Trick Out Your Truck

seatBesides being the nation's leading outdoor store, carrying the usual complement of hunting and fishing supplies, did you know we also carry a number of items to customize your vehicle?  It's true, your local Bass Pro Shops is also your vehicle personalization headquarters.wheel

First up, let's start with the interior.  Seat covers are both functional and decorative. You'll find a number of different licensed products, most of which feature camouflage-pattern accent pieces.  Some of the options to choose from include Browning Mossy Oak, Ducks Unlimited, Duck Commander and Realtree. Most of the seat covers also have matching steering wheel covers to provide a unified look for the interior of your vehicle.

airMake sure you check out the selection of floor mats that are available well.  You will find options for both the front and rear of your vehicle.  The floor mat selections include standard and 3-D options.  Designs are available from Bone Collector, Browning Pink/Mossy Oak, Realtree and more. You will also find a ducknumber of logoed air fresheners, and even windshield shades to complete your look.

We haven't forgotten the exterior of your vehicle.  A variety of fishing-and hunting-themed stickers, decals and window clings are available to personalize your windows, bumpers and side panels.  When you are stocking up on ammunition or replacing your hunting clothing, don't forget to trick out your truck!

www.facebook.com/bpsmacon

 

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American Whitetail Ammunition

When it comes to Hornady ammunition, there are three words that stick out. Those being: accurate, deadly and dependable. This is their tagline, and they have earned it. Many shooters and hunters trust to make the shots they need to with Hornady rounds.

They do such a good job that many won’t use any but Hornady products. And their product line is quite extensive. One can pick up a box of ammunition to head out to the range with or get into reloading their own. Quality is never spared.

One of their newest lines of ammo (which is a year late if you ask me, this stuff would have been perfect for my hunt last November) is the American Whitetail Ammunition.

This ammo is purpose built for whitetail deer, which is the most common big game animal in North America. (Check out the first Big Game Basic blog for more info.)  They come in the most common hunting calibers and loads used for whitetail deer.

It uses their InterLock bullets which are a soft point. What separates these soft points from the rest is the engineered performance of how the bullet spreads once it makes contact. You should definitely watch the video they have on the webpage for it as it does a much better job that I can.

The calibers include: 243Win, 25-06Rem, 270Win, 7mm-08Rem, 7mmRemMag, 30-30Win, 308Win, 30-06Sprg and 300WinMag.

Back when I was getting ready for my hunt I put a box of Hornady through my Remington 700. I had the tightest grouping with that ammunition compared to other rounds. If you have never shot Hornady ammunition before, definitely give it a try.

The best part is the price point on this ammunition. It is competitively priced to other manufacturers’ similar lines.  Everyone’s rifles will handle differently ammunition differently, so you will want to try all brands out there to find which one is perfect for you. Chances are it might just be Hornady. Barn Raising Barrel Cactus! Giddy-Up!

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Check It Out List: Gun Cleaning Kit

Welcome to the third installment of Check It Out List. This time we will be going over what many may consider a small set of items, a gun cleaning kit. And while this may be considered something small, they play a big part in operation and longevity of a firearm.

For those who just “want to go buy a gun” they probably do not realize all the things that go with such responsibility. Besides the firearm itself one will need several other items. Ammunition is important, having the correct ammunition is also key. Never be afraid to ask for help when it comes to this as it could be life-ending otherwise. For instance, there is a difference between .270 Winchester and .270 Winchester Short Magnum.

Also touching upon the correct ammunition, just because the box says the round you are looking for that does not mean it is in there. I have found numerous boxes that had wrong ammunition put back in them by some careless person earlier. This sounds ridiculous, but is true. People who are comparing cartridges may not notice which round they put back in which box.

Hmmm... Somebody does not belong...

You’ll also want to have storage for the firearm. Typically this will mean both a soft and hard case for storing and transportation. I’m not saying go out and invest in a 10 gun safe if you are a first time gun buyer, but it may be worth it later in life.

Oh and here is something simple that many people overlook, eye and ear protection. It is astonishing how many people do not or forget to pack this with them. My fiancé was going to go to a cabin with a group of friends from work. One mentioned that they were going to be shooting and I asked “Who is bringing the eyes and ears?” After the long pause I felt a little nervous about letting her go with people who might not have these simple and cheap items. (By the way, these electronic muffs work great!)

Last but not least is the gun cleaning kit itself. A firearm is an investment, just like a vehicle or home. If you don’t take proper preventative maintenance it might not last too long. While some might see this as a chore, I find it relaxing. After a day at the range I love busting everything down and giving it a good scrubbing. But what all do you need to clean a firearm? Below is a suggested list of everything needed.

