Home Authors Posts by Jennifer L.S. Pearsall

Jennifer L.S. Pearsall

Coyote Hunting Guns, Setup No. 4

Remington VTR Varmint Tactical Rifle

Remington 700 VTR Desert Recon
I’ll admit, I’m a Remington girl, and I was going to give a first-hand testament to the VSSF (Varmint Synthetic Stainless Fluted), which I’ve owned for some time now and with which I’ve done my share of prairie dog elimination work. But then I came across the Remington VTR (Varmint Tactical Rifle), and thought that, for coyotes, this was a much better option.

To start with, the gun has some pretty trim lines and what should be a back-weighted balance, thanks to the triangular barrel (my VSSF is, admittedly, long-barreled and forward balanced–bipods, bags, or sticks are mandatory for accurate use). This back-end balance is a help, at least in my opinion, when it comes to shooting sitting or prone off of sticks or a bipod. The gun also weighs between 7.25 and 7.5, depending on caliber, which makes this a really portable option when you need to change setups fast—and when you’re loaded down with ground blind material, an electronic calling system, your bino, decoy, spare ammo and more, every ounce counts. Remington’s easy, externally adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger is a bonus (it’s factory set at a snappy 3.5 pounds), as is the barrel and fore-end porting. The Desert Recon digital camo should prove handy across the Southwest deserts, the scrub-brushed canyons of California, on the plains of Big Sky country, hunkered down in the cactus-studded landscape of Texas, and just about any place wearing snow.

MSRP: Remington’s website still lists this rifle, but shows it as discontinued in the two calibers it was offered in, .223 and .308. I looked at another option, the Remington XHR (Xtreme Hunting Rifle), which also featured the triangular barrel, but without the porting and in a Hardwoods camo with grip inserts. It was also discontinued across the spectrum of calibers, which included coyote-ready .243 and .25-06. That left me with just the straight VTR, which wears olive drab instead of camo. The website shows this model newly introduced in .223 and .243, in addition to the .204 Ruger and .22-250 calibers already on the roster, any of them retailing for $825. You could certainly opt for the olive-drab version, can't think of a landscape it won't work in other than the day after a blizzard hits, though I’d keep an eye for clearance prices on the other versions still sitting on retailers’ shelves and needing to go, especially post-holiday season.

Simmons Predator Quest rifle scopeSimmons Predator Quest
Yes, this scope is named for Les Johnson and his popular television show, Predator Quest. Sounds a little hokey? Well, consider this. Pros with TV shows have substantial money invested in their hunts—and no kills equal a lot of wasted time and footage that’ll never make the airwaves. Gear has to work, so I’m going to give this Simmons a recommendation based on that behind-the-scenes knowledge. Two 30mm-tubed versions are available, a 4.5-18×44 and a 6-24×50, either of which are ideal for Wile E. The 4.5-18 has a field of view of nearly 20 feet at 100 yards, while the 6-24 is also wide at 14 feet (likewise at 100 yards). Either has a generous eye relief of 3.9 inches, good when you’re shooting off a bipod or sticks where it’s sometime hard to get up on the stock. The Truplex reticle is standard no-muss-no-fuss fare, the side-focus knob is a handy bonus, and the scope is, of course, waterproof and fogproof.

MSRP: Buy links from the Simmons website put these scopes at $302 to $364, depending on which size. I Googled and found them at easily a third to half that.

The Author Recommends: From population control to pelt harvesting, shot placement is critical in coyote hunting (and no ethical hunter wants to wound an animal, no matter how bad one needs to reduce their numbers). Get your scope on tight and straight with the help of Gun Digest's Scope Mounting and Bore Sighting Instructional DVD, then make your shots count cleanly when that howler comes running towards your wounded rabbit call.
Scope Mounting and Bore Sighting Instructional DVD




Coyote Hunting Guns, Setup No. 3

Cooper Rifles of Montana Varmint Extreme rifle

While there are ample factory rifles that'll do a coyote in, sometimes a custom bullet-slinger can make the hunt that much more special. Today's post takes a look at the very special rifles from Cooper Rifles of Montana.

If you’re a dedicated coyote hunter, than a custom rig is probably right up your alley. There are as many makers of custom rifles out there as anything else, but one I found that had more than a smattering of offers just for varmints was Cooper Rifles of Montana. This company has a dizzying array of models and options—heck, there were six alone that had Varmint in the model name, to wit, The LVT(Light Varmint/Target), The Varminter, The Montana Varminter, The Varmint Extreme, The Varminter Laminate, and The Jackson Varminter. Then there are The Jackson Hunter, The Phoenix, and The Excalibur models, wearing some of the wildest synthetic stocks I’ve ever seen but that are still coyote-subtle. The company has also introduced three new laminate stock choices that’ll put many other laminates to shame. (I’d totally jazz on the Buble Bee yellow laminate for early spring use anywhere, or for year-round use in the south, where foliage is lush and colorful nearly all the time). Cooper makes five different actions lengths in single-shot or repeating bolt-actions, all in a dizzying variety of cartridges. Keep it simple with something like a .22-250 or 6mm BR, go retro with a .221 Fireball, or get really creative with a.218 Mashburn Bee or .20 Var Targ. Oh, and while we’re talking about custom, since this is what these guns are, the question with this maker is what can’t you option. Checker the bolt, inlay your sling swivel studs, case-color your scope rings (just gorgeous!), tell them what rate of twist you want on your barrel, provide your own hunk of wood for the stock or ask for Exhibition Claro, and much, much more. And yet the prices were anything but astronomical for a maker who promises his rimfires group ¼-inch at 50 yards and a ½-inch at 100 yards for centerfires (with match-grade ammo).For example, the Jacskon Hunter in .25-06 can be ordered for just $1,795, and you can have it made with a custom length of pull for just $110 more. I could also flute the barrel for $185, and add my own personal touch of a custom serial number for $75. For much, much more information than I can put in this blog, check out the Cooper website at www.cooperfirearms.com.

Bog Pod CLD seriesBog-Pod CLD Series
Prone, kneeling, sitting, standing, or twisted behind a tree in the shape of a pretzel, the Bog-Pod tripod gun rest lets you adjust to your shooting environment. This company made quite a splash, when they first came on the market, and with good reason. Things like an all-terrain foot system that includes a spike for better traction in ice and other hard surfaces, inch markers on the legs for easy leveling/measuring, rubber ring guards that keep the rig quiet, and a 360-degree swiveling USR (Universal Swivel Rest) that accommodates all but a benchrest-style fore-end make this a truly flexible piece of equipment. Nice that it comes in camo now, and I particularly like the XSR (Xtreme Shooting Rest) add-on that helps to steady bigger, heavier rifles, while still allowing for shooting at pitch. When you’re done with the shooting, take off your gun, slap on your camera, and take your own trophy pics!

