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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Steve Comus' Blog



    Steve Comus is a former Guns and Hunting Editor at WON. Before joining the staff at Western Outdoors more than a quarter-century ago he had a complete career as a frontline journalist with the L.A. afternoon daily Herald-Examiner, including quite a bit of foreign correspondence and years of investigative assignments.

    Since he took a break from WON, he has written articles for most of the major publications in the shooting sports industry, authored a couple of books and published a couple of others, spent a while as editor of Gun World magazine and is currently director of publications for Safari Club International.

     His writings focus on guns and shooting and all of the things that affect them, as well. 
What about the .32?
Some things in Gundom seem to miss the spotlight, yet refuse to go away or be forgotten. The .32 caliber is such a cartridge.

There have been .32 handguns around for about as long as there have been handguns, yet smaller or larger diameter bullets seem to get all of the attention.


I like the .32s – not because they have tremendous “knockdown power,” which they don’t. Not because the ammo is cheaper than dirt, which it isn’t. I like .32s because they are a lot of fun, easy to shoot and there are a lot of really nice little guns around that shoot them.


comushandgunsthatshootHANDGUNS THAT SHOOT .32 cartridges are handy and easy to shoot. Here, the revolvers at left, from top, shoot .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, and at bottom, the .32 ACP. At right, at top is an H&R revolver chambered for the .32 H&R Magnum cartridge, and below it is a Ruger revolver chambered for the .327 Federal Magnum.

Technically, they really are not .32s. Bullet diameter is .312. But what’s a few thousandths of an inch among friends?


Although the first .32s were muzzleloaders, the .32 was among the early pinfire and rimfire calibers. The Smith & Wesson No. 2 in .32 rimfire was carried by troops in the American Civil War. In modern times, the .32 has evolved as both a rimmed centerfire revolver cartridge, and as a centerfire autoloader cartridge.


Revolver cartridges designated as .32s include the diminutive .32 S&W, the longer .32 S&W Long (aka .32 Colt New Police), the even longer .32 H&R Magnum and the really long .327 Federal Magnum. Any gun chambered for the .327 Federal also can shoot all of the others above, etc.


comus32cartridges
.32 CARTRIDGES INCLUDE, from left, .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 ACP, .32 H&R Magnum and .327 Federal.

The .32 ACP (aka 7.65mm Browning) was introduced in 1899 and has been chambered in a host of semi-auto handguns, both in Europe and the U.S.


All of the .32s lend themselves to general plinking, and can serve well for small game hunting. Even the least of them, out of a handgun, is as good or better than the .22 long rifle for any application. The .32 H&R Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum are also designed to serve in self-defense roles (as was the .32 ACP when it made its debut over a century ago).


Another thing that is nice about .32s is that the guns chambered for them generally are small, light and handy.” None has significant recoil. Although .32 ammo is not as prevalent as .22 rimfire, it generally is not difficult to find it – especially at the more well stocked, bigger sporting goods stores. Rarely are there big “sales” on .32 ammo, but it tends not to be comparatively expensive, either. For those who reload, these rounds all use very little powder and the component bullets are not very expensive. Keeping a .32 running doesn’t have to be a problem.


There is no reason to shy away from any of the .32s. Nor is there a reason to flock to them, given all of the choices of cartridges in Gundom. Maybe that is the real answer. The .32s work fine, are fun to shoot, but offer nothing particularly spectacular when it comes to performance. Kind of like a favorite old pair of boots. They feel good and get the job done without a lot of hoopla.


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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.


Aimpoint AR-ready sights
The AR phenomenon in Gundom continues to evolve as the industry furthers the modular concept of the AR.

When it comes to sights, it is more or less physically possible to attach virtually any kind of gun sight to an AR. In most instances, this has required the use of some kind of attaching device to connect the sight to the rifle – bases, rings, etc.


comustheaimpoint

THE AIMPOINT MICRO sights come ready to attach to AR rigs. That means quick to mount and easy to use.


Although there have been self-contained units that need no added connecting devices to be attached to the AR platform, Aimpoint is furthering that concept with their new product introductions for 2016. Aimpoint has announced the addition of a new line of pre-mounted Micro T-2 and Micro H-2 sights that are immediately ready for use on AR-15 and M4 Carbine style rifles.


“These sights come equipped with Aimpoint's Lever Release Picatinny (LRP) Mount and a 39mm spacer that provides absolute co-witness with backup iron sights on AR15 and M4 Carbine style rifles,” Aimpoint reported. “The rail pressure on the LRP is fully adjustable, and the mount allows return-to-zero replacement if the sight is removed and replaced in the same position on the same rifle.” The 39mm spacer can be removed to lower the optical axis of the sight for use on shotguns or submachineguns.