A Cleaning Kit Should Include:

  • Assorted rod tips—brushes, mop tips, slotted tips, jag tips
  • Bore light
  • Clean cloths
  • Cleaning rods
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dental mirror
  • Gun grease
  • Gun oil
  • Gunsmith screwdrivers
  • Patches appropriate for the caliber or gauge of the firearm
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Solvent
  • Stand to hold the firearm securely in a horizontal position
  • Toothbrush

 

Now while some of this might seem a little much, keep in mind the suggestion word. My kit is not nearly this extensive, and I have not had a single issue due to lack of cleaning. I can tell you though that you will want for sure a cleaning rod with the appropriate tips for the firearm you are cleaning. Cotton swabs work great for getting that grease and gunk out, especially after the oils and cleaners have worked their magic.

One thing this list does not mention is a pull-through. This is a device that you slide through the barrel and then give a quick tug to. This pulling through motion does a great job for quick cleanings. This however does not replace a full cleaning which may not be needed every time after firing but is important. There are many working parts of firearms that need special attention. I would suggest having a pull-through for all firearms as they are easy to toss into a pack.

Oh and here’s another secret. Most brake-cleaning products for vehicles contains the same stuff as “gun cleaning liquids” do, and they are usually a little cheaper. Just check to be sure before spraying your firearm down.

You can piece together your own cleaning kit or buy a whole set. Either way, just make sure you have one. Take care of your firearm and it can easily be a hand me down. I personally am hoping to one day acquire a firearm from both of my grandfathers. (Especially since I learned about the existence of a Ruger M77 .30-06Sprg that belonged to my mother’s dad.) I think it would be so cool to hand down my grandfather’s deer rifles to my grandkids one day.

Go ahead and let us know what items you would add or subtract from the list and why! Scrub-a-dub Rubbin’ that rust away!! Get ya some!

If you haven’t already check out our other Check It Out Lists on First Aid Kits and Day Packs.

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Dove Season 2013 "Better Late Than Never"

             The most highly anticipated bird opener of the year, Dove opener, is now behind us.  Dove season,which is the first bird season to open each year, always opens on September 1.  Those of us who enjoy shotgun shooting more than other shooting sports eagerly await the September 1 opener. 

             Hitting a speedy dove has been compared to hitting a major league fast ball, no easy feat!  The average dove hunter expends about 8 shells per bird according to ammunition manufacturers association!  I spent my opening day at Talbot Conservation Area, west of Springfield.  Missouri hunters are fortunate to have access to some of the best manage dove fields available anywhere.  I have hunted this area many times and this year it was the best dove habitat that I have every seen there.  And as was expected there were plenty of dove and plenty of dove hunters and the shooting was pretty intense for several hours. I am sure that limits were the rule and not the exception.  I got a limit with my little 28 ga. o/u.

             The dove season goes until November 9 so there is still plenty time left to get in on the action.  There  are other areas available that are often managed for dove, such as “corp.” ground in an around many of Missouri’s reservoirs.  After opening day it is some times difficult to find large concentrations of birds, check CA(conservation areas) after the onset of cooler weather moves into the northern states, as migrating doves will once again focus on the available food plots at the various conservation areas.

Matthew's Dove Recipe

           After the hunt  some dove hunters struggle with how to prepare dove for the table!  My favorite method to prepare dove is as follows: Remove breast meat from the dove, this is best  accomplished with a filet knife, make sure to remove all skin!  Marinate in equal parts of red wine and soy sauce with a little  crushed garlic over night.  Wrap ½ breast around a sliver of Serrano pepper (remove all seeds), enclosed in a big enough piece of bacon to  completely encircle the breast.  Cook in broiler or on barbeque till bacon is just done.  Serve as a side dish.  Yes it is a lot of work, but worth it!

 

 

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Ammo too Expensive or not avaliable?

Hornady LNL Classic Kit

With recent times ammunition has become not only scarce, but prices are also starting to rise. This is where a reloader will have a "one-up" on the people who buy factory ammunition. Whenever a person who reloads wants to shoot all he or she has to do is sit down and load however many round they want. Be it 50 or 500 the quantity does not matter. If you are one who does not reload then you have to get in your car, drive to the store and buy your ammunition. That might be a 100 round box or in some cases all you might be able to find is a 20 round box. This is why it would be advantageous for someone who shoots a lot to get into reloading.

