May 25th, 2019

New Carbon-Wrapped Barrels from Helix 6 Precision

Helix 6 Precision Barrel carbon fiber proof research

Are you looking to shave POUNDS from your hunting rig or varmint rifle? There is a new option for folks looking for a weight-saving, carbon fiber-wrapped barrel. You’ve probably heard about Proof Research. That’s a good company that crafts good products. But now Proof Research has some competition — Helix 6 Precision in Washington State.

Helix 6 Precision Barrel carbon fiber proof research

Helix 6 Precision crafts button-rifled, carbon-wrapped barrels in both conventional and “pre-fit” configurations. Pre-fits are offered for Savage rifles as well as the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) series. These pre-fit barrels are not cheap. A 6.5 Creedmoor RPR pre-fit costs $995.00, while the Savage pre-fits are also just under a grand. The conventional barrel blanks cost $895.00 in .224, .243, .264, .284, and .308 calibers. The larger .338 caliber barrels run $945.00.

Helix 6 Precision Barrel carbon fiber proof research

While Helix 6 barrels do offer significant weight savings, the founders of Helix 6 say low mass wasn’t the number one design goal: “Accuracy was paramount and weight reduction was secondary. We’ve taken the industry’s most advanced carbon fiber engineering and pushed the technology further with our proprietary … carbon fiber process.”

The founders of Helix 6 Precision say they build some of the best carbon/steel hybrid barrels on the market: “Our unique carbon fiber-layup design dampens barrel harmonics for better accuracy. Each barrel is cut from a 416R stainless steel core, and carbon fiber-wrapped using the Helix 6 Precision’s advanced process. This creates match-grade accuracy barrels with high heat dispersion that are 30% lighter than a steel barrel of the same contour. The bores are … hand-lapped for precision accuracy.” Helix 6 claims its barrels are “lighter, stronger, and faster cooling than anything else available on the market.”

Myth vs. Reality — What Carbon Can and Cannot Do

Carbon fiber is formed using thin strands of carbon bonded together with a plastic polymer resin. The resulting material is very strong and light weight. There’s a reason Formula 1 cars are crafted with carbon-fiber composites. But is a carbon-wrapped barrel the right option for you? Here are some factors to consider:

Weight Savings — There’s no doubt that a carbon-wrapped barrel will weigh less than an unfluted stainless steel barrel with identical length and contour (outside diameters). Helix 6 claims a 30% weight reduction compared to a conventional stainless steel barrel. That’s significant.

Accuracy — Carbon-wrapped barrels are NOT commonly being used for F-Class or Benchrest competition. However, Proof Research carbon-wrapped barrels have performed well in PRS competitions in the hands of top shooters. So, we can conclude that carbon accuracy is good enough for the PRS/NRL tactical game, at least at the local club level.

Heat Dispersion — Carbon-wrapped barrel-makers claim their hybrid design disperses heat better than an all-steel barrel. Some independent testers disagree, saying: “hold on now — the carbon actually acts as an insulator, so more heat is retained in the barrel”. The jury is still out. One thing that is true is that the carbon barrels seem to generate less mirage from barrel heat. Ask yourself, “if less heat is coming OFF the barrel, where is that heat retained?” But the reduced mirage could be a function of the black woven surface which may release heat differently than polished steel.

Standard, Pre-Fit, and Custom Barrel Options
Helix 6 Precision barrels are available as pre-fit barrels for both Savage and the Ruger Precision Rifle in many popular long-range cartridges. Barrel blanks are sold in five calibers from .224 to .338. Helix 6 can also thread and chamber a barrel for any precision rifle. Helix 6 Precision also builds one-off barrels to fit individual needs.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 2 Comments »
April 19th, 2019

Wind Wizardry for Varminters — Keep the Wind at Your Back

Varmint Hunting varmint safari wind war wagon trailer longmeadow game resort
This impressive war wagon hauls varmint hunters around the Longmeadow Game Resort in Colorado.

When you’re on a varmint expedition in the Western states you can bet, sooner or later, you’ll encounter serious winds. Here’s some advice on how to minimize the effects of cross-winds on your shooting, and easily improve your percentage of hits. In essence, you want to use your ability to change shooting positions and angles to put the wind behind you.

A benchrest or High Power shooter must operate from a designated shooting position. He must stay put and deal with the wind as it moves across the course, from whatever direction it blows. By contrast, a varmint hunter can move around and choose the spot that provides the most favorable wind direction. In most cases you’ll get the best results by moving your shooting position so the wind is at your back. This will minimize horizontal wind drift. Once you’re in position, use wind flags to direct your fire in line with the prevailing winds. A varminter who calls himself “Catshooter” explains:

The String of Death
I remember the first time I was on a dog town in the Conata Basin, in the Badlands area of southwestern South Dakota. Along with two other guys, I drove out for 21 days of shooting, and I never saw wind like that before. If all four tires of our vehicle were on the ground, the weather man said these were “mild wind conditions”.

After the first four or five days, we got smart. We would park the truck on the up-wind side of the town so the wind was at our back. Then we took a piece of string on a 3-foot stick, and set it in front of the shooters, and let the string point at the mounds that we were going to shoot.

