Throughout history stories have always told of extraordinary marksmen of legendary skill. Who exactly are these people and just what makes them so good? These icons have been glorified through Hollywood westerns and WWII flicks but are they really worth the praise? Here we’ll look at a few of history’s most famous marksmen and just how they earned that badge.
Simo, nicknamed ‘the White Death,’ takes the title for most wartime sniper kills ever recorded. Of Finnish origin he earned his fame during world war two with nothing but an iron sight bolt action rifle and some tenacity. During the ‘Winter War’ of 1939-1940 between Finland and Russia Simo racked up over 700 confirmed kills in the span of about 100 days. He is famous for maximizing his home court advantage with perfect camouflage and minimal gear. One anecdote that remains from this story is the idea that Simo would put snow in his mouth to avoid making his breath visible to the enemy. He was eventually shot through the jaw by a stray bullet but managed to survive and live to the age of 97.
Carlos Norman Hathcock
Carlos, nicknamed ‘White Feather Sniper,’ was an American soldier in Vietnam that earned his fame for one shot in particular that is toted as the best sniper shot ever made. While stalking an enemy sniper Hathcock fired into a brief glint of light only to find later that he had actually shot a sniper through his own scope. Later he realized that for this to be possible the sniper must have been looking exactly at him. During his tour he racked up 93 confirmed kills and a $30,000 bounty on his head by the North Vietnamese Army (an unprecedented prize for a single man). His nickname comes from a white feather that he kept in his helmet that eventually came to inspire fear in his enemies.
Lyudmila was one of a force of about 2,000 women snipers who volunteered to fight for the Soviet Union during World War II. She is credited with 309 confirmed kills during her tenure making her one of the most prolific woman snipers in history (also 200 kills over any American sniper). Of this number, 36 are credited as being enemy snipers. She fought with a bolt action rifle with an attached scope primarily during the conflict in Odessa.
Installing a safe into your wall can be a fun home project that is manageable with a little bit of research and some do-it-yourself knowhow. Everyone secretly wants to have a sleek wall safe hidden behind a knock-off Van Gogh in their lounge or den and with this simple guide you can be on your way to a cool new approach to holding your valuables. Bear in mind that while fairly basic, this project may be best suited for a professional if you do not feel especially comfortable with home do-it-yourself projects.
The first step is buying a safe. It is important for it to be small enough to fit between the studs in your wall and shallow enough to fit between walls. There are specially constructed safes specifically for in-wall installation that are highly recommended for this project. These safes are typically more shallow and come with pre-drilled holes for securing it to the studs. It is important before buying your wall safe to get an approximate idea of the distance between studs in your home.
Next you are going to use a stud finder to locate the studs in your wall in the location in your house that you want to have your wall safe. It is important at this time to take measurements of your safe to ensure that both the width. height, and depth are going to be able to fit into the designated area. Additionally make sure that there are no electrical or plumbing fixtures where you want to install your safe.
Using a drywall saw and a level or straight-edge you are going to create an opening in your wall. It is advisable to begin with a small hole so that you can check for plumbing or electrical fixtures. Once you are sure that the location is good you are going to cut a hole the same size as the rear dimensions of your safe.
Depending on the space between your studs and your drywall opening it may be necessary to fill in the extra space with shims or small pieces of plywood so that your safe will sit flush against the studs. Finally you will place the safe in your wall and secure it to the studs with screws. It may be necessary to drill small pilot holes in your studs before hand. Once you have done this you can install shelves if desired and you now have a home wall safe. Hopefully this project doesn’t seem too daunting. It is always a little bit intimidating when you have to cut holes in your wall but this project should be fairly manageable for most people.
There’s a wide world of competition shooting out there just waiting for you to get involved. With all sorts of different types of competitions and it can be a great way to learn about discipline and really hammer in some gun safety. After all, sport shooting is even an olympic event with an average of over 15 categories between men and women over the past 20 years. Here we’ll look at some of the more popular styles of competitions and what it takes to get involved and find your way to the title for fastest gun in the West.
How to Get Started?
Often times the best way to get started with a sport is to start local and small and build your way up to bigger things as you get better. Check out your local gun range or gun shop and you’ll almost surely be able to find some pamphlets or flyers for sport shooting events, training, or even teams. This is especially true for young marksmen but should apply to any age bracket. There’s a lot of different categories, so pick one you think sounds interesting and get training. Being a potential dangerous sport there are a lot of rules and restrictions that are going to be important for beginners which is why it might be advantageous to join a team or group of people to help you out with practice and the basics.
What are the Different Categories?
