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  • September 29, 2007

    Let's Get Practical-4


    Ever heard of USPSA?

    It stands for United States Practical Shooting Association, an organization that governs “practical shooting.” And what’s that, you say? Practical shooting is a sport that sprang out of experimentation with handguns used for self-defense. But it has evolved far beyond its origins in law enforcement to become a fun shooting contest that, according to the organization’s website (, obliges shooters, “ to take on obstacle-laden shooting courses (called stages) requiring anywhere from six to 30+ shots to complete. The scoring system measures points scored per second, then weights the score to compensate for the number of shots fired…Competitors move, negotiate obstacles, run, speed-reload, and drive their guns through each of several courses as fast as their skills will allow.”

    Sounds like fun, right?

    The USPSA Nationals were held earlier this month at the United States Shooting Academy in Tulsa, OK, where Dave Sevigny won a milestone fifth Production National Championship.

    Sevigny used a 9mm GLOCK 34 to score four stage wins and sixteen top five finishes during the eighteen-stage championship. Competing against many of the best shooters in the world, the champion’s consistency and mental toughness carried him to victory. “I didn’t feel like anything was really happening in the first couple days,” he said. “My goal was to be in a position to win in the closing stages, so I was patient and looked for the right opportunities.”

    And like many tough competitors, he had to endure a nail-biting finish. “The last stage was gut wrenching,” he said. “I had to shoot before all the guys who had a chance to win it.”

    He had a smooth round until he slipped in the mud—remember, these events go off rain or shine.

    “It felt like a rug was pulled out from under me,” he said, “and the shot must have went high, because it was nowhere in the scoring area. My competitors had every opportunity to knock me out but the pressure forced them to drop points and take extra shots.” And that allowed Sevigny to hang on for the win.

    It’s worth mentioning that Sevigny’s GLOCK 34 is near stock and hasn’t undergone any major gunsmithing work. The same pistol used by Sevigny can be purchased at your local GLOCK dealer. “You can be competitive right out of the box or add sight and spring preferences like mine for less than $90,” he says.

    That’s good advice. When Gun Shots talked to Sevigny about his win, we asked him for a tip for shooters who would like to take up practical shooting. He said, “If you learn to grip the gun correctly and dry practice regularly, your live sessions will be more enjoyable. Always be safe, and have fun shooting.” Spoken like a pro.

    Slaton White

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 28, 2007

    Shotguns and Cats-7


    Many Gun Shots readers commenting on the post Pick Your Gun said the firearm they’d like to sight down during a tiger charge is a shotgun loaded with buckshot.

    While at one time a shotgun was thought to be a good choice when pursing a wounded leopard in heavy cover, nearly every Professional Hunter I’ve spoken with about this said they would choose a rifle over a shotgun without question.

    Step up in size to a lion and I suspect the percentage of PH’s who’d pick a shotgun for this work would drop to zero.

    Though the topic of tigers never specifically came up--after all, tigers charge hunters as often as Hillary Clinton practices double-taps--I seriously doubt any PH who wasn’t suicidal would willingly use a shotgun to bring down the world’s largest cat.

    Joe Coogan, who has been a PH for 24 years, put it this way when asked about appropriate charge stoppers for dangerous game: “A shotgun is not the thing to use under any circumstances.”

    John Snow

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 27, 2007

    The Unfriendly Skies-8


    Flying with firearms just became more difficult. American Airlines announced that the company will no longer allow civilians to check guns with their baggage if the flight includes a stop in the UK. The reason stated for the prohibition is the onerous restrictions on guns imposed by British authorities.

    This new policy is actually a modified version of a more strict set of regulations that the airline came out with that would have banned firearms on all flights going to Europe and Asia. Thankfully, the NRA and other groups convinced the carrier that such regulations were too far reaching. More on this reversal here.

    Restrictions of this sort are part of a disturbing trend of backdoor gun control. Starting last year, Air Canada instituted a $50 baggage fee (each way) for checked firearms. When it first rolled this regulation out the carrier insisted it wasn’t an anti-gun measure, simply an appropriate surcharge to handle the bulkier baggage. That no such similar charge was leveled against other oversized baggage such as golf clubs, ski equipment and musical instruments quickly exposed Air Canada’s position for the lie that it is.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 27, 2007

    Big Bucks-7


    You’ve no doubt heard anti-hunters proclaim that the number of hunters is decreasing. There’s no use sugar-coating it, our numbers are down, which is certainly a concern. But, a recent report issued by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy) shows just how important sportsmen are to the national economy. Bottom line: last year 34 million hunters and anglers spent more than $76 billion on hunting and fishing. Sportsmen spent so much, in fact, that if we were a corporation, we’d rank in Top 20 on the Fortune 500. Big bucks, indeed.

    Here’s a quick breakdown of what hunters spent last year:

    Firearms: $2.4 billion
    Optics: $203 million
    Decoys and game calls: $187 million
    Hunting apparel: $459 million
    Ammo: $696 million

    According to the CSF, if you break the total economic impact of the sportsman’s dollar down to a daily spending figure, the economic stimulus of hunting and fishing comes out to $208 million per day. This kind of spending keeps people working: not just in typical hunting and fishing jobs, either, but also in gas stations, retail, restaurants and hotels throughout the country. And the government benefits as well: sportsmen generate $25 billion in federal, state and local taxes. And we directly support 1.6 million jobs, more than twice the combined civilian payrolls of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

    Talk about buying power! We are truly an economic powerhouse. And that helps us in another arena as well. As U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI), co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s caucus, said, “This report clearly demonstrates the tremendous impact that sportsmen and women have on their communities, the economy, the environment, and even on politics. Their presence is too great to be ignored by policymakers in Washington, D.C., and I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to look at this report and make sportsmen’s issues a priority.”

