Category Archive 'Field & Stream'

02 Apr 2014

Every Man Should Own a Gun

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Raywolf, at Return of Kings (a blog dispensing cynical un-PC advice to male millenials), offers an opinion I agree with.

At the end of the day if you’re not prepared to kill someone and you don’t have at least some basic skills in using firearms, there may come a time when someone might kill you or someone you care for. Owning a gun and being able to use one ought to be like owning a car.

The failure of gun control is laughably highlighted in both the UK and Australia. In the UK all handguns are illegal with hefty mandatory sentences, so now most criminals are not only armed, seeking the strategic advantage of weapons everyone else are forbidden to own, but are also happy to use their guns, when the sentences for killing are not much worse than the sentences for just having a gun. If I am about to get caught but I can kill you and get away with it, I might as well.

Read the whole thing.

I do not personally agree with his choices of guns. Glocks are ugly and have no real safety. Raywolf contends that the Glock 34’s 17-round magazine makes it “more interesting.” But, speaking frankly, I expect that, if it ever comes down to it, you will only very rarely need to shoot anybody more than once. I like S&W revolvers and 1911-style automatics better than I like Glocks.

Myself, I don’t really see why anyone wants one of those ugly military-style semi-autos. They are expensive, stylistically inappropriate for hunting, and are really just toys useful only for blasting off huge quantities of ammo plinking. If the social order ever breaks down to the point that one needs a gun chambered for the standard military round with lots of firepower, I’d expect to get one off the ground for free after I shot the first few bad guys.

For the beginner, a pump shotgun is a good choice, I agree. But, I’d say go out there and buy an Ithaca Model 37, or some kind of Winchester or Remington, with a wooden stock. Then, if you go out in the field to shoot pheasants, you won’t look like a fantasist who thinks he is Rambo.

For a hunting rifle, you do not want a great big enormous muzzle-brake hanging on the end of your barrel. If you are too delicate & sensitive to accept a little recoil, buy a rifle chambered in low-recoil cartridges like .270, 7×57, .257 Roberts, or even .243. Most connoisseurs prefer Mauser-style controlled-feed bolt actions to the Remington 700 (which is a push feed action). Older rifles are commonly both less expensive and cooler than brand new ones. Possible choices are enormous. If you are young, have good eyes, and are likely to be hunting at Eastern sorts of ranges, I’d recommend getting a light rifle with iron sights.

Roughly 60 years ago, the humorist Corey Ford used to publish a monthly feature in Field & Stream magazine called The Lower Forty, a chronicle of the adventures of a fictional informal club of small-town New England sportsmen formally titled “The Lower Forty Hunting, Shooting and Inside Straight Club.” The club’s leader and role model was Judge Parker (a fictional version of a friend of Ford’s named Parker Merrow).

Around 1960 or 1961, Judge Parker received by telegram the news that his son, at the time serving as an Air Force officer in Japan, had fathered a baby boy. Judge Parker sat right down and wrote a “Letter to a Grandson,” which episode constituted one of the most memorable of the Lower Forty stories. The letter portion of the story is quoted here.

Judge Parker proceeds to identify and set aside for his infant grandson all the favorite items from his own battery of sporting equipment, including some guns. Note the final line.

I am leaving you a few things.First I leave you your Great Grandfather’s weapons. He taught me how to shoot a pistol with his .38 Colt Army. I have not fired it since the day he died. I will give it a real good cleaning, and put the neatsfoot oil to the holster, an leave it with the same loads that he put in the cylinder himself the last time he dropped the hammer. Also you will receive his .30-30 carbine and his 12 gauge Greener. No buck ever went very far that caught one of my Dad’s .30-30’s behind the fore shoulder. No goose kept flying very long that he centered with a load of 4’s.Next I leave you my old Browning five shot 12 bore. I have used that gun so much that it has been reblued and rebuilt twice. Also my house gun, a .357 Magnum Smith and Wesson snub nose. A man who is not ready and able to defend his home does not belong in our family.

11 Sep 2013

WWII Ads from Field & Stream

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Hat tip to Vanderleun.

24 Feb 2007

Jim Zumbo Wrote a Career-Limiting Blog Entry

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Jim Zumbo was never the equal as a writer, or nearly as famous, as some of the great men preceding him as editors at century-old Outdoor Life magazine. But he had a pretty good career going as an Outdoor writer, serving as Hunting Editor for Outdoor Life, appearing weekly on the Outdoor Channel, representing Remington, and publishing a long series of books and a host of magazine articles, until now.

All that success evidently went to Zumbo’s head, and he recently started throwing around censorious and intolerant opinions on his blog about the alleged lack of sportsmanship of long-range game shooting, and the inappropriateness of using semi-automatic rifles of military style for shooting varmints, like coyotes and prairie dogs.

on 2/5:

Long range shooting

While at the SHOT Show recently, I ran into a guy who complained that too many hunters were taking excessively long shots. He’s an outfitter, and witnessed plenty of people shooting at elk at distances greater than 350 yards. He suggested that that was too far, primary because the majority of those hunters had no clue of ballistics. Most were “Hail Mary” shots. I agree. We read about people making 500 yard shots and more, and that, to me, is ridiculous.

Then at the SCI convention last week, I talked to a guy who bragged that his custom gun kills deer out at 800 yards and better. To each his own, I suppose, but that isn’t hunting. It’s shooting. And I don’t care how great a marksman you are. The risk of wounding an animal at extremely long ranges is high, and where’s the sportsmanship, the ethics, the satisfaction of taking outrageously long shots? I understand there’s a group in PA that shoots deer at 1,000 yards and more. More power to them. Just don’t ask me to support that kind of “hunting.”

and on 2/16

(the url used to be: – but the post has since been removed.)

