Interview with Charlton Heston

April 17, 2010

EDITOR’S NOTE: Charlton Heston died April 5, 2008 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. Lydia, his wife of 64 years, was by his side. Heston was president of the National Rifle Association, America’s most powerful lobbying organization, from 1998 until he resigned in 2003 when his health began faltering due to Alzheimer’s. At the 2000 NRA convention, Heston raised a flintlock rifle over his head and yelled that a potential Democratic presidency could take away his gun rights only from his “cold, dead hands.”

Here’s an interview with Charlton Heston in 1997. This interview won first prize in “The $21,000 Great Stories Contest,” a nationwide writing competition sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Outdoor Writers Association of America:

Charlton Heston led the NRA from 1998 to 2003. Photo courtesy of Heston’s PR agency. Image used with permission


‘MOSES’ LEADS THE PRO-GUN CHARGE

By RONI TOLDANES

He is known worldwide for his magnificent portrayals of remarkable men. He has portrayed presidents, generals and statesmen; even win­ning an Academy Award for playing the title character in one of Hollywood’s greatest epics, Ben-Hur. But for millions of his movie fans around the world, Charlton Heston is Moses, the scepter-wielding prophet who led his people to freedom from the tyrannical grip of a despotic pharaoh in the blockbuster film The Ten Commandments.

Now, looking back over a career that has spanned half a century and more than 70 motion pictures, Hes­ton shares his views about gun ownership and his active par­ticipation in the defense of the Second Amendment. He is back in the limelight after his election as president of the beleaguered National Rifle Association, a key position in the fight of Americans to pre­serve their right to bear arms. He has become a real-life Moses for gun owners.

Heston, who said he learned to use a shotgun at age 10 in rural Michigan and prides himself on a personal collection of at least 30 firearms at his Beverly Hills home, said he figured his best asset to the NRA was his fame. “I have my access in Congress because I’m so pretty,” he quipped. “That counts.”

Even those who disagree with Heston acknowledge that his dramatic role as “Moses” in The Ten Commandments is difficult to erase from the pub­lic’s mind. “It’s somewhat flattering to lose to Moses, the voice of God,” said Neal Knox, explaining why Heston was able to sweep onto the NRA board and defeat him.

Heston himself is eager to oblige to that notion, which he described in his recent autobiography as “my expanded persona, riding the tiger.” With his image as Moses, he said he gets invited to dinners with powerful politicians and influential world fig­ures. Before his interview with this writer, he trav­eled to Washington, D.C., for political kibitzing and to New York for a dinner with Prince Andrew hon­oring the American Air Museum in Britain.

A few years ago, Heston was busy promoting his book To Be a Man, which he dedicated to his grandson, Jack.  Thousands queued for his book signing. One of the memorable comments he’d received was from an elderly woman who said, “I quit the NRA because of its bad image. I’m joining again because I know you can straighten things out.”

Photo provided by Charlton Heston. Image used with permission

Both gun lobbyists and gun control advocates say that Heston provided the kind of shot-in-the-arm desperately needed by the NRA and all American gun owners. His primary value lies in being a credible conservative. “Heston can make sure that people understand that the NRA is a mainstream organization,” Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) said. “He can deflect some of this criticism that the NRA represents the fringe elements of society. Charl­ton Heston is not a fringe person. ”

Observers attribute the scope of Heston’s appeal not only to his stardom but to a reputation untarnished by the sexual and drug-related peccadilloes that dog so many celebrities. “Charlton Heston is a man motivated by commitment,” said Washington-based political consultant Tony Makris. “He’s been married to the same woman, Lydia, for 63 years – his first and only love, the first woman he ever dated.”

RAP CONTROVERSY

In conversation, Heston was his usual affable self – a kind of old-school combination of court­liness, disarming self-mockery and perfect dic­tion. He took advantage of that diction in 1992 when Time-Warner was under attack for releas­ing rapper Ice-T’s controversial “Cop Killer” CD.

Heston, who owned several hundred shares of Time-Warner stock, barged into the stock­holders’ meeting in Beverly Hills that summer and condemned the company for putting out an anti-police album.

With about 1,000 stockholders intently lis­tening, Heston stood up and, with this sonorous voice, read the profane lyrics of “Cop Killer,” which almost no one in the room had heard or seen. The lyrics began with “F—k the police.” Heston’s move startled the stockholders and company executives. It was reminiscent of the movie scene when Moses raised his scepter and parted the Red Sea.

Time-Warner executives defended the album in terms of the First Amendment, but Heston told them, “Let me ask you: If this piece were titled ‘Fag Killer,’ or if the lyrics went ‘Die, die, kike, die!,’ would you still peddle it? It’s often been said that if Adolf Hitler came back with a dynamite treatment for a film, every studio in town would be after it. Would Warner be among them?”

Heston left the room in an echoing silence.

Several weeks later, Time-Warner caved in to crit­icism and intense national pressure, announc­ing that it had parted ways with Ice-T due to a dispute over album artwork. Industry observers credit Heston for the company’s decision.

“I’m proud of what I did, though now I’ll surely never be offered another film by Warner, nor get a good review from Time magazine,” Heston says. “On the other hand, I doubt I’ll get a traffic ticket very soon.” Heston has since sold his Time-Warner shares of stock.

OUTSPOKEN BELIEFS

Heston has devoted a great amount of his energy to causes in which he has strong and outspoken beliefs. He was an active supporter of Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr. in the early days of the strug­gle for civil rights in America, “long before it became fashionable.”

His unsullied reputation brought him respect and admiration from his colleagues in Hollywood. He was elected pres­ident of the Screen Actors Guild and served six terms on the board of directors; and was appointed co-chairman of President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 task force examining the fiscal worthiness of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Like most men in his generation, Heston learned about firearms at a young age because he often accompanied his dad hunting in the Michigan woods. Heston didn’t hunt for trophies but for the meat, mostly partridge. “Hunting requires patience and concentration,” he says. “Life has lent me these qualities since, but I lacked them as a boy.”

Heston believes that the media, in general, are mistaken for saying that the public is anti-gun and anti-NRA. “We’re not a lonely band. We represent mainstream America. Gun owner­ship is too deep a part of our culture.”

He recalled his recent appearance on the TV show Late Night with Conan O’Brien, on NBC. “When Conan mentioned the NRA and my participation in it, the audience cheered,” Heston says. “And this show was taped in New York City, the heart of Liberalville.”

SHIFTING PUBLIC OPINION

Public opinion on firearms, Heston says, seems to be shifting in the face of recent violent inci­dents. He recalled the Los Angeles riots in 1992, which helped many Hollywood folks change their views on gun ownership. As smoke from burning buildings smudged the skyline and the TV news showed vivid images of laughing loot­ers smashing windows and carting off boom boxes and booze, Heston got a few phone calls from firmly anti-gun friends. One conversation went this way:

“Umm, Chuck, you have quite a few … ah, guns, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Shotguns and … like that?”

