Gearing Up for Turkey Season


The last day of deer season is always a disappointment, but turkey season is fast approaching and now is the time to start gearing up.  We have the majority of our turkey gear in the store already and more is arriving every week.  I thought I would touch on a few of our products this year and give you some insight into what is going to be hot.

First and foremost, the most exciting thing for me is the new camo pattern from True Timber, HTC Green.  The majority of our products will be available in this pattern and the green is going to be extremely important this year with the mild winter we’ve had.  By mid-April, the majority of the buds are going to be blooming out and by May, the natural greens should be on in full.  Grab your Green!

The RedHead Turkey Lounger is by far the best Turkey vest available.  This vest has room for all of your calls, a game pouch for decoys or your bird, a hydration pouch which will hold a 2 liter bladder (not included with the vest), and there is room for anything else you want to take with you.  The vest is made with waterproof material. The game changer with this vest is the attached seat. This vest will allow you to sit down where ever you want, there is no need to find a tree to lean against; just lean back in the seat and you are all set.  Most importantly it is comfortable.  It is my turkey vest of choice and I think once you try it on and sit down, you will agree.

Next on the list is the RedHead Stalker Lite ¼ Zip.  I am including this because this shirt is perfect for warmer climates and I am pretty sure we are going to be looking at warm days in April here in Northwestern Ohio.  It is made out of 100% polyester which wicks away moisture and is fast drying.  We also have the Stalker Lite pants.

The one thing new this year in our store, by popular demand I might add, is the Hot Shot Deluxe Ghillie Suit.  It is a three piece suit that covers you from head to toe.  The main layer of the suit is a mesh material to help with breathability.  The suit is fully customizable and the polypropylene string that covers the suit can be cut to match the environment you are hunting in.  There is also a gun wrap and a storage bag included.


There are a lot of choices when it comes to turkey calls. Mouth calls take a lot of practice, but once you get it down, they are extremely effective. My brand of choice would be Quaker Boy. They have a mouth call for everyone including those with a narrow pallet. The sound quality and consistency make their calls stand out above the competition. For turkey hunting beginners, you should start out with a box call or a friction call. The Primos Box Cutter Turkey Call has a thumb groove that allows you to perfectly position your thumb so it can act like a spring. This allows you to make the sweetest cuts that a box call can make.\

Avian-X spends countless hours in the field studying birds and they use their findings to design ultra-realistic decoys. Specifically, the Avian-X LCD Laydown Hen Turkey Decoy presents a lifelike lay down posture. This pose attracts big gobblers by locking into the toms’ breeding instincts. They are lightweight and collapsible making the decoy easy to fit into a turkey vest. If you are looking for big toms, Avian-X is the way to go.

I could literally ramble on and probably write an entire essay on everything we have in the store for turkey season, but I wanted to highlight these few items, because honestly I’m very excited about them.  If you have any questions on anything do not hesitate to ask one of our associates, we will be glad to walk you through your selections.

On Saturday April 9th, we will be hosting two seminars specifically aimed on turkey hunting. The first one will be at 1:00 pm on Calls & Decoys. The second seminar will be at 2:00 pm on Selecting the Right Gun, Ammunition, & Choke Tube for the Job. Those who attend the seminars will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win an Avian-X Laydown Hen Decoy, but you must be present to win.

If you do not have your 2016 hunting license you can get them in the Rossford Store for both Ohio and Michigan, and do not forget your turkey tags while you are at it.  If you are hunting archery like me, we have the indoor range available, just bring your bow in (stop at our greeter to get it checked), walk up to the archery counter and ask to use the range.

Now let’s all get tuned or patterned up and put some Thunder Chickens on the dinner table.


Consistancy Leads To Accuracy

Hunting season is upon us and a lot of outdoorsmen will be hitting the woods in search of their own personal trophy and/or meat to fill the freezer.  Most of these folks are returning to the woods for the umpteenth time but some may be venturing forth on their very first outing.  Regardless of whether they're adults looking for a new hobby or children following in their elder's footsteps, they want to experience the thrill of success because they desire to create a lasting memory and possibly provide some healthy alternatives to store-bought food.

Our family looked forward to the season with great anticipation but we spent a lot of time throughout the rest of the year honing our shooting skills so that when the time came, we knew exactly where that round was going once we pulled the trigger.  Hunting woodchucks through the summer months ensured that we'd be comfortable with shooting and range time guaranteed our weapons were as accurate as possible.  That left our own abilities and outside factors as the only variables conspiring to put the bullet someplace other than where it was intended.

Unfortunately, we see a fair number of people heading into the woods that have never even put a round down range prior to throwing on the blaze orange or camouflage.  My wife and I see this on a weekly basis at the local range when people step up to the line and proceed to expend ammunition with seemingly little knowledge or forethought as to where it will impact the paper.  Holes perforate every square inch of the target more effectively than if they had fired a couple rounds of buckshot.  I'll give some the benefit of the doubt when it comes to limited range time and experience, but others bring an arsenal of weapons and radiate an air of confidence and expertise, right up to the point when rounds are impacting the targets.

10 rounds .223 at 50 yards w/iron sightsGuaranteed accuracy is through practice, practice, and more practice whether it's with a personal defense weapon or with a hunting implement because consistency, repetition, and muscle memory are the only way you can be sure that the next bullet sent down the barrel is going where you intended.  The guns themselves are capable of a certain level of accuracy depending on their given purpose but that level of performance can only go down hill once you introduce the human element to the equation.   It's a proven fact that a handgun fired mechanically from a Ransom Rest can put bullet after bullet through the same hole, but have a person raise the gun, look through iron sights or even a scope, then pull the trigger?  Well all bets are off if the shooter hasn't practiced extensively and become proficient.

Consistency is absolutely key to shooting accurately regardless of the platform.  Mounting the gun, grip, trigger contact, sight picture, breathing, and trigger engagement need to be performed exactly the same way time after time after time if you expect to be even remotely accurate.  I recently told one person that I'd rather be able to predictably put five rounds in the same hole and make the necessary aiming corrections to hit the bulls eye, than to hit it dead center once and have the other four rounds spread willy-nilly around the target.  Calling the shot and putting it where you want every time is the goal and should be practiced before hitting the field or carrying a weapon for self defense.

Choosing and shooting the same ammunition (or at least knowing how different brands and loads perform in your gun) is also quite important.  It's all part of the accuracy equation because bullets of different weights or designs, and powder loads can drastically change the point of impact at a given range.  Just compare the ballistic difference between a Federal Vital ShoK .270 130 gr with a Trophy Bonded tip  and the same brand but loaded into the Power Shok 150 gr Round Nose.  Their energy levels are different, the points of impact at various ranges are different, and their terminal performance (damage to the intended target) is different.  Pick a specific ammunition and learn to shoot it to the best of your ability and the guns potential.  There's no wonder why most of the true long distance experts shooting at Camp Perry hand load their own ammunition while paying extremely close attention to the details.

6 rounds .270 at 100 yards w/Leupold ScopeI recently visited the Ocala National Forest Shooting Range with my trusty old Weatherby Vanguard .270 (topped with a Leupold scope) and my new Ruger AR-556 (w/stock iron sights) so that I could do a bit of shooting beyond the distances possible at our local indoor range and let me tell you that I need to practice at those distances a bit more.  The AR proved perfectly capable of satisfactory groups, being limited only by my aging eyes and open sights, while the .270 performed very well with factory ammunition when fired by someone other than myself.  I'm not sure what the problem was but I couldn't get it to group well.  Jeff on the other hand hit right where he wanted with very nice grouping. I'd rub in the fact that he had two fliers but his overall group with an unfamiliar gun was still better than mine.  The point of this whole discussion is that the guns are accurate but shooters aren't, so consistent and purposeful practice is necessary to get the most out of any gun prior to hitting the field or relying on it for personal protection.