If you are wanting to get into this hobby Hornady has just the solution for you. This is their Lock-N-Load Classic reloading kit. With the exception of brass, powder, primers,projectiles and dies, this kit comes with everything you need to get started reloading. Here is a list of the included items:

  • Lock-N-Load Classic single stage press
  • Lock-N-Load powder measure
  • Electronic scale
  • 8th Edition Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading
  • Three Lock-N-Load die bushings
  • Primer catcher
  • Positive priming system
  • Hand-held priming tool
  • Universal reloading block
  • Chamfering and deburring tool
  • Primer turning plate
  • One Shot case lube

Series 2 pistol die setAnother piece of hardware you will need to start reloading is reloading dies. Unlike the Hornady Lock-N-Load reloading press, reloading dies are specific to every caliber. Pictured here is the Hornady Series 2 Pistol die set (9mm to be more specific). The far left die is the full length sizer die, middle is the case mouth expander die and the right is the bullet seating die. So not only is each die set for a specific caliber, but each die in that set has a specific use.

If you have never reloaded before I highly recommend reading as much information as possible. The Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading is an excellent source of information on not only cartridge specifications but also a beginners guide to reloading. Here is a YouTube video of Hornadys Lock-N-Load Classic kit.

Come out to the Hunting department in Bass Pro Shop and will we be more than happy to assist you with your reloading questions.

 

We look forward to seeing you,

Grayson Barnes

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Zombie Nation 2013

Zombie Nation MagazineOnce again, Guns and Ammo has brought to the news stands one of the most important publications of its kind in the world.  We all know what's coming and I for one want to be the first to get my hands on the state of the art weapons, ammunition, prepping information.  The first issue of Zombie Nation gave us just enough to wet our whistles so to speak and this issue takes it even further.

The second issue of Zombie Nation hit the street about a week ago and I snatched up two of the ten copies on the rack before anyone else could get the drop on them because I don't want to be the only one left standing around while my neighbors are bugging out.

There are a couple things that caught my attention with the first one being a gorgeous Modern Sporting Rifle from Spike's Tactical in Apopka.  Their SL 15 Zombie looks like it would lay down some precision lead while defending your homefront from the biters.  Magpul equipment and a plethora of Spike's custom touches, make this zombie slayer a welcome addition to the gun safe.  "Don't Forget To Double Tap" is milled into the upper unit rail system as a constant reminder of the need to put walkers down for the count.  Spike's custom ST-T2 heavy buffer is machined from solid billet then filled with High Density Tungsten Powder (HDTP) to tame recoil for repeated accuracy.  The features keep stacking up so my advice would be to get your hands on one before Z-Day arrives.

My second favorite new toy (if I could afford it) is the Standard Issue 1911A1 .45 cal rail gun from Iver Johnson.  This zombie-themed pistol is so beautifully appointed with you guessed it, "ZOMBIES" that you may not want to carry it.  Stunning is the only word I can find to describe the graphics on the slide and the zombie-green grips.  A fully adjustable rear sight and a pickatinny rail-equiped frame ensure that you can mount a light, lazer, or keep it naked while still putting rounds where they count.  Get yours before I get mine.....  Or should I say before my wife gets hers?

There's way more to this mag than just things that go boom, including knives, blunt instruments, comm gear, rations, and even navigation equipment so you can find the only safe haven for miles.  I especially appreciate the effort the writers went through to bring us some of the most up-to-date tactics with a zombie twist.  These practices might be necessary in the event of any national or local emergency including; hurricanes, floods, fires, mass power outages, or even a Sharknado......  Well maybe not Sharknado, that would just be silly.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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The Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety

The Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety

gunIt’s the middle of July and 110° in the shade here in Louisiana but it is never too early to start talking about Hunting.   Dove hunting is only six weeks away and then there is always squirrel, rabbit, duck, deer, etc.  For all of you old timers, I’m sure you know how important it is to be safe out there in the woods.  You newbies need to take it very seriously.  To get you started here are the Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety as stated by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department.

 

  • Watch that muzzle!  Keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times.
     
  • Treat every firearm with the respect due a loaded gun.  It might be, even if you think it isn’t.
     
  • Be sure of the target and what is in front of it and beyond it.  Know the identifying features of the game you hunt.  Make sure you have an adequate backstop – don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
     
  • Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.  This is the best way to prevent an accidental discharge.
     
  • Check your barrel and ammunition.  Make sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions; and carry only the proper ammunition for your firearm.
     
  • Unload firearms when not in use.  Leave action open; carry firearms in cases and unloaded to and from the shooting area.
     