For the rest of the trip, we didn’t have to deal with wind drift at all. We just shot the dogs that the string pointed to. We started calling our simple wind pointer the “String of Death”.

We were hitting dogs at distances that I would not repeat here (with benchrest grade rifles). After the first time out, I always took a wind rig like that.

Photos by Chris Long, taken during Chris’s Wyoming Varmint Hunt with Trophy Ridge Outfitters.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
April 8th, 2019

NSSF Video Shows Sitting, Kneeling, and Standing Positions

When hunting or when competing in a field tactical match, you need to be able to shoot from a variety of positions. While the prone position is normally the most stable, hunters (and tactical marksmen) will encounter situations that demand the ability to shoot from a higher position.

In this NSSF Video, Ryan Cleckner, a former Sniper Instructor for the 1st Ranger Battalion, explains how to shoot from sitting, kneeling, and standing positions. Cleckner demonstrates both rested and non-rested variations of these three positions. Cleckner explains: “When you’re out hunting, often times you’re going to have grass or obstacles in your way, so [prone is] not practical — you’re going to have to get higher up off the ground. However, the problem with getting higher off the ground is that you are less stable. As a rule, the closer we are to the ground, the more stable we are… so we are going to [encounter] problems as we get taller up. I’m going to teach you some tricks to get you as stable as possible….”

Cleckner demonstrates the proper kneeling/sitting/standing body positions and he shows how to use your sling for extra support. This video also demonstrates the use of “field expedient” rests that provide a front support point for the rifle. Both hunters and field tactical shooters should find this 7-minute video very informative, and well worth watching.

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March 28th, 2019

Camo Wamo — Great Deals on Camo Gear for Hunters and Hikers

Camo camouflage hunting hiking bdu DPM UBAC combat italian britain NATO clothing pants jacket
These British Army shirts feature moisture-wicking mesh plus padded shoulders, elbows, and forearms.

Are you planning some serious hunts this year? Good camouflage clothing can help with your stalking. Or maybe you just need some good, durable togs for hiking and camping. This week high-quality military surplus camo gear is on sale at Sportsman’s Guide. Choose a comfortable British military zip-front shirt, or get an Italian military jacket and pants set. Two British Shirts (shown above) are available — the Desert DPM Shirt for $18.99 ($17.09 SG Club Price) and the UBAC Combat Shirt for $20.09 ($18.09 Club).

Camo camouflage hunting hiking bdu DPM UBAC combat italian britain NATO clothing pants jacket

The Ripstop BDU Jacket is $12.99 ($11.09 Club) while the Ripstop BDU Pants are $13.99 ($12.59 Club).

With these great deals, you can put together a complete, durable camo outfit for under fifty bucks. All these items (both British and Italian) are NEW, NEVER ISSUED condition. We like these BDU pants for general “rough-duty” wear, such as doing yardwork, trail-hiking, or orienteering. And the UBAC shirt is great for cool-weather camping trips.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
March 17th, 2019

Hunter Training and Mentoring Programs — State by State

Hunter hunt hunting recruitment mentor mentoring junior novice training license licensing programs
Photo from Nebraska Mentored Hunts.

The number of active hunters in the USA has declined in recent years. That’s not good for wildlife management programs, which are supported, in large part, by hunting fees. Perhaps more importantly, the declin in the ranks of hunters weakens the base of support for the Second Amendment. Hunters are key to the future of firearms rights in America. We support efforts to increase the number of hunters, through mentoring and training programs.

The NRA’s American Hunter magazine has compiled a comprehensive list of hunting mentor programs, state by state. This is followed by listing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide hunter training. If you know individuals looking to get a start in hunting, check out these resources.

Hunter hunt hunting recruitment mentor mentoring junior novice training license licensing programs

State Hunter Mentoring and Training Progams

Alabama | 205-339-5716
• Hunting Programs: outdooralabama.com/hunting

Alaska | 907-267-2534
• Hunter Education: huntereducation.alaska.gov

Arizona | 602-942-3000
• Mentor Camps: azgfd.com/Hunting/MentoredCamps/

Arkansas | 800-364-4263
• Arkansas Outdoors: agfc.com/en/get-involved/first-steps-outdoors/

California | 916-653-1235
• Programs: wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education
• Apprentice Hunting Licenses: nrm.dfg.ca.gov/ApprenticeHunts/Default.aspx

Colorado | 303-291-7248
• Hunter Outreach: cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/HunterOutreach.aspx

Connecticut | 860-424-3000
• Junior Hunter
: ct.gov/deep/JuniorHunter

Delaware | 302-739-9910
• Hunter Ed
: dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/HunterEd/Pages/HunterEd.aspx

Florida | 850-488-4676
• Mentor Program: myfwc.com/hunting/safety-education/mentoring/
• Youth Program: myfwc.com/education/outdoor-skills/youth-hunting-program/

Georgia | 706-557-2335
• Mentor Program: georgiawildlife.com/mentor

Idaho | 208-334-3700
• Hunt Passport: idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/passport