Practicing to achieve consistency will ultimately lead to accuracy once you know what your gun is capable of and where it puts the rounds when you perform all the actions the same way every time.  So pay attention to all the little things, control them to the best of your ability and your groups will get smaller and you'll have more confidence when pulling the trigger.  I'll see you at the range.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


My Pick: First Rifle

Last month we took a look at my pick for someone’s very first shotgun. Wouldn’t you know it, a longtime friend and mentor actually came in a week or so later, looking for his very first shotgun. He has hit heart set on a nice over/under, but the price difference and practicality of a pump-action might just win out here. And as I said in last month’s blog, this go around we are going to look at my pick for one’s very first rifle. I will choose it based on the similar parameters I set with the shotgun (affordability, reliability, practicality, etc.). Let’s get started.

Rifles are long-gun firearms designed to be shot from the shoulder. Their barrels are “rifled” to give extra accuracy to your shot. They have been used for a couple centuries now for both survival and warfare. When firearms became more abundant, the whole landscape of warfare changed. Rifles have evolved from the ancient muzzle-loading style to our current automatic configurations. Fully-automatic rifles are limited to military and police use, unless one owns a special permit. Most commonly we civilians will use some form of a bolt-action, lever action or semi-automatic action. This latter one is commonly called an AR-15, which uneducated people will tell you stands for Assault Rifle. It actually stands for Armalite, which was the first company to start making civilian models of the M-16, which the gun is so heavily based on. Nowadays we refer to these firearms as MSRs, or Modern Sporting Rifles. Like any other tool we humans use, our rifles have evolved right along with us.

While a MSR is an excellent firearm, I would not suggest it for one’s first rifle. Likewise, I would refrain from picking up a lever-action model. Don’t get me wrong, the Arizonan inside me lusts for a lever-action but I do strongly believe a bolt-action is the way to go. Bolt actions are a simpler firearm and are much more accurate than either lever-actions or MSRs.


Before we get any further, let’s quickly talk about sights. Sights are what you utilize to acquire your target and then shoot at it. There are numerous kinds, but it generally breaks down to two forms. There are “iron sights” which are built in sights that usually contain no magnification. And then there is “glass” which applies to a whole diverse family of scopes. Common knowledge tells us that you will actually end up paying more for your optics than you will your rifle, because a good scope makes all the difference. But manufacturers have been able to make excellent optics options that will not break the bank.

Bolt action rifles have the capability to hold several rounds, depending on the firearm and the caliber, at a time. One would load their firearm, work the bolt back which feeds a round upwards and when the bolt is worked forward it chambers the round. Once the safety is off and the target is acquired, one would squeeze the trigger to fire the gun. Afterwards the same working of the bolt action is required, but the spend case will be extracted and a new round will be chambered.

Most people get a bolt-action .22 rifle for their first firearm. Unfortunately since .22 ammo has become harder to find, (check out this article) this would not be my choice for a first rifle. And while this caliber is great for dispatching smaller game, it is ineffective against larger game. My thought process is that if it is my first gun (and only rifle for the foreseeable future) I want it to be able to handle big game that I hope to hunt one day (antelope, deer and elk).

Affordability and the ability to acquire rounds of the caliber as well are a major concern. 300 Win Mag is an excellent caliber (and has grown in significant popularity since American Sniper) but the cost (and recoil) may keep people from practicing enough with it. So we take a look at two of the most commonly owned rifle calibers, .270 Win and .30-06 Sprg. These two calibers have been keeping meat in the freezers for almost a century and people who favor one caliber to the other swear by it. I personally own a .30-06Sprg but talk to one of leads at the store and he will proudly tote the ability of his .270 Win all day.

My honest pick for a first-rifle caliber would be .308Win. This is another extremely popular caliber, that makes a good sized hole on a target but not too big of one in your wallet. Go online and you will find dozens of sources that can provide you will ballistic information. This is a well-studied, documented and proven round. It has good knockdown power (would work well on deer, antelope and elk if all in reasonable and ethical shooting points) but not enough recoil to hurt most people after a full day of shooting. You can also pick up ammunition for this caliber in bulk packs, which helps with the affordability.

Now for the big reveal: my pick for one’s first rifle would be a Savage 11/111 Trophy Hunter XP Combo. This is a great firearm that checks all the boxes I am looking for. It is reliable, practical and affordable. Most people will tell you that when you buy a combo rifle, meaning it comes with a scope already on it, the first thing you do is toss the scope and buy a new one. This combo does come with a Nikon scope, which are a good piece of glass. It is a 3-9x40mm, which is one of the most common and utilitarian scope setups and is backed by an excellent warranty. In .308Win this rifle weighs 7.25lbs (unloaded) and can hold four rounds plus one in the chamber. It shares a couple similar characteristics with the Mossberg 500 as reasons why I think it is a perfect first-gun. The safety for it is on the tang of the grip, so switching it on and off is a breeze. It is also large enough that one can easily operate it when using thick gloves and the large red-colored indicator is a nice touch. This gun is also synthetic, which makes it a perfect first-gun.

Wood is beautiful. Wood is great. Wood is art. But… wood swells, wood shrinks, wood absorbs water, wood is affected by altitude and humidity whereas synthetic stocks do not have any of those issues. Like I said with the last blog, you can also buy a nice wood-stock firearm next but for first time go synthetic and last a long time.

Next time we will cover handguns, but first we will look at one of my favorite firearms: the revolver.



My Pick: First Shotgun

One of my absolute favorite things to witness is someone’s introduction to firearms and shooting. There is so much to learn and experience, but luckily you have a lifetime to try and check it all out. With my blog series about Finding Your Guns Groove (Part One and Part Two), I have broken down some steps that I believe all firearm owners should go through. But part of the underlying concept of those series has been about choosing a handgun. So I decided to start another series to compliment the other, and we are going to look at what I would pick for certain firearms. And we will start things off with looking at shotguns.

Shotguns might be the most utilitarian firearm out there. They can be used for hunting, target practice and home defense. Many people who only own one firearm have a shotgun. They are pretty simple to operate and extremely fun. The inexpensiveness for the ammunition is also a big help. You have basically three kinds of actions for shotguns: semi-auto, break and pump.

Semi-autos feed one round after the other with no manipulation being required of the shooter. Once the first round is racked, you can start shooting. There is a tubular magazine that stores a certain allotted amount of shells for that firearm.

Break actions come in single-shot, side by side or over-under style shotguns. You break the shotgun open at a hinge where you may then load and fire it. As you open it after shooting, the empty cases will be extracted and you can place in new ones.

Pump-actions, work off the same tubular magazine principle that semi-autos do but require the shooter to “rack” the pump action forward and back each time to chamber a round. If you shoot and don’t rack in another round, nothing will happen.

My choice for a first shotgun would be the Mossberg 500 All-Purpose. This is a good gun at a great price point. I believe that your first shotgun should be a pump-action. It teaches shooters shot-control as they can just through shells downrange like with a semi-auto and the follow up shot takes longer with a pump than say an over-under. I like the Mossberg because they have a good reputation and just a good universal firearm.

One of the things I love most about this firearm is the tang-safety. This means the safety is on the grip on the gun, which makes it very easy to operate and visually check. Most shotguns have their safety on or near the trigger guard which makes one twist the gun to get a visual check on it.

I also make the argument for a pump-action as the first, because it is a great home defense gun. Many will tell you that simply the sound of racking a pump-action shotgun is enough to deter intruders.

My theory on purchasing a firearm, especially if it is your first is go with something that handles multiple tasks with the most room for uses. Like I wouldn’t go with a .410 for your first shotgun, as that gauge (caliber actually) is limited in its use. I would honestly suggest a 20 gauge for one’s first shotgun as it is an effective gauge that one can shoot comfortably all day. If you have shot a shotgun before and know how to handle a 12 gauge, then go with that but otherwise I believe a 20 would do someone just fine.

