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Letters and email from readers about Backwoods Home Magazine and the BHM website


Archive for November, 2011


Thank you.

Friday, November 25th, 2011


I always try to give credit when it is due, so I want to extend my thanks to you.

As a teenager and young adult the only handgun I shot was my beloved .22 Colt Woodsman, and there is no telling how many thousands of rounds I put through it.  Patting myself on the back, I was pretty darn good.  Later in life, however, I felt the need to graduate to larger calibers.  After a brief flirtation with a .357 revolver I transitioned to .45 1911s, and found that my accuracy had gone to hell.  All my rounds were hitting low to the left.  I figured out that I was pulling the trigger down to the left, and also pushing down with my hand in anticipation of the recoil, which of course greatly exceeds that of the .22 that I was used to.  I concentrated with everything I had and finally developed a decent trigger pull, but could not overcome the pre-recoil push.  A couple of days ago I was browsing the internet and came across your article you wrote in February 2004 for “Backwoods Home,” or something like that.  It was titled “How to Shoot a Handgun Accurately.”  After I read it a few times I decided I needed to concentrate on were hard grip, concentrate on the front sight, and continue to pull the trigger straight back.

Yes, I experienced the epiphany.  At 7 yards most of my rounds hit the center of my target (about the size of a coffee cup) and the others are grouped closely around it.  Not really world class yet, but I have only been to the range once to practice my new methodology, so at 72 years of age I don’t think I am doing so bad.  I intend to get back to the range more often (it’s a lot more fun when I’m hitting where I’m supposed to) and improve as much more as I can.  I’m not sure what hard grip and watching the front sight have to do with not anticipating the recoil, but it sure works. (Until it gets automatic, before each round I chant to myself “Grip, front sight, straight back.”)

I read all your stuff in American Handgunner.  Keep up the good work, and thanks again.

Jim Dorroh

And thank you for saying so, Jim.

I’m taking the liberty of passing your comments on to my bosses at Backwoods Home, who brought you the info.

Best for the holidays,




Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Hello there,

I agree with all you said. I’ve been canning for over 40-years and I have lost only two jars of food in that time. That was in the beginning of my canning ritual.

It amazes me how little today’s young women are clueless as to canning, putting up any kinds of foodstuff. Today a lot of women in the age group from 50-80 are also drying much of their food and making jerky.

We’re living in trying times and having your own garden and fruit trees is a must if you have the room. With supermarkets pushing their gassed fruits and vegetables is it any wonder our families are finding themselves with Type 2 Diabetes or something else diagnosed in their bodies?

We all need to get out to our towns and neighborhoods the wonders of canning and preserving foods. I  gave away my chest freezer 25-years ago when I saw how much meat went unused because it slipped to the bottom.

Last week I ran out of jars and as I drove thru the countryside I spotted something shining on a table with a roadside sale. I pulled over and for $3.00, got two large boxes full of pt and qt. sized jars. That was a win-win as here in the North Carolina mountains the old-timers can and now many of the younger women do as well, so it’s hard to find second hand jars.

Ah, the miracles of canning.

Joan Merriken


Your EMP article

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Dear Sir,

Thank you for writing this article. Words cannot describe the frustration I feel at the lack of attention this EMP doomsday scenario is receiving. (This lack of attention is tantamount to negligent homicide by our political leaders if we are subject to an EMP attack. They have commissioned studies and conferences on this scenario and are well aware of the consequences and yet do nothing.)

To my reason for writing: I have been studying this country’s preparation for many doomsday scenarios in an effort to better prepare myself and my family. The EMP attack scenario is by far the most scary for prepared survivors, even when compared to an all-out nuclear war. (With the nuclear war scenario, we will at least have a chance at maintaining a manufacturing base, with EMP we’d better learn how to make everything by hand first in order to rebuild a modicum of manufacturing infrastructure! Imagine making everything thing by hand to get ONE manufacturing plant back on-line, much less what it would take to get the power generating facilities and conveyance on-line to get power back to the manufacturing plant! By hand! without aid of anything electrical or electronic! And how would we get the fuel to the power generating plant? It’s a nightmare scenario!)

But there is one aspect to EMP attack that a nuclear war will not have that I cannot seem to get my head around. In my thinking the two scenarios that will cause people to become unrestrained looters without regard for common decency for a sustained period of time will be nuclear war and an EMP attack. In other scenarios we should be able to present to these roving hoards at least a road to a relatively quick recovery. With nuclear and EMP, it will be so devastating that “quick recovery” won’t even be in the vocabulary. But the “downside” (in regard to my family’s safety and well being) to EMP, is that it will leave a HUGE number of people alive to roam the countryside looking for food.