MSRP: The CLD camo Bog-Pods, in three heights run under $130, according to www.boggear.com. The XSR add-on will bump you for about $70.

Coyote Hunting Guns, Setup No. 2

Savage Model 25 Lightweight Varminter-T

Savage Model 25 Lightweight Varminter-T
As practical as they are, most thumbhole stocks are usually far from pretty. They've come a long way in recent years, though, and while they’ll never attain “pretty” status, they do get points for looking funky cool, as in Savage’s Model 25 Lightweight Varminter-T.

I love the linear design of this rifle—just looks like it’s made to put your eye naturally in line with a big-objective scope and let you easily shoot with a bipod from a sitting position. It also comes with Savage’s tunable Accu-Trigger and a vented fore-end, which will make your paper-punching sight-in work a ton of fun (and allow this gun to take you right into spring and summer prairie dogs). While I’d prefer this gun had a matte finish to the metal work, the satin finish shouldn’t wink in the sun like a sequined shirt and put howlers on high alert, especially if you’re using natural brush as a hide. Nor should the satin finish of the naturally colored laminate stock. With a detachable box magazine, an extra front sling swivel stud for bipod attachment, and four varmint-appropriate rounds to choose from–.17 and .22 Hornet, .204 Ruger, and .223 Remington—this 24-inch barreled, 8.25-pound rifle is a sound choice for coyotes wandering through short-grass, wood-edged meadows and agriculture plots that hold this quarry’s dinner of mice and rabbits.

MSRP: This is one game-specific rifle that won’t break the bank. The Savage website lists the Model 25 Lightweight Varminter-T at $732 to $754 depending on caliber.

Hornady Z-Max ammunitionHornady Z-Max Bullets
Gotta love a company that can have a little fun with their own products. The “Z” in Hornady’s new Z-Max bullet stands for “zombie,” as in this is the one bullet, perhaps the mother of all bullets, that can possibly out the always dead, back-from-the-dead, can-you-kill-the-walking-dead? glowing-red-eyed evil of many a horror films. According to Hornady, Zombiegeddon is right around the corner, but until it gets here, you can use the Zombie-Max bullets on your varmint handloads and get a feel for the devastating effect they have on live creatures.Hornady Z-Max bullets

All joking and creative marketing aside (though if this stuff doesn’t leap off retailers’ shelves based on the packaging alone, then I don’t know a thing about selling), this green-tipped bullet design is said to deliver phenomenally flat trajectories. You may also be able to keep your loads reduced, saving your barrels from premature burnout and your coyote hides from large exit holes, because Hornady claims these bullets also provide wonderful expansion at lower velocities. There are plenty of .17, .20, and .22-caliber bullets available, as well as a couple 6mm and 7.62 offerings, and Hornady also offers completely assembled ammunition with Z-Max bullets. This line was introduced just before Christmas, so get out there and load up—I want to know what you think!

The Author Recommends: Coyotes (and zombies!) are a super excuse to reload and fine-tune your ammunition if you don't already. And whether beginner or novice, the Gun Digest Essentials of Reloading Premium Collection gives you all the information you need to go from loose powder and empty cases on your reloading bench to dime-sized groups on the shooting bench. Check it out, then go put a hurtin' on those howlers!
Gun Digest Essentials of Reloading Premium Collection



Gun Digest Essentials of Reloading Premium Collection!


Coyote Hunting Guns, Setup No. 1

DPMS Panther Snow Shadow AR-15 type rifle

Baby it's cold outside, and that means it's time to hunt coyotes in all their furry, howling glory. Let's get January's Coyote Gun setups going with a neato-keeno AR-styled pick from DPMS.

Y’all asked for it! January’s “Hunting Guns Blog” is hereby devoted to coyote rigs, Let's go!

DPMS Prairie Panther Kings Snow Shadow

I don’t have more than a smidgen of snow here in Wisconsin (and strictly because I’ve type those words, we’ll probably be inundated with a blizzard any minute now), but a bunch of you have plenty of white stuff on the ground. Since everything stands out on a white background, it’s essential that you blend in as much as possible. That includes your gun, which makes the Prairie Panther Kings Snow Shadow from DPMS an awesome pick for snowbound ’yotes.

To be sure, there are about a bazillion AR-15 variants out there to choose from, and this is just one, but DPMS has a solid reputation for reliable firearms. This particular model comes with a 20-inch heavy contour barrel that gets a target crown, flattop receiver (essential for optics use), two-stage trigger, and a Magpul Winter trigger guard, which allows ample room for a gloved hand. Other pluses include a ceramic overcoat on the Snow Shadow pattern (good for durability), skeletonized stock, and a carbon fiber free-floating handguard tube. These last two features help reduce weight, keeping this Panther at a walk-the-countryside 7.1 pounds (sans scope). In the original .223, buyers can order with two bolt-carrier options, one in chrome, the other in titanium.

MSRP: Current listing on the DPMS website is $1,249, really quite reasonable for today’s out-of-the-box AR-types.

Harris Rotapod on gunHarris Rota-Pod
Love to hunt howlers with an AR-15-type rifle? Got one with a Picatinny rail on its underside? Then you need Harris’ RBA—Rotating Bipod Adaptor, also known by the company as the Rota-Pod. Finally, you can use one of Harris’ wonderful ’pods and be able to move when your quarry does. Simply latch on the adaptor to your rifle’s underbelly Picatinny rail via the adaptor’s quick-detach button (no screws!), slap on any Harris bipod, and then, from sitting, prone, or whatever position you’re in, you can set up in the general direction you want to aim, while still having the flexibility to swing on a coyote sneaking in from a weird angle without picking up and moving your entire rifle setup, a big movement that could give your position away.

Youth Deer Guns, Setup No. 10

Rossi Youth Rifle single shot

Rossi Single-Shot Youth-Size Rifle
Here you go, folks, No. 10 in this series, and since setup No. 9 was a tad on the pricey side, I thought I'd swing the pendulum the other way and give you a real dollar saver.

I'll say off the bat that Rossi didn't publish a length of pull for this gun, but it is specifically a Youth-Size Rifle. I Googled a bit and found someone remarking that LOP was 12 1/2 inches, so between that, Rossi's own description, and the fact that the butt pad has a spacer that can mix things up in the length department, I'd bet a fair amount that this gun is appropriately sized and fairly accommodating to a large number of small-statured shooters.

I love that this rifle is a single-shot–just plain safer all the way around for young shooters. I like even more that this is a takedown rifle–you don't put it together until you're in the stand, and you take it apart immediately before you climb down or exti a ground blind. This light little 6.25-rifle also has a transfer bar safety (won't fire unless the hammer is pulled back and the trigger is pulled completely rearward, which means even accidental drops are highly unlikely to discharge this gun), a breechlock systm that prevents the gun from being opened if the hamemer is cocked, a manual hammer block safety, and the Taurus Security System (Rossi is owned by Taurus), which provides a keyed remedy to rendering the gun inoperable.

