Amsj Oct 2018

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Custom Guns

“Master Hunter” GARY REEDER CUSTOM GUNS is proud to announce a brand new .50-caliber leveraction rifle, our new MASTER HUNTER. This beauty is built on the customer’s base gun, which is a Marlin 1895. The new MASTER HUNTER is chambered in the 500 S&W and is full custom from the ground up. The new rifle has a 20-inch heavy barrel and has beefed up internals. The gun comes with an XS rear sight and our custom front. It is available with a red, gold or white bead up front. The action is smoothed up to super slick and the loop is widened for use with gloved hands. The gun is finished in a satin vapor honed Black Chromex finish on the barrel and loop with high polished frame sides with dangerous game scenes engraved. The stock and forend are finished in a soft satin walnut and we fit it with a Decelerator pad for a more comfortable shooting. In the past it has been hard to get a .50caliber lever-action without mortgaging the farm, but our new MASTER HUNTER changes all that. The gun can be customized with a longer or shorter barrel and different game scenes or none if you prefer. Plus your name or initials can be added to the gun at no extra charge. As usual 1/3 down and we begin work on your new MASTER HUNTER. $1995 on your Marlin 1895 - 6 to 8 month delivery

The Xtreme Defender is based on the popular Xtreme Penetrator product line. The XD ammunition has an optimized nose flute, total weight, and velocity to achieve a penetration depth up to 18 inches* with a permanent wound cavity (PWC) that is just simply enormous; no other expanding hollowpoint comes close to achieving anywhere near this diameter and volume. Not only is the PWC over 100% larger than any other expanding bullet, expansion is achieved despite being shot through barriers. The solid copper body ensures that wallboard, sheet metal, and automotive glass will have no effect on the PWC.


*Falling within FBI guidelines This round offers: A permanent Wound Cavity (PWC) that is 2 times greater than any expanding bullet reduced recoil. CNC machined from solid copper to overcome barriers to penetration Radial flutes that force the hydraulic energy inward to build pressure Minimal surface area to increase the force at the point of contact and sharp cutting edges that defeat barriers.




SHOOTING JOURNAL Volume 8 // Issue 1 // October 2018 PUBLISHER James R. Baker GENERAL MANAGER John Rusnak

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Andy Walgamott OFFICE MANAGER / COPY EDITOR Katie Aumann LEAD CONTRIBUTOR Frank Jardim CONTRIBUTORS Brittany Boddington, Jim Dickson, Scott Haugen, Tony Leingang, Phil Massaro, Mike Nesbitt, Paul Pawela, Nick Perna SALES MANAGER Katie Higgins ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Mamie Griffin, Mike Smith, Paul Yarnold


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Terminally ill hunter and Vietnam era sniper Bill Allen Sr. downed this big bull, his first ever, in central Washington state earlier this fall while hunting with Outdoors for our Heroes. (JASON McQUINN)

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American Shooting Journal // October 2018

MEDIA INDEX PUBLISHING GROUP WASHINGTON OFFICE P.O. Box 24365 • Seattle, WA 98124-0365 14240 Interurban Ave. S. Ste. 190 • Tukwila, WA 98168 (206) 382-9220 • (800) 332-1736 • Fax (206) 382-9437 •




THE OLD MARKSMAN GETS HIS BULL When Bill Allen Sr., a terminally ill Vietnam vet, wanted to hunt elk before he died, Washington state-based Outdoors for our Heroes stepped up. Tony Leingang details how the former Marine Corps sniper and nonprofit teamed up for a special hunt in the middle of the Evergreen State. (JASON McQUINN)




The shot’s the easy part, but breaking down a big bull isn’t as tough as you may think it is. Scott Haugen walks us through disassembling your elk, aging it and serving your successful harvest for supper!

When Mike Nesbitt got a phone call from the factory about a .44-caliber barrel found “in the dust” it got him to thinking about the legend of a long-ago buffalo hunter, and a special rifle was born.

91 53


BULLET BULLETIN: TIPPING THE SCALES With its signature blue polymer tip and three grooves in the shank, Barnes’ all-copper Tipped Triple Shock X bullet “has yet to disappoint” for his clients, custom handloader Phil Massaro writes.


HOW TO MAKE AN AUTHENTIC COLONIAL TOMAHAWK Flintlocks weren’t the only weapon at the disposal of early American settlers – Indian tomahawks had a place and were even part of Revolutionary War soldiers’ fighting kit. Our historian and inveterate tinkerer Frank Jardim and his son show just how easy it is to create one for work, throwing or display.

A trip to southwest France yielded spectacular hunting as well as world-class cuisine for globetrotting huntress Brittany Boddington. She shares the story of her fascinating trip.




GUN REVIEW: TWO TAKES, ONE REVOLVER: THE M1917 When the U.S. Army needed handguns for World War I, Colt and Smith & Wesson responded with what writer Jim Dickson calls the “perfection” of the double-action military revolver.

WHY THE .308 IS THE BEST RIFLE CARTRIDGE EVER Since its 1952 debut, this round has aged well even as hot new ones have come online, thanks to its usefulness across military platforms, widespread availability and having downed a deer or two since. Nick Perna has an appreciation for this multipurpose cartridge.


A.R.’S AREN’T JUST RIFLES Writer Paul Pawela is a big fan of AR pistols, so when he noticed Benghazi survivor Dave “Boon” Benton carrying one at a training session, he had to know more. Meet the brains behind Veritas Tactical, a Florida-based self-defense platform company.

AMERICAN SHOOTING JOURNAL is published monthly by Media Index Publishing Group, 14240 Interurban Ave South Suite 190, Tukwila, WA 98168. Display Advertising. Call Media Index Publishing Group for a current rate card. Discounts for frequency advertising. All submitted materials become the property of Media Index Publishing Group and will not be returned. Copyright © 2018 Media Index Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be copied by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express written permission of the publisher. Printed in U.S.A.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018




THE EUGENE GOLUBTSOV STORY How did a son of the Soviet Union come to the United States and build a business bringing back and restoring old pistols? Jim Dickson shares the remarkable journey of Siberia’s Eugene Golubstov.

More Features 24

Holiday Gift Guide

Company SPOTLIGHTS 79 127

BadRock Rifles: Ready to rock tactical, hunting rifle markets Ulticlip: New Slim line for smaller knife sheaths, holsters



American Shooting Journal // October 2018

19 23

Competition Calendar Gun Show Calendar

American Precision Arms

GEN 2 FAT BASTARD MUZZLE BRAKE The Gen 2 Series of brakes started where the Gen 1 left off. We came up with a solution for the shooter that has been a game changer. The Gen 2 has a nut that is a separate piece. This allows our customers to install the brake themselves at home. Installations takes about 30 seconds and has no hideous crush washers or peel washers to deal with. Additionally competitive shooters can easily remove this brake for cleaning or simply to move if from barrel to barrel. Competitors can burn through 6 barrels or more in a season at times. This means less money spent on gear and with your smith. To the gunsmith it means no hassle indexing a brake. Simply thread to spec. and go.

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October 5-6 2018 Brownell’s New Mexico State IDPA Championship Farmington, N.M.

October 13-14 Western IDPA Regional Championship Sloughhouse, Calif.

October 26-28 Liberty Match at Valley Forge Audubon, Pa.

October 6 TruGlo 2018 North Texas Regional Whitewright, Texas

October 6 Indiana State IDPA Championship Atlanta, Ind. October 13 Lone Star IDPA Championship Cresson, Texas October 13-14 Potomac Grail 2018 Thurmont, Md.


October 4-6 Oilfield Classic 2018 Bellville, Texas

October 5-7 Missouri State USPSA Championship Newburg, Mo.

October 4-7 2018 High Desert Classic Albuquerque, N.M.

October 20-22 2018 SIG Sauer Optics Nationals Frostproof, Fla.

October 4-7 2018 GA State USPSA Championship Covington, Ga.

October 23-26 2018 CZ-USA Factory Gun Nationals Frostproof, Fla.

October 6-7 Showdown at Big Creek VII Mobile, Ala.

October 13-14 Charleston Glock Challenge VIII Charleston, S.C.

October 27-28 Silver State Glock Showdown X Reno, Nev.

October 6-7 Eastern Nebraska Glock Classic III Louisville, Neb.

October 20-21 Bluegrass Regional Classic XXI Lexington, Ky.

October 27-28 Hoosier State Regional Classic XXI Atlanta, Ind.

October 6 Indiana State Championships Edinburgh, Ind.

October 6-7 Georgia State Championship Gainesville, Ga.

October 6-7 Northeast Regional Championships Centre Hall, Pa.

October 12-14 Lone Star Classic Vernon, Texas

October 17-20 CMSA Wrangler World Championship Amarillo, Texas

September 29-October 10 October 20 USAS Shotgun National Championships SMA Air Colorado Springs, Colo. Sarasota, Fla.

October 6 Sandy Ford Olympic Pistol Streator, Ill.

October 20 October 2018 PTO Tournament Colorado Springs, Colo.

October 13 Hoosier Hills 2018 October PTO Columbus, Ind.

October 20-21 ACUI Lower Midwest International Conference Championship San Antonio, Texas

October 26-28 2018 STI International Limited Nationals Frostproof, Fla.

October 27 Outdoor 3-Position/Prone Smallbore PTO Marble Falls, Texas 19

PRS RESOURCE GUIDE Bolt Gun Series October 6-7 October 13-14 October 27-28 November 3-4 November 10-11 December 1-2

GAP Grind Bushnell Tactical Pro/Am Jurassic Classic CORE Fall Classic Tactical Precision Rifle Challenge (TPRC) Blue Ridge 2018 PRS Finale

Finger, Tennessee Kopperl, Texas Baker, Florida Paulden, Arizona Benge, Washington Cresson, Texas

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Baker, Florida

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GUN SHOW G U NS | A M M O | K N I V ES | B U Y | SE L L | T R A D E | L O O K

ORANGE, CROSBY CROSBY, Y, BELTON, BE ELTON, BRENHAM, TAYLOR, PORT ARTHU TAYLOR ARTHUR and TOMBALL, TOMBALL TEXAS! CHECK OUT OUR WESITE FOR DATES AND LOCATIONS A brey Au brre ey y Sa an nd de ers rs Jrr.. -Pr Prom Prom mot oter er er P.O. Box 300545 Arlington,Tx 76007 (713)724-8881 22

American Shooting Journal // October 2018



C&E Gun Shows

October 6-7 October 13-14 October 27-28 October 27-28

Fayetteville, N.C. Salem, Va. Springfield, Ohio Winston-Salem, N.C.

Crown Expo Center Salem Civic Center Clark County Fairgrounds Winston-Salem Fairgrounds

Crossroads Of The West Gun Shows

October 6-7 October 13-14 October 13-14 October 20-21 October 27-28

Costa Mesa, Calif. Reno, Nev. Prescott, Ariz. Las Vegas, Nev. Ventura, Calif.

OC Fair and Event Center Reno Convention Center Prescott Valley Event Center The Pavilions at World Market Ventura County Fairgrounds

Florida Gun Shows

October 6-7 October 6-7 October 13-14 October 20-21 October 20-21 October 27-28

Fort Myers, Fla. Jacksonville, Fla. Orlando, Fla. Panama City, Fla. Tampa, Fla. Palmetto, Fla.

Lee Civic Center Jacksonville Fairgrounds Central Florida Fairgrounds Bay County Fairgrounds Florida State Fairgrounds Bradenton Area Convention Center

October 6-7 October 6-7 October 6-7 October 6-7

Neosho, Mo. Gray, Tenn. South Bend, Ind. Young Harris, Ga.

October 13-14 October 20-21 October 20-21 October 20-21 October 20-21 October 27-28 October 27-28 October 27-28

Springfield, Mo. Memphis, Tenn. Sedalia, Mo. Marietta, Ga. Ellijay, Ga. Knoxville, Tenn. Kansas City, Mo. Lawrenceville, Ga.

Newton County Fairgrounds Appalachian Fairgrounds St. Joseph County Fairgrounds Towns County Recreation and Conference Center Ozark Empire Fairgrounds Agricenter International Missouri State Fairgrounds Cobb Co. Civic Center Gilmer County Civic Center Knoxville Expo Center KCI Expo Center Gwinnett County Fairgrounds

Real Texas Gun Shows

October 13-14 October 27-28

Gonzales, Texas Brenham, Texas

J.B. Wells Expo Center Brenham Fireman’s Training Center

Tanner Gun Shows

October 6-7 October 13-14 October 20-21

Pueblo, Colo. Colorado Springs, Colo. Denver, Colo.

Colorado State Fairgrounds Norris Penrose Event Center Denver Merchandise Mart

Wes Knodel Gun Shows

October 13-14 October 20-21

Medford, Ore. Centralia, Wash.

Medford Armory Southwest Washington Fairgrounds

R&K Gun Shows

To have your event highlighted here, send an email to 23


GIFT GUIDE AMMO INC. Jeff Rann signature line, American Hunter Rifle Ammunition. Loaded with Nosler Accubond projectiles, the American Hunter line has been developed to provide reliable and predictable performance shot after shot for a clean and ethical harvest.

NIGHTHAWK CUSTOM The President by Nighthawk Custom is the second pistol in our sharp shooting Boardroom Series. This 5-inch range-ready Government 1911 is a shorter version of our very successful Chairman model. Windows and heavy angle lightning cuts in the slide serve both a practical and aesthetic purpose. They allow the slide to cycle more rapidly while shooting competitively. This pistol is also available in multiple finishes, different colored barrels and grips.

