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


Archive for the ‘Firearms/Self Defense’ Category


Backwoods Home at local gun show

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Hello Dave and Annie,

I’ve been a subscriber for a long time and wanted to thank you for publishing such a great magazine.

Today I went to my first gun show and it was great! So many friendly and helpful people. The Appleseed Project had a table there with lots of good information. Front and center on their table was a copy of Backwoods Home (the issue that discussed The Appleseed project). I told them how I learned about them from you. Everyone at the booth had much praise for Backwoods Home and the work you do.

Thanks to organizations like you and Appleseed we are encouraged to keep fighting for personal freedom here in The Peoples Republic of Illinois (the show was in Wheaton).

Keep up the good work!


Also see BHM hosts Appleseed marksmanship event By Massad Ayoob in the current issue #139 –Ed.


Question for Massad Ayoob

Monday, March 19th, 2012

A rule we are taught our entire life is to never point a gun at anything we do not intend to shoot. With that said, when carrying a handgun in a pocket-style holster, the gun is at times pointed in a direction of people, like if sitting in back seat of car, or across from someone at dinner, or on a livingroom couch across from someone else, etc (a similar situation that I think about is a shoulder holster that happens to point the gun backwards)

I feel uneasy when this occurs because essentially, the gun is aimed in a direction I don’t want it to shoot. But yet, the gun is not in hand, finger is not near trigger, and is essentially secure in my pocket holster.

What is your response to this?

Thank you for your time!

Kevin McCubbin

Hi Kevin,

The direction of the gun’s muzzle, as seen in safety rules, is read as intentional pointing.  If a police officer is standing on the second floor of the police station, the muzzle of his holstered service pistol is indexed in the direction of those below him on the first floor.  The guns lying flat on tables at a gun show have their muzzles in a direction that countless visitors will walk past or through.  If your hunting rifles and shotguns, and mine, are standing upright in gun safe or gun, they’re in line with passenger planes crossing over our house.

So long as other safety protocols assure that the gun will not discharge wrongfully or unintentionally, and so long as the gun is not intentionally pointed at another person except in legitimate defense of self or others, I call it good.


Mas Ayoob


Massad Ayoob blog post

Monday, February 13th, 2012

I don’t have the best eye for these things, but [in his Feb 13 blog post] are those 9mm rounds laying next to a 38 special revolver on the cover of that report? That’d be funny.

Regardless, thanks for all you do. I am an avid reader of your work. It’s changed how I live my life and think about how I go about my day as a responsible member of society. You’re a great American and I’m a huge Mas Ayoob booster whenever I speak to anyone on the topic of firearms, personal defense, and the legal considerations associated with both subjects.

Many warm regards,

Jeff Roberts


Massad Ayoob: Consider the 20 gauge shotgun

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Massad Ayoob has a few missed shots in that story.

1. Failed to mention about tungsten iron shot. Heavier than lead. Faster than steel. Less choke, tighter patterns than steel, manufactured by Remington.

2. Failed to talk about back-bored barrels. Manufactured by Browning. A prime example would be the Browning Gold gas semi-auto.

3. Why would someone like Ayoob choose a dinosaur like the Remington 1100B.C. or 11-87B.C.? Both of those guns have to use rubber O-rings on their magazine tubes,and constantly need replacement, every few,(4 to 800 shots.) Neither gun has over-bored or back-bored barrels.

The Remington 1100 B.C./11-87 B.C. must be cleaned every 75-90 rounds fired, or they will jam. I have owned both of these, and came to my senses, and replaced them both with Browning’s.

My Gold features a gas system that NEVER NEEDS CLEANING. I have spotted guys 100 shots fired from my Browning’s. And they started jamming after 75-90 shells!! I have purposely fired my Browning’s more than 2500 rounds without cleaning. And NO feed or eject jams PERIOD.

Michael Smith

Michael, thank you for your input. Added opinions on topics is always welcome here.

Tungsten shot was not mentioned in the 20-gauge shotgun article because it’s a type of projectile that can be used in any shotgun, not just the 20-gauge under discussion. The article was intended to discuss the 20-gauge in general, not every shotgun ever chambered for that size shell.  

I’m glad you had good luck with your Browning Gold, and am sorry that you seem to have had bad experiences with the Remington 1100-11-87 series.  However, as I’m sure you know, those Remington autoloaders are among the most popular in the world; the Browning Gold is now offered only in 10-gauge, and as we both know, comparing 10-gauge to 20 is a bit like comparing a Kenworth to an SUV.

Again, your added input is appreciated.