That's the safe part. From a functional standpoint, one of my favorite features on this gun is the removeable cheekpiece, for it lets the gun grow with your child. Put it on to bring a really small face and body in better alignment with either the gun's fiber optic riflesights or a scope that attaches to the provided Weaver base, then take it off as your pre-teen gets their driver's license and perhaps no longer needs it. Finally, the gun also comes with a hammer extension, a big help for small, less-nimble hands and fingers, especially when they're wearing gloves or glomitts.

MSRP: Rossi's website lists this gun at an everyone-can-afford-this $263. When you add in the fact that this gun can grow with your child, this one's a definite bargain. Available in five deer-ready rifle cartridges–.243, .308, .270, .30-06, and 7.62×39–as well as the .44 Magnum handgun round, which can be easy on the recoil while still allowing for effective kills at limited ranges. In .223, I like this gun as a wild hog or varmint gun, as well.

Nikon Prostaff 2-7x32 rifle scope


Nikon Prostaff Rifle Scope
I've never met a Nikon scope, rangefinder, or binocular I didn't like. Even the money-saving lines have clear glass and hold up well under pressure and hard handling. The Prostaff line is one of those money savers, and its 2-7x32mm rifle scope is solid choice for topping the Rossi Single-Shot Youth rifle. A smaller-bodied scope designed to better fit and balance on more compact rifles such as the Rossi Youth, this Nikon comes with many of the features its more expensive cousins do, such as fully coated optics, quick-focus eyepiece, and the ability to shed water like a duck's back (yup, it's waterproof and fogproof). Backed by a lifetime warranty, so again, this is one to grow with your kid both on a gun like the Rossi Youth, and for use on their next rifle as they step up.

MSRP: The Nikon site had this at $164.95, but a solid Google search will turn up oodles of these scopes much closer to the $100 mark.

Hey readers, this is the end of the Youth Deer Gun series. There's an e-book verison of this collection coming soon, with added material, including three slug shotgun picks and some advice on how and why to fit a gun properly to a young, small shooter. We'll let you know when the e-book is available, and stay tuned for January's theme, coyote gun setups. It's sure to be a howlin' good time!

The Author Recommends: Can't miss having a copy of the Rossi Long Guns Exploded Gun Drawings Digital Download. A great help for disassembling for cleaning–and for reassembling to make sure you don't have parts leftover!
Rossi Long Guns Exploded Gun Drawings

Rossi Long Guns Exploded Gun Drawings
Digital Download

Youth Deer Guns, Setup No. 9

Ruger No. 1 Sporter single-shot rifle

Ruger No. 1 Light Sporter
There’s a lot to be said for a single-shot, when it comes to youths and safety. They take a shot, and then they must take a considerable moment to break the action and reload another shot—and that kind of a pause can save a lot of grief down the line.

I talked about the single-shot Handi-Rifle from Harrington & Richardson last week, always a sound choice, and economical to boot. Since you may appreciate the single-shot action but not such simplicity, I think Ruger’s No. 1 Light Sporter is the next logical choice (and really, there aren’t a lot of really nice singles out there forming this line that aren’t really high-end and not terribly kid-appropriate).

Weighing somewhere between 7 and 7.25 pounds and bearing a length of pull of 13.5 inches, the dimensions are certainly right for a youth gun. It’s also a very safe gun, not just from the standpoint of its one-shotness, but from the inherent strength of artillery-style breech and under-lever. Speaking of safety, I also love the top-tang-mounted push safety, much like one you’d find on any double-barrel shotgun—it’s easy to see what’s safe and what’s not without rolling the gun around in your hands, and it doesn’t get any easier than this design to use while still allowing the hand to remain shooting ready and in place around the pistol grip.

Thanks to its inherently trim and low-profile design, this gun is really one you can “get up on.” That ability to cradle the gun and get well in line with the bore is one I always rather crave—it helps me better manage recoil and keep my sight picture, whether with rifle sights or a scope. As character applies, in this gun, to youth shooters, I think it encourages those who don’t have a lot of bench time to wrap themselves around this rifle and find a position that’s right for them. This can be especially important in the tight confines of a tree stand or ground blind.

MSRP: This is a pretty gun, no bones about it. With a deep blue finish and nicely figured wood, the Ruger website has this model priced at $1242.

Swarovski Z6
No, these are not inexpensive scopes, but the Ruger No. 1 isn’t a penny-pinching rifle, either. I picked the Z6, though, not because it was an appropriate price match (or at least it's not inappropriate) to this grade rifle, but because of its compact design and functionality. This scope has a zoom feature that takes the user from 1x to 6x, and it wears a 24mm objective. This more diminutive objective and narrower magnification range naturally comes in a smaller overall package—and that’s just what you want on a trimly designed rifle like the Ruger No. 1 Light Sporter. I’ve owned a Ruger No. 1, and I promise, if you throw a standard 3-9x42mm scope on that gun, it will throw off the nice balance that rifle possesses. Plus it’ll just look damn ugly—like you wearing pants that are six inches too long and two sizes too big.

MSRP: Don’t shoot me over this one, this scope is actually more than the rifle at somewhere between $1600 and $1800ish (Swarovski uses authorized dealer, so you’ll need to shop this one). Yeah, that’s a ton of money for a scope, even a top-of-the-line scope, but look at it this way. If you’re spending over a grand on a rifle for your kid, it’s likely that kid is a teenager. So when that same child gets around to asking you to buy them their first car, you can say, “Sorry, can’t, spent it all on the deer rifle you had to have so bad.” See, just like that I saved you some $10,000 to $15,000 dollars!

The Author Recommends: Okay, I admit the Swarovski scope is pretty out there for most price-wise, if you intend to put it on a rifle for a kid of yours who isn't already contributing to a 401K. That being said, there are other options, and our book Old Gunsights and Rifle Scopes is a wonderful reference when it comes to finding and pricing used optics. Tons of photos, and you might even find the book will start a new collector's interest in you. Oh, and did I mention? This book is part of our warehouse sale running through December 23–normally priced at $39.99, this book is marked down to a ridiculously low $9.99. Take advantage!

Old Gunsights & Rifle Scopes



Old Gunsights and Rifle Scopes, on
  sale now for a rock-bottom $9.99!

Youth Deer Guns, Setup No. 8

Tikka T3 Lite rifle

Gunsmiths in Finland make some of the world's most accurate rifles, with the Tikka brand leading the way in those that are also economical. It's a standout among a crowded field of youth deer guns.

Tikka T3 Lite
If you’re thinking of Tikka like you think of BMW and Mercedes—foreign made = expensive—you’ll be in for a treat with this sleek rifle from the Finnish maker. Though guns from Tikka and its more expensive brethren brand Sako are not the obscure names they used to be, thanks to some intelligent marketing by Beretta, the names still don’t trickle out of your mouth like Winchester and Remington. Too bad, because these slick-actioned bolts, with their rigid, free-floating barrels and hand-cut muzzle crowns,have a big reputation for some fairly phenomenal accuracy.