Illinois | 217-300-5352
• Learn to Hunt: publish.illinois.edu/hunttrapillinois/
• Apprentice License: dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/pages/apprenticelicense.aspx

Indiana | 317-233-9382
• Hunting: in.gov/dnr/fishwild/2701.htm

Iowa | 515-725-8200
• Learn to Hunt: iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Hunter-Education/Learn-to-Hunt

Kansas | 620-672-5911
• Hunter Recruitment: ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Hunting-Programs/Hunter-Recruitment
• Outdoor Mentors: outdoormentors.org/
• Youth Hunts: ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Special-Hunts-Information

Kentucky | 800-858-1549 Ext. 4475; 502-330-8487
• Hunter’s Legacy Program: fw.ky.gov/Hunt/Pages/Hunter%27s-Legacy.aspx
• Field to Fork Program: fw.ky.gov/Pages/FieldtoFork.aspx

(more…)

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
March 11th, 2019

IWA Outdoor Classics 2019 Concludes Today

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany
Some interesting Drive Band bullets were on display at IWA Show.

IWA Outdoor Classics Exhibition Concludes for 2019
As we publish this in the USA, the IWA Outdoor Classics trade show is drawing to a close. Today marked the last day of the 4-Day exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany. IWA is a big event, drawing over 1600 exhibitors, as well as nearly 50,000 show visitors from around the world. Here is our IWA Day 4 report, with more images from the show. Photo Credit for IWA images: NuernbergMesse / Frank Boxler and Thomas Geiger, All Rights Reserved.

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany

Yes they like big boomers in Europe too. Here is an Austrian Steyr-Mannlicher HS .50-M1 in .50 BMG.

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany

These state-of-the-art, computer-controlled commercial loading stations were on display at IWA.

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany

The sound of silence. The new German-engineered Blaser R8 Ultimate Silence features an integral silencer. The over-sized barrel functions as the silencer.

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany

Some of the best specialized competition shooting coats and pants are crafted in Europe.

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany

Zeiss, a German company, produces some of the best rifle scopes in the world.

Spirit of the Hunt — IWA Showcases Hunting Gear and Clothing

At its heart, the IWA Outdoor Classics event remains a showcase for hunting products. The aisles included collections of antlers, hunting gear, and traditional Bavarian hunting clothing.

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany

Parting Shot — Crack Open a Cold One with a Stag-Horn

Here’s just what you need to open a bottle of good German lager — a stag-horn bottle opener. Prost!

IWA Outdoor Classics hunting shooting firearms sports exhibition trade SHOT Show nuremberg germany

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News 1 Comment »
March 10th, 2019

IWA 2019 — Guns and Optics Galore in Germany

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

Today is Super Sunday in Nuremberg. This is the third day of the annual IWA Outdoor Classics trade show, the biggest gun/hunting/outdoor trade show outside the USA. Over 1600 companies are displaying their products. The IWA event, held each spring in Nuremberg, Germany, opened Friday in the Nürnberg Exhibition Centre. The show runs four days, March 8-11, 2019. Here is our IWA Day 3 report, with more images from the show. Photo Credit for IWA images: NuernbergMesse / Frank Boxler and Thomas Geiger, All Rights Reserved.


CLICK HERE for Over 500 More IWA Show Photos »

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

Here a visitor checks out an impressive Minerva-series Tactical Rifle from Victrix Armaments, an Italian rifle-maker affiliated with Beretta. Along with modular tactical rigs, Victrix also makes quality F-Class rifles, prone guns, and hunting rifles. SEE VICTRIX RIFLES HERE.

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

Yes, there were many AR-platform rifles on display at the IWA Outdoor Classics show.

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

A recent test of the Swarovski dS (see video below) proved this state-of-the-art “smart optic” delivers on its promise — no more dialing knobs. Swarovski’s $4500+ 5-25×52 dS features a built-in laser rangefinder and internal microprocessor.

Working with a smartphone App, the Swaro’s sophisticated ballistics computer calculates your trajectory at any distance and then displays an aim point on your reticle. It even adjusts the aim point for the wind (with data entered wirelessly via mobile device).

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

Here is a line-up of new Aimpoint rifle scopes. Aimpoint is much more than Red Dots these days…

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

Pride of Pedersoli. This display showcased handsome Pedersoli side-hammer (Sharps) and falling-block rifles from Italy. Note also the collection of Vernier-type Tang Sights.

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

Bling is the thing. This eye-catching Magnum Research Desert Eagle was at the IWA New Product Center.

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

There were also many vintage pistols on display. This is an original Borchardt Model 1893 semi-auto handgun, father of the famous 9mm Luger pistol.

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

The IWA Outdoor Classics started decades ago as a hunting exhibition, and it still retains that focus. Here is an impressive display of horns and hunting-related items.

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

IWA Archery Range at Nürnberg Exhibition Centre

IWA Outdoor Classics visitors could test their archery skills with both conventional bows and with crossbows at the Show’s Archery Center. This offered an interesting “hands-on” experience for many show-goers.

