Thursday, November 19, 2015


When I left Fort Dix in 1968 I did not have any interest in shouldering an AR rifle. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have anything against guns because my first purchases when I got home was a 30-06 semi-auto and a 12 gauge shotgun. And shortly after this I started my part-time  outdoor writer’s career; and guns became a major part of my life. I don’t really know how many I have owned, sold and /or tested; but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was over 100. But it was at the Shot Show in Las Vegas where one of the companies offered to make a NYS Legal .308 caliber AR; and let me test it for them. With this rifle I shot a Canadian black bear a wild boar and ever since these hunts I was quite impressed with its accuracy.  

But it was at the Brownells’ booth last year that I met Larry Weeks their Public Relations Manager who had a wealth of knowledge on all firearms; especially the AR and asked thoughts about me building my own .223 caliber NY State Legal AR. He said it was definitely possible and, “We have all the parts you will need.”  Brownells has been the world’s leading source for gun parts and accessories. Thus the beginning of what I wanted to do. Helping me on this parts selection and project was their Public Relations Specialist Roy Hill; who made it all happen.

Knowing I would have to be very careful to build this rifle without breaking any of the Safe Acts requirements I spent quite a bit of time reading and re-reading the 17 pages of the Act. I also solicited NYS State Police and they were very helpful  interpreting  parts of GUIDE TO THE NEW YORK STATE SAFE ACT. Lastly and equally important, I obtained the assistance of a close friend quite familiar with ARs. You can find this GUIDE at,

The first was to go to the Brownell website and make of list of what parts are required. Here is my list along with the part numbers.
(100 016 811)   AR15 STRIPPED LOWER RECEIVER. To get this item you will have to go to a local Federal Firearms licensed dealer and have them send a copy of their current license to Brownells. When the dealer gets this part they will contact you and you will have to fill out the NICS check just like you do when you buy a firearm. The remainder of these parts can be sent directly to you.

These include: (100 016 550)  M16 5.56 COMPLETE BOLT CARRIER GROUP; (593 000 168)  AR OPTICS 3-9X40 MATTE BC; (078 101 129)  AR-15 M-4 RECOIL SPRING; (739 000 006)  CARBINE LENGTH BUFFER; (100 013 603)  AR15M16 16 RXA15 SS BULL UPPER RECEIVER; (749 002 660)  AR15 CHARGING HANDLE; (100 014 781) FRS-15 STOCK KIT W/QD; (231 115 003)  LRPK-1 LOWER RECEIVER PARTS KIT; (078 000 173)  5RD AR15/M16 MAGAZINE (order 2).

Now there are several choices you have for a NYS Legal AR. I have tried them and the Thordsen Custom is by far the most comfortable; and comfort equals better accuracy. You will also find that Brownells will be quite helpful in completing this project.

There are also different calibers choices but in my case I will be using this rifle primarily for range shooting and hunting coyotes and possibly a using it to fill my doe tag.  Now before you email me about the .223 being too light for deer, go on the internet and Google, “.223 FOR DEER HUNTING” and see some of the videos of deer taken with a 223 rifle. I also will be using the .223 in Florida this spring for boar and an Osceola turkey. My ammo choice for the boar will be Hornady’s 50 grain GMX Full Boar.   


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015


A funny thing happened to me on my way home from the gun smith’s last Tuesday. Recently I added a Stevens Model 59A 410 bore bolt action shotgun to my collection. What “made” me buy this gun was because we were both “were made” in the same year – 1944. The $75 I paid for this gun was twice as much as the original owner had spent when purchased at Montgomery Wards. For some time now I have wanted a fixed choke 410 for small game and that is exactly what this gun had. In addition it was in like new condition. When I fired it at the range I was quite pleased; shooting at a life sized squirrel target. At 25 yards 26 of the pellets were in the squirrel; 4 of which were in the head. And overall 58 pellets were within a 5 inch circle. Also, four 410 slugs shot at a metal plate at 25 yards were on target. However there was a problem with the rod that holds the rounds in the shell tube. Thus my reason for the trip to the gun smith!

Rather than going home after picking up the gun I decided to stop by my friend’s house where he and I first tested the shotgun and show it to him; and on the way I could check out a few of my goose hunting fields. I hadn’t gone too far when a big cock pheasant flew right in front of my truck and I watched him fly into the woods and land in the brush. Less than half a mile later I pulled over; this pheasant was in property I could legally hunt. I had a shotgun, ammo and even a bright yellow jacket to wear; WHY NOT!  However it was pouring and the jacket wasn’t waterproof, nor was the pants or slip on moccasins I had on. I turned the truck around and headed back about 30-40 yards from where the pheasant had crossed and headed in.

It was quite thick and I did not see the up to the knee ditch that was filled with water until I stepped into it. Might as well keep going and within 20 minutes I was totally wet. Wandering miserably through the brush for another half hour I decided to head out and turn the heat on in my truck. I hadn’t taken more than 4 or 5 steps when the cock exploded off to my right. I don’t know how, but that one shot, at what turned out to be 27 steps from me, brought him down.  And this 71 year old gun, and man walked happily back to the truck.  It was a perfect beginning of what I believe will find me and this 410 spending a lot of time hunting rabbits, squirrels and a grouse.  And on May 1 st we will be in the turkey woods. You can check out my trophy cock pheasant at,

This Saturday is the opening of deer hunting with a firearm in the Southern Zone and there will be tens of thousands of hunters entering the woods looking for that buck of a lifetime. As a reminder I HIGHLY recommend the wearing of hunter orange before you put that rifle/shotgun to your shoulder and that you positively identify your target. Although New York has had low rates of hunter incidents; one is really too many. Don’t be one of those who says “I thought I saw,” “it sounded like;” and always be sure of what is beyond your target. And for those of you who are going to be treestand hunting don’t forget that safety harness; not belt. Also take the time and go to  and familiarize yourself with the new regulations.