Mas Ayoob


We don’t need no steenking 2nd amendment

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I read every edition cover to cover, I read all Jackie’s Q & A’s. I have you in my Facebook feed. But nothing I have ever read has been as important as this second amendment article. It should be required reading for every person in congress. All students should read it. The government needs to remember that they work for us and that we don’t NEED them to tell us what to do.

Thank you for this. If I ever think about cancelling (not likely) I’ll remember that this one gem of information is worth more than I would pay in my lifetime. You’ve just given me, if you’ll pardon the reference, all the ammo I will ever need to go against the tide of gun control idiots!!

Thank you,

Dixie Dever


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,



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


“Women and Guns” article

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Just a quick note to say thanks for the good article. It’s good information that applies to not only several women in my family, but to me as well.

I’m 5’7″, 132lbs, and it can be tough to find quality equipment or information. I shoot a Model 7 Youth in 7mm08, an 870 Youth in 20ga, and prefer a small frame 9mm (Federal 115gr JHP).

Steen Rose


Travelers’ Gun Rights

Monday, March 28th, 2011

A recent article in the April 2011 American Rifleman Magazine (p.77) was an unpleasant shock.  Apparently, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Gregg Revell, a Utah man who was arrested in transit for “possession of an unlicensed handgun” in New Jersey.  He had been on a flight from Pennsylvania to Utah when he missed a connecting flight in New Jersey, his luggage was re-routed to Newark, and he had to retrieve his luggage and stay overnight in New Jersey.  He was transporting his handgun unloaded and locked in his checked luggage, in compliance with the federal Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA).  Although the charges were later dismissed, the Utah resident spent 10 days in jail before he could post bail.  His civil rights lawsuit was dismissed by the US Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, because the gun was “readily accessible” to him while he stayed overnight in the NJ hotel – thus the FOPA did not apply to him while he was in New Jersey.

The Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal, so this ruling stands in the 3rd Circuit.  This decision should concern every gun owner who travels cross-country, who might be forced to spend a night in some anti-gun state such as NY, NJ, IL, and others.

I drive every year from Idaho to Ohio, passing through the State of Illinois.  I carry my firearms in Illinois in compliance with the FOPA, unloaded and locked in a hard case in the trunk.  In the past, I have stayed overnight at various motels in Illinois, always bringing my firearms into the motel room to prevent their theft from my vehicle.
I now realize that, without an Illinois firearms owners ID card (FOID),   I could be breaking the law in Illinois by having my firearms “readily accessible” in my motel room.  My choice would appear to have them “readily accessible” to me, probably in violation of Illinois law, or to have them readily accessible to criminals by leaving them outside in my vehicle.

I have decided on a third option:  I will never again stay overnight in any motel in Illinois.  I will stop in either Iowa or Indiana, depending on the direction I am traveling, and plan on driving completely through the People’s Republic of Illinois in one day.  Marksmen traveling through other anti-self defense states (NY, MA, NJ) should plan to stay overnight outside of those states – otherwise they risk arrest and the loss of their 2nd Amendment rights.

I would suggest you pass this warning on to all Backwoods Home readers, and advise them to let the Chambers of Commerce in Illinois and similar states know that we will not patronize their overnight accommodations until those states cease their attacks on our rights recognized by the 2nd Amendment.

Peter Humm

You’ve hit upon the best way to reply to these attacks against our rights — by withholding our money from the bastards doing the attacking.   — Dave


How to shoot a handgun accurately by Massad Ayoob

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I really enjoyed this article, short and good. I never really knew how to shoot and it helped a lot.

Aubrey E. Ritchie


20 gauge shotgun

Monday, December 6th, 2010

A few years back, I bought a 20 gauge pump action shotgun for home protection. I am a female, now 66 years old. I have not gone out to practice with it and I know I should and after reading this article, it has inspired me to.

Oh how I wish my brothers were still alive (4) as we all grew up with guns in the South and they were gun nuts, some more so than others. One of my brothers would go out almost every weekend and target practice.

I am new to the forum but I will be reading this section on guns frequently as I am very interested. I bought a 38 Taurus but it was stolen by a family member, ’nuff said. Recently, I looked at the Taurus called “the Judge” (?). I have been reading message boards about it and have not been sold on it  yet.

Thank you for good articles and advice.

Elizabeth Angus


The Real Gun Criminals

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Your article hits the nail squarely on the head, and I give my heartfelt congratulations.

This is the stuff that ought to be pasted on billboards.