This shotgun is also synthetic, as opposed to wood. I love the look and feel of wood, but the practicality of synthetic is too much to ignore. (You can always pick up a nice, wood shotgun later in life.)

So congratulations to the Mossberg 500 All-Purpose for being my pick for one’s first shotgun. Next time we will take a look at rifles.



Find Your Gun’s Groove: Part Two

In continuation of last month’s blog about picking out a gun, we are going to take a further look into the process. By now you should have the fundamentals of firearm safety and operation pretty well under hand. (Remember that TAB+1 is a great and simple way to know how to handle a firearm safely.) So now it is time to think about what exactly you are looking for in a handgun. I started this blog-series with the intention of focusing on a handgun used for personal defense and target shooting, so we will keep on with that. Let’s get started.

When it comes to handguns there are two types: pistols and revolvers. I will explain the two in very basic fashions. A pistol is a semi-automatic handgun that is fed rounds via a magazine. When a round is fired, the casing is ejected out and the next round feeds up into the chamber. A revolver is either a single-action or double-action handgun that stores its rounds in a cylinder that cycle around after being fired. These are typically referred to as wheel-guns. Since typically single-action (think cowboy guns) are not used in self-defense applications, we will not focus on that action. (But, some people do prefer one and there is nothing wrong with that. They chose their firearm for a reason.)

When it comes to choosing a handgun, there is no real “right” or “wrong” reason. The only “wrong” reason I could see for choosing one would be buying a cheap one due to cost. This is not a purchase to be stingy about. If you try out a handgun and absolutely love it but are off-put by the price, just save up. And luckily most gun manufacturers make good guns at decent prices! And what is the cost of a several hundred dollar handgun compared to your life?

You will notice that people have preferences towards brands/manufacturers but don’t let that be the deciding factor for your choice. You are the one that has to shoot it. There are numerous calibers out there, each with their own benefit/drawback. Just understand that the larger the caliber, the bigger the kick. The heavier the gun, the more recoil absorption it has. So a medium caliber in a heavy gun would be a delight to shoot all day long and a larger caliber in a small gun would hurt after a while.

The most common caliber for a revolver is .357 Magnum. It is a solid and reliable round that has been around for years. Any revolver chambered in this caliber can also shoot .38 Special, which has significantly less kick to it. It is also cheaper, which makes it a good option because target-shooting can get expensive quick. There are less expensive calibers than that to shoot, such as 9mm. A few manufacturer’s offer a double-action revolver in 9mm which might be a great choice for someone’s first firearm. The heavy weight and lighter recoil of that combination, along with the vast improvements in defense rounds and relative cheapness to shoot that caliber all work in the guns favor. (I am referring to the Smith and Wesson 986, pictured above.) The thing that most people have against revolvers is their lower round-carrying capacity and the time it takes to reload.

Pistols come in a wide variety of options. Some are metal and others polymer. There are several common calibers for them (9mm, 380Auto, 40S&W, 45ACP) and once again each have their benefits/drawbacks. This is where people’s “brand loyalty” and “favorites” can become extremely apparent. Just remember to do your own research and try out the gun if possible. In comparison to revolvers, most handguns have much higher carrying-capacities and reloading becomes a quick, almost-reflex activity. Take your time, search for any recalls/common issues with specific firearms you are looking at. See how readily available after-market products are. So forth and so on.

One thing that many people don’t think about when it comes to finding their gun’s groove is what their firearm prefers. Each handgun has its own personality and preferences in some ways. Some guns will feed certain brand ammunition better than the other. The best way to test this is to get value packs of several different manufacturer’s ammo in the caliber for your gun. Pick a distance and shoot at it consistently. Have a note pad and mark down how well it groups, any misfires or jams and so on. I would personally suggest picking up boxes by Remington, Winchester and the Hornady American Gunner. (Especially the last option, Hornady makes great products.) After you figure out what practice-ammo to use, then you can start looking at what defense rounds to go with. This is a rather expensive proposition, so maybe connect with a family-member or friend who is looking to do the same. (My buddy Joe and I are looking to do all this with the HK VP9.) Just like ammo, your gun might prefer certain after-market magazines as well.

While this all might seem intimidating, there is no reason for it to be. People who have passion for the world of firearms, love to share it and pass it along to others. Lessons can be learned from just about any source.



Teaching Novices to Shoot

Time at the RangeMy wife and I have expended a whole bunch of ammunition over the past couple weeks, as we took some friends to the range for some bonding time and so they would get the chance to try their hand at shooting multiple types and calibers of handguns.  Everyone did quite well and we all made it out of the range alive, but it's hard to get over the feelings of apprehension I get when handing a fully loaded handgun to someone without a lot of experience.  I've been through the drill multiple times and learned a few valuable lessons that some folks might find beneficial if they're thinking of introducing a youngster or adult to the shooting sports.

  • Start your training session at home.  Teach the control features and operation of the firearm in a comfortable environment free of noise, distraction, and live ammunition.  Now is the time to make mistakes and discuss malfunctions, not when your dealing with a loaded weapon and shaky hands.  Snap caps are a great substitute for live ammunition during early training sessions.
  • Stress Safety and control over accuracy.  Hitting the target is great but it's much more important not to get hurt and learn proper technique.  Shooting tight groups at distance will come soon enough if the principles are sound and the training is good.
  • Start simple and small.  Your budding shooter will appreciate starting with a .22 or something loaded with standard target/training loads rather than high-power hunting rounds because the recoil will be quite a bit less and the gun won't jump around as much.  They're less likely to develop a case of the "flinches" with a lighter load.  Don't start someone off with a lightweight platform in a large caliber either since they're easy to carry on long hikes but do nothing to absorb the recoil.
  • One round & one round only.  Load the gun with a single round each time until the shooter is comfortable with its operation.  This is particularly important with semi-automatic firearms that don't require additional manipulation to load subsequent rounds after the initial shot.
  • Stay close.  The teacher or coach shouldn't be more than an arm's length away from the student while they're in the shooting position.  You need to be right on top of matters if something goes wrong and it's your job to prevent a loaded weapon from being pointed in any direction other than down range.
  • Shoot often.  Skill and proficiency increase with each session so it's important to build upon each trip to the range by celebrating the victories and learning from the mistakes.  Everyone has a bad day every once in a while, so less than perfect shot placement is to be expected.  The speed, and accuracy will improve.
  • Right/left eye dominant?  Figuring this out before hitting the range will eliminate a lot of frustration and sighting issues that deter from having a quality experience.  Right or left handed may also be an issue but it's more difficult to address since it's a matter of firearm design and shooter compatibility.  Unfortunately not everyone can afford to have both left and right handed versions of the same gun.
  • Make it fun!  Shoot reactive targets like tin cans, bowling pins, steel plates, clay pigeons, or splatter targets with awesome graphics that give instant feedback on shot placement . 

Twenty shots Head and Torso

Shooting has been part of my families heritage since long before I was walking the earth and I can thank my father for taking the time to teach us pretty darn well.  We started with BB guns, moved on to .22 rifles and 20 gauge shotguns, and ultimately into the big game calibers we used for deer and woodchuck hunting.  A lot of hours were spent at the range and in the field doing what we all loved to do.  He wasn't into the handgun side of things so I've had to do a lot of reading to become confident enough to teach others on a small scale basis but even I have my limits and would refer someone to the professionals if I thought they were going beyond my abilities.  Brantley Corp offers classes that cover a wide range of subjects (some of them right in our own conference room) and many of the local gun shops hold training classes on everything from gun cleaning to advanced techniques and tactics.  It just depends on how serious you are.

Teaching someone to shoot can be quite rewarding for both parties and I think it's a special part of passing along your passion to your own children.  My wife and girls know how much I love to send rounds downrange so there aren't any fights about spending too much money or time shooting as long as I take them along every once in a while. 