IWA Outdoor Classics trade show convention SHOT rifle shotgun tactical news photo gallery

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Handguns, Optics No Comments »
February 1st, 2019

Varminters’ Debate — Cranking Elevation or Holding Over/Under

Varmint hunter 22 BR elevation scope hold-over

Leuopold Varmint Hunters' ReticleA varmint shooter’s target is not conveniently placed at a fixed, known distance as it is for a benchrester. The varminter must repeatedly make corrections for bullet drop as he moves from closer targets to more distant targets and back again. Click HERE to read an interesting Varmint Forum discussion regarding the best method to adjust for elevation. Some shooters advocate using the scope’s elevation adjustments. Other varminters prefer to hold-over, perhaps with the assistance of vertical markers on their reticles. Still others combine both methods–holding off to a given yardage, then cranking elevation after that.

Majority View–Click Your Scope
“I zero at 100 yards — I mean really zero as in check the ballistics at 200 and 300 and adjust zero accordingly — and then set the scope zero. For each of my groundhog guns I have a click chart taped into the inside of the lid of the ammo box. Then use the knobs. That’s why they’re there. With a good scope they’re a whole lot more accurate than hold-over, with or without hash marks. This all assumes you have a good range finder and use it properly. If not, and you’re holding over you’re really just spraying and praying. Try twisting them knobs and you’ll most likely find that a 500- or 600- or 700-yard groundhog is a whole lot easier than some people think.” — Gunamonth

IOR Scope elevation knob one revolution

“I have my elevation knob calibrated in 100-yard increments out to 550. Range-find the critter, move elevation knob up…dead critter. The problem with hold-over is that it is so imprecise. It’s not repeatable because you are holding over for elevation and for wind also. Every time you change targets 50 yards, it seems as if you are starting over. As soon as I got completely away from the hold over method (I used to zero for 200), my hit ratios went way up.” — K. Candler

“When I first started p-dog shooting, I attempted to use the hold-over method with a 200-yard zero with my 6mm Rem. Any dog much past 325-350 yards was fairly safe. I started using a comeups table for all three of my p-dog rifles (.223 Rems and 6mm Rem). 450-yard hits with the .223s are fairly routine and a 650-yard dog better beware of the 6mm nowadays. An added benefit (one I didn’t think of beforehand) with the comeups table (elevation only), is that when the wind is blowing, it takes half of the variables out of the equation. I can concentrate on wind, and not have to worry about elevation. It makes things much more simple.” — Mike (Linefinder).

“I dial for elevation and hold for wind. Also use a mil-dot reticle to make the windage holds easier. For windage corrections, I watch for the bullet strike measure the distance it was “off” with the mil-dot reticle, then hold that much more the other way. Very fast once you get used to it.” — PepeLP

Varmint Hunting ScopeMinority View–Hold-Over is Better
“I try to not touch my knobs once I’m zeroed at 200 meters. Most of my varmint scopes have duplex reticles and I use the bottom post to put me on at 300 meters versus turning knobs. The reason I try to leave my knobs alone is that I have gone one complete revolution up or down [too far] many times and have missed the varmint. This has happened more than once and that is why I try not to change my knobs if at all possible.” — Chino69

“I have been using the hold over method and it works for me most of the time but the 450 yards and over shots get kinda hard. I moved to a 300 yard zero this year and it’s working well. I do want to get into the click-up method though; it seems to be more fool-proof.” — 500YardHog

Compromise View–Use Both Methods
“I use both [methods] as well — hold over out to 250, and click up past that.” — Jack (Wolf)

“I use the target knobs and crank-in elevation. I also use a rangefinder and know how far away they are before I crank in the clicks. I have a scope with drop dots from Premier Recticle and like it. No cranking [knobs] out to 600.” –Vmthtr

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Shooting Skills No Comments »
January 30th, 2019

Great American Outdoor Show in Pennsylvania, February 2-10

SHOT Show is just behind us, and now another big firearms and hunting exposition is about to start. The NRA Great American Outdoor Show runs February 2-10, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (at the PA Farm Show Complex). This is the Largest consumer outdoor recreation show in the world. Over 200,000 attendees are expected to visit the show’s nine exhibit halls, where 1,100+ exhibitors and 400+ outfitters will showcase their products and services.

Great American Outdoor show Harrisburg Pennsylvania PA February hunting fishing

Great American Outdoor Show Pennsylvania1,100+ Exhibitor Booths
New Firearms from Leading Gun-Makers
400+ Outfitters and Charterers
200+ Outdoor Seminars
Country Music Concerts

Attendees can visit over 1,100 exhibitor booths featuring firearms, hunting gear, camping equipment, fishing tackle, archery products, and even boats and RVs. The booths cover 650,000 square feet of exhibit hall space! In addition, the giant Outfitter Hall at the Great American Outdoor Show, one of the largest in the country, hosts over 400 outfitters, boat captains, and charterers.

