Favorite Gun Writer?


March 26, 2011, 10:58 PM
I have to admit that I was nurtured into my gun obsession in the 1960's by the writings of Skeeter Skelton, Bill Jordan, Jeff Cooper, and many others. Skeeter was my favorite, and I own and cherish many of the guns that he was fond of, particularly identifying him with the .44 Special. My dad was not into shooting much, and not into handguns at all, so it was left to me to find my way, and the gun writers filled in the voids. I know there are many of you older guys out there, like me, that grew up on Guns & Ammo, Shooting, Times, etc, but the newer generations are missing out as the paperback magazines go the way of the dinosaur. Tell us about the writers and shooters that influenced you.

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March 26, 2011, 11:05 PM
For enjoyment of reading, fiction or informational, it was hard to beat Skeeter Skelton.

For writing style and information, I'd have to lean toward Massad Ayoob

March 27, 2011, 12:24 AM
Handguns. Skeeter Skelton.

Everything else. Jack O'Connor.

March 27, 2011, 12:36 AM
Jeff Cooper Graig Boddington.

March 27, 2011, 01:07 AM
Keith, can't forget Elmer.

March 27, 2011, 01:08 AM
Ed Lovette

March 27, 2011, 03:16 AM

March 27, 2011, 03:33 AM
Elmer Keith
Skeeter Skelton

The Lone Haranguer
March 27, 2011, 03:42 AM
Entertainment: Charles Askins
Straight-up, no nonsense information: Mas Ayoob
Anecdotes and history: Jan Libourel

(Notes: Askins has passed, Libourel is now retired.)

March 27, 2011, 09:49 AM

Right on Oldways.

Of the newer guys I like Clint smith. and Tom Givins

Jim Watson
March 27, 2011, 10:01 AM
A few less prolific writers I really enjoyed in their day were:
Henry Stebbins
Jac Weller
Jan Stevenson

Still seen on the cast bullet board and occasionally here,
C.E. Harris

Trad Archer
March 27, 2011, 10:02 AM
My love is with cowboy guns....

Mike Venturino

Ala Dan
March 27, 2011, 12:42 PM
George Nonte
Jordan *(Not Michael either~!)

451 Detonics
March 27, 2011, 12:53 PM
My favorites have all been named but my Dad was a world ranked bullseye shooter and he influenced me quite a bit. I also shot a good bit with Ken Tapp, he hammered the cadence for Action Pistol into me. And the Reinholt family in northern Indiana. Both of Jim's sons won the Bianchi Cup as Juniors and Jim had forgotten more gun lore than he remembered. He knew most of those writers as friends and worked with several of them.

My shooting has been influenced by many folks, some well known and some not. Spending time shooting with Ken, Robby Leatham, Mas Ayoob, and others taught me important lessons.

March 27, 2011, 12:58 PM
Hands down, Elmer Keith. I even had the good luck to correspond with him a little, and among other things, received personally-typed letters from him...(bad spelling, x'd out words and punctuation errors) including an invite to come out to Idaho and visit him, which I unfortunately did not get to do... The letter is my favorite piece of gun memorabilia...

March 27, 2011, 05:00 PM
Skeeter Skelton. Gentleman and always responded to letters I wrote. Never talked down to anyone, had been there, done that.
Keith. "Hell, I was there." said it all. A memory unlike anyone before or since.
Capstick. Peter Hathaway. Knew the black continent and the animals better there than anyone else.
Corbett. No one did India better. No one else would hunt tigers with a few shells and no helpers. Or sit in a thorn tree for eight or ten hours as bait.
I enjoyed Askins articles but did not admire him as a human being.....absolutely seemed to me amoral.
Nonte, I knew personally, and he could take a good magazine quality picture with little more than a desk lamp and an instamatic (I exaggerate) but he had a few "isssues" that hindered his effectiveness.
Cooper was more philosopher than gun writer and quite fun to read, especially in his final years.
Ayoob...knows so much..who else would you want on your side in the courtroom as an expert witness.
Jordan. The human counterpart to Askins.
O'Connor. I read that editors ran and hid when he came into the office.
All that said, I think one of the best ever is Jim Carmichael.

Pete D.
March 27, 2011, 05:46 PM
Ross Seyfried
Warren Page
Paul Matthews
Michael McIntosh

March 27, 2011, 06:03 PM
Steven Dodd Hughes

March 27, 2011, 06:05 PM
Bob Milek.

Kendal Black
March 27, 2011, 06:20 PM
I've gotta put Skeeter Skelton in first place, for being thoughtful, factual and not taking himself (or anybody else) too seriously.