TIPPMAN ARMORY Back in the 1870s, the rolling block action was introduced to the world and then thrived because of its innovative design and ease of use. Today the gun community is still in awe over the simple mechanisms that make this firearm work so well. Now available from Tippmann Armory is the beautiful case hardened Rolling Block and Raw Deal knife and hatchet set. It’s the perfect combination for your next outing.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

DeSANTIS HOLSTERS The DeSantis Osprey Holster is a trailing slot OWB/ IWB holster built from premium tan saddle leather. The belt slots will fit belts up to 1½ inches wide. The IWB strap is “cantable” and easily removed without tools. The #159 is available for medium and large autoloaders. Patent pending.

ARMASPEC The Armaspec VictoryTM Ambidextrous charging handle is designed for the 5.56mm/.223 rifle or pistol. It features curved handles for hands-free charging, integrated vent ports to route captured gas downward away from the face, and center force charging to reduce shaft twisting. Made from 7075-T6 aluminum and hard black anodized. Patents Pending.

FANCY PANTS HOLSTERS No two women are built the same, so our holsters are made to be not only comfortable, but versatile, stylish and adaptable to a variety of body shapes, firearms and lifestyles. All of our holsters are handmade in America, and we offer lots of custom options.

CDNN Outers’ 51 Piece Gunsmithing Screwdriver Kit is great for gunsmithing, installing sights or scopes, or everyday use around the home. It includes a molded driver with magnetic tip, 15 flathead bits, 10 hex bits (inch), nine hex bits (metric), four Phillips bits, nine torx bits, two extra-long Phillips bits and one hex-to-square adapter. You get all of this for only $9.99.

AMERICAN PRECISION ARMS The Answer Tunable Muzzle Brake is specifically designed for competitive shooters with one goal in mind – winning! With 12 months of research and development behind us, we are bringing the shooting community the most effective muzzle brake AR-15 platform shooters have ever seen. $169

AERO PRECISION The ATLAS R-One is the newest addition to the Aero Precision Handguard lineup. Machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, the R-One line of handguards feature a full top Picatinny rail, an extremely thin profile, and our proprietary ATLAS attachment system. This durable and dependable mounting platform maintains the slim profile while providing the strength and stability customers have grown to love from Aero Precision handguards. The R-One handguards range from 5.12 to 9.07 ounces in weight.

HUBER CONCEPTS Staged-break triggers. Two models: Traditional Staged-Break (Rc-60 alum body), Exponent (melanite steel body). Same internal structure, same mathematics.

WERKZ Wrap your pistol in a precisely fit Werkz M6 holster for maximum concealment. Available for a large selection of pistols and lights or lasers starting at $42.50.

DETROIT AMMO From subsonic .223 to .50 BMG, we are your source for custom ammunition from American manufacturers. Stop by to take a look around and make your purchase with confidence.

R&S PRECISION The Boyds At-One Adjustable Stock is a laminated stock that you can adjust quickly to adapt to any shooter. This new technology allows the change of the stock’s length of pull and cheek height with a simple push of a button. These stocks are available in a variety of colors for several different rifles.

WMD GUNS Talk about a perfect gift for AR owners! WMD Guns’ renowned NiB-X Bolt Carrier Group drops right into most any AR (and any stocking), and requires minimal cleaning or lubrication. It’s the gift that gives smooth, reliable, low-maintenance operation year-round! Available for .223, .308 and 9mm in multiple colors/finishes!

REEDER CUSTOM GUNS Gary Reeder Custom Guns announces another run of one of our most popular custom guns, the Outlaw. The first run sold out and we are taking orders for the next 50. The Outlaw is built on the customer’s Vaquero and is built full custom, in the barrel length and caliber of your choice.

EZR SPORT We have new gauntlets for single-stack magazine pistols, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield and Glock model 43. Our gauntlets are designed specifically to increase the grip circumference so that the pistol fits better in your hand, making it much easier to control. Our gauntlets make concealed carry more comfortable by eliminating the rough surface of the original grip while still giving you better co control of your gun. w ww

NECO QUICKLOAD NECO Moly-Slide – accuracy’s secret weapon! Conditions bore, smooth sears, smooth crisp trigger pull, smooth lugs, smooth pivot pins. Easy assembly of press-fit parts. A little dab does a lot!

LAYKE TACTICAL C ICA CTICA CAL L Made to .308 bullet ulle l t spec let sspecs specs, pecss thee si six-p six-piece x piece Bullet x-p Puzzle stores away in an oversized revolver cylinder. Both are made from billet aluminum and protected by a hard anodized coating. It’s a great stocking stuffer for any gun lover on your list.

NOWLIN ARMS Choose the 1911 pistol barrels preferred by champion shooters! We have a proven reputation with over eight world championships and 22 national titles! Visit us online for a complete list of barrels, parts and accessories to upgrade your 1911.

NC ORDNANCE Reproduction Stag-like Grips: Over 2,200 of the finest quality reproduction grips and buttplates for sale. S10 Colt 1911 .45 Gov’t Model Auto and Clones. Stag-like grips are made of the best quality urethane available. Will not shrink or chip. $50.00 plus $5.00 postage. 25



American Shooting Journal // October 2018

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THE OLD MARKSMAN GETS HIS BULL Washington state-based Outdoors for our Heroes organization helps terminally ill Vietnam vet fulfill wish to hunt elk before he dies. STORY BY TONY LEINGANG • PHOTOS BY J. BROWN AND PASTOR BILL DAVIS


ith a support team of dedicated volunteers, 70-year-old Bill Allen Sr., a resident of Ione, Washington, by way of southeast Texas, found success on the first elk hunt of his life. Big success, in the form of a six-point bull taken with a very long shot that harkened back to his experience in the military. This was quite a transformation from where an organization called Outdoors for our Heroes found Bill this past spring.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

Downing this great central Washington bull elk was a dream come true for both Bill Allen Sr., a terminally ill hunter from the northeastern corner of the state, and professional caller and Outdoors for our Heroes ďŹ eld rep Joe Meitmann. 29

Bill Sr., with ritual stripes after harvesting his first bull, and volunteer Jason McQuinn give the thumbs up.

At that time, Bill was selected to join his son on an OFOH-sponsored turkey hunt from a list of qualified disabled veteran applicants. What OFOH representatives found out during that time was that Bill was in pretty rough shape. He needed

significant accommodations to be able to get into the blind. No big deal. That’s what OFOH’s volunteers do as part of the organization’s purpose. In the end, both Bill and his son had great success, taking two toms each. Stories from that adventure led to the discovery that Bill was actually in hospice care and was terminally ill. His situation spawned an idea that OFOH then ran to ground with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Jason Brown, president of OFOH, went to work to find a way to get Bill out for possibly the last time, filling out paperwork and developing a relationship with WDFW, Bill, and his medical team. As time progressed, Bill’s mental and physical condition improved, as anticipation for the upcoming hunt gave him hope. His spirits had risen so much since that turkey hunt and he began to look forward to the idea of getting his first elk. By early fall, the plan was set in motion. It was to hunt Game Management Units 328 and 329, an

With OFOH founder Jason Brown ready to call holdovers, Bill Sr. lays prone behind a .28-caliber Nosler to get a feel for firing the custom-built rifle he would use to shoot a bull under a special state permit.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

area in Central Washington near Ellensburg known as the Colockum. OFOH, an organization whose motto is “Gratitude for Service,” was started by a group of friends led by founding president Jason Brown. OFOH officially became a 501(c)(3) in the fall of 2016 with a mission to provide quality outdoor experiences to disabled veterans. It remains a 100-percent volunteer-run group, and it was going to take a team to get this hunt completed successfully. Bill Sr. is a Vietnam War veteran. He was a staff sergeant with the Marine Corps. One notable bit of information is that he was trained as a sniper under legendary Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock (a.k.a. the “American Sniper” of the Vietnam War, according to an article found at Given the terrain in the chosen hunt area, this skill would come to be like muscle memory for Bill. THE FIRST TEAM of volunteers headed out to set up camp on the

Story time in camp with Bill Sr, Brian Eubank and Jason Brown.

Friday of Labor Day Weekend with an RV towing a UTV to provide the comfort necessary, both during and after long days of hard hunting. Jason Brown, OFOH secretary Tony Leingang, and two other volunteers, Joe Meitmann and Jeffrey Gibson, arrived to meet up with the rest of the team in Ellensburg. Professional guide Marc Eylar of Hidden Ranch Outfitters stopped by and provided some information about places to both hunt and avoid. Soon another volunteer, Brian Eubank, arrived with Bill. As the group was gassing up to leave town, Jason flagged down WDFW Sgt. Carlo Pace, who gladly exchanged phone numbers upon learning what was happening and invited the team to call him if anyone had trouble in the woods. The group assembled in camp and started organizing things for an evening scouting trip. They set out and before dusk fell, five “shooter” bulls were seen over an approximately 8-mile stretch. Given the terms of the 32

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

permit, hunting could not begin until Saturday morning. Everyone was stoked and returned to plan the next morning with an early start. Unfortunately, there had been no time for Bill to actually shoot

State Fish and Wildlife Police Sgt. Carlo Pace chats with Bill Sr. and his team before they head into the hills in search of elk.

the weapon brought for him to use, but he did get a chance to try out various methods and positions to be as prepared as possible. The rifle was a custom-built .28 Nosler by Jeremy Laier of Laiers Custom Lathe & Gunsmithing of Cosmopolis, Washington, and Jason had handloaded some ammunition for the hunt. Jason had carefully sighted and broken the rifle in with only about 50 rounds through it to date. It was yet untested by Bill. THE NEXT MORNING came quickly, and the team loaded up. At daylight, a few cows and smaller calves were spotted but there were no big ones to be found. Of course. The team spent the rest of the morning surveying the area. They stopped midday to give Bill a chance to try out the rifle. The condition of Bill’s health made it difficult for him to hold the rifle tightly against his shoulder, and the powerful .28-caliber round took its toll. He touched one off and

Bill Sr. joked it was he himself who drew first blood during the hunt when the rifle’s recoil gave him a scope bite.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

immediately “scoped” himself. While the team performed basic first aid, Bill simply laughed about “drawing first blood” and proudly stood for a photo. He was more determined than ever to get this hunt done. The team headed back to camp, talking to various campers and hunters and gaining intelligence from what they had seen. Apparently, at least two monster bulls had been spotted earlier. Given OFOH’s mission and upon getting a chance to meet Bill, they eagerly pointed the group in the right direction. Pastor and fellow veteran Bill Davis stopped in for a visit and decided to join the team for the evening hunt. When the time came, everyone headed out for an area of GMU 329 that borders GMU 251 and overlooks the Columbia River. Here, the team found its prize. It was too far away, and too late to try for a shot, but everyone knew what the plan would be for Sunday. It had been a long, rough day bouncing around the washboard roads of the area and it

had worn Bill Sr. out significantly, but he was extremely excited and determined to get back to this spot for a shot. Sunday morning, the team arrived back at the site much later than was anticipated and the elk herd below had already drawn a crowd. It included at least one huge bull as the team scrambled to get Bill in position. Archery deer season had started and one hunter was moving near the herd. Soon, a stampede of elk was seen running off in the distance. The shot op was lost for the day. But interestingly, there was a dispute with other people on that hill about whether OFOH was even hunting in the legal GMU 329. Jason got on the phone with WDFW immediately, while the team debated with the others on the differences between the electronic mapping program being used (onX Hunt) versus the published hard copy maps. Clearly there was a discrepancy, but who was right? Regardless of the outcome, OFOH found it first


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

personal commitments, while others came to join the crew. On Tuesday morning – Monday being the Labor Day holiday – Anis Aoude, WDFW Game Division manager, returned the call. Within minutes, an updated permit was issued and it was “game on” to get back to where the bulls had been last seen.

The scope would bite Bill Sr. again, but the bull he’d been aiming at would also topple.

necessary to be sure the integrity of the hunting requirements and restrictions be preserved for everyone involved. The plan became to see if WDFW would consider, given the situation with a terminally ill hunt, the permit could be adjusted to include GMU 251. A message was left with the state agency to determine the possibility. It was also time to change out some of the support team members due to

EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING, everything was set with the fresh support team ready to go. Volunteers Pastor Bill Davis and Jason McQuinn, along with Jason Brown, Joe Mietmann, and Bill Allen Sr. made it back out. A branched-antler bull was spotted but it would be a difficult shot. Jason Brown ranged the distance at 706 yards. Bill Sr. was shooting prone for a better chance at getting a comfortable rest. Everyone braced for the shot, and he pulled the trigger. When the team looked at Bill next, he was slumped over having knocking himself out cold after once again scoping himself. As some went to revive him, Jason noticed something

Mission accomplished!

else of note. The bull had dropped, nearly in place without any movement. Bill Sr., who was given first aid after coming to, was incredibly excited, and it showed just how that sniper training from so long ago paid off. The support team went down to begin taking care of the meat and hauling it back to the UTV. The bull was a beautiful, massive

six-pointer, measuring approximately 325 inches Boone and Crocket and weighing in at an astounding estimated 900 pounds on the hoof. Bill Sr.’s bucket list elk hunt was a great success and fun adventure for OFOH. O.F.O.H. WISHES TO thank you for your service to our country, Bill Allen

Custom Rifle Actions 406-756-2727 38

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

Sr. Now you will have that legacy and memento you often mentioned during the hunt that you wanted to pass down to your grandchildren. Also, special thanks go out to Fred Slyfield of Ellensburg for providing cold storage near the hunt; Dave Jones of DJ’s Taxidermy of Tumwater, Washington, for working with OFOH on getting the rack mounted for Bill; Barney McClanahan of Our Glory Coffee LLC for getting the bull’s ivories made into a keepsake for Bill Sr.; and of course, to all the volunteer members of Outdoors for Our Heroes and their families for helping to find another disabled veteran success and a new sense of purpose through the OFOH organization and its outreach. If you found this story to be inspiring and you’d like to help support what OFOH accomplishes or know someone who could use their assistance, please visit, like and follow them on Facebook, or contact them directly at (206) 571-0218.