    To view the report in full, go to

    Slaton White

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  • September 25, 2007

    Dream On-3


    Every hunter likes to dream about the ideal hunt. Maybe it’s standing in the magnificent and oh-so-menacing presence of a Cape buffalo in Africa. Or it could be stalking a brown bear in Alaska. For some, it’s trying to outwit a double-drop-tine whitetail in South Texas.

    When you talk about this in deer camp, all to often the response from your buddies is, “Dream on, pal. How can you afford that?”

    Well, you can dream on—because for one very lucky hunter, Weatherby has come up with a way make that dream reality.

    “Whether it's South Africa or South Dakota, one of the key elements of any hunt is the pride and enjoyment that your firearm brings to your hunting experience,” says Brad Ruddell, Weatherby's vice president of sales and marketing. “Hunters have held Weatherbys to their shoulders on dream hunts around the globe for more than 60 years. The Dream Hunt Contest will allow another fortunate hunter the opportunity to take the trophy of a lifetime.”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 23, 2007

    The High Cost of Ammo-8


    Bought any ammo lately? If you have, you’ve no doubt gone into sticker shock. What’s going on?

    “We’re seeing unprecedented levels in the costs of raw materials,” says Sean Dwyer, Remington vice president of ammunition. “Lead, copper and zinc are at record highs. And the costs run up so quickly, it’s impossible to forecast.”

    When I talked to Dwyer, he noted the company had been burdened with millions of dollars in additional costs, which, he says, “makes it tough to run a profitable business.”

    Part of the problem is fierce global competition for raw materials. “It’s simply the law of supply and demand,” he says. “Global demand for metal in China and India is impacting the market here. We have more competition for a common resource.”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 21, 2007

    The Hunting Brotherhood-6


    Hunters are everywhere. Statistics from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife might say that participation numbers are in a slow, steady decline and that the age of the average hunter would qualify as an impressive IQ score—but I don’t believe that all is lost. Far from it.


    Case in point. I was just out in New Mexico antelope hunting with some friends when we pulled into restaurant in Moriarty, right off the old Route 66. Our waitress, who couldn’t have been more than 16 years old, eyed us up—a trio of dusty, camo-clad guys—and asked if we were hunters. When we told her we had each shot an antelope (I'm pictured with mine on the right), I braced myself for her response, which I imagined would fall somewhere between a blank stare and fits of projectile vomiting.

    Instead, her face lit up and she asked if she could go to our truck and see them.


    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 20, 2007

    Online Auction-2


    If you’d like to help preserve our hunting and shooting traditions, you really ought to take a look at the “Treasures & Traditions” auction currently being held on Right now, you’ll have an opportunity to bid on a rare Savage over/under, a LaserMax tactical light and laser sight, a Springfield Armory 1911-A and a whole lot more. Proceeds from the auction will be used to support a wide variety of worthwhile organizations and initiatives, including the Hunting Heritage Trust and other hunting and shooting sports groups.

    The Hunting Heritage Trust, which is sponsoring this series of auctions, is a charitable organization created in 2002 by leaders from hunting, conservation and shootings sports organizations dedicated to preserving our American hunting traditions and firearms freedoms. Every “Treasures & Traditions” auction item has been donated specifically to the Hunting Heritage Trust to support the program. According to the trust, more than 300 new and used items, including more than 50 firearms, have been donated to date. And new auctions will be announced on a regular basis. Stay tuned for specially themed auctions, such as Waterfowl Weeks, Whitetail Weeks, Christmas Month and others.

    Slaton White

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 19, 2007

    Pick Your Gun-25


    Here’s the scenario. A tiger charging at close range out of the grass, leaping with claws extended and mouth open, right onto the top of your elephant. Which rifle, cartridge, bullet combo do you go with?

    For my peace of mind, I want something with two triggers and two barrels, both big enough for the kitty’s head to fit in. Not too big, however, because this rifle needs to be fast handling and well balanced—just look at the wheels on that cat! So call it a Holland & Holland Round Action Sidelock in .500/465 H&H. This rifle will set me back £40,165 ($80,921), which makes it, by the way, the bargain priced Holland & Holland double. The fancy one, the Royal, will costs at least £83,475, which translates into $168,163 of your hard earned American greenbacks.

    But what price can you put on your own hide and the utter reliability that comes with owning an English Best gun? You might be broke, but at least you don’t have to worry about the rifle going ‘bang’ when you work the triggers.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 18, 2007

    When Leopards Attack!-2


    I was just cleaning up the desktop on my computer this morning when I came across this photo. No, it is not the surface of Mars. It's the top of a very unfortunate professional hunter's head who got hammered by a leopard.
    I received the pic more than a year ago from Hannes Wessels, a friend from Africa whose byline you've probably seen in OL. I remember how shocked I was when I saw the image the first time (and I was no less shocked this morning when I opened it up again). Every time I look at it I wince. The pain this poor fellow went through is simply unimaginable.

    If you haven't seen the complete photo gallery before or read the story, CLICK HERE. But I must warn you, it's pretty graphic.

    Todd Smith

    [ Read Full Post ]
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