Tag Archive | "Cork’s Outdoors Radio"

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Posted on 21 October 2010 by Cork Graham

On October 10, 2010 (that’s right, 10/10/10), a pioneer crossed the summit between this world and the next. If you’re a firearms and reloading enthusiast, you probably knew his name. If you are a hunter, you should.

John Nosler, 97, was a hunter, engineer, innovator, and pioneer in the field of bullet-making—he was a self-made man. Like any self-made man who has been successful, he understood the importance of relationships—no one has ever become successful being a loner.

Nosler’s personal telephone book over the years included some of the other vanguards of the firearms industries, some of them very well-known because of their writing, like Elmer Keith, Jack O’Connor and Chub Eastman (he wrote the memoir’s foreword), some remembered through their own mark in the bullet and reloading industry: Fred Huntington, founder of RCBS; Hornady founder Joyce Hornady; and Speer Bullets founder Vernon Speer, to name a few.

This was a history not only of cartridge and rifle component making, but the story of America pulling itself out of dire economic straits and moving through what many might call the heyday of American might and wherewithal.

At the open of the book, the reader is introduced to John Nosler as a child in Southern California. It’s a wonderful vignette to how most of America was very much rural, and that surburban was a term to come about after the major industrial push into cities after World War II, with the resulting need for workers to not completely lose that connection to the wilds.

In the second chapter we learn about Nosler’s love of all things mechanical, often roadsters and rifles. This natural interest in machines led to his employment at the Ford Motor Company. Through Ford, John Nosler arrived in Reedsport, Oregon: not the place to try selling autos during the Great Depression, much less immediately after an influx of labor unions and a major layoff at the local lumber yard.

A job change and start of a trucking company quickly ensued. The center of Shakespeare Theater on the West Coast, an idyllic western town that drew my own grandmother to live with her aunt immediately after the loss of her parents in a murder-suicide in Chicago in 1914; Ashland, Oregon also, later drew the Nosler family and would become the initial headquarters of the Nosler Partition Bullet Company in 1948.

What were few opportunities in Southern California for deer hunting were replaced with a plethora of deer, elk and black bear in Oregon. A love for shooting was supported well at the Ashland Gun Club, an environment supportive of healthy understandings of firearms and shooting.

Nosler moved its headquarters to Bend in 1958, incorporating in 1960 into what we recognize with distinction as Nosler Bullets, Inc. Bend was very smart in offering incentive to Nosler, which would be a very beneficial venture for Nosler and the local populace.

The Bullet

To think that the famous Nosler Partition Jacket Bullet that has led to the improved kill ratios on big-game around the world came about as the result of John Nosler’s almost losing a moose on one of his earlier hunts in British Columbia, a time when a hunting trip up to Canada could be as challenging as a safari in Africa during its peak in the late 1920s and early 1930s, of which Ruark and Hemingway wrote.

Banking on his own intellectual resourcefulness that led him to a number of successes at Ford, and his own trucking company, in positions that most people now couldn’t apply for without a university degree, Nosler designed his Partition and created the company that has brought about so many innovations in bullet design over the last sixty-two years.

John Nosler: Going Ballistic – The Life and Adventures of John Nosler, a memoir that came about through many hours of Gary Lewis’s recorded interviews with John Nosler in 2003, goes into much more depth than could ever be captured of a man’s life in a magazine article, even the designing of the bullets that have become the crowning glories of the company, such as the Nosler Partition that started it all, the Zipedo, a bullet offering I didn’t even know about until I read the book, the Ballistic Tip, which I shot my first blacktail with near California’s Lake Almanor in the mid-1980s, and the bullet that has quickly become one of my favorites, if not my favorite, the Nosler Accubond, marrying the best qualities of Nosler’s offerings: the accuracy of the Ballistic Tip, and the penetration and energy delivery to the animal’s vitals of the Nosler Partition.

