Photos of readers

Reader Randy Schenck from Iowa has, as you may know, some strong opinions about guns, which often appear in our discussions about guns and gun control. So he used his “readers’ photos” post as a chance to express those views again, enclosing photos of himself and of his two guns. His words are indented. (Note the cats in the first photo).

With our normal functions on hold during the pandemic, maybe we should try to do more things to educate like you do every day. [JAC: I believe he’s referring to me.]  I have included a photo of a couple of old guns I have never gotten around to getting rid of.  I say they are old—maybe 50 years old—but they are light years ahead of anything available back in early America around the time of the Bill of Rights.

These simple guns are both single-shot type guns, one a 20 gauge shotgun and the other a 22 magnum rifle.  You can also see the type of ammo these guns would use.  So for this kind of a brief gun safety class – 101, the appropriate question is, which gun is far more dangerous than the other?

The 22 magnum with that smaller cartridge is far more dangerous than the 20 gauge shotgun.  This is because the 22 bullet can travel much further and be deadly up to a half mile or more away.  The 20 gauge shotgun is only deadly dangerous for 75 or maybe 100 yards.  This practical and common-sense information should help explain to anyone how these weapons should be used or where they might be appropriate.  It should also tell us that hunting in any kind of group with a rifle is not very smart and should be avoided.

Don’t forget to send in your own contribution: I am importuning you!

44 Comments

  1. Posted April 16, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Looking good Randy! Cool old guns.

    I was thinking about your question and thinking, yes, the .22 mag, based on range.

    But, at close range, the 20-ga would do more damage. More energy; but more quickly dissipated in air.

    So, depends on the circumstances. Seems to me.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      I see what you are saying, but of course, if you are visualizing shooting some one that would be the case. But assuming that is not what we are doing, knowing how much more danger is involved in the rifle or a hand gun than a shotgun should tell us how dangerous they can be even in a low density region, not to mention a city.

  2. rickflick
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Cats on the table, I see. 😎
    So, a .30-06 rifle at 100 yards would undoubtedly be even more dangerous. I note that out here in Idaho hunters go after Elk a lot, meaning they are going to be using a high powered gun. Since the mountains are so big and roomy, I’m thinking it would be less likely for hunters to be killed out here. The culture is rather different than in the East, of course, so I’d assume Idaho and environs is an NRA stronghold.

    • Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      My friends in the west fall into two groups:

      1. Want the biggest, baddest rifle: 8mm magnum, .338 magnum, man!

      2. I want a small, light gun to carry on foot far into the mountains. 30-30 or similar.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Yes, we do have something JAC likes a lot and that is cats. Cat coasters, cat pictures, cat pillows and of course, cats. I know that Jerry was not thrilled about putting this one up but will thank him for it. Removing guns from our society is necessary and will maybe happen with the removal of republicans.

      • rickflick
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Removing will take a very long time.

      • Roger Lambert
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        “Removing guns from our society is necessary…”

        Why is it necessary? The percentage of guns and gun owners who are involved with anything untoward is literally a rounding error to zero.

        What we need to do is somehow figure out how to minimize gun crime and tragedy.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          I think what people need to understand is, the only place for guns is with hunters. That is mostly what it use to be in this country years ago. Any serious hunters I knew had no use for hand guns. They are terribly dangerous and are not for hunting. You always learn and know all the laws of the state you are in and follow them. Never go out hunting with someone you do not know really well. Anyone who is not practicing all the safety requirements is turned away. Guns to not belong out in public in the city limits of any town. If you think you need a gun for protection you are wrong. If you do not really know and understand the weapon you have no business with it anyway.

          I would not go flying with someone I did not know well and knew what kind of pilot he was. The same was always true with hunting. That is how you stay alive.

          • chrism
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

            It’s been decades since I hunted (though I still do a little much-needed past control to keep my bird feeders safe from rats), so might I make a plea for those of us who enjoy shooting paper? A muzzle-loading caplock rifles give me the most satisfaction (there’s not just the skill of the act of aiming, holding and shooting, but the consistency of loading technique that determines success or failure). All while enjoying the historical connection and the smell of black powder! And no one should doubt for a moment that even the 10m air rifle finalists at the Olympics deserve to be called ‘athletes’ (just watch this final on YouTube for a few minutes to see the effort, concentration and skill: https://youtu.be/pIO4lU-sMts ).
            As far as handguns go, I’d say that competitive target shooting is probably the only good reason for a civilian to own one. I live in Canada where legally-owned handguns are rare. It so happens I have the license to acquire restricted weapons, but do I have any handguns? Nope, not my thing.

