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Fond memories of the great gun writers of the past.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by 357smallbore, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

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    1978 is the year I cut my teeth on falling in love with guns and hunting. I was a boy all of 13 and had just gotten my first rifle. (Winchester 94 in 30-30) Proud I was. I was ready to saddle up and ride with John Wayne :D
    I got my subscriptions to Shooting Times & Guns and Ammo. I ate the articles up like they were candy. Fast forward to 2019. I wouldn't give a plug nickel for them waste of paper magazines. I have every year of Guns and Ammo from 1975 to 1988 and Shooting Times every year from 1977 to 1987. I did have to buy some off ebay to complete my collection.
    The writers that really made the pages come alive and make me want more were men I truly believe were the best of the best,
    Elmer, Skeeter, Milek, Jamison, Sundra, Jordan, Wooters, Spangenberger, Oconnor, Nonte, Whelen and Agard.
    There are a couple of more writers that are close. I can tell ya I do not care for:
    Boddington, Venturino, Simpson, Metcalf, Page and Weishuhn.
    I love re-reading the articles penned by the giants of the time. Let alone the ad's are cool to.
     
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  2. 40-82

    40-82 Member

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    I'm hurt. My name isn't one you mentioned.

    Well maybe I don't exactly deserve it. When I was very young, I wrote one article for Guns & Ammo during that period. It was on bullet casting. I mentioned bore cleaning. As a joke, I suggested using Blue Ointment because of it's mercury. Someone at Guns & Ammo edited my article and left it not at all clear that the Blue Ointment suggestion was a joke.

    I get this letter from a reader forwarded by Guns & Ammo from a reader. He's hopping mad. On the strength of my recommendation, he goes from one pharmacy to the next looking for Blue Ointment without any idea that it's real use was to treat crabs and because of the mercury it was taken off the market. He notices people titter at him but don't tell him why.

    Finally, he's persistent enough and a pharmacist tells him what the stuff is for and why people are laughing at him.

    The storied period of gun writing you speak of had its duds. I know.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    357smallbore

    I liked a number of the same writers you did (Skeeter Skelton being one of my all-time favorites), and would add Col. Jeff Cooper, Peter Capstick, Jan Libourel, Chuck Taylor, Jan Stevenson, and J.B. Wood to the list.
     
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  4. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    Skeeter is the only one I could ever stand to read. Granted I was born after glock had started producing the 17 so they were all "before my time". But I still love to read his work.
     
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  5. rust collector
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    rust collector Contributing Member

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    Yes, Jack O'Connor taught me and many in my generation how to shoot. I also enjoyed Jim Carmichael, Major Nonte and many of the others listed. Some, however, pegged my BS meter even at an early age!
     
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  6. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

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    my two favorites were Skeeter and Milek. I think they were straight up on all there dealing
     
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  7. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I’m about the same age you are (I was 11 in ‘78) and I started my gun fascination when I got my first b-b gun at 8. I, too bought gun magazines as a little kid (in Berkeley no less!) and read all of those you mentioned time and time again. I agree with your list, but I am a fan of hunting tales from Boddington, I like Venturinos cowboy and WWII gun stories and John Taffins handgun yarns.

    I still read at least ten gun mags a month cover to cover, and some stuff is great, some good and other articles...meh. I’m sure our elders felt the same about all the stuff written by our favs as well :).

    I still read the older authors when I can. I literally just finished “No Second Place Winner’ by Bill Jordan (It’s OK but horribly dated, save your $$) I am currently reading Jim Cirillos book on gunfights as a NYPD cop (better, but still old) and “Sixguns” by Keith (1961 version) is patiently waiting in the wings. I like reading foundational works like these, filled with stories about revolvers made of blue steel and walnut... and I use them to balance out today’s polymer/tactical centric stuff :thumbup:

    Stay safe.
     
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  8. Labguy47

    Labguy47 Member

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    John Connor and Roy Huntington where the only ones that ever made me want to read a modern magazine and sadly they are seldom in print anymore.
     
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  9. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    The era you mentioned was the golden age for me too. We must be nearly the same age ('64 model).
    Like you, I looked forward to getting my magazines in the mailbox.
    Field &Stream, Sports Afield. FF&G, G&A. American Rifleman, Backwoodsman.........
    Dont forget Pat McManus.
     
