May 16, 2008

Gun Writer Gems

Any of you fine people who actually take the time to read what I have to say (and I thank every one of you!) know that I’m, uh, not so enamored with the material published by and for the gun industry.

In an interview on Tom Gresham’s "Gun Talk" radio program the former editor of prominent, national gun magazine admitted editors are hired because they are qualified editors (obviously), but often times they have little knowledge of shooting. They have mastered PhotoShop and QuarkXpress and the written word. They know how to churn out copy and put it to bed to meet deadlines. But they can’t clean an SR or Bill Drill and probably don’t even know what it means to do so. That is who decides what information gets published every month.

I’d like to point out that I’m merely playing devil’s advocate and only want to see better, more relevant, more realistic information. As much as I like to poke fun at the dubious craft of gun writer, all I really want is what is best for the readers and the development of their skill.

Hey, I’m a fan of this stuff and have been for many years. I bought it all and it wasn’t until I went down the path less traveled did I start to realize we weren’t getting the whole picture. Still once in a while some interesting bits slip by the editors and good stuff manages to get published. Just to show that I’m not some grump that can only see the bad, I’m dedicating this article to some of the kernels of good wisdom I’ve read recently.

Rifle Shooter April 2001

Custom Clunkers, by Terry Wieland

“A professional hunter once told Robert Ruark he was not interested in whether a man could hit a lemon at 300 yards. He wanted to know how good a shot he was on a lion at ten yards, coming fast.”

NAHC April/May 2001

Becoming a better rifleman by Wayne van Zwoll

“More and more, I’ve come to refine my zero from a sling-assisted sit, a position that I use a lot while hunting. It won’t give minute-of-angle groups, but I’d rather see a 6-inch cluster around my point of aim at 200 yards than a tight clump in the wrong place.”

American Handgunner March/April 2001

Better Shooting by Dave Arnold

“Experts don’t cheat themselves. Average shooters tend to forget their bad performances and assess themselves only on their best performances. The lament heard over and over at matches is “I shot so much better in practice!” No, you occasionally shot better in practice. What counts is what you can do on demand.

“I’ll let you in on little secret - the experts shoot better in practice also. I’ve marveled at the ability of top shooters in matches, but I’ve seen them do things in practice sessions that left me bug eyed. But they know than an occasional off-scale performance isn’t a true measure of ability. They keep track of all scores, good and bad, and assess themselves honestly.”

Rifle Shooter October 1999

Awesome Accuracy by Craig Boddington

Despite writing a YAAA (Yet Another Accuracy Article), Boddington penned this following gem:

“It takes two to tango. The best rifle in the world must still be shot well. Always examine your technique and make absolutely sure you aren’t the limiting factor!”

Even when using a bench rest, the shooter’s technique is still an issue. I suspect the single component that is the greatest cause of rifle inaccuracy is a loose nut behind the trigger. Don’t be a loose nut. If you shoot from a bench (if you still insist) the rifle remains the second area of importance in the accuracy equation."

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