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April 30, 2018


My father was by trade, a gunsmith. Born in Nebraska, he had a passion for a gun that could, "shoot out a squirrel's eye farther than your dog could run in a day", he would say. His father told him to, "move West son, where a stray bullet won't kill someone". That was the post WWII time, where only the military had long range "Canons that the average deer hunter didn't need".

As I look back through dozens of American Rifleman magazines my father had kept--most in pristine condition, (circa, 1948 through 1975), the build-up to long range shooting was gradual.

Lady Shooters

The Prairie Dog Shooter, or "Wildcatter" was the primary cutting-edge, authoritative expert, and written articles in the day were found in a few publications, namely The Handloader Magazine and American Rifleman.

My favorite Rifle shooting guidebook...


My father did move west--to eastern Oregon, after WWII. 

Lots of long range shooting to be had there. It's been said, you could "see your dog run away for three days out there". And, his love for fast, long-reaching guns played out when he hand-built his first rifle, from an '03 Enfield action. A Winchester 22-250, on a Mannlicher-style stock. I own that rifle, and to this day, it is a tack driver.

The other hand-built rifle, a .25-06 Ackley Improved, on a Remington, Model 30 action is also a good shooter, and an heirloom to me.

Also, in part Dad's move west was to see the mighty dams of the Columbia River being put into operation. A masterpiece of engineering. He caught the filling of the Columbia River while the massive runs of Salmon were still jumping Celilo falls and native Americans were using dip nets. I have dozens of 2" x 2" black and white photos of the experiences.

Mayberry-style living was the norm through the 50's. That ended with the Kent State shooting during Vietnam protests in New York state in the early 60's. Then the Texas Bell-Tower shootings created another reality that played out again, and the assassination of JFK, had even more implications.

 Americans were obsessed with the "unbelievable" ability to reach out and kill people hundreds of yards away. The protesters then were trying to put limits on hunting rifles...

The Creedmoor is now more of an era, than a cartridge to me. I look forward to writing a book based on the scrapbook and writings that detail an important time in our nation's history describing an incredible part of our American gun history.

Almost sounds like today's politics...

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