Anybody else heard about the "chicken fried steak" incident?

Arkansas Paul
March 27, 2011, 07:03 PM
I haven't read a lot of books about guns. I've read a lot of articles but paid little attention to the authors. I did read an entire book by Bob Hagel called "The Game Rifle". It's a North American Hunting Club publication and I really enjoyed it. He's very knowledgable and has a no-nonsense attitude that I like. So he gets my vote. I need to look up some of the ones mentioned here and give it em whirl.

Big Bill
March 27, 2011, 07:10 PM
I'm surprised no one mentioned Jim Zumbo yet? :)

March 28, 2011, 12:24 AM
I like Massad Ayoob a lot, read all of his books when I got seriously into shooting in the 90s and have been reading his magazine and online articles consistently since then. Good information and a very readable writing style.

March 28, 2011, 02:24 AM
Ayoob cheats...he is actually a trained professional writer

March 28, 2011, 03:51 AM
Massad Ayoob
Patrick Sweeny
Walt Rauch
Frank James (not Jesse's brother)

March 28, 2011, 07:14 AM
Skeeter, Keith and Jordan

March 28, 2011, 08:06 AM
I liked Bill Jordan's book and Ed McGivern's book also. McG's was harder to read but full of good information. Elmer Keith, Skeeter Skelton and Ross Seyfried round it out for me. As you can tell from my list of writers, I don't do much reading lately, Venturino once in a while but mostly I reread the old articles and books.

March 28, 2011, 08:10 AM
Stephen Hunters written some fun fiction. One of his recent works, ISniper, was totally unbelievable, over the top, and weak. I guess I'd say he's hit or miss.

March 28, 2011, 09:03 AM
Skeeter Skelton, absolutely. He was a superb writer who just happened to write about guns--one of my favorite subjects. I loved his reminiscences.

Of living gun writers, Ayoob is about the top of the heap.

I like Stephen Hunter too but I don't consider him to be a "gun writer" per se. He's about the only writer of thrillers who often gets things right in respect to guns.

March 28, 2011, 09:06 AM
Mr. Cooper.

March 28, 2011, 10:45 AM
All of mine have been mentioned, except four: Jim Carmichael, Lucian Cary, Townsend Whelen, and Sheriff Jim Wilson.

Cary was the gun writer for True Magazine back in the '50s, but I think he is better known for his stories of the fictional gunsmith J. M. Pyne, who bore more than a small resemblance to the famed barrel maker Harry Pope.

I remember the stories in old issues of The Gun Digest, but they originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post.

You can get a bound compendium here (http://www.lautard.com/pyne.htm), if you order before they are gone.

Anyone who ever knew a real gunsmith who could not only make a custom rifle, but who could make a machined part from scratch for an obsolete Remington slide action rifle and have it work as smoothly as glass, as I once did, and anyone with an appreciation for the old falling block target rifles, as I have, and anyone who loves good gun writing will enjoy the stories.

I had the privilege of seeing Col. Whelen throwing clay birds by hand for his grandson, who was swinging a Winchester Model 21. He was also shooting a scoped Winchester High Wall chambered in .22 K-hornet, and he let me fire a shot with it. I became a fan of .22 center fire rifles on that day, fifty two years ago this month.

March 28, 2011, 11:52 AM
I like the old men from down on the border the best. Askins, Jordan, and Skelton lived at a time of great transition and actually participated in things that are today hard to imagine. Keith and Cooper did the same in their own way. They all knew hard men from an even harder time and could relate that history well.
I can't think of a modern man that is in the public eye today that even come close but I'm sure there are some quiet humble warriors that will someday tell their story as well, we can only hope that these men exist.

Vern Humphrey
March 28, 2011, 12:26 PM
Ross Seifried is certainly worth reading.

March 28, 2011, 12:36 PM
I greatly enjoyed reading Keith, O'Conner, and a host of other writers when I was young. Couldn't get enough of reading this stuff.

As far as modern writers, I think John Barsness is among the best of the crop as far as shooting, reloading for, and hunting with sporting rifles.

March 28, 2011, 01:16 PM
I have really enjoyed the writings of Clay Harvey, Bill Jordan, Skeeter Skelton, Ross Seyfried, Jim Carmichael and Layne Simpson among others. I feel that I have learned a lot from them and have come to highly respect their knowledge and opinions. But, if I had to pick just one writer that was as my all-time favorite it would be Jack O'Connor, hands down. Even as a kid I used to hunt for old back issues of Outdoor Life magazine just to read his contributions and column. I still have boxes of them that I have saved for 30 years. I still dig them out and re-read them once in a while and still enjoy them as much as ever.