Nosler seems to have been part of many firsts of my life. Just last Saturday, I used the Accubond to shoot my first California mule deer in Modoc County. The shot wasn’t ideal  (only offered a view of the buck’s rear, with the deer looking back over its shoulder, ready to take off straight away from me at 200 yards), but with my Model 70 Super Grade solid on shooting sticks, I took the shot, confident that if I didn’t hit the spine with my ½ MOA rifle, by using the base of the tail as a target, the bullet would still do its job.

When we got to the buck that expired within 10 yards of where it had been hit, I was delighted at how the .270 caliber 130 gr. Accubond bullet had done what it was supposed to: deliver high shock and deep penetration. It was a tricky shot and one that could have really made a mess. As it was, by the time I butchered the buck after four days aging in my garage, I not only had a completely undamaged liver that I had collected the evening of the shot, but had lost only a little bit of meat on the right inside of the buck’s ham, an inch from the base of the tail, to bloodshot where the Accubond entered. NOTE: I’d never have attempted such a shot without confidence in my shooting ability based on years of practice, or using a bullet I wasn’t sure would so efficiently retain its weight, mushrooming in a timely manner to deliver such lethality so far into the chest.

I’ve been impressed and continue to be impressed by the offerings John Nosler envisioned and I’m sure we’ll continue to see more as the next generations carry the Nosler flag—a legacy I’m delighted and honored to have had a peek into through the well-written, entertaining and informative John Nosler: Going Ballistic – The Life and Adventures of John Nosler.

For your daily commute on your MP3 player – Click the Play Button now, or Download and Enjoy Author Gary Lewis’s interview, along with snippets of Lewis’s interviews of John Nosler, on Cork’s Outdoors Radio:


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Pre-Season Duck & Quack Prep with Billy G [Radio Interview]

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Cork Graham

Only a few more weeks and a number of duck hunters will be heading out for the start of waterfowl season. At the outset of duck hunting, even the worst duck caller will get shooting. As the weeks go by and the ducks get wise, the numbers go down…

Good calling and understanding duck behavior is what separates mid and late season successful duck hunters from the rest of the pack. Often this is the result of always being on the lookout for good information and practicing calling as much as possible.

If you haven’t picked up your duck call since last season, you better start now to be ready for this season. Get a good CD or DVD and imitate the master on the screen or coming through the speakers to you.

More Repetitions are Best

Some might think the best place to practice is at home. In your car, as long as you can pay attention to your driving as well, is the best place. You’re alone; you don’t have to pay attention to volume and most importantly, especially if you commute to work, is you get regular practice.

Like many activities that require muscle memory, more repetitions and less time is better than less repetitions and more time: ten minutes a day, everyday is much better than one hour once a week.

Get Down

Too many hunters are want to build the biggest blinds on the refuge, especially the beginners. The smart guys, the ones who come back with stringers full of mallards and sprig are those who know how to take their profile down as low to the ground as possible.

For years I used to drag out a major coffin blind that used to be manufactured by the Outlaw Decoy company in in Spokane, WA. Sadly they went bankrupt and I could never get another from them.

Gianguinto has a better idea: get one of those cheap kids sleds you can find Walmart and Big 5, just about every sporting goods store that caters to skiers and snow enthusiasts has them. Paint the thing black or olive drab, and you can use it to pull your decoy bag out to the blind, and then you can lay down in it. Put on a camo facemask and you can call with impunity.

You’ll be able to look straight up at the ducks and keep your call directed at them (something Billy and I talk about in the Cork’s Outdoors Radio interview below) and then all you have to do is sit up and shoot—you’ll be amazed at how many more ducks you’ll take this season!

Check Your Dekes

If you get started now you might have time to get your decoys in shape this season. Many have thousands, especially if you hunt a private duck club and put out your own dekes.

Unlike many who’ve told me in the past that more females is better than males, master duck hunter and instructor Billy Gianquinto says it’s better to have more males in your decoy set. From how he describes it in our interview, I’d have to agree: much easier to see that silver-gray off a drake, than the brown camo of a hen’s feathers.