“Indeed.”

“Could you lend me one for a day or so? I tried to buy one, but they have this waiting period … ”

“Yeah, I know; I remember you voted for that. Do you know how to use a shotgun?”

“No, I thought maybe you could teach me. This is getting a little scary.”

“I noticed. I could teach you, but not in an hour. You might shoot yourself instead of the bad guys. The Marines are coming up from Pendleton; that’ll end it. When it does, go buy yourself a good shotgun and take some lessons. It doesn’t get so scary then.”

Heston said his friend writer-director John Milius had more calls. His answer was more forthright: “Sorry. They’re all being used.”

Heston identified several famous Holly­wood people who own guns, including Steven Spielberg who owns one of the finest gun col­lections in California, but never refers to it, and never shoots publicly. Spielberg, who pro­duced the all-time blockbuster film The Lost Word – Jurassic Park, has been photographed shooting a shotgun at a Trap and Sporting Clays range in California, but asked the photogra­pher not to release his picture to the media. “Can you imagine the most famous filmmaker in town worried about his reputation?” Heston says, chuckling.

Charlton Heston’s letter to Roni Toldanes.

“There are numbers of gun owners, ­collectors, hunters, sport shooters in the film community, plus many more who keep firearms for protection,” Heston reveals. “I suspect, in fact, there are more Hollywood filmmakers who are closet gun enthusiasts than there are closet homosexuals.”

Can responsible gun owners really turn the tide of anti-gun sen­timent in this country? Heston’s answer: “I think we’re doing that now. You won’t get another anti-gun bill approved in this Congress.”

SHOWING THE FUN SIDE

These days, Heston also shoots Sporting Clays when his hectic schedule permits it. By hosting celebrity sports shooting tournaments near Dana Point, California, Hes­ton hopes to turn the tide of public opinion and encourage more Hollywood people to come out in the open in favor of responsible gun owner­ship. The competitions continue to attract more movie personalities each year, some of them coming from as far as New York.

Hollywood personalities, says Heston, are reluctant to come out in support of the Second Amendment “because they fear unemployment.” Heston hopes that by showing them that guns are not just for self defense, and people can actually have fun with guns at the shooting range, he could reverse their unfounded opinion.

Charlton Heston doesn’t need Moses’ scepter to do that. But his sporting shotgun would come in handy.

Editor’s Note: Managing Editor Roni Toldanes interviewed Charlton Heston in 1997. His feature story won first prize in “The $21,000 Great Stories Contest,” a nationwide writing contest sponsored by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Toldanes received a standing ovation from more than 850 writers and editors during the OWAA national conference in Redding, California. Charlton Heston died on April 5, 2008 at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 84

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AN INCREDIBLE PASSION FOR GUNS

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Photo courtesy of Lou Ferrigno

 

By Roni Toldanes

As dramatic biographies go, this one sounds like it came straight from the soap opera archives: 12-year-old boy earns a few dollars after a nine-hour shift delivering groceries, goes home and puts all the money on the kitchen table. His father snatches his earnings despite his protests. “I worked hard for that money, Dad,” he bellowed indignantly, “what did you earn this morning?” His scowling father grabs a butcher knife and hurls it directly at him. It whistles past his face.

Fast forward 33 years. That boy is now a 45-year-old Lou Ferrigno, one of the world’s most successful bodybuilders and star of the 1980s TV series “The Incredible Hulk.”

Ferrigno, in a two-hour interview with this writer at his home in Santa Monica, California, avoided talking about his bleak childhood. Instead, he spoke enthusiastically about guns, his movie career, and his plan to introduce his two sons, Lou, Jr; and Brent, to the shooting sports.

“I like target shooting because it’s fun,” Ferrigno said in his baritone voice. “And it’s a good thing for a father to enjoy with his children.” His wife, Carla, also participates in the shotgun sports.

Ferrigno said he discovered the shooting sports last year and enjoyed the joshing and camaraderie at the firing range. He found the experience quite pleasant that in less than a year, his two glossy Fort Knox gun safes already contain at least 16 competition rifles, mostly equipped with long-range scopes; several shotguns and more than a dozen handguns.

Ferrigno’s enthusiasm towards introducing his sports to his children was in stark contrast with the emotional turmoil inflicted upon him by his father when he was a young boy in Brooklyn, New York.

At age 2, Ferrigno lost his hearing as a result of a severe inner-ear infection. His affliction made him reluctant to speak with people and his speech was somewhat askew.

Because of his handicap, Ferrigno was often ridiculed by his classmates. But he managed to take things in stride. That is, until the day he gathered enough courage to tell his father, a police lieutenant, of his dream to grow up just like Dad. His father shot down that dream with a terse comment: “The police department will never take a deaf kid onto the force. … The only thing that you’ll be able to do is drive a cab.”

With tears flowing down his cheeks, Ferrigno gathered his books and went to school with a heavy heart. From that day on, he promised himself that he would someday become a “big” person, someone bigger than a regular cop.

MARVELOUS COMICS

Ferrigno was always an action fan. As pictures served to stimulate and fire-up his imagination, he enjoyed reading comic books. His favorite was Marvel Comics’ The Incredible Hulk. But his interest on comic books was changed when he saw a bodybuilding magazine at a newsstand on his way to school. Soon, huge men with swollen biceps and flaring quadriceps became his heroes.

Ferrigno took bodybuilding lessons, working out at nights in the family basement and pushing himself to the limit. Within a few years, Ferrigno brought home some of the most prestigious titles in bodybuilding, including Mr. Teenage America, Mr. America and Mr. International. At age 21, he became the youngest athlete ever to win the Mr. Universe title.

But Ferrigno’s hearing problem would continue to hound him. After winning the Mr. Universe title, he was interviewed by the ABC television network which promised to broadcast the contest on their popular Wide World of Sports program. His father went to the ABS studios in New York and viewed an advanced copy of the tape. As soon as his father arrived, Ferrigno inquired what happened at the TV station. His father looked at him coldly and said, “You know something? They can’t use your interview because we can’t understand your speech! Your speech was awful!”

Ferrigno was absolutely defenseless for his father’s final shot:” You’re a misfit!”

“I was shocked, horrified, hurt and stunned into total silence,” Ferrigno said. “I’d gone from a world champion with a bright future to the lowest piece of trash on the planet.”

A PHONE CALL FROM JOE WEIDER

Ferrigno’s melancholic life would change after his bravura performance at the Mr. Universe contest captivated Joe Weider, the magazine publisher who had trained very major star in bodybuilding since the 1940s. Weider telephoned Ferrigno’s house in Brooklyn, expressing interest in having Lou move out to California to pursue his body career. But his father answered the call. “No, he’s not interested, Mr. Weider,” his father said and hung up the phone.

