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Photos by John Hafner
A century ago, handguns had no place afield. In 1935, Smith & Wesson’s .357 Magnum revolver prompted hunters to reconsider. A decade later, S&W added the .44 Magnum, developed by Remington at the urging of Elmer Keith. A “stretched” .44 Special (as the .357 is a lengthened .38 Special), the .44 Magnum preceded Dick Casull’s .454, born of handloads in the .45 Colt. The .41 Magnum appeared in 1964; then Thompson-Center put rifle rounds in handgun frames. The .500 and .460 S&W now top the power charts. Accuracy, however, trumps power in hunting. I once steadied an S&W over a backpack and killed a deer at 95 yards. Then I watched Bill Booth rest his revolver on his knee while sitting and down a buck at 200, shooting double-action. But accuracy with a handgun does not come easy. With no stock to shoulder, a pistol is held far from your torso, in hands with small muscles and many joints, on arms you can’t hold steady even when they are empty. Even your heartbeat will rock your aim. The right setup, coupled with practice, however, will help your bullet find its mark. [ Read Full Post ]
Photo by Mitch Kezar/Windigo Images
I saw it weave left, slip right, then disappear through the auburn treetops. It’s not often you get such a clear look at an escaping grouse during the early weeks of the season, but there I was, frozen as the bird slipped through the prettiest shooting lane I’d see on the entire trip. I never pulled the trigger.
My excuse was that I didn’t want to shoot a bird that hadn’t been pointed by the dog. The embarrassing reality is that I’d been caught off guard. It was my first grouse hunt, and I wasn’t prepared for the surprise of the flush. That was a tough lesson, but it wasn’t the only one I learned during that trip to the hallowed grouse and woodcock coverts of Wisconsin’s north country. Here are some more hits and misses that, if you’ll consider before you reach the woods, should help you bag more early-season birds. [ Read Full Post ]
Photos by: Rab Cummings
The Colt M2012 is a gentleman’s tactical rifle. You probably didn’t realize that was an official class of firearm. Well, neither did I until I shot the Colt and made it up. The term fits, though.
The rifle straddles the hunting and tactical worlds, which in itself isn’t unique, but it happens to do so with unusually elegant looks. The M2012 is made for Colt by Cooper Firearms in Stevensville, Mont., and it bears the unmistakable mark of Cooper’s craftsmen.
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There’s really no logical reason for anyone to shoot dangerous game rifles for fun. They bruise your shoulders, batter your trigger finger, induce headaches worthy of the most enthusiastic bourbon binge, and drain your wallet with every boom. Other than when employed for their intended use, about the only thing they are good for is checking the quality of your dental work.
And yet I found myself making the 450-mile drive to Libby, Montana, this last weekend to shoot a .416 Rigby just, well, because. The Safari Rifle Challenge has been held at the Libby Shooting Sports Complex the past four years and attracted more than 60 shooters from all over the country.
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The Pittman-Robertson Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937 and has been a main engine for funding wildlife conservation in the United States. The PR Act, as it is known, levies a 10 to 11 percent tax on the sale of ammunition, firearms, and outdoors equipment, and has garnered more than $2 billion since its inception. Not all sportsmen realize, however, that PR funds also go toward hunter education and, by extension, toward public shooting ranges.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allocated more than $138 million from PR tax revenues this year to states to expand hunter-ed and shooting opportunities.
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Photo by John Hafner
I have a couple of gorgeous mule deer on my wall that I never would have tagged had it not been for shooting sticks. The same goes for my best elk and a laundry list of game taken in Africa.
Shooting sticks come in many varieties, but the common denominator is that all sticks provide an added measure of stability in the field and can dramatically increase the effective range of any hunter when they’re used the right way. [ Read Full Post ]
The sitting position is king whenever the brush, grass or terrain is not conducive to making a prone shot. It’s also very fast to assume, making it ideal for those opportunities when a quick, accurate shot is needed.
Here’s how and when to use it.