  • Point a firearm only at something you intend to shoot.  Avoid all horseplay with a gun.
     
  • Don’t run, jump, or climb with a loaded firearm.  Unload a firearm before you climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not the muzzle.
     
  • Store firearms and ammunition separately and safely.  Store each in secured location beyond the reach of children and careless adults.
     
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages before and during shooting.  Also avoid mind- or behavior- altering medicines or drugs.

 

Be safe and have a fun, exciting hunting season.

 

Jettie Whittington

Denham Springs

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New at Bass Pro Shops, CMMG 300 AAC/Blackout AR-15!!!

CMMG 300 BlackoutNew here at Bass Pro Shops is an AR-15 rifle chambered in 300 Blackout. The rifle is manufactured by CMMG Incorporated. CMMG manufactured not only full AR-15 rifles but they also manufacture AR-15 parts and accessories. This company was founded in 1999 and has been growing exponentially ever since. They now offer everything from magazines to a fully built rifle like we have here.

The specs on the rifle are:

  • Caliber - 300 AAC BLACKOUT.
  • Barrel - 16" M300 Profile Barrel, WASP Treated 4140 Chrome-Moly Steel, 1:7" Twist, 5/8-24 Threaded.
  • Hand Guard - M4 Hand guard.
  • Sights/Gas Block - Flat top/railed gas block.
  • Trigger assembly - Factory Trigger.
  • Magazine - 30 Round  P-Mag.

 

300 AAC Blackout  The 300 AAC Blackout(7.62x35 MM) is fairly new to the industry, but since the 300's acceptance by SAAMI(Sporting Arms Ammunition Institute) the cartridge has been gaining popularity. If you are unfamiliar with the 300 Blackout it is basically a .223rem case cut down and re-necked to fit a .30 caliber projectile, but its actual parent case is a .221 Fireball. Having the same case as a .223rem this means that the 300 blackout will function in a magazine designed for a .223rem and hold the same capacity. Now you might be asking yourself "What is the 300 Blackout good for?" Here are some of the advantages to this cartridge:

  • Subsonic ammo that will cycle an AR
  • Uses standard .223rem Magazine and bolt
  • Better muzzle energy when compared to a .223rem
  • Wide projectile selection (.308")

300 Blackout assortment

 

The 300 Blackout is becoming very popular with hog hunters. The low recoil, light noise crack and excellent energy producing make it a perfect fit for hog/pig control. Combine this cartridge with a suppressor and you will have a quiet, reliable rifle that will suit your needs.(Please check local game laws. Not all states/game can be legally hunted with a suppressor. Look here on how to obtain a suppressor).

Here is a YouTube video of what this round sounds like subsonic/suppressed vs. supersonic.

Now every pro has its cons. The only cons I could think of were slightly more expensive to shoot, factory ammo is a little harder to find(but what ammo isn't right now) and bullet drop after two hundred yards is significant.  These cons should not steer you away from this rifle. It is an excellent choice. Shoot one and you will realize what I am talking about.

Stop by Bass Pro Shop and ask an associate behind the gun counter to see this rifle. I am sure you will be impressed.

Grayson

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Family Firearms Safety Training and Family Fun Competition

SFWA.com

Whether you hunt, sport shoot, or maybe just own a firearm; AND you have a family THIS is the class for you.

It is official, the event everyone has been waiting for . . . Ages 6 and up will enjoy SFWA's Family Firearms Safety Training and Family Fun Competition!

There are two dates available for this exclusive class:

July 20, 2013           1-5 pm

August  24, 2013    1-5 pm

These is an exciting exclusive opportunity for family members as young as 6 years old to experience SFWA quality hands-on firearms safety training and then compete as a family team in a fun shooting competition against other participating families!

Points covered include:

* Rules of Safety

* Handgun, Rifle and Shotgun Operation

* Ammunition, Loading and Unloading

* Cleaning and Storage

* Passing a Firearm Safely

* Home Defense for Families

* Shooting Sports

Family Registration is $39 (which includes the first family member) and then you register each additional family member for only $7 each! The family will begin the course upstairs in the conference room at Bass Pro Shops with (rifle, shotgun and handgun) comprehensive hands-on firearms safety training presented by SFWA Instructors and then finish the day by competing outside at Bass Pro Shops as a family unit against other participating families in a fun live fire competition with Crosman air guns! Prizes will be awarded in different categories providing opportunities for everyone to test their skills!

Successful completion of this course, plus approval of SFWA Instructors, will permit family members to register for an advanced family firearms training course that includes live fire at the shooting range with handguns, shotguns and rifles suited to each individual's level of ability.

