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September 12, 2008

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Petzal: Some Sage Advice from Bert Popowski

Back in the 1960s, I worked for a little magazine called Guns and Hunting, and one of our regular contributors was a nice old guy from South Dakota named Bert Popowski. Bert was a varmint hunt mostly, and in particular was hell on crows (in those days it was considered fun to pick a roost tree and dynamite it), but he also did a short rifle piece whose title and advice have stuck with me lo these four decades.

It was called, “Shoot off the Meat of Your Hand,” and I doubt we could use such a title today because of its unfortunate connotations of self-abuse. What it was actually about was this: Some rifles shoot differently when sighted in off a sandbag than they do when you hold them in your hand. As I’ve learned over the years, not all rifles are sensitive to what they’re resting on, some are sensitive a little bit, and some will shoot way off. It is your job to find out. When you think you’re on target, slide your hand under the fore-end and grasp it in a firm, manly manner. Then shoot three shots and see where they go. Shooting off your hand is not quite as steady as off a sandbag, but there you are.



And now a request. For some weeks the Cabela’s in Owatonna, MN has had a left-hand .416 Rigby up for sale. It was made by a gunsmith named Pete Norene who obviously knows his stuff and then some. This rifle is a freakin’ jewel, to put it bluntly. At one point, someone put down some money on it but then lost his nerve. I would appreciate it if one of you southpaws would buy it so I don’t have to keep looking at it and grinding my teeth. The reference number is 999866. If someone will give it a home, I will run a gratuitous photo of Ms. Elisha Cuthbert, or someone equally wonderful. Thank you.


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Bob In Tampa

Please tell me there is a misplaced decimal point in that price!


Sorry, DEP-
All of my eloquence and charm and
even my argument that I might someday get attacked by a starving polar bear that had migrated to Texas failed to convince The Bookkeeper of my need for a $14,999.00 .416. The Bookkeeper suggeted I go and benchrest my .375 H&H for about 75 or 100 rounds and maybe it would kick some sense into me.


The rifle is sexy enough for now...a real beauty...but like all those lookers mentioned above, my wife won't let me have the rifle either.....I even explained that I'm left handed, so it's a natural fit...

But back on topic.. I agree. I learned that you need to practice like you use it (as best you can). I had some early bargain bang stick dialed in from the bag, but when I picked it up...UGLY. Now I get it set then pick it up and verify it. Of course the guns are better now in large part, but maybe I can just afford a little better one...besides, shooting isn't really like work, now is it?

Dave, new email address. Please add me to your mail list.

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