February 20th, 2010

New Rule Allows Guns in Nat'l Parks and Wildlife Refuges

Starting Monday, February 22, 2010, you can bring loaded firearms into most U.S. National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, provided this is allowed by state law. The new federal Park and Refuge policy applies to all firearms, whether long guns (rifles, shotguns), or pistols (including concealed handguns allowed under state permit). All Federal firearms statutes otherwise apply. The new law lifts a 94-year-old ban on guns in National Parks unless they were unloaded or unassembled. The new law, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), and backed by the NRA, only addresses possession and has no impact on authorized uses of guns.

National Wildlife Refuge

The new “gun-friendly” policy was announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on February 18th, as a result of new legislation enacted by Congress. Starting on February 22nd, the law allows an individual to lawfully possess a firearm within the boundaries of a National Wildlife Refuge or National Park in accordance with federal, state and local firearms laws. The new gun policy applies to all 551 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as National Monuments and nearly all the 392 units of the National Park System. Under previous regulations, tight restrictions were imposed on guns in National Parks.

CLICK HERE for Official USFWS News Release on Gun Policies

National Wildlife RefugeThe USFWS and National Park Service will look to the laws of the state and locality in which the Park, Monument, or Refuge is located to govern possession of firearms therein. Visitors will be allowed to possess firearms on National Wildlife Refuges provided they comply with applicable provisions of federal, state and local law. Persons with firearm “carry” permits will be able to possess firearms on a refuge in accordance with the provisions of the state-issued permit. The USFWS stated that the new law applies throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Park System. However, the Associated Press reported that loaded firearms will still be restricted in 20 of the National Parks and that, generally, “guns will not be allowed in visitor centers or rangers’ offices, because firearms are banned in federal buildings.”

Predictably, the Brady Campaign assailed the new policy. “It really is sad that we’ve become such a paranoid society that people want to take guns pretty much everywhere — including National Parks”, stated Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke. Conversely, the NRA, which lobbied to have firearms allowed in National Parks, announced: “This common-sense measure will enhance the self-defense rights of law-abiding Americans and also ensure uniformity of firearm laws within a state”.

New Policies Do Not Alter Hunting Regulations in Wildlife Refuges
The USFWS stressed that: “While the law will change the application of rules regarding possession of firearms, it has no impact on the authorized uses of firearms on National Wildlife Refuges. This new law does NOT change or expand hunting opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges or exempt hunters from state or federal hunting regulations. Each person who hunts on a National Wildlife Refuge must have the required state license(s) required by the Refuge, as well as any permits and/or user fees.”

Visitors wishing to possess firearms on any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System should carefully read and understand the laws of the state in which the refuge they plan to visit is located — as well as applicable local and county laws and ordinances that derive from that respective state’s law. For more information on hunting within National Wildlife Refuges, go to: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/.

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February 20th, 2010

NEW Caldwell Tip Top Targets — Crisp Holes, No Rips

Caldwell recently sent us some new pre-printed targets that we really like. The new Caldwell Tip Top Targets have a combination of features we’ve never seen before in pre-packaged targets. First, the targets are printed on a unique, plasticized card stock — just slightly thinner than a business card. The plasticized material is very rip-resistant (if you really try, you can make a small tear on the edge, but it takes a LOT of deliberate effort). The plasticized material makes the targets 100% weatherproof, though you can still write on the surface. At the bottom of the targets, Caldwell includes a labeled data entry area where you can record firearm type, shooting conditions, distance, group size, load info, and chron data. Very Handy! The targets even come pre-punched for a 3-ring binder. That’s great if you want to save your targets. The 8″ Sight-In Tip Top Targets cost $7.49 for 25-pack, or $24.99 for 100 targets.

Tip Top Target Caldwell

Bullets Punch Perfect Circles on New Target
What makes these “Tip-Top Targets” really unique is the way bullet holes appear. When a bullet passes through a normal paper target, the paper can rip. At best you get a fairly round hole but with a fuzzy, uneven edge. With these Tip Top Targets, the bullet hole looks like it was made with a hole punch. No more ragged, fuzzy edges. If you’ve ever shot wadcutter rounds from a pistol into a paper target, that’s the effect here. But the bullet hole edges are even MORE sharp and uniform. As a result, you can measure your group sizes quickly, with great precision.

Overall, we think the Tip Top Target is a real step forward. Caldwell did a great job with this product. The new material does not tear, does not get soggy in wet conditions, and does not flap around in the wind. The new material delivers crisp, uniform bullet holes for easy group measurement, and the 1″ square gridlines let you quickly estimate your group size.

Caldwell Tip Top Targets are offered in six (6) different versions: large, Inverted “T” for iron-sighted rifles or pistols; 4″-diam. Bullseyes; 8″-diam. single Bullseye; 100-yard Benchrest Target; 200-yard Benchrest Target; and 8″ Sight-in Target with 1″ grid (shown in photos).

We really like the layout of the sight-in target. In has five different aim points with a central diamond split by horizontal and vertical lines running through the points of the diamond. The diamond, which measures 1/4″ on a side, provides a VERY precise aiming point. Just line up your cross-hairs with the heavy black lines and you should be able to shoot bugholes with this target. It’s a very good design, with good contrast in the center of each aiming square.

Is there anything we would change on the Sight-In Target we sampled? Yes… First, we’d like to see a long-range version with an all-white background so that bullet holes are easier to see at long distances. Second, we’d modify the data entry table so you could list results for multiple loads. See our FREE Targets Page for paper targets with multiple load-entry/chron data boxes.

Review Disclosure: Caldwell provided a free 25-ct pack of 8″ Sight-In Targets for testing.

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