Gun Writers

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BHyett posted this 4 weeks ago

I want to start a new thread on gun writers because the Handgun Cartridge in a Carbine mentioned gun writers and that is getting off-topic. I once thought of doing that. Looking into becoming a gun writer was enlightening. There are factors that are not discussed in polite conversation. Several people had suggested that I become a gun writer when I lived in Illinois. 

Attending a match near Peoria, where Shooting Times magazine was published, I happened to catch some of their staff at the range. Talking to them between relays, I showed them an article where the writer had named every piece of equipment that he used by brand and model. One guy said that you got stuff very cheaply that way.

I then asked about how one could write for them. It is basically a closed society where you must first join this writers group and then submit articles. The problem is the editors will edit any less than positive statements to avoid irritating advertisers. After that conversation between relays at the State Match, I decided it was a game. 

I've never read these magazines after that. Especially when one writer stated a Savage Model 12 Varminter in .22-.250 shot to the right in a ten-shot group. they were spread over four inches with each shot advancing on the horizontal. Because each shot was within a half-inch of the previous shot, this writer opined the rifle was capable of half-inch accuracy. I had just had a Savage Striker that did the same thing reworked for Long Range Handgun and the gunsmith cut .015 off the reciever to true it. The left side was forward and as the gun warmed after each shot, the barrel shifted right. Obviously, the milling cut for the receiver front was off and Quality Control did not catch it. 

Gun writers, I question the term. When Elmer Keith and Jack O'Connor passed, there was no reason to ever believe any gun writer again. Both of them railed against their editors changing their articles.  

Country boy from Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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Old Coot posted this 4 weeks ago

I gave up on gun writers back in 1969? or there about when my first wife (She Who Must Not Be Named) out shot two of the "expert testers" from a mag.  She did it bullseye style with her Browning Hi Power against the "pros" who were shooting a Colt Gold Cup off sand bags.  After watching those bozos shoot that afternoon I quit reading gun mags until the Rifleman, and Handloader came out.  Now that Dave Scovile has taken over as editor No gun shoots less than 1/2 inch groups and guarantees that the owner will be Davie Crockett.  I still read those two mags occasionally, but am very selective in what information I will take as gospel.

B.E.Brickey

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John Carlson posted this 4 weeks ago

One must not bite the hand that feeds it.  Very seldom do I find any piece of sporting equipment that lives up to it's hype.  If you think guns don't do what they're advertised to do, you should try buying golf clubs!undecided

Holding public office should be viewed as an obligation to serve, not an opportunity to rule.

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RicinYakima posted this 4 weeks ago

In 1996, having been forcibly retired as a Firefighter, and looking for another way to earn shooting money, I wrote to Dave Scovile and sent some of my stuff. "Your writing is fine and entertaining to read, but not commercial." I was told to write an article about a subject that used at least ten of the advertisers products in "Handloader". As a country boy from Ohio, it dawned on me that you would have to be a shill. So now all of my writing, which I love to do, goes to the CBA, ARTCA, etc.

FWIW, the new writer that was mentioned earlier, has at least ten (10) children old enough to help reload and shoot, commercial feed lots and potato farming is still called "ranching" in Idaho. I would guess that there are about 100 employees helping.  Plus I have heard from many people he is a very nice and kind man with lots of shooting friends. And now after ten years of publishing, he gets a "big brown truck" of freebies about every day.

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BHyett posted this 4 weeks ago

"If you think guns don't do what they're advertised to do, you should try buying golf clubs"

My friend and I were told to leave the only golf course in the county at the Country Club along with the doctor's son who had invited us. The only reason we could see was were were the sons of a factory worker and a sharecropping farmer. I never wanted to play "cow pasture pool" after that incident. 

In the ying and yang of life, that left me more spare cash to invest in firearms and reloading equipment. In retrospect, I guess I owe the county superintendent of schools a "thank you" and should not have not worked so hard putting up posters for his opponent at the next election where he was defeated. 

