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February 12, 2008

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Petzal on Camera: Interviews from the 2008 SHOT Show

The SHOT Show is probably the greatest spreader of contagion since the Norway brown rat. What with being cooped up on a plane with people who are spewing bodily fluids every 25 seconds and being in close proximity to 80,000 more or less diseased humanoids, you're lucky to get out of there with anything less than cancer or leprosy. But what do you care? All you want is entertainment. So here's entertainment.

Serengeti: The Best Looking Rifle at the SHOT Show (Ever)

I don't think our video really conveys what a gorgeous little rifle this is; it's a Mannlicher-stocked .338 Federal, built on a modified Kimber action, and it's not only the best-looking rifle at this SHOT Show, but at any other SHOT Show I've been to. The stock is laminated, although you can't tell unless you know where to look, and then you have to look very hard. The checkering is done by a woman who specializes in that art, and the pattern on this rifle costs enough to pay for two of the new Marlin X-7 rifles.


This little rifle illustrates why I whine so much about how guns look: because they can be works of art if they're made by people with talent. (Click on the photo to enlarge it).

Wayne "Hardbark" McLoughlin

Wayne McLoughlin is an illustrator and artist who took the moniker "Hardbark" from the Paul Newman movie Hombre, but that's not important now. As you can see, he has some very strong feelings about the current state of wildlife art, and turned what was supposed to be an amusing interview into a diatribe. When he's not having these fits he is a very funny guy.

Knife Designer Bill Harsey

I say in this interview that Bill is the foremost designer of tactical knives now working. That's not quite accurate; there may be two or three other guys who are as good. Anyway, he is a very bright and interesting guy who got into making knives by being a welder, and doing a few just for the fun of it. One thing led to another, as they say, and now he designs for Chris Reeve Knives and Lone Wolf. He probably knows more Special Ops personnel than the general commanding.

Melvin Forbes, of New Ultralight Arms

In the 1980s, Melvin revolutionized hunting rifles buy building guns that were not only light beyond belief, but super accurate as well. He didn't do it by taking a standard-weight rifle and hacking chunks out of it, but by simply eliminating all the weight while the design was still on paper. He began as a country gunsmith who made his living by fixing other designers' mistakes, and has a horror of doing things wrong. At my peak of consumption, I owned 13 of his rifles.

The Montana Rifle Company

What is interesting about Montana Rifle Company is their low prices (for what you get; they charge about ¼ of what Dakota asks) and the unbelievable diversity of what they make. Although these guys specialize in conservative classic sporters, there's apparently nothing they won't tackle, provided it's not too absurb.

Surefire's Monster Flashlights

I think I own 14 SureFires; some were given to me and others I bought in moments of consumer frenzy. They're the only flashlights I've used whose switches don't break. And while the lithium batteries flame out pretty fast, you can have a lot of fun until they do. A couple of years ago I bought a $300 SureFire on a whim, and the odd thing is that it's proved to be very useful. You can bounce its beam off Pluto; and if you want to flag cars off an accident at night, this will get their attention.

Sophia Bush and Elisha Cuthbert


We at the Gun Nut feel very badly about the shortage of booth babes at SHOT. And so, even though we are not responsible for same, we are including some photos of two young actresses named Sophia Bush (no relation) and Elisha Cuthbert. If you were actually in the presence of either one, you would become either stupid, or mute, or both.

In the 1980s, Field & Stream employed a woman who was in a league with these two, and she worked our booth at the SHOT Show. It was a great joy to watch men walk up to her and start speaking in tongues or simply stand there speechless. She said you got used to it after a while.


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Chad Love

Loved it! I won't say I'm a collector of old sporting artvertisements and the glorious old art deco travel and destination posters because price-wise they're way out of reach, but I'm a huge fan.
Couldn't agree more with what he said. Is there a link to a website where we could see more of his work?
The bear was great, but I loved that poster in the background with the ram looking down. Reminded me of the old National Park Service posters from the 30s.

Del in KS

That caliber does not ring my bell but the rifle is a beauty

John B

Dave: Those Serengeti rifle stocks are truly amazing. Laminates that show fancy figure. Wonderful.
And thanks for the interviews. For those of us who can't make the Shot Show at least we get to see some product and listen to some interesting people.