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The shot’s the easy part, but breaking down a big bull isn’t as tough as you may think it is. STORY AND PHOTOS BY SCOTT HAUGEN


ive years ago this month I wrote my first Road Hunter column for American Shooting Journal. I can’t believe how fast the years pass, and with it, more adventures to share. I get a lot of questions from readers, with most asking about elk hunting. So, with October upon us and the height of season near, here are my thoughts on one of the biggest challenges of hunting the species. Take, for example, the big bull I recently shot right before dark. PRE-HUNT PREPARATION My day started at 4 a.m., and I was prepared to stay in the woods all day and night, if necessary. I knew the bull I’d just shot from across the canyon was down, and I also knew it was going to be pitch-dark by the time I reached him. Due to the rugged terrain, it took me over an hour to get to that bull. Thankfully I had a headlamp and extra batteries, for there’s no worse feeling than being caught in the dark with no light. I also had my knife, sharpener, game bags and, thankfully, a young, strong buddy, Matt Craig of Boulder Creek Outfitters (bouldercreekoutfitters. com), to help. When we reached where

Elk hunters face many challenges, from getting in shape to mental strength, but not to be overlooked is the importance of being able to get all of the meat out once a bull is down. (JOHN HINDERMAN)

the bull had fallen, it wasn’t there. Shining our lights down the face of the canyon, we could see a trail where the bull had tumbled. It came to rest more than 300 very steep yards farther down the mountain from where I shot him. Here, many folks would gut the animal and return in the morning to quarter and pack out the meat. But knowing how well an elk hide insulates, and that their big bones and

large muscles hold in heat, we wanted to get all the meat hanging that night. The weather had been unseasonably warm, and to leave the meat on the carcass overnight would surely result in partial spoilage. I use a gutless approach to break down most big game in the field. This is a clean, fast way to get the meat off the carcass and quickly cooling. If there’s one tip to help make your 43

ROAD HUNTER Author Scott Haugen has taken many elk throughout the West, and rates the work that comes after the shot as one of the most difficult parts of the hunt.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

venison taste better, it’s to get it cooling as quickly as you can, in the field if necessary. I use no saws when breaking down an animal, only a simple 3- or 4-inch fixed-blade knife. For the gutless approach, get the animal on its back and slit the hide from the anus to the chin, then across from front foot to front foot, back foot to back foot. Peel the hide away from the carcass, laying it out flat on the ground. This exposes all the muscles and creates a clean place to work. Remove the hindquarters and front shoulders. Front shoulders are easy to remove, as there are no bone-to-bone connections. Be careful not to cut into the backstrap, which runs under the shoulder blade into the neck. The hindquarters are easy to remove. Follow the pelvic bone to the ball joint and disarticulate the joint. This will allow the leg to lay over, and the rest of the cut can be completed to the base of the spine.

ROAD HUNTER This is the only time blood flows from the carcass, as both femoral arteries are cut, so it’s nice if the hind end can be facing slightly downhill when the hindquarters are removed. Before removing the quarters, have a game bag ready and shaded trees to hang them in. When it’s warm out, separate the muscle groups of the hindquarters at the upper femur, keeping them attached at the knee. This will get these large muscles cooling from both inside and out. Next, fillet the neck meat off each side, followed by the backstraps. All that’s left now are the tenderloins and ribs. The tenderloins can be cut out without removing the entrails. Simply place the carcass on one side and find the finger bones. With a knife, run it just under the stomach lining, close to the spine. You’ll find the tenderloin lying against the spine. Continue cutting the tenderloin until it’s free on both ends. Turn the carcass over and repeat on the other side. On elk, there is a lot of great-eating meat on the outside of the ribs. It can all be filleted off, one side at a time. Because you’re working with the carcass as it lies on the inside of hide, it stays clean the whole time. Once the outer rib meat is removed, place the carcass on one side, so the entrails move away from the ribs. Now take a knife and remove the muscle between each and every rib. You can remove the

Planning how to get your downed elk out of the woods needs to be done well ahead of the hunt.

heart and liver through the ribs. If you like eating the heart and liver, now you can make a slit in the abdomen and the entrails will spill out. This makes accessing the organs easy and very clean. After boning out that bull, Matt

Most often, elk hunters pack out every bit of meat, as well as the head, on their back. Such tasks can take several hours, even days, in big, rugged country, so going in prepared and in shape is key.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

and I finally got back to camp after midnight. We packed out some meat, but were right back in the canyon the next morning. All of the packing was done on foot, and by 3 p.m. that afternoon, we packed out the last of the meat. Every bit of meat from that bull was salvaged and provided greateating venison for the family. OPTIMIZING MEAT QUALITY In addition to boning and cooling meat immediately after the kill, aging meat is another key to optimizing the flavor and texture of wild game. Five days is an ideal aging time for the muscle tissues to break down. If you can let it hang a few days longer, great. The ideal hanging temperature to age big game is between 33 and 44 degrees. If it’s too warm at camp, have a few coolers full of ice to place the meat in. If you get an animal home and it’s too warm to hang and age the meat in

As soon as an elk is down, locate the nearest shade, quarter the bull and get the meat cooling as quickly as possible.

a garage, cut it up and place it under refrigeration to age. It’s OK to age the meat in sections or parts, bone in or out; just make sure not to stack the meat, as you want air circulating around as much of the surface as possible. If it’s warm, aging meat may not be possible, or you may not have an extra refrigerator, as elk are big animals. So, cut and wrap the meat, then freeze it. Label each package with the cut of meat and processing date. When you want to cook these cuts of meat that have not aged, plan ahead. Five to seven days prior to cooking it, remove a package of meat from the freezer. Place it on a rack with a plate underneath it to catch any liquid. Keep in the refrigerator, uncovered, 48

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

allowing air to circulate around the entire cut of meat. It’s called dry aging, and it’s very effective. MEAT PRESERVATION Before leaving on an elk hunt, be prepared to process and store the large volume of meat. Options for what to do with elk meat, or any venison and wild game, are endless. Preservation also has to do with space. If you don’t have a lot of freezer space, pressure canning in glass jars turns meat into shelf-stable, fully cooked protein. It can also be smoked and made into jerky, and when vacuum-sealed, takes up a lot less room in the freezer. When it comes to cooking big game, there are two ways to go about

it – hot and fast or low and slow. Due to the lack of fat in game meat, there isn’t much of a middle ground. For example, an elk backstrap, tenderloin or steak cooked to medium-well (155 to 160 degrees) on the grill will be flavorless and tough. That same cut of meat grilled to medium rare (135 to 140 degrees) will be tender and juicy. Cuts best suited for hot and fast cooking are the backstrap, tenderloin and larger roasts from the hindquarter. Hot and fast cooking methods include stir frying, grilling, broiling, sautéing, as well as coating and pan-frying. Meat for these methods is usually thinly sliced or cut into steaks less than half an inch thick. When cooking larger steaks or a whole tenderloin or backstrap, use an internal cooking thermometer to make sure the meat doesn’t cook beyond 140 degrees. Take larger cuts of meat off the heat source before it hits 140 degrees and let the meat rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing into it. Low and slow cooking – simmering, stewing, braising – can be accomplished in a slow cooker/roaster, crock-pot, Dutch oven or on the stove top. The best low and slow cuts are those that are a challenge to butcher, like the shanks and neck meat. Cuts that have more fibrous muscle tissue and more condensed muscle groups, like those in parts of the front shoulder and brisket, benefit from low and slow methods. Think rich, hearty stews, juicy pot roasts and spicy, sweet pulled venison sliders when pondering slow cooking options. Editor’s note: To learn how to skin and cape elk and other big game, check out Scott Haugen’s best-selling Field Dressing, Skinning and Caping Big Game DVD. Order at, or send a check for $20.00 to Haugen Enterprises, P.O Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489. Mention you read it in American Shooting Journal, and receive a special offer of two videos for the price of one!


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

she hunts

Brittany Boddington ate well and even got to dive in the Mediterranean for sea urchin during a trip to France last fall, but she was primarily there to hunt for a Pyrenean chamois.


A trip to southwest France yields spectacular hunting, world-class cuisine. STORY AND PHOTOS BY BRITTANY BODDINGTON


unting in France has its perks. One major benefit is that it is home to some of the best cuisine in the world, and a pretty cool thing about this trip is that the area we were hunting was not far from the Mediterranean. Even as a California native, I don’t think much about the sea in the winter, but in France they dive at every opportunity.

I was hunting last fall with my good friends at France Safaris, Guillaume Roque and his wife, Lisa. And our hunt started off in the Pyrenees Mountains for a Pyrenean chamois. We drove up into the mountains and set up camp in a tiny village where only two families live. Our local guide, Jean Luc Planes, maintains a small flat there for his hunters to stay. We hiked out from

the flat in the morning early and got into the mountains as the sun came up. It wasn’t long before we spotted a chamois. They call them izard, which sounds like “iza” when they talk about the animal in French. I don’t speak French but I can pick it up when they see a big one because they get very excited. The area we were hunting is right on the border with Spain, so most 53

she hunts In a beautiful but precarious spot of the Pyrenees Mountains, Boddington takes aim at a chamois, a type of antelope goat.

The terrain wasn’t the only hindrance for Boddington; so was the language barrier between her and her French-speaking guides. Fortunately, she speaks some Spanish, which is also spoken widely in this area along the France-Spain border.

people speak Spanish as well as French. Living in the Southwestern U.S. taught me enough Spanish to be able to get along pretty well. Jean Luc and I communicated in Spanish because he doesn’t speak very much English and most of his hunters are from Spain and France.

ON THE LOOKOUT We hiked for a while and got up to a peak where we could overlook the opposite mountainside. There were animals everywhere. We saw a roe buck first, and then as the light hit the mountain we could see chamois moving all over the place. We spotted at least seven of them in the 30 minutes we sat there. One of them looked particularly big, and I could hear the excitement in the guys’ voices. I got excited too! 54

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

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she hunts I got into position over a rock and managed to ďŹ gure out which animal they were talking about, but then I heard that it was a female. I really prefer not to shoot female animals, even though in this area they do not differentiate the male from the female on the hunting license or tags. I hesitated and asked the guys if they really wanted me to shoot this one. They said it was a huge one but that it was up to me; I told them I would really prefer to shoot a big old male.


Snake in the grass? That’s what everyone stepped on even if they didn’t realize it.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

We stopped and had a snack, which in France means they pulled out a baguette, some amazing cheeses and dried sausage. Guillaume even had foie gras, duck or goose liver, for us. They really are spoiled when it comes to food in France. The cheeses are to die for. We feasted and then carried on with our hiking. We got to another lookout point where we set up to glass the

she hunts area. Jean Luc got excited again and I scrambled to get into position to shoot, which took me a minute. I couldn’t find the chamois in my scope for a few seconds but when I did I knew this was going to be it. The chamois jumped up onto a rock and stood broadside for just long enough for me to get a shot off. The chamois jumped at the shot and then rolled down a few yards onto another rock and out of sight. The guys all jumped up and celebrated, but I stayed on my rifle hoping to see the chamois again but it was not visible at all. I hesitated to celebrate because I wasn’t convinced that it was dead, but everyone assured me that my shot had been right on target and that we would find the chamois dead on the other side. We started to hike, and Jean Luc thought it would be faster to go straight down and then climb up the other side because there were no paths to go around and stay at the same elevation.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

TAKE THE LONG WAY DOWN I didn’t love the idea of going straight down and then straight back up because it’s hard on my knees, but I managed. We got up to where the chamois disappeared, and sure enough, it was there dead on a rock. My shot hit exactly on the shoulder where I had aimed. I was shooting a CZ-USA in .300 Win. Mag. with SIG Sauer optics. The combination worked perfectly. On our hike back out we slipped and slid because the frost from the morning had melted and the grass was wet and slick. It was brutal until we figured out that we could slide. I slid down quite a bit on that trek out of there. We got to the last mountainside on our way back to town and were all walking pretty quickly when the last person in line stopped and yelled to us that we had all just walked over a viper. It was lying in the grass, coiled and not happy. None of us had seen

it at all. I had completely forgotten that there were even snakes in France! Fortunately, no one was bitten and the snake went on its way.

TAKE A DIVE The next day Guillaume had a special treat for me. He took me to his friend’s beach house, his wife loaned me a wet suit and we went diving for sea urchin. They taught me how to look for the best ones and how to get them off the rocks safely. We had a massive barbecue, cooked up the chamois and cut open the sea urchin. We feasted once again on my very first self-harvested surf-and-turf meal. What an amazing way to end the trip! Editor’s note: Brittany Boddington is now an Arizona-based hunter, journalist and adventurer. For more, see and facebook. com/brittanyboddington. 59



With the signature blue polymer tip and grooves in the shank, the Barnes Tipped Triple Shock X, or TTSX, bullet gives excellent accuracy and terminal performance.