Country boy from Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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OU812 posted this 4 weeks ago

 

 " Obviously, the milling cut for the receiver front was off and Quality Control did not catch it." 

Quality probably caught the flaw, but management shipped it...

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

please don't forget to include "" our "" own national treasure, Mr. Ed Harris .... as one of the last of the writers that made it worth the price of the book/magazine ...

i first discovered  Mr .Harris's writings back about 40 ?  years ago and remember thinking :: " who the he** is this guy ?? " ....  facts, insights, tests,   ... and above all i knew he was good because  in technical shooting things he agreed with me cool .

note that the last interesting AmericanRifleman had an article by Mr. Harris.  1990 ? ...  just sayin ...

ken

 

 

 

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Scearcy posted this 4 weeks ago

Last night I spent sometime rereading articles in the NRA Handloaders Guide. The copy I have is from 1968. It was a pleasure to reaquaint myself with this book. I am preaching to the choir I know but I have cancelled every outdoor/gun magazine subscription I used receive. I no longer waste money on The Gun Digest.

Each winter I review every issue of The Fouling Shot that I possess. We are fortunate to have this publication as a resource. We are also fortunate to have Mr Harris as a regular contributor. It is a surprise to me that our collection of traditional minded shooters utilize the internet as a primary source of information. Now lets see, do I need to put in a plug for my brand of laptop in order to get this published?

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lotech posted this 4 weeks ago

I've been reading gun magazines since 1962. I'm fairly familiar with many of the gun writers until the last ten years or so when I stopped reading most of the publications except RIFLE and HANDLOADER.  I don't know Ed Harris personally, but I've followed his work with great interest since his early gunwriting days with AMERICAN RIFLEMAN, GUN DIGEST, and then later, THE FOULING SHOT. 

I'd have to rate Mr. Harris among the very best of gun writers ever, certainly in the top ten along with Bob Hagel, Ken Waters, John Barsness, and a few more. 

As for the comment about former editor Dave Scovill suggesting a writer include products advertised in Wolfe Publishing Company's magazines in any potential article, that may have happened and I'm not in a position to argue the point. However, I've known Mr. Scovill for a long time. To make such a comment would be very out- of -character for him based on what I know of the man.   

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RicinYakima posted this 4 weeks ago

Actually I was very appreciative of his honesty. To write for commercial publications, you have to accept assignments as given, not what you want to do. Obviously I needed to learn the skills of a commercial writer. He appeared very willing to critique my work and help me on my way. It was just not where I wanted to go. (Writing articles on reloading for AR's or 1911's isn't on my horizon.) They have a good business model as they are still in print even after "Precision Shooting" and "The Accurate Rifle" went down the tube, two of the best gun magazines, but unable to generate enough money to keep going.

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OU812 posted this 4 weeks ago

Gun magazines are written mostly for new shooters...people (investors) that are wanting to spend more money in the sport and buy from their advertisers. I am past that new learner spending stage and have most everything I need to reload and shoot. It is very rare that there are new products that I am interested in.

I also stopped buying, because I know everything...or I think I do? NOT! frown

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Ed Harris posted this 4 weeks ago

Today's gun writers are all whores for the firearms industry.  When I first worked for the NRA it wasn't that way and American Rifleman was more like the Consumer Reports of the shooting world.  That all changed after Cincinatti when the tech staff was gutted, and the magazines became more like the east coast version of Guns & Ammo.  I hung on for a couple years, but when Bill Ruger offered me a job I was gone in a flash.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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rmrix posted this 4 weeks ago

Additionally the internet forums have cut into tech side of things.

When you can get (or offer) best practice and match winning info in real time from the internet forums, the jack of all trades gun writer does not have a chance. Their written articles and expert advice often comes off as shallow or even the often repeated well worn keyboard BS.

 

I think it would be very hard to be a (good) professional firearms writer these days. 

In the early eighties, I used to wait for each Fouling Shot to arrive and then read it cover to cover.

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BigMan54 posted this 4 weeks ago

It was me that hi-jacked the LeverGun thread.