The evolution of the red dot sight has seen the size of the individual units go down while their performance goes up. Who better in that arena than Aimpoint – the company that pioneered the red dot sight concept decades ago?


A truly significant advancement in red dot sights has been the technology advances that have resulted in units that can run for years on the same battery. In the early days, battery life was comparatively short, which caused problems if/when the battery died at precisely the wrong moment. These days, that is virtually not a concern.


Although red dot sights for handguns, rifles and shotguns were embraced early and enthusiastically by the tactical community, their general use for hunting in the United States lagged. In Europe, where shots at driven game is both popular and common, red dot sights on hunting rifles became normal a long time ago. The reason is that they are amazingly quick to use and deliver effective accuracy at the distances encountered on driven game hunts – usually shot distances that go from a few feet to 100 meters or so.


More recently, red dot sights are seen in various kinds of hunting situations in the United States – both because they work and because many hunters also are active in the tactical world via activities like 3 gun competitions, etc. The versatility of the red dot sight is such that units can be used on rifles that also simultaneously sport traditional sighting systems, enhancing options.


Bottom line: These kinds of sights are both effective and fun. And now, they are easier and quicker to put onto the rig than before.


For more information on Aimpoint or the Micro AR-ready sights, visit the company's webpage at: www.aimpoint.com.


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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.



What’s goin’ down in ‘Gundome’
Right now is the period of time between the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) show and the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) show. That means we’ll be bombarded with new product announcements for the next couple of months.

So far, it looks like the coming year will see a number of product line extensions, as well as some new stuff – at least some of which will not be available in all states.


comushodgdonaddsHODGDON ADDS IMR 4955 to its Enduron® series of gunpowder.

For openers, Hodgdon has announced that IMR 4955 gunpowder, which has a burn rate between IMR 4451 and IMR 7977, has been added to its Enduron® series. It should work well in cartridges like the .270 Winchester, .25-06 Remington and .300 Winchester Magnum. This powder is temperature insensitive and helps remove copper fouling as the rifle is fired. It will be available early in 2016.


In addition to the usual number of handgun and AR rifle sub-model introductions and line extensions, the suppressor market continues to be hot for the overall industry, even though suppressors are not legal in all states.


To give an idea about how widespread the suppressor market has become in most of the country, the Hearing Protection Act, introduced this fall by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), would remove suppressors from the National Firearms Act. Suppressors were first tightly controlled by the federal government in 1934.Currently suppressors are legal in 41 states, and it is legal to hunt with suppressors in 37 of those states.


On another front, there is a chance that some of the gun-related discussion around the country in the near future will no longer focus solely on high capacity magazines. That’s because belt-fed is coming into vogue. ARES Defense Systems is offering a belt-fed AR upper called the MCR (Mission Configurable Rifle) Lite (8.5 pounds).


And FN is offering the M249S, a civilian semi-automatic version of the M249 SAW light machinegun adopted by the U.S. military in 1988. It can use a box magazine or linked ammo belt.


Normally I wouldn’t delve deeply into products that are not available locally for many folks, but I thought I would mention some the new items above, just to show what direction the overall shooting sports industry is going.


It seems as though the more anti-gun interests push in one direction to limit guns, the gun folks are pushing back in efforts to expand the number and types of guns available.


And when it comes to guns and gear that will be generally available everywhere, from what I have seen, new products for 2016 include a lot of models and designs that will help make shooting more fun and more enjoyable.


One thing is certain: high-tech materials and manufacturing processes have made more products, that are better made, available to more people at affordable prices than ever before.


There seems to be no doubt that 2016 should be an exciting year for both the gun industry and the shooters/hunters it serves. For me, that’s good news.


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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.


Fall is fun
It’s that “upland” time of year for scattergunners

If this is October, it is time to go upland hunting for birds, bunnies and assorted other things. There is something special about upland hunting in general and upland bird hunting in particular. Doesn’t matter to me if it is for quail, partridge or pheasant. Taking long walks in wild places is both exhilarating and calming at the same time.


I’ve gone just about full-circle when it comes to what an upland outing means. At first, it was about food. Literally, I hunted upland game and every other kind of game available for food, and mostly for food only. In those days, I could walk to the areas where I hunted, and if I scored, the family had meat with the potatoes. If I didn’t score, we had potatoes. Great motivator for scoring.


comuspheasantsare
THE AUTHOR SHOWS a brace of rooster pheasants. Pheasant hunting is one of the most enjoyable upland hunts available.