Check out Billy’s Duck Calling Techniques DVD where he and assistant show you proper breath control, how and why to do “changes ups” and variations, and how to best use volume and aggressive calling. http://www.billygducks.com/Products.html

Listen to Billy’s instruction below on a number things that will help improve your duck hunting this coming season: great calling sequences!

For your daily commute on your MP3 player – Download and Enjoy Billy Gianquinto’s interview on Cork’s Outdoors Radio:

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Reloading Restart (Part One) [Radio Interview]

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Cork Graham

Introduced to reloading by my father as a young teen in the late 1970s, wanting to best improve the accuracy of my first bolt-action biggame rifle, a 7mm Remington Magnum Model 700 BDL, I created my first hunting loads customized to that rifle. Aside from years overseas, I returned to reload again in the early 1990s. Then, in 1994, I became an outdoor writer, writing a weekly column for the pre-ANG buy out The Times of San Mateo County, and all my reloading experience basically went out the window.

As you might imagine, when you become a gun writer or hunting writer, you get a lot of ammo to test, and I mean A LOT. It gets pretty crazy with all the bullet grains, powder charges…one who follows the belief that you pick a good load and bullet and really learn how to shoot it well, my shooting success plummeted…though on many more hunts than I’d ever gone as an average hunter, game was getting scarce in my freezer.

Now it was definitely not from want of accuracy from the ammunition I was getting to shoot. For one who was trained and deployed as a sniper, it was just all the variations in cartridges within a week. One of the reasons snipers can seem almost magical in the types of shots that can be pulled off is because of a deep relationship you form with your rifle, understanding how your body acts and reacts to the process of shooting and the deep knowledge gained from shooting a certain load: over, over, and over again.

With all the improvements in factory-loaded ammunition over the years, except for the very fine-tuning of taking a rifle from under 1MOA to half or quarter MOA, factory ammo was shooting nearly as well as my reloads. I just started making shorter shots, keeping them less than 350 yards. But, now that I’m writing more and more to show the efficacy of ethical long-range shooting as a tool of wildlife management and conservation, custom reloading is mandatory for long shots.

You can get match ammo, such as that made for the military and law enforcement, but they come with bullet types inappropriate for anything other then puncturing a military/law enforcement target’s armor or exploding the back end of said target’s melon.

If you want to get better than 1/2 MOA accuracy to ethically and confidently take long shots, or just be sure that you rifle is shooting the absolute best load for that specific rifle in your gun safe, and have a bullet designed for taking down game, reloading is the way to go!

Forgotten Fears

Like getting on a bike after way too many years, all those parental warnings about reloading (rightfully taught so that you don’t get lazy and do something really stupid, like loading a double charge of powder) came rushing back. But, like all warnings, these are just to make sure that you pay attention when you’re reloading.

That’s means no smoking or drinking. It means that when you’re reloading, no TV in the background or for some, not even any music that might put you into a too relaxed state of trance remembering you’re girlfriend or boyfriend that you were dating when you first heard the song—when you should be paying full attention to what you’re doing at the reloading bench…

No Distractions!

Do that, and read the latest reloading manual to refresh your memory, or get you started, and you’ll do all right…

Nothing worse for fine powders than a greasy, unkempt platform…

Keep It Clean

Remember that your reloading success is based on non-variations within load groups. This means not only making sure you keep a consistency within a group of loads, bullets sizes, shapes and age of brass. It also means keeping your work area clean. Nothing throws off continuity and consistency than a dirty work place.

This means keeping clutter down. When you setup your area, make sure everything is going to be in the same neat place. I have my workstation set up to work from right to left.

Measuring devices and powder are on the left side of the surface area, in the middle are the cartridge trays and primers, and the bullets are on the right, near the reloading press.