I started reading gun mags when I was about 8-9yrs old. My Dad was a Hunter, Fisherman, Skier & Boxer. He made sure all his boys participated in same. He subscribed to all the Magazines that dealt with these subjects. Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Sports Afield were the main publications that I read, American Rifleman, Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times & Guns were the specialized mags that were bought on occasion. As far as Hunting Gun stuff went; JACK O'CONNER was my god. Handgun stuff was Elmer Keith & that up and comer; Skeeter Skelton.

So I think I speak from a position of some experience on gunwriters. In the last 20-25yrs many things have changed. The stories have indeed changed. Now all guns shoot 98% perfectly, all ammo is accurate and all accessories function as designed.

I just received a Mag recently that had a story titled: ".308 WINCHESTER Field Loads for a Timeless Cartridge". That list 400 loads. 18 different powders & over 2 doz. different bullets.

Just picking one powder and one bullet, one case and one primer and firing just 4-5 shot groups  to check accuracy for one powder: that would be 100rds, according to the LYMAN#50. Starting load: 38grs, MAX Load 42.5grs in one grain increments, that's 38,39,40,41,42,42.5grs. That's actually 600rds. 

At 400 loads: even one five shot group would be 2,000rds. From the bench, allowing just one minute between shots for barrel cooling: that's  over 33 hours of shooting. And loading 2,000rds at one minute per round on a single-stage, that's over 33 hours. I'm factoring in using a Electronic powder scale/dispenser, spray lube & priming on the press. Not to mention the time spent emptying  and refilling the powder measure. And all the other incidentals that you need to do in loading/reloading HIGH PRESSURE Rifle Cartridges.

And using a Chronograph too. I think the time spent adjusting/readjusting a powder measure on a progressive press would negate the advantage of the Progressive. Not to mention adjusting/readjusting the bullet seating die.

I take anything written anymore as just mild entertainment with a touch of interesting thrown in. It's been a LONG time since i learned anything of value from a gun mag. It just seems it's all about the latest variation of the black rifles & plastic pistols or 1911's. 

I've learned more from The FOULING SHOT in the past year than from the last 10yrs of half a dozen gun mags.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

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OU812 posted this 4 weeks ago

Mike Venturino taught me a lot about shooting cast. He was probably the most helpful. He still writes very good articles concerning cast bullets.

I also liked Bob Milek and Layne Simpson. 

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Ed Harris posted this 4 weeks ago

I would agree that The Fouling Shot has the greatest mix of interesting and well written, practical info, the great majority of it coming from ordinary members sharing what works and what doesn't.  I would encourage anyone posting regularly on this forum to try writing short articles summarizing your lessons learned, unexpected happenings, memories of past hunts, gun show finds and just plain fun stuff.  Glenn is a talented editor who will work with you, and I'm always willing to help anybody here who has never tried it before to take a stab at it. GPIdaho, Steve Balthrop and Giorgio are all new writers who stepped up to the plate.  I particularly enjoy contributions from our Canadian, European and ANZAC members, as they usually have a different perspective which can teach us something.

YOU can do it too!

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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loophole posted this 4 weeks ago

I have been reading Black Powder Cartridge News for several years.  It is the only mag I subscribe to since Precision Shooting started appealing to wannabe cop snipers several years ago and then folded. I picked up a copy of Rifle Times (I believe that is it) in a doctor's office a few days ago and was shocked to see that there is a whole magazine about nothing but new  plastic rifles (including a bolt action Remington which looks just like an AR15) and pistols.

Part of our problem, boys, is that some of us have no interest in new calibres and modern firearms.  There still are dozens of 80-150 year old rifles and pistols I haven't owned.  I have a number of Japanese Brownings and Winchesters, but only because made in America mostly became junk 30 or 40 years ago.  I bought a 1939 Winchester -06 last year and was so glad  I finally own a Rifleman's rifle before the collectors locked them all in gun safes.  I came across a  "sporterized" Polish mauser and was able to make a nice 50's style sporter to shoot cast bullets for about $300 with a stock from Brownell's. Bbl looks new and the action is a smooth as a Belgium Browning.