Pistol Ranch
March 28, 2011, 01:30 PM
Jack O'Conner..Skeeter Skelton..


March 28, 2011, 02:51 PM
all time favorites, Capstick, Skelton and Kieth. not necessarily in order.

March 28, 2011, 10:00 PM
1) Skeeter Skelton

2) Jeff Cooper

3) Elmer Keith

4) Bill Jordan

5) Ross Seyfried

6) Jan Libourel

7) George C. Nonte

8) J.B. Wood

March 28, 2011, 11:12 PM
Skeeter Skelton, John Taffin, Mike Venturino

March 28, 2011, 11:16 PM
Skeeter Skelton is my all-time favorite. His stories are informative yet very readable, with just enough self-deprecating humor to be immensely entertaining. His writing somehow makes gritty Border Patrol work sound like fun, no small task I'm sure.

Massad Ayoob comes in second. Not as entertaining as Skelton but he gets major points for the quality and scope of his research.

These are probably the only two gun writers I would recommend to non-gun people, because they provide quality information without the need to self-aggrandize.

March 28, 2011, 11:31 PM
Skelton is #1.
Capstick is a close second.

In today's writers I like Sheriff Jim Wilson, Mike Venturino (especially his reloading stuff) Ayoob, and Bart Skelton, probably in that order.


March 28, 2011, 11:36 PM
peter g kokalis,nice guy,met him at shotshow 86 in houston at the colt 150th anniversary party along with bob brown

March 28, 2011, 11:37 PM
I was a young man from 2001 until 2008. David M. Fortier is hands down my favorite author. Even when contributing to a "rag" he still threw in some biting commentary where it was due, reminding us all that nothing is perfect and all can be improved. He technically examined specific performance features of scopes using his own optical testing equipment.

True Grit
March 28, 2011, 11:48 PM
Peter Capstick Hathaway

jim in Anchorage
March 29, 2011, 01:40 AM
O'Connor no doubt but he had a contemporary writing the gun column for Sports afield that was very good. I can't remember his name just that in his picture next to the column he had a bushy beard.

Worst was the guy that took Warren Pages spot at field&stream. Brister? Shotguns, shotguns, shotguns.

March 29, 2011, 07:49 AM
Straight-up, no nonsense information: Mas Ayoob

Jack O'Conner as a source of information. He was really talented.
Jeff Cooper was a really great writer. Not the Jeff Cooper on the back page of whatever magazine he ended up with. But the Jeff Cooper of The Art of the Rifle.

March 29, 2011, 10:16 AM
Jack O'Connor, Jeff Cooper, Elmer Keith

March 29, 2011, 11:09 AM
Bill Carver from "Muzzle Blast" Quite a Bullseye pistol shooter.

March 29, 2011, 11:41 AM
I cherish the old gunwriters. I cut my teeth on Guns & Ammo and Shooting Times. I wouldn't give a plugged nickle for writers of today. For that matter, any writers since the late 80s. Here are the writers that really speak to me. Most all have passed on. But they sure knew what they were writing. They were the best!

Bob Milek
Skeeter Skelton
John Wooters
Howard French
Jon Sundra
Bill Jordan
Mike Venturino
Phil Spangenberger
and of course the dean of the handguns!!!!

March 29, 2011, 03:05 PM
Clay Harvey was also a good read. He was down to earth in his writings.

March 29, 2011, 03:09 PM
Should have been a General Craig Boddington.

March 29, 2011, 03:10 PM
Clay Harvey was also a good read. He was down to earth in his writings.

You speak in the past tense. Is Mr. Harvey still around? I always enjoyed his writings.

March 29, 2011, 03:43 PM
Dean Grennell. Guns and reloading are fun.

March 29, 2011, 03:50 PM
I grew up in an age when gun articles were found mostly in the pages of general "outdoor" magazines. We're kind of spoiled today with the glut of magazines and books available to shooters and hunters. Among my favorite writers that have passed on were Warren Page, Charles Askins, Skeeter Skelton, Elmer Keith, Bob Milek, George Nonte, Henry Stebbins, Clyde Ormond, Lawrence Koller, Bob Hagen, Frank de Haas, Michael McIntosh, and, of course, Jack O'Connor.
Current favorites include Ken Waters, Jim Carmichel, Wayne Van Zwoll, Craig Boddington, Massad Ayoob, John Taffin, Al Miller, John Barsness, Brian Pearce and Mike Venturino.
Regarding Barsness and Venturino, I don't know if anybody other than my shooting/hunting friends and I have noticed, but it's almost comical the way these two writers apparently feel compelled to shoe horn the state of their residency (MONTANA :what:) into virtually every article they write, irregardless of context (i.e., they can't just attend a gun show; it always has to be a Montana gun show). Don't get me wrong, I believe that identifying where you're from generally adds to the interest of the reader. But the perpetual redundancy of same seems to me to border on a pathological need of these writers for their readers to be continually reminded of where they reside. Okay, already, Mike (er, Duke, aka Montana Musings) and John, we got it. You both live in Montana. :)

March 29, 2011, 03:58 PM
Jeff Cooper was a really great writer. Not the Jeff Cooper on the back page of whatever magazine he ended up with. But the Jeff Cooper of The Art of the Rifle.