There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of different styles of sport shooting but they can mostly be broken up into two main weapon types: handguns, rifles, and less commonly shotguns. From there the competition will be segmented into type of target, type of shooting position, range of target, speed, or any number of criteria. These are mixed and matched until you have things like 100 yard prone rifle rapid fire for example. There’s really no knowing what you’ll like so try out different styles until you find something that you’re good at or something you’d like to be better at.
One of the great thing about sport shooting is that usually anybody can enter an event. It’d be wise to brush up on the rules and basic gun safety beforehand of course but unless it’s a strictly sanctioned team game any individual will be welcome into the appropriate age bracket so long as they sign up in time and possibly pay the entrance fee. There are both local exhibition tournaments as well as larger county and state tournaments that may require qualification. If you think you might be interested you could always attend as a spectator and get the lay of the land and talk to some fellow enthusiasts about the merits of competitive sport.
Are you an aspiring hunter? Don’t know where to start? There’s often a lot of rules and red tape surrounding hunting season and for good reason. Hunting in the United States is a controlled sport with the purpose being not to imbalance the sometimes fragile ecosystems providing your game. Here we’ll look at when you can hunt what and where to do it as well as a little bit of extra info on permits and regulations you can expect for hunting season. Remember, hunting can also be used to control overpopulation and regulate ecosystems in a positive way so don’t be discouraged by the red tape.
Hunting permits are generally regulated on a state level. This means that each state will usually have slightly different laws and rules governing the sport so there’s no easy catch-all to be had unfortunately. However, there are some federal guidelines that most states will adhere to. For example, the federal government regulates the hunting of migratory birds as well as endangered species. One can get permission from the federal government to hunt migratory waterfowl with a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp or more colloquially called a ‘Duck Stamp.’
In many cases you may not even need a hunting license. If you are looking to hunt pests such as small vermin you do not need a hunting license. American Indians can generally hunt without a license so long as they are a resident of an Indian Reservation. Active military members, natives of Alaska, and youth (under 12 in some states, 16 in others) can all hunt without a license as well.
Also important to know is that fishing requires a permit in many locales. This, also, is largely dependent on the state so it’s important to do some research beforehand and make sure you don’t have your gear seized and a hefty fine to top off your fishing trip.
Hunting seasons are usually regulated based on the fluctuations in a species population. When a species population peaks a state will enable ‘open season’ which means that a species may be hunted without concern to the peak breeding period or any harm to the population’s future survival. On the contrary, closed season is when a certain species is most vulnerable due to breeding or low population and should not be hunted for fear of damaging the population’s future survival.
While guns aren’t quite the high ticket items at luxury auctions like paintings and ancient relics they can still fetch a hefty price with the right story. Would you believe that some firearms have sold at auction for over a million dollars? Interestingly it’s not altogether uncommon for certain firearms to fetch such prices though they do need to be an important part of history in their own right. Here we’ll look at some of the most expensive antique firearms on the planet and what exactly makes them so special.
Washington’s Saddle Pistols
As expected, all high ticket antiques comes with a story and there’s no better story than that of the founding father of America George Washington himself. In 2002 a pair of Washington’s saddle pistols were sold at auction for 2 million dollars. Originally the pistols were owned by Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer originally gifted these pistols to George Washington. Washington is believed to have carried them at Valley Forge, Monmouth, Yorktown, and during the Whiskey Rebellion during his presidency. He kept and cherished these pistols until his death in 1799. Later the pistols would be bequeathed to Andrew Jackson. So, as you can see there’s a bit of history tied into these pistols and a notable portion of the high price comes from such an incredible story.
As for the guns themselves: each pistol has a barrel of ‘damascus’ steel embellished with silver and gold wire inlay, steel locks with engraved borders, and engraved tails with a panoply of arms all mounted on European walnut stocks.
Another great firearm of important American heritage is the fox shotgun of Theodore Roosevelt. A gold inlaid custom shotgun created by the Fox Gun Co. was presented to Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 as a gift and has recently sold for just under 900 thousand dollars. As an avid hunter this firearm was used extensively and may have even been present during the coining of the term ‘teddy bear.’ As the story goes, while hunting Theodore was unable to find any adult bears to shoot so his companions had captured and tethered a baby bear. However, Teddy would not shoot a tethered animal and uttered the famous words, “Spare the bear!” This series of events spawned a political cartoon in the Washington Post in 1902 and soon led to the creation of teddy bears as we know them. To date this is the most expensive shotgun to have been sold at auction.
Every now and then, mostly from movies or books, certain guns attain a certain cult of personality and become ‘famous.’ While these guns may just be ordinary and nothing special beyond the intricate engineering there’s something fun about owning the same gun as James Bond for example. Here we’ll look at a few different kinds of firearms that have attained fame throughout the ages and what might make them so special.