Ferrigno eventually realized that his father viewed him as his own “personal plough horse.” Every penny that he earned went to his father, he said. As a result, he had no motivation to work hard at any vocation — except bodybuilding.

CHANCE TO ESCAPE

In 1976, Ferrigno’s opportunity to escape presented itself when he was invited to guest pose in California. He encountered no resistance from his father, who was offered $200 for Lou’s public appearance. In one short stroke, Ferrigno’s vicarious sacrifice for his father would come to an end. He did what most other young men would have done in similar situations: He stayed in California and never again returned home. And the rest, as some writers would often say, is history.

With his 23-inch arms and a bodyweight that fluctuates between 290 and 310 pounds of grade-A muscle and standing 6 feet 5 inches, Ferrigno transformed himself into a TV hero. Over the years, he took lead roles in several action films, including Hercules, Cage and Desert Warrior.

Ferrigno has finished Stand Tall, the sequel to the classic bodybuilding film Pumping Iron. He has also appeared on several stage productions and provided the voice for the Incredible Hulk in a TV animated series.

Gale Anne Hurd, producer of such recent blockbuster films as Terminator and Relic, considered Ferrigno’s appearance on the TV series Incredible Hulk so pivotal that she decided to give him a role in the $100-million movie version of the Hulk.

Ferrigno wants to improve his knowledge of guns and shooting. He said he would soon attend the Gunsite training camp in Arizona.

“I want to portray guns in the movies in a very sophisticated way,” he said, as he laughed at a recent top-grossing film that showed a sniper firing-off rapid shots from a chopper. “Do you know how difficult it is to shoot a sniper’s rifle from a helicopter?”

Ferrigno knows what he’s talking about. Inside cabinets that were positioned near his dining room were stacks of gun magazines. On top of his TV are gun videos, including a set of tapes produced by David Tubb, the world’s most successful high-power rifle shooter.

Despite his late entry in the shooting field, which began after a friend gifted him a large-frame Desert Eagle pistol, Ferrigno’s gun collection is already quite impressive. Name your favorite caliber and, chances are, he’s got it. From Stoner rifles to Springfield M-1A long-range rifles to magnaported .454 Casulls. They’re all unloaded and secured.

Magazine editor Roni Toldanes interviews "The Incredible Hulk" Lou Ferrigno at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.

Magazine editor Roni Toldanes interviews “The Incredible Hulk” Lou Ferrigno at his home in Santa Monica, Calif. Photo by Y.Sued

“Other men like to visit bars and drink,” he said, “while others like to blow their money on cars. But I’d rather buy guns that I can shoot.”

Ferrigno strongly supports the Second Amendment, the constitutional right to bear arms. “You have the right to own a firearm for self-protection or to shoot for fun, but you have to learn how to use it properly and respect all the rules.” He said his children, including his daughter, Shanna, understand the basic firearm safety rules. They’ve been told that if they see a gun at another home, they should walk away and immediately inform an adult.

Ferrigno spoke with particular intensity about acting and shooting. Acting, he said, offers him a chance to play diversified characters and show a different dimension of himself. Shooting, on the other hand, gives him the thrill.

SHOOTING FOR SCORE

Each time he discussed the shooting sports, Ferrigno was impassioned. He was moving. He was possessed with fervor. “Shooting is a mental challenge,” he said. “It forces you to focus. And it’s very relaxing.” He said he found it “fascinating” to be able to pull the trigger, drive a bullet 400 yards downrange and see a tight cluster of hits. “I think it’s wonderful. It’s one of the phenomenal things in life.”

Even at his age, Ferrigno is still a sight to behold. Whenever he goes to shopping malls, heads turn to glimpse the muscles. And there is the sound of a wolf whistle, distant but distinct.

In 1994, Ferrigno joined the Masters Olympia — 19 years after retiring from his last competition — and finished among the top 10 winners. His “praying mantis” pose, with his powerful right arm cocked behind his ear, appeared to unleash all the fury of a crackling lightning bolt.

Ferrigno said his schedule may soon allow him to actively participate in the shooting sports. Because of his huge hands, however, Ferrigno can’t use out-of-the-box guns. When he held his compact Lock 26 pistol, even with its 30-round magazine, it looked like a lollipop. When he clutched a single-stack 1911, his trigger finger extended all the way to the compensator. Despite this, Ferrigno expressed confidence he can succeed on the shooting circuit.

“I have the passion and I’m self-driven,” he said, recalling his bodybuilding triumph against younger men after nearly two decades of retiring from competition. “That’s why I want to take that energy now to the shooting sports.”

Letter from "The Incredible Hulk" to Roni Toldanes after the SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas

With his stamina, tenacity, and a powerful grip that can easily tame recoil, muscleman Lou Ferrigno should find it easy to hit his goal — and his targets.

After all, the Hulk’s shooting ability was already impressive enough that some spectators, who saw him recently at a firing range, exclaimed in unison: “That’s Incredible!”

Letter from “The Incredible Hulk” to Roni Toldanes after the SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas

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THE LOST WORLD OF STEVEN SPIELBERG

 

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Photo courtesy of Steven Spielberg’s PR agency. Image used with permission.

HIS GUNS AND HIS SECRET LIFE AS A SHOOTER

By Roni Toldanes

It’s impossible not to mention the fairy tale character Peter Pan when writ­ing about Steven Spielberg. After all, the lonely and precocious son of a broken home himself said in 1985, “I have always felt like Peter Pan. I still feel like Peter Pan.”

It was difficult for Spielberg to “grow up” — both as a man and as a filmmaker.

For 20 years, Spielberg had Hollywood’s most profound and profitable case of arrested development. Critics condescendingly regarded him as a child-man fixated on the toys of moviemaking and incapable of dealing maturely with the darker side of life. In many of his films, Spielberg indulged his boyish fondness for pulp adventure, infantile humor and special-effects fantasy extravaganzas.

But, in reality, Spielberg was misunder­stood. The fellow who makes movies every­one wants to see was simply not like every­one else. “People like Steven don’t come along every day,” says his friend and fre­quent collaborator George Lucas, “and when they do, it’s an amazing thing. It’s like talk­ing about Einstein or Babe Ruth or Tiger Woods. He’s not in a group of filmmakers his age; he’s far, far away.”

Still, one can ask how a half-century of living and nearly a quarter-century’s reign as the most successful moviemaker in his­tory affect the man who took out a patent on perennial childhood.

