Strange How my Byline Hasn’t Aged

I’ve been writing about the outdoors for more than 30 years. Hint: I started before Al Gore invented the Internet. My bylines have appeared as Guy Sagi, Guy J. Sagi, Fear and Loading and G.J. Sagi with a few dead relatives to be named later. Don’t ask. Most of the time today my name doesn’t appear anywhere, which is OK, so long as the check clears.

Oddly, my name in a magazine/website looks just as fresh and eager as the day it appeared with my first search and rescue article. Yet, there’s this old geek in my mirror every morning and he’s still excited to craft the words and create the images that get people out of doors safely.

Surviving the Changes

The landscape has changed radically. Websites are thriving and many flagship publications are somewhere in Davey’s Locker. My hands don’t smell like Dektol and D76 from developing black-and-white prints, which makes my wife happy.

I’ve expanded from an exclusive search and rescue perspective, although it’s still exciting to share lifesaving tips. There’s a lot to be learned today, by everyone, even in the “safe” city.

The continuing education keeps me going, and I’m not alone. The writers who specialize in fishing, climbing, hunting and shooting that successfully made the jump to electronic is long. What Richard Mann has accomplished, for example, puts everything I’ve done to shame.

Passion for the outdoors runs deep, and it reflects in each writer’s dedication, despite the hurdles. Each of us are truly blessed, and occasionally see our name in an old-school print magazine. I’m probably not alone when I say it still makes me smile, like this one that arrived the other day, the May/June Sporting Retailer.


No Progress in West Virginia Ammo Factory

Lack of progress on Ranger Scientific’s 1,000-acre purchase of reclaimed mining property to build a $41.5 million, 150,000-square-foot West Virginia ammo factory has some residents concerned. The company made headlines when it announced plans on May 31, 2016, to secure the property in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Since then there’s been little if any headway and at least one newspaper is now reporting on the CEO’s alleged involvement with two other failed cartridge-manufacturing attempts.

Production was to begin in 2018, with as many as 450 employees at an average salary of $70,000. It was big news for an area with a chronically high rate of unemployment. CEO Daniel Pearlson’s claim Ranger would be offering “harmonically synchronized” loads also intrigued shooters. Cartridges would be available with different powder charges and bullet weights in each chambering, and sample kits were planned, allowing shooters to determine the best performing load.


According to the newspaper report, the businessman’s journey to establish the West Virginia ammo factory began on Nov. 26, 2012, when a joint Handels Securities and DayDra Holdings Group press release announced a partnership to form Saber Ultra Precision Ammunition. It claimed the Las Vegas-area plant would “…introduce the highest-quality ammunition in the industry, at high production levels, and at relatively low costs.” A study conducted by the Nevada Governor’s office estimated the total economic impact of the 500 jobs it could bring to the region would be more than $165 million. Architectural plans were submitted and a zoning meeting held.

Saber’s website is still live, though, and there is one promotional video. “I didn’t start the company; I never owned any part of it, never made any investment and was never paid,” Pearlson told the Charleston Gazette-Mail, explaining he was a part-time consultant.

Texas Ultra Precision Ammunition

Late the next year, Mineral Wells, Texas, was doing everything it could to entice another company, Texas Ultra Precision Ammunition—in talks with Mark Ryan (Director of Business Development for the latest effort) and Pearlson, according to another Gazette-Mail story—into launching and locating its $50 million manufacturing facility on 100 acres near there. Up to 200 people could have been employed, according to the Mineral Wells Index. Ultimately, that effort fell apart.

“I was also not the CEO of UPA (Texas Ultra Precision Ammunition),” Pearlson explained. He served as a technical consultant and, “I purchased no share of the company…”

West Virginia Ammo Factory

Residents would benefit from the new company, and Ranger’s approach certainly piques the interest of precision shooters. Let’s keep our fingers crossed the third time is the charm for this West Virginia ammo factory and nearby residents.





BATFE reverses its opinion on AR pistol braces

The BATFE reversed its opinion on AR pistol braces, according to an opinion [PDF] recently released by the Bureau. The move eases concern by AR-15 pistol owners who have been told the firearm becomes a National Firearms Act (NFA) item—requiring the associated tax stamp and additional background checks—if they shoulder it using a pistol brace/stock.

The March 21 letter, released only this month, is addressed to SB Tactical counsel Mark Barnes. It explains, “To the extent the January 2015 Open Letter implied or has been construed to hold  that incidental, sporadic or situational ‘use’ of an arm-brace (in its original approved configuration) equipped firearm from a firing position at or near the shoulder was sufficient to constitute ‘redesign,’ such interpretations are incorrect and not consistent with ATF’s interpretation of the statute or the manner in which it has historically been enforced.”

No modifications allowed

The letter’s author, BATFE Assistant Director of Enforcement Programs and Services, cautions owners about modifying the pistol brace/stock. “If, however, the shooter/possessor takes affirmative steps to configure the device for use as a shoulder-stock—for example, configuring the device so as to permanently affix it to the end of a buffer tube, (thereby creating a length that has no other purpose than to facilitate its use as a stock), removing the arm strap, or otherwise undermining its ability to be used as a brace—and then in fact shoots the firearm from the shoulder using the accessory as a shoulder stock, that person has objectively ‘redesigned’ the firearm for purposes of the NFA. Therefore, an NFA firearm has not necessarily been made when the device is not re-configured for use as a shoulder stock—even if the attached firearm happens to be fired from the shoulder.”

The response seems to reverse the bureau’s earlier opinion [PDF] that stated, “Any person who intends to use a handgun stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock on a pistol (having a rifled barrel under 16 inches in length or a smooth bore firearm with a barrel under 18 inches in length) must first file an ATF Form 1 and pay the applicable tax because the resulting firearm will be subject to all provisions of the NFA.”

Crafting the words and images that capture the spirit of the outdoor sports and the beauty that surrounds them.