Crossfire January 2019

Letters To The Editor

Protective Prescription

When reading Glen Zediker’s “Retro Fever Part 1” in the November issue, I couldn’t help but notice his wistful reminiscence of a time long ago when he could buy an AR-15 at the local pharmacy. Well, I’m here to tell you if you live in the right locale — say, Blairsville, Georgia — you can still purchase an AR, or a GLOCK or a 1911 or a J-Frame, etc. at the local drug store.
L. Sorgen
Via email

I was very pleased to see “Retro Fever Part 1,” as I’m infected with the same thing. For some time, I had been hoping to re-create the M-16 I carried in Vietnam (minus full-auto, of course). I finally snagged a Colt SP1 “slab-side” a couple years ago and I was on my way — replacing the buttstock, pistol grip, flash-hider and magazine. Only the “waffle” magazine is a repro, obtained from Since the mag came with the body only, I cannibalized Colt mag parts — including the floorplate — to make it functional and nearly perfect. I look forward to Part 2.
Philip Beekley
San Antonio, TX

Principled Non-Support

I’m commenting on Steve Bennett’s letter in the November issue. I agree with Steve’s strategy of not doing business with those who insist on kicking us in the shins: credit card companies, NFL sponsors, and other organizations that disrespect law abiding gun owners, the U.S.

Constitution, our President and our nation. I personally have closed out a credit card account that discontinued its relationship with the NRA in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, and I’ve changed beers to a brand that does not sponsor NFL football. It’s important to keep in mind our efforts may have little effect. Corporations do not act out of a sense of altruism and high moral purpose, though they may have some folks fooled; for example, the recent efforts by Nike to jump into the “take a knee” protest. It’s a pretty safe bet Nike did some serious market analysis before they made that move, and gauged the impact to their bottom line.

We can take comfort in not contributing to those who would deny us our rights and freedoms.
Greg Allard
Steep Falls, ME

We Have A Winner!

What an anniversary present! I just picked up my Taurus 85 Ultralight .38 Special Gun Giveaway at my FFL. The double action pull is smooth with no stacking and a clean break. Single action is creep free and crisp. I’d estimate it at about 2-3 lbs. It’s a great day. My 39th wedding anniversary and my granddaughter’s 7th birthday. Her dad and I are taking her shooting for the first time today. She’ll be using her big sister’s Ruger 6.5″ single six stainless. Thanks again. I never thought I’d actually win after 20 years. Dreams really do come true.
Bill C.
Elizabethtown, KY

Rimfire Reach

Loved Payton Miller’s Ruger Precision Rimfire article as well as Mike Cumpston’s TCR22 feature. Like every other young man in the 1970s-’80s I started with a .22 LR. And now I’m using them for long-range (300-yard) fun. I also check the accuracy in all my .22 rifles with long-range scopes like my 3-18X Swarovski or 5.5-22 Nightforce. Some people at my local range see a $2,500 scope on a $300 rifle and look puzzled. I assure them it’s just for testing and information and that a more reasonable choice will accompany the rifle in the field. I can’t believe Payton did so well at 200 yards with high-velocity ammo!
Rick Schwertner
Snyder, TXm>

No doubt there are match loads that would’ve grouped tighter than what I used, particularly if they were being launched by a better shot. But those HV bulk-pack Remingtons were closest to my POA. And time was getting a bit too tight to be chasing bullet holes. Still wish I hadn’t have had that one flyer though! —Payton Miller

The .38 wadcutter: Still a paper-punching and small-game standby.

Wadcutters Rule!

I enjoyed John Taffin’s October “Handloading” column on .38 Special wadcuttters. I’ve used them for over 50 years. They work great on small game. I also load wadcutters for .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum, .40 S&W, 10mm Auto (for my Smith 610), .44 Special and .45 Colt.
Smokey Stellhorn
Via email

The Way It Was

Today I went to a private range, where I have a membership.  I sighted in a rifle with a value of nearly $1,200 (with scope).