From the short feature film he made as a 13-year-old (Escape to Nowhere), through a string of blockbusters such as E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Empire of the Sun, Jaws and the con­tinuing adventures of Indiana Jones, Spiel­berg has explored primeval fears, expressed children’s loneliness and tested their inno­cence. Even his version of Peter Pan in the movie Hook was sprinkled with childlike fantasy.

In 1993, however, moviedom’s Peter Pan finally “grew up.” Spielberg silenced many of his detractors with Schindler’s List, his masterful drama about a gentile business­man who saved 1,100 Jews from the Plaszow death camp during World War II. The film was the culmination of a long personal strug­gle with Spielberg’s Jewish identity, a plea by a preeminent popular artist that to remem­ber is to speed up the healing.

“I was so ashamed of being a Jew, and now I’m filled with pride,” he said in inter­views at the time the movie was released. “This film has kind of come along with me on this journey from shame to honor.” For that film with a wrenching theme, Spielberg would receive two Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture. The film also won five other Oscars.

With Schindler’s List, Spielberg became a proselytizer for a spiritual unification of Germans and Jews. “I feel it is time in Germany for this generation to teach its children,” he said. “Education is the way to stop another Holocaust from happening.”

Following the emotional pulse of Schindler’s List, Spielberg also directed Amistad, a film about a Spanish ship that brought 53 abducted Africans to the U.S. in 1839 and provoked a slave revolt and a trial in which the slaves’ case was argued by former President John Quincy Adams.

To an extent, most of Spielberg’s films were identical to certain cliff-hanging chapters of his life.

Steven Allan Spielberg’s ancestors were among the 2 million Jews who fled Russia and Eastern Europe for the United States between 1881 and 1914, settling in Cincinnati, where he was born on Dec. 18, 1946. Some of his relatives remained in Russia for generations to come, and some eventually went to Israel, but many of those who did not emigrate were murdered during the Nazi Holocaust.

Spielberg was raised in the suburbs of Haddonfield, New Jersey and Phoenix, Arizona, where the elder Spielbergs and their four kids — Steven and his three younger sisters — lived from 1957 to 1964. As a child growing up in Haddonfield, where archaeologists found the first virtually complete dinosaur skeleton, Spielberg became fascinated with dinosaurs.

In Phoenix, he was a one-man commando unit against neighbors who made anti-Semitic slurs, sneaking up and smearing their windows with peanut butter.

It was in Arizona where Spielberg started making amateur films while still in his teens, later studying at California State University, Long Beach. In 1969, Spielberg’s 22-minute short feature Amblin was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival. It made him the youngest director ever to be signed to a long-term deal with a major Hollywood studio.

Four years later, he directed the suspense-filled telefilm Duel. He made his feature film directorial debut on The Sugarland Express, from a screenplay he co-wrote. His additional film credits include the Back to the Future trilogy, Always and The Color Purple. His film Saving Private Ryan, a World War II saga starring Tom Hanks, also landed on the blockbuster records.

Through the years, Steven Spielberg has directed, produced or executive produced eight of the top grossing films of all time. He had back-to-back block-buster hits with The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which he directed, and Men in Black, which he executive produced.

Steven Spielberg is, indeed, the most successful moviemaker in history. In 1996, Forbes Magazine estimated his net worth at $1 billion. Not bad for a kid who “felt like an alien” in America, and who turned to making movies as a way of finding social acceptance.

Observers say that Spielberg’s emotional isolation during his childhood may have helped delay his own maturation process. His parents, Leah and Arnold, divorced when he was 19. Steven remained close to his mother and her new husband Bernie Adler, who passed away several years ago.

Adler’s death shocked Steven into seeing the fragility of people’s lives. It also brought him closer to his father and to his growing family.

Spielberg shoots Sporting Clays in Europe with Harrison Ford.

Spielberg shoots Sporting Clays in Europe with Harrison Ford. Image used with photographer’s permission.

Like almost every American boy growing up in the 1950s, Spielberg received guidance about matters such as gun safety from his father, Arnold Spielberg. And he pictured himself doing the same thing, besides other fatherly duties, even before his first child (with his first wife Amy Irving), Max, was born. “The child was going to change my life … I want to be like most parents.”

When Max Samuel Spielberg was born on June 13, 1985 at the Santa Monica Hospital, the exultant father described his son as “my best production yet.”

Today, Spielberg spends more time with his burgeoning family. With Kate Capshaw, whom he married in 1991, Spielberg has a brood of seven: Max (whose custody he shares with Irving); Jessica, (from Capshaw’s first marriage); Theo, Sasha, Sawyer, Mikaela and Destry.

It was Spielberg’s father, an electrical engineer and amateur film buff, who spurred his interest in movie-making. It was also his dad, a World War II Air Force sharpshooter, who taught Steven his gun-handling skills.

As someone who never enjoyed much of the regular sports during his childhood, Steven Spielberg introduced his son Max, in 1995, to the sport he knows best — Sporting Clays.

Screenwriter and director John Milius (Apocalypse Now and Clear and Present Danger) describes Steven Spielberg as a sharpshooter. Spielberg, he said, regularly shoots an Italian over/under Fabri shotgun, an engraved model of which costs in the neighborhood of $85,000.

Milius said he began shooting sporting clays with Spielberg in the late 1960s at the Oak Tree Gun Club in southern California. During their younger days, Milius said, they used to play at least once a week. “We call it red-neck golf,” Milius said, “just like golf, you either like it or you don’t.”

Explaining Spielberg’s passion for collecting top-of-the-line shotguns, Milius told this writer, “They are just beautiful things. How many beautiful works of art can you take out and use?”

Milius would often shoot Sporting Clays with Spielberg. He admits having lost “a few times” to Spielberg, who actually received some shooting lessons from him in the past. “I’m the teacher and he’s the student, but on a good day he’s really good.”

Art Bright, manager of the Pachmayr Range in southern California, remembers giving Spielberg and young Max a few shooting tips. “Steven Spielberg is a pretty good shot,” Bright says. “He’s probably a solid B-class shooter.”

Rifle maker Butch Searcy confirmed having built two big-bore rifles that were used as props in the movie Jurassic Park. The .600 Nitro rifles, bearing the serial numbers Lost World 1 and Lost World 2, are valued at $40,000 each, Searcy said, adding that Spielberg’s aides had told him that one of the rifles became a part of the director’s collection.

Once upon a shooting star, there was a lonely young boy who aimed for success and social acceptance. That boy, Steven Spielberg, is now an adult. But is he completely grown up? “Sometimes he’ll howl with glee after breaking some of his clay targets,” a Sporting Clays champion, who requested anonymity, said. “Sometimes when he gets excited, he just can’t control himself. At times, he’s just like a little kid.”