If any family member has participated in a State Certified Hunter Safety Course, please bring your card with you!

IMPORTANT: At least one family member must have taken an SFWA course or have a valid Handgun Permit to enroll their family in this course. Please email any questions to susan@shootingforwomenalliance.com and allow 48 hours for a reply.

All minors MUST be accompanied by a PARENT or LEGAL GUARDIAN -- grandparents and other family members must provide a written waiver form signed by the parent (provided by SFWA upon request) of a minor if the parent will not be attending with the minor child.

SFWA reserves the right to prohibit participation by any family member who exhibits unsafe behavior at any time.

Everything you will need to participate in this course is provided for you! You are permitted and strongly encouraged to bring any firearms owned by family members to the class. They MUST BE UNLOADED and be locked for safety. (Locking devices will be put on all firearms brought to the class unless they are in a locked case.) SFWA is dedicated to introducing families to firearms in a safe manner.

 

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The Off-Season Part 2

   Last month I talked about some of the chores you will have in the off season as preparations for hunting season. Today I will look at the firearm side of things as we look forward to a new season.

   Now is the time to do thorough cleaning and inspection of your firearms. So we shall start with cleaning. This last year some new items in gun cleaning have emerged that have helped change the way we clean firearms. The first name is Otis. They pioneered the cable type of gun cleaner. These are pulled from chamber opening to muzzle. Using a plastic coated cable we are safe in not harming the rifling of the barrel. One of the added bonuses of this system is its compact size. Coiled in the pouch this cleaning cable will travel most anywhere with you. So it can go along on the hunt or to the range if need be. If you have a scoped rifle you will want to clean the lens and inspect rings and mounts for being solid. If something should be out of place or need repair or replacement this is the best time to look at and do the needed repair. This is months ahead of the hunt and you will have the time to test any change.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=otis

 

   Ammo, if you have living in the Arctic Circle for the past 6 months you may not know there has been a severe run on all ammunition since the end of 2012. It would be best to check your supply and keep it stocked as if you would hunt tomorrow. Just as a quick update here, shotgun loads look good as far as supply is concerned. Rifle ammo is in short supply in many calibers; however more of this ammo is manufactured in the months of June and July and up to the end of the year, so just watch for it.

 

  Now it is the time to look at the camo and hunting clothes you use or will need. Again this is the best time to start looking at these items as it will allow you to give all your attention to the actual hunt. Most of these items will have the most selection early in the summer. So make your list and check it twice, huntin’ season is coming!

 

~Bill Mellentine (Hunting Team Lead)

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Turkey Hunting and Shotguns

                                                             Strutting Toms

I do quite a few turkey hunting seminars every spring and it’s amazing at how many new turkey hunters of all ages that are hitting the field every year. If you’re thinking about going turkey hunting and your weapon of choice is a shotgun, there are a few things you need to know and do before your first morning out.

Gauges:

First off, what gauge of shotgun are you going to use, 10, 12, 16, or 20? I have only heard stories about the 10 and 16 gauge but I do not personally have any experience with them, but the 12 and 20 gauge, I do have firsthand experience and have seen both knock a turkey down like there was no tomorrow.  There’s a lot of veteran turkey hunters who feel that the 20 gauge is a little on the light side for turkeys, but I know that under the right circumstances a 20 gauge is very deadly. Using a 20 gauge full choke with a 3 inch mag and the right load at 35 yards is very deadly, but anything much further than 35 yards your pattern will be to spread out and you may end up with a wounded bird. But with some of the new turkey loads like Hevi-Shot that has a mix of 5, 6, and 7 shot your kill distance has just increased past the 35 yard mark. My oldest son killed his first turkey when he was 10 years old at 32 yards with my old 20 gauge Mossberg with a Winchester 3 inch mag 4 shot and that bird dropped as if he was hit with a 12 gauge. I know a few older aged hunters who use a 20 gauge because of the difference in weight and the kick being less than a 12 gauge. A 20 gauge is a great shotgun for women and kids just learning or unable to handle anything bigger without problems.  The 20 gauge is starting to become a favorite for a lot of veteran turkey hunters.