Most all make sure that all grease and particle-collecting material is removed from the equipment. For example, Robin Sharpless, Exec. VP at Redding-Reloading, advises to take some Hoppe’s to the metal inside area of the powder throw that will come in contact with your gunpowder. Wipe it down with a clean paper towel again.

For the plastic tube run a dryer sheet, yes, the same one for your laundry, through it. This will keep the static down, and keep powder form sticking to the insides of the tube.

Keep your whole working area, neat and clean.

With all the dies available, it’s time to bring out the old rifle you didn’t think you could get ammo for!

Money Savings

Many become reloaders because they want to reduce costs. This is especially true now as litigation by anti-gun and anti-hunting organizations add to the pricing of ammunition, either through outright increased taxation and legal defense fees. Or, as in the Condor Range of California, by requiring non-lead ammunition, much more expensive to produce when production costs are kept down by product conformity: changing between copper jacketed projectiles and non-lead production, and even coming up with new non-lead alternatives is costly just in itself.

It all comes down to money in this society, and it’s good when reloading can lead to savings. According to RCBS Product Line Manager Kent Sakamoto and Chris Hodgdon, Public Relations Manager at Hodgdon Powders, the savings can run up as much as 40 percent.

As Sakamoto says, there are savings to be made, but what happens is that you end up spending the same amount, it’s just that you get much more for your money. Instead of 100 rounds, you get to shoot 140 rounds.

Personally, I’m in it for the accuracy and it helps that the savings are definitely there!


What About My Old Stuff?

My start began with a classic Lee Handloader, then we graduated to a mishmash of RCBS and Lyman presses and accessories. The greatest trepidation in getting back into reloading often is that much of the equipment would be so outdated that it won’t fit or work with any of the new releases.

As long as you stay with the same manufacturer, this isn’t the case. You should be able to use the new accessories or major purchases with the older equipment. Not only that, but you might even be able to use equipment across brand lines.

This hit home when I realized that I didn’t have a Redding shell holder, but the RCBS shell holder served the purpose in a heartbeat.

Now many in the manufacturing business might think this is nuts—how are you going to make any money if some products are interchangeable with another? As one who has been furious with a number of printer manufacturers over the years, because they always want to corner the printer ink market (what are you going to do when you can find the specific ink cartridge for your specific printer is no longer available, as often has happened?)  I’m a loyal customer of companies who simply rely on turning out a great product and just leave it to the customer to respect a customer/provider relationship based on longevity nurtured by reliability.

It’s an old relationship started with RCBS years ago, and now being nurtured through Redding-Reloading, whose great line of products of also speak for themselves. They build products that work efficiently and you can trust not to fall apart after only a few years of use. Most importantly, they understand and respect the idea of product compatibility….wouldn’t it be cool if every shotgun had the same thread and fit, so that canyou  focus on the best choke for your shotgun and duty, instead of what’s available to fit your specific brand of firearm?

STARS AND STRIPE FOUNDATION SIDE NOTE: As you may recall from last week’s post, I was on my way to the Stars and Stripes Foundation Celebrity Shoot. The Chuck Mawhinney-signed sniper’s rifle kit is still being raffled HERE.

Vietnam and Hollywood Veteran Steve Kanaly and CSM Mark Christianson checking out the Chuck Mawhinney-signed longrange tactical kit with matching serials numbers.

More Worthwhile Information

Below you’ll find two strings of interviews with representatives of RCBS and Hodgdon Powders. There is another great interview in part two of this article with Redding-Reloading. It’s worthwhile information for getting back into reloading after a long hiatus. And if you’re just thinking of getting into reloading, I’m sure you’ll gain a lot more from listening to these specialists.

For your daily commute on your MP3 player – Download and Enjoy RCBS Kent Sakamoto and Hodgdon Powders Chris Hodgdon’s interviews on Cork’s Outdoors Radio:


 Continue to Part Two to listen to Redding-Reloading’s Robin Sharpless, after listening to the informative interviews below on this page: view Part Two

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