First yellowfin tuna caught using a compound bow

August 7, 2014

 

I am sure this is the first giant yellowfin tuna ever harvested with a compound bow. I was using a waterproof Hydroglow fishing light when a school of giant Dorados (aka mahi-mahis) came circling the green light. We were fishing the South China Sea, near Taiwan, when this tuna came and also circled the light several times. I took a careful aim while asking my friends to get ready to cut the line if the tuna doesn't drop dead after getting hit with the fiberglass arrow. It did. Photo shows the arrow still embedded. My my compound bow's heavy draw, my arrows would normally go through a whitetail deer, but the tuna's head is so thick, it barely penetrated halfway.

This was probably the first yellowfin tuna ever harvested with a compound bow. I was using a waterproof Hydroglow fishing light when a school of giant dorados, aka mahi-mahis, circled the green light. We were fishing the South China Sea, near Taiwan, about 8 hours from the shoreline in the northern Philippines. This tuna came to say hello, circling the light several times. I took a careful aim while asking my friends to be ready to cut the line. It wasn’t necessary. The tuna dropped dead, so to speak, after getting hit with the fiberglass arrow. To capture a water buffalo like that on a light fishing line made out of Spectra fibers is quite a terrifying and emotional experience, at least if you’re of the tribe that derives emotion from bagging large fish, but the end result could be fatal, if you’re not careful enough. The injured giant tuna hauls tail at an incredible speed, puncturing the blue water at 50 mph and diving to more than 500 meters. No, you can’t hang onto your bow and you don’t have a fiberglass rod that could buckle to fight the fish. You could only listen to the squall of your little reel quickly yielding line, and when all the line has run out it breaks, at the tuna’s end if you’re lucky, at the reel if you’re not. Photo shows the arrow still embedded. With my compound bow’s heavy draw, I was expecting the arrow to pass through, but this tuna’s head was so thick, it barely penetrated halfway. We stayed five days and five nights in the open seas, but I never got the chance to do a repeat performance. It was, indeed, a rare and fascinating sight to see a yellowfin circling an underwater light. And, yes, I also bagged a 5-foot dorado with the compound bow. Bowfishing isn’t bowling or golf. It captures the magical experience one gets from hunting and fishing at the same time. Bring your 10-foot cast net and your big-game fishing rods, an underwater green light, a compound bow rigged for saltwater fishing and get ready to hang on for dear life. You’ll have a blast. No gunpowder required.

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FLY FISHING GOES WILD
By RONI TOLDANES

BOONE, NORTH CAROLINA — Tyler Almond staggered, but quickly regained traction and balance, his right hand clutching a fly rod, while on his way to his secret fishing spot, surrounded by boulders.

“It’s almost like rock climbing,” he said, describing the mile-long slippery hike to his fishing hole somewhere in North Carolina’s High Country.

Almond, 31, works as a fishing guide for the Foscoe Fishing Company. He belongs to a unique breed of sportsmen — those who adore the sparkle of sunlight dancing off a trout stream, marvel at the surreal beauty of a mayfly hatch and extol the thrilling eruption of a surface strike by a wild trout.

To him, size doesn’t matter. After all, he is hunting wild fish.

In the chilly, early morning hours of Aug. 18, Almond allowed a journalist to observe his techniques as he tried to prove the advantage of hiring the services of a fishing guide.

“Up here, it is close-quarter fishing,” he said. “You have to deliver finesse, you have to be stealthy, you have to be more precise.”

You need to know the right spots, he said.

Almond’s five years of experience as a fishing guide required him to develop a passion for observing, learning and analyzing the entire spectrum of fly fishing — from insect hatches to a trout’s eating pattern.

“Presentation is a big thing in fly fishing for trout,” he said, mentioning his pursuit of technical knowledge by reading books, including one by Gary Borger, a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin.

Borger’s book, “Presentation,” tackles the phrase that every fly fisherman needs to understand: Matching the hatch. To catch the skittish wild trout, the fisherman needs to select the fly lure that closely resembles the insect hatching in the water.

Artificial flies are hand-tied with thread, feathers and sometimes fur. Almond carries a compact aluminum case with dozens of flies.

Almond said fly fishermen watch the bugs that are hatching, because trout will often attack one kind of offering at a time. If you can figure out what that bug is and match it with an artificial fly, you might catch several trout.

Almond lifted a few rocks to show two kinds of stoneflies that were hatching from the river’s depths. His advice to new fishermen: “Take a minute and survey the stream and see what’s going on,” and then tie the fly that matches the airborne insects that land on the water.

Almond changed his fly lure three times. The buggy-whip effect gained from the rhythmic waving of Almond’s rod gradually extended the line, which then allowed the fly to settle to the water, similar to a falling strand from a spider’s web.

In less than two seconds, Almond’s offering came under attack.

A seven-inch brown trout devoured his lure, displaying a ferocious splashing and punctuating its displeasure with a large leap.

The wild trout’s colors are stunning: vibrant hues of pink, red and spots of light brown surrounded by silver — much brighter than the hatchery-released browns.

After taking a few photographs, Almond quickly released the fish. Two other browns gobbled up his offering in two other holes within the area.

Almond explained his piscatorial pursuit, the fascination behind fooling the fish and pulling it out of the water: “What fascinates me about trout fishing is their habitat, where they live. Trout tends to live in the most beautiful places,” he said.

In the High Country, specifically in Almond’s favorite fishing holes, beautiful is the appropriate adjective. Astonishing foliage surrounds him. There are wild mushrooms and wild berries, too. But he is not revealing his secret fishing spot.

Before choosing his fishing holes, Almond drove around several streams in Newland. He checked out the Elk River, the Watauga River, creeks and his other favorite fishing spots, but heavy rains early in the morning washed away mud, making it hard to sight-cast. Wild trout are sight feeders, Almond said, so they rely on seeing their prey.

As he drove away down the mountain from his favorite fishing spot, Almond pointed at two fishermen hunting trout along the banks of a creek with water that turned chocolate-brown. They were probably tourists, he said, and, chances are, they will never catch trout in that location.

“That’s why you need a fishing guide,” he said.


BOYD ASWORTH’S SCARY KNIFE

June 12, 2009

By Roni Toldanes

Boyd Asworth is a unique craftsman with a knack for translating bizarre-looking materials into works of art. Just look at the photos.

Asworth forged 320 layers of 5160 steel to produce this Damascus blade. He used 51 layers for his Mokume bolster, using iron and nickel. For the unlocking mechanism, he installed a rosette made from carved 01 steel.

Asworth forged 320 layers of 5160 steel to produce this Damascus blade. He used 51 layers for his Mokume bolster, using iron and nickel. For the unlocking mechanism, he installed a rosette made from carved 01 steel.

Asworth, 38, is a Journeyman Smith in the American Bladesmith Society. He hopes to present this knife, together with four more of his best knives, to elevate his status this year to that of Master Smith.

