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  • December 19, 2007

    The “bang switch”-9

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    This may be the season of serenity, selflessness and making spirits bright, but it’s also the season of domestic obligation. That explains why we were at the house of one of my wife’s friends, making stilted conversation and eating unimaginative food.

    As it usually does when I’m around, the conversation turned to hunting and shooting, and the young boy of the house, still a few years away from hunting but already tuned in to bloodsport, volunteered that he knew the rules of gun safety.

    As a hunter education instructor and gun-safety Nazi, I was interested in hearing what this 7-year-old had to say about the topic.

    “Always point your muzzle in a safe direction,” he recited. “Be sure of your target, and beyond. Treat every gun as if it were loaded.”

    Then he paused. He and I both knew there was one more cardinal rule, but he was momentarily stumped.

    Then he blurted out the answer, leaving all of us briefly stunned before we busted up in laughter, social awkwardness melted before the insightful perspective of the youngest member of our group.

    “Keep your booger finger off the bang switch until you’re ready to shoot!”

    - Andrew McKean

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  • December 14, 2007

    Gun Rights Pistols-26

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    Talk, it is said, is cheap. But Para USA is putting its money where its mouth is by supporting the Second Amendment through a special line of .45 ACP Gun Rights Pistols. The line consists of the single-stack PXT 1911 SSP and the high-capacity PXT P14-45. Both come with stainless-steel match barrels and receivers and each features a match trigger, spurred competition hammer and a fiber-optic front sight. For each Gun Rights handgun sold, Para USA will donate $25 to the NRA-ILA.

    “The next two years are vital to America’s first freedom,” said Para USA CEO Thanos Polyzos when the program launched early this year. “If you love the right to keep and bear arms, these 1911 pistols are the most important handguns you can ever own.”

    Para USA and the NRA have been so pleased with the results of the program that it has been extended through 2008.

    —Slaton White

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  • December 6, 2007

    Little Shop of Horrors-61

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    Been in a gun shop lately? How was the customer service?

    I ask because customer service is a fast-disappearing aspect of the American retail experience. Here’s an example: a friend interested in a new deer rifle walks into a store where he encounters two salesmen engaged in conversation with a customer. As my buddy politely waits his turn, he realizes the “customer” is a friend of the countermen, and the “transaction” in front of him is merely an extended bull session. He leaves without receiving any acknowledgement whatsoever from the staff.

    “How does a store like that stay in business?” he asked me.

    I dunno.

    My pet peeve—besides not being greeted by the staff—is to walk into a poorly lit retail operation and realize the shelves haven’t been dusted since the end of the Bronze Age.

    I’m not alone in this assessment.

    Miles Hall, owner of H&H Gun Range & Shooting Sports Outlet in Oklahoma City, says, “Frankly, a lot of gun stores are dark, depressing and intimidating.”

    Hall, who is an enterprising fellow, realized that to attract the next generation of shooters his store needed to appeal to the younger shooter’s sense of style. So he looked at how the stores at his local mall looked. He then changed the style, color and feel of his store accordingly. Guess what? His business is booming.

    All of which tells me there’s no need for us to endure rude countermen and shoddy customer service—like the guy I heard about who tried to pawn off a .338 as a varmint rifle! So, tell me your retail horror stories. I don’t need the name of the store, just how you were treated.

    –Slaton White

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  • December 5, 2007

    Ruger’s New Compacts: The .30 RCM and .38 RCM-14

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    For the indecisive gun owner life is about to get more complicated. The number of cartridges in the short fat magnum category continues to grow like mushrooms in a cave. Witness the latest cartridges to sprout from the partnership between Sturm Ruger and Hornady ammunition.

    On the heels of last year’s .375 Ruger, a standard-length cartridge that delivers .375 H&H performance, we now have the .30 and .338 RCMS—short for Ruger Compact Magnums—built on the .375 Ruger case.

    Both cartridges have intriguing characteristics, but the .338 RCM is particularly interesting. It is going to go head-to-head with the .338 Federal, which was unveiled at the 2006 SHOT Show, and which has carved out a niche among its devotees as a versatile all-around big game cartridge. One criticism of the .338 Fed., however, is the relatively light weight of the bullets offered. The heaviest current load is a 210-gr. Nosler Partition, a wonderful bullet to be sure, but not in the class of the 225- and 250-grain bullets many fans of the .338 Win. Mag. swear by.

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  • December 4, 2007

    Deer Having Big Impact-6

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    An interesting bit of information crossed my desk yesterday from, of all publications, the New York Times. The Times isn’t exactly the bastion of conservative journalism, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw their report on the ever-growing problem we’re facing with exploding whitetail populations.

    It comes as no surprise to those of us who live in the burbs and regularly hear stories about collisions with deer that the Times quotes the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which reports: “there are about 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year.” The result? People who might have been anti-hunting are beginning to change their attitude because the collateral damage deer are doing to their cars (not to mention their yards) is hitting them right in the pocketbook. (My neighbor hit a beautiful 5x5 last year at night—right in the heart of the rut. Total damage to their Cherokee was over $5,000.)

    Use of firearms for hunting is strictly prohibited where I live, but a strong case can be made for a controlled bow hunt. Now, if I can just convince the city council…

    -Todd Smith

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