Assault Rifles For Hunters?

As I write this, I’m hunting coyotes in southeastern Wyoming with Eddie Stevenson, PR Manager for Remington Arms, Greg Dennison, who is senior research engineer for Remington, and several writers. We’re testing Remington’s brand new .17 cal Spitfire bullet on coyotes.

I must be living in a vacuum. The guides on our hunt tell me that the use of AR and AK rifles have a rapidly growing following among hunters, especially prairie dog hunters. I had no clue. Only once in my life have I ever seen anyone using one of these firearms.

I call them “assault” rifles, which may upset some people. Excuse me, maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. I’ll go so far as to call them “terrorist” rifles. They tell me that some companies are producing assault rifles that are “tackdrivers.”

Sorry, folks, in my humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting. We don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern. I’ve always been comfortable with the statement that hunters don’t use assault rifles. We’ve always been proud of our “sporting firearms.”

This really has me concerned. As hunters, we don’t need the image of walking around the woods carrying one of these weapons. To most of the public, an assault rifle is a terrifying thing. Let’s divorce ourselves from them. I say game departments should ban them from the prairies and woods.

A bit over a week later, Outdoor Life has fired him, Remington has severed his corporate sponsorship ties, and the Outdoor Channel has reportedly dropped him.

Thw Washington Post is publishing tomorrow a shocked story on the Unforgiving Response from U.S. Gun Culture.

A firestorm of criticism swept Internet shooting sites, and Mr. Zumbo apologized very profusely 2/18:

I was wrong, BIG TIME
Someone once said that to err is human. I just erred, and made without question, the biggest blunder in my 42 years of writing hunting articles.

My blog inflamed legions of people I love most….. hunters and shooters. Obviously, when I wrote that blog, I activated my mouth before engaging my brain.

Let me explain the circumstances surrounding that blog. I was hunting coyotes, and after the hunt was over and being beat up by 60 mph winds all day, I was discussing hunting with one of the young guides. I was tired and exhausted, and I should have gone to bed early. When the guide told me that there was a “huge” following of hunters who use AR 15’s and similar weapons to hunt prairies dogs, I was amazed. At that point I wrote the blog, and never thought it through.

Now then, you might not believe what I have to say, but I hope you do. How is it that Zumbo, who has been hunting for more than 50 years, is totally ignorant about these types of guns. I don’t know. I shot one once at a target last year, and thought it was cool, but I never considered using one for hunting. I had absolutely no idea how vast the numbers of folks are who use them.

I never intended to be divisive, and I certainly believe in United we Stand, Divided we Fall. I’ve been an NRA member for 40 years, have attended 8 national NRA conventions in the last 10 years, and I’m an advisory board member for the United States Sportsmen’s Alliance which actively fights anti-hunters and animal rights groups for hunter’s rights.

What really bothers me are some of the unpatriotic comments leveled at me. I fly the flag 365 days a year in my front yard. Last year, through an essay contest, I hosted a soldier wounded in Iraq to a free hunt in Botswana. This year, through another essay contest, I’m taking two more soldiers on a free moose and elk hunt.

When I started blogging, I was told to write my thoughts, expressing my own opinion. The offensive blog I wrote was MY opinion, and no one else’s. None of the companies that I deal with share that opinion, nor were they aware of what I had written until this firestorm started.

Believe it or not, I’m your best friend if you’re a hunter or shooter, though it might not seem that way. I simply screwed up. And, to show that I’m sincere about this, I just talked to Ted Nugent, who everyone knows, and is a Board member of the NRA. Ted is extremely active with charities concerning our wounded military, and though he’s known as a bowhunter, Ted has no problem with AR 15’s and similar firearms. My sincerity stems from the fact that Ted and I are planning a hunt using AR 15’s. I intend to learn all I can about them, and again, I’m sorry for inserting my foot in my mouth.”


All this is very sad, of course. No one likes to see this kind of career disaster befall even a semi-inadvertent victim. But… it is simply outrageous, when gun ownership rights are under continual attack by active enemies outside the sporting community, for someone occupying one of the most honored positions within the shooting sports, for the successor to Jack O’Connor himself, to be so obtuse as to lend aid and comfort to the enemy.

Of course, Field & Stream‘s David E. Petzal, in 1994, got away with endorsing the original Assault Weapons Ban (which he, however, did criticize for being too broad):

Gun owners — all gun owners — pay a heavy price for having to defend the availability of these weapons. The American public — and the gun-owning public; especially the gun-owning public — would be better off without the hardcore military arms, which puts the average sportsman in a real dilemma.”

I certainly felt back then that Field & Stream had no business employing a man with Petzal’s views as Shooting Editor, and I told them precisely that in the letter I sent canceling my subscription, which I had maintained continuously since the late 1950s.

Petzal is more careful today, but he actually has the chutzpah to deny that he endorsed the Assault Weapons Ban back in ’94.

I guess my personal position is that all this should have happened to David E. Petzal back in 1994, and then it wouldn’t be happening to Jim Zumbo today.

01 Sep 2006

Mako on a Fly Rod

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Field & Stream has an interesting photo essay on the 6 catch-and-release of a large mako shark on a fly rod (8 foot 6 inch rod for a

    16 weight line


They’ve got so many record salmon in the Restigouche (where they all have to be released), that I place no reliance in any estimated weights or lengths myself.

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