Barnes’ all-copper TTSX bullet ‘has yet to disappoint’ for clients of custom handloader. STORY AND PHOTOS BY PHIL MASSARO


hen I started handloading my ammunition, one of the immediate attractions was the diverse array of projectiles that were unavailable to those who were limited by factory ammunition. Not only could I control the velocity and accuracy of my handloaded ammunition, but I could choose those bullets that gave the best terminal performance as well. That was a long time ago and the Barnes X bullet was relatively new on the market. I loved the concept: an all-copper hollowpoint bullet, which had neither jacket nor core to separate. The hollowpoint opened up into four petals,

and the resulting expanded bullet made a sort of “X” when you recovered them, as pass-throughs and deep penetration were part of the package. I eagerly bought a couple boxes for every caliber I shot, and set out to create the ultimate handloads. There was one small problem: No matter what I did, I couldn’t get them to shoot. The design – with a solid shank – gave all sorts of wonderful copper fouling, which required an aromatic ammonia-based solvent and plenty of elbow grease to remove. Hunters who were fortunate enough to get good accuracy – or those who lived with what they had – reported mixed terminal results from the field. If the

Barnes X opened up as it was intended to, the animals went down quickly, though there were many reports of the bullet failing to open and zipping through like a solid. Improvements were attempted – including a variant that had a baby blue coating to reduce drag and fouling – yet the accuracy and terminal results were still mixed. JUST ABOUT THE TIME I had completely given up on the concept, Barnes announced that they had completely revolutionized the bullet design. I was immediately intrigued, as there were two versions: the hollowpoint TSX (or Triple Shock X bullet) and the TTSX (the Tipped Triple Shock 61

bullet bulletin The .300 Winchester Magnum and the 180-grain Barnes TTSX make a perfect combination for nearly all big game hunting.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

X). I like them both, but based on the early designs and their occasional failure to expand, I took a shine to the Tipped version. Not only do I appreciate the polymer tip for the increase in ballistic coefficient, but it acts like a wedge upon impact, and in my experience it greatly aids in guaranteeing expansion. Now the revision in both design and name comes from the grooves cut into the shank; most bullets have three grooves (hence the Triple moniker) cut into the shank, but the longer bullets will have four. The inspiration came from the projectiles for the big naval guns; those bands reduce pressure and bearing service, as well as offer a great reduction in copper fouling. Or, as I prefer to look at it, the new design requires less time scrubbing with that stinking potion. And, perhaps most importantly, the accuracy issue has been resolved, and for that I am most grateful. The TTSX is an accurate

bullet bulletin bullet, and the terminal ballistics are among the best in the business. I have loaded the TTSX for a number of clients, for hunts ranging from the common whitetail hunts we all enjoy to the tough plains game species of Africa, and I’m happy to report that the TTSX has yet to disappoint. It works at all sorts of velocities as well, and I feel that signature blue polymer tip plays an

important role in opening the bullet at lower velocities. With wonderfully high weight retention – often into the 90- to 95-percent range – the bullet certainly delivers a quick kill. As I said earlier, most of the shots on game animals will exit, and two holes through vital organs are certainly better than one. I have loaded the TTSX in many different calibers, from the docile

Six-point-five-millimeter cartridges are very popular right now, and the 120-grain Barnes TTSX is a great hunting bullet for any of them.

With a ballistic coefficient of 0.484, the polymer tip and boattail of the .30-caliber 180-grain TTSX make for a good long-range hunting bullet.

The 120-grain Barnes TTSX in 6.5mm is perfect for the 6.5 Creedmoor, as well as the faster 6.5mm cartridges.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018


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A .30-caliber 180-grain Barnes TTSX (above right) recovered from a frontal shot on a Namibian black wildebeest (above). Note the expanded conformation, with high weight retention.

.308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor, up through the benchmark .30-06 Springfield and continuing to the .30 Nosler and .300 Winchester Magnum. It has shot very well in my 6.5-284 Norma, as well as the 6.5x55 Swede. I

have found that the TTSX – like many lead-free bullets – prefers to be well off the lands and given a bit of bullet jump. Most factory loads featuring the TTSX are set at an overall length matching SAAMI specifications, so

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American Shooting Journal // October 2018

they will function properly through the magazine, but I know more than one handloader who will experiment with slight changes in seating depth to help enhance the accuracy of their handloads. I load many different types and brands of bullets for both clients and friends; some perform as advertised, and others do not. I can honestly say that anyone who has taken the TTSX on their hunt has nothing to complain about. While I hunt with many different bullets, including other Barnes products, for some reason I’ve yet to take the TTSX afield. I fully intend to remedy that soon. Editor’s note: For more information, visit


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Between accounting for countless deer each fall and serving as the round American snipers toting Remington 700s have counted on in hostile territory, the .308 just may be the best rifle cartridge ever, argues author Nick Perna.

WHY THE .308 IS THE BEST RIFLE CARTRIDGE EVER Since its 1952 debut, this round has aged well even as hot new ones have come online, thanks to

usefulness across military platforms, widespread availability and having downed a deer or two since. STORY AND PHOTOS BY NICK PERNA


ike a lot of you out there, I read a lot of gun magazines. Periodically, most magazines run an “everything old is new again” article about a particular weapon system or round. You know the ones I’m talking about; articles with catchy titles like “Best Revolvers for Combat.” What? I like a nice wheel gun as much as the next guy, but its time as a primary sidearm for combat has long gone. In limited circumstances, such as a

hammerless .38 as a last-ditch backup, it still has a tactical role. But by and large, the revolver’s gun-fighting days are behind it (regardless of how fast you can speed load it). I can also make an argument that anything with an exposed hammer is also yesterday’s technology, but that’s a rant for another day. Another article that pops up from time to time is the utility of a stagecoach-style shotgun for home defense. I’m not sure what person in

their right mind would opt for a twoshot weapon for home defense. Like the revolver, this seems like a great idea when you are at the range or tinkering (i.e. playing) with your guns at home. It will seem like a terrible idea when some bad guy is throwing down large volumes of lead at you from a handgun or rifle and you can only respond with two to six shots at a time before needing a reload. Sorry, folks, sometimes the truth hurts. 69

Well-worn revolvers and polished side-byside scatterguns may be beautiful to look at, but they’re not the best choices for modern gun-fighting.

With all that being said, old doesn’t necessarily equal obsolete. Sometimes something appears to be the best at everything, until it’s supplanted or replaced by other items that do specific things better. Such is the case with the much maligned .308 round. It has lost some popularity in recent years, but it is arguably the best allpurpose rifle round ever designed. THE .308 HAS been around a long time. It was designed in 1952. It was the cartridge that powered the M14 Battle Rifle, the primary long gun for servicemen throughout the ’50s and well into the ’70s with National Guard and Reserve units. It was the go-to round for sniper rifles, used extensively in every major conflict since Vietnam. It still feeds the military’s primary belt-fed weapon system, the M240, and is still the standard .30-caliber round for NATO. So, what happened? Why did the .308 become the “old man’s cartridge”? The .308 is really good at a lot of things, but other rounds are better in specific roles. Where the .308 is a jack of all trades, other rounds designed for one purpose have done a better job in 70

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

the roles they were designed for. But none can fill all roles like the .308 can. In the combat/close quarters battle role, the .223 is king. There is no denying it. When the M16 replaced the M14 as our nation’s primary service weapon in the 1960s, it permanently made the .308 a less acceptable combat round. The .223 round is lighter, meaning you can carry more of it. More importantly, though, the recoil is more manageable, an important factor in combat. Select-fire M14s were notoriously difficult to control on full auto, whereas the M16 firing the .223 is much better. There are other factors at play here, such as weapon design, but that doesn’t change the fact that the bigger bullet kicks more. In combat, he who puts the most rounds into his opponent generally wins. Recoil has an adverse effect on this. There are other specialty rounds like the .300 Blackout and .458 SOCOM that are recent developments that are also great CQB rounds. Their large caliber results in significant tissue damage and they marry up well with the AR platform. But where all of these rounds fail in comparison to the .308 is range. The

.300 Blackout and .458 SOCOM aren’t designed for long distance, but a .223 round with a high velocity should be able to reach out and touch. It doesn’t, not when compared to the .308. A .223 coming from a long-barreled M16 is good out to around 600 yards, less with a short-barreled M4. A .308 round is effective out to about 1,000 yards. Big difference. Another shortcoming of the .223 when used with an AR platform is how finicky it is with regard to twist rates and barrel lengths. Since the round is small it needs to tumble or break apart on impact with a target to do a lot of damage. When a .223 round is fired through the wrong barrel length/ twist combo, it “icepicks” targets, going straight through and leaving a minimal wound cavity. A .308 round is a significantly bigger round. Bullets are measured in grain weights. An average .223 round weighs around 55 grains, but a .308 is about 160 grains, almost three times as heavy. That results in harder hits down range that are less susceptible to barrel length and twist issues. The .308 is less affected by wind than its lighter cousin. This also makes it a good dual-purpose

No doubt that in battle, the .223 is king – here’s an M4 – but the smaller bullets have their drawbacks.

round for CQB, as well as sniping. The .308 round works well in an AR platform. For every major .223 tactical rifle made, there is a .308 caliber variant. SCAR, HK and Galil all have .223 variants as well as a big brother .308. Still not the greatest on full auto but significantly better than firing it from the M14.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

FOR MANY YEARS the .308 was the primary sniper caliber for military and law enforcement. Bolt-action Remington 700s were the staple of Army and Marine snipers for many years. I carried a long-barreled 700 as a SWAT team sniper and found it more than adequate for what I needed. During the Global War on Terror

it was found that engagements were at longer distances than previously encountered. The .308 had a hard time zapping targets over a grid square away. Weapons like the .338 Lapua came into their own. A good .338 Lapua fired from a quality rifle can get hits at 1,500 yards and further. That’s 50 percent farther than .308. The .338 not only travels farther, but has a flatter trajectory. In a side-byside sniper competition, the .338 Lapua is superior. Where the .308 has an advantage is in flexibility and modularity. There is a limited number of semiauto .338 rifles out there but they aren’t made in the same quantity, nor have they seen as much use in combat, as .308 rifles. The old man M14 has been an active participant in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many Vietnamera weapons were dusted off and used in their old wooden stock configuration. Others were modified with high-quality adjustable synthetic stocks, married with high-quality optics, turning them into excellent

The history of the .308 traces back to the 1950s and the M14, the primary long rifle for soldiers for years. Perna holds the civilian version, a Springfield Armory M1A.

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American Shooting Journal // October 2018

sniper weapons. AR platforms such as the SR25 have been in the war since the beginning. Many snipers prefer them because they can double as combat rifle when needed, albeit one that’s a little ungainly due to weight and long barrel length. A bolt-action gun doesn’t lend itself to building clearing or close-quarters gun fights with opponents armed with AK-47s. An SR-25 type rifle also prevents the need to carry multiple weapon systems. Carrying a bolt gun in a drag bag on your back while using an AR platform to defend yourself, with incompatible rounds, does not result in an optimal tactical situation. As mentioned previously, the .308 is the standard NATO round. In a pinch, a sniper could pull a few rounds of .308 off a belt of machinegun ammo and use it, with the understanding that it wouldn’t be as accurate as a match-grade round. Traditionally, in the United Kingdom sniper ammo is in fact machine gunammo. The first round produced in the lot is reserved

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for sniping, while the rest are linked together and fed to machine guns. Using nonstandard ammo like the .338 Lapua presents logistical issues as well. Anywhere the U.S. military goes, it brings .308 with it. It’s a common enough cartridge that it can be found in most other countries too. Try finding .338 Lapua if your logisticians haven’t forecasted the need for it and ensured it is well stocked. There is no such thing as “overnight delivery” in many parts of the world. The .338 Lapua isn’t going away, but it’s important to note that it’s a round designed for a particular type of combat. It really has come into its own in Afghanistan where almost all engagements are at a very long distance, unparalleled in previous American combat experience. So, in a way, it’s a round designed to fit a particular type of warfare (or war). Which explains why the .308 was the preeminent sniper round up until that time. Outside the tactical realm, .308 is a really good hunting round for medium to large game. It’s a safe bet that .308 (along with .30-30 and .30-06) has accounted for more North American game than all of the other calibers combined. I don’t think I’d go elephant hunting with it, but I’d feel confident using it on most large game. So, despite its reputation as the old man in town, .308 is the best allpurpose round available. It works in every major assault weapons system, it is compatible with belt-fed weapons, it still functions well as a sniper weapon, and it can be found just about everywhere. So, this old man recommends it. Editor’s note: Nick Perna is a sergeant with the Redwood City Police Department in northern California. He has spent much of his career as a gang and narcotics investigator. He served on a multijurisdictional SWAT team as an entry team member, sniper and team leader. He previously served as a paratrooper in the US Army and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks

The Quickest (and Easiest) Way to Improve Firearm Accuracy There are many paths that lead to improved function and accuracy of a rifle—from barrel upgrades and trigger jobs to high-quality optics and custom cartridge loads. Yet regardless of the strategies and techniques employed to achieve X-ring perfection, all is for naught without a solid, predictable, and proper-fitting stock. The stock is the foundation which all accurizing tweaks rely upon. It must first provide a rigid, non-flexing support for the barreled action. That’s something factory stocks rarely deliver—especially the lightweight plastic varieties so common today. Second, a good stock will include an ergonomic profile that assists the shooter in providing a correct mount, good cheek weld, comfortable trigger reach, and position the firing hand in such a way as to achieve a straight trigger pull. In short, a top-performing rifle stock is one that is engineered for both the mechanical and the biomechanical. Its job is to reduce or eliminate the mechanical variables (movement of the barreled action when fired) through maximum rigidity and the biomechanical variables (shooter-induced torque on the trigger, grip, cheek riser, and butt pad) through proper form and fit. These are the fundamentals to achieving the highest possible accuracy (repeatable point of impact) of a barrel and load combination. Without these beginnings, only marginal accuracy gains may be expected from further modifications. Although high-quality, precision rifle stocks often represent a significant investment for the accuracy-pursuing shooter, there are solutions available that are cost-effective for those who simply wish to upgrade their existing rifle system with an accurized stock. The latest example is the new MC3, or “McCubed” stock from McMillan Fiberglass Stocks. Known in military and long-range competitive shooting circles for their precision stock systems, McMillan has just introduced an industry-first molded polymer stock that is factory inletted for a drop-in fit into popular Remington 700 short- and long-action bolt rifles. Based on the company’s legendary A5 precision tactical stock, the new MC3 is stronger, stiffer, and more resistant to shrinkage and deformation than conventional polymer stocks thanks to its proprietary glass-filled polymer blend. What’s more, the MC3 is a solid-formed stock, unlike standard polymer stocks that are hollow and rely on gusseting for reinforcement. This solid design further enhances the MC3’s strength and lends additional weight for more stable shooting in both bench and field rest applications. The MC3 follows the proven McMillan A5 pattern stock with its robust ergonomic features. These include a trim pistol grip angled for comfortable wrist alignment to better affect a straight trigger pull. For the non-firing hand, an integrated butt hook allows the shooter to easily make micro adjustments to the sight picture and have more control when “riding the sandbag.” Frontend stability is augmented with a wide and flat beavertail forearm profile that’s ideal for shooting off sandbags or a pack. For breathing new life into a favorite Remington 700 BDL or DBM, or to start your rifle on the path toward gaining maximum potential accuracy, the new MC3 from McMillan is a prime choice. Currently available for short- or long-action right-hand models, the MC3 is offered in a standard stock or the Legend Deluxe stock with an adjustable comb. All models come with front sling studs, rear quick-detach cup and loop, one-inch recoil pad by Pachmayr, and a spacer system for length-of-pull adjustment is available on the Legend Deluxe model. Carbon fiber-filled models are also available for even more rigidity.

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The South Fork is available in .223 Remington, .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor, and is aimed at the tactical and target-shooting markets.


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ut of adRock Rifles out roduced Montana has introduced he South its first model, the Fork, crafted for the tactical or target shooter. It uses a precision bolt action, set into an aluminum chassis,, with premium stainlesssteel barrel and adjustable TriggerTech trigger. d Designed for competition-grade accuracy, the bolt action is machined from prehardened steel bar stock to ensure precise tolerances. The control round feed ensures smooth and reliable cycling. The wire EDM-cut lugways, pinned recoil lug, and fluted bolt with tactical knob are details that ensure quality. The action is designed for a pinned-scope rail that attaches to the

receiver with oversized 8-40 screws. (A 20 MOA stainless steel scope rail is il bl from f B dR k ) available BadRock.) The match-grade barrel is hand-lapped, with medium-heavy contour to withstand rapid strings of fire. The South Fork also features a precision-cut chamber, 5/8-24 muzzle threads for a muzzle brake or suppressor (brake and suppressor not included), and a machined stainless muzzle thread protector.

The South Fork’s chassis is adjustable for length of pull and comb height and includes a front sling swivel stud. It has more adaptability for add-ons, such as Mil-Spec 1913 and Arca-Swiss rails, and comes in black or h kl b huckleberry. Available in .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, and 6.5 Creedmoor, right or left hand, the BadRock South Fork brings a new level of quality and precision to the production rifle market. Editor’s note: For more information, visit 79


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“Hannah,” a Model 1874 Sharps from C. Sharps Arms, is seen next to the blanket gun cover made for her.

AND I CALL HER ‘HANNAH’ The legend of a long-ago buffalo hunter and a .44-caliber barrel recently found ‘in the dust’ combine in a special Model 1874 Sharps. STORY AND PHOTOS BY MIKE NESBITT


annah” is a rather special rifle, a Model 1874 Sharps from C. Sharps Arms that was “built around” a Badger No. 2 barrel in .44 caliber. The No. 2 barrels are heavy and that, as a result, gives this Hartford-style rifle a weight of over 15 pounds. Chambered for the .44-77 Sharps cartridge, Hannah is very pleasant to shoot and will reward this shooter with some very good groups. The idea for this rifle stemmed from a note I received from Pat Dulin at C. Sharps Arms, who wrote to tell me they had found this No. 2 Badger .44-caliber barrel “in the dust.” He asked me if I was interested in it. I immediately said no, but then, almost within the same breath, asked how soon they could have the rifle ready. Pat said it would be

ready and done for this year’s Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match, held Father’s Day weekend in Montana. That’s when the details were worked out with just a few special notes. I said I wanted a pack-hardened receiver and butt plate, brass escutcheons under the stock screws, good standard “buffalo hunter’s rifle” wood, and no rear dovetail in the barrel. And the fact that this rifle was getting a Badger barrel put me in action to get it because there might never be another chance. I also requested that they stamp the case length (for cartridge and chamber identification) upside-down on the right side flat of the barrel, similar to how the old Sharps rifles were marked. WHILE I WAS waiting to see this new rifle, I thought about how much I enjoy reading words by or about Oliver Perry Hanna, the O.P. Hanna of the northern buffalo hunts. He partnered with Jim

White and they were the team depicted in Ralph Heinz’s painting of “Hanna and White” hunting buffalo. White was already a well-known buffalo hunter from Texas who went to Montana after the Texas herd was basically wiped out. Hanna and White began their partnership while hunting for meat to supply to the Army forts in the area around today’s Miles City, Montana. O.P. Hanna’s notes or short stories are anthologized in Miles Gilbert’s book Getting A Stand (available from Dixie Gun Works, $13.95). Hanna included very specific mention of White’s three Sharps 16-pound rifles, all in .50-90 caliber. Any reader would quickly assume that Hanna’s rifle was also a .50-90 because I haven’t found where another cartridge or caliber was identified by him. Maybe that was simply because the “Big Fifty” was the more exciting gun to talk about and human nature 83

BLACK POWDER really hasn’t changed to any great extent over the last few hundred years. White was murdered in 1880 and his Sharps rifles, plus Hanna’s rifle, were stolen. This happened while Hanna was away from their camp, checking on things at his ranch. Twenty-seven years later, in 1907, Hanna was having some horses shod in Hyattville, Wyoming, and saw a familiar-looking rifle in the back of the blacksmith’s shop. On closer examination, he saw that it was his old Sharps rifle, identified with the “H” carved in the stock. More specific information about Hanna’s rifle is given in Roy Marcot’s

Author Mike Nesbitt draws a bead on a 600-yard target with the rifle during this year's Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match. (PHIL WIEBE)


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

excellent book, Sharps Firearms, Volume 2 (available from C. Sharps Arms, $89.95), saying that it was made in 1873 (it is a Hartford model) and that it is a .44 caliber. Also, the rifle has a full octagon barrel of 30 inches in length, weighing 15½ pounds with double set triggers and is equipped with peep and globe sights. Getting such specific information was a real delight to me, perhaps partially because I am a big fan of the Sharps .44s. But Marcot’s book did not include the specific information about which of the .44 Sharps cartridges Hanna’s rifle was chambered for. Let

me admit, I assumed it was a .44-77 simply because of the great popularity of that cartridge. O.P. Hanna’s old rifle is currently on display at Bob Edgar’s “Old Trail Town” in Cody, Wyoming. I asked my ol’ friend Scott Sibley to check on that rifle for me when he might be in that town. He did, and reported back to me that Hanna’s rifle is a .44-90 Sharps. That’s good to know and it really makes no difference to me because my Hannah wasn’t intended to be a copy of Hanna’s rifle, even though they are rather close. Maybe they’re close enough that O.P. Hanna would approve.

BLACK POW POWDER WDER Hannah is equipped with a midrange Soule tang sight.

MY FIRST CHANCE to shoot Hannah came at Quigley a day before the famous “Montana monsoon” hit. At that time the weather was just beautiful, so after a good cowboy breakfast of bacon and biscuits, Hannah was taken to the firing line, along with some of Cat’s shooting sticks and my line box with


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

a ramrod and a full box of 405-grain paper-patched loads. Shooting started on target number four, the 24-inch diamond-shaped gong at 405 yards. The midrange Soule tang sight was set at an elevation “borrowed” from my .44-90, which proved to be close enough, requiring only a minute

or two of adjustment to be rewarded w with hits. Phil Wiebe was there spotting fo for me, calling out my hits and misses. In order to break in the new barrel, th the bore was wiped after every shot for th the first 10 rounds. The load I was using du duplicated the old Sharps sporting load ffor the .44-77, which included 405-grain fo p a paper-patched bullets (cast from a K KAL adjustable mold) loaded over 75 g r grains of Olde Eynsford 1½F powder in tthe h Jamison cases. After no more than ffour o shots, wiping and shooting, hits o n the 24-inch target were recorded on w with notes made on a new page in my n o notebook. Then we moved to the 530y a “postage stamp” target. yard After those first 10 shots were fired, and the barrel wiped each time, I started wiping the bore after every two shots. I do believe a smoothness in the bore could be felt as the ramrod pushed subsequent patches through the bore. Maybe I believe that mainly because I wanted to. At any rate, the


Five shots from 100 yards with the 457-grain bullets.

shooting was going very well. The 530-yard and the 600-yard targets were shot at and hit after just a couple of “sighter shots” each, and that rather quickly emptied the box of

ammo. No more shooting was done at Quigley with Hannah and she reclined in her blanket gun cover while my .44-90 was used in the match. Back at home, Hannah was taken to the

range again, to try closer targets at 100 and 200 yards. The load for this was changed to a 457-grain bullet from Accurate Molds over 75 grains of Olde Eynsford 1F powder. A couple of targets were fired at from the benchrest at 100 yards before putting up a clean target and trying to get a group worthy of a picture. That was done with the very next five shots and I do appreciate the score of 49-X. While that 9 out at 4 o’clock makes me wish it was also a 10, I really can’t complain. Another target was shot at from 200 yards, all shots grouping very nicely but a bit low in the 9 and 8 rings. Correcting that will simply take a quick and slight sight adjustment. Now this rifle has fired only 125 rounds, but I do feel like I know her well enough to say that you should be hearing a lot more about her as time goes on. Yes, she’s on the heavy side but to me she’s a real beauty. And I’ll always call her Hannah.

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American Shooting Journal // October 2018 89



Flintlocks weren’t the only weapon at the disposal of early American settlers – Indian tomahawks had a place and were even part of Revolutionary War soldiers’ fighting kit. STORY AND PHOTOS BY FRANK JARDIM


have always loved tomahawks. I got my first one 30 years ago. Dixie Gun Works had a sale on hand-forged heads for the ridiculously low price of $6, as I recall. I bought one and fitted a sturdy hardwood handle to it. It is no work of art, but it does look like something you’d expect a frontier blacksmith to have hammered out in 1730. The project was so much fun in the doing and the telling, and the final product so practically useful, I became convinced my 8-year-old son wasn’t too young to make his first tomahawk. You can’t get too much more American than the tomahawk unless you’re eating apple pie at a baseball game. The name itself has its origins in the language of the Algonquian Indians as interpreted by the ears of the early English colonists, John Smith of Pocahontas fame among them. The colonists identified the word with their own iron-headed hatchets, but exactly what the Indians meant by it in the early 1600s is hard to pin down with certainty. Regardless of its initial Indian definition, by the mid-1700s a tomahawk was understood by

Making your own tomahawk is a four-hour project from start to finish. The basic tasks are to finish the raw steel casting and shape the hardwood handle to fit the eye of the tomahawk head. Begin by deciding how long you want your handle and then sliding the head down the shaft to determine where you need to start trimming away wood. Mark around the top and bottom of the eye with pencil. 91

Put the eye over the top of the handle, flush with the back edge, and trace around the inside with a sharp pencil to delineate the maximum amount of wood to be removed from the front and sides of the handle to get the head where you want it to end up.

Author Frank Jardim’s son uses the unfinished tomahawk head to stabilize the handle while using a coarse file to quickly trim away the majority of the excess handle.

all parties to be a light, one-handed ax (hatchet) with a straight wooden handle and a head with a blade on one side and a hammer, spike or pipe bowl for smoking tobacco on the other. The stone-bladed hatchets made and used by the Indians in the early colonial period were


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

Like a pick handle, a tomahawk handle is tapered. The top is bigger than the eye of the tomahawk to keep the head on. To cut this taper, establish the front edge of it first. Start by transferring to the side of the handle, the line marking the front of the eye that you drew on the top of the handle. Taper a flat cut slightly above this line at the top down to where eye fits tightly on the handle.

completely gone by then, thanks to the enterprising European traders who introduced metal heads of iron and brass. When metal tools replace stone ones, you’re talking about a vast technological leap for a society. It certainly made the tomahawk much more practical as a close combat

Once the front taper is cut, work on tapering the sides up to it. With the coarse wood work done, remove the head and do the final shaping with sandpaper by hand.

weapon, and they were commonly used in this capacity, as well as general camp tools, by Indian and settler alike. In fact, at the outbreak of the American Revolution, the Continental Congress specified that patriots answering the call to arms equip with either a tomahawk or

Use coarse 80-grit paper on a sanding block initially to smooth out the handle’s taper through the spot where it was held in the eye. Remember, the eye needs to slide to within an inch of the top of the handle. Then smooth out all the flat lines on the curved handle surface by going the opposite direction with finer sandpaper (150-, then 220-grit) to get the handle to its final shape. Test the head fit often so you don’t take off too much.