.44 Magnum Revolver
The Smith and Wesson model 28 .44 magnum revolver has attained a unique level of notoriety via Clint Eastwood in the 1971 classic Dirty Harry. However, this gun deserves every bit of praise it gets. Despite it’s inception in 1955 it still remains one of the most powerful handguns available today. While the price is steep at just a bit under a grand it’s still relatively cheap when compared to other magnums and has the power to take down a polar bear. However, and quite possibly the greatest perk of this firearm, is the fact that if you ever have to use this firearm against another person you can nonchalantly ask your assailant, “You feeling lucky, punk?”
This is potentially one of the most famous guns to exist with thanks to James Bond. Although he has mixed it up over the years and used a number of different weapons the Walther PPK is a mainstay of the classics and a symbol of espionage to this day. The mainstays of this gun and why it makes a suitable firearm for a spy is the fact that it is very reliable and small enough to be easily concealed. Since the olden days the Walther company has issued a number of new guns along the PP line with the same aesthetics and reliability that hearken back to this classic.
The M60 is an American made heavy machine gun that has been used regularly in the United States military since the Vietnam War. Anyone but the real gun enthusiasts will likely have never heard of it or know what it looks like. What makes this gun so famous is the fact that it is Rambo’s gun. Everybody knows Rambo’s gun but most people wouldn’t recognize it by any other name. This gun is able to fire between 500-650 rounds per minute. Any less and Rambo might now be able to mow down the bad guys with such ease.
When it comes to owning a gun it’s only as valuable as your own personal skill with it when it comes to self defense. For this reason it’s important to stay sharp and hit the range so that you know how to operate your firearm well should such an occasion arise. While practice is always going to be the best recourse for getting comfortable and proficient with your firearm there’s an important difference to be noted between lazy practice and efficient practice. Here we’ll look at some good drills and things to practice for being prepared in the case of a home invasion.
When it comes to practicing your shot you need to have some goals in mind and know what you want to practice. For the average handgun owner that keeps it for self defense there’s no point in spending hours at the range trying to bullseye a target at 50 yards. Here we’ll identify some skills that can help you should the need arise and you need to defend yourself, your home, and your family.
For an average home invasion there are going to be a few vital skills for self defense with your handgun that you should be aware of and well practiced in. Firstly, you’ll need to arm yourself. This means that you need to be able to quickly access your firearm from wherever it is stored. Keep this in mind when placing your gun safe in your home. Keeping your gun in your basement when your bedroom is on the 2nd floor won’t do you much good during a home invasion. Another option to expedite this process is a biometric finger scanning lock so you don’t have to fumble with a keypad or dial in a moment of panic.
Next, you’ll need to load your gun with ammunition. Take some time practice doing so in a safe environment. It should become second nature so that when you need to do so in a panic you won’t fumble around and misload it or drop the ammunition or anything potentially debilitating to your self defense plan like that.
Lastly, and likely the easiest part of self defense with a firearm (excluding moral repercussions) is actually firing your weapon to stop an intruder. In a home setting the shot you will have to take will very likely be no further than 8 yards. It’s important to aim for the ‘thoracic cavity’ which is just a fancy word for the chest. This will be the most debilitating and also the largest and easiest target to hit on a human.
Finally, if you find yourself in an extended firefight there are a few more skills that will aid you in self defense. The first is knowing your weapon. If you’re panicking and not counting shots it’s important to know how many bullets you have left. One great method is simply to know your gun extremely well. Very experienced gun users can identify when their gun is running low on ammunition simply by the weight of it. Finally, you may need to do a combat reload. Practice doing so at your own convenience so that it can become second nature even during extreme and stressful situations.
To begin, this safe is a beast. This is the single most secure gun safe commercially available today. It is the only gun safe that has an Underwriter’s Laboratory TL-30×6 rating in addition to 2 hours of fire protection. Think of it as a combo gun and valuable safe. It is more secure than most burglar safes, more impervious to fire than most fire safes, and has the space you need for long guns with room to spare. Here we’ll look at some of the specifics.
Outside Dimensions: 76.00” H x 42.00” W x 29.25” D
Inside Dimensions: 70.00” H x 36.00” W x 20.00” D
Interior Cubic Feet: 29.17
Weight: 4,578 lbs
Burglar Rating: TL-30×6
Fire Rating: 2 hours
Firstly, to go into a bit what makes this safe special is the burglar rating. TL-30×6 means that it has been tested on all six sides with high tech burglar tools. Most safes are only tested on the door or maybe all sides but rarely the roof and floor as well. The basics behind its safety is a 2 ½” barrier of inner and outer steel plates which enclose an interlocking heavy duty steel barrier, high pressure concrete, and a high density high strength ceramic matrix. It’s the real deal when it comes to safety. Additionally, the 2 hour fire rating is nothing to scoff at. This is the highest rating available and will ensure that there is no damage done in the event of a fire.
