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December 21, 2006

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Happy Holidays From The Gun Nut

This has nothing to do with guns.

One of the very, very few advantages of getting old is that you can remember how things used to be, and if you can remember that, the present doesn’t seem to be quite so grim. As Christmas 06 slouches toward Bethlehem waiting to be born, The End seems nigh. We can’t solve any of our problems, we are led by fools and worse, and the good old days seem very far away indeed.

Well, let me tell you about the good old days; in particular, Christmas of 1957. This was during the Cold War, and the U.S.S.R had just put the first two satellites into orbit, Sputnik One in September, and Sputnik Two in November. What this meant was that not only did the Rooskies have the H-Bomb, they had ICBMs to deliver it to us, and all our rockets could do was crash and burn on the launching pad.

You want to talk fear? I can tell you we were scared but good. The fear was so pervasive that on its Christmas-week cover, Newsweek magazine printed these words:

“And the angels spoke unto them, saying ‘Be not afraid…’”

We lived through it, and we got our own rockets, and despite some close calls, we did not put an end to mankind.

And we may survive this, too.

Merry Christmas from the Gun Nut.


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Ain't that the truth!!

Hope Santa brings us all lots of gear.

Merry Christmas too all!


Damn Dave, you really have been afflicted by GOMS (grouchy, old, man, syndrome). It seems to strike men in their 50's and 60's. They long for the old days (when they were young) and think everyone is an idiot (except for them). The world isn't going to end. There have been idiots in the White House (off and on) for over 200 years and just like in the 1950's the country will continue on. It may not be exactly like you want it to be (it isn't for anyone), but it will be.
Enjoy some egg nog, chill out, and lets hope 2007 is better for us all.

"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -- James Madison


Reminds me of a story.
A farmers' son started a farm of his own. After some particularly trying times, his father gave him some advice. He said, "Cheer up son, things will only get worse."
So the son cheered up and sure enough, things got worse.
Merry Christmas everyone.


My wish is that all who contribute to and read this blog receive at least one thing they would like for Christmas. And that you all remember what this season should be about and give something back to those who are less fortunate. Oh, and please remember our troops, both here and overseas, in your prayers. They fight for, sacrifice for and die for our right to do what we do. And they don't get a helluva lot of credit for it. And finally, I hope that 2007 is a better year for the whole damn world. Wishing you all the best.

JA Demko

Cripes, Dave, I hate it when you get all sloppy and sentimental. There ain't going to be any frigging hugs nor kisses under the mistletoe, neither. If i wanted this kind of stuff I'd read Savage Love.


Ed and Ike didn't see Christmas last year. Tom tried hard but he didn't make it this year. When you find a minute, do a random act of kindness and remember your friends and your troops. Won't take long and it surely takes the sharp edge off a whole lot of things.

craig curtis

kudos dave and i reserve the right to long for those days too street!! but you wouldnt know about that but alas my young freind your good old days will be here soon .you will see why less is more , less idiots building where we used to hunt , less people crowding the river banks, on and on thats why old is better you"ll see. the lord giveth and he will taketh away thank god !!! merry christmas dave and everyone else even the young bucks in here that cant understand the way it used to be . but they will c.j.c.

Ed J

1957- year of the bomb shelters. I hauled a lot of cemment blocks down into basements.
Shot my first deer then. Used a 25-20 in a 1892 Winchester. We'd line up 30 guys acrost the woods and drive the deer to about 6 or 8 guys on stand. Always got our limit.And you thought hunting inside a high fence is bad. Of course you have to use a bow to hunt that area now. Its full of houses. Yeah were lucky we can hunt inside the city limits here. Enough home owners convinced the city council that hunters wern't the evil ones the deer were especially when they were eating the flowers and bushes. Got to go there are 8 does in my yard and a ten pointer looking for a doe still in heat.

A. S. Moeggs

Merry Christmas to all of you wise men...Moeggsy

al the infidel

I was taught to hide under my desk in school in case of a nuclear attack, move over T-rex. I got an ifrared trail cam last year for x-mas and am still waiting; 2 mo. and 3 weeks, for an extra large buck that won't show until 2 hours after sundown. I didn't know you could teach masochism. Merry and/or a tolerable Christmas

Semper Fi Ret.-combat disabled


Mr Curtis,
I'm not quite as young as you may believe. While 45 isn't old, I certainly consider myself old enough to remember the days of less people in the woods, of hunting near your home instead of driving 45 minutes each way. I remember when Remington put walnut on all their guns instead of the crap they do now. I remember when people weren't so overly sensitive about everything that was said. I remember having sex without worrying about dying from it. I remember when we respected our public officials and they deserved it. I remember when working hard was enough to support a family. I remember when cars and houses didn't cost near what they do now and people didn't use credit cards. I also remember to respect people older than me and I certainly respect you and Mr. Petzal.
Merry Christmas to all and may all our memories be good in 2007.


