day to spend in the outdoors with their kids. Its shame when one man has to take another man’s children hunting because their dad has to work.


Secondly, kids who are involved in high school athletics during that time have few opportunities to hunt. My son has played basketball all through school and the only day he gets to hunt is on Thanksgiving because he has school and / or practice every other day – including Saturday.

Here’s how I see it. You can do anything else you want to do on Sunday. You can go to a bar and get drunk, get married, go shopping, go to a strip club, watch football, bet on football, play football, ride ATVs, shoot guns, fish, race cars, throw rocks, cuss, swim, go to work and even go to church. Given all that, what is the logical reasoning behind not being able to hunt – collect wild protein to feed your family – on your own land (or private land) on Sunday?


Factually speaking, there is no logical reason for it to be illegal to hunt on Sunday. It’s already permitted in 22 of West Virginia’s 55 counties and what better way is there to enjoy the bounty of this earth!

Vote YES for Sunday hunting in West Virginia and if you don’t want to hunt on Sunday, stay home and watch football, mow your yard, or see how much beer you can drink.

Why Hunt?


From time to time we are posed with the question of why we hunt. Generally the answers are laced with explanations where genetic disposition and conservation are combined in an effort to justify the endeavor. While this might be a scientific explanation of reality, it falls short in explaining why we are driven to the woods.

Why do we hunt?

In hunting there are no politics. While hunting you do not have to listen or submit to a pandering, narcissistic old lady, whose only real achievement in life has been the winning of a popularity contest, tell you lies.


In hunting there are no terrible bosses. There is no one to lord over you while taking advantage of their position to noodle the secretary, embezzle from the business, or make stupid decisions that impact your livelihood.


In hunting there are no stammering, stomped idiots to block the aisle, while they gander in a trance at displays of Halloween yard ornaments or visit with neighbors to talk about the new Bojangles opening up down town.


In hunting your food is free. In the field meat is all the same price, regardless of the cut. A filet costs the same as brisket and a holiday turkey is no more expensive than opossum pie.


In hunting there is no nepotism – unless you control it. Its not an activity where a coach can take your son, who is the team’s high scorer, and position him so his own son can improve his stats. But, you can take your son or daughter to the field and let them be the one who pulls the trigger.


In hunting royalty has no bearing and there are no taxes. Unlike our European ancestors who could only hunt at the will and pleasure of the barons and feudal lords, in America your stature in the kingdom does not prohibit your participation.


In hunting there are no fools to contend with – unless your outfitter has been poorly chosen – and success and failure ride on your shoulders. If you’re late into the woods, the fault is yours. If you miss, the fault is yours. And, if you succeed it is because of your effort.


In hunting there are no riots and lawlessness – nature dictates. You’ll not see a gaggle of squirrels or flock of geese assemble in protest to throw nuts and vandalize your camp.


Hunting is the ultimate expression of nature. Hunting is how we lived before we mistakenly assumed we were too civilized to be who we really are. Hunting is an intricate part of the human existence for the same reason sunny days, ice cream, and sex, make us happy. Hunting is fun. And, the satisfaction it delivers fills our hearts, our guts, and our souls.


So, the next time someone asks you why you hunt, tell them the truth.

Tell them you hunt because it makes you happy, because you are human, because it is the right thing to do, because it satisfies the primary requisite for survival – sustenance. And tell them you hunt because while you’re doing it, you don’t have to explain it to anyone.

Tell them you hunt because hunting is freedom.

Hunting is an escape from the stupidness and it is the ultimate expression of life – life uninhibited, unplugged, unbiased, unselfish, and unafraid.


The Ultimate Challenge for the Outdoor, Gun Owning, Kind of Guy


At dawn on the 2nd of September, on what I’m thinking will be a cool and foggy Scottish morning; my first fall hunt of 2016 will begin. Only a few hours later, at sundown, it will end. One day – less than 24 hours – to catch a salmon, take a stag, and shoot a brace of grouse. This could be the ultimate sportsman’s challenge.

John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir was a Scottish novelist, historian, and Unionist politician who served as Governor General of Canada. Buchan had a storied career in British politics but he was mostly a writer who penned one of the best hunting and fishing stories of all time. Most have never heard of it partly because it was written in 1925 and partly because it was about poaching.


11 years ago Chris Ellis and I embraced on our first big game hunt outside of West Virginia. Since then we have hunted all over North America and in several other countries. We felt it was time we took on the ultimate sportsman’s challenge.

The story – the book John Macnab – has inspired various sportsmen challenges throughout the world. In Scotland where the story is set, the ”Macnab Challenge” consists of shooting a red stag, a brace of grouse, and catching a salmon, all within one day. The objects of the challenge vary throughout the world where imitations of this quest are attempted.

I’ll be hunting with a fellow hillbilly; a man who I have shared the field with across West Virginia, all over the United States, and in several other countries. Our goal is for both of us to complete the “Macnab” but should we find our skills lacking, or the game uncooperative, we will attempt to complete it as a team. This would mean that between the two of us we would have to catch at least one salmon, shoot one stag, and take at least two grouse.



Stewart Collingswood with Alba Game Fishing, in conjunction with the Scone Palace has put this adventure together for us. We will not be trying to fit in with the Scots by using best quality Purdey shotguns and rifles; we are taking the hillbilly approach and will both be shooting Remington 700s and 870s. (Hold the comments about shotguns and me. I’ve always maintained they were meant for things that fly and grouse firmly fit within that category.) Both rifles will also be outfitted with Swarovski riflescopes. My 270 is topped off with the new Z8i 1-8X, which just might be the best riflescope in the world.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 12.42.48 PMContrary to what you might think, even though this hunt an aristocratic smell to it, the travel is the most expensive part of this adventure. The difficult part is arranging the “Macnab” with an outfit capable of pulling off a reasonably successful attempt. We will try to provide video updates with regard to our progress but in the mean time, I suggest you get in the mood for your hunting this fall by reading John Macnab and maybe you can even devise your own Macnab Challenge to attempt in your favorite place to hunt, whether it is on grandpa’s old farm or out behind your house.