Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

WWII vet still shoots ‘em straight

oldsniper.jpgJim Shepherd at The Shooting Wire has a fascinating feature on 84-year-old Ted Gundy, a U.S. Army sniper during World War II. Gundy (pictured at left) recently visited the Army’s sniper training school, and in the process thoroughly impressed the school’s modern warriors by firing bull’s-eyes with an old bolt-action .30-06 Springfield and a primitive scope.

This lady’s a real pistol with a pistol

golob.jpgHandguns Magazine has an interesting feature on Julie Golob, captain of Smith & Wesson’s pistol team.

You know someone’s seriously loves to shoot when he or she joins the Army just to become a better competitive shooter.

A quick look at a really big SHOT Show

Well, it took a bit longer to make this post than anticipated.

I thought I’d be able to get a final post on the SHOT Show finished by the end of the day last Friday. Wrong. I forgot I didn’t have photo editing software in my laptop computer. I resized the photos today on my home computer, and here is a sampling:

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Above is a view from the second story (!) of the Nikon Sport Optics exhibit, located roughly in the center of one of the main floors of the Sands Convention Center. That’s right; some of the exhibits actually were two stories high, usually with meeting rooms on the second floor. And there were two equal-sized main floors filled with such exhibits — more than 70,000 square feet and literally thousands of exhibits!

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Naturally, the show is a firearms aficionado’s delight. Smith & Wesson had an entire wall of handguns available for show-goers to heft and dry-fire. The one that really turned my crank was the awesome Model 500 revolver, a .50-caliber Magnum monster. It’s not for the timid of spirit or the weak of arm. The one with a 10 1/2-inch barrel weighs in at more than 5 pounds!

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Long-gun manufacturers were there, too. The Remington exhibit featured two rooms just like the one in the photo, with shotguns and rifles lining the walls.

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And finally, a celebrity sighting: R. Lee Ermey, host of the History Channel’s “Mail Call” and “Lock and Load with R. Lee Ermey.” Ol’ Gunny hung out at the Glock exhibit, signing autographs and having his photo taken.

A kid in a candy store

LAS VEGAS — Howdy! As you can see by the dateline, I’ve been traveling. That’s why you haven’t seen any new posts the last couple of days.

As I type this, I’m sitting in the Press Room at the SHOT Show — the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, an event that draws literally thousands of vendors and tens of thousands of attendees.

The last three hours have been like running a marathon — touring both floors of the cavernous convention center, talking to industry representatives and meeting up with friends in the outdoor writing business.

I’ll post some photos later today after I’ve had a chance to get back to my motel and download the images from my camera. If there’s a piece of equipment that’s used for shooting or hunting, I’ve seen it. I’m worn out already, and I still have a few hours to go. Later…

Leupold issues counterfeit scope warning

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The folks at Leupold, a company renowned for making high-quality riflescopes, are warning consumers that cheap Chinese knockoffs of their top-of-the-line Leupold Mark 4 scopes are showing up in the American market.

Here’s the Leupold news release:

Leupold® is issuing a customer alert to purchasers of products, particularly via Internet sales, in regards to bogus Leupold products that are apparently being illegally imported from the People’s Republic of China. These products bear many of the marks and trade dress of current Leupold & Stevens riflescopes making them very hard to distinguish externally from authentic Leupold products.
In recent months, counterfeited Leupold Mark 4® riflescopes have begun to arrive with increasing regularity at the firm’s Beaverton, Oregon, headquarters for service. These products are not manufactured by Leupold and are not covered by the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee.
Leupold employs serial number tracking for all its riflescopes, so if a customer finds a scope that is suspect, he or she can simply write down the serial number and call 1-800-LEUPOLD to confirm if it is indeed authentic.
In general, most of the scopes appear to originate from Hong Kong (People’s Republic of China), and have “Leupold Mark 4” laser engraved on the bottom of the turret in a silver etch, while the black ring on the objective is etched in white and does not include the name “Leupold.” The scopes also do not bear the Leupold medallion, a mark all Leupold scopes will always possess. An authentic Mark 4 riflescope will always be engraved black on black and have the name “Leupold” engraved on the black ring.

Hat tip: J.R. Absher at The Outdoor Pressroom

WVU rifle team gets some big-time ink

wvurifle.jpgThe Washington Post isn’t known to be especially firearm-friendly, but its editors apparently know a good story when they see one. Hence this nice feature that tells how West Virginia University’s rifle team came back from oblivion to win its 14th national championship.