I think most modern gun writers simply reflect the city bred, computerized society we have created.  I remember when most high ranking military officers were products of the military and naval academies with very strict honor codes.  How many have been court marshaled lately  for improprieties with female subordinates and lying under oath?  How do you expect truth out of a mere gun writer?

Steve K

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jchiggins posted this 4 weeks ago

Yeah, we're just getting old I'm afraid.  I acquired a new DPMS AR10 a few years ago because I wanted something accurate for 600 yard target shooting.  It was very accurate.  It was boring.  I would rather spend my time and aggravation trying to get an old military rifle to shoot decently.  There's no science in the new stuff; for the most part it's good out of the box; just like cars, which have lost my interest as well.  Sold off the DPMS and acquired a S&W Model 27 long barrel, which is a lot more fun.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

 jchiggins, eh ?? ... now THAT is interesting !! ...   maybe i need a handle ... maybe use what my wife calls me .... 

temporarily ken .....

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jchiggins posted this 3 weeks ago

Ken- I didn't want to use the name my wife calls me .....

Acquired a JC Higgins model 50 in 30-06 about 8 years ago; it's been my primary hunting rifle until this year.  Very accurate.

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OU812 posted this 3 weeks ago

You know your in trouble when your wife calls you by your whole name. sealed

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longhunter posted this 3 weeks ago

Boy we are in trouble.  We have gone from Guns to Wives......

 

Jon Welda CW5 USA Ret. 608 797 0056

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 3 weeks ago

I agree with most of the posts written about this subject. However there are still a few good writers out there. I enjoy articles by John Barsness, Terry Wieland, & Craig Boddington. Sports Afield is really interesting to me, even though most of the hunts are beyond my means. 

What really irritates me is the continual articles over and over about this new 1911, or that new poly pistol and the knives that match you must have. At least 95% of the items reviewed are beyond most of our means, or beyond any sensible thought of purchasing them. Who needs a $3500 1911, a $900 knife or a $1700 watch, all in matching colors and finish. 

There are some exceptions. Just look at Handloader and you will see many ads for molds and cast bullets. They would not be there if there were not buyers. Most of the articles reflect real world purchases. I grant you it is not as good as the product from the 70s & 80s, but it is certainly better than the jokes like "Handguns" and others.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Scearcy posted this 3 weeks ago

Yup I still like most of Craig Boddington's writing. 

Pay attention to the age of the folks buying guns at you LGS. It certainly seems to me that most of the black rifles and handguns are selling to people the age of my children. Conversely the market for blued and walnut firearms is decided skewed to our generation. As it is for almost everything else, the market for new firearms is comprised the next couple of generations. They are working - they have the money. Simple economics for a gun rag I suppose.

I still don't like the fact that these younger shooters are drinking the cool aid but I would guess most of them don't shoot enough to have a well developed BS sniffer yet. The good news is that most of these gun owners do show up in November and vote.

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R. Dupraz posted this 3 weeks ago

Good post Scearcy.

The problem is that us old farts are just locked in the past.

At least these young folks are exercising their second amendment right to own and obviously enjoy shooting by buying more firearms..

I agree with everything that has been posted but am not bothered so much by it. I just don't buy or have any subscriptions. Haven't for 30 years. Ever since Skeeter left us I'd guess. Or thereabouts. 

If it takes the modern writer's drither to keep our game going, I say more better. 

R.   

R. 

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Tom Acheson posted this 3 weeks ago

Wolf Publishing now owns Black Powder Rifle Cartridge News. While somewhat of a narrow focus (BCR) unlike Handloader, jacketed bullets bullets are not discussed, strictly cast bullets. Lots of ads for bullet molds, quite a few custom mold makers, and many shooting accessories, etc. Articles are often intermixed with some interesting history, etc.  