Bubba, in case you're not being facetious, both were written by the same person. He wrote for Guns and Ammo, and his column was "Cooper's Corner" I believe.

March 29, 2011, 04:01 PM
I grew up with most of these and like the modern members of this list
Elmer Keith
Skeeter Skelton
Bob Milek
Peter Capstick Hathaway
Massad Ayoob
Russel Anable(sp)
Bob Hagel
George C. Nonte
John Taffin
Mike Venturino
Ken Waters
Jack O'Connor
Neil Knox and his articles with Harver Donaldson

March 29, 2011, 04:10 PM
Jack O'Connor
Warren Page
Townsend Whelen
Elmer Keith


March 29, 2011, 04:21 PM
I grew up a hunter first shooter second so most of my favorites were:

John Wooters
Bob Milek
Peter Capstick

New favorite:

Craig Boddington

Favorite Shooter/Personal Protection

Massad Ayoob
Clint Smith
Tiger Mckee

March 29, 2011, 06:35 PM
Chuck Taylor

March 29, 2011, 07:29 PM
Bubba, in case you're not being facetious, both were written by the same person. He wrote for Guns and Ammo, and his column was "Cooper's Corner" I believe.
They were biologically the same person. But their work was eons apart. Art of the Rifle was a fantastically well written book. His later columns read like parodies of his earlier work.

March 30, 2011, 12:55 PM
OK, I'll buy that. Just thought that you may have thought they were in fact two different people.

I really didn't think much of Cooper's Corner when I first started reading the gun mags back in the day. I thought he was a overconfident blowhard, more closely to the truth.

I find I enjoy his writing much more these days.

Probably doesn't hurt that I shoot a lot of 1911. And I'm a curmudgeon too.

Wish I could have made it to Gunsite (orange) before he passed.

March 30, 2011, 04:36 PM
Mas Ayoob

March 30, 2011, 06:46 PM
Bob Milek.

Yea, he was one of my favorites also. I remember when he died, sad day. :(


- Mas Ayoob - agree/disagree, he always had his reasons
- Skeeter
- Jordan
- Capstick
- Leroy Thompson
- Ventrino was pretty good with the old type guns

- Liberoul (or however you spelled his name), just a gear/gun whore, IMO
- Bradley Steiner (incompetent trainer, worse writer - is he even around anymore???)
- Chuck Taylor (insert pic of "I'm so awesome...")
- Ed Sanow

April 19, 2015, 04:10 PM
albert league

masaad ayoob

April 19, 2015, 05:07 PM
I am a big fan of Finn Aagaard, Ross Seyfried and John Barsness.
Might go to the "Hot" place for saying so, but I never really cared for the writings of Cooper or Keith...

April 19, 2015, 05:17 PM
I know who its NOT... But then if I say, I'm sure my post will be deleted.

April 19, 2015, 05:30 PM
I like Keith, Cooper, O'Conner and Skelton(a LOT) but I agree with Andy, Finn Aagard was great!


April 19, 2015, 09:22 PM
I'm a big fan of Sam Fadala.


April 19, 2015, 10:30 PM
I also liked Aagaard, Skelton, Jordan...can't abide the creepy I get from Askins.

Currently no-one touches Ayoob. With the onset of the information age I feel you have to fold in the bloggers/youtubers.

Yeager-even when I agree with him
iraquiveteran8888-Moss Pawn _ personal preference, cultural differences
VSO Gun Channel-no comment

Colion Noir
Yankee Marshall

1 Step Up;

Neither will ever offer a meaningful criticism though, might as well add Jerry Miculek as much as it pains me to say he is a S&W employee and there is only so much inhumanly fast shooting one needs.

Chuck Hawes

Watch intently;

nutnfancy-whether you like him or not, you WILL learn something
Military Arms Channel
Forgotten Weapons-Ian

Pure entertainment value;

Tex Grebner
FPS Russia

No explanation necessary.