Jezioro wins at Grand National Quail Hunt

frank-bird-dog.jpgMy column this week tells how Frank Jezioro, director of West Virginia’s Division of Natural Resources and a renowned bird hunter, earned Top New Shooter honors at the recent Grand National Quail Hunt in Enid, Oklahoma:

Despite being “the only poor boy there,” West Virginia’s top wildlife official made quite a splash during the recent Grand National Quail Hunt.
Jezioro, Director of the state Division of Natural Resources, earned two plaques and a new shotgun for winning the competition among first-time participants in the annual event. Jezioro said he’s thrilled to have won, but he still wonders how he got invited to the rather exclusive affair.
“A lot of the people who get invited are celebrities and CEOs,” he said. “Some of them said they’d read my articles on dog training in Pointing Dog Journal, so maybe that’s how I got nominated.”
The nomination was only the first step in Jezioro’s eventual trip to Enid, Okla., for the hunt. “After somebody nominates you, you’re required to send in a resume that outlines your qualifications. Then a board of selectors decides which among the nominees will actually be invited.”
The goal of the event is to raise money for preserving and enhancing quail habitat.
“They’re trying to hold on to the tradition of hunting wild quail,” Jezioro explained. “A lot of the people involved are CEOs and owners of companies involved in conservation.”
Jezioro showed up in Enid, Okla., not knowing exactly what to expect. He quickly found out
“They assign a greeter to pick you up at the airport and make sure you get to the various events,” he said. “There were a couple of different banquets to attend, and for us first-time shooters there were also a clay target competition and a hunting competition.”
At the end of the 50-target clay bird competition, Jezioro found himself tied with Atlanta’s Rex Baker for first place.
“We had a 25-shot shoot-off,” Jezioro said. “There must have been 100 people standing there watching us, and I guess the pressure kind of got to my competitor. He didn’t shoot particularly well, and I ended up winning.”
The Marion County native fared equally well in the two-day quail hunting competition.
“The bag limit in Oklahoma is 10 quail a day, but since conservation is the idea behind the hunt, the organizers set our limit at six quail. The idea is to see who could take the most quail with the fewest shots. You got bonus points for getting a limit without a miss, and you got bonus points for using a small-gauge shotgun,” he explained.
On the first day of the hunt, Jezioro took six shots with his 28-gauge Ruger and downed six quail. A day later, he duplicated the feat. His 12-for-12 performance topped the first-time shooter field.
“I ended up getting real nice plaques for the individual events – plaques in the outline of the state of Oklahoma, with brass relief-carvings of bird dogs in the middle,” he said. “And for winning the overall championship, I got a real nice Beretta semi-automatic 12-gauge,” he said.
As nice as the prizes were, Jezioro said he received nearly equal gratification from other hunters asking him to share his dog-training expertise.
“They pride themselves on having very good bird dogs,” he said. “Some of them asked me to look their dogs over and critique them. That was very satisfying.”
He said he’s also pleased to be able to show that a West Virginian can hold his own among serious bird hunters.
“I think this should give our hunters and shooters confidence that we know what we’re talking about,” he said. “Anytime a West Virginian wins something, it gives us all a little bit of pride.”

Don’t tug on Superman’s cape, coach

wvurifle.jpgAfter the the University of Alaska-Fairbanks rifle squad shot a season-high score of 4680, Nanooks coach Dan Foster said his team would like a piece of top-ranked West Virginia University.

Foster had better watch what he wishes for. A few days after Foster shot off his mouth, WVU shot enough bull’s-eyes to post a 4691 — believed to be the highest collegiate aggregate score ever posted. And the Mountaineers did it against the nation’s second-ranked team, the University of Kentucky.

From MSNSportsNet.com:

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team shot a school-record aggregate score and toppled No. 2-ranked and Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) foe Kentucky, 4691-4642, this evening at the WVU Rifle Range.
The Mountaineers’ team score is believed to be the highest collegiate aggregate total since the NCAA implemented a 60-shot course at the onset of the 2004-05 season. The total is 14 shots better than WVU’s previous school record of 4677, set last year.
Additionally, WVU (6-0, 3-0 GARC) remains undefeated in both disciplines this season, as the team triumphed over UK in smallbore, 2333-2294, and air rifle, 2358-2348. The Mountaineers’ smallbore score is a school record, while their air rifle total is one shot short of matching the school record.
“I wanted the team to peak for this match, but to shoot the scores we did today and to achieve this kind of overall result was beyond our expectations,” says fourth-year coach Jon Hammond. “Today was a really good day and a big confidence boost for this team.”

Local gun club searches for a new home

skeet1.jpgMembers of West Virginia’s Sportsman’s Gun Club thought they had lost their home when highway officials routed a four-lane expansion through their trap and skeet fields.

When the road went another direction, club members breathed a huge sigh of relief — a bit prematurely, as it turned out.

On Oct. 22, club officials received a letter. The letter informed them that the FMC Sportsmen’s Club, the leaseholder for the gun club’s property, had voted to terminate the lease. FMC officials gave no reason for the decision.

My Sunday Gazette-Mail column lays out the entire story.

The bottom line is that the gun club will need to relocate. Finding an appropriate property within a 20- to 25-mile radius of Charleston probably won’t be easy.

kauffelt.jpgWho needs practice, anyway?

Apparently not Charleston’s Catherine Kauffelt, who won the Expert/Civilian Class at the recent National Prone Smallbore Rifle Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio.

Kauffelt shot a 4,770 score, highest among 56 competitors in the class. And she did it with only 10 days’ worth of practice leading up to the event.

An environmental economics major at the University of California-Berkeley, Kauffelt gets virtually no time to train. She shoots when she comes home for Christmas break and summer vacation.

The complete story of her championship is here, in this week’s Sunday Gazette-Mail.