G&A Retrospective: Honoring Legendary Gunwriter Bob Milek
August 25, 2014
Many of today's shooting enthusiasts aren't familiar with one of the greatest gunwriters of all time, Bob Milek. During the '60s, '70s and '80s, Milek brought a new level of energy and expertise to the shooting community.
Over the course of Milek's distinguished career, his byline appeared in most sporting periodicals, and he held staff positions at Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times and Petersen's Hunting. As a writer, Milek was known for his attention to detail, submitting stories requiring little to no editing that always included lavish photo packages. Long before the days of the Internet, he was the first gunwriter (who we know of) to transmit stories via modem, in addition to an accompanying hardcopy package of 8x10 photos, slides and text.
He also authored several "One-Shots," newsstand special-interest publications such as Complete Guide to Handgun Hunting(1979), Rifles and Cartridges for North American Big Game (1980), Centerfire Revolvers (1981), .22 Rimfire (1982) and Handgun Hunting Across America (1983).
While he was proficient in all firearms disciplines, Milek was best known for his writings on and achievements in the field of handgun hunting. Along with his good friend Steve Herrett, he is credited with developing two cartridges specifically for the Thompson/Center Contender single-shot pistol — the .30 Herrett and .357 Herrett — and the Herrett stock for pistols, which helped manage the recoil of harder-hitting rounds used to hunt bigger game.
Born in Thermopolis, Wyoming, Milek spent most of his life in the Cowboy State. In fact, his writing allowed him to hunt all across North America and in Africa, but it's believed he still enjoyed hunting in Wyoming most.
Milek died in 1993 at the age of 59 after battling cancer. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and their five children.
Subscribe or grab a copy of the October 2014 issue of Guns & Ammo to read "The Wyoming Cowboy: Remembering Bob Milek," a detailed personal account by fellow writer Craig Boddington.
Meanwhile, check out our archived photos of Milek in the field with captions written in his own words.
"Loaded with custom features, the M-S Safari Arms Model E-103 Enforcer is a short, fast-handling .45 that should catch the fancy of many shooters in need of a quality semiautomatic for combat and survival use."
"Here Dave and I compare groups fired at 25 yards. Notice that my snub-nose S&W model 60, firing CCI Lawman 110-grain JHP factory loads, hung right in there with Dave's Colt Commander .45 ACP."
"When it comes to hunting, revolvers have it all over the semiautos for both power and long-range accuracy."
"Dan Wesson's big, strong revolvers are available in .41 Magnum chambering in both blued and stainless steel models."
"Light barrels, mass-produced stocks, no hand work — these things all combine to make the out-of-the-box minute of angle sporter a pretty rare bird."
"Although my 1909 Argentine Mauser could have been used for hunting in its original form, I don't care for the appearance of the rifle with the full length military stock. Then, too, cutting the stock down reduces the rifle's weight. (Also: 'œThe Model 1909 Mauser can be used for hunting in its original form, but the author found that the full-length military stock and handguard made it look ungainly and increased its weight — a serious matter in the field.')"
"Here I check some targets while developing a 100-grain handload for my XP-100 .250 Savage. It took some experimenting, but I finally found a load that would group three shots in 1/2inch at 100 yards."
"I found my four inch barreled S&W Model 25-5 .45 Colt to be accurate and pleasant to shoot. I was particularly pleased with the performance of Federal 225-grain factory loads in this revolver. (Also: 'œCall it what you like — .45 Long Colt or .45 Colt, it remains popular because it gets the job done whether in a single action or the S&W M-25 above.')"
"These targets were fired at 25 yards using hunting ammunition in my Ruger Mark II with a 10-inch barrel."
"While I don't normally scope a hunting revolver, I feel a scope is a prerequisite when I take a revolver into the field after varmints like rock chucks."
"I've found that several of my .41 Magnum loads shoot well in both of my revolvers. The group at the top left was fired at 25 yards with a load developed especially for my S&W Model 57. The same load produced the top right hand group when fired in my Ruger Blackhawk."
"Prior to my Missouri trip, I did a lot of load development work with my S&W Model 57 .41 Magnum. These groups were fired at 25 yards."
"When you need the power, a .44 Magnum like the Ruger Redhawk I'm shooting here can be loaded up to handle the job. But for plinking, target shooting and small game hunting, light loads make more sense."
"About the only change that S&W has made in the Model 29 over the years has been to standardize on six rather than 6 ½ inches for barrel length. (Also: 'œThe S&W M29, which came out in 1955, was the first gun to be commercially chambered for the .44 Mag. To many shooters, it is still the best. The only real change made in the M29 over the years has been to standardize the barrel length at 6 rather than 6 ½ inches.')"
"While a powder measure isn't essential for load development work at the range, it helps. I set my measure to throw a charge a few tenths of a grain under the desired charge into the scale pan."
"Despite the handicap that paper ballistics give the .223 Remington in comparison to the .22-250 or .220 Swift for long range small varmint shooting, I favor the .223 over all others for varmint hunting. The maximum effective range of the cartridge is determined more by the shooter than by the cartridge."
"For taking small varmints with a pistol you want to be sure and use a fast, flat-shooting cartridge and top your pistol with a good scope. I used a Contender .223 topped with a T/C 4x scope to bag these prairie dogs."
"The .220 Swift is my favorite of all varmint cartridges and it serves me well on everything from prairie dogs to coyotes. Using my Ruger 77V .220 Swift, I dropped this red fox at around 400 yards. (Also: 'œThe author's all-time favorite varmint cartridge is the .220 Swift. He shot this red fox at 400 yards with a Ruger 77V chambered in this caliber.')"
"After resizing, cases must be wiped or tumbled to remove all of the sizing lubricant. (Also: 'œAfter resizing, bullet lube must be removed from cases by wiping with solvent or by tumbling.')"