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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. 
Pacific Sporting Arms open house
Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 22. That’s the day Pacific Sporting Arms in Azusa will be holding its Open House. Plan to be there.

PACIFIC SPORTING ARMS open house offers opportunities to see some of the world’s finest firearms and talk with representatives from many of the prestigious makers. Plan to attend the open house Saturday, April 22.

One of the advantages of Southern California is that some of the finest and most comprehensive retailers on earth are located here. Pacific Sporting Arms is among the best – some further qualify it as THE best. No argument there.

There are relative few retail establishments around the country that have the inventory and expertise to cater to all levels of customer – from the beginner to the most accomplished shooters and collectors. Pacific Sporting Arms is among that elite group.

Top-level shooters frequent Pacific Sporting Arms because there they can find the kinds of shotguns it takes to win at the highest levels. There is no doubt they will be there for the open house. Heck, they’d be there anyway.

Beginning shooters and others who are becoming top shooters should consider the open house a “must do” item on their lists, simply because it is a superb opportunity to check out every level of gun on the market – from solid, everyday working hunting guns to the finest functional works of art on the planet.

There is something special about being able to see some of the world’s finest firearms, up-close and personal, so to speak. At the Open House, you’ll be able to see dream guns “in the flesh.”

Attend the open house, and get a free hat and raffle ticket for a free Browning Maxus Shotgun. The gun will be given away to a lucky winner.

Also during the open house, Pacific Sporting Arms is offering 25 percent off all clothing and accessories in the store and five percent off all used and new guns (excluding consignment guns) in the store.

And, there will be special pricing on select guns, too low to publish.

Representatives from Perazzi, Krieghoff, Beretta, Zoli, Dickinson, Guerini, Blaser, etc. will be here to answer your questions. Being able to meet with these industry experts in person is worth the trip, all by itself.

The folks at Pacific Sporting Arms are dealers of high-grade, new and previously owned competition and field shotguns and accessories.

Pacific Sporting Arms is owned and operated by shooters who have a vast knowledge of the shotgun sports world.

It is a full service “Shotgun Sports Store,” and its specialty is service to its customers. Their professionals are experts in the latest trends in competition shooting and equipment.

“Our staff is second to none in the area of gun selection and gun fitting,” the store reported. “Whether you are a top competitive shooter, a weekend recreational shooter or an avid hunter or collector, we will have the right shotgun for you. We have the lowest everyday prices on all of our guns and our full line of top name accessories and clothing.”

Plan to attend the open house Saturday, April 22 at Pacific Sporting Arms, 912 W. 10th St., Azusa, CA 91702.

Karhr 9mm: Take this new Kahr for a test drive!
Whenever a gun company announces that any new model of handgun has been designated legal to sell in California, it is newsworthy. Kahr Arms is announcing three models recently have been designated as okay to sell in the Golden State.

That’s why I was particularly interested when Sheryl Gallup sent me the info and images about these three new models being available. Sheryl and I have been bouncing around the industry probably longer than she might want to admit. Heck, we worked for the same outfit years back. Now she puts out the word for Kahr, and does it well.


THE KAHR CW9093N features a stainless steel slide and a black polymer frame.

“Kahr Arms is happy to announce that three of their popular CW9 9mm models are now California legal,” the company reported. “These models include the CW9 in a Black Carbon Fiber frame, standard CW9 with front night sight and the very popular Cerakote Burnt Bronze.”

The three CW9 models all feature a 3.6-inch barrel with conventional rifling, an overall length of 5.9 inches, and a height of 4.5 inches and each pistol weighs just 15.8 ounces. All three models offer a trigger cocking DAO, lock-breach, “Browning-type” recoil lug, and a passive striker block with no magazine disconnect. Capacity is 7+1.

The CW9093BCF is one of Kahr’s newest finishes in a classic Black Carbon Fiber print. This textured weave provides a 3-D dimensional appearance to the 9mm while also providing a textured grip that has a tacky feel in the hand. MSRP on the CW9093BCF is $495.


THE KAHR CW9093BCF is one of Kahr’s newest finishes in a classic Black Carbon Fiber print.

The CW9093N features a stainless steel slide and a black polymer frame. It also has a drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight and a pinned-in polymer front night sight. MSRP on this model is $495.

Last is the CW9093BB. The Cerakote® Burnt Bronze has been a popular finish for Kahr Firearms Group in both the Kahr and Magnum Research product lines. The MSRP on this model is $482 and is now available for California gun dealers to buy from authorized Kahr Firearms Group wholesalers.

