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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 61-----------JULY 2007

SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'

WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY

July 4, 2007

As we again celebrate our Nation's Birthday, we want to honor and express our heartfelt thanks to the members of our Armed Forces who continue to serve and protect in order that our Country may continue to celebrate birthdays!  Special thanks, greetings, and best wishes to our Nephew SSG Alex Terwilliger, who will soon deploy to Iraq.

We also quietly celebrate Dad's birthday each year on this date.  Dad served in the Navy during WWII, and would have been 85 years old today.  Dad's passing in 1974 at age 52, came much too soon for us to absorb his wisdom.

Last month I mentioned that I found the ammunition I'd been seeking for the Kimber .338 Federal.  The Federal Fusion ammo is much cheaper than their premium stuff, and the gun writers say it's good stuff.

I was finally able to get in a short bench session with the new ammo a few days ago.  I only shot a couple of groups and did not chronograph the loads.  I'd have to say results were mixed.

I've never claimed nor aspired to be a top notch bench shooter, and aging eyes have not improved my abilities over the years.  But, with my setup here on my 100 yard range, I can usually hold within an inch or two when shooting a rifle capable of grouping in that neighborhood.  Naturally, recoil of the particular gun can have an effect, as well as consistency in the way the gun is cradled on the bench.

The first target was a three shot group measuring about 4 inches between the widest spread.  The group was centered and printed slightly higher on the target than the 210 grain Nosler bullets I was shooting last session.

I next shot a five shot group into a new target.  Shots 1, 3, and 5 went into an inch and a quarter cluster, dead on the aiming point.  Adding shots 2 and 4 spread the group to over 5 inches!  This will take some more work to figure out!  (Dang, I hate to be forced to play with guns!)

Even though the .338 Federal cartridge is not nearly in the recoil class of my .338 Rem Ultra Mag or .405 Winchester, it does set back pretty good in the lightweight Kimber.  Shooting any hard kicker from the bench is often detrimental to good technique, so perhaps that's my problem.

I do specifically recall that the front of the shooting cradle whacked my knuckle pretty good on round number 2, which would indicate I was not holding consistently with my forward hand.  Round 2 was farthest out of the group as well.

Another factor to consider, is that the gun has only had about 20 rounds fired through it.  It often requires several more shots than that to work the rough spots out of a new gun, so I'm not too concerned at this point.  Of course any of the rounds fired with the three ammo types I've tried so far were close enough to point of aim to be in the vitals of any big game animal we're likely to fire upon.

As usual, we've entered the lottery drawings for Moose tags here in Eastern Washington.  Ann, Rick, and I each have 5 or 6 preference points now, so our odds should be getting better.

Should Little Heifer get lucky this year, I'd like to see her use the Kimber for her moose hunting.  While her 7MM-08 with the right bullet, will certainly kill a moose, I'd prefer she use something that will make a little bigger hole in a critter of that size.  The success rate for those who draw moose tags for this area runs in the 90 plus percent range, so we're keeping our fingers crossed!

I haven't had a good session on my soapbox for a few months, so I guess I'll stir the water a bit now.

Those of you who read my newsletters know I also write for a local publication called OUTLOOK MAGAZINE.  (Well, I think I do.  We haven't had an issue since mid March, so I don't know if my last few articles will see print or not.)

Writing about shooting, hunting, reloading, and guns for public consumption, has heightened my appreciation for some of the rights that our Founding Fathers articulated and our Armed Forces fight to protect and defend.  Namely, the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution!  I'm very passionate about the right to 'Keep and Bear Arms' and to speak and write our thoughts and beliefs without censorship!

 The outdoor editor of our local, daily newspaper mentioned the First Amendment in one of his columns during the heat of a controversy surrounding remarks made by hunting writer and author Jim Zumbo, on his OUTDOOR LIFE Blog.

"OUTDOORS ICON DIDN’T HAVE CHANCE AGAINST GUN WORLD"

Thus begins Rich Landers’ article regarding the backlash against Zumbo’s comments.  (For those who missed it, Zumbo criticized the use of 'black rifles' or military looking firearms for hunting use.)

OUTDOOR EDITOR GOES OFF HALF-COCKED (AGAIN)

Thus begins my reaction to Landers’ article.

Landers’ story blasts the National Rifle Association (which is a popular theme for him) and what he calls the "gun world" for their reaction to Zumbo’s comments.  (I should point out that I do not own, nor do I plan to purchase any so called 'black firearms' alluded to in Zumbo’s Blog and Landers’ article, so I’m not protecting any personal territory here.)

One of Landers’ most egregious statements:  “Clearly the gun world has its own rules in defending the Second Amendment, and the rules have little regard for protecting the spirit of the First Amendment.  Ethical journalists must remain an arms-length from this mind-controlling, information-squelching culture.”  (Emphasis mine)

Coming from someone who earns his living by virtue of a Free Press, I detect a bit of hypocrisy here.  Does this mean that only professional outdoor writers are capable of staying within the ‘spirit’ of the First Amendment?  Should those within the "gun world" be prohibited from writing, printing, or stating their beliefs because he doesn’t agree with them or the way they are stated?  Should Landers proofread my magazine stories so I’m sure to remain within the ‘spirit’ of the First Amendment as he sees it?

I haven’t personally written anything about the Zumbo controversy until now, but I did follow the issue through traditional media sources and internet forums.  It strikes me as ironic that those in the "gun world" were ‘spot on’ in predicting that anti-gun politicians would jump on Zumbo’s comments to further their agenda of making legal gun ownership for any purpose difficult to impossible.  (I emphasize 'legal' because a lot of those politicians still can't seem to grasp the fact that all the gun control laws in the universe have little or no effect on a criminal's possession of guns!  What don't they get about the definition of 'criminal?')