Over 200 Seminars Hosted by Outdoor Experts and Noted Guides
The 2017 Great American Outdoor Show will feature 216 seminars from leading outdoors experts, covering hunting, stalking, trapping, long range shooting, rifle accurizing, field dressing, venison processing, bow-hunting, fishing techniques, and much more. This year’s notable presentations will include:

  • Abner Druckenmiller — Becoming an Ultimate Predator Hunter
  • Cole McCullough — Advanced Long Range Field Shooting
  • Bobby Hart – Improving Rifle Accuracy
  • Kristy Titus – Positional Shooting and Elk Calling
  • Alan Probst – Coyote Trapping Techniques
  • Rick Fetrow – Venison Processing
  • Barry Wensel – Hunting Whitetails

Hunting gear father son hunter hunting
Father and son deer hunting photo courtesy SportsmansGuide.com.

Great Outdoor Show Highlights
There will be themed exhibitor halls for Archery, Boats, Fishing, Hunting Outfitters, Outdoor Products, RVs, and the Shooting Sports.

More than 1,100 exhibitors will display more than a million outdoor and shooting-related products.

More than 400 hunting outfitters and fishing charter captains from all over the world in attendance.

Special events include the NRA Country Concert, fundraising dinners, speaking events, archery competitions, celebrity appearances, seminars and demonstrations, kids’ activities and more.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
January 2nd, 2019

Hunting — Programs to Strengthen America’s Ranks of Hunters

NRA join hunt hunter hunting education hunting license wildlife training

This report based on story in American Hunter magazine, by J. Scott Olmsted, Editor in Chief

The 2016 report of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, a survey conducted every five years by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, showed that today only about 11.5 million Americans aged 16 or older hunt. That’s only 4.9 percent of adults among a population of 320 million.

Declining Numbers of Hunters — What We Can Do
Too many Americans have left the field; they no longer hunt. Too many current American hunters continue to consider leaving the field. In fact the number of American hunters today is about half what it was 50 years ago, and the decline is expected to continue to accelerate.

Demographers don’t see any uptick on the horizon. Nearly a third of American hunters are baby boomers. The youngest boomers are 54, and trends suggest most hunters stop buying licenses by about 65. So what happens in 11 years when the last of the baby boomers stops hunting?

NRA join hunt hunter hunting education hunting license wildlife training

Indeed wildlife and wildlands are heavily dependent on hunters and fishers to survive and thrive. State agencies, which manage most of the wildlife in America, derive about 59 percent of their collective funding from hunting- and fishing-related activities. A primary source of that funding — hunters — is shrinking. Note that funding doesn’t come from birdwatching or hiking or kayaking, to name a few non-consumptive activities that contribute no funds.

where to hunt map NSSF

Hunter Education Programs from the NRA
The NRA was the first organization to develop a hunter-education course, in 1949 in New York. It became the model. Today, in the digital age, the NRA provides NRA Hunter Education Online.

NRAHE.org offers FREE comprehensive hunter safety information online. The 15-chapter sequence features videos, photos and graphics, audio recordings, interactive modules that prospective hunters may access whenever and wherever they are able to complete it. It provides the best method for teaching future hunters lessons they will remember the rest of their lives.

Let’s not forget our youngest hunters. Since 1985, the NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) has introduced more than 1.2 million young people to safe, ethical hunting. YHEC competitions test participants’ hunting, stalking, and marksmanship skills. To learn more about YHEC, visit Yhec.nra.org.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge

(more…)

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December 27th, 2018

Cartridge Comparison Guide Covers 250+ Cartridges

Cartridge Comparison Guide

Cartridge Comparison GuideThe Cartridge Comparison Guide is a remarkably comprehensive 340-page, spiral-bound book. Covering over 250 cartridges, the Second Edition of the Cartridge Comparison Guide is the product of many years of labor by Andrew Chamberlain, a Utah-based hunter. Andrew says his Guide “compares every factory available cartridge from the 17 calibers up to the 50 caliber cartridges”. (Sorry, most wildcat cartridges are not covered.) Chamberlain’s Guide also compiles cartridge data from major ammunition manufacturers such as Barnes, Federal, Hornady, Norma, Nosler, Remington, Sierra, Swift, Weatherby, and Winchester. It shows the optimal velocity achieved for each bullet weight and calculates bullet energy, recoil, and powder efficiency. Large color photos illustrate handgun and rifle cartridges.

The Cartridge Comparison Guide provides data for thousands of cartridge/bullet/velocity combos. Quick reference data sheets and ballistics charts cover Trajectory, Velocity, and Energy out to 500 yards. The Cartridge Comparison Guide also offers a firearms lexicon, plus Appendices covering Cartridge Selection for Game Animals, Bullet Selection/Design, Bullet Expansion, Wound Channel Characteristics and more.

New Content in Second Edition of Cartridge Comparison Guide
The Cartridge Comparison Guide (Second Edition) costs $29.96 plus shipping and tax. CLICK HERE to visit the Online Store where you can order the 340-page book. Here’s what’s new in the Second Edition:

  • Addition of Shotgun Ammunition (Both Slug and Shot loads).
  • Momentum Calculation for all Rifle, Shotgun and Handgun loads.
  • Integration of Shotgun Slug Ammunition with Center Fire Rifle Data Tables.
  • Factory Load Summary Added (Shows manufacturers and loads produced).
  • One factory load and one hand load for every bullet weight available in each cartridge.
  • Over 90 pages of additional ballistics content (roughly 35% more than in First Edition).