The metal work involves filing off the coarse casting lines on the edge of the head. Use a sharp mill bastard coarse file for this work and finish up with a finer file. For safety, put a handle on the file. Grip the unpolished blade in a vise and pad the jaws if needed to prevent any deep marring of the surface.

sword in addition to a musket. Of the two weapons, the tomahawk is the more savage and frightening, capable of delivering grievous, deep, bonesplintering wounds. You can imagine that the average British Redcoat regular serving in the Colonies during the French Indian War or trying to crush the American rebellion after 1775 was no fan of the tomahawk. BECAUSE IT’S LIGHT (one to two pounds), the tomahawk was sometimes used as a thrown weapon. Sticking it blade first in the target requires an understanding of the time and distance the weapon takes to make

After filing and polishing of the raw casting joint, begin polishing the coarse grey cast surfaces of the head with progressively finer sandpapers. This is the timeconsuming part of the project. To sand and polish all the surface defects out of the casting would be a wasted effort. It’s a tomahawk, for goodness’ sake! Just polish it to your minimum aesthetic satisfaction and don’t worry about the small surface defects. It will get more with use.


a full rotation in flight when thrown at a given speed. It also works better with a weapon correctly matched to the thrower’s height and strength. The technique is deceptively simple. Take five or six paces from your target. Face it and raise the tomahawk over your shoulder, gripping it by the end of the handle like it was a hammer. Swing down through the target and release. If it hits handle first, you are too close. Take a step back. If it hits on the top of the head, you are too far away from your target and need to take a step closer. Once you try it, you realize the huge amount of practice it must have required to effectively

Fine needle files were used to cut the facets on the pipe bowl and shape and coarse polish the details on the blade. This set was obtained from Harbor Freight for about $7 and included round, triangular, flat, oval and some shapes I’m not sure how to describe. They are very handy. The handles were made from oak tree branches picked up off the yard. The final finishing and polishing was done with sandpaper wrapped around the same files.

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

Keep the file level while you work and lift the file off the steel on the return stroke. A file only cuts in one direction.

After fine filing, polish and smooth the surface with progressively finer sandpaper. Begin with 80-grit, then 120-, then 220- and finally 320-grit.

throw a tomahawk in combat at a moving target; and even more so if the thrower was also moving. It speaks volumes about the martial talents of the Indian warrior. UNLIKE WHITE SETTLERS, the Indians attached ceremonial and social importance to the tomahawk. They decorated them to reflect the owner’s identity and status or to express tribal intentions at gatherings. Sometime at the start of the 1700s, a lightning bolt of inventive genius struck in Europe and one of the New World’s all-time-best product ideas was born. Someone got the notion

Apply several coats of linseed oil to the handle, waiting for it to dry overnight before rubbing in the next coat. This will give the handle a durable, protective, and largely water-resistant finish.

When the handle is dry and the head polished to your liking, use a rubber mallet and the vise to drive the handle down tightly through the eye of the head. The vise is just supporting the blade.

to hollow out the hammer end of the normal trade tomahawk into a pipe bowl and fit it to a handle with a hole drilled its full length. The resulting pipe-tomahawk became immediately popular with the Indians, who used them to smoke for enjoyment and in formal rituals and diplomatic matters. They eventually became important symbols of authority among the tribal chiefs. The hollow handled pipetomahawks were not quite as strong as the solid versions, but they could be, and often were, employed for battle as well as mundane fieldcraft chores by Indians and frontiersmen.

The finished tomahawk after a season of throwing and camping use. It has taken on a nice patina. The shaping and filing is well done for a camp tool and especially good for an 8-year-old. “Maybe years down the road he’ll want to refine it into a show piece, but I hope not,” writes Jardim, who at a young age also made one. “Your first tomahawk should be for using, not looking at.”

I FOUND THE perfect beginner tomahawk project for my son while attending the Contemporary Longrifle Association ( annual meeting held every August in Lexington, Kentucky. This big gathering of artist-artisans fills a hall at the Rupp Arena and is the best place on earth to see original creations of American 18th and early 19th century guns, accoutrements and material culture made just like they

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were back then. Fortunately, they also have plenty of raw, semifinished and finished materials and parts resources for amateurs of all skill levels to experiment with. It was at the R.E. Davis Company booth that I found exactly what I was looking for. Based in Woodville, Ohio, R.E. Davis Company ( has been one of the leaders in manufacturing historical muzzleloading firearm components for 40 years. Their core competency is sand and investment casting. They make their own locks, triggers, triggerguards, ramrod thimbles (pipes), toeplates, sideplates, thumb pieces and buttplates, and even a few great kits including a French trade gun. Their line of products has expanded over the years to include things related to 18th and early 19th century American frontier history, like kid’s toys, books, videos, posters and now tomahawk parts! They have eight different styles of authentic pipe heads in small (less than 6 inches), medium (6 to 7 inches), and large (over 7 inches) sizes, either copied


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

from or based on examples in use during the colonial and early republic periods. Most heads were available in your choice of three different steels or brass. Steel heads cost $30 to $33 and brass heads cost from $15 to $37. Brass is too soft to hold an edge, but its beauty and resistance to corrosion made it appealing to the Indians. Sometimes an iron or steel cutting edge was inlet and soldered to the front of a brass head to give it practical value for light chopping. R.E. Davis also sells these edges in steel for $9 if you’re inclined to try this somewhat more advanced bit of metalwork. The heads offered in steel can be had in 8620, 4140 or 6150 steel. There’s no difference in price. The 8620 is a mild steel that’s easily filed, finished and engraved but somewhat less durable than the other two. If you were planning to use your tomahawk for display, this steel would be the best choice because it’s easiest to work with. Forty-one-forty is a tool steel that’s a little harder to work but simple to heat-treat into a hard working tool.

The third kind, 6150, is also a tool steel, capable of great durability when properly heat-treated. They have three different sizes of curly maple handles ranging from $15 for an 18-inch solid (undrilled) handle to $32 for a premium curly maple 24-inch handle drilled its full length for use as a pipe. As a parent, I was really pleased R.E. Davis offered their pipe heads and handles undrilled. I don’t really care what anyone else smokes as long as they aren’t operating a vehicle or a nuclear reactor, but I discourage my children from such activities. I am not giving a preteen a pipe of any kind. Undrilled, the bowl becomes a nice solid hammer head. The casting of the head I examined was quite smooth with the details well rendered. The one I selected for my son, along with an 18-inch solid handle, produced a very attractive finished tomahawk that weighed just under a pound. Unlike my rough hand-hammered one, his looks quite refined and graceful.


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LUGERMAN: THE EUGENE GOLUBTSOV STORY How a son of the Soviet Union came to the United States and built a business bringing back and restoring old pistols.



est known as “Lugerman,” the man who brought back the M1907 U.S. Army Test Trials Luger and perfected it, Eugene Golubtsov ranks as one of the best master gunmakers in the world today. Not only does he make the Luger to the same standards of fit and finish as the originals, he also restores fine firearms to new condition. There are very few men who can do this job properly and he is one of the best. His is the inspirational story of a hardworking young man who made good, showing what keeping your nose to the grindstone can do for you. EUGENE WAS BORN in Siberia in 1975, but not even the draconian anti-gun laws of the communist Soviet Union could stifle his interest in firearms. At 12, he read his first gun book, an encyclopedia with every new handgun by name and caliber. At 14, he built his first handgun, a matchlock, out of copper pipes and plywood. He used the heads of matches for powder and melted down lead fishing weights for bullets. Desiring to entertain his 10- and 12-year-old guests one day, he bolted the gun to a chair and fired it

Eugene Golubtsov, the “Lugerman,” with one of the M1907 .45-caliber Luger pistols that he makes. 101

The M1907 U.S. Army Test Trials .45 ACP Luger.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

inside the house with a long fuse that gave everyone time to leave the room. The bullet penetrated the two layers of plywood put in front of the gun, the window curtains, two balcony plywood doors, and came to rest in the wall of a metal balcony. Realizing that creativity must be encouraged and a boy must be allowed to be a boy if he is to grow up into a real man, his parents did not punish him. Every summer from 12 to 16 years old, Eugene fired 200 to 300 rounds a day from an air-powered BB gun pistol at moving targets at a local arcade.

Throughout his childhood, he also spent 10 hours a week at night school studying art with emphasis on oil painting and sculpture. The sculpture work proved effective for training his hands for steady, precise work. He learned to use milling machines in high school, where he also had military training, rifle shooting, and assembly and disassembly instructions for the AK-47 and PM, or Makarov, pistol. He finished high school at 16, having taken extracurricular classes in math, physics and chemistry in preparation for college. At 16, Eugene started college in the military division “Tracked Heavy Machines,� code word for tanks. College was very intense, with classes six days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day for 10 months. Eugene finished with a degree at 18.

The Baby Luger version of the M1907 Luger.

Later that year he moved to the U.S., and at 19 began a 23-year career as a computer programmer. AT AGE 21, Eugene began collecting handguns and within three years had accumulated over 300. These were from World Wars I and II, as well as modern handguns of different designs and models. Eugene was buying them cheap and having local gunsmith John Robinson help him fix and refinish them. Being a practical man and serious student of handguns, every gun was purchased to feel it out, fire it, note the accuracy and recoil, disassemble, and study how good or how bad the design was. The guns were carried and every aspect of them duly noted. At 23, he restored his first revolver, a German Reichs revolver, for his father. This gun can be seen on his website: reichs-revolver/. The next restoration was a Luger that he traded the gunsmith for. It was nickeled and in parts. Eugene removed the nickel plating, handpolished it, and restored it to original condition. Two years into gun collecting, he purchased an American Eagle 1900 model. Eugene carried and shot a Luger extensively and found that he could hit a target better and faster with it than with any other handgun. Like most everyone who has really become 104

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

familiar with Lugers, he loved the product line very much. In his fifth year of gun collecting, he decided to focus on Luger models, specifically on 1906 Contract variations. He sold most of his other handguns and collected over 50 Lugers of different types with a large number of grip safety models of all styles, including two of the M1902 Luger Carbines. As he was collecting, trading and selling Lugers, he began restoring them for himself. But as word got around the collecting circuit, others began calling upon him to restore their Lugers. Pretty soon he was restoring Lugers as a part-time gig alongside his full-time computer programmer job. Luger restoration work began to fill 15 to 20 hours a week and soon that was not enough. Eugene hired a good machinist who persuaded him to buy a milling machine so they could begin making the parts they needed. Over the next 15 years they made most of the parts for the 9mm Luger except the frame. BACK IN 1907 when the U.S. Army tested the M1907 Luger in .45 ACP in the beginning of the series of tests that led to the adoption of the M1911 pistol, the Army had a set of dimensioned drawings made of the .45-caliber Luger. Mike Krause had gotten a hold of a copy of these and was making guns to these prints. He had not fine-tuned the guns to get them working to perfection, but merely followed the drawings. Eugene managed to convince Mike to sell the blueprints to him, as Mike was planning to stop production and was down to his last two guns. Eugene and his father went in together 50/50 to make the .45-caliber

A Mauser Military Pistol restored to new condition by Eugene Golubtsov.


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

Lugers. They already had 20 years’ experience restoring guns. The restoration work continued but they stopped working as computer programmers, as there was no longer time for that. Their restoration and repair clients now number about 3,000 and they annually restore about 100 firearms and repair another 150. It took over two years to produce the first .45-caliber Luger prototype and about six months of blood, sweat and tears to make the prototype into

a functional and reliable weapon. The company, Lugerman, now turns out 50 of the .45-caliber Lugers a year. Each gun is tested with 10 different manufacturers’ ammo and about 200 rounds fired through it to ensure perfect functioning before it is delivered. These are usable guns, despite their price, and because the Luger is so fast and easy to hit with, it can be the best life insurance in a gunfight. Lugerman also makes a .45-caliber version of Georg Luger’s personal carry gun, the Baby Luger. Because of the Luger’s superb accuracy, there is a 7-inch barrel target version as well. Having seen the M1907 shoot a 1-inch group at 50 yards, this seems an obvious choice for match shooting. The small scale of production results in a higher price than a gun mass-produced on the scale of a Colt

An original 9mm Luger restored by Eugene Golubtsov.

in Scotland or England. There is a 5-percent discount for active duty or retired military or police. It is good to see Eugene keeping the Luger in production, even if it is only on a limited basis at the resultant higher price, as this is not only a piece of history but also one of the most

effective fighting handguns ever made. When it’s your life and the lives of your family at stake, the price really doesn’t seem important anymore.  Editor’s note: You can contact Eugene Golubtsov at or visit

GERMAN OIL RECOMMENDED TO PROTECT FINISH or S&W. The M1907 costs $6,975 in carbon steel and $7,775 in stainless steel, the Baby Luger costs $8,275, and the 7-inch barrel target Luger costs $7,775. There is also a 16-inch barrel M1907 Luger carbine for $12,975. You are not only getting the original Luger’s standards of fit and finish, but you are also getting hand-tuning of each gun just like you would at a “best quality” gunmaker


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

With his Lugers finished with the original rust blue finish, Eugene Golubstov stresses that you should use the original German Ballistol oil ( instead of modern ones like WD-40, which have rust-attacking properties that will affect a rust blued finish over time. Ballistol was developed for the German army in 1904 because they wanted a lubricant that could be used on metal, wood and leather. During subzero weather on the Russian Front in World War II, it was used with seven parts kerosene to three parts Ballistol. Mixed with water, it forms an emulsion and as long as it is at least five parts Ballistol, the mixture will remain behind, preventing rust when the water evaporates. One part Ballistol to three parts water makes a bore cleaner, and in World War I the Germans used 10 percent Ballistol and 90 percent water in the water jackets of their Maxim machineguns. –JD


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gun review

TWO TAKES, ONE REVOLVER: THE M1917 When the US Army needed handguns for World War I, Colt and S&W responded with the ‘perfection’ perfection of the double-action double action military revolver.