Properly teaching someone to handle firearms, even on a limited basis, will ensure that preventable accidents don't happen to someone you love, and maybe you'll discover a new shooting or hunting partner in the process.  I think I've created a few over the past month.  Good Luck and Be Safe.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando   







Find Your Gun’s Groove: Part One

Firearm ownership has increased significantly over the past few years. There are several reasons for this. More people are getting interested in hunting and recreational shooting. People are becoming more concerned about personal protection. Others are concerned about the sustainability of the world and are preparing for who-knows-what. No matter what source of inspiration, it is undeniable that we have record numbers of new-shooters/gun owners.

Working here I have had several conversations with people who are about to enter the world of firearms. Let me start off by saying welcome to one of the best and most expensive pastimes in the world, but let me warn you about how overwhelming it all can be. People own firearms for all sorts of reasons. Once you start to figure out why you want one, you can start to narrow down the field.

In this blog series we are going to take a look at what it takes to “find your gun’s groove”, which basically means from the first step of the process to important ideas and concepts. For the main aspect of this development we are going to look at it from the viewpoint of wanting a gun for personal defense and target shooting. (This is after all, one of the largest areas for why people look to buy a firearm.)

First things first, safety. Safety begins and ends with you. Any firearm in your possession is your responsibility. There are several “codes” or “laws” that one should learn when it comes to handling firearms. The one I suggest and go by is TAB+1. (I have mentioned this subject previously numerous times.) TAB+1 is…

T-Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.

A-Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.

B-Be aware of your target and what is beyond it.

+1-Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Follow those rules and you are doing your diligence on safety.

Second, education. Learn as much as you can about firearms and everything associated with them. That includes ammunition, accessories and especially laws. Knowing the laws surrounding firearms should be a priority for anyone. Each state and sometimes cities can have their own laws, so you need to know what applies to you. And follow up, because laws do change. Learn what the names are for parts of a gun and how they work. Ask yourself the questions below and see how many you can answer.

What are four parts of a firearm? Can you identify if it is a long gun or hand gun?

What are the parts of a round of ammunition? How do they work?

Where do you look to find out what kind of caliber gun you are holding?

Where you find the serial number for a firearm? Why is that important?

What is an external safety? Do you know how to identify one?

These are just a few questions that any responsible firearm owner should know how to answer and therefore teach someone else. Like I said at the beginning, it can be overwhelming but hopefully through this blog series you will become more comfortable, educated and understanding of everything concerning firearms.



Cool Calibers: 5.7x28

I don’t know about you, but to me there is one firearm manufacturer that always seems to just come up with the coolest stuff. It is one of the oldest and most recognizable names in the industry as well. That being FN Herstal. (Commonly called FNH or just FN.) They make some of the most recognizable firearms for military, police and civilian shooters. They have also played a major impact on the development of new calibers. And today, we are going to take a look at one of their finest and most controversial creations: the 5.7X28mm.

You know the phrase “One size fits all”? Well it doesn’t. And this is extremely obvious when it comes to the world of firearms. Not everyone likes .45ACP and other rounds leave “more to be wanted”. Whenever an army or agency standardizes something, it is always met with praise or despite. NATO has its standard calibers, and they went with the 9mm for their side arms. Of course, people being people, there are many who dislike this caliber and want something better. NATO put out the request for a replacement cartridge to be created and FNH stepped up with the 5.7.

The 5.7 is a smaller-caliber round that has quite impressive velocities. Testing of the 5.7 started in the early 2000’s and was put up against the 4.6X30mm (which was designed by Heckler and Koch). The 5.7 got much higher marks for superior performance during the testing process. Shortly after it began being adopted by numerous militaries and agencies in close to four dozen different countries.

Originally NATO wanted a caliber that would outperform the 9mm in several aspects. They wanted the new caliber to have better accuracy, range and terminal performance. Just to spice it up, they also requested that the new caliber be able to penetrate body armor, which the 5.7 does along with all other requests by NATO. To fire the round, FN designed two firearms specifically for it. They made the P90 (a shoulder-fired personal defense weapon) and the Five-Seven (a semi-automatic pistol). Because of the smaller nature of the cartridge both of these weapons would be considered “high-capacity” due to the number of rounds they are able to carry.

All of these aspects that make the caliber and its carriers so impressive, also adds to the controversy. It did not take long after the development and revealing of these products to militaries for the public to want the same. And while what civilians get are not nearly as “impactful” as their military counterparts, it has been extremely dramatic. Many anti-gun groups immediately sought to ban these firearms from civilian use. If there are two things we can learn from whenever anti-gun groups make public cries against something they are: sales will immediately increase dramatically and no matter what those who would look to use such products illegally will still be able to get access to them. It is just that simple.

Sales of the Five-Seven has been astronomical, and actually seeing one inside of a store is considered a rarity. All of the things that make them so desirable to militaries are also what a defensive-carrier looks for as well. This firearm does have a “stained history” with it being used in prolific mass-shootings. The P90 has not come under such high scrutiny, but in fact finds itself being used exponentially more and more in film and television. The P90 is a fascinating firearm that probably will get its own blog one day, but later perhaps. And yes that is MacGyver with one below.

For certain users, this caliber may have the perfect application purposes you are looking for. Just know that you will be continually looking for the ammunition or firearm to shoot it with. It is able to be found every now and then, but usually gets wiped off the shelves when it is in-store.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig - 16 Gauge - .22’s Catch 22204 Ruger10mm Auto



Bass Pro Shops presents Freedom Days along with the NRA!













Take a look at what we have going on - This is an event that should not be missed.

July 20th - August 2nd

2nd Amendment Instant Savings on guns in stock

Up to $150 equal to the value of your sales tax!

You will get a FREE Plano Gun Case with any handgun purchase of $300 or more.  (In store only)








 July 25th - July 26th - August 1st - August 2nd  

NRA Membership Drive - Sign up to be a member in the store or visit











July 25th thru August 2nd

Enter for a chance to win a NRA Freedom Days Experience

1 winner and 7 guests will stay 1 night at the Big Cedar Lodge

Private shooting experience with the Gould Brothers

Exhibition Shooting at our exclusive Bass Pro Shops Shooting Academy










A visit to the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum in Bass Pro Shops Springfield, MO.  In addition to this 1 winner per store will receive a NRA Lifetime Membership!










July 25th & July 26th Kids get a change to shoot BB guns in the Daisy shooting range.








FREE Seminars

FREE  Mug giveaway to the first 15 people to attend seminars

Saturday - July 25th & August 1st

11am - 3 Gun Competition Basics - MSR's, handgun, shotguns, and ammo

2pm - Accessorizing your MSR

3pm  - Women and Self Defense - How to train and defend.  Learn about handguns, revolvers, and gun cases


Sunday - July 26th & August 2nd

2pm - Choosing the Right Home Defense System - Shotgun, handgun or MSR

3pm - Gun Safety in the Home - Gun safes, handgun vaults, and cleaning accessories


July 20th through August 2nd

Receive  triple rewards points  on Hornady and Federal Premium ammunition as well as Quintuple rewards points on Hornady storage, Smith & Wesson knives, and Magpul.












Cool Calibers: 204 Ruger

So far in our Cool Calibers blog series we have been able to cover a more obscure round in rifle, handgun and shotgun (respectively). And I am the kind of guy that does not stop a good thing from keeping on going. So we will flip back to the beginning and focus on a rifle cartridge that may not be the most common, but one that might find itself in your collection. Since the last rifle-caliber found itself useful for medium to larger game, this one will be specifically for the “little guys”. This month’s cool caliber is the 204 Ruger.