   Mossburg 20 Gauge                                      

My old Hunter’s Specialties camo taped Mossberg 20 gauge

I would say without a doubt that the 12 gauge is the most popular shotgun used by turkey hunters. The great part about a 12 gauge, especially the new ones made special for turkey hunting, is their shorter length.  Many also come already dressed in camo or matt black, and have the ability to shoot three different shells, 2 ¾”, 3”, or 3 ½”. If you wanted to shoot 2 ¾” shells it would be really close to the same challenge as if you were using a 20 gauge 3”mag, but, if you have the ability to use a larger shell for turkey I would highly recommend it. When I hunt with a shotgun I shoot a Mossberg 835 Ulta Mag 12 gauge loaded with a Winchester 3” 4 shot in the chamber and then backed up in the magazine with 2 Winchester 3 ½” 4 shot. The first season I used that Mossberg I called a very nice tom in from my left and 2 hens came in from my right. Those hens went straight to the tom and I couldn’t get them to come any closer than 55 yards. Little to say he walked away with the hens and I never got the shot. So since that morning I start off with a 3 ½” 4 shot backed by two more 3 ½” 4 shot. If I would have had a 3 ½” shell in the chamber that morning that tom would have went home with me, but that’s hunting. The one disadvantage of using a 3 ½” shell is that it kicks like a mule on steroids. Now I know you don’t feel the kick when shooting at an animal but when I had to pattern that gun every time I pulled the trigger I saw stars.

Mossburg 835 Ulti Mag

The Mossberg 835 Ulta Mag in both camo and matt black with the Undertaker Sighted Choke Tube

 

Choke Tubes

 

               Any time you choose a shotgun for turkey there are two things you must make sure of. First, you need to find out if your barrel is threaded at the end so you can use different choke tubes or like my Mossberg 20 gauge the barrel has no threads and came factory made as a full choke.  My Mossberg 835 Ulta Mag has a threaded barrel so I can use different choke tubes for other types of hunting. Since my 835 was made for turkey hunting I use a full choke Undertaker Sighted Choke Tube from Hunter’s Specialties with great results. Choke tubes are designed to give you tighter patterns out to certain yardages before they start to widen from the end of the barrel. Choke tubes are made for different patterns from skeet, improved cylinder, modified, full, and extra full. Depending on which choke tube you use will depend on how far down range your pattern will stay tight before it starts to open up and become ineffective. When choosing a choke tube be very careful because there are a lot of choke tubes out there made for water fowl, so make sure what you are looking at is for turkey. This brings up the second must, patterning your shotgun.

 

Shot Size             

 

There are three recommended shot sizes to use for turkeys, 4, 5, and 6 shot. Plus now the ammunition manufactures have come out with special turkey loads that are nickel plated, copper plated, and mixed shot size. Not all shotguns are created equal; some may shoot 5 shot better than 6 shot, or 4 shot gives you a better pattern than 5 shot. During my seminars I like to tell all the new hunters to get with a couple buddy’s, buy the 3 different shot sizes made by different manufactures and go out and pattern your guns together, make a day of it. Not onld does shot size affect your pattern, different manufacturers can also produce different results. Federal, Winchester, and Hornady all make great ammunition but when I patterned my 835 the Winchester Supreme 4 shot gave me the best pattern from ten yards out to forty with a 3” and with a 3 ½” ten yards out to sixty.

 

Targets

 

When you’re getting you ammo pick up a couple packs of turkey head targets. The two I prefer the most are Bass Pro Red Head and Hunter’s Specialties. The Red Head target has the duel-color flake-off technology. What happens is whenever your shot hits the head neck the top layer of color flakes off and turns green, but if you miss the head neck it shows up white. This is great so you know from a distance what was kill shots and what is not. Hunter’s Specialties turkey target is in color and has the vitals outlined so you know exactly where and how many pellets are actual kill shots. It also has on the right side a column for you to record seven different pieces of very important information. Those seven pieces are yardage, number of hits, gauge, shot size, and ounce of load, ammo brand, and shell length.

H.S Turkey Target

As you can see there is a lot of information you can record

 

Patterning

 

               What I like to recommend when you pattern your gun is you start at 10 yards and aim right were the turkeys head and neck meet. Most turkey hunters start at 20 yards but I’ll tell you at the end of this why I say 10 and not 20. Shoot only one time and then check your target to see how many pellets are kill shots. This close you should have at least 10 to 15 pellets in the kill zone. Some hunters say 5 pellets is enough but I prefer 10 or more, I want that bird down and not going anywhere. One pellet to the brain will kill but the more the better. If your pattern looks good, put a new target up at 20 yards and repeat this same process out to 40 with a 3 inch. If you’re shooting a 3 ½ inch start at 10 yards and go out to 60. Use a new target every time. If your pattern was high or low or off right or left at 10 yards do it again with a new target to make sure you didn’t pull the shot. A friend of mine had a brand new shotgun right out of the box and it shot one foot to the right on every shot. He ended up taking it to a gunsmith and having the barrel replaced. If you’re dead on but didn’t have enough pellets in the kill zone this is when you try a different shot size or brand. This is why I said make a day of it.

