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  • February 29, 2008

    Honoring Lones Wigger-1

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    A friend of mine who works in the gun industry sent me an email about the voting going on for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Included among the bios of better-known celebrities on the ballot such as Oscar De La Hoya and David Robinson is that of Lones Wigger.

    Unknown to most outside of shooting circles Wigger was a consummate Olympic athlete. A dedicated amateur (remember when Olympic athletes were amateurs?) his competitive career spanned a quarter century and included many milestones—not the least of which were the 29 world records he set as a shooter.

    His profile on the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame web site says in part:

    Lones W. Wigger, Jr. (70), whose career spanned 25 years, is a three-time Olympian, having competed at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where he won a combined two gold and one silver medals. In addition, he qualified for the 1980 Olympic Team.

    Wigger also competed on five Pan American Games teams, where he won five silver and 13 gold medals. During his shooting career, Wigger won 111 medals and set 29 world records in international competition, more than any other shooter in the world. He is a member of the USA Shooting Hall of Fame and was also honored in 1996 by the USOC as a “Golden Olympian.”

    Athletes such as Wigger personified the Olympic ideal. Consider casting a vote for him for induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

    —John Snow

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  • February 28, 2008

    Gun Rights in the Supreme Court-8

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    A key date is approaching in the fight over gun rights. On March 18 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the D.C. gun ban case. The ruling on the case, expected sometime in June, will have a huge impact on the willingness of the government and politicians to try to enact gun-control legislation in the future.

    For gun right’s advocates, the hope and the dream is to hear the highest court in the United States acknowledge that the Second Amendment means what it says: that the citizens of this country have an individual right to own and use firearms.

    The cover story in the February 27 edition of USA Today had some interesting data. A poll conducted by the newspaper and Gallup shows that 73 percent of the more than 1,000 adults questioned believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to own a firearm. An overwhelming—and heartwarming—indication of support.

    —John Snow

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  • February 28, 2008

    Where the Candidates Stand-3

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    Included in the USA Today story on Gun Rights was a concise and worthwhile summation of the position on the issue of the top candidates in the presidential race. Both Hillary and Obama are backpeddling furiously from their pro-gun control records as senators for their respective states, offering up support for the Second Amendment that is at odds with their history of advocacy for tighter gun control. But even that support sounds rather unconvincing.

    Consider that while pushing for a renewal of the assault-weapons ban (AWB) signed into law by her husband, Hillary stated: “I believe in the Second Amendment. People have a right to bear arms. But I also believe we can common-sensically approach this.” In other words, the “right” is so conditional that it can be revoked for something as frivolous as how a gun looks. Some “right.”

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 26, 2008

    -4

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    Brrrrr!

    In November 1812, the tattered remains of Napoleon’s Grande Armee staggered out of Russia, a ghostly, frozen shell of itself. By some estimates, the retreat from Moscow cost the French the lives of nearly half a million soldiers and some 30,000 horses. It was one of the epic disasters of military history.

    The debacle came to mind as I sat on a deer stand, 12 feet off the ground in subzero weather in November 2005--at the exact time of year of the French retreat and at nearly the same latitude as the Russian capital. Moscow sits at 55 degrees N; my stand was situated at Christopher Lake, north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, at 53 degrees N. Saskdeer

    But rather than facing saber-wielding Cossacks, I was after the legendary whitetails of this province. Chances are you’ll see more big deer in one week than you’ve seen in a lifetime hunting in the States.

    There’s just one catch—and it’s a big one.

    Can you handle cold weather?

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 22, 2008

    Good Stats to Know-5

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    Next time you need some ammunition for arguing the pros of hunting and gun ownership, try using some these stats, which recently came across my desk in a new report from the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation. The report spotlights the immense impact that sportsmen have on the national economy – 34 million sportsmen spending 76 billion dollars annually on their pastimes of hunting and fishing.

    •    Spending by hunters and anglers is more than the revenues of Microsoft, Google, eBay and Yahoo—combined! ($76 billion vs. $73.6 billion).

    •    More people hut and fish than watch the nightly newscasts of the three major networks—ABC, CBS, NBC. (34 million vs. 27 million)

    •    Hunters spend more on their activity than the total revenues of McDonald’s ($23 billion vs. $20 billion).

    •    All this spending adds up to support close to 600,000 jobs—more than the number of people employed by McDonald’s corporation.

    •    Hunters spend $2.4 billion on guns and rifles annually.

    •    Every year hunters and shooters pay millions in Federal excise taxes: $5.3 billion since 1939. In 2007 hunters and shooters paid $233 million in excise taxes. In fact they annually provide more than 80% of the funding for most state fish and wildlife agencies.

    •    Through Federal Duck Stamp purchases, hunters have generated more than $700 million, all of which goes in to the National Wildlife Refuge System. This money has been used to purchase more than 5 million acres of land for outdoor recreation and wildlife watching opportunities around the country.

    •    80% of sportsmen consider themselves “likely voters”. 8 in 10 sportsmen state that a candidate’s position on sportsmen’s issues is important in determining whom they will vote for.

    •    73% of Americans approve of hunting.

    •    Only 3% of Americans live the animal rights philosophy.

    -Todd Smith

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 21, 2008

    Think Pink!-2

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    Believe it or not, pink was the hot color at the recently concluded 2008 SHOT Show. Remington is now offering the semi-auto Model 597 .22 in pink camo. No, I am not kidding. At the range the day before the SHOT Show opened, some veteran gun writers—obviously reared on Blaze Orange and camo--approached the rifle with no small amount of trepidation. One old timer said, “Pink. Ya gotta be kidding.”

