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May 31st, 2008

Mirage Shields–Don't Leave Home Without One

Summer’s here, and that means hot weather and lots of mirage. A quality mirage shield reduces the amount of optical distortion caused by heat waves rising from the barrel directly in front of the scope. On a hot day, after many rounds through the barrel, the benefit of a mirage shield can be quite dramatic. Benchrest shooters have used mirage shields for many years. Mirage shields can be just as beneficial for the serious varmint shooter. But, curiously, most varminters we know don’t employ mirage shields. We think they should. A mirage shield is a low-cost accessory that helps you get more hits and fewer misses.

As our friend Boyd Allen observed: “Varminters should use mirage shields. Think about it. You’ve invested thousands of dollars in a fancy varmint rifle and quality scope. You may have spent hundreds of dollars traveling to the varmint fields and spent dozens of hours loading up your ammo. Without a mirage shield on your barrel, once that barrel gets hot, you WILL get mirage effects that can make you miss a shot. A mirage shield costs just a few dollars. It really doesn’t make sense to go out to the varmint fields without one, if you plan on shooting lots of rounds. Barrel heat mirage can cause you to miss that critter, even if you have the most accurate rifle in the world.”

Dan Lilja offers a nice, wide mirage shield for $10. Dan notes: “Our benchrest mirage shield also works very well for field varmint rifles if there is a lot of action and the barrel is getting hot. The shield deflects image-distorting heat waves that come off of a hot barrel. The heat flows out past the edge of the shield and out of the line-of-sight of the rifle scope. These shields are 18” long, made of thin painted steel (like window blind material) and can be easily trimmed to length.”

Lilja Mirage Shield

Sinclair International also offers a 2″-wide venetian-blind style Mirage Shade, that costs just $4.25. It is available in two lengths, 18″ for BR barrels (item 06-7200), and 24″ for longer varmint barrels (item 06-7300). The Sinclair Shade is made of aluminum and can easily be trimmed to a shorter length. Like the Lilja shield, the Sinclair Mirage Shade attaches with adhesive-backed Velcro fasteners.

Sinclair Int'l Mirage Shade

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May 31st, 2008

Major Gun-Makers offer Vast Inventories Online Via "Guns on Demand"

GunsAmerica, in association with Beretta, Mossberg, Remington, and Rock River Arms, has unveiled a new service for potential gun buyers, called “Guns on Demand”. Inventories of thousands of NEW firearms will be available for viewing on The participating manufacturers’ computerized inventory lists link directly to the GunsAmerica web site, so online shoppers can choose from virtually any gun in these companies’ current inventories.

If you see a firearm you might want to buy, just click the “Full Details” button and a list of FFL dealers (ranked by proximity to you) will display. You’ll see a variety of prices, since each dealer sets his own price. When you select a particular dealer, he will verify that he has the gun (or can get it), and he may ask for a deposit. All stocking brick and mortar gun dealers will be able to enter the program for many brands.

This is a great way for the consumer to compare the prices of dozens of dealers instantly. If you are looking for a current-production factory rifle or shotgun, this can save you time, and you’ll probably end up with a better deal in the end.

The “Guns on Demand” program should benefit both consumers and gun makers. Christopher Merritt, GM of Beretta USA, states: “Where else can we take our entire inventory and in one place show it to our customers? does that and more.” Paul Heslinki, founder of, adds that: “With about 50,000 guns listed and more than 1 million active gun buyers every month on, our Guns On Demand program is a very important resource[.]”

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