August 8th, 2015

Seattle Considers Sin Tax on Guns and Ammo

Seattle City Council sin Tax Gun ammo ban round five cents

Welcome to the wacky world of Municipal Anti-Gun Ordinances. San Francisco and Los Angeles have city-specific magazine bans and gun storage requirements, and now it appears that Seattle may target gun owners with new “sin taxes” on firearms and ammunition.

$25 Per Gun and Five Cents Per Round
The Seattle City Council will soon vote on a new local law that will add a $25.00 surcharge to every new gun purchase. In addition, the proposed Seattle City Ordinance will add a $0.05 (five cent) fee to each and every centerfire round sold in Seattle. Rimfire .22LR rounds will be taxed $0.02 per round.

The stated purpose for the new Gun and Ammo Tax is to raise money to combat crime, according to Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, author of the Gun Tax ordinance. Burgess told local KING-5 TV reporters that this is essentially a “Sin Tax” on guns and ammo: “We’ve been working on this for several years. Sure, I wish we would have done this 20 years ago, but we know what the problem is. We tax cigarettes and alcohol and even wood-burning stoves for public health purposes. Why not guns and ammunition?

While supporters of the Gun and Ammo Tax, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, claim the new city tax would raise over $300,000 to fight crime, in reality this measure is more about getting rid of guns that it is about making Seattle safe. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has opposed the Seattle Gun and Ammo Tax, stating: “[This ordinance] will have no effect on decreasing gun violence. It is designed to place a huge burden on legitimate firearms retailers and law-abiding gun owners. Additionally, the proposed ordinance is a gross violation of Washington’s firearms preemption statute.”

Seattle City Council sin Tax Gun ammo ban round five cents

Daniel Xu, writing in OutdoorHub.com notes that gun buyers already pay Excise Taxes with each purchase: “However, unlike the [Federal] Pittman-Robertson Excise Tax, which retains funds for conservation and habitat-protection efforts, the funds collected by the ordinance will go entirely back into the city for ‘gun violence research and prevention programs’. City leaders have yet to specify… how the funds will be spent.”

READ Related Story in OutdoorHub.com. Public domain Seattle photo by Rattlhed.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 19 Comments »
August 8th, 2015

Minox MD 50 — Ultra-Compact Spotter for Under $260.00

Minox MD 50 16-30x50mm Spotting scope
For many spotting chores, this small $260.00 Minox MD50 16-30x50mm may be all you really need.

Many readers have asked: “Can you recommend an affordable, quality, very compact spotting scope for viewing mirage or hunting?” These folks want a handy, general purpose optic — they aren’t trying to resolve 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards and beyond. For that kind of long-range viewing, you’ll need a premium ($2000+) high-magnification spotting scope (or better yet, a target cam system). However, for other tasks (such as viewing mirage, wind flags, or game animals), you can save your pennies and go with something smaller, lighter, and WAY less expensive — such as the Minox MD 50.

If you are looking for an ultra-small, medium-magnification spotting scope that is light, bright, affordable, and easy to use, we recommend the Minox MD 50 16-30x50mm spotter. To be honest, this is a steal. We don’t know of any pint-sized spotting scope that offers better performance at anywhere near the price (currently $259.00 on Amazon.com).

This small optic is easy to mount (even on very small tripods). It has a reasonably wide field of view, and is surprisingly bright and sharp considering the sub-$300.00 price. We prefer the angled model (for viewing mirage and flags while shooting prone), but there is also a straight (non-angled) version for the same price (currently $259.00 on Amazon.com).

Mind you, this little Minox MD 50 will certainly NOT replace a high-end Kowa or Swarovski spotting scope, but it may be all you need to see mirage, wind flags, and shot markers. Moreover, this little unit is ideal for use with pistols or airguns inside 50 meters. In fact this is the spotter we use when shooting pistols because it’s compact enough to fit inside a small range bag.

Minox MD 50 16-30x50mm Spotting scope

We’re not alone in our praise for the little Minox MD 50. The OpticsThoughts Blog reviewed five (5) different ultra-compact spotters from Leupold, Minox, Nikon, and Vortex, which ranged in price from $300 to $700.* Though the little Minox was the least expensive optic in the test, the reviewer concluded it was the best value by far:

MD50 16-30×50mm (OpticsThoughts.com Review)
This is easily the champ in the “bang for the buck” contest. Form factor-wise, it looks like a scaled-down, full-size spotter with a proper “foot” for a tripod mount. It has a very solid feel, owing to it being short and moderately heavy.

Optically, the spotter is very good for what it costs. It is a bit cheaper than the Leupold and outperforms it in most ways, while being more compact: FOV is wider, low light performance is better and overall image quality is better from 15X up to 22X or so. At higher magnifications, eye-relief gets a little short and Leupold is easier to use. However, the FOV advantage carries over across all magnifications. The focus ring is on the body of the spotter and the large diameter offers a fair amount of adjustment precision. [T]he focusing mechanism … is quite good.

Minox MD 50 16-30x50mm Spotting scope


* The products tested were: Vortex Recon Mountain 15×50mm, $590.00; Vortex Recon R/T Tactical 10×50mm, $550.00; Nikon Fieldscope ED50 13-30×50mm, $700.00; Leupold Gold Ring 15-30×50mm $400.00; Minox MD50 16-30×50mm, $300.00.

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August 8th, 2015

E-Tip: Lead-Free Hunting Solution from Nosler

Nosler eTip lead free unleaded no-lead hunting bullet copper solid Barnes TSX

In some areas of the country (California in particular), hunters are now forbidden to use bullets that contain lead. If you need a lead-free projectile for your deer rifle, consider Nosler’s E-Tip projectile. This has plenty of penetrating power and retained energy while complying with laws requiring “unleaded” ammunition. An “expansion chamber” behind the green polymer tip helps ensure reliable expansion with 95% weight retention. The video below shows a .30 Caliber 180gr lead-free ‎E-Tip‬ power through TWO 12-inch blocks of Ballistics Gel at 100 yards. This was fired from a .308 Winchester.

Watch 180gr eTip Penetration and Expansion in Ballistic Gelatin:

Nosler claims the E-Tip bullet has advantages over other solid copper hunting bullets: “Unlike the competitor’s one-piece designs, Nosler E-Tip bullets will not blow the petals off at extreme velocities nor will the low end expansion ever be questioned, as the minimum impact velocity is set at 1800 fps for standard calibers.” One hunter, posting on Facebook, gave the E-Tip high marks: “I have had the opportunity to take a pig with a 130 gr E-Tip from my .270 and they work flawlessly. My son took two pigs with his .300 Win Mag and 165gr E-Tips and they worked flawlessly as well.”

This video illustrates the design and construction of the Nosler eTip Bullet:

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