Cartridge Comparison Guide

Great Resource for Hunters
One of Chamberlain’s main goals in creating the Cartridge Comparison Guide was to help hunters select the right cartridge for the job: “This started as a personal project to gather information on the more popular cartridges commonly used for hunting. I wanted to find the best all-around performing cartridge and rifle that a guy on a budget could shoot. I began comparing cartridge performance, versatility, bullet selection, powder efficiency, recoil generation vs. energy produced, standing ballistic data for different environments….”

Giant Cartridge Poster for Computer Wallpaper (1665×1080 pixels)
Here’s a great illustration of hundreds of cartridges and shotshell types. For dedicated reloaders, this would work great as desktop “wallpaper” for your computer. CLICK HERE for full-size image.

cartridge poster

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 24th, 2018

FREE State-Approved Online Hunter Education Courses

hunter education online NRA

The NRA now offers FREE officially-approved Hunter Education Courses in online format. These allow you to fulfill many basic requirements for game tags and hunting licenses. The online courses can be conveniently completed wherever you have a web connection, saving you time and money. Currently, there are online Hunder Education Courses for seven (7) states*:

Connecticut
Florida
New Mexico
Oklahoma
Oregon
Texas
West Virginia

hunter education online NRA

Additional State Requirements — Field Days
The requirements and prerequisites for each course vary from state to state. Some states require officially-issued identification numbers before starting. Other states require additional “hands-on” instruction. For example, Florida mandates a Skills Day session, Oregon requires a separate Field Day qualification, and West Virginia has a mandatory Hands-on / written portion for hunter certification. For more information, visit the NRA Hunter Safety Education Page.

hunter education online NRA

hunting safety hunter education
Photo courtesy
Horn Fork Guides Ltd. in Colorado.

* The NRA plans to add online Hunter Education Courses for more states in the months ahead.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
November 23rd, 2018

Get Outdoors and Experience the Joy of Shooting…

Mortality life expectancy carpe diem
This photo is one of Nightforce’s series of picturesque “Gunscapes”. SEE MORE HERE.

With all the commercialization and buying frenzy associated with Black Friday/Cyber Monday, we should remember the real reasons most of us enjoy the shooting hobby. Many of us like shooting because it gets us outdoors, away from work pressures. Shooting gives us a chance both to enjoy solitude as well as have fun with friends and family in the outdoors. For this editor, a solo trip to the range in mid-week was often the perfect antidote to job stress. Going to a scenic venue and sending a few shots downrange was satisfying. And getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city did indeed calm the soul.

Talented 3-position shooter (and trick-shot artist) Kirsten Joy Weiss says that any day at the range is “always a good day”. Here is her photo to prove it. If that shot doesn’t motivate you to spend a day outdoor with rifles, we’re not sure what will. Here’s hoping you’ll have a chance to get in another few days of shooting this season before the snow falls. This Editor hopes to test some rimfire ammo this weekend…

“Always a good day…” — Kirsten Joy Weiss

kirsten joy weiss sharp shots

kirsten joy weiss sharp shots

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November 22nd, 2018

Have a Blast This Thanksgiving with FREE Turkey Target

Varmint Turkey Free Targets Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving. What better way to celebrate the occasion than to blast away at some bearded gobblers (of the paper variety). Here’s our custom Turkey Day target, ready for family fun. This special Turkey Bullseye Target was created by our friend and Forum member Pascal (aka “DesertFrog”). CLICK HERE for FREE Turkey Target.

Get a Full Set of Animal Targets
For your convenience, we’ve packaged the Turkey Target along with five (5) other varmint/animal-themed targets. These are all offered in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format for easy printing.

CLICK HERE to download all SIX targets in .Zip archive.

Varmint Turkey Free Targets Thanksgiving

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October 30th, 2018

From the Land of Fjords — Hunting in Norway

Norway Fjord Hunting Skorpen

This time of year, deer and elk hunters throughout the Northern Hemisphere trek into the wilds in search of game. To celebrate the hunting lifestyle, we’re reprising a story from Europe that showcases the beauty of nature that can be experienced on a hunting trip.

Norway Fjord Hunting SkorpenIf you need a break from your hum-drum day at the office, how about taking a virtual vacation to Norway, where you can explore the scenic mountains in the Fjord region?

Forum member Kenneth Skorpen (aka “Sal”) has created a cool video of a deer-hunting trip he took in Norway. He didn’t bag a buck on this trip, but the walk in the Fjordland mountains took Kenneth through some spectacular scenery. (At the 11:25 time mark you’ll see an amazing sunset over the Fjord.) Kenneth did encounter a doe that had fallen down the mountain, and apparently broken its neck (14:35 time mark). The terrain is very steep, and Kenneth observed that: “I feel fortunate to be able to do this, but I also feel very tired in my legs. Did you know that the hares around here have shorter left legs due to the steep hills?”