It is always easy to put ourselves up on a pedestal and castigate the efforts of others, but we'd be hard pressed to lump in the BPCR writers with all the other "know nothing" writers we experience.

 

Tom

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Pepe Ray posted this 3 weeks ago

You pay your money and you make your choice.

"Long live free enterprise."

Pepe Ray

Only in His name.

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BigMan54 posted this 3 weeks ago

I agree with David on John Barsness, I also like Mike Venterino, having meet him once at my 1st EOT. He took the time (about 20min) to give me much info on reloading the .44WCF & .38WCF. He's a bit of a snob toward RUGER, but he has a new article about the Mini-30. Haven't read it yet, so we'll see. Boddington, met him once too. Don't read his stories, or watch his tv show.

I miss Skeeter, O'Connor, Jim Carmichael & Major George C. Nonte Jr. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

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beagle6 posted this 2 weeks ago

One of my favorites is Finn Aagaard who is no longer with us. He grew up in Kenya and was a professional hunter.

 

 

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 2 weeks ago

mr. Aagaard is the story teller who got me deciding i had to have a M54 winchester ....  i think of it as a PRE-PRE 64 winchester  ....  i like the new technology also, but those just radiate " real gun " ...

... i should mention that i think Tom Gresham is pretty straight ..... check out his stuff if you get a chance ....

ken

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Pepe Ray posted this 2 weeks ago

Having been around for four score, I was exposed to many of those authors. Mr Aagaard was one of my favorites, to the point that I'd clip his G&A articles AND his column when he wrote one. The one writer/collector/shooter/teacher that I admired most was Ross Seyfried. His association with Kieth and Linebaugh brought about some education and entertainment for this poor boy. I've never been poor but often without adequate play money so  had to live vicariously through the gun rags. I hungrily harvested anything I could find in print by Seyfried. I understand that he occasionally writes something for the Double Gun & Single Shot Journal. Too rich for my blood!  Anyway---my file drawer is crammed with good reading for as long as I'm able to read.    Pepe Ray

Only in His name.

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Ken T posted this 2 weeks ago

I like Julian Hatcher,E.H.Harris,Ludwig Olson,B.R.Lewis,Skeeter Skelton,and C.E.Harris.I only get the American Rifleman now and seldom read it.A firearms manufacturer can bring out a truly impressive firearm and it will never be mentioned in gun magazines especially the American Rifleman unless you advertise in their publication.After 32 years working for a firearms manufacturer as a machinist I saw that frequently.

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beagle6 posted this 2 weeks ago

I remember reading somewhere that Jack O'Connor said he wrote everything he knew about shooting in his first 10 or 12 articles and then had to find a way to say the same thing in different ways. I can also reading my father's American Rifleman Magazine back in the middle 1950's. How far it has gone down hill since then.

In a previous post I spoke about my admiration for Finn Aagaard. A thoroughly practical man, he spoke of growing up in Kenya and saying that a farm kid there would not think anymore of shooting a Rhino out of the cabbage patch than an American kid would think of shooting a woodchuck out of the lettuce He also called the Winchester Model 70 for the crappy production rifle it was, at least in 375 H&H..

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Hoppy posted this 2 weeks ago

I think that Old Coot voiced one of the best thoughts here: "Be Selective." While there is no doubt that the truthfulness of the shooting press has changed somewhat since the years of Jack O'Connor and others like him, there is also no doubt that there has always been some BS in shooting and hunting publications. What is now called "fake news" isn't new--it's just got a new name. To think that there was a perfect time when all gunwriters spoke the truth and nothing but the truth is to live in Lala Land. But we all have built-in BS detectors and filters--and we've gotta use them. Just because some writer shades the truth when describing the virtues of a particular piece of equipment is not a good reason to discard everything he says as trash. That would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Good Shooting, Guys. . . .

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Pepe Ray posted this 2 weeks ago

Thanks, Hoppy, for the reminder. There's only one publication that can be trusted as The Truth. All of the rest is opinion. And we know about those, EH?

Pepe Ray

Only in His name.

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