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SCI Assistant Publisher

VP Candidate Ryan An Avid Hunter

Paul Ryan is not only a dedicated hunter, gun owner and shooter, but he is also a long-standing leader of the pro-hunting leadership in Congress.

By Patrick O’Malley

For those of us who call North America home, we’ve finally turned the corner on the calendar.   The heat of summer is fading, and dove seasons are in full swing.  Crisp, cool air is wafting in on north winds and big game seasons are beckoning.

As we finalize our hunting calendars for the 2012 North American seasons, we must pay close attention to one date in particular. Tuesday, November 6, is a day that must find us close to home so each of us can cast an informed ballot for the candidates who will protect hunting.

And if your calendar finds you far afield on that day, now is the time to contact your local registrar about applying to cast your ballot absentee.  Deadlines and regulations vary from state to state, but a quick search of the website operated by your state’s Secretary of State should yield speedy answers to any questions you may have.

Paul Ryan is not only a dedicated hunter, gun owner and shooter, but he is also a long-standing leader of the pro-hunting leadership in Congress.

And if some happenstance has rendered your voter registration invalid (like simply moving to a new home, even if nearby) that means you have about two weeks left before the deadline in most states to make sure you are properly registered at the correct address for your local voting precinct.

Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan for Vice President has brought a new focus to the stakes of the race for hunters.  Paul Ryan is not only a dedicated hunter, gun owner and shooter, but he is also a long-standing leader of the pro-hunting leadership in Congress.  Ryan is well known to the SCI leadership who participate in our Annual Lobby Day.

Ryan is also the former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC).  In this capacity, Rep. Ryan provided steady leadership in Congress on issues of concern to hunters, gun owners, shooters.  And that shows in his voting record on issues of concern to SCI.

Among the highlights of his record in Congress, Rep. Ryan led his colleagues to defeat all of the recent efforts to limit various seasons, specific species, and traditional methods of the hunt.  He has led the charge to pass many of SCI’s signature legislative goals, including successful legislation that changed the Pittman-Robertson excise tax payment schedule to remedy inequities and protect conservation funding.  He has spearheaded the charge to protect the right of hunters to use traditional ammunition, and played a key role in passing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, blocking baseless lawsuits that blamed manufacturers and retailers for the criminal misuse of firearms in an effort to bankrupt the gun industry and destroy the Second Amendment.

And those of us who bear arms for self-defense in addition to hunting will be pleased to learn he supported national “right to carry” legislation, which would allow law abiding Americans to defend themselves when traveling away from their home state.

Ours is not a partisan cause, but it is undeniable that the Ryan record stands in stark contrast to that of the Obama administration.  In the wake of shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, the Obama White House restated its support for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.  And if re-elected, Obama would have the political freedom to push the rest of the pent-up anti-gun, anti-hunting agenda, such as the drive to ban online ammo sales, restrict magazine capacity and limit hunting and shooting on federal lands.

Some may question the ability of the Vice President in any given Administration to shape key policies, but Presidents often defer to their Vice Presidents on specific issues where the Vice President has deep knowledge and interest.  It was never a secret that Vice President Dick Cheney was more avid a hunter than President George W. Bush.  As a result, his policy team took the lead on many issues of concern to gun owners and hunters.  The Vice President works from an office in the West Wing just like the rest of the President’s senior advisers, so he’s never far from the action, and in a Romney presidency, Ryan would also naturally fall into the role of top liaison between the White House and Congress.

The selection of Paul Ryan for Vice President means that our November ballot has become a mechanism to put a dedicated and passionate hunter in the White House.    Further down the ballot, the trustees of your SCI Political Action Committee (SCI-PAC) are also hard at work, trying to elect as many friends of hunting as possible to the House and Senate.    Your active support of SCI-PAC, and the informed ballot you cast on Election Day (or by absentee before, if your hunting schedule so dictates) are both critically necessary to the success that hunters will see in the future.  Elections matter, and this one now matters even more for hunters and SCI members.