    But then they picked it up and shot it. Funny thing, the 597 is such a fun gun to shoot, we literally had to pry it out of the hands of the shooters in front of us. The Model 597 comes in what is billed as “Mossy Oak Pink” and is a steal at $252. (remington.com) 597_pink_camo

    Charter Arms also would like you to think pink this year. No, its new Pink Lady is not a frothy concoction, but a compact revolver for self-defense. Based on the popular Undercover Series, the Pink Lady is a feathery light 12 ounces, thanks to a tough 7075 aircraft aluminum frame anodized to a bight pink.
     
    The Pink Lady is chambered for .38 Special +P, and boasts an exposed hammer, 2-inch stainless steel barrel and 5-round stainless-steel cylinder. Set off by black rubber grips, the overall package is an eye-popping revolver for women who need reliable self-defense in a great-looking firearm. $399. (charterfirearms.com)

    Check out the Pink Lady and other great SHOT products here.

    —Slaton White

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  • February 19, 2008

    Grits Gresham Dies at 85-2

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    I just received word from the National Shooting Sports Foundation that Grits Gresham died yesterday in his hometown of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Grits was 85. (For details click here.)

    Sportsmen will no doubt remember Grits for the many years (some 26) in which he wrote for Sports Afield magazine. America will best remember him as one of the athletes (he was the fisherman) in the Miller Lite ads that made “tastes great, less filling,” one of the most popular ad slogans of all time.

    What you probably don’t know is just how nice a guy Grits Gresham really was. More than 15 years ago, my wife and I were invited to attend a special fund-raising shoot in Gleneagles, Scotland. The Gresham’s were also invited along with Bob Brister and his wife. We had a grand time going to the theatre in London, touring castles, and, of course, shooting.

    I was working for Petersen’s HUNTING at the time and felt a little out of my league to be running with such great shooting names as Gresham and Brister. It didn’t bother either one a bit, however. They were just nice guys and I remember how Grits took the time to make me feel like I was just “one of the boys.” Don’t know as it helped me break any more targets, but he sure made me feel 10 feet tall. That’s the kind of guy he was.

    The NSSF site has a story that I had not heard. It says: “One of Gresham's proudest moments as an outdoor journalist came during an interview with President Ronald Reagan. The President shared with Grits a story no one in the national media had heard, that when he was a broadcaster in Des Moines, Iowa, Reagan had used a Colt pistol to save a nurse from a mugging on the street.
    After the story broke, the nurse came forward and confirmed the tale, although she did not know until then that the young man who had saved her with a gun so many years before had turned out to be the famous actor and United States President.” Somehow, getting a story like that out of Ronald Reagan doesn’t surprise me a bit for Grits. He was truly a southern gentleman that everybody wanted to talk to.

    The NSSF site goes on to say that: “At the 2006 SHOT Show, the National Shooting Sports Foundation recognized Gresham with its Lifetime Achievement Award and at that time established, with the Professional Outdoor Media Association, the POMA/NSSF Grits Gresham Communicator Award, the recipient receiving a bronze replica of Gresham's trademark hat.” Our own Jim Carmichel was honored with this award just a few weeks ago.

    Funeral arrangements are being made through the Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home, at (318) 357-8271, www.blanchardstdenisfuneralhome.com.

    In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Gresham Collection at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, 321 Bienville Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457, or in the name of Grits Gresham to the Alzheimer's Association.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 19, 2008

    Sharing Databases-1

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    An interesting bit of news on the East Coast the other day. New York’s’ Mayor Bloomberg and Baltimore Mayor, Sheila Dixon, have announced that they plan to launch a database that will allow them to share information on known gun offenders. The new database is allegedly being established to make it more difficult for illegal gun dealers to do business up and down the East Coast along the I-95 corridor.

    With gun laws in New York state already among the most strict in the United States, one has to wonder what the state is missing that it feels the necessity to establish yet another database.

    -Todd Smith

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 17, 2008

    Boot Up!-2

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    All right, I know what you’re already thinking: Why are we talking about boots in a gun blog? The answer is that every once in a while I come across a piece of equipment that really works and I want to share that info. Besides, if like going out to bag coyotes in mid-winter, keeping your feet warm will go a long way toward improving your shooting performance. Think about it, how can you shoot accurately if your frozen dogs are making you shiver? Clothing and boots impact performance. Blogboot

    OK, here’s the deal. I recently tried a pair of LaCrosse Alpha Iceman boots. They’re incredible! They employ a new lightweight shell technology that allows them to be super insulated yet very lightweight. They’ve got nice leather uppers and a heavy-duty rubber bottom that’s 100-precent waterproof. Soft neoprene liners and removable felt wool liners allow you to dry them out thoroughly each night.

    They’re extremely comfortable and rated to a whopping -120 F. I can’t attest to temps that cold, but I did wear these boots outside extensively on our recent Optics Test in Montana where temperatures were -35 degrees. Even after sitting outside for over an hour while I turned the resolution targets for the test team in the evening, my feet stayed toasty warm. Suggested retail is $139. Check ‘em out at www.lacrossefootwear.com.

    -Todd Smith

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • February 15, 2008

    Stick ’em Up Spaceman!-3

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    Seems some folks are making a big deal out of the revelation that the astronauts aboard the International Space Station have access to a gun.

    Apparently the Russians include some type of firearm in the survival gear that goes with their Soyuz capsule, a fact which doesn’t sit well with the former NASA employee quoted in the news story.

    Now the Russians have developed some interesting firearms in their time but I think it would be hard to go wrong with something like Smith & Wesson’s Emergency Survival Kit, though I’m not sure that the book on surviving bear attacks would do much for our boys in orbit.

    -John Snow

    [ Read Full Post ]
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