ASK PET­ZAL

an­swers your ques­tions about guns, shoot­ing, hunt­ing, and life

Field and Stream - - CONTENTS - David E. Pet­zal

West­ern nov­els, iron sights, and Dave’s take on tat­toos. By David E. Pet­zal

Q: All else be­ing equal, what’s more im­por­tant for long-range shoot­ing: flat tra­jec­tory or mild re­coil? —KEN­NETH MILLERTON, SPEARFISH, S.D. A: Mild re­coil, by far. To hit at long range, you have to shoot with pre­ci­sion, and if you know you’re go­ing to get pounded, it’s hard to do that. On the other hand, you can eas­ily com­pen­sate for a rain­bow tra­jec­tory, es­pe­cially with to­day’s rangefind­ers and scopes. Q: Which au­thor best cap­tures the Amer­i­can West? —JEFF SLOCOMBE, CASPER, WYO. A: That is a tough ques­tion. I as­sume you mean fic­tion writ­ers, so I’m go­ing to call it a three-way tie among Glen­don Swarthout in The Shoo­tist,

Dou­glas C. Jones in The CourtMar­tial of Ge­orge Arm­strong Custer, and Charles Por­tis in True Grit. None of these three writ­ers were “West­ern” nov­el­ists, but they got it right any­way.

Q: Now that I need bi­fo­cals, I’m hav­ing trou­ble shoot­ing my Mar­lin .30/30 with the fac­tory iron sights. I think a scope looks aw­ful on a lever gun, so what are my op­tions? —JA­SON BAR­REN, VINE GROVE, KY. A: The ob­ject is to cut down on the num­ber of things you have to fo­cus on si­mul­ta­ne­ously. There are two op­tions. First is a ghost-ring rear sight and a fiberop­tic front, with which you fo­cus only on the lat­ter. Or you could get a red-dot sight. I use a Tri­ji­con MRO. It’s very small, works very well, puts every­thing in one op­ti­cal plane, and can be mounted on the re­ceiver or bar­rel. Q: What’s your opin­ion re­gard­ing the “speed laces” pro­vided these days on al­most all hunt­ing boots? What’s wrong with old­fash­ioned eye­lets? —ERNEST PERRY, SUD­BURY, ON­TARIO A: I think they’re a pain in the ass. I can’t lace them tight and get them to stay that way. There is noth­ing wrong with old­fash­ioned eye­lets. They are, how­ever, old—and that’s why they’re go­ing out of fash­ion.

Q: With an im­per­fect rest, should I try to hold the crosshairs on an an­i­mal’s vi­tals or move them into the vi­tals and shoot the sec­ond the sight pic­ture is cor­rect? —ADAM HANSLEY, UTICA, N.Y. A: I’ve used the “on the move” tech­nique at 100 yards, and it works if you can get your shoot­ing eye and trig­ger fin­ger to co­or­di­nate with each other. If not, you’re just mak­ing life more com­pli­cated than it al­ready is, and I’d say use the con­ven­tional method.

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