I hesitated to recommend this one, because Beretta’s website doesn’t list a full set of specs, and when I couldn’t find the length of pull, thought maybe this was better left for the adults. Alas, after 30 minutes of Googling and a thorough look at the Tikka brochure in PDF, I found that the stock has shims for adjustment; one online writer had his Tikka Lite at 13 5/8 inches. That’ll work.

The bolt throws 70-degrees, which means little hands won’t get mashed against a scope, and the trigger is adjustable through the magazine well (i.e., no fancy-schmancy gunsmithing required), from the factory-set 4 pounds down to 2. Scopes can be mounted low and close to the receiver—good for small faces trying to get lined up for a full sight picture—thanks to the dovetail rail that accommodates the brand’s Optilok scope-mounting system and available Super-Lo 1 rings. Combine these features with the Sako Optilock rings and basesgun’s overall light weight of 6.2 to 6.4 pounds, and I think this is one rifle hard to pass by as you look the available choices for your youth’s whitetail or mule deer gun.

MSRP: The Beretta website has this rifle at $595-$625 in blue, $675-$720 for the stainless. In five calibers, three of them–.243, 7mm-08, and .308—deer ready.

Optilok Mount System
Might as well take advantage of the built-in rail on this gun and add the Optilok Picatinny rail and, as mentioned above, Super-Lo rings, which actually accommodate scopes with really generous objectives. The big bump for this system is that the Optilok rail clamps evenly over the dovetail guide on the receiver. Likewise, the rings clamp evenly over the scope shaft. This means, to twisting, no torqueing, just a straight-on view that keeps the bullets going where they should. Check out our Scope Mounting and Bore Sighting DVD, which should help you get this gun set up and deerstand ready in not time flat.

Youth Deer Guns, Setup No. 7

Ruger Mini 30



Ruger Mini 30
I’ve already made my case for not having semi-autos as a pick for youth rifles—well, at least for a first rifle. For a young hunter who has had a few years shooting with you on the range and taking shots at does from the treestand with you alongside, though, a semi-auto might be a safe choice, and if so, I bring you today’s pick, the Ruger Mini 30. Unusual choice? You bet it is, but this gun’s features make this a very kid- friendly pick.
First, you gotta love the short stock—length of pull is just 13 inches. It’s also wearing a tough synthetic stock and weather-hardy stainless hardware (the original wood and blue version is still available, too), both of which will take the knocks without batting an eye. Wearing an 18.5-inch barrel, this nifty little gun weighs in at a super-manageable 6.50 pounds; a 16.5-inch barrel is also an option with alloy steel hardware, but since you don’t lose any weight and probably do sacrifice some accuracy, I’d stay with the longer barrel.

The chambering in 7.62x39mm is a great choice for deer, and the since the semi-auto action will soak up a lot of the recoil, then even if this is the first bigger caliber your child will be managing, this gun is generally considered to be quite handleable. Functionally—and I can vouch for this personally—the Garand-style action isn’t at all hard to operate, with an ample and easily accessed slide lever that’s a cinch to pull back. Also, since this a Ruger and not actually a Garand, there’s no reason to pinch small fingers in the top of the bolt. Simply slide in the five-round magazine (two versions come with 20-round magazine—definitely not deer woods appropriate), rack the slide, and you’ve got one in the chamber, no muss, no fuss.

While I like the Ruger Mini 30 for its compactness and inherent maneuverability, there’s one aspect about this I like more than anything, and that, this is a great sporting gun for increasingly popular 3-gun competition. Yes, that’s a pretty far departure from hunting, but this is a full-action sport that really appeals to a generation of video-game-raised youths—and I’m for anything that keeps folks young, old, and in between interested in the shooting sports year round. So have some fun with this all-seasons gun, get your children exposed to the dozens and dozens of shooting games available, and keep them involved. That’s how you pass it on.

MSRP: Ruger's website has the stainless steel Mini 30 with a five-round magazine priced at $949.00 Undoubtedly, there are ample used models on the market available for appreciably less. See our Standard Catalog of Firearms 2012 for condition and pricing guidance on used models.

Corbon DX Hunter Ammo
Better known for its self-defense handgun ammo, Corbon also makes some stellar hunting rifle cartridges. Corbon claims 100% weight retention upon hit and expansion on its DPx Hunter line of rifle cartridges (DP stands for “Deep Penetration”), and it’s kind of hard to top 100%. I like the 123-grain load because it eases up on the recoil, and it’s also probably a prime choice if you’re in California or other lead-free zones, for this is a solid-copper lead-free bullet. If you feel the need and your kid can handle it, the 150-grain topper in the Corbon Hunter line (this one’s a bonded core jacketed softpoint) will work just fine, too.


Youth Deer Guns, Setup No. 6

Savage Model 11/111 Lady Hunter

Savage Model 11/111 Lady Hunter
Savage makes a couple rifles specifically for youth shooters, but the M11/111 Lady Hunter has some features that, though indicated for women hunters, should work quite well for any teen shooter.

I Googled and Googled and Googled and couldn’t find a length of pull listed for this gun anywhere, but all the PR material said it was shorter than Savage’s normal adult rifles. I’ll take that—I’ve shot plenty of so-called “women’s” guns, and they’re never much, if any, different than their counterparts labeled as “youth guns,” with most length of pull falling around the 13- to 13¾-inch range. I also wouldn’t worry about it as a youth choice, because beyond the fact that I know it already has a shorter length of pull, it has a fairly thick butt pad on the end and the stock is wood. The butt pad can certainly be swapped out for one that’s thinner, and it looks like there’s a solid ½- to ¾-inch of wood behind the raised cheekpiece that could be sacrificed off for a better fit.

That cheekpiece is actually the leading reason I chose this gun as my next Youth Setup. So often it’s hard for a small face on a small body to get lined up properly on a scope, even one mounted low, that a raised cheek swell can really be an advantage. The one on this Savage, though, also runs a long way across the stock’s comb, a design I think can really encourage a smaller body to find the position that gets them a sight picture and get their shoulder and arm around this gun for solid support; to me the gun looks huggable, like you can really become one with it with a little work on the bench. Combined with a rather generous sweep at the pistol grip that also provides for positioning and purchase on a wide variety of hand sizes, this rifle looks to be very accommodating to shorter-statured shooters.

This gun does sport Savage’s venerable Accutrigger. I know, I know, some of you parents are thinking the trigger’s going to be too light. Well, it could be, but remember that, if you can adjust it lighter, you can get it heavier, too. In fact, a heavier trigger would be excellent to use for pre-season bench work as a “teachable moment” regarding trigger control.