More Hunting/Shooting Videos from Norway
You can watch more interesting hunting and shooting videos from Norway on Kenneth Skorpen’s Streken Vertebrae YouTube Channel. Here are some links:

And here is another Skorpen video showcasing beautiful Norwegian landscapes. This was filmed during a February rifle testing session with targets at 1100 and 1400 meters. You’ll see some stunning snow-capped scenery here, starting at the 4:30 time mark.

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October 12th, 2018

Field Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

On LongRangeHunting.com, you’ll find a good article by Shawn Carlock about wind reading. Shawn is a veteran law enforcement marksman and a past USPSA national precision rifle champion. Shawn offers good advice on how to estimate wind speeds and directions using a multitude of available indicators — not just your wind gauge: “Use anything at your disposal to accurately estimate the wind’s velocity. I keep and use a Kestrel for reading conditions….The Kestrel is very accurate but will only tell you what the conditions are where you are standing. I practice by looking at grass, brush, trees, dust, wind flags, mirage, rain, fog and anything else that will give me info on velocity and then estimate the speed.”

Shawn also explains how terrain features can cause vertical wind effects. A hunter on a hilltop must account for bullet rise if there is a headwind blowing up the slope. Many shooters consider wind in only one plane — the horizontal. In fact wind has vertical components, both up and down. If you have piloted a small aircraft you know how important vertical wind vectors can be. Match shooters will also experience vertical rise when there is a strong tailwind blowing over an up-sloping berm ahead of the target emplacements. Overall, Shawn concludes: “The more time you spend studying the wind and its effect over varying terrain the more successful you will be as a long-range shooter and hunter.”

This Editor, as a life-long sailor, also has some suggestions about wind. Many folks may not realize that wind can cycle, both in direction and in speed (velocity). If you are patient, you should be able to sense the timing of the cycles, which will help you predict shifts in wind direction and velocity. While it is tempting to shoot in the lulls, sometimes the true wind vector (angle + speed) may be most constant when the wind is blowing stronger.

Another tip for hunters is to orient your shot, when possible, in alignment with the wind direction. Try to face into the wind, or have the wind at your back. This is especially effective when shooting in a varmint field. Use a string of tape on a pole to show wind angle. Then shoot directly into the wind or with the wind directly at your back. This will minimize horizontal deflection caused by the wind.

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October 9th, 2018

Resources for Hunters — Safety Info, License Info, Best Books

Hunter Safety Tips
NRAFamily.org has a good article listing seven salient safety tips for hunters. Anyone preparing for a fall hunt should read this article before heading into the field. Here are two of key bits of advice:

Be Positive of Your Target before Shooting
This might sound overly simplistic, but the fact remains that, every year during whitetail season, farmers everywhere are forced to spray-paint their cattle or risk having them “harvested” by hunters who don’t bother confirming the species of the large ungulate in their sights. Why does this happen? The most likely explanation is “buck fever,” meaning that the hunter wants so badly to see a nice big buck that sometimes his eyes deceive him into thinking that there’s one there. When in doubt, don’t shoot.

Scopes Are Not Binoculars
Never use a riflescope as a substitute for binoculars. The temptation to do so is real, but when one does this, one is by definition pointing the muzzle of the gun at unknown targets.

Where to hunt hunting license state information NSSF

Visit WhereToHunt.org

There’s a great online resource for hunters that will help you find game locations in your state and ensure you have all the proper permits and game tags. WheretoHunt.org features an interactive map of the country. For all 50 states, the NSSF has compiled information about hunting license and permits, where to hunt, hunter education classes, laws and regulations and more. For each state you’ll also find a link for required applications and license forms.

Click Map to Get State-by-State Hunting INFO
Where to Hunt hunting license game location

Hunting Affiliation Groups
There are many good organizations dedicated to promoting hunting and preserving our hunting habitats. These groups all offer valuable information for hunters:

Ducks Unlimited
Mule Deer Foundation
National Wild Turkey Federation
Pheasants Forever
Quail Forever
Rabbits Unlimited
Safari Club International
Squirrels Umlimited
Varmint Hunters Association
Whitetails Unlimited

Recommended Books about Hunting

There’s no shortage of hunting hunting-related reading material. Here are some of the best books written about hunting.

Hemingway on Hunting by Ernest Hemingway

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Meditations on Hunting by Jose Ortega y Gasset

It’s Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It by Bill Heavey

The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food by Jackson Landers

Whitetail Nation: My Season in Pursuit of the Monster Buck by Peter Bodo

Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting by Jim Posewitz

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September 27th, 2018

Practical Shooting Skills for Hunters — Field Rests

Thomas Haugland HuntingHunting season is here — and we know many of our readers will soon head to the woods in pursuit of deer, elk, or other game. To make a good shot, it’s wise to rest your rifle when possible. In this video, methods for stabilizing a rifle in the field are demonstrated by Forum member Thomas Haugland, who hails from Norway. Thomas focuses on practical field shooting skills for hunters. In this video, Thomas (aka ‘Roe’ on Forum and Sierra645 on YouTube) shows how to verify his zeros from bipod and then he demonstrates improvised field rests from the prone, kneeling, and sitting positions.