Then as a young man, limits had meaning. The success of an outing was measured mentally by whether a limit was taken.


Now, I judge success differently. Now, I first celebrate just being able to be in the wild and add to the success rating if I happen to be able to flush a bird or two. If I bag one or so, all the better. And, I tend to have a pretty good hit percentage.


Although I truly enjoy hunting behind good bird dogs, I rarely have that luxury these days. My lifestyle doesn’t allow for keeping a dog of my own properly, and it seems difficult to match schedules with others who do. So I end up going afield with shotgun in hand, walking slowly and paying attention to my surroundings. On a good day, I kick up an average of a bird a mile.


Yet one of the most enjoyable quail outings I have ever been on resulted in a single bird from almost 20 miles of meandering. It tasted great, but it did require a larger portion of rice to be filling.


Pheasant hunting for me is the quintessential upland experience. I don’t know how to explain it, but when a big rooster pheasant breaks from cover, all is right with the world. Late season birds are best of all.


In the early years, I used a 12-gauge shotgun for most bird hunting — upland and waterfowl. I still use a 12 for waterfowl and late season pheasants, but not so much for most upland hunting any more. Now, the gun usually is a 20- or 28-gauge for pheasants and partridge, or .410 for quail. The reason for the smaller gauge guns is weight. I prefer to carry something lighter if I am going to be carrying it all day.


Whether the upland hunts this year will be in state or somewhere else around the land, the important thing is that there be upland hunts.


Every kind of hunting has its allure. Upland hunting sings out, both most loudly and sweetly for many of us. This is my 66th upland season and as the years go by, these hunts take on more and more meaning.


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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.


Convert your Remington 700 to use detachable magazines
Want to convert your Remington Model 700 rifle to be able to use detachable magazines? The time never has been better than right now.

Legacy Sports International now offers detachable magazines and magazine kits to fit Remington® 700 rifles. Their short action kits fit .204, .223, .243, 7mm-08 and .308. Long action magazines and conversion kits for the Remington 700 long action rifles come in .25-06, .270, .30-06, 6.5 x 55, .300 Win. Mag., .338 Win. Mag. and 7mm Rem. Mag.


comustheremingtonmagkit
THE REMINGTON MAGAZINE kit includes everything needed to convert a Model 700 from the original internal magazine with hinged floor plate into a rifle that handles interchangeable magazines.


These conversion kits fit Remington’s BDL types of rifles that feature hinged floor plates.


“All kits and magazines are made of tough polymer construction and are priced well below many competitive products,” LSI reported. “In fact, they are offered at a fraction of the cost of other Remington 700 Mag kits. Short action and standard long action kits and magazines are available in 5 or 10 round capacities, while long action magnum calibers will be available in 5 round capacity, only. All of these kits are drop-in ready, and can be installed in minutes.”


Conversion kits are packaged in clamshells labeled specifically for Remington 700 barreled actions in short action and long action calibers, and all packaging has been designed for easy merchandising and consumer recognition. Made in the U.S.A.


Although conversions and conversion kits have been available through the years, this is the first time that they are truly easy to install and affordable at the same time. For example, it took me but a few short minutes to change an old Remington 700 BDL from its original five-shot magazine with floor plate to its new configuration with the mechanism to hold the detachable magazines. Now it holds a 10-round magazine full of .30-06 cartridges.


comustheauthorsold
THE AUTHOR’S OLD Remington Model 700 is shown with the LSI magazine kit in-place, turning the original five-shooter into a 10-shooter in minutes.

Literally, all I had to do was remove the two bottom metal screws and remove the original bottom metal/floor plate, pop out the internal metal box, magazine follower and spring. That took a couple of minutes. Then I used the original bottom metal screws to attach the removable magazine receptacle (which includes the trigger guard). That took but a couple more minutes.


And then, I popped the removable magazine into the rifle and all was well. To verify everything, I filled the magazine with 10 cartridges and cycled them through the action. Really smooth. Actually I did it several times, because it was fun.


The magazine feeds in a straight line, and there were no hang-ups, glitches or even a hint that things were not well. Loading the magazine is also straightforward. Just slide the cartridges in, using the cartridges themselves to depress the follower.


Finally, I removed the conversion kit and magazine and replaced the original Remington parts. That went smoothly, too. And then I removed the original bottom metal and replaced it with the conversion kit and magazine. Again, everything went swimmingly. Which means that this kit can be employed, or not, and it doesn’t have any negative effect on the rifle, whether it is in its original configuration, or with the removable magazine configuration. That truly is both nice and handy.


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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.


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