"Don't be afraid," is the most frequent-given command in the Good Book. That is good news for us all. Good words, Dave, and Merry Christmas and joy-filled holidays to everyone.


Merry Christmas to all. God bless and watch over our troops. May you outdoor experiences fill your hearts with awe.


We weren't that afraid in 1957. A least not any more afraid than kids are today in the wake of 9/11 or are parents were during the Depression.

The good old days revolve around youthful memories. That is, imagination instead of reality. I bet that someday people will even lament about the good old days when there were only fifty patterns of camouflage and shooting a big whitetail only cost $5000.


Hey all you like minded folks...Merry Christmas! I've enjoyed reading your thoughts and appreciate your willingness to express them! Take care and make sure your families have a nice holiday....as we get older we may find it more dificult to share ideas and concepts. And Dave....hope you have a wonderful holiday. I'll be thinkin' of you while I'm hangin' out in my treestand this weekend. ( I'm after number three!).

JA Demo

Merry Xmas, Moeggsy.



I'm old enough, like al the infidel (I'm even older than my friend Dave), to remember being taught about taking shelter under my school desk and not to look into the blinding light of the nuclear blast that was incinerating my neighborhood. Then, it would arrive in an ICBM. Now, in a cargo container. 50 years later, I'm still here, and my grandkids will still be here 50 years from now. As the angel said, fear not.

craig curtis

amen jim and merry christmas to you and yours too . so you do have some good old days to remember !! your post had me thinking of those days when i could walk right out the back door and hunt all day man those were the days bud . thanks to all who have shared thier interests and insights with us here this year its an awsome blog . and makes life a little more interesting for me !!!


Great reminder about spirit of Christmas. Merry Christmas ! Thank you, Dave

Ralph the Rifleman

Merry Christmas to all, late posting due to the Christmas flu!
Yes, polticially, many things have changed, but it seems that Christmas and the magic it has over us never does...Thank God for some traditions.

Yohan from WI.

I agreee ,.. am 56 this year and I remember the grade school drill right after the pledge of allegiance was said . In case of a Nuc attack get under your desk,..( I could do that then) put your head between you knees with hands over head.

What they didnt tell us however ,.. was then to kiss our buttocks good by,..asumiong the attempt was to avoid by dissinformation.
A school full of terror striken children all weting themselves in unison,.. as a desk for protection under those circumstances as we have all come to know. would leave one slightly wanting ,.. so to speak.

I'm not one to do this [particpate in blogs) and this is the first time. I know,.. you hear that all the time but no kidding 1st time.

Here is why,.. muct say i am compelled to broach a subject you may have alluded to in one ( or maybe) many of your articles. which really has got my attention.

Have never heard it before from other gun gu-rue's (exception possibly being Jon Jobson) and am amamzed ( not sure why) someone else of the present day may have a similar notion.

I don't even say anything to those of my hunting group.
So you can immagine I am slightly reluctant to say anything here ( even given a slight moducum of anonimity this offers ) as my feelings are hurt rather easily YUK YUK

IE; No your wrong and your an idiot ,.. do not write again.

Moreover I can not substantiate my thinking statistically or ballistically as I for certain lack the qualifications allowed by far flung and varried hunting expeditions for exotic species.

To Wit:

I have never shot an elephant ,cape buff,
eland, tiger, elk or moose,.or prong horn or mule deer .
Have only read about it in books and publications such as this.

Small game and whitetail deer only.

I have however dispached over
the course of 44 years somewhere near to or just over ( not sure ) 100 whitetials, hunting in WI.. so I have no choice but to base my opinions (thinking) on this limited univers of data.

That said, if you could humor me just a littel more.
It has for some time been my expanding suspision/ thinking,. that bullets of correct / sufficient,.. sectional density driven at reasonable speeds
( meaning less than the Weatherby montra of two light years per second) actually kill better and more consistantly than the same rounds driven at higher or lower speeds
IE: the best example I can think of being a 160 grain 7mm starting out at 2600- 2700 fps. Which is what I consider the epitamy of efficiancy.and simply devistating to the animal. If in the hands of someone that can hit a medium sized buntcake consistenmtly at 100 yards. (out on limb now for sure )

Should say here I don't have or use a 7 at present. But have used 25-06,7 X57, 30-06 30-30 8x57 which is my personal favorite,..( likley because it was my 1st hunting rifle and I shoot it prety well) 308, 12 guage,.. 20 guage and recurve bow with hevay wood arrows.

