Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

layfield.jpgCongratulations to Clarksburg’s Bryan Layfield, one of the nation’s up-and-coming young pistol shooters.

Layfield was a force at the recent NRA National Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. He won the junior national championship, and along the way racked up high-junior scores in nine categories of the .22-caliber and .45-caliber disciplines.

The 18-year-old recently graduated from Liberty High. And get this — he only started shooting a year and a half ago!

Here’s a link to a story I wrote about him back in February.

Good news for shotgunners

maxus.jpgBrowning’s long-awaited Maxus line of autoloading shotguns should start shipping late next month.

That’s the word straight from the lips of Paul Thompson, media liaison for the Utah-based company. The shotguns, chock full of interesting and innovative features, will come out first in 12-gauge 3-inch and 3 1/2-inch versions. Available colors will be black and Mossy Oak Duck Blind camo. Other gauges and stock choices will follow.

I got to shoot one, and I was impressed. I’ll have more on the Maxus in an upcoming Woods & Waters feature story.

lightning.jpgA Loveland, Colo., man suffered serious injuries when lightning struck him and another shooter during a round of skeet.

Josh Renuche, 32, had just called “pull” when the lightning struck and exploded his shotgun. A friend, 32-year-old Brent Kuehne, was also injured.

The Greeley Tribune has the entire story.

Updated 5/27: Renuche remains in critical condition with burns over most of his body.

Hat tip: J.R. at The Outdoor Pressroom

Sporting lifestyles of the rich and famous

pinecklogo.jpgYou’ve heard the expression, “This is how the other half lives?”

Well, this is how “the other 0.00005 percent” lives:

The Pine Creek Sporting Club in Okeechobee, Fla, bills itself as “the only private community in the U.S. centered on shooting sports.” Golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Nick Price are among its founders. Others include Italian gunmaker Tulio Fabbri and former NFL star Tucker Frederickson.

The facility offers more than 1,000 acres of quail fields, a sporting clays course, a five-stand sporting clays field, a rifle and pistol range, dog kennels, horse stables, a members lodge, guest suites, nature trails, a restaurant and a helipad.

Oh, yeah, there’s also real estate for sale. Twenty-two lots, each more than 40 acres, ranging in price from $800,000 to $1.2 million apiece.

The club’s $25,000 yearly dues include  ammunition, birds, guided hunting and lot maintenance.

Wow.

ruger.jpg                             winchester.jpg                    

Sure, the economy stinks right now. But that apparently isn’t keeping people from buying guns and ammunition.

Firearm manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. recently reported net sales of $63.5 million for the first quarter of 2009, up $21 million from the first quarter of 2008. Shortly after Ruger’s news hit the wires, one of the nation’s leading ammo manufacturers — the Winchester Division of Olin Corp. — reported record-breaking first-quarter sales of $132.9 million, up from $110.8 million in 2008.

Things that make you say, ‘Hmmmmm….’

nssf_logo.jpgBarack Obama was elected President five months ago. For the fifth straight month, gun sales are up.

Coincidence? The National Shooting Sports Foundation certainly doesn’t think so. What do you think?

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

Hail to the champs!

It’s been a long road back for the West Virginia University rifle team.

Despite winning 13 NCAA championships since 1980, the Mountaineers were unceremoniously cut from the school’s roster of officially sanctioned sports in 2003. The team got a new lease on life in 2004 when the state Legislature “persuaded” WVU administrators to change their minds.

The team, led by new coach Jon Hammond, fought its way back to respectability last year and rejoined the sport’s elite squads this season. On March 14, Mountaineer shooters made it back to the top. They shot a blistering air-rifle round and captured their 14th NCAA title over Jacksonville State, the University of Kentucky and Alaska-Fairbanks.

Hats off to the Mountaineers!

Note: I’ll have more on this subject in my Sunday, March 22 column.

A group of Southern West Virginia horse owners have formed the nation’s newest chapter of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association.

The group, called the West Virginia Six-Shooters, will participate in a pastime known as cowboy mounted shooting — sort of a cross between cowboy action shooting and rodeo barrel racing.

Contestants bolt from a starting gate and race down a pre-determined course at full gallop, firing at five balloons as they go. When they reach the end of the course, they draw their other six-gun, wheel their mounts around a barrel, and gallop back to the starting line while shooting at five more targets. Riders with the lowest elapsed times and the fewest missed shots win.

The Six-Shooters’ organizational meeting will be held Sunday, Jan. 25, at Ryan’s Steakhouse in Beckley. More information is available from the club’s Web site, www.wvsixshooters.club.officelive.com

Reloaders face component shortages

Long gone are the good old days when ammunition reloading supplies were: 1.) easy to get,  and 2.) cheap.

Shortages caused by the United States’ war on terror have made brass and bullets hard to get, and have dramatically increased shipping costs for gunpowder. This week’s Sunday Gazette-Mail feature outlines the situation.

Yet another terrorism casualty

Tried to order any gunpowder lately? Cartridge cases? Bullets? The United States’ ongoing war on terror has dried up some sources of the materials hunters and target shooters use to reload ammunition. Sunday’s Gazette-Mail feature highlighted the problem.