The time has finally come to introduce "Muzzle Break"—the official gun blog of North American Hunter and HuntingClub.com. We've rounded up two of the most experienced, charismatic trigger fiends from the cream of the gunwriter crop to deliver their expertise each week. Lock, load and welcome Ron Spomer and Richard Mann.
Each gentleman will discuss relevant shooting topics including skills, gear and much more. Spomer will focus primarily on the hunting side, while Mann will provide more from the "tactical" gunning and self-defense end.
Now, for personal introductions:
Hello, it’s me ... a hunting and shooting nut just like you. I was so crazy about hunting that I quit my real job to become a freelance outdoor writer. That was 30 years ago. I think I’ll stick it out for a few more.
Because I write about hunting and shooting, I’ve had to run all over this planet in the name of research—one of those dirty jobs that someone has to do. (No need to thank me; the job is thanks enough!) Obviously, I’m one extremely fortunate character. Because of my job I’ve “had” to test hundreds of shotguns, rifles, muzzleloaders, handguns, bullets and scopes in pursuit of everything from Arctic grizzlies to African zebras. In the process I’ve discovered something amazing: Hunting all those big, exotic species in wild, far-flung places feels just like hunting cottontails did 45 years ago in grandpa’s woodlot.
Every hunter knows those feelings of anticipation, mystery, exploration and fulfillment. We know the joy of connecting at the most intimate level with the natural world, the life-and-death struggle that is the heart of it. This is the passion that propels us to embrace this hunting and shooting life. Whether we’re lucky enough to hunt the same 40-acre woods with our Dad and kids for 50 years or stalk 50 different species in 50 different countries doesn’t really matter. It’s all hunting. It’s all adventure. It’s all answering the call of the wild.
Something else I’ve discovered while pursuing my wild dreams is how important guns, scopes and ammunition are to our success. Understanding these tools—thoroughly, not just superficially—adds to our joy and fulfillment. While some folks think hunters put too much emphasis on gear, I don’t agree. This is like saying NASCAR racers are excessively concerned with engines, transmissions and tires. Tools are our fangs and talons. We are no more obsessed when accurizing our firearms than a lion is obsessed when sharpening its claws. It’s our responsibility to obtain, fine tune, maintain and use the most effective tools we can to ensure we take our prey quickly and efficiently. It is our obligation to practice, to know where and when we can strike with full confidence in our success.
In this space I’ll share ideas, experiences, insight and information about hunting guns and everything that makes them work. Trigger pull, internal ballistics, external ballistics, terminal ballistics, barrel length, twist rate, bullet shape, scope durability, handloads—you name it. If it pertains to firearms used for hunting ... game on.
I’m far from an expert, but with "Muzzle Break" I’ll freely tell you what I’ve observed and experienced, and I expect you’ll return the favor. We shall all be better hunters and shooters for it.
When my senior English teacher told me my dreams of becoming a big-time, full-time outdoor writer were beyond my abilities and that I couldn't make money being a hunter, I figured a new career path was in order. But I knew no matter what I did, guns would be involved. I joined the Army National Guard and soon after went on active duty. After wearing out several pairs of boots and becoming a firearms instructor, I left active duty and became a cop.
I worked as a police firearms instructor and also taught civilian shooters. I could never get enough shooting, so I began competing. I won the West Virginia Governor's 20, National Guard Pistol Match and Offhand Muzzleloader Championship.
Finally, about 15 years ago, I wrote a story and sent it to a hunting magazine. They sent me a check! That's when I knew my old English teacher was full of sheep dip. I also knew writing about guns and hunting was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My previous life had given me the accumulated experience to do it with confidence.
I like guns. They're my favorite tools. I use them to hunt, for competition, for protection and for fun. My wife is a shooter and Gunsite Academy graduate. My two daughters, ages 5 and 8, and my son, 12, are shooters, too. By the time they're teenagers they'll all know how to "ride, shoot straight and speak the truth"—just like Colonel Cooper said.
"Muzzle Break" will let me share with you what I've learned and continue to learn about the tools that tamed America and continue to keep it free.
Editor's note: You can access all the new "Muzzle Break" blog posts at HuntingClub.com/GunBlog.