Last year, Asworth received a portion of a mule deer’s antler from a hunter in Idaho. It took him about a month to figure out how to create a jaw-dropping knife from the grotesque antler.

“It looked so weird I couldn’t decide how I wanted to carve it,” Asworth recalls, shaking his head. “But I wanted to leave it as natural as possible, so I decided to split it and make a folding knife.”

After many sleepless nights, Asworth decided to carve the dragon’s face in the antler. He engraved nostrils in the handle and embellished it with emerald inlays to create the dragon’s eyes. Then he picked up a small piece of scrap iron from his shop, forging it into shape as the dragon’s tongue, which can be moved up and down with a slight pull.

When Asworth’s wife, Holley, saw the handle, she was appalled.

But as soon as he blended his finished blade into the deformed antler, his wife glowed at the idea. It’s like a mother learning to love her ugly child.

This handle’s close-up photo shows the unique features of the deformed antler that Ashworth sculpted to create the dragon’s face. The Georgia-based knife maker also embellished the handle with emeralds.

This handle’s close-up photo shows the unique features of the deformed antler that Ashworth sculpted to create the dragon’s face. The Georgia-based knife maker also embellished the handle with emeralds.

“She didn’t like it at first, but it grew on her,” Asworth says. “Once I put it all together, she said she liked it.”
The final product, as Asworth describes it, “was so mean and cruel-looking that we thought of calling it a one-armed bandit.”

The knife comes with a display stand made of amboyna, a mottled curly-grained wood of a leguminous tree often seen in southeastern Asia.

For more information, you may contact custom knife maker Boyd Ashworth at (770) 943-4963.


A MASTER BLADESMITH TAKES THE CUTTING EDGE

June 12, 2009

By RONI TOLDANES

DAVID ANDERS will never forget that first day when, about 10 years ago, he found a copy of a cutlery maga­zine at a newsstand. Like a kid in a candy store, Anders was thrilled as he leafed through the pages. And by his own admis­sion, from the moment he picked up that publication, he was hooked.

DavidAnders1Undoubtedly, that day ignited his desire to produce cutting-edge knives that cannot be duplicated in exact detail by any other knife smith. Trouble was, while Anders already knew how to make ordinary knives, he didn’t have sufficient technical knowledge to create the type of knives he saw in the magazine.

“I was amazed to learn that some peo­ple can actually make those kind of knives,” Anders said with emphasis. “I was intrigued with finding out how they were made.”

There was not much reading material on the subject available in those days. Anders, however, learned about the exis­tence of the American Bladesmith Society (ABS) and its courses conducted periodi­cally at the Texarkana College School of Bladesmithing.

He enrolled in one of the courses held in Washington, Arkansas, where James Black, the famed creator of knives for the legendary Jim Bowie, had his forge over a century ago.

On his first day at school, Anders said, students were required to bring out some of the knives they had made before attending the course.

“It was a show and tell, where everybody looks at every­body else’s work,” he said. Anders brought two knives with him, proudly laid them on the table, but quickly took them back after seeing the other knives.

“I was intimidated and quite embar­rassed,” he said, “so I decided to keep my knives.”

After that day, Anders said he promised himself that he would someday become a master blade smith.Davidanders2

Like most custom knife makers, Anders was making knives only part-time. He dri­ves a truck for Wal-Mart, leaving home in Arkansas on Sundays and returning on Fridays.

But despite his busy work sched­ule, Anders continuously searched to sat­isfy his hunger for knowledge. He sought to learn more about improved steel and tempering techniques.

But it wasn’t until 1992 that Anders became a Journeyman Smith.

In general, ABS guidelines state that the overall quality for a Journeyman rating is in the range of “very good” to “excellent.” Yet, Anders didn’t think his knowledge was enough.

With practice, Anders believed, almost anybody with rudimentary manual skills can produce a knife. But building custom knives is another story. Through the years, David Anders struggled to perfect his craft, building more than 300 custom knives, many of them Bowie knives.

Jim Bowie’s life story has always fascinated Anders. “He’s my hero,” Anders admits. And it was a Bowie knife that gave Anders one of his most important awards, the “Best Bowie Knife” in Las Vegas two years ago. A year earlier, one of his creations was also declared “Best Art Knife” at the Little Rock knife show in Arkansas.

davidanders3Five years after receiving his Journeyman Smith rating, Anders achieved the highest title for a blade smith. He finally passed what he described as a strenuous test and received his Master rating, formally get­ting recognition that the quality of his knives range from “excellent” to “superlative.”

His growth has been spurred on by learning from the mas­ters, those who’ve proven themselves by creating works of art using steel as their canvas. And his impressive work has catapulted him to his dream-that of becoming a Master Smith.

Anders is meticulous on picking his materials for building knives. He prefers making Damascus blades for his knives, and as you’re aware, Damascus steel is produced when layers of steel are heat­ed, hammered, folded, heated again, hammered and folded again, perhaps hundreds of times. The process is slow, tedious and often requires great skill and strength on the part of the smith. To compensate for all that work, most good Damascus knives are quite expensive. That is why some knives made by David Anders have been sold for up to $2,500.

Anders Damascus often contains more than 300 layers, and sometimes he uses 13 different bars of steel to produce his blades. While he makes hunters and fighters, besides Bowies, his creations tend to end up as collectors’ items rather than “using” knives.

This 52-year-old master believes his blades can perform the task they were created for, but his wicked designs make it impossible for anyone to think about using his hunters for hunting, or his fight­ers for fighting. It is true that the shape and uses of knives is limited only by the minds of those producing and using them, but it is also true that art is art, no matter the form.

In an interview, David Anders stam­mered as he recalled the first day he read a copy of his favorite cutlery magazine. “That day, I told myself that a picture of my knives would someday be published in that magazine,” he said in a soft voice, without any tinge of braggadocio. “That would be the highlight of my life.”

Now, 10 years later, he was being interviewed by the same publication that gave him a different perspective on knife making.

Readers may get in touch with David Anders during the weekends at: 157 Barnes Drive, Center Ridge, AR 72027; (501) 893-2294.


A Master Knife Engraver as a Renaissance Man

June 12, 2009

By Roni Toldanes

JimBlair

Custom knives that would otherwise look ordinary are transformed into museum-quality artworks after passing through the hands of a master engraver.

In the movie The Renaissance Man, Bill Rago, a character played by Danny deVito, talks about a man in the 1400s who was a scientist, an artist, an engineer, a teacher, an athlete and more: A man who was good at everything. Jim Blair deserves to be called such for the same reason.

Before he turned to engraving as a livelihood, Blair was an auto body repairman, a painter, a teacher, and a welder at a coal mine. He even worked on ranches and for the U.S. Forest Service.