Richard Keelan


Massad’s ‘Big Boomers’

Friday, August 27th, 2010

I’m a bit more traditional then Mas. [Big boomer guns by Massad Ayoob; Sept/Oct, 2010]

My beside the bed rifle is a Rossi model 92 in 45 Colt, loaded with ten 300 grain cast slugs. I think of it as 45-70 lite.

The handgun for flash lighting around the house is a S&W mod 25 45 Colt filled with Speer Gold Dots. Yes, I realize that I’m not real imaginative sticking with a 45 Colt for after hours socializing.


Jim McCool


Tub Gardening

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

I appreciated the article in the current issue of BWH about tub gardening.

I purchased three 18-gallon tubs, added potting soil, and am very pleased with the results: tomatoes, bush beans, assorted peppers, lettuce & sorrel. Excellent recommendation for those of us with small urban garden space. Plus the barrels are inaccessible to digging by our puppies.

Thanks again!

Julia Morgan
Pasadena, CA


Massad Ayoob article on Appleseed Project

Sunday, April 25th, 2010


Been with you guys off and on for years now. Just a quick note of thanks to Massad Ayoob for his current issue article on the Appleseed Project. It was very well written and reading of his experience at the AS in Hernanndo County, FL, was very interesting. I love to read his articles and appreciate all you guys for such a fantastic SERVICE you have been doing over the past couple decades now at BWH.

Take care and keep up the good work. I’m sure that Massad Ayoob’s article will generate more people to go to an Appleseed, as I did, and for many of them to also take up the Heritage and seek to become more like the people who gave us this great Nation which we are seeing be dismantled day by day now. Your editorials always inspire me along the political lines as well and we are both on the same song sheet.

William Stover


Appleseed coverage

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Just wanted to say thank for the story by Mas Ayoob on his journey to an Appleseed event.

I have attended a few so I know what he was experiencing. I think the whole idea is one we all should share, not just the shooting but the history that the instructors teach. Yes I have shot a rilfeman score and am proud to do so. It took a couple trips to the line but well worth it.

Appleseeds are a great way to make new friends and learn a little more of that day in 1775 when our country was born.

Thanks for all the great work. Keep it up.

M. Besneatte


Guns & Women

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Thank goodness there are still a few men that realize women with guns is not a “male” thing.

Being the oldest of four children, my father elected to teach me to hunt and use guns in a responsible manner. I am a petite woman that has lived in Alaska for six years, brought down moose, caribou, elk, deer and even bear that was maruading my homestead.

I carry a .270 Manlicher with custom stock using 110 to 150 gr. ammon (depending on intended targets) and a .38 police special. I can put three rounds the size of a 50 cent piece at 100 yards off hand with the .270.

Would I hesitate to use a gun to protect myself or someone else if necessary? No qualms here! And freshly killed game on the table beats beef, pork or chicken any day.


Linda Alexander
Gold Beach, Oregon


20-gauge article

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Great article by Massad Ayoob.

I’m a great believer in the “less is more” philosophy of shooting.  My favorite rifle, for example, is a Marlin 1894 in .357 magnum.  What a fun and incredibly useful gun it is!  It’s so much better in just about every way than a .357 revolver.  Much quieter, lighter recoil (the mass of the rifle is over twice that of the revolver, and you can hold it to your shoulder), more power (about 400-500 fps over the 6″ barreled revolver–hitting a deer at 100 yards with the rifle is like holding the muzzle of the revolver to the deer’s side and pulling the trigger–think it’ll do the job??), more accurate, and much easier to hit with.

In the same way, the 20-gauge is plenty of gun for most situations, and a lot nicer to carry, swing and shoot.

Great article.

David Smith


Article by Mr. Silveira, Issue #121

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

To the editor,

I am always thankful for the arrival of BHM. I believe the magazine is an excellent example of how people can live together, live more fully and more free.

I always enjoy reading Mr. Silveira’s articles because of his depth of knowledge and willingness to say what he feels. I don’t always agree with him though, and must take exception to his use of Plaxico Burress as a good example of a right-to-carry case. Mr. Burress was carrying a locked and loaded firearm in an unsafe manner. He endangered everyone around him by doing so. It is only luck that he and not an innocent bystander was shot.

I’m in favor of concealed carry without restriction generally, but am willing to grant that some mandatory training and qualification could be a good thing. Carrying in an unsafe manner should be a punishable offense, regardless of whether he was carrying legally.

It is this case specifically that makes it harder and harder for gun rights defenders to get their points across. Your magazine is a first rate source of gun information. I believe this article, while communicating many good points, went wide of the mark in citing this example.

Thanks very much for all that you do at BHM,

Bradley Levy, Berwyn, IL



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