One interesting thing about all three of the models now available in California is that they are sized for concealed carry. This doesn’t mean that only concealed carry makes sense for that size of handgun, but in this instance, rather seems to indicate that the market in California prefers such size pistols.


THE KAHR CW9093BB in Cerakote® Burnt Bronze – a finish that has been a popular finish for Kahr Firearms Group in both the Kahr and Magnum Research product lines.

With their polymer frames and other features, these definitely fall into the MP (Modern Pistol) category. And it is hard to go wrong with the 9mmP.

Overall, what this means to me is that these are pistols that will fit a wide variety of hand sizes, while shooting a cartridge that can be handled by a wide variety of shooters with a wide range of experience. Generally, whenever a particular handgun answers all of those considerations, it does well.

The Kahr Firearms Group continues to expand its presence in the marketplace. They also make a number of other brands like Auto-Ordnance (Tommy gun) and Magnum Research.

For more information about these three models, go to or check a local gun shop.

* * *

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

Right measure: The full scoop on powder
When I first started reloading ammo in the mid-1950s, a friend who was the local guru of handloading helped me make, from scratch, the press, dies and everything that went with them.

He even ground down an empty .35 Remington case to hold the proper powder charge. I used that rig for years and still have it as a reminder of what it was like back in those days.

Recently, I was reminded of the old powder scoop days when I set out to load some ammo for a S&W Hand Ejector chambered for the .32/20 Win. cartridge.

great for loading some cartridges. Here, the scoop from the Lee die set is shown with that die set, as well as a Lyman M die, powder, primers, cases and bullets for the Smith & Wesson hand ejector chambered for the .32/20 Winchester cartridge.

Coincidentally, I also had recently been discussing reloading with a young prepper who was interested in having at least the minimal amount of gear needed to keep his guns going. Flippantly, I told that young guy that so long as he used certain powders, that he could dispense with a powder scale and just use a scoop to ration out powder.

Anyway, when I set out to load some .32/20s, I grabbed my dies, which happen to be from Lee, and which happen to include a small, yellow plastic scoop. Although I already had set up my powder measure and adjusted it in conjunction with my powder scale, I chuckled to myself and decided to see how dead-on the scoop would be and how it would stack up, load to load, with the powder measure.

Bear in mind that through the years, I had used the Lee scoops for different cartridges, and had found them to be quite accurate.

Much to my pleasure, I found that the powder charge from the scoop was precisely the same as that from the powder measure. And, the scoop was as accurate from load to load as was the measure. Makes sense, because both are volume measuring propositions.

My point in all of this is that if a person sticks to the relatively few powders listed in the data that come with the Lee dies, using only the powder scoop can work fine.

Overall, I like Lee dies for pistol and revolver cartridges. I recommend use of Lee’s carbide factory crimp dies for handgun cartridges — they should be considered mandatory for ammo to be used in semi-autos, because it puts the finished round totally in spec. I use those Lee dies in an RCBS Rock Chucker press.

For the larger centerfire rifle cartridges, I use the Redding Big Boss press, generally with either Redding or RCBS dies — that is when I am not using my Bonanza press with Forster dies.

When it comes to straight wall cases, consider the Lyman M die to be a must. It opens the mouth just right, without over-flaring as can happen with other expander dies.

One thing is certain: there is always room for more loading equipment, whether a shooter is just beginning or has been at it for over 60 years. Too much is not enough. Shoot straight and shoot often.

* * *

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

Time to get ready for Dove season
Recently I returned from a birding expedition to Uruguay, where high volume dove shooting was mixed with great upland perdiz hunts and some waterfowling.

That may have been a world-class warm-up for the upcoming dove seasons here. And it did reinforce the concept of pre-hunt preparations and practice. 

AUTHOR GETS LEG up on the upcoming dove hunting season by going south – way south to South America where it is winter and dove hunting is in full swing. Pre-season practice can help success when the dove season opens here Sept. 1.

It may seem like a bit of way off, but the Sept. 1 opener for dove hunting here is coming on quickly. For most who have jobs and other commitments, there really is not a lot a time left to do the kind of practice that can help increase the percentage of hits on opening morning.

First, clean the shotgun and make certain that it is in good working order. Not good to show up just before dawn on opening morning and find that something isn’t working right. This also is a time to make certain the gun can hold no more than three shells. If it needs a plug, put it in now. If plans call for a new gun for doving this year, now is the time to address that situation and make certain that no waiting period gets in the way.