The 204 Ruger was developed by Hornady and Ruger, and introduced in 2004. When it was first introduced it had the highest velocity of commercially produced ammunition. As stated above the round was developed for the “little guys”. Not meaning shooters of smaller stature, but of the targets. It is a great varmint and silhouettes caliber. Varmint shooters need a bullet that can fly flat and fast. The 204 Ruger fits that bill perfectly. And the round is extremely accurate.

The 204 Ruger was not the first gathering of Ruger and Hornady on a project. Previously they had developed a revolver cartridge together. When consumers saw that these two were working their magic again, they picked up on it quick. The other group of people who picked up on it quick were hand loaders/reloaders. Since the caliber is a center-fire it can be reloaded. Many have achieved amazing results when hand-loading this caliber, but please always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Ammunition for this caliber can be purchased easily at many major retailers. Usually with these kinds of rounds one must hunt for ammo, but such is not the case here. What is interesting is how over the past number of years there have been growing trends in shooting sports. Reloading and hand loading have been growing in popularity. With large game being harder and less available to hunt, picking off some varmints has also become more common. Some ranchers and farmers will even encourage the hunting of certain species, just be sure to be legal and have permission when doing so. And using AR-15 platforms to hunt has also been an increasing trend.

Standard calibers for that platform, like .223 Rem and .308 Win, are now budding up to specialty calibers for AR hunting. Several specialty calibers have been developed. There are several reasons many are attracted to hunting with an AR. They are light, fun, pretty-dang accurate and can take a multitude of attachments/accessories. You can also remove the upper of one caliber and switch on a different caliber, where applicable. So instead of having several rifles for all your hunting and shooting needs, you can have one lower and several uppers instead! And guess what, AR-15s can use a 204 Ruger.

So the 204 Ruger was the right caliber at the right time. Should you check one out? Perhaps! I know I am.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig - 16 Gauge


First Time Gun Buyer's Guide

“What gun should I buy?” 

This question is repeated at gun retailers across the country constantly. Given the plethora of gun options out there, it’s understandably daunting to a first time gun buyer or even an experienced shooter who is new to a specific type of firearm. The following are some tips to help you make the right decision.


What Do You Want To Do With The Gun?

While the most basic answer is to shoot, certain guns do certain things better than others. For example, a lot of folks are getting concealed carry permits and want a gun they can carry. Obviously in that case the choice would be a handgun, but which one out of the huge number of models on the market? One thing to keep in mind is the size of the gun and by size I don’t mean the caliber, we’ll cover that in a bit. By size I mean the physical size of the gun. A small gun, like a Smith and Wesson Shield is more portable; however a larger sized gun like a Glock 19 in the same caliber shoots more comfortably. Therefore, the buyer has to decide the size gun that works for them including the thickness of that gun as that may come into play regarding comfort in holding, shooting, and carrying the gun on a day in and day out basis. These same considerations come into play when it comes to shotguns and rifles as well.

Shotguns are kind of like golf clubs in that all clubs will knock a ball along the course, but some do certain things better than others. Sporting clays, hunting, and home defense all find shotguns being a go to choice in firearm. Again the size of the gun is matched to the activity the owner intends to do, but luckily a bread and butter pump shotgun like a Benelli SuperNova will do anything and everything reasonably well.

Rifles are all about downrange accuracy so if you like reaching out and hitting a target you can barely see with your naked eye a bolt action rifle like the Browning X-Bolt is the way to go. Remember, in this application a quality optic is key. The other popular rifle right now is the AR style. This IS NOT short for “assault rifle”, it stands for Armalite Rifle. Armalite was the company that originally designed the platform and put it into production. AR style rifles are really fun to shoot and are great for dealing with predator control such as coyotes. An example of this kind of rifle is the Bushmaster M4-A3 and is ready to shoot right out of the box after a thorough cleaning.

Caliber is something everyone gets hung up on and new shooters worry about recoil a lot. Adding to the confusion is the fact that calibers are measured in both fractions of an inch as well as in metric measurements depending on where the caliber was developed. The simple rule is to shoot as large of a caliber as you can comfortably and more importantly, accurately. Extremely technical people will quote all kinds of ballistic and energy transfer data and confuse the heck out of even seasoned shooters but in short, bigger bullets hit harder and do more damage but a big bullet is no good if you can’t hit what you’re shooting at. The best way to judge the caliber you’re comfortable with is to consider your intended target and to go shoot some guns.

What Do You Want To Spend?

The term I like to use in this regard is that you tend to get what you pay for but the question is how much do you need? Someone that wants to shoot a lot needs a better, more durable firearm than the person that may never shoot the gun more than 100 times. This again is a double edged sword as while it may seem like you’re saving money by going the cheap route, you have to consider the cost of repairing the firearm or replacing it. My usual advice to a new shooter is to look for their given choice of gun somewhere in the middle of the price scale and then be prepared if they find they really get into it that they will want to buy a new gun. We all want more guns once we find we enjoy shooting so this isn’t exactly a problem and a good excuse to get at least one more gun. Also, consider any accessories you may need with the gun you’re buying as that may play a significant role in the overall price.

Can I Get Ammunition For My New Gun?

If you’re getting a popular caliber firearm you shouldn't have a problem getting ammunition for your firearm but the best way is to check the shelves before you settle on a caliber and anyone in our hunting department will be happy to tell you what your best bets are to find ammunition in.

So, Where Do I Start?

Reading this blog article and asking yourself these questions is a good place to start. Then come see us and look at some firearms.  We've got tons of knowledgeable associates in the store ready to help you out.  Or, if you have buddies, go shooting with them.  That’s another great option to get your feet wet in firearms. Ask shooters what they like and don’t like and why. Ironically, as you’re reading this on the internet, I would caution you to take what you read on the internet with caution. A lot of people pass their opinions, prejudices and personal experiences off as facts. There are a few cold and hard facts in firearms that I’ve attempted to cover here admittedly in a basic and simple fashion but there are a lot of things out there that are personal opinion and preference and the only person that can answer those things for you is indeed yourself. And remember with all the information you’re going to have coming at you, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Cory Brown, Hunting Department


.22’s Catch .22

Think back to the first gun you ever shot. What was it? Dad’s first rifle? Or perhaps your great-uncle’s squirrel gun? Well more than likely it was a .22 of some kind. There are several variations of .22 which includes Short, Long, Long Rifle and Magnum. It is the most commonly owned caliber in the world. This is usually the first firearm one shoots as it is a step above from a BB gun but not nearly as powerful as a center fire rifle cartridge. They use this caliber in the Boy Scouts and for Hunter’s Education purposes.

That is not to say that .22’s are kids play. Far from it. I have heard from several retired officers that it is the most common cartridge used in crimes. There are also countless stories/rumors of it being the “assassin’s choice” for handgun. Which may or may not be true but let’s not put any faith into that. You can put faith though into the fact that .22’s are lethal out to far ranges and should be treated with all the seriousness as any other firearm. It may not kick as much but it can still cause serious damage.

Image courtesy of

A few years ago you could walk into almost any sporting goods store and pick up a box of .22. It was no harder to find .22 ammo at a sporting goods store than it was to find bread at a grocery store. Nowadays though, good luck. Finding .22 ammo on the shelf is like successfully hunting a unicorn. OK, maybe not that bad but it is a rare sight. At our store, the most common phone call from a customer is about the status of .22 ammo. I am sure this is the same for other Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods stores nationwide.

It all started with the usual fear of gun-bans. There had been some prolific mass-shootings that took place and even some legislation proposed though our government. This caused a rush on the market and people began buying up everything. Handguns, long guns (especially AR-15 style platforms), high-capacity magazines, accessories and ammo were being bought up by the truckload. Certain calibers like 9mm, 45ACP, 223Rem, 308Win and of course .22’s of all kinds were the most sought after.

For months after the initial scare you could come to our store and see a line of people waiting to get in as soon as we opened to see what we had on our shelves. Talking to people at other stores, this was the same state-wide and more than likely nationwide.