Within days, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan was reading Zumbo’s original comments into the congressional record in support of more useless, ineffective gun control legislation.  Did Senator Levin mention Zumbo’s later statements recanting his original comments?  Of course not!

Levin’s actions prompted Zumbo to write an open letter to the U. S. Senate.  Everyone should read the full text of that letter, as it reflects much about the character and humility of a writer who now agrees he made a serious blunder.  I’ll quote one paragraph here:

“Some of us learn from our mistakes, others keep making them. Legislation to which Sen. Levin alluded, HR 1022, would renew the ban on so-called “assault weapons,” and dangerously expand it to encompass far more perfectly legal firearms. For the Congress of the United States to even consider such legislation is an affront to every law-abiding firearms owner in this country.”

Does the NRA and other defenders of the Second Amendment attack with a vengeance anything they perceive as a threat to our right to keep and bear arms?  Darn right they do.  Is the NRA’s approach to threats to our Second Amendment rights sometimes different than mine might be?  Indeed it is.  However, while I may disagree with the approach, I do support the effort to protect the right of law abiding citizens to own the guns they choose. 

Do I believe that without the NRA, Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, pro-gun people who post on internet forums, and many other “mind-controlling, information-squelching” members of Mr. Landers’ "gun world" that his semi-automatic firearms would already be history?  You bet I do.  Do I believe that further and continued erosion of our firearms freedoms will inevitably lead to infringement upon our hunting freedoms?  No doubt in my mind.

(Mr. Landers, if you believe the antis really don’t want to infringe upon your ability to legally own your “50-year-old J.C. Higgins .22 semi-auto plinking rifle” or your semi-auto duck guns or a self defense handgun, you might want to re-examine your naïveté.)

Landers also states that ethical sportsmen “want the freedom to distance themselves from the gun world’s unsavory elements. . .”  “This is why there are about 70 million gun owners and 20 some million hunters, but only 3-4 million of them belong to the NRA.”

These statements clearly fall within Mr. Landers’ First Amendment rights, but do they pass muster in the cold light of practical analysis?  Does a law abiding citizen who owns a firearm not on the 'Landers approved list' and who vociferously defends that ownership, make that person a “gun world’s unsavory element?”  The quotes would likewise appear to leave no room for the idea that a hell of a lot of non-NRA members agree with, and support what the NRA says, does, and stands for.

I know people who would be mortified at the thought of becoming a card carrying, dues paying Labor Union member.  Yet, when laid off from work, they would be irate if they couldn’t collect those unemployment checks that trade union lobbyists and their political allies made a reality in this country.

Debates about gun control laws, the Second Amendment, or most any controversial matter you want to name, do indeed get vitriolic and downright nasty in today’s world.  Listen to a television or radio show with 'talking heads' and guest commentators.  He or she who shouts loudest, interrupts best, and/or controls the microphone buttons are the ones who get heard!

Unfortunately the 'kind and gentle' ways of society I knew in my younger years are gone.  The NRA, like many other organizations, has simply acknowledged this fact of life, and reacts accordingly.  i.e. 'When you enter a pi--ing match with a skunk, make sure you can pi-- more, better, and farther than the skunk!'

We seem to have evolved into a society where anything that you do that I don’t like, I’ll seek to make illegal!  No matter if it adversely affects me or not, if I don’t like it, you shouldn’t be allowed to do it!

Cases in point are the referenda in Washington that banned hound hunting for bears and cougars, certain trapping methods, and bear baiting.  I would be very hard to convince that these activities had any effect, let alone an adverse one, on most of the hundreds of thousands of urban voters who voted overwhelmingly for these measures.

How did this happen?  I believe it happened because we sportsmen and sportswomen let it happen.  We didn’t stand together and out shout and out spend the likes of the Humane Society of the United States, and others of their ilk.  (“Well, me an’ ol’ Rich are gentlemen hunters.”  “We only hunt deer, elk, upland birds, and waterfowl, so we don’t care about them hound hunters, trappers, and baiters!”  “We wouldn’t think of shootin’ them prairie dogs with a AR15 terrorist rifle neither!”)

Let me contrast this attitude with a promise:  Mr. Landers, I’ll personally stand up and fight for your ability to continue to hunt with bird dogs when the antis propose banning that activity via a citizen’s initiative.  (I don’t own a bird dog either.)  Guess what?  I’ll bet the NRA will be right there fighting with us, despite your personal disdain, and use of your First Amendment rights to attack them!

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the NRA has teamed with Democratic Party leaders in Congress, (that’s right, the Democrats) to legislatively provide the resources and require the States to report mental health information for inclusion in the National Instant Check System.  Couple this with the fact that the Texas affiliate of the NRA recently joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union to protect the rights of law abiding Texans traveling by automobile to carry firearms for self defense!  Do these alliances automatically make the ACLU and the Democratic Party parts of the “gun world’s unsavory element?”

What happened to Zumbo is that he acted just like “me an’ ol’ Rich.”  As a well known and respected writer, he failed to consider that expressing disdain for hunting with what he referred to as “terrorist rifles” could have serious adverse effects on all our gun owner rights, and the "gun world" called him on it!

Zumbo has now publicly acknowledged that hunters cannot distance themselves from the rest of the "gun world" without undesirable consequences.  Like it or not, we are inexorably connected.  He has repeatedly stated that his comments were off base and detrimental to all gun owners.  I don’t see any sign of our outdoor editor admitting that he’s essentially doing the same thing.

This month's hillbilly wisdom is another from the list at Hauser Lake Gun Club:

Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none!

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

THE OL' HILLBILLY
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