               Now the reason I say 10 yards is a few years ago I called a boss tom in and I thought he was going to come out about 20 yards to my left and it would be a slam dunk, well that didn’t happen. When that bird came into view and the way I was set up he was 5 yards to my left and when I was able to shoot he was less than 10 feet from the end of my barrel. I knew what my 3 ½ would do at 10 yards but being this close I knew I had to be dead on. I put my bead right in the middle of his head and pulled the trigger. That 3 ½ inch 4 shot hit that bird so hard he did a back flip and it was over. I sat there in disbelief at what had happened. When I looked at that birds head I seen that if I would have been ½ inch to the right I would have missed completely, or ½ inch to the left I would have decapitated him. It was almost like hitting him with a slug.

               Knowing exactly where your shot is hitting at different yardages is an ethical responsibility all turkey hunters should know before they hit the fields. Just like big game hunters sight in their rifles every year, turkey hunters should pattern their shotguns every year.

Mark Campagnola

Hunt Hard and Shoot Straight

 

 

 

 

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Concealed Carry Permit: A must have for anyone

With the current climate and social issues surrounding firearms, I decided to get my concealed carry permit. As I haven’t fired a handgun in several years, I was a little nervous about the class, especially the qualifying after the class. I convinced a fellow manager to take the class with me. The class that I took was taught by instructors from Practical Arms. Mark, Kyle and Tim offer these classes on a regular basis here at the Bass Pro Shops in Concord, NC. The class begins at 8am in the conservation room at Bass Pro Shops.

There are 25-30 people in each class. After registration, the class started with a very in depth look at the legal issues of having a conceal carry permit. Seldom mentioned aspects of the laws are taught such as; justified self-defense can’t be instigated and you cannot use excessive force. Also once the threat has been stopped, you can’t use additional force. I learned that for a gun to be considered a handgun, it must have a short stock and be designed to be fired and held in a single hand.

Once you receive your handgun permit, you are required to have it on your person, along with your valid identification at all times that you are carrying a concealed weapon. The team also went over places that you are not allowed to carry a firearm concealed, for example any facility that sells alcoholic beverages, any area where admission is paid, and certain state properties, courthouses or any federal property. If you consume alcohol at any time or any controlled substance, you are not allowed to carry your firearm concealed.

The instructors went over the proper care, cleaning and storage of your handgun. Storage of your firearm is very important; practical arms discussed the different types of locking systems for firearms and different types of safes. I did learn that on a biometric safe that it is wise to program a couple of different fingers in case your hand happens to be incapacitated. One of the final things that the guys went over was ammunition safety. They covered misfires and squib loads and how to handle these types of malfunctions if they occur. After a test in the classroom, everyone left to go to the range for qualifying.

At this point, I started to get a little nervous. I soon found out that I had no reason to be. At the range, Kyle and Mark took time with each shooter to familiarize them with their firearm. They went over the safety on every gun with every shooter. They also went over safe handling of the firearm with each individual. I will tell you that having extra clips makes the process go faster.

Evan and I

Every participant is teamed up with another individual. While one is shooting, the other person stays at the back station. Once you have shot your round, you eject the clip from the gun and hold it behind your back. Your team mate then either brings you another loaded clip to go in the gun or they take the clip that you have, load it and return it to you. You shoot 10 rounds at 3 yards, 5 yards and 7 yards for a total of 30 rounds.

At the end of the class, you receive a certificate to take to the sheriff’s department in order to get your permit. My class was in February and my appointment with the sheriff’s department is in April. Given the current climate and social issues surrounding firearms your wait will increase at your local sheriffs office. I was very pleased with how professional and helpful all of the instructors were. If you are not an avid handgun user like myself, this is still a class that I would recommend, knowledge is power.

Class qualify

Practical Arms also rents handguns for the qualifying at the range and will provide ammunition for the handguns that they rent. Check out their website for other classes and training that they offer. They offer a class specifically for ladies at the Bass Pro Shops here in Concord. They also offer a ladies only class for selecting the right handgun. This class includes range time and the ability to shoot 5 different handguns which is very helpful if you are unsure of which handgun is right for you.

Happy shooting!