The rifle shot very well (it should) and I plan to hunt deer in Wyoming with it. My wife and I and a son-in-law will hunt together. Our licenses cost $390 apiece. When I first started hunting deer I used a Model 94 Winchester .30-30. It was a worn-out loaner from my grandfather (he got it in trade for an automotive repair during the Great Depression). With it, I got an 8-point whitetail. The next year, at age 13, I hunted with a surplus P17 Enfield .30-06 that my Dad “sporterized” for me. We’d gotten it from Montgomery Ward for $25.95. Years later I spent more than double its original cost to put a 4X Redfield scope on it. Thus enhanced, it served me well into my 20s. When I first hunted deer, a license cost $7.50. I was expected to kill a coyote (bounty: $7.50) to pay for it. I was also expected to fill my tag — the meat was justification for the additional expenses of hunting — and fuel for the worn-out pickup K or war surplus Jeep that was the family hunting vehicle. I’ve no doubt that my rather austere, youthful hunting seasons made me a better hunter. They absolutely made me appreciate every improvement in my hunting and shooting lifestyle. They made me a good enough marksman to qualify to shoot on a military rifle team — to the national level of competition. They make me appreciate the high-dollar rifle I shot today.
Bill K.
Via email

Old school setup: A receiver sight plus a scope. Not as sleek as contemporary “sightless” sporters, but still not a bad idea.

Iron Supplement

First off, love the magazine. I read it cover to cover. Now to my issue — why do most rifle manufacturers these days choose to omit iron sights from their rifles? I am 79 years old and I still like to punch paper with iron sights. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time for optics and I enjoy using them, but I want the option to add optics, not have it forced on me. What do you resort to in an emergency when your optics go dead or are broken? My sons and grandsons all learned on iron sights and are fine shots with them or with optics. Just an observation. Thanks, and keep up the good work.
Sid Toney
Via email

Assuming we’re talking primarily about bolt-action sporters, my best guess would be rifle companies thought no irons made rifles look “sexier” or sleeker somehow. And perhaps cost had something to do with it. But standard open irons with “step” elevation adjustments aren’t as useful as a ghost-ring rear. And I can remember when some rear scope mounts had a flip-up peep as a backup. Which, of course, was only useful if there was a front sight aboard. And, more importantly, if the whole setup was taken seriously enough to be zeroed as well. Granted, the odds of a scope failure ruining a hunt are minimal. But I’d agree that back-up irons — on anything — are always a good idea. —Payton Miller

Optical Clarity

In John Barsness’ November feature, “The Deal Ain’t Sealed,” John punched a big hole in the middle-European optics luxury liner, DKM Condescendia, and sank her! His article explained the 21st Century realities of optical manufacturing in a world connected and shrunk by the internet: Japanese parts in American optics, German optics made in Japan, famous Schott optical glass made worldwide. This article displayed John’s solid knowledge and history of today’s international optics industry. Keep the great optics articles coming.
Lou Scharbau
Woodinville, WA

Viva El Paso!

I’ve been dealing with El Paso Saddlery for a couple decades, at least. Their products have always been of the highest quality, their service prompt and their prices very competitive. I’ve never had a problem with any holster or belt I’ve bought from them. But recently, my daily carry holster popped a rivet. I was surprised since I have older ones with more use that are still going strong. So I called El Paso and spoke with a very nice guy who told me to send my holster to him and, in the mean time, he’d get a new one coming to me right away. Now, I know their lead time approaches 2 months normally. But the new holster arrived in about 2 weeks! That was a couple months ago. Yesterday, I received another holster from them: same kind for the same barrel length, same stamping, etc. No charge. I thought they’d just made a mistake and was preparing to return it to them until I got to looking closely at it and realized it was my old holster, repaired and refurbished! That was totally unnecessary. But you can be sure they will continue to have my business for many more decades. (Okay, maybe only two decades. I can’t imagine living much past 90!)
Richard Fortino
Via email

Try Before You Buy?

So I’m reading all about this $99 single-barrel Hatfield shotgun in Holt Bodinson’s September “Shotguns” column. Nahhh. Can’t be. And at Walmart! Yikes! So I go to the store and finally get someone over at the gun department and ask to see the gun. I give it the once-over and ask the guy to remove the trigger lock, so I can check the gun out in a bit more depth. Well, he can’t do it! Neither will the manager. I have to buy the gun to check the action! So I ask “If I want a pair of shoes, do I have to buy them to try them on?” He gives me a blank look. So I hand back the gun and thank them for their trouble. It’s times like this when I’m glad I’m 77 and grew up in the glorious ‘50s. I used to get on a school bus with a .22 rifle — sometimes a shotgun. Now they’d call Homeland Security!
Bob Johnson
Via email

Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine January 2019 Issue Now!