The Savage 11/111 Lady Hunter is on the light side, just 6 pounds, so for deer I’d stick to the mild .243 out of the eight cartridges this gun comes chambered in. Barrel length is 20 inches, and overall length comes in at a still maneuverable 39½ inches.

Weaver Grand Slam 8-16x42mm binocularMSRP: The Savage website has this nicely wooded rifle listed at $819.

Weaver Grand Slam Zoom
If you’ve got a kid who’s indicating they want to wander the country taking game large and small, then Weaver’s adjustable zoom Grand Slam bino is one that covers all the bases. This glass clicks effortlessly from 8X to 12X to a whopping 16X, with ample 42mm lenses at the outgoing end. The roof-prism design is easy on small hands, as is the rubber armor—but frankly I picked this one in part because I’m diggin’ its dark brown-and-tan hardware (okay, it could be black-and-tan, hard to tell from the web, but still, just l-o-v-e love it). Just love the looks on this one, and it’s less likely to stand out against most camo patterns when worn around the neck or in gloved hands.

MSRP: $685.49 on the Weaver website.

The Author Recommends: Whether you hunt with your child from the same stand or across a field or valley from one another, it’s good to go prepared. Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need by John D. McCann is a smart reference for any outdoor family to share. On sale now for $15.15 (was $22.99)!

Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need





Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need


Youth Deer Guns, Setup No. 5

Harrington & Richardson Superlight Handi-Rifle Compact

Harrington & Richardson Superlight Handi-Rifle Compact
How often have you heard someone tell you to keep things simple? Plenty I bet. And since Monday’s Youth Deer Gun Setup was a rather techie one, I think I’ll go with the keep-it-simple theme for today’s pick.

Really, a rifle doesn’t get much more basic than one of the single-shots from Harrington & Richardson, and for that reason they’re one of my favorites for really young shooters who are moving up from .22-calibers and into their first rimmed cartridge gun. (I particularly like the inherent safety of a single shot—there’s just less to go wrong.) As far as one for a kid’s first deer, the Superlight Handi-Rifle Compact certainly meets the qualifications.

With a very short 11¾-inch length of pull and a maneuverable overall length of just 33 inches, this is an ideal pick for the small-bodied eight- to 12-year-old crowd. That the gun wears a synthetic stock is also practical (takes the knocks well from youths who aren’t used to handling firearms everyday), plus it comes complete with the scope, sling swivel studs, and sling. Originally available only in .223—not my top pick for whitetails—the 5 1/3-pound Superlight Handi-Rifle Compact is now available in .243.

MSRP: The link from the H&R product site to the Gallery of Guns sale sight has the unscoped version at $322.85. The Gallery site didn’t actually show the scoped version in its inventory system, but I’m guessing that version will run you about $25 to $50 more, tops. If this is your young child’s first rifle and you want to keep things economical, I’d go with the scoped version and call it a day.


Bushnell Sport 450 laser rangefinderBushnell Sport 450 Rangefinder
A simple rangefinder like Bushnell’s Sport 450 is a great way to help your child get their first deer on the ground. I especially like this unit because of its size and ease of operation. The unit sports dimensions of 1.7”x3.9”x3.1” and features one-button operation that’s easily manipulated by a smaller, inexperienced hand. The objective has 4×20 magnification, and the unit ranges from as little as five yards to 999. It comes with a case, a strap and a 9-volt battery (battery included—hooray!) and a generous 320 feet at 1,000 yards field of view. A textured grip improves handhold, your kid will dig the camo, and the Sport 450, like many Bushnell products, sports the company’s Rainproof technology—which leaves you looking only for a solution for how to get your kid to sit in the stand on a rainy day without whining.

MSRP: The price link on the Bushnell site proved dysfunctional, but a quick Google showed the top-end list price to be about $275 for the camo version. I’d go with Googling even if you could get the Bushnell site to work, because most online sources I saw were selling it between $140 and $180ish.

The Author Recommends: The Harrington & Richardson Long Guns Exploded Drawings is a natural pairing with this rifle and a good way to help teach kids just what makes this gun work. I’d also download the Standard Catalog of Harrington and Richardson Pricing and Checklist, an excellent reference for those who like collecting these ever-ready utilitarian rifles.

Harrington & Richardson Long Guns Exploded Drawings

Harrington & Richardson Long Guns Exploded Drawings                                                                          

Standard Catalog Harrington & Richardson long guns Pricing and Reference






Standard Catalog of Harrington and Richardson Pricing and Reference





Youth Deer Guns, Setup No. 4

Browning ShorTrac

Looking for youth deer guns? The Browning ShortTrac makes an excellent choice, the autoloader is soft-recoiling and comes in plenty of capable calibers.

Browning ShortTrac
I’m not generally a huge advocate of semi-auto rifles for youth applications for a couple reasons. Mostly its because I think bolts, levers, pumps, and certainly single-shots offer an additional measure of safety for the inexperienced shooter. The shooter must perform a deliberate action that is not trigger pulling—working a bolt, swinging the lever, and shucking the slide—before a second shot can be had. This action gives pause for thought, a pause that can be easily eliminated with a semi-automatic. Too, the more mechanically complex semi-autos tend to be more expensive than other actions, with price tags that can be hard for parents to swallow when they’re not sure a kid will stick with something. Still, not all “kids” are 12 years old and five-foot-nothing, not all are inexperienced shooters just because they’re under the age of 18—and not all deer are whitetails standing broadside at 75 yards. To that end, I bring you Browning’s ShortTrac.

I had to search through Browning’s stockpile to find a deer-killing gun that had a more youth-oriented length of pull. The ShortTrac came in at 13 ¼,” wearing a fairly substantial butt pad on it. That butt pad’s one thing shooters are going to need, for this gun presently comes chambered only in .300 WSM. I almost passed on this one as a youth recommendation because of that chambering, but then I thought about big fat mule deer standing waaaaayyyy out there on the Wyoming plains, and realized this caliber is a prime candidate for spot-and-stock plains deer.

The ShortTrac has a couple other features that make it a good pick for the more experienced teen hunter. First, the middle-of-the-road 7 ¼ pounds this gun weighs should manageable, even on a long stalk, for active, athletic teens. Too, the in-between weight and the gun’s recoil-absorbing semi-auto action should take a decent bite out the .300 WSM’s thump, I’m guessing enough to make practice time on the range far less than miserable. But what I like most is the shorter receiver and trimmer fore-end of the ShortTrac compared to Browning’s original BAR. I’ve never met a standard BAR that wasn’t uncomfortably front heavy, but if looks alone are any indication, the ShortTrac has a more between-the-hands balance. Put a good-quality low-mount 3-9X42 scope on this gun (the ShortTrac sports only 5/8” drop at the comb, but the sharp, back-end profile of the A5-type receiver should accommodate a low-mount scope beautifully, especially as there’s no bolt lift to get in the way), get your gangly-legged teen a set of shooting sticks and a pair of hiking boots, and have a go at those Western mulies.