For dove hunting, just about any legal shotgun can work fine. Most common are 12- and 20-gauge guns. But 16, 28 and .410 guns also can do the trick. Get the ammo over the next few weeks. Usually there are nice sales on dove hunting ammo.

For practice, there are several presentations that imitate the flight of doves available on most sporting clays courses. For those who have access to a skeet field, but not to a sporting clays range, practice from all eight of the skeet stations. But remember that skeet and sporting clays targets slow down as they traverse the sky. Doves don’t. In the field, give a bit of an extra kick to the swing just before pulling the trigger on doves – your hit percentage will improve, since most folks miss doves by shooting behind them.

Try to practice at least twice (on different days) before the dove opener – more if possible. This is because we all have good days and not-so-good days. It is important to know that you can repeat successful shooting skills.

Finally, figure out what a proper shot distance looks like. If you can see the dove’s eyes and/or individual feathers, blast away. If the bird appears small and high, probably best to pass.

With respect to lateral distances, it is a good idea on opening morning to put some kind of marker (dove decoy works great) at whatever your maximum shot distance is going to be. That way if the dove is between you and the marker, it’s a good distance. If the dove is on the other side of the marker, let it go. No need to waste ammo.

What is that magic distance? Depends on the hunter, the load and the conditions. Anything beyond 30 yards is beginning to stretch it for a lot of hunters.

Big Iron
Powerful revolvers are good crossover guns

Many discussions of handguns focus on “tactical” semi-autos and easily concealable revolvers. That’s fine. But there is more. There are full-size, powerful revolvers that can be used for virtually anything involving handguns. They come to the fore where tactical/concealable arms are less than the best choices.

Hunting is one such application. For mid-size or larger game (hogs, deer, etc.), “magnum” revolvers are the best handgun picks.

CROSSOVER REVOLVERS INCLUDE the .44 Mag (upper left) and .41 Mag (upper right). They compare with the 1911 in .45 ACP.

Big revolvers can be pressed into defensive service, as well. When concealed carry is not a requirement, a big, powerful revolver has many things going for it.

I am not suggesting that anyone should abandon the tactical/concealable arms if those types serve the shooters’ purposes. Rather, I suggest that shooters consider expanding their effectiveness.

What is a big, powerful revolver? For some, that type of handgun begins with .357 Magnum. For me, big/powerful begins at .41 Magnum. The .357 Magnum is a superb cartridge. But it is a bit light as a primary hunting cartridge for medium to larger game.

I consider the .41 and .44 Magnums to be performance equals. The next step up in power is the .454 Casull/.460 S&W. Both are significantly more effective than the .41/.44 Mags. The .45/70 revolvers also fall into the mid-size biggies. For me, a true big, powerful revolver shoots the .500 S&W Magnum. The .500 S&W is primarily a hunting handgun.

Those considering a hunting/defense crossover revolver, the .41/.44 Magnum size makes most sense. Enough power for hunting, yet not overwhelming in other applications.

SERIOUSLY BIG REVOLVERS include the .500 S&W (top) and .454 Casull.

Big revolvers can shoot ammunition that is less than full power. For example, the .454 Casull/.460 S&W revolvers can shoot ammo that replicates the performance of the .45 Colt. There is the .500 Special ammo that is loaded to less power than the .500 S&W Mag.

Let’s look at the relative performance of cartridges. For comparison, the classic.45 ACP load used in handguns like the 1911 sends a 230-grain .451 bullet out of the barrel at a nominal 855 feet per second for a muzzle energy of 405 foot/pounds.

The .44 Magnum sends a 240-grain .429 bullet out at 1,350 fps for a ME of 971. A .41 Magnum sends a 210-grain .410 bullet out at 1,300 fps for a ME of 788.

The .454 Casull sends a 300-grain bullet out at 1,350 to 1,600+ fps for ME ranging from 1,220 to 1,750. The .460 S&W sends a 250-grain bullet out at 2,000 fps for ME of 2,309. Or, the .500 S&W sends a 300-grain bullet out at 2,000 fps for ME of 2,800 or so.

All of the cartridges above are available in a number of different loadings, but the ones listed show how they compare to each other when it comes to power. They all dwarf the performance of the normal “tactical” cartridges like the 9mmP, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.

Big, powerful revolvers are not for everyone. But for those who can handle them, these handguns expand opportunities and increase the fun factor in the process.

* * *

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

MAGNUM REVOLVER CARTRIDGES compare here with the .45 ACP at far left. From right, the revolver cartridges are .500 S&W, .454 Casull, .44 Mag, .41 Mag and .357 Mag.

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