  10. 40-82

    40-82 Member

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    Those writers had a profound influence on me. Sometime after that period, a friend mentioned his fascination with the then new 140 grain .270 bullet, how it was a great compromise, how it would answer problems earlier bullets couldn't, the typical hype overblowing anything new.

    Told him, "I could never use it."

    He asked why.

    "It would be wrong. Jack(meaning Jack O'Connor) didn't have it."
     
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  11. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

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    I like Taffin as well. Boddington when he came on the scene first in 77 and early 80's I thought was good. His stock with me sunk soon after. He became commercialized. Now he is a bought and paid spokesman for companies. Venturino was ok when he first appeared. But he tanked with His "Duke" moniker. What a joke.
     
  12. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I would add Bob Hagel to the list.
     
  13. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    Completely agree! I see the prices of his out of print books on the used market and kick myself for not knowing they were published and available when they were. I don't understand how the publisher with the rights doesn't reissue them when they're fetching just under a C note on ebay. I'm sure the people who won't spend more than a Grant to buy the used copy would probably pop open their wallet for something in the sawbuck range.
     
  14. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    Skeeter Skelton Is my all time favorite, the man knew how to tell a tell.
    I’m surprised that Dick Wolf has not been motion yet. I loved reading Parting Shots.
     
  15. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    When I started reading Mr. Skelton's writings I had no trouble imagining sitting around a campfire listening to him tell his stories.
     
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  16. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

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    I bought Skeeters " Good Friends, Good Guns, Good Whiskey" and "Hoglegs, Hipshots and Jalapenos" off ebay excellent condition for $90. I made out like a bandit of that deal.
     
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  17. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    You sure did! Congratulations.
    I still don't understand why someone who owns the publishing rights doesn't put out new editions if the out of print ones are selling for that much. I'd imagine even a small run would sell out.
     
  18. ilgac

    ilgac Member

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    There are several that I liked and have a few books written by some of them.

    Not necessarily in order;

    Elmer Keith
    Skeeter Skelton
    Ken Waters
    Warren Page
    PO Ackley
    Finn Aagaard
    Bob Milek

    I know that I left out some very popular ones like Jack O’Connor, Charles Askins, Jr, Bill Jordan, Jeff Cooper... knowledgeable for sure but I just didn’t really enjoy reading their articles or books.

    Not many today that I really like but I do like;
    John Taffin
    John Connor - more of a story teller...
    Brian Pierce
    Patrick Sweeney
     
  19. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Gunny

    I remember Dick Wolffe's "Parting Shots" column at the back of Guns and Ammo magazine. He wrote some very touching and memorable stories, especially the ones about Christmas's gone by.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  20. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    I agree with most of the OP’s selections. I recall almost all of the articles from that era used handloaded ammo for testing. Rarely a reference to factory ammo.
     
  21. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    Don't leave out Michael McIntosh.
    Skeeter has got to be my fave though. I've got his book.
     
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  22. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    Great stuff. I just read one of Skeeter Skelton's articles on the 44 Special. It's funny that he referenced caliber wars, 44 Special owners mocking 357 Magnum owners. I'm guessing if we went back far enough in time we'd find arguments of whether smaller, quicker rocks were better for slingshots than bigger, heavier ones.
     
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  23. Bull Nutria

    Bull Nutria Member

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    I really liked Elmer Keith, I have his book "Hell I was there" and "Six guns". Ole Elmer was the real deal he could stretch the truth but made it interesting! I remember one passage when he was young where he described it being below zero for 30 days-- He said "cattle froze standing up in the Barn!!!"
    any way he new guns and was very informative.

    I met Bill Jordan once in a Hotel hospitality room at a convention. He was very personable and answered all my gun questions. He too was the real deal.

    Although not a writer I really like Jerry Miculek. His tv show and many videos are very instructive. He is a self made man , self taught and thru hard work became a champion shooter. He is also from South LA-- a Home boy!!

    Bull
     
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  24. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Some I like not previously mentioned
    Jan Stevenson - a good Alabamian moved to England back when a free Englishman might own a pistol.
    Henry Stebbins - another professorial gun crank.
    C.E. "Ed" Harris
    Jac Weller

    Others I will no doubt think of later.
     
  25. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Anybody like G&A's Gary James?

    I looked forward to his articles on things like the .38 Colt New Army or a .577 Snider Howdah pistol.
     
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