Really enjoyed "The Dirty Little War," by Steve Smith, in May/June. His descriptions of both pass-shooters and decoy hunters were dead-on, and his humor had me on the floor. By the way, he never admitted which side of the fence he is on.
Also, as a card-carrying snipeoholic, I was glad to read Chip Anderson's article, "The Serious Snipe." I agree with Mr. Anderson that snipe are the most underrated gamebirds. The adrenaline rush when they flush is unmatched, to me. When they zig, it seems my gun is zagging. I have been chasing these birds almost 50 years, and I cannot remember the last time I saw another snipe hunter. This present generation still thinks snipe hunting is a college prank. Really enjoy your fine magazine.
For a look at snipe hunting "across the pond," see Vic Venters' article on page 62.
I enjoyed Bruce Buck's review of new guns from the SHOT Show ("New Guns for '04," July/August). Some great "eye candy" for hunters and shooters, including guns in all price ranges.
I did see a couple of items that probably will catch the attention of some readers. Bruce refers to the new Bernardellis as looking like "Roma 7 Holland & Holland sidelock side-by-sides." All the Roma series guns were sideplated boxlocks. The Bernardelli Holland & Holland models, a separate series, were the sidelocks.
Bruce also states that the Fausti over/unders have a Greener crossbolt. Greeners are found only on side-by-sides; the Kersten is the closest thing to an O/U equivalent and, like the Greener, it has a bolt that engages holes in projections extending from the barrels. The Fausti does use a crossbolt, but it locks over the top of projections on either side of the top barrel, as seen in the Traditions ad on page 13 of that issue.
'Best,' Not Better
I was interested in your article on the new Purdey hammerguns ("Forward to the Past," May/June). Although the guns look attractive, I still feel that my Purdey back-action-lock models of the latter 1870s are special. They feel light and elegant, with a feeling that only can be described as somewhat graceful. And although it is obvious I am a fan of Purdey's, I cannot accept the implication in nearly all articles on this matter that Purdey's produced guns that were better than anyone else's in Britain.
I realize that what I am about to say may be a little controversial, but I am of the opinion that during the period from 1870 to 1890 there were gunmakers whose products were the equal of Purdey's. I will go further and say that one or two provincial British gunmakers were the equal of the best London gunmakers. I suggest that you look closely at the work during this period of Thomas Horsley of York, W.W. Greener and W.R. Pape. Innovators and excellent gunmakers. I will accept that some gunmakers did produce inferior products for specific markets during difficult financial times. However, their quality, or "best," guns were the equal of any.
Wrap Vs. Tape
Re: Lewis Dog Boots ("Doggone Good Gear," May/June), we have used these for years and they are wonderful. However, I surely would hate to be one of author Tom Huggler's dogs: "Circle the leg at this spot with an inch-wide strip of duct tape." No way-and this probably could be called inhumane. Move into the next century; not everything is fixed with duct tape these days. Use Vet Wrap. It sticks to itself and does not pull the hair off the dog's leg when you remove it. Ever try to boot a dog that previously has had a piece of duct tape pulled off its leg? Unless your dogs aren't as smart as mine, they do remember, so use Vet Wrap. And it's much easier to apply than duct tape. Wrap all the way down the foot to just above the pads and you won't get any chafing; just be sure to make it smooth, so the dog does not blister.
And Vet Wrap comes in colors!
Tom Huggler responds:
One of the joys of writing this column is that I get to learn from readers. I didn't know about Vet Wrap, but I assure you that the next time I pull out my Lewis Dog Boots I will give the product a try.
In the July/August issue there was a shot of two gents, one of whom was sporting a flint double by Mike Ehinger (Going Places, "Oak Knoll Ranch").
I think your readers might enjoy some close-up photographs of that double flintlock. I know I would. Mike Ehinger is a craftsman of the first water. I think that double may have been finished by the late Lynton McKenzie.
William O. Achtermeier
The Shooting Sportsman sporting clays seminar, at Alabama's White Oak Plantation in April, exceeded my expectations.
I am in the training business, so I have expertise in the evaluation of trainers. In my opinion, any time you get to shoot as much as we shot, you have to get better.
The real test came two days after the seminar, at the Detroit Gun Club. Would I break more clays than I had previously? The great news is that breaking clays was not what I experienced two days later-rather I was able to reflect upon the training and apply the system of shooting that the instructional team had presented so well. It is my feeling that as I continue to practice technique, one of these days I will shoot for score and the results will be more than acceptable.
You are to be commended on your choice of instructors. Yes, they were professionals. In addition they were available morning, noon and night to communicate with the students. I noticed that they did not hang with one another, but rather mingled with us-and they kept rotating the groups with whom they would interact.
Please let Pat [Lieske] and Barry [Davis] and Marty [Fischer] know that they were more than appreciated.
31/4" Live-Pigeon Ammunition?
I recently acquired a William Cashmore 12-gauge pigeon gun that, according to an engraved medallion on the stock, was presented by the maker to Thomas Marshall of Keithsburg, Illinois. Marshall was the only individual ever to win the Grand American Handicap twice (1897 and 1899), at which time the event featured live pigeons rather than clays. The reason for Cashmore's largesse was that Marshall had used a Cashmore gun to achieve both wins.
The inscription "31/4 Inch Cases" appears on the underside of, and between, the barrels forward of the breeches. David Trevallion expressed the view that cartridges of this length would have been unusual. Are there any readers who could shed some light on vintage 31/4" live-pigeon paper cartridges?
William R. Burmeister