Protect the investment

Nov. 17, 2012 @ 09:37 PM

Save the Pogies

Sometimes called a pogie, the menhaden is one of the most unglamorous fish in the ocean. These are filter feeders and a forage fish for almost every prized species in coastal salt water. For coastal fish like red drum, stripers, mackerel, sea trout and flounder, they are a primary and critical part of the food chain. Because of their importance to other species, menhaden have been called the most important fish in the sea and they’ve been put through more than 50 years of overfishing. The stock is at a record low.  Who is suffering from the loss of menhaden?  You are.
Omega Protein, a company that uses menhaden to make fish oil and other products is the primary consumer of menhaden on the East Coast. They have been doing everything they can to prevent the implementation of a total allowable catch and a rebuilding effort. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, they maintain that menhaden are merely suffering from poor recruitment and that their half billion pound harvest has nothing to do with it. The company uses spotter planes to locate the fish, rush over with processing ships, encircle the school with a purse net and suck them up into the hold. The fishing method is so efficient there’s no way for the menhaden to avoid them.
To learn more about this crisis for a critical salt water species, go to and sign a petition to reduce the harvest of this critically overfished species.
News on Cape Hatteras:
Highway 12 Open to Four Wheel-Drive Traffic
Highway 12, to Hatteras Island, is now open to four-wheel drive vehicles only. Portions of the road are sand and the work on the paved portions recently lost in Hurricane Sandy has not yet begun. Non four-wheel drive vehicles may access the island via the ferries at Swan Quarter, Cedar Island, and Stumpy Point. Reservations are required. Everything is working and the fish have been cooperating. Hatteras Island businesses have been hammered in recent years by Park Service beach closures and storms. With the birds gone, most of the beach is now accessible. Get down there now, to catch some fish and spend some money.

Well cared for guns hold their value better than almost any other consumer product you can spend money on. I currently own guns that are worth ten times their purchase price in 40 years and the average is two or three times the price. Few tangible purchases can equal this and none as uniformly as firearms.
It’s a sad testimony to a gun owner, but I see it all the time. Sometimes the problem is that a rifle that was once accurate, no longer is. Other times, it’s much worse, the gun has not only lost its accuracy but it’s in poor condition as well with rust in the barrel and on the exterior of the gun. This kind of misuse turns the most efficient investment you can put your money in into a situation of loss of value.
Firearms require little maintenance but they do require rudimentary cleaning from time to time. Methods and requirements vary but, to preserve a gun’s value, it must be maintained. Since we have just concluded muzzle loader season, it makes sense to mention them first. Muzzle loaders are most affected by poor maintenance because of the nature of the propellants they use. Black powder and the modern substitutes most hunters now use are corrosive. The modern propellants are not as corrosive, but if you don’t properly clean your muzzle loader at the end of this season, you will find a rusty mess next year.
From a practical standpoint, modern hinge action guns are head and shoulders easier to maintain then older, traditional guns because they have removable breech plugs that allow cleaning and inspection from the breech end. I use Hoppe’s or Shooters Choice bore cleaner. I wet the bore and then give it a good brushing. I then run wet patches through the bore until I get a clean patch and finish up with a couple of dry patches. Since muzzle loaders are so succeptible to corrosion, I finish the process by coating the bore with Thompson Center’s Bore Butter. This is a natural product that puts a coat on the metal surface and seals it up from oxidation. It won’t break down primers or powder so it’s safe to leave in the barrel. It seasons the bore to keep fowling down and make cleaning easier.
Centerfire rifles don’t require maintenance as often but, if copper begins to build up in the bore, accuracy will suffer. If possible, you should always clean a rifle barrel from the breech end, preferably with a non-jointed cleaning rod and a bore guide. There are as many cleaning methods as there are “experts”, but I suggest using a good bore solvent and a brush to remove powder fowling first. Then, use wet patches followed by a clean dry patch until all the green is gone. Copper, when chemically removed turns the patch green and as long as you get green patches, you still have copper.
Semi auto rifles should be cleaned and oiled. Bolt action rifles should be cleaned and the bolt ways and lug surfaces greased lightly. Any gun being cleaned should be wiped down to remove dirt and salt residue from your hands. Rimfire rifles should have the bores cleaned from time to time to remove wax buildup, particularly in the chamber/throat area. Once again, clean from the breach with a non-jointed rod and use a bore guide, if possible.
Shotgun bores require the least amount of attention. I use a bore stick that resembles a big pipe cleaner and nothing else unless I’m cleaning a gun that’s sat unattended for a long time. Lubrication and a thorough wipe down are always required to assure keeping rust from attacking the metal surfaces.
A firearm that receives a little attention from time to time will last a hundred years and, at the end of that century bring many times its original cost. Almost no other product will render a better return for the owner’s investment than a good gun. Make sure you take good care of your firearms and they will serve your grandkids well or provide a financial return for your heirs.
Dick Jones is an award winning freelance writer living in High Point. He’s a member of the board of directors of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. He’s an NRA Certified Instructor, a Distinguished Rifleman, former High Master, and teaches shotgun, rifle, and pistol as well as the North Carolina Concealed Carry Certification and Hunter Safety at Lewis Creek Shooting School.  He can be reached at