Thomas explains: “In this video I focus on basic marksmanship techniques and making ready for this year’s hunt. As a last check before my hunting season, I got to verify everything for one last time. My trajectory is verified again, the practical precision of the rifle is verified. I also practice making do with the best [improvised] rest possible when an opportunity presents itself. After getting knocked in the face by a 338LM rifle during a previous filming session, I had to go back to basics to stop [flinching]. I include some details from bipod shooting that hopefully some hunters will find useful. Fingers crossed for this years season, good luck!”

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
September 25th, 2018

Hunting Options for Fathers and Sons — Great Gear Choices

Hunting gear 1701 father son hunter hunting
Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

One of the most memorable things a father and son can do is go hunting. Time spent in the field together builds bonds that last a lifetime. A young man will remember those special fall hunts he did with his Dad. And as he grows into maturity, that same young hunter will carry cherished memories forward all his life, along with an appreciation for wildlife and the outdoors.

Hunting gear father son hunter hunting
Father and son deer hunting photo courtesy SportsmansGuide.com.

There are many elements to a successful hunt — location, game activity, weather, stalking skills, and yes, a little bit of luck. You can’t control the weather (or the whims of whitetails), but you can increase your odds of success with the right gear. Here are some items that will help a father and son on a hunting adventure this fall.

A Boy’s First Centerfire Hunting Rifle

We’ve found a great choice for a young man’s first centerfire rifle. The Howa Mini Action Youth Model in 6.5 Grendel, is a compact package with an accurate, moderate-recoil chambering. This special Youth Model has a shorter stock with 12.5″ length of pull (LOP). Weighing under 5.7 pounds with a light-contour 20″ barrel, this rifle is light enough for a young man to carry easily. The Howa 6.5 Grendel Youth Model may be hard to find at retailers, but if you shop around you can find examples on Gunbroker.com at attractive prices. If you can’t find the Youth Model, you can get a standard Howa Mini and cut the stock to shorten the LOP.

Hunting gear 1701 father son hunter hunting

Hunting gear 6.5 Grendel Howa Rifle Mini Action father son hunter huntingYes a young man could start off with a big .30-06 shooting 200-grain bullets. But we think it’s wise to begin with a smaller, lighter-recoiling caliber. There are countless cartridge choices, but the compact 6.5 Grendel offers a good balance of power and accuracy with moderate recoil. The 6.5 Grendel boasts ballistics superior to the venerable 30/30, so it is capable of taking whitetail deer and other medium-sized game. Recoil is milder than a 30-caliber. This cartridge also works great for target work. Factory hunting ammo is available from Federal, Hornady, and Alexander Arms.

Great Gear Items for a Father and Son Hunting Trip

Here are some recommended items that our staff owns or uses. All selections cost less than $100.00. If you have a family hunt planned, check out these useful items. The Remington pack carries both your rifle and your gear. The electronic muffs provide hearing protection while still allowing conversations. The walkie-talkies let you communicate with your base camp even miles away.

Remington Twin Mesa Day Pack

This comfortable Remington Pack provides lots of capacity on the inside, plus a special harness system for toting your rifle. That keeps your hands free for your rangefinder and binoculars. The pack is mesh-lined for comfort and has nicely padded hip belt and shoulder straps. Five outside pockets hold small items securely. Priced at $73.53 with free shipping, this pack is a good choice for a hunter’s carrying system.

Howard Leight Electronic Muffs

These Howard Leight Electronic Muffs are Amazon’s #1 Seller in the Safety Ear Muffs category. These offer 22 dB sound protection with the ability to still hear conversations and range commands. For regular use, we do recommend running plugs under these muffs for higher effective NRR.

Bog-Pod Shooting Sticks Bipod Hunting

We’ve used Bog-Pod shooting supports on varmint hunts. They’re great for down-angle shots from a ridge or kneeling shots to get above terrain obstacles. Bog-Pods adjust from 17″ to 39″.

Leica CRF 2000 laser rangefinder

Hunters need to know distance with precision. A compact Laser Rangefinder (LRF) will help you spot and range your prey. The Leica CRF 2000-B, one of the best hand-held LRFs on the market, is on sale now for just $399.00 — a great bargain!

Leica CRF 2000 laser rangefinder

Motorola 2-way 22 Chanel Radios

Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola T100 Two-Way Radio is an Amazon Favorite in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios.

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September 24th, 2018

Hunting Safety Checklist — A Good Reminder Before Any Hunt

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter
Elk Hunt with Horn Fork Guides, Ltd., in Colorado.

Are you a safe hunter? Go through this checklist to find out. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has created a helpful Safety Checklist for hunters. This Hunting Safety Checklist was produced as part of the NSSF’s “Hunt S.A.F.E.” campaign which encourages hunters (and all firearm owners) to secure their firearms when not in use, and to focus on safe firearm handling and storage. The Hunting Safey Checklist helps hunters follow good, safe practices in the field and at home.

“Hunting is a time-honored tradition for many Americans, and the hunting season brings a wave of excitement and activity for all enthusiasts,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “It’s also a good time of year to remind firearm owners about … safe and responsible gun handling and storage.”

Download NSSF Hunting Safety Checklist for Families

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter

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