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April 30, 2007

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Quote of the Day

"I have seen your byline hither and yon, and while I think you are a talented young man, I belive your gifts are more suited to fiction than to fact.' --Jack O'Connor in a letter to the Gun Nut in 1976.


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Yeah!! And the only good all around cartridge is a .270!!!

Steve C

O'Connor was frequently a jerk with a high opinion of himself.

Writer John Barsness wrote one of my favorite comments about O'Connor. O'Connon had been deriding a hunter who was having performance problems with his .270 and immediately blamed it on the hunter because he (O’Connor) had never experienced the particular problem before.

On such all-knowingness, Barsness said "it would be like driving through Idaho on a main highway and not seeing any elk, and then reporting that there were no elk in Idaho”.

Peter C

I believe he sent the same letter to Al Gore.

JA Demko

So, Mr. Petzal, have you ever tried your hand at fiction writing? There seems to be a shortage of the kind of manly outdoor yarns that guys like Hemingway used to pen.

Dave Petzal

To JA Demko: Yes, I have. I started a murder mystery in the early 90s and realized that it was banal. It was so bad that I could have gotten it published and made a lot of money. So I dropped it and went back to my knitting.

Dr. Ralph

If O'Conner had my Remington 700 30-06 he would never have bought a Model 70 or a .270. I believe the lowly .270 would in fact now be extinct.

Hey, O'Conner is dead boys must we continue to berate him, and his beloved .270?

JA Demko

Well, if Petzl would just wed his reputation to a single cartridge, we could berate him. The self-actualized SOB stubbornly refuses to do so, alas.


I like Dave's Writing because he uses words like 'devil' and 'damnable' and 'diddled.'


Life is too short to only shoot one cartridge.

Perry Peltonen

O'connor was an era at the beginning of a lot of us vietnam era gun nuts,the days of less competition and no internet to rant on ,but any way i love the 284 winchester a short action 270 plus spec round, in custom longer chambered-throated bolt rifles it is quite a performer that easily out does the 270 ,suitable for all north american big game......


O'Conner has some good writings; this is not one of the better ones. His knowledge of the .270 is indisputable, but I agree with Justin, life is too short to dedicate yourself to just one cartridge. And if you do not evolve and use and understand multiple cartridges you, like the cartridge may become extinct. Plus, variety is the spice of life.


Gee, Dave. Jack really gave you a firm pat on the back, didn't he?
You have to remember O'Connor was a university professor and talented wordsmith. I'll bet he was the essay grader from hell on all his students. Anyway, I for one am glad you stayed with outdoor and firearms writing. You have made a good start in life, and we all have high hopes for you when you grow up.


"Sometimes at night when one looks directly at a star it cannot be seen, but if one looks off to its side then it can be seen".

Dave, after reading O'conners comments to you I had to chuckle and smile. It shows some serious horsepower in intellect and creativity (as in 'WOW') be it from O'conner or anyone else. And a great 'spur' to keep going from one wordsmith to another. Yep, worth a treasure.


O'Conner used and liked the 30-06 . He used and liked a lot of different calibers. He did not think you needed to use a .375H&H for whitetail.

JC Blauvelt

The best revenge is to prove your detractors wrong. You got the last laugh Dave. Good show!

John B.

They didn't call him Cactus Jack for nothing!

as moeggs

If anyone from Thompson/Center reads this, would you please send Petzal the Icon in a couple of different cal's to test! And then Dave would put your findings on the website?

Been there-Done that

I have my doubts that O'Conner only used his famous 270 for all hunting. I read someplace he used a 30-06 and a 300 Win Mag as well. The 270 had and does have its place in todays hunting, but if I could only have one rifle for all my hunting, it would be a 30-06 due to the variety of Ammo available. Last fall in Montana I killed a 4 x 4 deer at 345 yds with my 06, bullet only dropped 4" from hair line. I also know a guy who has and does hunt Elk with a 22 mag, and is successful. He stalks close and always gets a brain shot. Most hunters these days, want to walk 100 yds from their 4 x 4 and kill what-ever with a air-weight rifle. I suggest we hunt with whatever we are comfortable with, and most of all, enjoy your day in the outdoors, as it could be your last.RR