Also I have used some calibers that would I'm sure be frowed upon to extent that my car tires may become endangered were they described here.
Yet were amamzingly efficiant at limited range so out of self preservation i will not mention those.

There fore, thusly, and accordingly.
Having become aware (maybe as much reading between your lines) as anything that you have in the past loaded ( handlosd )hunting rifle cartriges to what most would consider modest speeds.
Am most curious if you are possibly of a similar opinion.

Thank you

Ps please excuse elling ,..pretty good with numbers but somehow was shorted on spelling genes.

Dave Petzal

To Yohan: If I understand your question correctly, I've never been able to discern any kind of a pattern in what cartridges make animals drop dead fast. The only rule is that there are no rules. What I can tell you, however, is that I hunt more, I find I need less and less power. Most of my hunting now is done with cartridges such as the 7mm/08, 6.5x55, and 7x57. I don't even use the .270 and .280 as much as I used to. I've found that up to 300 yards, the "lesser" rounds kill just as well as the "greater," and kick less.

Hope this answers your question, and Happy New Year.

Yohan from WI.

Thank you very much for the return note,..,.. you have tacitly confirmed my suspisions / thinking,..which is that less is not inferior. indeed factoring recoil ,.. relative to accuracy,for most . less is probbaly more.. short of rounds appropriate for criters that bite back. To that end however what I probably did not make clear was that I didn't mean a patern of "drop dead fast" calibers although I like that analogy.
But rather a velocity window or zone. Which from my experiance appears to be roughly between 2200 and 2750 fps with maximum bullet sectional desity the goal, at these velocities,..what ever round is used.

My thinking is that t lower velocities do not optomise the rounds eficiancy and potential .
while at the same time ultra velocity gians little over optimal velocity.
Which is to say that ( asuming 300 yds and under ) there is little if any practicle gain. Over a 7x57 shooting a 160 boatail spitzer type projectile, by the use of say a maxloaded 30-06 , 280, or even 7mm mag.

My father who has gone to the great reward bless his soul. Was in ordinace durring his service in WWII.
Later working for OLIN in ballistics, always chuckled when the Major Arms companys suggested the "need" for Magnum Smoke poles. In order to hunt the mighty moose or elk.
He like me having limited hunting experiance beyond the state ,. would simply say.
Never shot a polar bear but.

What round do you suppose John Colter and his ilk were killing buffalo in the Yellowstonme with back then,. 338 magnums? YUK YUK
Or how is it that so many Polar Bears ursis horribilis, moose and elk were dispatched apparently rather handily with a miltary surplus 30-06 for the first 1/2 of 20th century.
Also stating on many occasions (again chuckling) while shaking his head that the Canadians,.the Eskimo,who from what he said had a fondness for using the 30 -30 on polar Bears.
Western US hunters included must have led a hellish hunting existance before the advent of the fire belching 264, 338, 7mm and 8mm mags.

He ( father) finally stating ,.. that any one of the standard rounds according to what he knew from his experiance meaning ( 30 -06 .308 270, 7x57 and 8 x 57 would very adiquitly protect one from the enraged charge of an elk moose or even really angry whitail YUK YUK

Which is also to say that was only his opinion ,.
However considering this opinion caused the curious side of me to lite up, at about deer # 45 or so.(of approimatly 100 +/-)

Which is when I took a 336 Marlin (30-30) hunting for the first time ( all the rest until then were shot with hand loaded to the max 8x57 98 mauser)
A sweet load I might add.

Yet using said 30-30 to drop a large doe with one shot through the lungs at about 65 yds,. then the next day a medium sized (6 pt) buck at about 90 yds. Both of which took a couple hops and expired. Prompted me to begin experamenting with differnt calabers at different speeds. Leading me to think / suspect there may be a an optimal velocity zone given maximum sectional density, landing in the range of 2200 to say,..max of 2800fps

Your thoughts much appreciated of course.

Also,. as I am small business owner you dont have o worry about incesant multiple emails.
Just don't have the time, moreover don't want to brden the blog so to speak.
I have been acused of being analytical ( especially where it concerns the bottom line) but not obsesive, confrontational, and or argumenative. Even when I have a whisky or two.
Can say however if I had the time and or money I would delve into this in a more concerted way as it is a deep curiousity to me. But since i don't and I have come to value your opinion,..
again,.. would appreciate your thoughts.

Best Regrds &
Happy New year to you too,..
and of course your family.


Alas, all seems lost. The sky is falling, the sky is falling, no, wait, the sky is not falling, it was only a low flying duck. Although the situation in the middle east seems lost remember one thing. We know that if all else fails our ICBM's will work. Sometimes fanatics only understand annilation. President Truman said that he never lost a second of sleep over the decision to end WWII with a nuclear strike against the Japanese Empire.

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