Trophy Room Fundraiser

Trophy-room-fundraiserTo help preserve the future of hunting, SCI-PAC supports the election of representatives who recognize the importance of our hunting heritage and those who work to protect it. Two such representatives are Congressman Ken Calvert and Congressman Ed Royce. Both are Republicans from California. A fundraiser was held recently for both candidates in the trophy room of SCI Past-President Dennis Anderson where several thousand dollars were raised to help them with their upcoming elections. In this photo are, left to right, SCI Past-President Dennis Anderson; Congressman Ed Royce; Marie Royce; Congressman Ken Calvert; and SCI President John Whipple.


SCI Member Likes 8mm Rem. Mag.

You don’t hear much about 8mm rifles these days, but when asked what his favorite rifles are, SCI Member Jim M. surprised us with one. He writes:

“With the help of Dad, I shot my first revolver more than 70 years ago (an H&R Special in .22 L.R.).  I spent the war years (WWII) as a youngster memorizing the contents of the 1939 edition of Stoeger’s Shooters Bible.  As a teenager, Jack O’Conner was my ideal, so at Christmas 1948 when Mom bought Dad a Remington Model 721 in .270 Winchester, my excitement was unbounded.  I shot my first deer with that rifle using 130-grain Remington Bronze Points. My second deer was with a .250-3000 Savage M99 and 100-grain Speer handloads and my first two elk with 150-grain Nosler Partitions.

Though he’s a fan of the 8mm Rem. Mag., SCI Member Jim M. recommends the .375 H&H for one-gun safaris if Cape buffalo are on the list.

“For the past 30 years, I’ve used a two calibers–the .280 Remington and the 8mm Remington Magnum.  The .280 I use for everything from springbok to mule deer and mountain lion. The 8mm Rem. Mag. is for larger game such as elk, red stag, eland and water buffalo.  Because I’m familiar with these rifles and have confidence in their calibers, I don’t expect I’ll make any changes (although I’ve been interested in the new Kimber 84L in .280 Ackley).

“If you’re going to Africa on a one-gun hunt and it will include Cape buffalo, you can’t beat the old .375 H&H Magnum for a great combination of power and reasonable recoil.  Nowadays I’m getting a bit old for buffalo, so I limit my hunts to plains game using the 8mm Rem.Mag. for everything from duiker (solids) to eland (Swift A-Frames).

“Of course, having hunted for so long I’ve had the opportunity to use other calibers–.257 Roberts, .25-’06 Remington, 7x57mm Mauser, and .30-’06, which is still a terrific all-around caliber for a North America hunter.”


More Hits With a Stock That Fits

Gil and Vicki Ash explain if your shotgun stock fits properly, you’ll make more hits.

By Gil and Vicki Ash

The new hunting guns that have synthetic stocks are great unless you are over 5’ 11” because they can’t be extended the normal way due to their hollow stock. We suggest the Galco leather velcro recoil pad as a way to extend the gun because it is deep enough to carry 5/8 inch of spacers and able to increase the overall length of pull as much as 1 1/4 inches.

The month was November and we found ourselves in Argentina with a group eager to get into the field with their new Benelli Cordobas that they had purchased just for this trip. We had only worked with one in the group, Jeff Ward, who setup the trip and invited some of his friends from YPO (Young Presidents Organization). Two of the group were fairly tall and the guns they bought were too short for them. Had we worked with them before the trip we would have gotten them a leather slip-on pad that lengthens the gun about 5/8 -inch and put a half-inch spacer inside of it so the gun would be 1 1/8 inch longer and fit a lot better.

The one we recommend is made by Galco and comes in different sizes: small, medium, large and extra large. The thing that makes these unique is that they are easy to install and they are deep enough to put an additional 3/4-inch spacer in it. This gives the ability to extend the gun from an additional 5/8-inch all the way out to an additional 1 3/8 inches.

This doesn’t sound like much of an adjustment and if you were going to an afternoon dove shoot here in the states, it probably would not be as big a deal. But when you travel all that way and shoot as much as you do in Argentina, having a gun the right length is a big deal.

