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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. pignut

    pignut Member

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    I met Jim Carmichael on the Skeet range. He was shooting a custom double hammer gun. He was hitting most all the birds from a low gun. If I am not mistaken he said he was 90.
    Sharp as ever. Quite an inspiring fellow.
     
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  2. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    There are still some good writers out there. Today, print publishing, like firearms hardware, is much more specialized. So you have to look around some.

    As a kid age 12, (1970) my brother and I would take out books from the library from the writers being canonized today such as Jack O'Connor and think my goodness he writes at such a basic level. I have many of the books being discussed and yes I read them. They are entertaining and they don't maul the rules of grammar like many today but they are still on the basic side. Except for Nonte. The same goes for outdoor writers discussing fishing.

    I have all 19 editions of Handloader's Digest. This publication started in the early 1960s. A lot of the early editions have projects and techniques that are to be honest, quite silly. On the other hand some of the later editions have articles that are so light weight it makes me cringe.

    The truth is I think we all like to read magazine articles, yes it is fun and helps p[ass the time but in reality read 12 editions of say BASS magazine and in the end make a list of tips or techniques that you learned that are truly useful. I will bet that list will be quite small.
     
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  3. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Jack O'Conner for #1 and Skelton for #2. Taffin is #3 and I still enjoy his stuff and wonder how long he will continue to write. He's getting old. I know that because we are the same age.
     
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  4. Keith G

    Keith G Member

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    They were great writers, true hunters and outdoorsmen, and you could feel it in their writing. They told stories that made you connect to them and wish you were there.

    Today’s writers need to write brief pieces about the cool new polymer pistol that holds 48 rounds and the best new ammo (because the old stuff apparently doesn’t work anymore). The goal today is to sell as many ads as possible in as few words as possible. Publishing is expensive, and circling the drain. Spending time on crafting great writing and writers is way down the list of priorities. It bums us old guys out.
     
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  5. klausman
    • Contributing Member

    klausman Member

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    Don't forget William C. Davis Jr. While not a story teller per se, he had all his facts straight and his technical articles were just the best.
     
  6. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Bar none, the funniest outdoor writer ever! As a kid, I looked forward to getting ahold of my dad's Field and Stream just to read his stuff …
     
  7. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Yep, we'll miss having such a learned gun historian around when he's gone.

    Someone mentioned Phil Spangenberger … wonder whatever happened to him? He was the firearms consultant for a number of Western movies, IIRC.
     
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  8. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    Another Pat McManus fan here. That man could make me laugh.

    Ed Harris never made me laugh, but he did make me pay attention.
     
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  9. tark

    tark Member

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    I liked Peter Kokalis. He may have had a rather abrasive personality toward those who didn't agree with him, but his subject knowledge was there and his writing style was clear and concise.
     
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  10. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

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  11. cowboy77845

    cowboy77845 Member

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    I liked Gene Hill.
     
  12. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    For me it's Ross Seyfried. What he wrote you can take to the bank.
     
  13. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    The only reason there are articles in the magazines is so you will look at the advertisements. That was always true, inprint journals make their profits from the advertisements, the subscription is more or less earnest money, and probably does not pay for the printing and postage. I preferred the older magazines, more chatty, more interesting articles on off beat subjects. Now, magazines and their articles are so laser focused on promoting products everything between cover to cover is either a product placement or an infomerical. But the older magazines created space on articles that had great narrative stories, such as Skeeter's stuff. Maybe it was not profit maximizing, but it was fun to read.

    But even the greats, such as Elmer Keith, had to create a positive spin on the firearms under review. If the things were function failure, Elmer wrote that the maker had changes in the pipeline that would improve the product. Publishing and marketing timelines being what they were, he never wrote about what happened after the "improvements" were implemented, and had no idea whether the changes made things better, or worse. You can bet, if the firearm went away, it was a flawed product that no amount of improvements could fix, but the buyers were never informed, unless they informed each other.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
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  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    .455_Hunter

    I had forgotten about him; he indeed wrote many interesting articles on not only the historical aspect of certain weapons and their accoutrements but also set it in the context of the time period in which they were used. And as always he included a range report of the guns and had outstanding photos of everything to go along with what he was writing about!
     
