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


Massad Ayoob: Consider the 20 gauge shotgun

Monday, February 6th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on Massad Ayoob: Consider the 20 gauge shotgun

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

Calf-raising article

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on Calf-raising article
Your article about calf raising was very helpful.
Thank you so much.

I linked to one of your Hardyville essays

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on I linked to one of your Hardyville essays

Hi Claire-

I just wanted to drop you a line and say “thank you” and tell you I’ve linked to one of your Hardyville essays. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read or thought about the words you wrote…

Now that I have my own burgeoning readership I’ve come to appreciate the occasional email that says, “I read your blog every day and just wanted to say ‘thank you’!” Mark Twain once said he could live two weeks on a good compliment and I’m right there with him. My readers words keep buoying me up when times get tough.

Your words… “Are you racing like a little maze-rat, just to keep yourself in fancy toys?…When it comes right down to it, do you choose convenience over independence? Then you’re not on the road to Hardyville. If you want to be on the road to Hardyville, then turn around”

They made a difference. I started thinking about the life I wanted and how I could get it. It also woke me up to the fact that the whole rat race and more toys and crap were NOT what I wanted. It wasn’t an overnight change, but we are well on our way. And I’ve got a good life, one that makes me happy, and that’s better than it was.

I just wanted to remind you that you touch a lot of lives.

Christine Shuck


Monday, January 30th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on Voting

Hey there! I’m a former subscriber who only stopped because I could not afford to renew my subscription, but follow you regularly (several times a week) on my work computer.

I adore Jackie Clay. Some day I’m going to get brave and really pressure can instead of only doing boiling water bath. Hooray Jackie!

But I have to say, I’m going to vote for Ron Paul. If I only write his name in on a ballot, I’m going to vote for him. In spite of the fact that he may eliminate the Social Security that I have contributed to all my working life (since age 18, against my will), and that will leave me darn near penniless unless I can continue to work. I now have nothing else to support me in my “old age”, but that’s okay, and do you know why?  Because the rest of his ideas and ideals MAKE TOTAL SENSE…..

I also am NOT going to “absentee ballot”.  Big scandal in 2008 in my precinct when it was discovered NONE of the absentee ballots had been counted!!!!!!!  And we had presidential and senatorial races going on!  The Clerk said “they didn’t have the people to count” so none of them were counted until weeks after the closing of the races, and of course by that time it didn’t matter squat….. I thought of adding to the stink that was raised…..I was going to volunteer to help count…but didn’t. I am now sorry I didn’t. I might still just do that this year.

Again, I would be a subscriber but I just don’t have the money. I had to drop my health insurance because it more than doubled. I’m paid by the line for my work, production, and it’s basically all I can do to keep my house payments up and certain other bills/expenses paid. I’m not whining, really. At least my company keeps work here in the US instead of sending it “globally”. And I am blessed to be still able to do this worik (I’m a medical transcriptionist).

Back to my original intent – VOTE FOR RON PAUL………I feel he is the ONLY one who can help us, if it’s just not too late.

Kathleen in IL

The 7 core areas of preparedness

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on The 7 core areas of preparedness
In the section about lights you neglected to mention chemlights.
I’ve used them in lots of situations from a 4 hour power outage to combat. They come in various colors, sizes, and light output.

The Art of Living in Small Spaces

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on The Art of Living in Small Spaces

Hi Claire.

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article about designing for, and living in a small space.

I live in a “shoebox” apartment in San Francisco, about 400 sf, but I fantasize about moving to a remote or “unusual” space and living in a very small home.  Maybe even in a motorhome.

But your ideas certainly apply to both urban and backwoods environments.  I look forward to exploring the links at the BHM website.

I wanted to add something to the rack-mounted computers you mentioned:

When I had a “desktop” computer, I bought a strap device to hang it from under my desk.

The straps are $18 on Amazon for a basic type, to $40 for the kind I had — it allowed the computer to be slid forward, and spun around to access cables in the back.  But I agree with you that a good laptop makes more sense these days.

Thanks again for the interesting article,

Jim Lee

Ron Paul

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on Ron Paul

Thanks Dave,

Excellent article and to the point.  It is time for the status quo to go.

Restore America Now!


Steve Williams

Issue 133 Last Word

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on Issue 133 Last Word

I’ve been a subscriber of this magazine since the late 90’s and I found your article belittling conservatives to be nauseating. I don’t like being lumped together with neoconservatives (they do not have the same values that true conservatives have) and I don’t believe that I am alone out there.

We believe in the Constitution and capitalism with freedom. We were every bit as angry about the Wall Street bail out and hostile against the Patriot Act.

Why don’t you do an article on the differences between libertarians and Liberal socialists and see which group sounds better you then.

Stephen from Texas

You Are Wrong Claire – Despite Your Good Intentions

Saturday, January 14th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on You Are Wrong Claire – Despite Your Good Intentions

Dear Claire,

I always enjoy your articles and agree with nearly everything you say, however I do disagree with your article entitled Sex, Drugs, and Good Deeds: Being Boldly Bad in a Good Cause .

I do pity poor animals who are mistreated, but not enough to boldly smash the most basic law of freedom – the Libertarian Non Aggression Principle or Axiom. As you might be aware that states that:

“The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else.”