            • max blancke
              Posted April 17, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

              I have plenty of rifles, shotguns, and pistols.
              The majority of the guns are antiques, including the pistols. I restore old guns both as a hobby and as a secondary business. I built my first rifle in college, on a homemade forge, using Firefox #5 as the primary reference.
              I rarely hunt, except for nuisance animals, but grew up hunting and eating the whole range of North American game animals and birds. My Dad felt that learning how to live off the land is an important skill. He taught my kids as well.
              My Dad still hunts birds in the fall, and elk and deer on occasion, but the majority of our shooting is at targets or clay. Every single person in our family shoots targets regularly. I particularly enjoy the challenge of long-range shooting. But everyone seems to enjoy going out to the range every week or so and practicing with their personal favorite gun. The big advantage of doing this is that they develop an intimate familiarity with that gun, and safe operating practices become natural and unconscious. Both my Dad and I spent time in the military as firearms instructors.
              I often carry a gun when I am outside on the ranch, and always when I am in the back country. If I am out there on foot, on a four wheeler or a horse, that usually means carrying a pistol, mostly for convenience. If I have the sort of emergency that calls for a gun, It will probably mean dealing with something at short range.
              When I sent in the picture of myself and the tractor, there was a bag in the cab behind me that contained a pistol, a water bottle, an IFAK, and a fire shelter. I do not go out expecting to need anything in that bag. But I carry it anyway.
              My wife has a pistol and a carry permit. She often works late, and is the last person to leave the medical clinic each evening. She has never needed it, and likely never will. But it seems a sensible precaution.

              • chrism
                Posted April 17, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

                I’ll admit I didn’t consider the antiques I have inherited (a percussion pepperbox and a boxlock, that date from the 1830’s – 1840’s: no license needed to own them).

                I can’t say that anything you or I have said ought to separate us from the majority of commenters here. Whether that majority are willing to say the same remains to be seen…

              • max blancke
                Posted April 17, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

                Typo- I wrote “firefox” instead of “foxfire”.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      I used to go pheasant hunting in Wyoming and the fields were always filled with many hunters. I only went twice, and on both occasions I was pelted by shotgun beads. It didn’t hurt, but it freaked me out and I realized how easy it would be to get shot if people were using rifles.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        “pelted by shotgun beads” — You mean like some kind of common Dick Cheney lawyer?

        • Roger Lambert
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think so. That poor fellow said what Cheney did to him was painful as heck.

          It’s actually pretty hard to get pelted by shotgun shot and not have it hurt. That requires a confluence of rare circumstances.

          • Mark R.
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 1:34 am | Permalink

            My experience was that someone shot in the air at a bird, and gravity did the rest…some hundreds of yards yon.

      • max blancke
        Posted April 17, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        I would never want to be around that sort of environment. Was it public land?

  3. garry vangelderen
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I am going out on a limb here:…why are we still hunting animals? Aren’t we killing enough wildlife through climate change and habitat loss? If you value time outdoors in the wilderness, carry a camera, not a gun. Your good pictures will be your trophies.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I would also agree with you on that. However, I cannot remove my past from history anymore than anyone else can. I can only change myself and push a different agenda.

      • sugould
        Posted April 17, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • aljones909
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Mostly males asserting masculinity. Martial arts would be a humane alternative.
      Except you can end up a loser in a fair fight.

    • Roger Lambert
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      I would argue that is you eat meat, then the experience of killing and eating a living animal is pretty transformative.

      It will make you appreciate what your food, and the web of life that produced it, means – a lot more than buying another flat of chicken on a Styrofoam pad.

      Almost all hunters are environmentalists.

    • max blancke
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      If the discussion centers around deer, the answer is that after the low point around 1900, the population has rebounded to levels near what they were in 1600.

    • Posted April 16, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      I grew up around hunting, although I never took to it myself. But having a brother or friend of the family bring a load of venison or pheasants to a family dinner was always a highly positive experience. Instincts awaken; and senses broaden. I can’t bring myself to speak agin’ it except when the practice becomes a threat to sustainable animal populations.
      Other opinions are welcome.

  4. Liz
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Nice pictures. Interesting gun lesson, too.

  5. Ken Phelps
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    “…hunting in any kind of group with a rifle is not very smart…”

    Unless your with Dick Cheney, in which case it’s not safe to hunt with anything.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I see you are taking your vitamins. 😊

    I have a .30-06 that my grandfather gave me when I turned 16. He acquired it during WW2. I haven’t shot it in years (indeed I don’t have any ammo for it) but like you, I’ve never gotten rid of it. I guess because it was from my grandpa, but I am firmly anti-gun so I should get rid of it…I suppose that makes me a hypocrite.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Well, I would not think you are a hypocrite. As long as you keep the gun locked up and separated from any ammo, you are probably fine. I got rid of most all the guns my father or grandfather had. One of those was a 30-06. My dad had a bunch of military ammo for the 06, including tracers. Shot it out on the farm on the 4th of July. But a very dangerous weapon. With military ammo you could stop a car (shoot right through the engine block).

    • sugould
      Posted April 17, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I gave up buying leather as soon as running shoes were invented, but I still have a leather belt, and a leather checkbook, given to me when I opened my first checking account, about 50+ years ago. Both are it is in great shape. Why should I get rid of them for no good reason?

      Why would keeping the guns make you a hypocrite? What purpose would giving them away or destroying them do? They served as a nice, short historical instructional lesson.

