How Do I...?

Answers are everywhere, and so is nonsense. 

Decades ago there were filters to the information flow about guns, shooting, and hunting. Magazine editors chose which writers to use, reviewed the articles carefully, and readers were able to largely depend on the information. Today, every "Commando Half-Ax" has a YouTube channel, and while some are really sharp, many of the viral wizards are more adept at goofy stunts which gain views than they are at delivering information you can use. Where do you go for dependable, useful help?

It comes down to choosing your experts carefully. Review who he or she is, what that person has done, how long this expert has been doing it, and then apply the sniff test. Develop a filter. 

If you want information on handloading, bullets, ammunition, or external ballistics, why wouldn't you go straight searchto the folks who make bullets, ammo, powder, and loading supplies? Hornady, Barnes Bullets, Hodgdon Powder, Remington, Winchester, Speer, Nosler, Sig, etc., all have muzzle velocities, energy info, drop tables, and much more on their web sites. Buy a couple of reloading manuals, even if you don't handload. They are chock full of information. Compare different cartridges, loads and other variables there.

Writers like Ron Spomer and John Barsness crank out great info on hunting rifles, optics and loads. Many competitive shooters have web sites with tons of info.

And don't forget the basic web search. I prefer Duck Duck Go for my search engine, but use the one you like. Just type in your question. Again, consider the results carefully, and choose wisely on which source you use.

How about online fora (forums)? It's a mixed bag, but some of them can really be helpful. Some, however, have a culture of cutting down others. Lurk on a forum for a week to get the vibe there.

On the local front, one of the smartest moves you can make is get into competitive shooting. Long range rifle, trap, skeet, IDPA, sporting clays, three gun, USPSA and much more. The regulars there know what they are doing, and most of them willingly help newcomers. 

While on the subject of competition, it is simply the best way for you to become a better and more knowledgeable shooter. Practice is good, but practice with a goal drives you. Team up with a shooting buddy who will challenge you do to better. Practice with him or her, and you'll both improve. 

Bottom line is that shooting is fun, but shooting well is even more fun. Beating your buddy is the best!  

Reject the pretenders -- become a serious student of guns and shooting and ballistics and history. The deeper you dive into it, the more you will get out of it. ~ Tom

Tom Gresham
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.