The Big Book of Gun Gack:
The Hunter’s Guide to Handloading Smokeless Rifle Cartridges
It may have started out as the Hunter’s Guide to Handloading Smokeless Rifle Cartridges, but it became so much more. Four hundred thirty-seven pages, in fact, of loads (yes), but also the people, the guns, the decisions that doom one cartridge to failure and another to rock star status. All in one place, finally, John on handloading. Who knew he had so many opinions?
On sorting brass for consistent neck thickness, for instance:
You may need to anneal case necks, even on new brass. Yet another difference between top-notch brass and common brass is consistent annealing. Not long ago my gunsmith friend Charlie Sisk called me on his smart phone, asking what could possibly be wrong with some 7mm Remington Magnum cases he’d purchased.
Charlie normally buys big batches of new brass, loads them once, then sells the fired brass, saving him time that’s more profitably used by actually making rifles, rather than resizing and trimming fired brass. But none of the 7mm Remington Magnum rifles he’d made shot worth a hoot with the new batch of brass, yet the necks were pretty darn uniform.
After we’d talked for a while, I came up with a SWAG (Scientific Wild-Assed Guess) and asked, “Have you tried annealing them?”
“I’ve never annealed any brass. Why would I?”
“Well, it might not have been annealed right at the factory, so bullet pull varies.”
After I described Fred Barker’s easy candle method of annealing, we hung up. (Well, we didn’t actually hang up, a term left over from land-line days.) A couple days later Charlie called again, saying he’d annealed a few cases and loaded them up. Loads that formerly shot 2-inch groups now went around ½ inch. So sorting brass for consistent neck thickness may not be enough.
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Where in the world is John?
Kentucky Turkey Shoot 2015
The cell phone video of John shooting an Eastern turkey in Kentucky. To read about what happened before and after the shot, read the May 15 issue of Rifle Loony News--coming soon.
Rifle Loony News: The First Five Years
You asked for it and now it's here. Rifle Loony News is now a book! No more messy stacks of print-outs on the bathroom floor, no more going without RLN when you're at hunting camp!
When we started writing Rifle Loony News 5 years ago, we agreed on two things: no advertising and always tell the truth. That’s what we’ve been doing for five years, whether it’s scopes and binos, accurizing your rifle, singing the praises of an Honest Gun, or breaking down the myths of game care and cooking.
And the beat goes on. Year six started with features on brining wild birds and venison (yes, it’s different from chicken and beef) and John’s reports on laser range finders, the CZ Model 452 .17 Hornady Rimfire Magnum, ‘Guns I Don’t Buy Anymore’ and lots more.
Buy this book, then sign up for the next five years of Rifle Loony News at www.riflesandrecipes.com (4xyear online/$8 per year). You’ll never run out of things to argue about over the campfire.
Soft cover, 263 pages with a color insert: $28.95
Modern Hunting Optics
by John Barsness
Whether you are buying a new scope or binocular, trying to figure out how to mount a new rifle scope--or worse--find out what went wrong with the one you have on your rifle already, Modern Hunting Optics will walk you through it!
What does John cover?
- Hunting with a Spotting Scope
- Hunting Binoculars
- Testing Binoculars
- Testing Scopes
- Scope Adjustments
- Advanced Scope Mounting Techniques & Tools
- Reticle Placement & Parallax
- Reticles & Turrets
- And much much more
Soft Cover, 6x9", 200 pages, $25. (As always, media shipping in the US is free.)
Rifle Trouble-Shooting and Handloading
One early October day Eileen and I went to the Virgil Binkley Shooting Complex, to try some new handloads, shoot some new-to-us rifles, and sight in other rifles for Montana’s big game season. It was a perfect day for shooting, cool enough so that barrels didn’t get hot quickly, and almost completely calm. Turned out, it was just the calm before the storm--or just another day at the range.
It all depends on how you handle your rifle’s little mysteries.
Soft cover, 324 pages, 54 b&w photos, $24.50. (Free media rate shipping in the U.S.)
Ever wish you could do more to straighten out your favorite rifle? Peek over the shoulder of someone who’s been doing it for a while? Successfully? Here’s your key to John’s workbench and his thought process.
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Slice of the Wild
cut and cook game for your table
What’s inside the book?
A hundred game recipes, 40 Wild Sides—tried and true side dishes Eileen and her husband, John Barsness, have paired with wild game for years—and an array of Tips & Tactics for making your wild game dinner less guess-ful. There is also a detailed, lavishly photographed section on game care, another on cutting your game to fit the size and tastes of your family so the steaks and roasts that end up on your table are as good as they can be. Did I mention the Rogues’ Gallery? A fork by fork (color photo by color photo) evaluation of a range of animals Eileen and John have taken over the years: the good, the bad, the gamy, and the chewy. Finally, there’s the T & T Test, the most uncomplicated way to evaluate game that’s ever been used. Know what you have before you start cutting and wrapping. No nonsense. No fancy stuff. And no more coping with mystery meat!
by Eileen Clarke
Hard cover, 10 ¼ x 8 ¼ inches
184 pages, 140 recipes
52 color and 63 black & white photos ...and a bullet to fork how-to section that makes cutting game as easy as sitting down to your kitchen table.
Buy this book and never pay a processor again.
$29.95 (includes media rate shipping in the U.S.)
Slice of the Wild is now available in paperback! Still a great book and now it has an index, and a lot fewer typos. ( Why didn’t you all tell me I forgot to say how much Gideon’s Grub Rub to put on the GGR goes a roasting--page 114. Three tablespoons, by the way.)
194 pages, soft cover: $25.
Obsessions of a Rifle Loony
A half-century of hunting & shooting
John Barsness has written for every major hunting magazine published in North America, and some not so major. More importantly he’s known among a few of his close friends as the Bull Goose Rifle Loony. He wears the title proudly.
Here is a collection on John’s musings about hunting, guns, bullets, and such, some new and some published in places you may not have a subscription to. (Have you had trouble keeping up with his travels the last two years? Well, here’s your chance to catch up!)
Soft Cover, 328 pages, $23.50. (Free media rate shipping in the U.S.)
Rifle Loony News
Keep up with the latest in optics, handloads, useful outdoor gear, great hunting literature and what wild critter is cooking in Eileen’s kitchen by subscribing to the Loony News. No advertising, no editors, just the facts. Quarterly: May, August, November and February for $8 a year. (Hurry, we’re already working on the next issue.)
Rifle Loony Hats
Despite some controversy about the preferred word to describe a person who really likes sporting rifles (afficionado, enthusiast, fan and other politically correct suggestions have been made), the majority of readers prefer the term rifle loony, used in many of my articles—and now, those of many other writers and rifle lovers everywhere. (Available in dark sage, slate, cobalt blue, red/white & blue, a tasteful blaze orange, and camo.)