« Why Everyone Hates Gun Writers | Main | BULLETIN: HOPPE’S NOT GOING OUT OF BUSINESS! »

March 19, 2007

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Gun Nut at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut.

A Heartwrenching Tale Of Human Folly

(Note: A Mr. Sinky O notes in my previous blog that I may be less than inclined to tell the whole truth about guns for fear of losing ad bucks. The fact is that Field & Stream gets no more than a small percentage of its ad revenue from the makers of hunting and fishing equipment, so there is no pressure on me to say only nice things for fear of people pulling ads. Second, we have changed our long-standing policy of not criticizing gear in the magazine and on this website, and have begun hammering what deserves it.
However, kindly remember when reading what follows is that I screwed up, not the Bushnell product.)

A couple of weeks ago I got one of the first laser-ranging, range-compensating-reticle scopes from Bushnell. There are a few similar scopes on the market, but they are either huge, heavy, expensive, horrifically complicated, or all of these. This one is not, so with a high heart, I mounted it on a .30/06 to try it out.

The bottom of this scope forms a rail, and near the front of the rail is a series of grooves. The rear “ring” for this scope clamps onto the rail by screw pressure alone, but the front one has a lug that engages whichever of the grooves you find convenient. It is this lug that takes up the recoil and prevents the scope from sliding. The directions that came with the scope stressed this: the lug has to engage a groove.

The two rings I was sent both looked like rear rings as neither had a lug, but I thought “What the hell, would Bushnell packers screw up that badly?” and mounted the scope anyway. Then I drove 80 miles (one way) to a private range where the friend of a friend had allowed me in for the afternoon to shoot at 500 yards. I couldn’t hit a thing. I mean, I couldn’t have hit a tent if I was inside it. And after maybe 10 rounds, the reason why was apparent. The scope had slipped forward along my rifle’s Picatinny rail by about 6 inches and was barely hanging on. End of shooting session. I drove 80 miles home and sent the scope back to Bushnell with a stern note about packing the correct rings. Quicker than you can say “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” they sent me another with all the right parts.

There are two morals to this story:

First, no matter how experienced you are, or how much you think you know, you are going to do dumb s**t.

Second, if something seems wrong, it probably is. Do not go blindly ahead on trust alone.

Both of these morals come with lifetime guarantees.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Heartwrenching Tale Of Human Folly:



You read the directions?


Instead of written directions maybe they should have supplied the picto-graphs that come with computers. Anyway Dave, I just read that F&S was bought by a Swedish group. If a moose hunt with Norma ammo is in the future, I am available as a gun bearer. Also, does this mean we can expect more blondes to appear in ads?


my grampa's saying was "what you don't have in your head, you gotta have in your a**."
qoute the raven- nevermore.


Dave, I think scope mounting is a very confusing issue since most firearm companies due not include any type of scope mounting instructions. Infact, most instructions say,"have your scope professionally mounted for proper usage". In your case, you being an overly knowledgable gun writer, had to learn a valuable lesson in humility.


I do not think Dave reads the directions; he has to try it out first, and get frustrated like the rest of us!!!

With all these high dollar electronic scopes on the market one has to wonder about Kentucky windage and Tennessee elevation??

Dave, on another note, I went to a local sale this weekend in Sloatsburg, NY and the TC rep was there. I was talking to him about the TC 30. Have you been able to get you hands on one of those yet????


Hoppe's Powder Solvents closing its doors
Going bankrupt and sellouts seem to be a way of life for companies now a days.The Frank A. Hoppe Company was founded in 1903 by Frank August Hoppe. Mr. Hoppe began to manufacture No. 9 solvents in the shed behind his home we're as the formula has remained unchanged (and a closely guarded secret) to this day. With new EPA regulation requirements for chemical solvents and with new cheap, reliable, enviromental-friendly cleaning solutions being marketed has slumped sales in recent years a spokepersons for Hoppe's , said.

Hoppe's Officials said, a slowdown in consumer spending,plagued by high manufacturing costs and delivery problems has made it hard for the company to keep operating and we are sorry to annouce that we are closing our doors .The Hoppe's plant is slated to close june 16.