Good luck and send me your Buck Tale. Include city where you live, where you hunted, deer rack and weight, gun/bow used and anything else that will add to the tale.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Mike Auriemma is a dedicated fisherman and a very successful Great Sacandaga Lake walleye angler. But from the tone of his email I could tell his most enjoyable fishing was ever was with his 7 year old granddaughter Giana Capone. Mike was helping Giana fishing in his cousin’s 6 acre pond when the big largemouth bass grabbed her live bait. It was quite a battle for the little lady; but she wanted to do it alone. Only when she got a bit tired grandpa would put his finger under the rod until she regained her strength. She was determined and did all the reeling. The big bass tipped the scales at 6 pounds plus; and was bigger than any bass grandpa had ever caught. I wasn’t there but I guarantee you grandpa was smiling from ear to ear. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015


As of September 15, 2015  it was illegal to possess, sell, distribute trade or transport Eurasian boar in New York State. However there is one ranch/preserve (Easton View Outfitters) located in Rensselaer County who has solved the pig hunting problem by bringing in Berkshire pigs. These pigs originated in England long ago and are legal here in NYS. Having hunted Eurasian boar at Easton View I was a bit anxious when the ranch owner Dave Vanderzee told me he had some coming. And when he called and said “they are here” my response was “when can I hunt;” his response – “anytime.” And 3 days later I was there.

If was   the perfect opportunity to try out my new Henry Big Boy .44 magnum carbine rifle which I just happened to scope with a Leupold VX HOG 1-4 20 mm scope. At the range using Hornady 225 grain FTX LEVERevolution ammo I was able to shoot a 3 shot group under an inch at 50 yards.

At 8 a.m. they opened the gate and wished me good luck. Temperatures at that time were 80 degrees with humidity at 90 percent and I knew my long sleeve camo shirt and long pants were going to make it even hotter. Bugs too greeted me shortly after entering but fortunately the evening before I had thoroughly doused my camo with a good bug/tick spray and had my backup ThermCell.  The ranch covered a little over 200 acres and a terrain of fields, hedgerows, wooded hillsides and a large swamp. My plan was to start at the edge of the swamp about 70 yards in and follow the 2.5 mile fence line up around the perimeter.  I was probably about a third of the way up when I realized my age and was going to be making a number of stops throughout the day.

I saw quite a few fallow deer and rams but no pigs. It quickly became obvious that it was going to be a sneak and peek, step on the pig hunt. For the next few hours I walked the high grass fields, kicked brush piles and zigzagged my way through the swamp and up and down the woods. It was about 4 p.m. after making another trip around the perimeter, this time about 100 yards from the fence, I flopped down under a pine tree on the edge of the woods  overlooking a lower field. It was here that I realized I was 71 years old.

I think I might have taken a quick nap because when I woke up there was a big buffalo grazing in the grass just below me. I was crawling closer to him to take a photo when all the way on the bottom of the field I saw 3 pigs headed for the swamp. It was getting late and this was the first pigs I saw in my 8 hours of hunting; I had to make my move. When I stood up Mr. Buffalo stared at me and I ran and yelled at him. He never moved, just stood there shaking his head which is not good. I however did move back up into the woods and headed down.

When I neared the swamp I knew I had to hurry and it was then that I learned I could not run like I use to. Two times I fell before I got to the spot in the swamp that I hoped they would come by. On both falls however Henry never hit the ground; just me. I was breathing heavily when I sat down facing where I thought they would come.

Shortly after 6 p.m. I saw movement – 3 pigs on the run at 60-70 yards from me were running through the mix of pines and small saplings. I put the Leupold’s Pig Plex reticle on the last one, pulled back the hammer on the Henry and squeezed off the shot. Immediately I saw bark on a tree fly but also saw the pigs hind hit the ground and get right up – it was a deflected hit. But my next shot was through the shoulders ending my 9 HOURS 20 MINUTE hunt. Mr. Berkshire tipped the scales at 268 pounds. I however on this hunt lost 3 1/2 pounds. I wonder if this was the first Berkshire pig shot in NYS?

If you are looking for a challenging hunt these Berkshires will give you one; but I would suggest getting a buddy to hunt with you so you can put on little drives.(

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


I always enjoy getting stories about kids in the outdoors, especially when it comes to fishing. This week’s young angler story took place in a creek in Schuylerville behind Mikey (8) and Brooke (10) Schwerd’s grandparents’ home. Mikey was fishing under a small bridge when he thought he had a bite and lost both his bait and hook. He ran back to the house and grandpa tied on a hook with a bubblegum colored wacky worm and Mikey returned to the bridge. It was too long before grandpa heard “I got a big one” and saw Mikey grab the line, tossed the pole on the ground and started hand-lining the fish in. His sister ran down to help and she grabbed the rod and started taking up the slack. The fish was a largemouth bass that weighed in at 3 pounds plus. Mikey made me promise not to disclose where is honey hole was – a true fisherman. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015