Federal Vital Shok Trophy Bonded TipFederal Premium Vital Shok
While the .300 WSM is a ball of fun for handloaders, there are some awesome factory loads out there. One of them is Federal’s Premium Vital Shok load. The 165-grain load is topped with the Trophy Bonded Tip bullet, built around the venerable Bear Claw design, but more aerodynamic and accurate, thanks to a longer design. Penetration and vital destruction shouldn’t be on anyone’s issue list, thanks to the polymer tip and a muzzle velocity of 3100 fps. More important, this bullet’s still humming to the tune of 2700 fps at 200 yards, dropping off to just 2500 at 300 yards. Also available in a 180-grain load, good for elk and probably some bear, the 165-grain has dead mule deer written all over it.

Burris Eliminator Laser ScopeBurris Eliminator Scope
Wow, talk about this not being your grand-daddy’s scope.

The Burris Elminator has so much to offer in this setup, I almost don’t know where to begin. First, this scope contains the drop at specific yardages for more than 1,900 cartridges. You tell the scope what your cartridge is and what distance you’re sighting in at, it calibrates points of impact, and you verify the math by shooting a few rounds at different yardages. In the field, the scope ranges your quarry—that’s right, it takes the place of a handheld rangefinder—and then, guided by a 1/3 MOA light on the reticle post that tells you where your shot will hit (OMG!) you float the center of the reticle where you need to. Can’t ever remember your ballistics? Never get holdover quite right? Does long-range shooting intimidate you? No longer with the aptly named Eliminator. In fact, the only thing this magical glass doesn’t eliminate, is buck fever. Hold steady … .

One more thing. I especially like this 26-ounce scope paired with the Browning ShortTrac because of the optic’s extremely low-profile mount. It should set nicely and compactly over this gun’s receiver, helping to balance this gun for shooting from both sticks and off-hand.

Youth Deer Guns, Setup No. 3

Marlin 336W

Marlin 336W
I started shooting late in life, my mid-20s, and went through some growing pains acquiring guns that were right for me. I missed a couple “rights of passage” guns along the way, including a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun and a Remington 870 pump. One gun I did not miss out on, though, was a lever-action rifle. In fact, I killed my very first deer, a decent buck on Anticosti Island, with a Marlin lever. As a result, I’m kind of soft for this gun, and I’m making it my next pick for a youth setup.

The 336W in particular is my choice. It meets the shorter length-of-pull requirements I look for in a youth gun at 13 ½” inches, plus I like that, as a lever-action, its overall length of 38 ¼” inches makes for a gun as maneuverable as, say, one of the Micro bolt-actions from Browning.

If the 336W is anything like the laminate-stocked stainless version I have, the lever will be smooth, and the loading into the chamber relatively easy, even for smaller hands (and you can, of course, allow your child to load only into the chamber and keep the gun a single-shot for safety purposes). I remember that getting rounds into the magazine tube was a little tight but I’m an adult—small fingers might actually have an easier time. Best of all, the tried and true .30-30 round gets the job done on whitetails to the distance most adults want to keep their kids shooting at, that being the 100- to 150-yard range.

Two versions are available, both with padded slings, but one with the addition of a 3-9X32 scope already mounted and bore-sighted. The scoped model gets an upgrade in the wood, from Maine birch to hardwood, but both have checkering at the grip and fore-end. A push-button hammer-block safety is standard, and users can safely unload the round in the chamber by activating that push-button to the SAFE position.

MSRP: Gallery of Guns, the on-line dealer linked directly from the Marlin site, has the unscoped model $483.52, while the gun with optics went for $530.18. Either way, a pretty sound deal for a gun your kids can hand down to their kids.


Hornady LEVERevolution
I took both the deer I shot on Anticosti Island with my Marlin lever-action in .30-30 using Winchester Silvertips. Back at home, in a side-by-side test, the Marlin bested a Winchester Model 94, putting some very nice 2-inch 100-yard groups on paper with the Silvertips. I’d still recommend that ammo, but Hornady’s LEVERevloution ammo has taken lever-lovers by storm.

Before this ammo was introduced, lever-action shooters were limited to roundnose, soft-tip bullets, for fear of setting off a chain-reaction of rounds being fired in the magazine, as the nose of one came into contact with the primer of the round in front of it during recoil or rough handling. Hornady’s LEVERevolution ammo, though, sports a patented FTX—Flex Tip eXpanding—that’s getting rave reviews for high ballistic coefficients and super-flat trajectories. Since the pointed tip might also make loading a little easier for young shooters, I’d absolutely give these rounds a whirl.


Bushnell Elite
If you opt for the gun without the built-in scope, I think a smart pick for an optics topper would be Bushnell’s Trophy XLT 1.75-4X32mm in Realtree AP. Designed for short-range use, which means it’s perfectly appropriate to both a .30-30 and the distances kids should be attempting game at, the scope features a fast-focus eyepiece that’s a bonus to inexperienced eyes. The scope is, of course, waterproof and fogproof, it comes with flip-up scope covers, and your kids are sure to dig the Realtree camo coating it wears.

MSRP: $216.95 on the Bushnell site.



The Author Recommends:We have tons of gun detail downloads at www.GunDigesStore.com. Our Marlin Model 336 Assembly Disasembly Instructions  is just one of dozens for Marlin. And it's one heck of a deal at a whopping $3.99! I'd also recommend our Scope Mounting and Boresighting for Rifles DVD as a must-have for anyone who puts glass on a gun. Shop on!



   Marlin Model 336 Assembly Disasembly Instructions Downloand




Scope Mounting and Boresighting for Rifles DVD

Youth Deer Gun, Setup No. 2

A look at some feature-packed youth deer guns to get new shooters on target.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Compact
For every Ford owner there’s a Chevy owner, as there is Winchester to Remington. If you’re a fan of the Model 70 action and want your kids to follow in your footsteps, then the Model 70 Featherweight Compact is an optimum choice.

I’ll be upfront, this gun isn’t on the cheap side, so it’s probably a better choice for a youth shooter who’s already been inducted into the shooting sports and has shown a dedicated interest, rather than as a gun for an introduction to the sport. Other than that, the gun has plenty of features that make gifting one to a serious young shooter a sound choice.

First I like the length of pull. At a flat 13 inches, this is an optimum place to start for youths who’ve outgrown their Daisy Red Ryder but still find a full-length stock too unwieldy. Also, this is a wood-stocked gun, so it’s easy for any reasonably talented gunsmith to both shorten and/or gradually lengthen with spacers as your child grows.