Extreme bummer. I used to use a little Hoppes behind my ears when I went on dates in high school. It was a treat when the girl actually recognized the smell!!


Mounting a scope is not as difficult and confusing as some would make it out. I have made errors in the past and learned from my mistakes. One of those was mounting a scope on my nephew's .30-30, and yes it was operator (or in this case installer) error; I could not hit the ground with it. However we learn from our mistakes, I mounted one on my wife's single shot .223 and she can hit a dime at 200 yards. Live and learn; that goes for the pros too.

Ralph the Rifleman

I have been to three different training classes on scope mounting(including high power air rifles which are all in a class themselves), and it seems most manufactures seem to want to "re-invent" something like scope mounts. Most of the time properly written instructions don't come with the mount/rings, and the bottom line really comes down to experience working with them.
When possible, and if the customer finds it afforable, I recommend the Leupold mounting system. It's tough, easy to install, and been around long enough to prove it.


Hey Scott:

If your wife "can hit a dime at 200 yards" with her .223, you better send her to Camp Perry...

Dave Petzal

To everyone: The directions were perfectly clear, and I read them before I started. But at some point, a couple of brain synapses failed to fire. Mea culpa.

To PB Head: They do include a disc with instructions, but I am damned if I am going to get instructions from a disc when there is a paper version.

To Tom: I am hopeful of getting a production Icon in the next few weeks, but I'll have to take whatever caliber they send me. The .30 TC looks like a very useful, sensible cartridge, something along the lines of the .338 Federal.

To Lewis: Thanks for the sad news about Hoppe's. Truly the end of an era. But it hasn't worked as well since they took out the nitrobenzine.


I got a BIG bottle of Hoppe's no.9 unopened. I will have to open it every once in a while to have a sniff. It is truely the end of an era.



What is the scoop on the .338 Federal? I heard a lot of buzz about it last year, but nothing lately. Are enough people buying 338 Federal rifles to help make it a manufacturing success? Are numerous rifle manufacturers producing them in any significant numbers?


I am sad to hear that Hoppe's is calling it quits. I really like cleaning rifle bores with No. 9 Benchrest after a thorough cleaning with Barnes CR-10 or other ammonia based solvent. The Hoppe's seemed to be a good way to get all the corrosive or etching chemicals out of the bore. Never had one speck of rust, either. Too bad they're going away.

dave s.

my ex bought a marlin 45-70 for me before she took the house, bank account etc... i hunt bear,white tail mainly. what round would i be best off with.i see hornady has came out with a lever action shell.i only wish she would have sighted the dam thing in for me. she deserves the shoulder pain!

dave s.

my ex bought a marlin 45-70 for me before she took the house, car, etc.. i hunt bear and wht. tail mainly. can you offer a suggestion on a round for me?
i just wish she would have sighted the dam* thing in for me...she deserves the pain in the shoulder...she gave me a pain in the a** only fair eh?

dave s.

sorry for the double entry.

Dave Petzal

To Mike: From what I gather, the .338 Federal is a modest success. I'm sure it will be around a while, but I doubt it will ever be highly popular.


Dave, how did the second go around turn out? Did the laser-ranging, range-compensating-reticle scope from Bushnell perform?

Dave Petzal

It mounted on a .300 Weatherby with no problems, but due to a blizzard/ice storm combo last week, the range where I was going to use it is closed until the snow and ice melt by a few feet. I have no doubt it will work. The whole thing is dead simple.



Where is a good place to shoot in the area (outside NYC)? I have been going to Goshen (near Middletown). I don't mind the drive just looking for some new scenery.

Dave Petzal

To Tom: See if the Blue Mountain Range is still around. It's near Peekskill, NY.


I will give it a try, I would like to find a place that has a 200 yard range..or even more


I thought I was the only one who opened a bottle of Hoppe's for a sniff occasionally. There's better solvents now, but that sure brings back memories from the 50's.


Dave Petzal

To All: I called Bushnell, which owns Hoppes, and the person I spoke to said that Hoppes is alive and well and going to stay that way. The only change is that the operation has been moved from Oregon to Kansas.

To Tom: In this part of the country, 200 yard ranges are pretty scarce. The only one I know of that is open to the public is the Blue Trail range in Connecticutt.

Our Blogs