John B

Dave: Those Serengeti rifle stocks are truly amazing. Laminates that show fancy figure. Wonderful.
And thanks for the interviews. For those of us who can't make the Shot Show at least we get to see some product and listen to some interesting people.

John B

Dave: Those Serengeti rifle stocks are truly amazing. Laminates that show fancy figure. Wonderful.
And thanks for the interviews. For those of us who can't make the Shot Show at least we get to see some product and listen to some interesting people.


Dave Petzal
Where can I view some of that "Hardbark Art"? Also, I think even the Special Forces knife and flashlight are a bit beyond my budget. Nice rifles though!

Jim in Mo.

I agree with you and others, but even though I can't afford that rifle for all practial purposes I wonder what the whole package costs (I love all rifles if I can have one or not)? And as I was watching it I was wondering what a good caliber would be for it. Maybe 358. Anything bigger might be to much for that rifles weight. It sort of looked like a 257, 7x57, or 284 type of gun too.

Jim in Mo.

I meant 358 Win.


Dave, your voice and accent are very different than I expected. And yes, that's all I really am going to write after all you did. Lol.


Oh, and Dave, she's no that hot without makeup:


Bernie Kuntz

That Serengeti rifle is gorgeous! Wish I needed another rifle, which I definitely do not--I'd buy one! I think they are made in Montana up in the Kalispell country. Someone correct me if I am wrong. Are they all made on modified Kimber actions? I know they make a model called the "sheep hunter" with a synthetic stock. I saw it advertised in RIFLE magazine.

Ralph the Rifleman

Nice Rifle indeed Mr.Petzal!


The aluminum Talley ring/bases on that rifle look cheap compared to the rest of the package.

Dave Petzal

To YooperJack: For more of Bark, go to Blueloonfinearts.com.

To Scrap 5000. I will not hear a word of criticism regarding Elisha. Thanks for the link, though.

Dr. Ralph

Serengeti will sell you a beautifully figured stock but alas with no fancy carvings for around a thousand bucks... of course they are only available for Kimber and Browning A-Bolt. I could see paying a grand for a new stock for my beloved Remington ADL that's over forty years old... especially since it performs like synthetic and is the essence of beauty; a sensory stimulus that provides pleasure and extreme satisfaction.


Nice videos Dave. That really is a great looking rifle. The last time I looked for a laminate tree in the woods I got lost for three days.

John D

Dave, you are a man-licker. Those stocks are too old school and clunky for me.



Not sure if you saw the other pics of her in that site, but this one is much more complimenting of her sultry side:



Love all the articles not to keen on
full stocks. Is it possible to tell
me where this show is held as I would love to come over from Wales to see perhaps we could do a swap with our Game Fair with someone.

Black Rifle Addict

Ok Dave...did you get anything free?
By the way, Dave, you present yourself as very simple;Dare I say even a bit timid? I mean this as a compliment.Kudos to you for that since your weapon of choice is the pen.

Dave Petzal

To Welshshooter: The 2009 SHOT Show will be held in Orlando, Florida, and is limited to people engaged in the gun and hunting businesses.

To Black Rifle Addict: When not blogging, I am quite polite and civil. Also, most of the people whom I interview are not used to doing interviews, and if you come on like the hammers of hell things do not go well.


The laminate trees grow in close proximity to the particle board ones.....


Great interviewing ability, Dave! But you've definitely got a radio face man! Those Serengeti rifles are the real deal, along with the SOCOM knife. The issue weapons are getting to be really well made nowadays.
Nothing but love for ya...and Elisha!

Del in KS


I love the lines of a mannlicher stock. Had a Sako once but it wasn't the beauty this one is. Mine was a 300 Winmag the muzzle blast was something to behold. That Montana gun must make Kimber look with envy.


You should go to the NRA annual convention. It is open to the public and probably just as good as SHOT. I was in London last summer. Nice place to visit. The day they found those car bombs I shopped my way down Picadilly Circus on my way from H&H (on Brunton street?) to my son's flat in Covent Garden. The prices of your guns (see Holland and Holland, Purdy, etc.) is astronomical. BTWI saw a used H&H Royal grade O/U for only $32,000 in the gun room at Cabela's last year. You can buy a small house here for the price of a new Royal grade.

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