But so what’s the deal? As people will say “it’s only .22” and you begin to wonder why you can’t find it. It’s not like they aren’t producing it anymore. On the contrary! Ammunition manufacturers saw what calibers consumers most wanted and started just focusing on those. More obscure rounds have stopped being produced commercially as those machines are now needed for your common calibers. So where are they all going?

I have heard some people say it’s the government, that they are buying it all up so the youth can’t get into shooting. Like we said earlier, it is the most common caliber for kids to learn to shoot. Really the next step up is .223Rem which honestly has enough kick to be reserved for kids ten years of age or older. Remember if kids don’t enjoy shooting when they are young and get bruised up by too large of calibers, they probably won’t be lifetime shooters or gun owners.

Others point towards the “preppers” as they are stockpiling food, water, supplies and ammo. These certain types of people are misunderstood by many who do not know what they do. It is understandable though. Most people who are preparing for some kind of catastrophe are considered “weird” or “crazy” by others. That is until a disaster strikes and your family doesn’t have any can-goods because you didn’t even think about what may happen in this crazy thing called life. TV shows that document preppers and their lifestyles point out how they store products like alcohol, ammo or medical supplies to be used as a bartering system after money has no value.

Then you also have the people who purposely buy it all up just to sell on the internet for a profit. Don’t think people would actually do that? Think again. People were paying for magazines and firearms at way above decent mark-up on products. An AR-15 magazine for $60? Yea and people paid it. So if you haven’t been able to buy any .22 in-stores for a year or two but find some online at a higher price, you know you probably would pay it.

And outside of government conspiracies, people profiting like pirates and those crazy preppers you had your normal gun enthusiasts who want to get their hands on .22 ammo. People who own several firearms in their home and more than likely a .22 or two. You yourself may be such a person, and until recently you never thought about stockpiling up thousands of rounds of ammo. But now with how scarce it is, you buy up as much as you can when you get the chance. You’re not trying to gouge people online or are concerned with zombie-tornadoes, but you don’t want to not have any .22 either.

Because of all of this, you have .22’s very own Catch 22. People who weren’t stockpiling it before are now. Preppers hear about these government buy-outs and are now more determined to acquire as much .22 as possible. And shoppers/shooters like me and you who now pick up an extra box or two of the ammo when we don’t need it are making it scarcer. No one wins. And to boot, unlike 9mm or 308Win that you can reload .22 is almost impossible to. There are ways to do it, but none of them are very practical or safe so it is best to avoid that altogether.

Image courtesy of

Will this Catch 22 ever end? I honestly don’t know. All I do know is that if you ever have the chance to teach a kid how to shoot that it is not the time to be stingy with your stockpile.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig 16 Gauge


Gearing Up for Spring Turkeys – Preppin’ the Weapon

Now that the calendar has turned to March and the snow has melted, we can get serious about preparing for spring turkey season. Your first step should involve the weapon you’ll be chasing longbeards with.


If you’re a shotgunner, this is the time of year to make sure your shooting the turkey loads that are the best fit for you gun. For several seasons now, HEVI-Shot shells have never let me down. But if you just can’t justify spending that amount of money on ammunition, there are several other high-quality shells available at a more comfortable price. And if your gun simply isn’t reaching out as far as you wish it would, consider screwing in a new choke tube into the end of your weapon. Finally, Redhead Turkey Targets can be a great tool when you pattern your gun, and I recommend them.

If you prefer slinging arrows at Mr. Tom this spring, the most important piece of preparation is getting comfortable with the broadhead you’ll put on the end of your arrow. Both the Guillotine by Arrowdynamic Solutions and the Magnus Bullhead will drop a gobbler in his tracks. Just make sure you invest some time on the practice range before the season begins.


Once your weapon of choice is prepped, there are a few other items you’ll want to focus your attention on.  I’ll cover those in another post.


-Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Cool Calibers: 357 Sig

Whenever one is discussing firearms and hears “357” they usually finish with “Magnum”. The 357 Magnum is one of the most popular calibers of handguns and has had a strong-loyal following for years. I have even heard people say that a house is not complete without a 357 revolver in it. While other handgun calibers can produce better ballistics, people still swing towards this round. Being able to shoot the lighter-recoil 38 Special, availability of information/ ammunition and almost an Americana aspect for the caliber keeps this round cooking.

But this time around the “357” is followed by “Sig”. The 357 Sig is a much newer round when compared to other pistol calibers, but it has grown its own die-hard fans.

The 357 Sig was created by two legendary companies in the arms business, Sig Sauer and Federal Ammunition. Developed in 1994, the basic goal was to give specific ballistic performances found in the 357 Magnum but be able to be fired from a semi-auto pistol.

In the shooting world you have pistol-guys and revolver-guys, and of course the good ol’ guys like me who enjoy everything! Revolver-guys swear their handgun is more reliable and accurate and pistol-guys preach how they can carry more rounds and have lighter weapons. Both sides have their own valid arguments, but here are my two-cents: shoot what you like and what you can shoot accurately and comfortably.

For a long time police officers used revolvers as their service weapon. Then when polymer/high-capacity pistols came out there was a big switch. But many shooters found the 9mm round “too weak”, so the two parent companies had a great idea when it came to making the 357 Sig. That “bigger bang” that revolver fans like and the “higher capacity” that pistol fans enjoy. This round in fact was the first modern bottleneck commercial handgun cartridge since the early 1960s. After its success, others tried to create their own similar wildcat calibers but never reached the success the 357 Sig has.

It competes against the 40S&W, which has been losing popularity steadily over the past few years. Online there is common chatter about being able to convert a pistol that shoots 40 S&W to 357 Sig quite easily, but I do not suggest this. To me a firearm is a tool and has a specific purpose. You wouldn’t buy a portable band-saw only to learn about swapping out a gear to then make it into a plasma cutter and do so. Very obscure analogy but it works and I think this may have been the first time I have gotten to reference a portable band-saw in my 250+ blogs I have written now.

As far as recoil goes it is about the same as the 40 S&W but less than that of the 10mm and 357 Magnum. It shoots at a higher velocity than other pistol calibers which gives it a longer effective range. Since the cartridge has a bottleneck shape, extraction errors are rarely experienced. But because of all of this the handgun firing it must be able to handle those higher pressures. (Another reason why not to simply convert a different pistol.)

Now before you run out and get one, keep in mind that ammunition for this caliber can be hard to find. At our store it is usually not a “permanent fixture” on the shelves and its seems to be the same at other retailers. It will show up, get to our shelves and sit for a while and then BOOM it all gets purchased at one time. Thanks though to the internet, acquiring rounds is much easier than it was years ago.

Sig first utilized the round in their P229 pistol. As usual, shooters and organizations were hesitant to adopt a new firearm, especially one with a new caliber. In 1998, the first government agency to deploy this caliber was the Texas DPS. It was the solitary choice of pistol for commissioned officers. Following that, dozens of other agencies have adopted this caliber. Police departments in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Ohio, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Missouri, New Mexico and more all use the 357 Sig.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

What We Would Take

Gunnin’ for Moose

7mm-08 Remington


Airsoft 3-Gun Expo at Bass Pro!

When you look at the world of shooting sports there are dozens of different activities. There is skeet, trap, action-clays, defensive pistol, long range rifle, silhouettes, IDPA, cowboy action and many more. One sport that has been growing tremendously over the past years has been 3-Gun shooting. This is known as a “practical shooting” event where the shooter transitions from pistol, rifle and shotgun. Hence the “3-Gun” name. While many adults find this sport extremely fun and engaging, it can be harder to get the youth involved. But where there is a will there is a way and that’s when airsoft can save the day.

Airsoft is where one can shoot spherical non-metallic pellets out of guns that are replicas of traditional firearms. In no way should these be considered toys and safety should always be the main focus when handling them. What many people think of just simple “plastic toys” have evolved to be full metal replications. Certain airsoft guns will weigh the same as their origins and feature blow-back to replicate recoil.