The Colt New Service M1917.



he M1917 represents the perfection of the American double-action revolver as a military weapon. While the day of the revolver was done, as it could not match the Model 1911’s firepower or ability to continue functioning once sand had gotten into the mechanism, there was an insufficient number of those automatics to equip the vast new army being raised for World War I. Army Ordnance did not want to deal with two different cartridges in the logistics system, so any revolvers chosen as a substitute standard would have to fire the rimless .45 ACP cartridge.

David Jones firing the big Colt New Service M1917 .45 ACP revolver.

Smith & Wesson patented a halfmoon clip enabling the rimless .45 ACP cartridges to be snapped into a spring steel retainer. Their dreams of monopoly were quashed when the Army ordered them to make the halfmoon clips available to Colt for free. Both the Colt New Service M1917 and S&W New Century .45 revolvers could now be used with the .45 automatic’s round by the simple expedient of

machining off the rear of the revolver’s cylinder enough to make room for the half-moon clip loaded with ammo. Revolvers that have the cylinder chambered for the .45 ACP can also be single loaded but there is nothing for the extractor to grab onto, so the cartridges must be picked out with the fingernails or punched out with a stick if they don’t fall out with gravity when time comes for reloading. Since 115

gun review A side by side comparison of the Colt and S&W M1917 revolvers.

the half-moon clips adopted by the Army and the later commercial fullmoon clips constitute speed loaders, in addition to providing a surface for the revolver’s star extractor to work on, the revolver can now be loaded at the maximum possible speed. Since both Colt and S&W guns were suitable and available and speed of procurement was the driving force, both companies got contracts. The issue of which was better was settled back in 1907 when the Report of Board on Tests of Revolvers and Automatic Pistols was submitted by Army Ordnance. Both Colt and S&W .45 Colt caliber revolvers were tested, and the report states: The board prefers the Colt for the following reasons: • Less shock to the user, due to the 116

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

broader and more rounded shoulder against which the hand rests. • The better shape and size of the grip and trigger guard. • The greater simplicity and fewer parts. • The present familiarity of the troops with the Colt revolver.

out during firing and tying up the gun appeared again in these tests. If you are planning on doing much shooting with a revolver, you had better have screwdrivers fitted to its screws. You’re going to need them. When the M1911 was adopted, Ordnance made sure that the only screws in the gun were the grip screws and that the gun could be fired without the grips. When you see an old revolver with the screw heads buggered up, it does not necessarily mean that the gun has been taken apart or tinkered with. More than likely the screws were just tightened with illfitting screwdrivers over the years.

The difference between the Colt and its simpler and more robust parts and the S&W with its many small parts was also apparent in the time taken for a factory representative to disassemble and reassemble their respective guns. The Colt took 3 minutes and 50 seconds to dismount and 6 minutes and 25 seconds to assemble. The S&W took 4 minutes and 15 seconds to dismount and 8 minutes and 20 seconds to assemble. The Colt has the thick barrel of the Single Action Army while the S&W has the thin barrel like their topbreak revolvers. I don’t know why no one has ever pointed this out before. It should be noted that the old problem of a revolver’s screws backing

THE END RESULT was that the Colt New Service was adopted as the M1909 for immediate issue in the Philippines to deal with the fanatical Moro jihadists pending the further development of the automatic pistol, which ultimately resulted in the perfect combat pistol, the M1911. About 20,000 were made for the U.S. Army and Navy and an additional 2,000 for the U.S. Marines. The Marine version differed in having rounded grips with checkering instead of smooth wood. The M1909 was chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge, but cartridges made for it had a wider .530-inch rim for more positive extraction than the original .45 Colt’s .500-inch rim diameter. The M1909

gun review Service revolvers and 166,732 S&W New Century revolvers. These were big guns; the Colt weighed 2½ pounds and the S&W was slightly lighter at 21/4 pounds. Both guns had 5½-inch barrels and were 10.8 inches overall. That size and weight made them easy and pleasant to shoot and it also enabled real rapidfire double-action shooting to be placed accurately on target.

The Colt M917 in its issue holster with two original half-moon clip pouches.

cartridge was loaded with a round nosed 230-grain bullet at 1,150 feet per second. The full metal jacket version of this bullet was later used in the .45 ACP round. For the M1909 revolver, I would have preferred a 255-grain bullet at a slightly lower velocity without the sonic crack added to the gun’s report that you get with bullets at 1,150 fps and faster. When using the M1909 cartridges in the Colt Single Actions still in service, you had to load every other chamber as the wider rims prevented loading each in turn. So both types of .45 Colt ammo were issued in the Philippines. Shortly after this, the rim diameter of the commercial .45 Colt ammo was standardized at .512 inch, the largest size that would work in the Colt Single Action Army. The lack of rim size was the reason that you could not get repeating rifles made in .45 Colt in the 19th Century, despite public demand. I have always been impressed with the bigger and simpler massive Colt lockwork. The forward curve of the Colt New Service grip is taken 118

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

from their famous Single Action Army revolver and this has always pointed better for me than any other revolver grip. That translates into faster and easier hitting, two things of paramount importance when fighting for your life with a pistol. The Colt New Service has always been my favorite double-action revolver. The proper grip for the Colt New Service and the S&W New Century is important. The thumb should rest in a curve cradling the top of the grip, not over the grip. Both guns went into service in WWI and continued in service into WWII. They were popular with people used to revolvers and were of invaluable service with the MPs. A double-action revolver is the safest weapon that you can issue for police to hold on a prisoner without accidentally shooting him. That long double-action trigger pull is the least likely to go off by accident with a scared or nervous officer behind it. A total of 318,432 M1917s were made, consisting of 151,700 Colt New

BETWEEN THE WARS, a number of guns were rebuilt by Army Ordnance and reissued. These rebuilt guns were parkerized over their original bluing and had plastic grips replace the original wooden ones. Of the two test guns, the S&W is in original WWI condition and the Colt was rebuilt before reissuing in WWII. The Colt originally had the trigger drag on the return until I had a crack Army Ordnance man fix that. It turned out the lock parts were dragging on the side plate and this was stoned away at the points of contact. Not every rebuilt gun was rebuilt perfectly, then or now. The guns were issued with a flap holster, which can be had today from El Paso Saddlery and also Pacific Canvas and Leather Co. The latter also makes the military web pouches for carrying the half-moon clips and the G.I. web belt to carry them on. To do a fast draw from a military flap holster, flip the flap up with the back of your thumb and beginning with the little finger, wrap your fingers around the grip as you draw. The use of the tiedown is important here. As the leather boot laces used as tie-downs rot and break quickly, I substitute old nylon paratrooper boot laces and just wrap them a couple of times around my leg to take up the extra length. El Paso Saddlery also makes their “Tortilla” pancake holster for these guns. I have worn pancake holsters since Roy Baker first brought them out in the early 1970s and nothing is faster, more comfortable, or more concealable. Most importantly, the Tortilla is not one of those tightly molded holsters boasting gun retention if someone tries


gun review

The Colt New Service in an El Paso Saddlery Tortilla holster. This is the best all-around holster for open and concealed carry.

to snatch your gun. These holsters can get you killed in a gunfight gunfi h where you are most likely to make a sloppy draw and have the gun stick in the holster. I HAD 2,130 rounds to test fire in both Colt and S&W M1917 revolvers consisting of: • 400 rounds of Black Hills ammo (200 rounds of 230-grain FMJ and 200 rounds of 230-grain JHP +P); • 450 rounds of Federal ammo consisting of 150 rounds of 230-grain TSJ, 150 rounds of 220-grain TSJ, and 150 rounds of 230-grain Train and Protect HP; • 50 rounds of Georgia Arms 230-grain FMJ; • 200 rounds of Aguila 230-grain FMJ; • 500 rounds of Hornady consisting of 300 rounds of +P Critical Duty, 100 rounds of 185-grain FTX, and 100 rounds of 185-grain Critical Defense; • 100 rounds of Load Up 230-grain FMJ; • 100 rounds of Armscor 230-grain FMJ; • 250 rounds of 230-grain lead reloads from a maker now retired; 120

American Shooting Journal // Octoberw 2018

• 180 rou rounds of CorBon consisting of 60 rounds round of 160-grain DPX, 60 rounds of +P 185-grain DPX, and 60 rounds of +P 230-grain JHP; • 100 rounds roun of Fiocchi 230-grain FMJ; • And 50 rounds of Precision Cartridge 230-grain 23 FMJ. Both guns g were able to keep all shots in inside 2 inches at 25 yards with all al the ammo tested, but it was a little easier for me with th the Colt. Once a bullet stabiliz stabilizes it ceases to expand the circ circle it is hitting in as much, so s you cannot use a 25yard grou group and keep doubling it as range increases to judge accuracy. Y You have to see what it is groupin grouping at at different ranges. In a recent shoot, an Inland Manu Manufacturing Co. M1911A1 .45 ACP A gave the same size and even ssmaller groups at 300 yards than those t fired at 250 2 to t 3-inch groups at yards. We got 250 yards with that gun with the best ammo giving 1½-inch groups. At 300 yards we got 15-inch groups, which is well inside the 18-inch circle the Army considers a hit on a human torso shot. Just goes to show what you can do with a .45 ACP pistol at long range. AT ONE POINT a sliver of metal broke off a case mouth and lodged between the extractor and the cylinder, preventing the loading of that cylinder until it was removed. I seem to be the only gun writer to ever report revolver jams, although they all talk of automatics jamming. I have had far more jams and malfunctions with revolvers over the years than with automatics. Revolvers don’t tolerate sand in the mechanism and they always seem to have a screw loose, preventing the gun from working. As they wear they may hit a primer with insufficient force at odd times, while the trigger pull may vary from normal to impossibly hard and back again. I have had cylinders lock up and also repeatedly experienced a revolver that worked perfectly when dry fired, but did all of the above and more when

loaded and fired for real. None of this occurs with automatics and that’s one more reason the Army adopted the .45 automatic instead of staying with revolvers. I love my revolvers but any man telling you that revolvers are more reliable than automatics is just parroting an old lie. The use of modern tools like the Moon Clip Stripper Tool from Brownells Gunsmith Supplies for loading and unloading the half- and full-moon clips was a blessing. Doing it without them is sure hard on the fingers, particularly if you have a lot to do, as I had. The difficulty of loading and unloading these clips led to the introduction of the .45 Auto Rim cartridge by Peters Ammunition Co. in 1920. With an extra thick rim to take up the extra space at the back of the cylinder designed to be occupied by ammo in half-moon clips, the M1917s could now be loaded like a conventional revolver. This was very popular with civilian shooters. Of course you can always use the rimless .45 ACP without the half-moon clips and pick the empty cases out with your fingernails or push them out with a pencil. While too slow for combat use, it is less trouble to do it this way when practicing than fooling with the halfor full-moon clips. A footlong 3/8-inch dowel works best. Slightly round the corners of the end you are not punching out cases with, in case you have to ever hit it with the heel of your hand to drive a stubborn case out. After firing was completed I had a mix of powder, plastic, lead and copper fouling in the bores. I removed the powder and plastic fouling with Shooter’s Choice bore cleaner and then used their lead remover and their copper remover to complete the job. The guns were then lubed with their FP-10 Lubricant. AS A SERVICE revolver, the Colt and the S&W are both top-notch. The 230-grain FMJ .45 ACP will kill anything in this hemisphere easily but I warn you against expanding bullets with bear and moose, for which you need all


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gun review the penetration that you can get. You already have a big enough hole. The vaunted .44 magnum drops down below the .45 ACP’s velocity after 50 to 75 yards because of the poor aerodynamic shape of pistol bullets and the fact that wind resistance goes up exponentially with velocity. For long-range shooting, the .45 ACP has the edge over the magnums. The .45 also has a larger .451-inch diameter than the .429-inch diameter of the .44 cartridges. The .44s are really barely .43 caliber. Size does matter and the Thompson-LaGarde Report that preceded the adoption of the .45 ACP round stated that nothing less than a .45-caliber bullet at 800 fps could be depended upon to stop a man with a hit in the vitals. Since American soldiers were faced with kris and bolo knife-armed jihadists in the Philippines that had to be stopped at close range, this was an urgent priority. The Thompson-LaGarde Report has proven true over the last 100 years.

