- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The June-July issue of Outdoor Life Magazine revealed the results of its annual hunting gun, binocular and rifle scope tests that made me want to cash in a couple of CDs at my bank just so I could keep up with the Joneses. You see, my sporting guns apparently didn’t pass muster. Not one of them was mentioned.

The magazine’s on-the-range test squad was composed of editors and experienced specialists who are not connected with the magazine or any gun manufacturer. Each firearm test began with a perfect score. But failure to feed or eject shells properly, rifles/shotguns that had rough triggers or any of a dozen other less-than-perfect features brought down the ratings. The firearm with the highest score at the end of the test was awarded the Outdoor Life Editor’s Choice Award and/or Great Buy Award.

The 2007 test winner for rimfire rifles was the Weatherby Mark XXII from Weatherby/Anschutz. Remington’s 798 was the best centerfire rifle, but as a great buy the Savage Model 12 Long Range Precision Varminter was chosen.

The OL Editor’s Choice Award for best shotgun went to Caesar Guerini Magnus Trap. The great buy was the Beretta AL391 Urika 2.

I own none of these rifles or shotguns, yet I’m quite satisfied with a Ruger 7 mm Remington-mag rifle that I use on large game, such as bears. A 30.06-caliber sporterized Springfield or a Marlin 30-30 caliber. Teddy Roosevelt commemorative model is used for deer, unless I’m in a shotgun-only county and will have to use a Remington 870 12-gauge with a slug barrel. I also have a 31/2-inch chambered 12-gauge Mossberg pump that comes in handy on geese and turkeys. Not one of them rated even a mention.

The magazine also tested optical equipment and found the German Zeiss Victory 10x56 full-size binoculars to be best overall, but a great buy award went to the full-size Pentax 10x50 DCF ED. Best compact binoculars went to the Steiner Wildlife Pro 10.5x28, with a best buy rating going to Bushnell Excursion 8x28. Among the rifle scopes Bushnell’s Elite 4200 6-24x40 was tops, with a great buy rating going to Sightron’s SII Big Sky 3.5-10x50.

I guess I’ll have to throw away the Nikon compact binoculars I own.

Rachel Carson celebration — A centennial celebration of the birth of Rachel Carson, the famed author and environmental movement pioneer, will be held May 19 at the Patuxent Research Refuge’s National Wildlife Visitor Center in Laurel. The public is invited to participate in a number of events, including a 10 a.m. ceremony, followed by various programs featuring live animals, hands-on activities, tram tours, nature hikes and more. The special guest is Jim Fowler, who gained fame in the long-running TV program “Wild Kingdom.”

The same visitor center also will have a dramatic depiction of Rachel Carson’s life at 1:30 p.m. on May 24. For additional information regarding these events, go to patuxent.fws.gov or call 301/497-5763.

Children’s fishing derby — The Weekend Bassers of Fredericksburg, Va., and the Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation Department invite children of all ages to participate in the “Kids Fishing Derby” at Motts Run Reservoir on June 2 (rain date June 3). Registration begins at 7 a.m., and the derby will run until noon. In addition, there will be games and a cookout. Parents and guardians are encouraged to come and bring their boats, but they may assist only with rigging hooks, bait and tackle. Awards and prizes will be given to all age groups. For more information call Mike Forsht, 571/213-9122; Dickie Musselman, 540/785-8087; or Linda Bailey, 540/372-1086.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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