  7. dogugotw
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Hitting a target at 1 mile with a .22 takes a huge amount of skill. Hitting the same size target at 75 yards with a shotgun is much easier. While a rifle bullet is deadly at a greater distance than a shotgun, I think I’d prefer to be the tiny targe at 1 mile out. Add in things like trees and rocks and the one mile distance seems more survivable.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I see you are missing the point, the lesson completely. We are not talking about hitting something at 1 mile at all. The distant that bullet can travel means it can hit something a mile away and you do not even know it. If the rifle were shot it might hit a house a half mile away or go through a house and hit someone. You are probably one that would go out hunting with a bunch of guys with rifles. Good luck with that.

      • sugould
        Posted April 17, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        +1

  8. Charles Jones
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Every year when deer hunting season rolled around, we in rural Wisconsin could look forward to the evening local news reports of mainly hunters accidentally shooting each other. (Sometimes bullets also ripped through the walls of houses.) It seemed that deer-hunting season was really father-in-law or son-in-law hunting season. I always wondered how many of these were actually accidents?

    One year three hunters from Chicago asked one of our neighbors if they could hunt on their land. She said yes, so they all happily went back to their car. Except one guy dropped his rifle, which went off and shot my neighbor in the back. She survived, fortunately.

    I think there should be a higher barrier to getting a gun than simply handing over a credit card. To weed out the morons and irresponsible, it should be harder than getting a driver’s license!

    • Charles Jones
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      P.S. I assumed the shotgun would be more dangerous at close range, the rifle at long range. No hollow points, right?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Let me see if this helps. In Iowa, until recently, they never allowed deer hunting with rifles. Shotguns only. That is because the shotgun slugs, while certainly dangerous, were only good for about 100 to 150 yards. A person can usually see this far and therefore knows it is safe. With a rifle the bullet goes on, maybe over the hill, far beyond what the hunter can see.

        Turning the hunters loose with rifles in a place populated like Iowa, was sure to do great harm to people and animals.

  9. Jim Danielson
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I watched a Youtube video of some idiot using a 22 to shoot a drone out of a tree.

    A lot of comments took him to task over how remarkably unsafe and irresponsible it was.

    A lot of other commenters supported him, because he said “don’t do this at a home”, as if that should excuse his negligence.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      A G.I. back from first Gulf War told me the Arab Army guys would celebrate by firing their automatic weapons haphazardly in the air in the middle of Baghdad.

  10. max blancke
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I do have to say that the idea of hunting deer without rifles is a new concept for me. It is just not the sort of hunting I have ever been around. I did see that most folks in Iowa who hunt deer with shotguns seem to use slugs instead of shot.
    I would not want to be out somewhere that the density of hunters is such that such things would matter.

    As far as danger goes, I sort of fall back on what I learned in the military. The example they used was, of a rock and an M4 rifle, which is deadlier?. The answer of course, is whichever is in the hands of someone willing to kill. I would probably add the possibility of careless handling as a big factor if I were comparing firearms.

    Anyway, I appreciate Mr. Schenck’s contribution.

  11. Roger Lambert
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Jeezum Randall – when I saw the picture of your two guns I had to do a double take.

    I have a single-shot bolt .22LR that looks nearly identical, that my Dad gave me when I was ten. And a single shot 20-gauge shotgun that also looks identical save mine has a beavertail.

    And I also have a .30/06. All gathering dust; all have too much sentimental value to part with.

  12. blessedreams
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Interesting!

  13. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I am going to have to disagree with your assessment as to which gun is more dangerous, let alone ‘far more dangerous’.

    The .22 Magnum has an effective range of 125 yards.
    At that range only small game would be killed.
    Any longer range and there would be much less energy left to do much harm except in freak circumstances. I do grant that they may travel further if deliberately shot at the right angle but any shot at anything on the ground and the bullet drop would just ground the bullet quite quickly.

    The .22 Magnum has energy at the muzzle, lets say 320 ft/lbf max.

    With the 20-guage firing a single slug has about 1,600 ft-lbs. Massively greater and extra deadly to 75 yards and that slug keeps on flying too.

    And if loaded with Buckshot you have 8 or 9 .22 size bits of lead flying around with a total energy 5 or 6 times larger.

    The chances of surviving any encounter, accidental or deliberate are much lower for the 20 IMHO.

    • chrism
      Posted April 17, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      I agree that one can debate which is more “dangerous” (something they are quite obviously designed to be), and my answer is “both”. I’m not sure we should teach that one weapon is to be respected more than another. If it’s in your hands I want you to treat it with all the respect you can muster, be it a dangerous game stopping rifle or an air rifle. That’s the only way I and other bystanders don’t get shot.
      I believe the figure you quote for a 22 Magnum being effective out to 125 yards takes into account accuracy as well as remaining kinetic energy. The 22 WMR, for example, still has 170ftlb energy at 100 yards, and doesn’t become subsonic until sometime after passing 200 yards. You do not want a supersonic round going through you, even by a fluke accident at 200 yards! The shockwave around a supersonic projectile turns tissue into broken Jello, and even a 22 that is supersonic can do this for a 5cm diameter around the wound track. I’m glad GSWs were a rare occurrence where I worked; I hated dealing with them.

      • sugould
        Posted April 17, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        +1

  14. blessedreams
    Posted May 2, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Great!


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