The M1917 has virtually no felt recoil and rapid double-action fire is easily accomplished. As a home defense gun it is tops. Any member of the family can shoot it effectively, though children and some women may need to use a two-handed grip. It is always ready with no safety to remember. Just pick it up, point, and pull the trigger. It doesn’t get any simpler or more foolproof than that. While some people think they want a lesser caliber, they will wish they had a .45 the first time they go up against an oversized drugged-up home invader or a Rottweiller attacking the kids outside. The double-action trigger pull is the least likely to have an accidental discharge in a nervous homeowner’s hands and the across-the-room ranges you have inside a house are well within anyone’s ability to fire a double-action revolver with sufficient accuracy to get the job done. As a man-stopper, the 230-grain

FMJ .45 ACP has been tried since 1911 against the toughest and most fanatical adversaries on Earth and not been found wanting. Since the enemy will try to take cover in a gunfight, having a FMJ bullet that will penetrate that cover instead of dumping all its energy expanding is a life or death matter. Most shoot-outs are not Hollywood-style affairs where two parties duel it out on the center of Main Street according to some fictitious “code of the West.” Some folks complain about the small sights on the M1917 revolvers. They are small because traditionally a revolver is pointed and fired. The sights are just there to help you see where the revolver is pointing on the range. All serious work is done by point shooting, also known as instinct shooting. You will find that in most gunfights there is neither time nor sufficient light to use the sights, plus you can hit far more accurately by mastering point

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American Shooting Journal // October 2018

shooting. It is by far the best way to hit firing double-action, and double-action shooting is the M1917 revolver’s reason for being. These guns can be shot single-action but their small hammers are not really designed for manual cocking as their normal use. It is all too easy for the thumb to slip off the tiny hammer during cocking and they lack the safety notches of the Colt Single Action Army to prevent the hammer falling on the primer when the hammer falls without the trigger being pulled. Again, I don’t know why no one has ever pointed this out to their readers. To learn to point shoot you should follow strict form if you want to master this discipline. Begin by setting a row of matchsticks or empty .22 cases as far away as you can easily see them. Place them far enough apart that one shot will not dislodge the adjacent target. Now assume the classic duelist stance with your body sideways to the target. Fully extend the arm with the

wrist and elbow locked straight. Lay your chin against your shoulder and look hard at the target, ignoring the gun and everything else. Fire at each target in turn. If you miss one, go on to the next one or you will just miss again in the same place. Instinct shooting is also the best way to master accurate double-action firing. You will find that you can hit targets that you cannot hit with sights. You are shooting with only one hand, which is much faster than trying to move two hands about. You don’t want to rush in a gunfight but you don’t want inherently slow movements either. Economy of smooth movement is critical. THE S&W M1917 remained in production at S&W, and in 1937 Brazil bought 25,000 for their military. In 1950 it was redesignated the M1950 Army revolver and a target version came out in 1955 called the M1955 Target revolver. The Colt New Service did not fare

so well. Despite continued sales and public demand, Colt moved the tooling for the New Service revolver outside to make room for WWII contract machinery and left it there to rust out. No new tooling was made so this ended production of the New Service, Colt’s finest double-action revolver. After the war they discontinued their Colt Single Action Army and their .25, .32, and .380 automatics, as Colt ignored the civilian market to focus on military orders. This attitude still exists there and may be the reason Colt had to file for bankruptcy protection while S&W just grows bigger and bigger. Later they brought back the SAA after everyone else was making copies of it, but not the New Service. You will find that today, over 100 years since they were first adopted as substitute standard, the M1917 revolvers can still perfectly serve all your doubleaction revolver needs. Now that’s called standing the test of time! 123

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American Shooting Journal // October 2018


NOT SEEING IS BELIEVING Ulticlip’s new Slim line offers concealment and retention for smaller knife sheaths, holsters.


esigned for ease of carry, concealment and retention, Ulticlip is unlike any holster clip on the market. “The major complaint of firearm and knife owners is that there is a lack of retention and versatility with their clips,” explains Ulticlip president Randall Darby. “We hear stories of holsters coming off when the owner draws their firearm, or their knife not being accessible. They were looking for a clip that would provide a superior carry option that would offer concealment, exceptional retention, and would work without having to wear a belt. Our original Ulticlip is designed as a solution to fix those issues. It works with leather or singlepoint-attachment holsters.” Its unique design allows holsters to be securely clipped on clothing and bags, while still remaining concealed. No matter what you’re wearing, where you’re going, or what you’re carrying, Ulticlip has got you covered. The company now offers a number of models to choose from, depending on your needs. Explains Darby, “As Kydex and hybrid sheaths and holsters gained popularity, we introduced the Ulticlip3. Ulticlip3 offers the same qualities of the original design, plus the versatility of multiple mounting options. Next in the lineup is the Ulticlip XL. The XL is highlighted with a multitool flap, and was developed with belt carry in mind.” The newest products from Ulticlip, the Slim 2.2 and 3.3, are designed specifically for smaller knife sheaths and holsters. “Before Ulticlip, the downside of carrying a knife is that you had to attach


The clamping design of Ulticlip’s new Slim 2.2 and 3.3 “allows the user to securely carry a knife or tool sheath horizontally, vertically, sideways or downwards.”

your sheath on a belt with an inferior standard clip. This did not allow the user to carry beltless, on shorts, in a purse or backpack,” says Darby. “In late summer we introduced two new clips, the Slim 3.3 and the Slim 2.2. The Slim design has the same retention and concealment benefits of the full-size Ulticlip, but the narrow profile makes them ideal for smaller knife sheaths and smaller holster designs. The innovative clamping design allows the user to securely carry a knife or tool sheath horizontally, vertically, sideways or downward. The options are endless.” Ulticlip is a product that truly works, and the company’s customer base is a testament to that. “You can have the best customer service, which we try to provide, or

fancy slogans, but if a product doesn’t deliver what is promised, people won’t buy it. People all over the world have become fans of Ulticlip,” says Darby. “We determined from the beginning to be a company that would show integrity in all its dealings; we would be known for quality products and we wanted to make a U.S. product that we could stand behind. It has been successful because it filled a need. We desire to be good stewards of what we have. With great success comes a greater responsibility. As a Christianbased business we support and partner with faith-based projects around the world.” Editor’s note: For more information, visit 127


American Shooting Journal // October 2018

A.R.’S AREN’T JUST RIFLES Veritas Tactical makes AR pistols for self-defense applications.

The Pro Elite series.



or those who know me and have trained with me as well, it is no secret I am a huge advocate of the AR pistol. There are many reasons, which I shall address in this article. Without going into a lot of lawyerspeak, the National Firearms Act of 1934 established a law forbidding the possession of a rifle or shotgun under the barrel length of 16 inches, which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms would classify as a shortbarrel rifle. Of course, a law-abiding citizen could apply for the tax stamp at a cost of $200, plus the jackedup price for their choice of an SBR, which can easily go from $2,000 to $3,000 or more, with a wait for the feds to approve your paperwork for a year or more. Or one can simply buy an approved AR pistol with an approved SIG brace, Shockwave blade, Lawman Tactical or some other approved variant stock that the BATF allows, even for shoulder firing positions. All for half the cost of an approved SBR. Considering the outrage against semiautomatic rifles in the news lately, some might question the sanity

Alex Ferrer (right), Veritas CEO and owner, and Fernando “Zep” Zeppieri, the company’s sales manager, have years of tactical experience with law enforcement and personal protection for the CIA and others.

of a recommendation for the AR platform. Let me explain. FIRST, FROM THE historical side of it. The group of people I put as the best ever overall citizens in the United States who used guns in their daily lives were the pioneers of the 1800s traveling west in covered wagons and building homes in the open prairie. It was not uncommon for them to have the newest weaponry

of the times, which usually consisted of some kind of single-action sixshooter like a Colt, a double-barreled shotgun (usually under 16 inches for concealability) and the most popular assault rifle of the day, the Winchester lever-action. And every man, woman and child knew how to safely use those weapons with great proficiency. Why? Because those weapons provided food on the table and protection from 129

types of weapons. A rational human being will cite that evil people will use whatever implement they want to murder someone. However, consider the damage and destruction someone who had very little to no training on the AR system and how effective it was. Then how much more effective would it be in the well-trained hands of the law-abiding citizen?

Zep demonstrates how compact the Veritas AR-Pistol fits in a Vertx go bag.

hostiles and marauders. So what has changed between the hostiles and marauders of yesterday and those of today? Nothing much, except for the fact that the evil men of today are getting more violent and more aggressive, preying on victims who are helpless against them, because some social bureaucrats who are well protected from violence themselves with armed guards see fit to restrict the very guns that would help the common citizen household. The AR platform is also ideal for self-defense. For the legally armed citizen, the two most common areas of vulnerability, not surprisingly, are the home and the vehicle. Obviously, it makes perfect sense to have the best weapons system one could have to fortify their defensive positions in the places most likely to get attacked. This may not be a politically correct statement, as the anti-crowd denounces the use of the AR rifle for any reason, especially making the case that most mass murder active shooters used these 130

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

RECENTLY I ATTENDED a training session with two of the heroes from Benghazi and 13 Hours fame. Kris “Tanto” Paronto and Dave “Boon” Benton were the instructors of this two-day course. What caught my eye was the AR pistol that Benton was shooting. He explained to me that it was built by Veritas Tactical. When I further pressed if that was one of the men in the handgun portion of the class, I learned that indeed it was – one Fernando “Zep” Zeppieri. Zep is not only the sales manager for Veritas Tactical but also a gunsmith and firearms trainer. Now I was even more intrigued. When a distinguished man like Benton – a man who has a valued reputation in this industry amongst his peers, and a man who has been there, done that for real – endorses a product and puts his name on it with his own personal stamp of approval, one should

pay attention, and I did just that. An endorsement from Boon is an honor, and Veritas Tactical truly deserves it. After much sycophant pleading to our great editor, he gave me the green light to spotlight Veritas Tactical and their AR pistol platform. VERITAS IS OWNED and operated by Alex Ferrer, who is cut from the same mold as Benton. Ferrer has over 19 years of tactical experience in law enforcement and 12 years of private security and intelligence, working for very high-speed people. Ferrer worked undercover operations and tactics, and has also had combined work with DEA, ICE, FBI and the Secret Service. Zeppieri, the aforementioned sales manager, has an equally impressive LEO background. He has had experience in everything from patrol to criminal investigation division working in the narcotics section/street and investigation. In plain English, these men are seasoned door-kickers. Men who have taken down bad guys and slugged it out with them in gunfights. Why is this important? Because they are putting out a product they themselves would use. They would bet their own lives that the guns they build work each and every time. They know from life experience what

Ferrer, a former officer and current personal protection specialist, demos the discreet pack.

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Short-barreled rifles (SBRs) from Veritas Tactical.

works and what doesn’t because they have learned life lessons, learned the hard way, and they’re still standing, which speaks volumes! As Ferrer himself states, “I’ve alwayss had a passion for guns since I was a kid. My interest was knowing how theyy worked and I can remember taking myy brother’s guns apart and putting them m back together at a very young age.” In 2015, he started his own business by building AR rifles with the he finest American machined parts. This led to an interest in shorter AR guns, s, even an AR with a 10.5-inch barrel working in conjunction with Artisan Arms out of Apopka, Florida, for gun barrels Veritas Tactical could work their magic around. As they say in the business, the rest is history. Working both in undercover operations and executive protection fields for years, Ferrer understood the need for a compact AR weapon system that was still chambered in 5.56mm or .300 Blackout and the most important element to make the gun work! IN 2016 AT S.H.O.T. Show in Las Vegas, Veritas introduced to the public the fruits of their labor: the Veritas Executive PDW/Pistol weapon systems. These are available with a 4.5-or 5-inch barrel in 5.56mm or .300 Blackout. The Veritas Pro or Pro Elite Series SBR/Pistol weapon systems are available with 7.5-, 10.5and 11.5-inch barrels chambered in the same calibers. Using the same barrels in all of Veritas’ weapons gives working consistency and a great performing barrel in all lengths. The weapon system from Veritas that had me salivating the most was their VT15 Pro Elite 7P AR-Pistol. 132

American Shooting Journal // October 2018

Being true experts, it would have been very easy for them just to go on their own personal experiences to build their guns, only they didn’t. They took the time to consult with other experts in the industry doing the job every day. From all the data they gained, their decision was clear to use the Geissele rail system and other components as standard features on the Pro Elite Series. The Geissele components consist of rail system, gas block, charging handle, buffer spring, maritime bolt catch (on non-PDQ model) and trigger. The Pro Elite Models come with Veritas Tactical premium match hybrid polygonal barrels guaranteed to shoot sub-MOA groups with match-quality ammunition from their 14.5-inch barrels (which is incredible). To document just how good the Veritas guns are, a sheriff’s department in Florida conducted a ballistic test using multiple bonded and duty rounds. The rounds were fired out of the Pro 7.5 and it performed very well, and on a few of the tests it had better penetration

results than other 10.5-inch and even 16-inch rifles that were being tested by the sheriff’s department. THE AR PISTOL is a great self-defense platform, as it is portable to conceal and transport. If things go bad, a lot of rounds can go downrange with pinpoint accuracy to make the threat go away quickly. Just as our pioneer ancestors of the Old West had in their inventory for survival – a good single-action revolver, a double-barreled shotgun and a Winchester rifle – we should do the same with modern safety rescue equipment. A good quality semiautomatic pistol like a Glock 17, a good pump shotgun like the Remington 870, and a good AR pistol from Veritas Tactical. Much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, I will heed my own advice as the Veritas Tactical VT15 Pro Elite is the next gun that will be a warm welcome with the rest of my inventory. Editor’s note: For more information, go to

SHELL SHOCK TECHNOLOGIES NAS3 cases See us on page 65

ADCO ARMS CO Super Thumb ST3 See us on page 108

DEFIANCE MACHINE Tenacity action with 20 MOA rail and recoil lug See us on pages 38 and 78 HIGH TECH CUSTOMS Custom muzzle brakes for personal firearms, muzzleloaders See us on page 74

MCMILLAN FIBERGLASS STOCKS Adjustable A-6 in Urban Ambush See us on pages 75 and 77

Guns &



American Shooting Journal // October 2018