The three-position safety is another big advantage on this rifle. It’s highly visible, easy to use even for smaller hands, and its middle safe setting allows the user to cycle the action and loaded cartridges without risk of an accidental firing, as the firing pin is lifted away from the sear. Each position clearly identifies the status of the rifle, and its prevalent position on the top of the receiver should prevent the user from over-handling the gun to either locate or operate it (i.e., less handling can help a young shooter who hasn’t quite become completely conscious of where they’re pointing a gun at all times, such as a seasoned shooter should be, keep themselves and others safe).

Wearing a 20-inch barrel, the Model 70 Featherweight Compact comes in at a neat 6 lbs., 8 ozs., and I think this is one of the gun’s best selling points for youth shooters, especially teens who are up to hiking a bit to a good treestand location or capable of tracking a deer with you over some distance if necessary. Three deer-ready calibers–.243 Win. 7mm-08 Rem., and .308 Win.—should provide for manageable recoil, even with the gun’s trim poundage, and an adjustable M.O.A. Trigger System that Winchester claims has no creep, takeup, or overtravel should enhance pre-season practice time on the bench.

MSRP: Winchester’s website has this gun at $879.99. Like I said, this is unlikely to be a price point most adults will want to approach for a first time gun purchase intended for an uninitiated shooter. But if you have a youth who’s slogged along with you through several seasons and put up with a beater hand-me-down gun they’ve never liked, this might be a super choice for a gun you could gift them in reward for their perseverance.

Winchester Supreme Ballistic Silvertip
I’m not only choosing this ammo because I’ve used it quite a bit myself and love how it works (I’ve never had game run off with a well-placed hit), but because Winchester is currently offering a rebate of $2.50 on up to four boxes purchased. Hurry though—the promo started in August and is due to run out on December 31, 2011. (Here’s the link to the rebate form. Winchester has to have them in hand no later than January 15, 2012 for you to get your rebate). Available rounds for the Featherweight Compact above include 55- and 95-grain .243s, a 140-grain in the 7mm-08, and 150- and 168-grain .308s. Should take care of every whitetail size out there from a tiny Coues to a giant Saskatchewan bad boy.

Leuopold VX-3L Rifle Scope
Since I qualified this blog’s gun choice as one that’s perhaps most appropriate for a youth shooter who’s shown dedication to time on the bench and hours on the stand, then I think a good optics match for it is Leupold’s VX-3L rifle scope in the 3.5-10X50mm configuration.

There’s myriad reasons to choose a Leupold based on reputation alone, but this particular scope has two features that really sell it. The first is the objective bell’s unique design. Divoted on its underside, the shape nearly embraces a gun barrel and permits the scope a very low-profile mount, a good thing for smaller faces on the stock behind them. This optic also has a Custom Dial System available—simply send Leupold your gun’s ballistics, and they’ll send you a dial to match it. This can simplify both the sighting in process, as well as help accuracy in the field when used in conjunction with a rangefinder. A lot of scope in all, but if your kid’s worth the price of the gun above, there’s no sense on handicapping him with junk glass.

MSRP: Leupold doesn’t advertise prices, but I did a quick Google of retailers. Looks like this scope starts around the $699 range, a fair and appropriate match to the price of the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Compact.

Youth Deer Gun, Setup No. 1

A look at the best and most value-packed deer guns for young and new shooters, choices that are sure to put the odds in the favor of aspiring sportspeople.

After taking a poll on Facebook about what my readers would like to see me tackling on this Gun Digest blog, I got a thorough weigh-in on the want for complete hunting setups—gun, ammo, optics and accessories. I also took a pulse on just exactly what types of setups everyone wanted to see, and given that feedback we’re going to start with youth deer rifle setups. Yeah, it’s a tad late in the hunting season, but still time to dig one in this series that will run for the next several weeks and put it in some fancy wrapping paper for an under-the-tree Christmas gift no child or grandkid will ever forget. Plus, while these may be a little late to get any hunting in with this year, it will give you the next nine months to get your youth shooter super familiar and super safe with their new gun—and can’t no one complain about that.

Remington 770 Compact, .243 Winchester Youth

Remington's 770 Compact, .243 Winchester Youth

This is one setup that will speed things up and get your kids in the woods for a shot or two if you have a few weeks left in your deer season this year, because the 770 Compact, a revamped upgraded version of Remington’s Model 710, already comes with a pre-mounted and pre-bore sighted 3-9x40mm scope. (Some pictures from Remington clearly show this scope as being one of Bushnell’s, while others are nondescript, so I’m assuming the company is sourcing the optics from more than one place. It really doesn’t matter; with so few truly bad quality optics out there, so long as the one on the 770 Compact you buy is screwed on straight and tight, you should be good to go.)

Couple things I really like about this gun for younger, shorter youth shooters (or women of shorter stature).

First, it comes chambered in .243 in the .243 Winchester Youth version, probably my ideal pick for a factory round that will get the job done on whitetail deer that aren’t too far out. You don’t really want newer and relatively inexperienced rifle shooters taking shots at yardages they’re not familiar enough with and don’t have the ability to judge well, so this round, with enough time on the bench and the right coaching from you and, should help keep them reigned in to the 100- to 150-yard range that would effect a clean, humane kill.

Second, this gun has a bevy of kid-friendly stock features. Topping the list is the gun’s synthetic stock. Face it, youngsters just aren’t as aware of their surroundings as adults are—they’re bound to bump the stock of their first rifle hard into a tree, tree-stand, and even drop it trying to get it into a case. Synthetic takes the bumps. Overall, the .243 Winchester Youth gun is kid-friendly short both in overall length (39 1/2”) and in length of pull (12 3/8”). Additionally, the gun gets thumbs-up for its groovy-textured fore-end, a safety benefit for small hands, especially those that are gloved. In all, this is a pretty optimal setup for most pre-teen and teen hunters that haven’t passed a height of about 5’5” or so.

I thought the only drawback of this gun would be its weight. At 8 1/4 pounds, complete with scope, this one’s a tad on the heavy side. If you’re going to trek a long way to a stand, I can hear most 12-year-olds whining, “Dad, can you carry it for me, pleeeaase?” On the other hand, when it comes to shooting, this gun’s going to suck up some recoil that, even from the rather mild .243 round, might otherwise be off-putting to newer rifle shooters. There’s a trade-off for everything.

From a functional standpoint, the Remington 770 Compact shouldn’t disappoint. Taking a lot from its venerable parent, the Model 7000, this gun gets a six-groove button rifled barrel, a short 60-degree bolt throw that’s easily workable for small operators, a four-round detachable magazine (teach the kids it out for transport, an extra safety bonus) with an improved latch that less nimble hands can operate more positively, and molded on sling swivel studs that won’t come unscrewed and lost. All in all, it should take more than a half-box of ammo on the range to get this one up and running and your kid’s first doe in the freezer.

 MSRP: Remington's website says prices for the Model 770 Compact Youth start at $373. I trust prices somewhat higher than that are for those non-youth rifles but still compact rifles available in larger calibers.

