Hunting With Huntington Courtesy Of Hodgdon; Cal. Judge Makes Sens


Thanks to the generous invitation of old pal Chris Hodgdon, the third generation of a family that made reloading propellants what they are today, this humble correspondent was able to spend a couple of days with His Editorship Roy Huntington at the superb Flint Oak hunting and shooting facility in Kansas.

This is Wyatt Earp and Bill Hickok country, cattle and farm country all in the Heartland. There is a lot of history in this neighborhood. Cruising down a freeway where 150 years ago guys named Bat Masterson and Luke Short might have been riding across the plains puts things into an interesting perspective.

Dave Workman and Roy Huntington brought law’n order to pheasants at the Flint Oak hunting club in Kansas.

The road took us to within a few miles of Lawrence, where William Clark Quantrill and William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson led the infamous guerrilla raid in August 1863, killing every man and boy they could find, while sacking and burning the town.

We gathered along with Chris and NRA’s Doug Hamlin for some pheasant, chukar and quail shooting, a couple of different sporting clays exercises and hospitality that is second to none in terms of ambiance, scenery and camaraderie. Joining us were Aaron Oelger, Hodgdon’s vice president of marketing and sales, and Ron Reiber, product development manager who is annoyingly proficient with a shotgun!

Flint Oak began in 1978 and over the past four decades, the operation has grown in fame and opportunity. In addition to hunting and shooting, there is fishing, delicious dining, ample lodging and other activities. Having never been to a place like this, it was quite a treat.

His Editorship opens fire on a strange orange disk!

Huntington turns out to be no slouch with a smoothbore, and he was using a Remington semi-auto in 28-gauge, probably just to show off. Likewise, Hodgdon demonstrated skill with a shotgun that doesn’t come by accident. Yours truly should probably stick to rock throwing.

Chris Hodgdon talks about company history and products while fondling a genuine Gattling gun.

I had a chance to talk powder with Chris. One of my favorites is H110, used in my .357 Magnum and .41 Magnum handloads, typically behind either a 210-grain Nosler or 210-grain Sierra, both JHPs. I also have become a real fan of H4895 and Hybrid 100V for the .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield, respectively.

Building A Company

Here’s the 25-cent tour. The company began 70 years ago under the late Bruce Hodgdon. It started with Bruce marketing surplus government powder after WWII, which he purchased by taking a loan on his life insurance policy. He first bought 50,000 pounds of 4895 propellant and stored it in an old boxcar, according to Chris and an online company history.

His sons, J. B. and Bob (the latter with whom I served on the NRA Board of Directors some years ago) helped out with the business. The company has grown considerably over the decades, expanding into black powder and black powder substitutes beginning with Pyrodex and then Triple Seven. They developed Pyrodex pellets, which are essentially measured loads for fast reloading of muzzleloader rifles and handguns.

Hodgdon now also owns IMR and markets Winchester propellants and the company also owns GOEX Powder, Inc.

It’s a company that is as rich in history as the Kansas ground on which it was built. And quite possibly one of the most creative things Hodgdon has done is produce the Annual Manual, a magazine-style reloading guide that comes out every year with data for thousands of different loads for hundreds of popular cartridges. I keep two; one in the office and the other above the loading bench.

Score One From A Good Judge

At this writing, California Attorney general Xavier Becerra was in the process of preparing an appeal in the case of Duncan v. Becerra, which California flat lost thanks to a remarkable 86-page ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez.

California’s ban on full-capacity magazines is unconstitutional, according to a federal judge.

The judge, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that the California ban on large capacity ammunition magazines carrying more than 10 rounds is unconstitutional. In the process, Judge Benitez verbally demolished gun control in the Golden State, delivering such gems as this, on Page 7:

“Few would say that a 100 or 50-round rifle magazine in the hands of a murderer is a good idea. Yet, the ‘solution’ for preventing a mass shooting exacts a high toll on the everyday freedom of ordinary law-abiding citizens. Many individual robberies, rapes, and shootings are not prevented by the State. Unless a law-abiding individual has a firearm for his or her own defense, the police typically arrive after it is too late. With rigor mortis setting in, they mark and bag the evidence, interview bystanders, and draw a chalk outline on the ground. But the victim, nevertheless, is dead, or raped, or robbed, or traumatized.”

Seven pages later, the veteran jurist took another swing not only at the state’s gun control laws, but at the mentality that must have guided those statutes into the state penal code.

“Today, self-protection is most important. In the future, the common defense may once again be most important. Constitutional rights stand through time holding fast through the ebb and flow of current controversy. Needing a solution to a current law enforcement difficulty cannot be justification for ignoring the Bill of Rights as bad policy. Bad political ideas cannot be stopped by criminalizing bad political speech. Crime waves cannot be broken with warrantless searches and unreasonable seizures. Neither can the government response to a few mad men with guns and ammunition be a law that turns millions of responsible, law-abiding people trying to protect themselves into criminals. Yet, this is the effect of California’s large-capacity magazine law.”

That groan you hear is coming from Sacramento, where California state lawmakers have made life miserable for the millions of lawful gun owners. This case has all the earmarks of a Supreme Court review. Stay tuned.

Yep, There Was Alcohol Involved

Insider Online has just been reminded that wondering aloud how anyone could be “that” stupid is often seen as a challenge.

According to the Associated Press and every other news agency looking for bad examples, a pair of Arkansas gents identified as Charles Ferris and Christopher Hicks were arrested by police in Rogers recently for shooting each other while wearing a bullet-resistant vest.

This was apparently preceded by the downing of some liquid refreshment, according to all the reports. The firearm involved was a .22-caliber rifle. One man wore the vest and the other man pressed the trigger, and then they swapped roles.

The New York Post reported that these guys have been charged with aggravated assault, which is a felony, and they could be facing some serious jail time. Well, one supposes that beats spending the rest of eternity in a coffin.