Sorry to those who might feel this is a thread hijack, but I am a "new age guy". LOL

April 19, 2015, 10:42 PM
Elmer Keith, Col. Askins, Jeff Cooper, O'Conner, Nonte. In that order.
Yep I'm old school.

April 20, 2015, 11:39 AM

April 20, 2015, 04:55 PM
Skeeter Skelton was my favorite Gun Writer and Shooting Times was my favorite Gun Magazine bar none for many years. I couldn`t wait for my copy of Shooting Times to come each month. I read Skeeter`s article`s first and then the rest of the magazine. And then I read Skeeter`s article`s again. I had several years of every copy of Shooting Times. I kept them in order by month and year stored in boxes so I could reread Skeeter`s articles,and I did just that many times. I thought at times Skeeter was writing just to me and I really considered Him a personal friend tho I had never met Him. I enjoyed his Me And Joe Story`s more than I can say. And when Skeeter past away, it really effected me, I quite taking Shooting Times and any other Gun Magazine`s for several years. For some reason that I can`t explain I blamed Shooting Times for Skeeter`s Death. And I still miss reading his articles and I wish I had got the chance to have met Skeeter. I enjoy Skeeter`s Son Bart`s articles very much and I wish Him the best, because He has some very big shoes to fill.

April 22, 2015, 03:48 PM
Not a gun writer PER SE but a great non-fiction gun author. I LOVE his books.

Peter Hathaway Capstick (1940–1996) was an American hunter and author. He was born in New Jersey and educated at the University of Virginia although he was not a graduate. Capstick walked away from a successful Wall Street career shortly before his thirtieth birthday to become a professional hunter. His hunting career began in Central and South America and culminated with hunts in Africa for which he is best known. Capstick spent much of his life in Africa, a land he called his "source of inspiration"

After a short career as a Wall Street stockbroker, Capstick headed to Latin America, where he traveled widely while hunting, fishing, and mastering the Spanish language. A few years later he returned to New York, where he founded a business arranging professionally guided hunting trips. Shortly thereafter, he took a position as hunting and fishing director of Winchester Adventures of New York, a subsidiary of the famous gun manufacturer. In that capacity he made his first trip to Africa in 1968. Subsequently, he worked as a professional hunter and game ranger in Zambia, Botswana, and Rhodesia.

Capstick started writing about his adventures in the late 1960s and published numerous articles in various sporting magazines. In 1977, he published his first book, Death in the Long Grass, which became a commercial success and established his reputation as an author of true adventure stories. Capstick is frequently compared to Ernest Hemingway and Robert Ruark in discussions of influential African hunting authors.

(Thank you Wikipedia)

April 22, 2015, 04:10 PM
Mas Ayoob
i have a problem with Mas.....well not him personally.....but the people that read his stuff....

they seem to think that EVERYTHING he writes is gospel, and that he can say no wrong, and follow his writings to the T, even if it not applicipable to the situation.....they dont stop to think that that is simply his OPINION on the matter, and that at times, he can be wrong.

...i mean, ive read a few articles of his that were questionable at best in terms of the advice he offered.....

this goes for all writers, but listen to their advice....but at the end of the day use your own head when making decisions.

Dirty Bob
April 22, 2015, 09:41 PM
Skeeter Skelton is the all-time best, IMHO.

Finn Agaard and Ross Seyfried have also taught me a lot. Ross's article "When it Matters," about loading nearly-perfect ammo for hunting, is a classic.

Ed Harris is another favorite. Very knowledgeable about reloading, ballistics and other topics. He occasionally writes something as a guest for Grant Cunningham's blog.

I also have give kudos to Paco Kelly. His book: Leverguns, and his website: leverguns.com, have been a great source of info for me, and are the reason for my getting into the .45 Colt (my all-time favorite caliber).

All my best,
Dirty Bob

April 22, 2015, 10:02 PM
Two that I enjoyed and haven't seen mentioned are Edward Matunas and John Wooters.


April 22, 2015, 10:21 PM
Massad Ayoob

Jeff Cooper

Clint Smith

Elmer Keith

Peter G. Kokalis

Craig Boddington

Finn Aagard

Eric Poole

There are many others, but I read everything I can find from these authors.

April 22, 2015, 10:26 PM
I think of one aspect of guns after another, and there is a writer who I think is best in an aspect and another in another and so on. My hat is off to all of them. I learn something new from each and every one of them every time I read them. To single one out would be disingenuous of me. They are all 'the best'.

Even for those who have fallen from grace for one reason or another, there is always something good to be learned from them. After all, they had to rise into grace to fall from it.


April 22, 2015, 10:28 PM
Yesteryear : Jack O'Conner & Ken Waters

Today: John Barsness & Mike Ventrino

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