The local non-profit group Shoot Right AZ will actually be holding an airsoft 3-gun expo at our store on Saturday March 21st, 2015. It will start at 9AM and run until 5PM. We have been working with this organization for several years and even wrote a blog about them back in 2013.

They will hold several clinics/seminars going over the basics of 3-Gun Shooting, rules, safety and more. There will be a 3-Gun setup where participants can actually hold and shoot the different airsoft guns. It won’t be as intense as a normal 3-Gun competition, but it will be just as fun. It is geared towards kids ages 10 and up and all adults are more than welcome to participate as well. There will be a $5 fee for participants and they or a legal guardian will have to fill out a waiver as well.

This is a great way to possibly discover a new passion. Not only will it teach gun safety but also “practical” aspects of handling them. Kids will love the experience and parents will love the cost difference between BB’s and ammunition. Just always be sure to get “Bio-BBs” as they are way more eco-friendly than the other kind.

And that is one thing that Shoot Right AZ covers, is our responsibility to others and the environment. We hope to see you out there! I know I will be!



Check it Out List: Reloading

This month’s Check it Out List is about a topic that I find fascinating, as do many others. I am also interested in getting into it now more-than-ever, as are many others. With the ammo shortages, the slow but steadily rise in prices and ever-changing policies over the past few years one can never know if or when they might be able to acquire rounds. Now the ammo-craze that we were in a couple years ago definitely has calmed down, but it is harder to get certain calibers. 22 ammo will probably never be something you can just grab off the shelves “because it is always there” ever again, but other calibers are not always completely wiped out. But with the possibility of that craze coming back and people looking to be more self-sufficient, the amount of people reloading has definitely increased!

Basically reloading is the act of making your own ammunition. There are different levels of reloading and all sorts of ways to do it. Some people collect spent cases from their own/others use at a gun range and others purchase them factory new. Some people make their own bullets for fun and others to save money. Some calibers are so uncommon that you may have to learn to reload in order to actually shoot it. (Ever seen .280 Ackley commercially made?) Others try to figure out how to get the most performance out of their firearm by loading their ammo to certain specifications. Some people learn because to them it is an essential skill. No matter what though, you’ll need some supplies to get started. Shall we?




Shell Holder/Plate

Powder Measuring/Dispensing Device


Case Trimmer

Case Tumbler

Dial Caliper

Bullet Puller

Loading Block



Now to get started all you really need are the first three items and the last one. Probably more so than any other item you need to have Data/Information. This is something that you cannot start on just a whim. Safety needs to be your primary focus all the time with reloading. You’ll want to have a safe place to load and store your materials. You’ll definitely want to know how to load safely. And you’ll want to keep your loads to the data out there first. You can experiment with different loads later, stick to the basics at the beginning. Get yourself books on the subject and join an online club. Do everything at your disposal to have a safe and solid understanding of reloading before you start.

The press is going to be the main workhorse of your operation. You can start off with a simple single-press or go all the way to a multi-stage set. Both kinds have their own advantages, but I always suggest starting with the basics. (It is also cheaper.) Your dies will be specific to whatever caliber you are loading. You can’t use a .30 caliber die for reloading .45ACP and so on. The shell plate will be what holds the casing as you load. Also caliber specific. This would be where consolidating calibers that you own can be a big help.

Things like a tumbler, bullet puller, case trimmer, dial caliper or a scale are extras, which over time can prove to be extremely important.  A loading block is a device that holds numerous cases in to help with reloading. These can be purchased or made at home. Just as a heads up, you probably won’t find any cute ideas for them on Pintrest.

The little history I had with reloading was back in high school. My buddy’s grandfather owned an auto shop. He is also a vendor for the huge machine gun shoots we hold in Arizona every year. He has anything and everything, ranging from G36K’s to .50cals. With the amount they shoot up there, reloading is the only option to afford the ammo. I needed some brake work done, so we swapped labor for labor. I paid for the parts and built ammo belts for M249s for the work on my truck. Solid trade.

Now please note that this blog is more about what you will need to get into reloading as opposed to how to reload. For that, you need to do your research. Like I said earlier, having a safe and solid understanding of the process is extremely important.



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Fishing Pack Boating Day Trip Camp Cooking  Dove Hunting Upland Hunting Tactical Clothing

Winter Camping


Cool Calibers: 7mm-08 Remington

When you look at a lot of things in the world, it seems like one thing should work for everyone. Hats say “One size fits all” and products might state that “every household needs one”. One area though that is definitely not “one size fits all” is firearms. When you begin to look at all the different types, models, calibers, sizes and materials in the firearm world it can be quite overwhelming. There is single action, bolt action, pump action, smooth bore, big-bore, wood stock, synthetic stock and so much more to consider. Luckily when you begin to look at the purpose of why you want a firearm the field begins to get narrowed down. You aren’t going to buy a long gun to keep on your night stand for home protection and you wouldn’t even consider going out to hunt Alaskan brown bear with a single action rim-fire revolver.

While there may be some pretty standard calibers out there, we are always looking and working on new rounds with better velocities or knockdown power. And so to break from the mundane of “standard calibers” we are going to be look at some of the less common ones. And to begin we are going to start with a rifle caliber that has intrigued me since I first heard about, the 7mm-08 Remington.

The 7mm-08 Remington got its start back in 1958. Originally it was a wildcat cartridge known as the 7mm/308. Decades later Remington began to produce rifles in this caliber commercially and attached their name to it, hence giving us the 7mm-08 Remington. It is a center fire rifle cartridge that has been growing in popularity.

Going back real quick, a wildcat cartridge is where a commercially produced cartridge is modified to get better certain performance characteristics. These characteristics could include velocity, efficiency, size or knockdown power. Sometimes a wildcat cartridge goes mainstream while many others find themselves a very small but loyal following. Always consider availability of ammunition before purchasing any kind of caliber, as you may have to take up the art of reloading in order to actually shoot.

Back to the cartridge. The 7mm-08 is basically a .308 Winchester case that is necked down to fit a 7mm bullet. This round lends itself to several different kinds of shooting including: long range, silhouettes, varmint hunting and some game-hunting. It is growing in popularity for hunting African plains game as well. It has a trajectory similar to that of a .270 Winchester. It does fly flatter than the more popular .308Win and .30-06 Springfield.

It is a good choice for younger, older and female shooters as it has less recoil than the .308. Now please do not take any offense at that statement as I am none of those and am interested in this round. It is a great caliber to hunt the medium-sized game here in North America and is even an acceptable round to hunt moose with in Europe.

Most major rifle manufacturers do offer a couple options of products in the 7mm-08 caliber. Hornady, Remington and some other ammunition manufacturers also produce the caliber commercially. Of course the best way to figure out if this would be a good caliber for you, is to test it out. Talk to your friends or get online to a forum and just ask around. Because it has been increasing in popularity, chances are you might just be able to get your hands on one to test. Either way, the 7mm-08 is definitely a cool caliber.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

What We Would Take

Gunnin’ for Moose


Look at That! RedHead Gun Rack

There are certain stereotypical items that complete the visual when it comes to rustic living. There is the pair of rocking chairs on the front porch. A bird feeder full of visitors. Either a “Welcome to the Lake House” or lodge themed wooden sign. A stack of fishing poles by the back door. A gun rack on the wall. All of these items can make one forget about the worries of today’s modern world and take a step back to something much simpler.

And would ya look at that?! Thanks to RedHead 1856 4-Gun Rack, now you can own a piece of it!

Now please note that while a gun rack is a method of storing firearms, they should never be kept loaded and better protection/prevention should be used if children/strangers are present.