The cons of this safe are not surprising. Mostly, the weight and the price. If you have the funds and you don’t plan on moving anytime soon this is as good as it gets. Amsec safes are proudly made in America and with a small upgrade you can get an LED light, dehumidifier rod, internal power strip, and jewelry case included.
This is the safe you get when you don’t have a budget and you need a lot of space and a lot of protection. It’s about as good as it gets without having to hire a team of scientists to pioneer new types of metal and additional currently non-existent security measures.
For winter hunting there are some additional precautions that you should be aware of in order to combat the cold and harsh weather that could arise at any moment. This is, of course, in addition to the normal gun and hunting safety that should already be in rigorous effect. While the hunter’s creed is to be prepared here we’ll look at exactly what that means for winter safety and how you can best combat the cold and adverse conditions you may encounter.
One of the easiest and most important ways to combat the cold is to dress appropriately. The best way to do so is to make sure that you wear layers. Get some long underwear and an additional sweater to wear beneath a waterproof shell. Additionally, you can replace your regular ear protection with something more fitting for the winter months. Do your research before you leave and be prepared for temperatures below what you expect. Lastly, don’t forget to wear the orange vest. Especially during winter when visibility may be low it’s important to stand out so as not to be mistaken by other hunters.
One of the biggest risks of winter hunting is the cold. Be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia and know how to react if you recognize any in yourself or your hunting partners. The basic symptoms include: uncontrolled shivering, mental sluggishness, and uncoordinated and stiff body movements. As the symptoms progress you will notice muscle rigidity, a drop in your pulse and rate of breathing, and ultimately a near comatose state. The best protection is to stay warm. Hypothermia is especially dangerous if you are wet. If this happens, find a place sheltered from the wind and replace wet clothes with dry or use a dry blanket.
Another common concern during the winter months is frostbite. Frostbite is a condition in which there is localized damage to your skin and tissue due to freezing. The best way to combat frostbite is to stay covered up. This is especially important for your extremities which are more prone to lose heat than your core. Additionally, frostbite is especially dangerous during high winds due to the added chill. The first stage of frostbite is often called ‘frostnip.’ The symptoms include: itching, pain, and red, white, or yellow discoloration. The next stage’s symptoms cause your skin freeze and harden. If you notice any of these symptoms be sure to warm up and cover the affected area from the wind immediately.
While you might think that this is a sheer impossibility it’s actually not too difficult to fly with firearms nowadays. In fact, some people are noted to check other valuable luggage as guns just because it ensures that it’s usually treated with a bit more care. However, there are a lot of restrictions and guidelines that need to be adhered to when flying with a firearm. Here we’ll look at what it takes and what you need to do when you want to travel by air with a firearm in your checked luggage.
The first step to flying with a firearm is making sure that you have an appropriate travel case. This is imperative and not something you want to skimp on. The best cases have a hard shell with a form fitting foam on the inside. The gun should fit snugly inside without any wiggle room. Additionally, make sure that you are able to lock your case. When packing your firearm make sure that it is unloaded and preferably rendered inoperable. Ammunition can be packed in a separate checked bag or the same gun case as long as it is .75 caliber or less.
Next, you’ll need a good lock for your gun case. While this may differ from one airline to another it’s generally suggested that you don’t use a TSA approved lock. These locks are able to be opened by a master key which in general might be able to compromise the security of your firearm. Check with the airline beforehand and make sure that the lock you are planning to use will be acceptable.
Upon arriving to the airport you must go to the counter to declare your firearm. You cannot check it from the curb. Once you reach the counter there are some basic forms that you need to fill out that state that the gun is unloaded and you have the proper licensing. Once this is taken care of you’ll be guided over to a TSA security check where they will perform a cursory check of your packaging, lock, and firearm. TSA agents are not trained nor able to touch or pick up your firearm so if they feel that it is necessary a law enforcement agent will come to assist.
Once the inspection is complete, close your case and secure your key and you should be all set to go. Surprisingly it’s not especially difficult to fly with a firearm so long as it is domestic within the United States. However, if you plan to travel internationally there’s a bit more to take care of in terms of logistics. We’ll look into that process another time. For now, feel free to enjoy hunting or shooting tournaments around the country without worrying about the hassle of flying with a firearm.