Blair was not a jack-of-all-trades who knows just a little bit of everything. He becomes an authority at every field of endeavor he decides to get involved in.

JimBlair2Blair is a brilliant, versatile and technically adept engraver.

In 1980, without previous interest or experience in the craft, he attended an engraving program sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Trinidad, Colorado. The classes were taught by master engravers Neil Hartliep, John Barrenclough, Sam Welch, and Robert Swartley. Blair learned a lot from the pro­gram, but he discovered the intricacies of engraving by himself.

Blair, 48, was swiftly captivated by the idea of being able to transform an ordinary piece of metal into a work of art. One thing led to another and, in time, Blair decided to leave his job as a welder in a coal mine in his hometown in Wyoming.

Since 1993, Jim Blair has been engraving full-time, weaving his masterful artwork in firearms and knives. He has engraved firearms for the American Gunmakers Guild and knives built by famous makers, including Joe Kious, Steve Hoel, Eldon Peterson and Jim Martin.

Just like the custom knives he has engraved, Blair’s work should be closely examined to be appreciated. His attention to detail sparkles in his work, which often feature English scroll­work and game scenes cut in a Bulino style.

BJimBlair3lair transforms his steel canvas into an elaborate artwork using a hammer, a chisel and a burin. It’s a painstaking process, but Blair says he gets absolute satisfaction from breathing life into an ordinary piece of metal. And he enjoys the looks of sur­prise and expressions of delight he sees from his customers.

While some people would not consider a rifle or a knife a piece of art, when these items pass through the hands of master engravers like Jim Blair, they become more than the sum of their parts. With engraving, guns and knives can be admired, not for what they are fundamentally, but rather for having risen above their intended purpose.

Readers may get in touch with Jim Blair at: P.O. Box 64, 59 Mesa Verde, Glenrock, WY 82637; Tel.: 307-436-8115.


FIGHTER KNIVES

June 12, 2009

By RONI TOLDANES

A bowie with a spine-tingling coffin handle designed by knife maker Kevin Cashen. It features an exotic bocote for its handle and Damascus fittings.

A bowie with a spine-tingling coffin handle designed by knife maker Kevin Cashen. It features an exotic bocote for its handle and Damascus fittings.

A CRO-MAGNON HUNTER noisily gnaws meat off the carcass inside his cave. Suddenly, another hunter lunges from behind, ferociously swinging a huge jawbone as he tries to snatch a chunk of the hindquarter. A bloody clash ensues, with the oafish invader eventually overpowering the smaller hunter, pinning him down with both knees and bashing his head with a huge rock.

Bloodied but still conscious, the victim wriggles and crawls away in a desperate bid to save his life. Then from the corner of his eye he catches the gleam of his knapped obsidian, still sharp despite his recent hunting expedition. He grabs the huge blade with both hands and thrusts it into the attacker’s rib cage, repeatedly piercing his opponent’s heart until the man writhes in an agonizing death.

The brutal fight ends. And the fighting knife is born.

We beg your pardon. The preceding scenario is merely a figment of imagina­tion. Sure, similar incidents involving “fighting knives” may have taken place but there is nothing in recorded history to prove the same. In fact, the history of fighting knives is shrouded in the same ancient mists as those that obscure the origins of knives themselves. But even without any help from historians, there’s one thing we are sure of: Early fighting knives were designed for fighting, no more and no less.

Custom knife maker Emil Bucharski forged this fighter’s twist pattern Damascus blade using 189 layers of 1095 mixed with nickel. Bucharski matched the seven-inch blade with an oosic handle. It has a simple yet elegantly-designed stainless steel guard.

Custom knife maker Emil Bucharski forged this fighter’s twist pattern Damascus blade using 189 layers of 1095 mixed with nickel. Bucharski matched the seven-inch blade with an oosic handle. It has a simple yet elegantly-designed stainless steel guard.

We’d like to think that fighters were also meant mainly for hunting. After all, it seems obvious: They had large, stout blades for killing or field-dressing big game. Even the very first Bowie knives may have originated from this design.

These days, however, we dare say with sincerity that no intelligent man would ever allow himself to be caught commit­ting a crime while clutching a $10,000 custom fighting knife. It’s simply unconscionable.

In short, the whole idea of crafting gold-inlayed, diamond-embellished and Damascus-bladed “fighting knives” is not to produce a tool that one can use to swagger around town with, looking for a fight. Like museum-quality arti­facts, custom fighters such as the knives you see on these pages are mere­ly proof of bragging rights – sharp toys for the big boys. They were not meant as sidearms or for slashing or stabbing. They’re simply art replicas of what beautiful knives are all about.

With that issue clarified, we hope you enjoy gawking at these pictures. These knives are genuine, well, fighters.

Knifemaker Rick Browne’s knife features an integral sub-hilt, making it a really strong knife. It has an overall length of 12 7/8 inches and an eight-inch blade.

Knifemaker Rick Browne’s knife features an integral sub-hilt, making it a really strong knife. It has an overall length of 12 7/8 inches and an eight-inch blade.

Italian knife maker G. Gabona’s knife displays his meticulous attention to detail in this miniature fighter. With an overall length of only five inches, this one comes with a mother-of-pearl handle and integral construction. Its sub-hilt may not accommodate a huge finger, but it was handsomely engraved.

Italian knife maker G. Gabona’s knife displays his meticulous attention to detail in this miniature fighter. With an overall length of only five inches, this one comes with a mother-of-pearl handle and integral construction. Its sub-hilt may not accommodate a huge finger, but it was handsomely engraved.


THE DRAGON GUN

June 10, 2009

MARC KREBS CREATES A FIRE-SPEWING STEEL DRAGON

By RONI TOLDANES

Drag’on (drag-ɘn) n. [Latin dracon, draco]: A huge serpent; a mythical animal usually represented as a monstrous winged and scaly reptile breathing out fire.

dragongunThe definition above is from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, the accepted authority on the language of English. Now, here is a definition from accepted authorities in shooting:

dragon (drag-ɘn) n. [Latin dracon, draco]: A gorgeous animal represented by smooth lines and expansion chambers; breathing out fire and spewing full metal jackets.

To the layman this may be a confusing definition, but it’s the only way we can describe this gun cre­ated by Marc Krebs. Incredible pistol­smithing artistry has made Krebs one of the country’s most popular gunsmiths.

This gun reflects the absolute latest in handgun tech­nology, but we won’t tell you right away what com­ponents were utilized. In order to appreciate this masterpiece, we have to understand the creator and what inspired him to build this fire-breathing steel sculpture.

FAMILY OF ARTISTS

Marc Krebs, 40, came from a family of artists. That explains why most of his customers consider his custom guns as works of art. “I’m a combination of 60% gun­smith, 30% machinist and 10% artist,” he says.