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  15. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    When it comes to articles about muzzle loaders and historic Sharpshooters our own Gary Yee gets my vote. :thumbup:
     
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  16. shafter

    shafter Member

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    There's some good writer's on the boards. It would be nice more people wrote up some memories and experiences they've had in the field, range, or around the campfire that involve firearms in some way.
     
  17. murf

    murf Member

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    I believe he is a moderator here at thr.

    I enjoy his contributions to the "tales of the gun" series as well as his articles in g&a.

    murf
     
  18. slickracer

    slickracer Member

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    Totally agree with you, current writers are just a shadow of those men. The exceptions would be Brian Pierce and John Taffin- they are the only reason I buy any magazines anymore. I especially enjoy Brian's articles.
     
  19. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    The two giants of my formative years were Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton. The column Skeeter wrote at the back of one of the mags and his "Me & Joe" stories were among my favorites.
     
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  20. cowboy77845

    cowboy77845 Member

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    I believe "Rifle" magazine is the best of the breed right now. The others are pale imitations of the past. I have been devouring gun magazine since 1955. Bought every issue of Gun Digest from1944 to 2003. ( Which I still have). Perhaps it is me, but the articles now seem shallow when compared to the past. Loved the way Charles Atkins would take opposite sides just to create controversy. Always regretted not meeting him when I was stationed in San Antonio. It is obvious tastes change and I am so out of date. I detest black rifles and am not a fan of the 223 or the 9mm.
     
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  21. OneFreeTexan

    OneFreeTexan Member

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    Can’t remember his name,, it was over 40 yrs ago,, He wrote for “Fur, Fish & Game”, Had a few books published by a penny publisher back then also.......I’ll come up with his name tomorrow..
     
  22. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I agree with tark; Peter G. Kokalis was the best technical gun writer ever. Yes, he was opinionated, even more than Jeff Cooper, (if that's possible) but if you wanted a good description of how a particular gun worked, no one wrote that better. Patrick Sweeney is as close as we have currently. I enjoy reading Garry James' evaluation (both monetary and performance-wise) of guns in G&A. When I was young, I enjoyed reading Gun Digest for the Jack O' Connor articles, Col. Charles Askins, and especially to a young budding gunsmith, The J. M. Pyne stories by Lucien Cary. Later in G&A, Finn Agaard and Ross Seyfried articles got first look. Anything Massad Ayoob wrote back then got read by my Dad first, then handed down to me. Obviously John T. Amber must be mentioned, those old Gun Digest annuals shaped not only my childhood, but my adult life.
     
  23. Nickotym

    Nickotym Member

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    What about Grits Gresham? Loved Pat McManus too!
     
  24. denton

    denton Member

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    I can see that my tastes are out of step with the rest of the world. I like the experimentalists, but there aren't many of us who study them: P O Ackley, Howard Vaughn, Creighton Audette. Clyde Ormond was my neighbor, growing up in Rigby, Idaho. His writings were engaging and human and taught a lot about practical hunting. And, of course Pat McManus. That man was wonderfully entertaining.
     
  25. Daveboone

    Daveboone Member

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    I had friends who mourned with me when Skeeter died, way too young. Bill Jordan was also a great writer, and their writings are as timeless today as ever. Elmer Kieths (Keith?) was also phenomenal. On a cold winter night, it is tough to put down Russell Annabels stories. There are a lot of other great writers out there, but few of them hold my attention long. Jack O'Conner was very knowledgeable and a great writer (he was a college English professor if I remember correctly), and Gene HIll was a lot of fun on upland game. Patrick McManus I vote as most fun to go on a hunt with. Todays writers seem too preoccupied with promoting products and the end result of the hunt...the kill, rather than the experiences.
     
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