skip rood

Cactus Jack loved the 270 for sure, but he had a lot of other favorites as well; he had high praise for the 7x57, the 257 Roberts, the 250-3000 and the 30-06. Like many of the :golden-era" gun writers, he didn't suffer fools at all. Warren Page was similarly inclined. For those of us who remain O'Connor fans, his writing was wonderful even though even the most smitten amongst us surely must have recognized his often narrow view of the shooting biz. The simple fact is that one could go anywhere in the world and hunt anything with a battery of just a few rifles and a couple of scatterguns - but that wouldn't be any fun, would it. And it surely would put a lot of gun writers out of work - and that would be even worse. I love to read about new and new cartridges - even though I am a diedin-the-wool traditionalist - just like Cactus Jack was, in fact.

Ralph the Rifleman

22 mag for elk? This can't be legal?

Dr. Ralph

O'Conner said a man could hunt anything in the world with a .22, a 12 guage, and a 30-06. That's his all around battery. Tom's got it right. Life IS too short for just one cartridge. My current affair is a .257 Weatherby Magnum, but I have my eye on a pretty little .22-250 now that Tennessee is allowing .22 centerfires for deer. New law new gun. Hope my wife understands this logic.

Black Rifle addict

Amen Dr.Ralph..I ask the wife to understand that sometimes there is no logical justification to buy another shootin` iron.I was just lead by the gun Gods to give another one a home.

Been there-Done that

22 mags may not be legal for Elk, neither is driving 20 mph over the posted speed limit .O'Connor was great with wordI AND DID a great job of spinning them around. And, if Winchester furnished me firearms and ammo, i would praise what-ever they suggested, right or wrong. O'Connor used many firearms for hunting that us IDIOT readers believed to be the truth. Not for a second did he only use the 270 for all his so-called big game hunting. Every con-artist has a gimmic, the 270 was his. I've had many different caliber rifles and killed lots of game, but if in AM I had to sell all my firearms but one, I would keep the 30-06. AS with the ammo abvailable for this firearm, you can have at least a dozen different caliber firearms. Dave, don;t be mis-lead by a bunch of know-it-all maybee's, say ,do, hunt with what-ever you please. Don;t let this bunch of A--Holes demand your hide as they did with Zumbo. I sure hope he sues many people and wins every case. The black rifles have no business on BLM or Private land for hunting animals. Maybe in the jungles of Asia or Iraq there is a need for them, but not in our hunting woods. If you cannot put your intended target on the ground with less than 30 rounds, then you need a rock, that one in your head. Sure hope Jim comes out with another magazine and I sure would love to hunt with him some day and let him give me some pointers of his knowledge he has gained over the years in the field and using different equiptment.OK hard heads bring it on.

Mike Reeder

Not having known O'Connor personally I could hardly say whether he was a jerk or the nicest guy ever born. I do know he was one of the finest writers I've ever read, and as far as I'm concerned 99-percent of his opinions hold up as well now as they ever did. He loved the .270, as might be expected of someone born in open country in an era when heavy bullets and low velocities were the norm, but he never suggested it was the only good caliber around. He also favored and used the 30-06, 7X57, .280, 6mm, .338, 7-mag and any number of other cartidges. He always said that limited to one cartidge he would choose the .375 Holland & Holland. I grew up reading O'Connor and looked forward each month both to his shooting column and to his latest hunting adventure. My own battery includes a 7X57, 30-06 and .270, all wearing classic stocks and all weighing about 8 lb. with scopes and slings. That was O'Connor's basic prescription and I can't say I've ever felt the need for anything more powerful or flat-shooting. I don't have a .375, but then I can't afford to hunt in Africa. I've found over the years I reach mostly for the .270 because it shoots a little flatter than either the '06 or 7 mm and packs more than enough punch to kill anything I'm after with proper shot placement. Bottom line, that's all O'Connor ever claimed it would do. If anyone's having performance problems with a .270 I would suspect, based on experience, that the problem was either poor bullet action or poor shooting. O'Connor's experience was far more vast than mine, and while his diagnosis may not have been diplomatic, it sounds on the mark to me.

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