Krebs was born in Seattle, Washington but grew up in Northern California. He admits to having been the “bad kid” on the block. The early chapter of his teenage story, he says, “wasn’t something parents would be totally proud of.”

But despite his early failures in life, Krebs pursued his dreams. “Early in my childhood, I was totally fascinated with dinosaurs and then later on with knights in armor,” he says. “Then I started liking guns.”

Krebs attended a gunsmithing course at Lassen Col­lege in Susanville, California, where he exhibited excep­tional gunsmithing aptitudes. One day, Krebs surprised his teacher with an unusual 9mm semi-auto carbine that he built “from scratch.”

Designed to perform like the famous Israeli-made UZI, the gun was all-original, except for the barrel. “I was thrilled,” he says, “because I thought it was really something that would take the country by storm.”

Krebs lightened the slide for a flawless function even with super-light steel loads. This was accomplished without compromising the slide’s structural integrity. Krebs sliced off nearly an inch of the frontal area to expose the Schuemann hybrid barrel. He then carved the “dragon eyes” on both sides of the slide. Photos by Y.Sued

Krebs lightened the slide for a flawless function even with super-light steel loads. This was accomplished without compromising the slide’s structural integrity. Krebs sliced off nearly an inch of the frontal area to expose the Schuemann hybrid barrel. He then carved the “dragon eyes” on both sides of the slide. Photos by Y.Sued

Like a bubble, however, Krebs’s dream of mass-pro­ducing the carbine burst. He failed to get any financier to fund his ideas, but he didn’t fail his gunsmithing class either. Instead, he received high grades for his ingenuity. And his gun became a portfolio that he presented when applying for work.

Krebs became a gunsmith for a gun store in Illinois until he decided it was time to build his own name. Backed by a $50,000 bank loan, Krebs established his custom gun shop in 1984 with the help of his wife, Virginia. And in just a few years, he was able to build a solid reputation. Like Ferrari sports cars, guns churned out by the Marc Krebs Custom Shop in Vernon Hills, Illinois are not only aerodynamically-designed, but are also reliable speedsters.

We’ve heard so many astonishing stories about Marc Krebs, that one we challenged him to design a special gun. We requested a piece that would allow Krebs to showcase not only his technical grasp of the latest in firearms technol­ogy and fabrication techniques, but also his flair for the artistic and the daring.

Krebs accepted the challenge. He vowed to build a no-holds-barred, to-hell-with-the-cost super steel gun. It had to be a gun the best shooters could confidently use to win world steel-shooting championships. And it had to be different.

“It’s going to be wild, man. Totally extreme,” Krebs promised.

THE MAKING OF A DRAGON

True enough, the Krebs creation is a marvelous sculpture that could only be produced by the most meticulous of arti­sans. A centerfold gun that reflects the finest components in handgun technology as only a master gunsmith could render.

Krebs scalloped the aluminum STI extended-dust-cover frame to form sharp fangs, transforming the dust cover’s front­end into the menacing lower jaw of a carnivorous reptile. What a beast!

Krebs also chopped a sizeable chunk off the top of the STI slide where he machined the dragon’s mouth and engraved the upper teeth with a small chisel. This exposed a portion of the Schuemann hybrid barrel, its top ports resembling dor­sal fins on the head of a mythical creature.

A small pin threads its way under the mouth and pro­ceeds downward into the dustcover’s front-end, where Krebs created a small track. While in battery, the barrel presses down and tracks on the dust cover – an aesthetic design that also enhances accuracy.dragon3

The gunsmith’s exquisite attention to detail is very evi­dent. He engraved the eyes on the slide and punched nos­trils into the hybrid barrel without harming its grooves.

This design tames recoil by working this way: As the pro­jectile exits the barrel, the muzzle-blast gas expands and initially exits from the Schuemann Hybrid’s upper ports before finally jetting out through the left and right nostrils.

This gun is not only functional but also visually appeal­ing.

When the slide is racked back, the front-end provides the appearance of a dragon with its grisly mouth wide open.

For rapid acquisition of targets, Krebs mounted a C-­More red-dot sight, enhancing the gun’s high-tech appeal. The entire gun weighs less than 1.75 pounds and, when held in hand, feels lighter than a coffee cup. The secret to this brew was Kreb’s recipe of light but sturdy materials.

The Caspian grip safety is aluminum, along with the magazine well, which was attached over the existing mag well’s open­ing to increase support for the palm heel. Even the guide rod was fabricated from featherweight Teflon with Shok-buffs on both ends.

To reduce lock-time, Krebs used a Heinie titanium hammer. This material ensures positive ignition, even with the use of old primers. And since the frame rails are also made of aluminum, our featured gunsmith asked Krieger’s Acc­u-Rails to install their system, which ensures a consistent and tight slide-to-frame fit – a necessity to maintaining accu­racy in competition guns with red-dot sights.

The barrel tracks on the extended dust cover, instead of the front of the slide. When the barrel moves back during cycling, it slides with the tooth assembly that is attached to the rail below the dust cover. Photos by Y.Sued

The barrel tracks on the extended dust cover, instead of the front of the slide. When the barrel moves back during cycling, it slides with the tooth assembly that is attached to the rail below the dust cover. Photos by Y.Sued

Krebs lightened the rear portion of the slide with ser­rations cut at a 20-degree angle. This does not affect the overall capacity of the gun to handle steel loads. Trigger pull is light and very crisp, and does not sacrifice the igni­tion reliability of each hammer strike. The entire gun was finished in super-hard, super-durable Metaloy plating for long-lasting protection.

As a superb finishing touch, Krebs wedged a small piece of metal under the dust cover, making this dragon appear to be sticking our his two-pronged tongue.

This steel gun is very accurate and can hold “groups of under an inch at 25 yards,” Krebs assures us. It’s the kind of gun that doesn’t only offer you the racer’s edge, it also gives you a hyper degree of excitement.

You’ll be overcome by a burning desire to show this rare breed of steel animal to your friends at the range. They might even say that this beauty is the product of a man with a fertile imagination. And it’s true.

As a child, Marc Krebs played with plastic dinosaurs. As a grown man, he plays with steel dragons – fire-spew­ing steel dragons.

(Roni Toldanes was managing editor of Gun World, the oldest firearms magazine in the United States; group managing editor of Knives Illustrated, and editor of Gun Games, America’s shooting sports magazine. He also worked as editor-in-chief of weekly newspapers; news editor, senior copy editor, assignment editor and editorial board member of major daily newspapers in California, Texas, New Jersey, Florida and Georgia. He covered southeast Asia as a foreign correspondent and chief editor of an international news agency.)

KREBS GUNSMITHING, INC.

940 Forest Edge Drive, Vernon Hills, IL 60061

(847) 821-7763


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