Remington Copper Solid .243
If your kids recycle more soda cans and plastic grocery bags then you do, then they’ve already gotten the gist of the green movement. Keep encouraging them, with Remington’s Premier Copper Solid line of centerfire ammunition. These rounds were created to satisfy mandatory non-toxic regulations that some states have put in place for public hunting lands, but unlike the first steel loads that were introduced for waterfowlers when lead was first banned, this stuff works well. The 80-grain boat-tail bullet of the .243 round, backed by a 9 1/2 primer, leaves the muzzle with 1993 ft-lbs. of energy, retaining 1610 ft.-lbs. at 100 yards and 1291 at 200. Velocities are 2696  feet per second (fps) and 2403 fps at 100 and 200 yards, respectively (you can see the full ballistics chart here). All perfectly useful for thin-skinned whitetails, but it was the bullet performance that got me interested. Remington claims nearly 100% weight retention upon impact and penetration, and kills with a well-placed shot should be easy-peasy thanks to how the bullet acts. To quote the Remington website, “At impact, the polymer tip acts as a wedge, plowing through a built-in expansion chamber and initiating a mushroom that’s consistently 1.8x bullet diameter—creating a large terminal wound channel from close range to the farthest reaches of your shooting ability.” I’d like to see this in a gelatin test, myself, just for curiosity’s sake, but if this is as good as the company’s purported, this is ammo that will leave your child with their first whitetail trophy dead at their feet—and that’s a much better alternative than a kill gone wrong that turns your kid off hunting forever.

Tip of the Day: I don't know about you, but money doesn't grow on trees. Still, $373 for a scope and gun seems pretty much a disposable price to me. (In other words, you know this probably won't be the last rifle you buy your youngun). For that relatively small amount of dinero, I say make this gun whatever it needs to be. If you need the stock to be shorter, especially for use over heavy winter clothing, get a competent gunsmith to cleanly sever another quarter or half inch or whatever it takes off the end and properly refit a butt pad. Too, you can layer some mole skin over the cheekpiece (the 770 Compact already has a slightly raised cheekpiece) to bring a small face better in line with the scope–and I'd recommend this over one of those lace-on or slip-on stock covers that can get hung up on clothing. Too, you might want to choose to handload for this gun and tailor a load that eases up on recoil for really sensitive kids, while still ensuring there's enough oomph at 100 or 125 yards to get the job done.

Where the Buffalo Roam

A wonderful sight for tourists, the Yellowstone bison herd is once again at numbers that need to be cut back.

Either something's terribly amiss with the tides and the moon or The New York Times is starting to appear neutral in some of its reporting. I hit the Science section of today's online paper and found an article relating the possibility of the Yellowstone bison herd being culled (at least in part) by hunters, rather than through the large-scale kills that have previously taken place when the herd wandered out of its normal haunts and into Montana during harsh winters. I'm going to give two thumbs up to the Times for relating the info about the proposal from Park officials without a single snarky comment about the “evils of hunting,” as well as for including input from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, which claims its been asking for some time for gifts of the Yellowstone buffalo so that they may start additional herds outside the famed Park's boundaries. Altogether an informative read, though I wish the Times had included info on where the public can comment on the Park's proposal or the text for the proposal itself.  You can click here for the full TNYT article which, by the way, does state that the proposal for “selective culling” would also include the possibility of captured buffs being shipped off for slaughter or relocation. However, if hunting is included, it's probably safe to assume that it would be by a tag draw system. Given that tag draws for free-ranging buffalo in the few states that allow it/have the animals usually come to just a handful each year, additional tags would be a welcome opportunity for hunters seeking a trophy and hunt of a much different caliber than that for their backyard whitetails–and an all-American one at that.

By the way, I tried Googling the proposal documents but came up empty. I also went to the National Park Service's www.nps.gov site and searched for “bison proposal,” but the last posting that came up was one from 2010 asking for public comments on bison brucellosis vaccinations. I'm guessing this new selective cull proposal is in its infancy and the public comment period hasn't been created and posted yet
I'll try my best to keep tabs on this one, but if y'all hear anything that includes either comment opportunities on the hunt or a tag lottery going into effect, shoot a comment here so those looking to fill a freezer or five have a chance to get in on the hunt.

The Author Recommends: If there's a chance to draw a tag for a Yellowstone buffalo hunt in the near future, you're gonna need enough gun. I pick Guns of the American West by Dennis Adler to help you make the right choice.


More Than Fast & Furious

More than 50 Congressmen are calling for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in light of Operation Fast & Furious. Turns out that wasn't the only gun-running circus the BATFE was sponsoring.


I comb through the major newspapers everyday, but rarely do I read through more than the headline, subhead, and first paragraph of anything related to guns when the articles are generated by the primary media outlets. There are just too many things they get wrong and too much bias, and reading through their pieces in their entirety boils my stomach acid. However, I came across a quite lengthy piece today from the usually more neutral Bloomberg Businessweek, and I gave the entire piece a read. You're going to need more than five minutes to get through the five online pages here, but some points I found intersting I'll synopsize here.

  • “Fast and Furious” wasn't the only gun running operation setup by the ATF. At least one other border-crossing circus, “Operation Wide Receiver” was begun as early as 2006, during the Bush Administration.
  • Both operations lost hundreds upon hundreds of guns.
  • Four states are now currently paying for the “well, it looked good on paper” games of the ATF. California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas are now currently under additional reporting regulations the other 46 states of the Union are not. This undoubtedly also “looks good on paper,” but NSSF has filed suit against the ATF for these prejudicial regs, accusing the agency of exceeding its authority. (Ya think?)
  • Of the smaller Operation Wide Receiver project, nine indictments were obtained. Of those, two are fugitives (probably sitting somewhere in the hills of Mexico, surrounded by AR-15s and laughing their patooties off), and five have plead guilty to falsifying information on government forms–i.e., they answered yes to the question that the firearms they bought were for personal use. Four of those five are awaiting sentancing, while the fifth was sentanced to 366 days in jail. Wait–I thought these were international gun-running charges, not a case of which celebrity got a DWI this week?

Today's online edition of The Daily Caller announced that now 51 congressmen have called on Eric Holder to resign immediately. That number is up five since yesterday (Thursday, 11/17/11) morning, but according to the same article, “Holder is currently on a taxpayer-subsidized junket in the Caribbean with his spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, who has repeatedly declined to answer questions about the increasing congressional disapproval of Holder’s job performance.” Nice to know one of our leaders employs the tactics of an ostritch when things get tough.

I'd like to editorialize here–a lot–but I think I'll let the readers do it. Tell us here at Gun Digest what you think about these latest developments in the BATFE scandals. Lord knows these are more important to us than what's going on at Penn State.

The author recommends: “Well, what else would you want to read after the two articles above but the Gun Digest Book of the AR-15 Volume 3 by one of our favorite authors Patrick Sweeney?!”