This tasteful take on an old favorite is a modern-day crowd pleaser. It is constructed out of pine and has a nice brown-cherry finish to it. It can hold four long-guns and has a bonus feature on the bottom. There is a storage area that can be used for ammunition, cleaning supplies, eye and ear protection or whatever. The storage area also locks, which is a nice touch.

Now gun racks are designed to keep firearms where they are easier to access. Many people from more rural parts of the country have them as you never know when dinner might go by or if you need to give a 12-gauge reminder to the local bear population to stay away. That is just the way life is. With how removed people are from nature nowadays it is understandable why some people couldn’t understand the need for this.

Gun safes are very nice. Not only can you safely store firearms and ammunition, but also important papers and other goods. But they are heavy and take up what could be precious room. If you are going to stay at a cabin with a group of trusted friends for a weeklong hunt, a safe could be a little much whereas the gun rack would be just right.


Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring

Hand Towels

Rainproof Camo

She Outdoor


BPS Extreme Qualifier Tackle Bag


A Fine Nine: Springfield XD

Let me go ahead and say that I have never been a big fan of Springfield XDs. Just something about them never really got my gears going. But a while back they introduced a firearm that I was immediately interested in, their XDS model in 45ACP. I tested the firearm out and was impressed. Then when I was really searching for an EDC (every day carry) pistol in 45ACP, I tested out a number of others. I tried the M&P compact, Glock 30, Glock 36 and a couple small 1911s. With nothing really standing out, I tried the XDS again and was truly impressed and acquired one. I have yet to have an issue with mine and am now a proud supporter of the Springfield XDs.

Now I have said this before as many others will, gun manufacturers and personal preference are like trucks. You have Chevy people, Ford people and Dodge people. Same with firearms, you have Colt people, Glock guys and Ruger fans and so on. People either love the Springfield XDs or don’t. But having been out since 2001, they have created quite the following.

So XD stands for “Extreme Duty” as these are what they were designed for. There are actually three different series of the XD models. The models are XD, XDM and XDS and they can come in a slew of variants beyond just that. Most models will have full-size, compact or subcompact variants. That is except for the XDS which comes in either a 3.3” barrel or a 4” barrel. This model is the specific concealed carry line of XDs but is still loaded with great features (ambi-safety, loaded-chamber indicator, etc.) like its “bigger brothers”.

The XD line has a 3” barrel option and several different ones for 4” and 5” barrels. Like their site says “In 2001, Springfield Armory® redefined what a polymer pistol should be. The XD® series set the new industry standard for ergonomic comfort, ease of operation, features and performance.”

Six years after the introduction of the XD, Springfield gave us the XDM line. The M stands for match as it is a heavier-duty firearm than its predecessor. Just like with the XD line, there are several barrel lengths available, including a 5.25” competition model. And speaking of competitions, more and more Springfields are showing up at shooting events. Last year we had a couple professional shooters that were on the Springfield Team, and they swore by their handguns (and not just because of the sponsorship).

As I said about the XDS having features similar to the other models, lets go over some of those. Springfield is proud to state that “The features available on the XD(M)® will impress even the most demanding shooters. The XD(M)® includes a basic list of safety features shared with its predecessor the XD®. The striker status indicator and loaded chamber indicator give the shooter instant tactile and visual feedback to know if there is a chambered round and if the striker is cocked. Three separate safeties guard against accidental discharges and provide extra peace of mind. The Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) Action Trigger System™ prevents unintentional rearward movement of the trigger. The grip safety keeps the pistol from firing unless the shooter has a firm grasp on it. And an internal firing pin block goes the extra mile to bring you a pistol fully designed with safety in mind.”

What I really like is that their safety features are effective enough to work but not so cumbersome to be a nuisance if having to draw the firearm and fire in a self-defense situation. If there is an external safety that needs to be moved into a position to allow the firearm to shoot, one could easily forget to flip it in a stressful situation. The fact that the external safeties in the XDs are one on the rear grip and the trigger itself means that they help prevent accidents they won’t get in the way of a self-defense scenario. Your hand will naturally grab the rear grip to press in the safety there and your finer will control the trigger safety as well. (I would know, I own one.)

Now this blog is supposed to be about 9MM handguns, and just about every variation of any Springfield XD model comes in 9MM. Whether it is an XD-4” or XDM-3.8”, they tend to come in this quite popular caliber. Several years ago one would tell you that you should skip a 9MM and go to a larger caliber. With all the developments in defense ammunition over the past couple years; this caliber has increased its stopping power. It should not be considered “weak” by any means anymore. The improvements to both ammunition and the firearms have increased their effectiveness and quality all over.

Shortly after releasing the XDS in 45ACP came a version chambered in 9MM. To be honest, as will many other XDS45ACP owners admit, I wish I had picked up the 9MM version. Not only do you get a couple more rounds, but it is easier to control.

So just like any other purchase one might look to, do your research and ask around. People are always happy to give their opinions on anything from trucks to toasters and so on, and of course firearms. Just be sure to think about a Springfield XD model when looking for any kind of 9MM handgun.


Previous Nines:


Glock 19


Beretta 92



Take Someone: Skeet Shooting

Raise your hand if you have ever asked someone if they have shot guns before and they answer no but have shot shotguns. Now put your hand down, because the people  around you are puzzled at your actions. This brings a couple things up to ponder. One, why does shooting shotguns not constitute shooting guns? And that shooting shotguns seems to be the most common way to introduce someone to shooting.

Back in July of 2013 I wrote about shotguns. It was inspired because I took a poll on our Facebook of the favorite firearms for one to shoot. Shotguns did not make the list, but they took center stage in my blog.

Now mind you, this blog is about taking someone skeet shooting, but I am just using that as an overall term. I am including shooting trap and skeet, blasting clays on your own and shooting action targets with this. Shooting shotguns in this way still covers all the essentials for safety when handling firearms. It also throws in a bit of more fun as the targets are typically moving.

As Wikipedia would explain, shooting skeet is where the shooter “attempt(s) to break clay disks mechanically flung into the air from two fixed stations at high speed from a variety of angles.” This means there are two places for the clay birds to fly from and is usually going across from the shooter. Trap shooting is a little simpler as it utilizes only one station that throws the targets. These targets also are typically flung so they fly away from the shooter. Action targets (also known as sporting clays) come in a variety of different patterns. They typically mimic the natural patterns that game would travel in. So that could range from how dove, quail, duck, geese or even rabbits would enter and exit a hunter’s zone of fire. These are my favorite.

Shooting clays is also more exciting as it can be a group event and tallied up for scoring (and bragging rights). Also when you hit your target you can see a reaction, whereas paper targets tend to just stay there. It is always impressive to watch someone “dust” a clay, where the whole thing pretty much just dissolves right there in the air. Being able to smoke two targets in one shot always puts a certain kind of grin on one’s face.

Skeet is also a recognized Olympic sport. Currently the greatest nation in the world (us… the U.S.) holds the record for number of medals won at the sport.

But so to take someone you will want to cover the basics. Have eye and ear protection, a proper firearm and plenty of ammunition. Luckily shells are a little bit more economical than shooting other kinds of firearms. Once a new shooter gets the hang of things, you will be impressed with how many shells they will go through. Always emphasize safety and proper shooting though. If you do not hold the shotgun in the proper posture it can have quite painful consequences. The worst thing you can do to a new shooter is let them hurt themselves and be turned away from it forever. Using a 20 gauge can be a great starting place for new shooters. Personally I love shooting 20 gauge. It makes one take better aim and can damage less meat on game taken. Of course there is always something to be said about the effectiveness of a good 12 gauge.

Make sure you go over cleaning the shotgun at the end of the trip. This will instill a good mentality into new shooters that they need to care for their firearms. Plus usually all you need to do is run a pull-through down the barrels and pay a little attention to the mechanical parts.

Oh and did you know that there are scholarships available for skeet shooting and other shooting sports? Look into it!


Previous Trips