And there-in lies the rub: how can I keep these huge numbers of people away from my supply without resorting to massive violence? Any attempt at deception will eventually be found out when I appear well nourished. I cannot by any means store enough for everyone. And imagine the stampede when it is “rumored” that so-and-so at such and such place has a lot of food…I couldn’t live far enough away to prevent a migration to my front door. (And that is not to mention if an EMP attack is followed up by a conventional attack by a hostile country or countries…how could I feed and defend myself against an army or militia?)

I know that it is a bit more complicated than a simple email exchange can allow, but I’m at a loss here, so any direction/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! And I love your magazine (I just cannot afford a subscription YET!)

John M.


Coyote Gun article

Monday, November 21st, 2011

BHM Editors,

I recently read Rev. J.D. Hooker’s coyote gun article and I just want to second all of his sentiments. I own a Mosin-Nagant M44 and absolutely love it. That 7.62×54 cartridge packs plenty of punch and can bring down just about anything. I also agree about the ammunition. I tried to use some Czech made steel cased rounds in the gun and was having problems with them jamming  the bolt shut. But, once I started using the Sellier & Belloit rounds I’ve been plucking targets off at 200 yards with no problems. I only paid $85 for the rifle online and then had to pay a $25 FFL transfer fee to get the gun delivered to my local gun shop. This gun is very rugged and at $110 for the rifle and another $100 for a basic scope and mounts this rifle is a great brush gun for any homesteader.

Thanks for the great article.

Matt Shorb
West Virginia


Tailoring guns to females

Friday, November 11th, 2011

After listening to Clint Smith my son got me a youth model stock for my Remington 870 last Christmas. It’s my primary night time self defense/critter weapon. It’s much handier than the regular stock and I notice absolutely no difference when firing. After having it on the 870 for ten months I can’t imagine punishing someone with the longer stock.

My son’s girlfriend has an 870 youth model in 20 gauge and loves it.

Those that share our households are going to be the only ones we can count on in a pinch. Can their be anything more important than making them comfortable with the firearms they will be using?

Thanks to Mr Ayoob for a great article.

Frank Nelson



Thursday, November 10th, 2011

RE: Put your garden to bed for the winter By Jackie Clay

I planted my first (personal) garden this year. (I grew up with a family garden). And I was a bit unsure how to proceed at the end of the growing season.

I just read the above listed article and it was very enlightening, a good, fun, easy read, and very helpful.

Thank you for posting it. And, if possible, please thank the author, Ms. Clay.

Many thanks!

Briana Rae


Apple Pie Crust

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011


My grandmother had a friend back in a small town in Iowa.  She used to bake me a pie every time I would go visit my grandmother and spend the summer.

My grandmother told me that her friend’s secret was to use 7-up in the crust. She won many prizes for her pies and the locals loved them at their diner.

Just a thought for a different angle on crust.

I look forward to trying your recipes.


Ron Moffet


Really great article

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Propagating grapes  By Sylvia Gist

Very well written/edited. Kudos to all and thanks a million.

Meryl Logue


Homemade electrical power

Monday, November 7th, 2011

It’s nice to see people trying out new things such as this cheap alternative to a more costly generator set.

My grandfather did similar things such as making his own string trimmer (weed eater) . This was back in the early seventies. He took an aluminum pole or something like that and attached a old vacuum cleaner motor to the end of it. Attached a pulley at the bottom and drilled holes along the perimeter of it and instead of weed eater plastic string he used sections of bailing wire. My dad said that thing would go through some pretty heavy brush. Heavy but it worked.

He also used to recycle bottles, cans, and scrap metal from his home, and bring it all in to town once a month in his VW van. He did all this before it was even a household word.

I remember working with him on his metal lathe in his shop and I noticed the lights getting dim then bright. I told him something was wrong with is light bulb and he just laughed and said that the light bulb was a 12 vdc type attached to a windmill he had built,and the power source was a 12 vdv VW generator. The cause of the flickering I guess was the wind was fluctuating.

I thought old Gramps was the coolest old dude. Glad to see other people try this stuff out and share with people so they might get an idea and try it out.

Kim Moe



Monday, November 7th, 2011

When I can a lot of meat I have a big pan I put oil in and heat it to 275 and can heat large quantity jars at a time. You do have to wipe the oil off the jars. But it’s not such a big deal. But I can do a lot more jars and it’s good when we do 250 to 300 jars.

We have a lot of fun canning our food. I believe this is one of the reasons people are sick, because the cans and the stuff added to the food. The safest way to eat is do it yourself. They are poisoning us and we keep finding out they have added something like MSG and trans fat and they know they cause us harm.




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