I care nothing for the state’s laws but your justification of this – admittedly with an extreme example to make us sympathise with the thief – opens up the door for wholesale theft of another’s property and can NEVER be justified.

Using your example, seeing a rancher’s cattle were not as fat as they might be, I might decide that they were suffering and in their best interest I should steal them all so that I might fatten them up or give them to someone else who might treat them better. I might believe that his wife was suffering and take her too and give her a better life with me! After all if you are going to ignore the state’s laws and also smash the most basic law of society, hey – anything goes!

If you don’t afford others the protection of the most basic law of freedom, then how can you expect that you yourself deserve that protection? Should others be able to steal from you if they thought it was in a good cause?

I believe that you have allowed a good heart to blind yourself to logic and the whole basis for freedom and justice for all.



About “The joys of idleness”

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on About “The joys of idleness”

I liked your article. But:

You said “Russell, Black, and their rare little ilk are sort of like theologians who can paint a whiz-bang picture of hell but who can’t even attempt to conjure up an image of a heaven that’s worth aiming for”.

I think this is not true. One of the Russell’s point was that many great minds of past were rich and idle people(Newton, Darwin) and if people work less they’ll have more free time, some of them will solve one or two big problems of society or science etc.



Circle of friends

Sunday, January 8th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on Circle of friends

Great article, the best I’ve ever read on the subject of preps.


EN the Peasant
Sonora, CA

Ron Paul is a disaster for Republicans and Democrats, but not for America’s freedoms

Thursday, January 5th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on Ron Paul is a disaster for Republicans and Democrats, but not for America’s freedoms

Dave Duffy’s article, “Ron Paul is a disaster for Republicans and Democrats, but not for America’s freedoms” is posted today, Thursday, January 5th, at  (gee, I wonder who asked Mike Rivero to post this really good article….)

What Really Happened website has a vast readership (and listenership for his daily radio program on Rense radio) of people all around the globe.  So hopefully this will expand exposure for your truly cool website.

Ron Paul 2012 !!!!

Thanks very much. This is the article I wrote in my blog Dec. 28.

–Dave Duffy

Duffy on Ron Paul

Thursday, January 5th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off on Duffy on Ron Paul

Ron Paul shows up in the coolest, most unexpected places !!

I was standing in the checkout line at my local health-food store and discovered your magazine.  And there on the cover was listed an article about Ron Paul.  Pretty amazing!

Mr. Duffy has written a clear and concise article recapping why we so desperately need Ron Paul as president, one of the better articles on the subject (and I’ve read most of them …. a huge fan since 2008).

Thank you Dave Duffy.  I am going to forward it to Mike Rivero at in the hopes that he posts it and gives you and your writing the exposure you both deserve.

Thank you again.

T Quigly

RON PAUL 2012 !!!!!

(Now that I’ve discovered you, will be checking out your website as I am interested in ideas about living on the land)

Thanks very much. I’m a solid Ron Paul supporter, but the article you refer to was actually written by the magazine’s long-time senior editor, John Silveira. — Dave

We don’t need no steenking 2nd amendment

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 by admin | Comments Off on We don’t need no steenking 2nd amendment

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


Monday, December 19th, 2011 by admin | Comments Off on Kindle!

I’ve always picked up Backwoods Home Magazine issue by issue at the bookstore.  I don’t know why I’ve never subscribed, but I wouldn’t miss an issue for anything.

My husband got me a Kindle for Christmas (and gave it to me early since I couldn’t stand the wait). I saw BHM would be available for Kindle and checked daily for access.  The minute it was available, I subscribed.  I love reading BHM on Kindle.  My arthritic hands find a Kindle easier to hold than a full sized magazine.

So…thank you, thank you, thank you for making my Kindle experience so worthwhile.  Now…if we could just get the Hardyville Tales and the BHM anthologies on Kindle.

Ruth E. Brown

Terrific! We’re working on the anthologies, and I’ll talk to Claire about putting Hardyville on Kindle. For those interested in my ongoing discussion with readers about BHM going on Kindle, you can refer to my blog.


John Silveira and Claire Wolfe

Monday, December 12th, 2011 by admin | Comments Off on John Silveira and Claire Wolfe

WOW what a mag. John Silveira’s description of a Libertarian was great. He managed to hit all the bases in a very short article. And in ‘My view’ his treatise on Ron Paul true and accurate. I sure hope Claire Wolfe continues to write for you also. Apocalypse, when? was very eye opening. I’m retired and on a small budget, I’ve cut back on some of my magazines but yours is the best. All of your writers are great and Annie, you’re doing a great job.

I do have one request. How about an article on Pikeminnow fishing. I have heard some stories about some of those fisherman making a lot of money. If I could just pay off my mortgage it would really help. I almost went to try it myself this year but my wife is blind and would not go. Maybe if I could convince her it’s a real opportunity we might go in 2012. Or maybe it’s not?

Thanks anyway,

Keep up the good fight.

Dan Day in Tennessee (retired trucker)
Dolly says Hi

Thank you.

Friday, November 25th, 2011 by admin | Comments Off on Thank you.


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 by admin | 1 Comment »

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 by admin | Comments Off on Your EMP article

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 by admin | Comments Off on Coyote Gun article

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



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