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October 16, 2006

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Some Last Words of Advice from Chairman Jeff

In a previous blog, I mentioned a book by the late Jeff Cooper called “Custom Rifles," which I first read in 1958 when I was 15 years old. At the end there’s a chapter titled “Field Marksmanship” and part of it bears repeating here. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but now I do. A lot.

“One of the most tiresome platitudes heard when guns and hunting are discussed is “I’m no target shot, but I can always deliver on game.” This is so common, so irritating, and so silly that this book will have accomplished its purpose if it can contribute to the elimination of such remarks.

“There’s only one difference between a good target shot and a good field shot. The field shot is a little quicker. Hitting game well is so much harder than hitting a target that I am absolutely amazed that anyone could have the gall to suggest that while he can perform the difficult, he can’t deliver when the task is easy….A game shot but not a target shot? Not even in a joke.

“I had occasion, during WWII, to associate closely with a real field shot. His profession was guide and outfitter in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, but he signed up with the Marines when war broke out and he came to my attention as a sergeant-instructor on a rifle range where I happened to be in charge. The M-1 is not a precision arm, but Sergeant Sandona could make it talk! His scores were not always the best in the detachment, although they were regularly up near the top, but he would always be finished with his string before the rest of the line was half through. He not only shot excellent target groups, but he shot them fast. When a man tells me he is a good “game shot,” this is what I think he means.”

Say amen.


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George Steiner

Amen to that. Every hunter not only should practice with his hunting rifle but attend and compete in a "fun" CMP match. I did on several occasions and its made me a better shot because of the instuctors who were there to help.

I'm going to the range soon to try some new handlods and it will be intersting to see the once a year shooters at the firing line.

Robert W. Sprague

Dave, Comments to the effect of being a good game marksman, but not on targets are usually made by people who don't believe in wasting their time shooting groups, cleaning rifles, or trying different loads to get the best combination of accuracy and performance. This comes from game appearing at unmarked distances, without distict bullseyes on their sides. In other words, the spectacular shot at 450 yards, when ranged, is actually 175, and the deer dropped like a stone because he was hit in the spine and not where the hunter was aiming. Targets are at set distances, and groups don't lie. The creep in question is usually to lazy to practice or afraid of his rifle.
Robert W. Sprague

Ralph the Rifleman

I must admit that my shooting improved greatly after my military training many years ago. Currently,I handload, but don't shoot as often as I would like too. Work, church, and family time all seem to blur together, and land development is not making things easier to access our shooting ranges, either!It is a very frustrating time of year for me at the our store, as well; customer purchases a rifle, scope, and rings/mount. We bore sight free of charge...and 9 out of 10 customers will ask,"is it sighted in now?" So my response is if they do plan on firing this weapon BEFORE hunting with it??
Very frustrating!

craig j. curtis

i dont know about you guys but i always look forward to range time as much as the hunt !i just cant believe theirs people out their carrying weapons that like the rifle man said havent even thought about fireing before using them to hunt . where do these people get their hunter safety credits? i know that most hunters dont appreciate the guns they crry for a couple days ayear . and thats a shame you just cant be a good and ethical hunter or sport shooter without knowing your gun of choice as if it were an extension of your shoulder or hand !! like you said ralph range time is precious but few and far between visits , hopefully non of us are down range when one of these yahoos decides to unload on a nice deer !!!! i went to the range a day or so ago and i was the only one their ? and this is a free range provided by the mich. D.N.R. GRANTED THE WEATHER WAS miserable but that gave me a good idea what my new loads would do when its 20 below next month. oh well no sence preaching to the qwuire dave were their dave every chance we get !!! and cant wait to go again

Mike Shickele

I think that I was just mentioning in one of the blogs that I'm comfortable with a 3 lb pull on my triggers, because I insist that all be that way, and I practice a lot.
This is one of the most important attributes of the 22LR. even as a handloader, I can't get any centerfire ammo as cheaply as the $15.00 bricks of ammo that I can buy at Wal-Mart.
I don't shoot in competitions, but I often will shoot with a friend at a spinner. If they are a good enough friend, they will always let you know when you are having an off day by laughing.
Oh yes; I'm a firm believer that if you can't hit a target, you can't hit an animal either.


Mike Shickele

I too have to jugle shooting and hunting between work and church; thank God no family yet! (Did I just say that!!!!)
I have often heard that people think that bore-sighting is sighted in; this is vey frustrating. This is THE reason why I never bore-sight for others.
Even a rifle sighted in by one can have a differing point of impact for another person.



I have a buddy that shoots his slug gun once a year @ 25 yards to make sure it's "sighted" in. I can't tell you how aggravating it is. I spend a lot of time and money shooting my slug gun @ various ranges on the bench and off to prepare for hunting season. I feel we owe the animals we hunt more than one shot @ 25 yards. By the way, he has killed a lot of deer over the years, but he shoots till they fall or run out of sight. And yes, that aggravates the hell out of me too.

Ralph the Rifleman

-Dave P.
I am looking into a custom rifle in 8mm Rem mag, and I would like your suggestions into make/model,BBL length and any other caveats of wisdom you would like to share.
So far, the budget is $3000 saved.



Did Peter stop posting to his blog? If Field and Stream needs a volunteer for gear testing please consider me, I have tested numerous items that made it to print. I was in contact with Catherine D. about this opportunity prior to her departure
Tom S

Dave Petzal

To Ralph the Rifleman: Are you dead set on an 8mm Rem Mag? The reason I ask is that the guy who makes outstanding medium-weight rifles doesn't chamber for that cartridge, and can't be persuaded to do so, but he does build them in .338 and .340 Weatherby. Lemme know.

Roger Reeves

Never-never shoot someone else's handloaded ammo, unless you are a expert ands was there to see the process of loading. Most of us do not have the knowldge or equiptment to handload. Unless you shoot many roiunds weekly, go to Wal-marts and buy theirs, I do. Then when hun time comes, I buy the best Ammo the Mfger makes. I just returned from Wy, Mt. and killed my Lope with Winchester Ballistic ll5 grs, in 25-06 and my Deerin MT with Remington Scricco's l8 gr in 30-06, both l shot kills, and the Deer was in excess of 300 yds. Do not use handloads for hunting, only for pratice.

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