The Benelli Cordoba shotgun is one of the most reliable semi-automatic shotguns on the market. They have a recoil pad system that allows for a quick user-friendly way to change the recoil pad and thus change the length of pull on the gun. They also do make a recoil pad that is a little longer, but if you are more than 6 feet tall, you had better check to see if the longer pad will make the gun long enough.

This photo shows Vicki with her gun at the level of the horizon, which is normal while she is looking up at the birds. This puts the shooter well behind the bird as they are coming into range. Starting the gun behind the bird and chasing the bird with the muzzle is the greatest cause for birds flaring as they come into range.

The reason we are bringing this up is that due to the configuration of the inside of the stock and the way the recoil pads slip on and off, the gun cannot be lengthened in the conventional way by adding spacers and installing a new recoil pad. You have one of two options: either a slip-on recoil pad or have a gunsmith glue some wood in the hollow buttstock so spacers and a new thicker recoil pad can be screwed onto the butt of the gun.

If you are looking for a waterfowl gun and you hunt where it is very cold and you wear a heavy coat, then the shorter length of pull makes this gun work for you.

It is amazing how many people who call us to take a lesson before they go to Argentina and show up with a gun that does not fit, that is new or they have not touched in two years.

If you can’t mount the gun consistently to your face and shoulder in the same place every time, you are not going to experience much success or get better.

The same holds true for a gun that is either too long or too short. If it is too short, the amount of recoil you feel will be increased. If it is too long, the balance point will be too far forward and you will shift your weight to the back foot and recoil will increase.

A person who puts in the time and actually learns how to properly mount a shotgun will be a more consistent shooter. They will also be able to adapt to an ill-fitting gun after a few shots. Although they won’t be as consistent as they would be with their own gun or one that fits, they will be able to hold their own and not get hurt.

Guns that are stocked too low or have a little too much cast are infinitely more forgiving to shoot than guns that are stocked too high or have thick combs that require an extreme amount of cast. Any gun that you have to cheek harder to shoot well will produce more felt recoil and eventually bruise your cheek and you will never shoot it well.

The first thing we tell our students, especially the first-timers, is not to try to get your money’s worth on the first hunt. We tell them to pace themselves and look for the rhythm of the birds. We also explain that in order to be consistent they must get control of their gun speed and move and mount with the speed of the bird.

The OSP technique is to start with the muzzles much higher and looking at the incoming birds to either side of the barrels. This makes for much less movement that is more efficient and consistent because you are starting the move in front of the bird not behind.

When we arrive at the hunting site, they act like a kid who is finally tall enough to ride all the rides at Disneyworld! They end up shooting so much, so fast that they look like a teenager’s thumbs texting on a cell phone! It is as if we never said anything. We get them to slow down and move with the bird and take better shots. They don’t have to shoot every bird that comes by.

Then we hear it, “Wow the birds really do slow down when you slow down.” It is at that point that the learning begins.

On this particular trip we actually had some shooters who spent some time shooting just longer shots, 35 to 45 yards, and made remarkable improvement. On these hunts we had the opportunity to shoot a few really high birds along with some that weren’t so high.

When shooting the incoming shot, the typical setup is to have the gun stock in the ready position between the shooter ’s elbow and ribs and the muzzle pointing just a little above the horizon. The shooter is watching the birds come in and, as they begin to come into range, the shooter begins to move and mount the gun. That all sounds great, but when approached this way there is a lot of movement and the extra movement is seen by the doves and they often will flare, creating confusion for the shooter.

Why the extra movement? Because the muzzle is pointed just above the horizon, but the birds are much higher than the horizon when they come into range. When you begin to move the muzzle toward the birds, you are so far behind that you must catch up to the birds, causing the muzzle to move faster than the birds and the birds see that movement, causing them to flare. If the hunter starts with muzzles pointing up fairly high, and looks at the birds either through the barrel(s) or to the side of the barrels, then the muzzles are more easily inserted in front of and on line with the bird in one slow, precise movement. If the birds should change their line in either direction, it takes very little movement to shift the muzzle to the line as the gun mount begins. Since the muzzles are ahead of the bird to begin with, it makes it easy to merge in front of the birds at the speed of the birds as the gun is mounted and the shot is taken. To do this well takes some practice.