Michelle Clark

 

 

 

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Snow Goose Hunting - Follow the Leaders

(image courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service)The spring snow goose hunting season is drawing to a close for some states and just getting in to full-throttle for others.  The season in Iowa runs from January 11 to April 15. In Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska the daily bag limit is 20 birds a day. There is no limit in Missouri. You can use electronic calls in this season and unplugged shotguns.

Here are some quick tips and facts about snow goose hunting from our Altoona hunting experts.

1. Why the liberal limits? Snow geese have grown so large that they are destroying the Arctic tundra, where they raise their young. Millions of snow geese turn once lush green tundra ground into miles of dirt and mud. This has a negative effect on the other wildlife that relies on these areas to survive. Also, snow geese travel in such big flocks that they are prone to carrying diseases into new areas and passing them to the resident waterfowl. This season also helps out our economy with the large amount of money spent on licenses, hotels, restaurants, guides, decoys, guns, ammunition, etc.

2. In the spring, adult snow geese are very anxious to reach their nesting grounds in the north. They will constantly push north until they cannot go any further due to the lack of water or food. Usually, the snow line will determine where the geese are in their migration. They will also follow the melting snow line instead of waiting for large lakes to open up. If you do not have a large amount of decoys, small ponds or slack water in open fields can be a great place to set up for migrating geese.

3.  The geese that lead the migration are referred to as the “adults.” These geese are usually the most educated geese in the migration and the hardest to hunt. Some snow geese have bands on their legs or on their necks. The oldest snow goose ever shot and recorded was in 1999 and was 27 years old! That is 27 times migrating south and back north being hunted both ways. They have seen every trick in the book…fooling these geese is very difficult!

4.  So, let the adults pass. You'll be most successful in the mid to later stages of migration. Juvenile birds - or "juvies" - are the prime target for hunters. Those first year snow geese are just following the group. They are "along for the ride." They are more prone to decoying than the adults. Additionally, there are many different types of snow geese. Some are smaller than the average size snow goose and some are brown with a white head called blue geese. Knowing what geese are legal is very important, because speckle belly geese and other waterfowl tend to travel with the flocks of snow geese and are not in season in the spring.

5.  Quality decoys seem to be the trend over large numbers of less realistic decoys. When these geese were first hunted, people would throw out garbage bags and paper plates for decoys. They shot geese doing this because the geese had not been hunted very hard. These days the geese are hunted so hard that they require more realistic decoys. It would be wise to go with a guide your first time before you make the investment in this sport. You can also see firsthand how they get these educated birds to decoy. 

6.  If you have hunted Canada geese, you know that most of the time they fly semi-low to the ground when they go out to feed and migrate. This is usually the opposite with snow geese. Compared to Canadians, snow geese like to fly higher and usually circle down on top of you when they are coming in to your decoy spread. One of the best times to shoot the geese is when they are belly up, right on top of your hunters. Their vitals are the most exposed and you have more time to harvest them before they get out of range.

8.  One thing that really is amazing is the sure numbers of geese you can see in just one day. We have witnessed tornadoes of geese filling up a large field in minutes, hardly able to hear a friend talking just two steps away over the roar of all the geese. It is also fun to watch when they are feeding as they leapfrog to get to the front of the pack and the most food, over and over, until they cover the whole field! If you like waterfowl hunting at all, give it a try one season. 
 

Be prepared, be safe...and follow the leaders.

photography.nationalgeographic.com

 

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Offset Your Ammo Cost: Part 2

     Throughout my last blog I explained the items that you would need to start loading your own ammunition for rifles and pistols.  In the next couple of weeks we will take an in depth look at how you get from empty brass to ammunition ready for the range and field.  The topic of today’s discussion will be brass preparation.  If you plan on starting out with new brass, this information will not come into play until you have shot some ammo and collected some empty casings.  If you have ever done any reloading before, then you know that brass preparation is an essential part of the loading process that demands more of your time than any other aspect of loading, especially if you are loading for rifles.  However, having brass readily available is one of the biggest cost saving aspects of loading your own ammo.

                                                                                            Here are a couple of essential tools for brass preperation: a case trimmer and tumbler.

Step 1: Tumbling Brass

    Add Turbo Charger to your media to get a high luster finish even after you've cleaned thousands of cases with your media. The first thing that I do when I get back from the range is load my tumbler up with media and throw my empty brass from the day in it.  I usually use the Lyman Corncob Case Cleaning Media, but there are plenty of options out Lyman corn cob media works great for cleaning cases.there.  The great thing about this media is it seems to last forever especially if you use the Lyman® Turbo Charger Media Reactivator periodically.  This will add luster back to your brass and it does not take as long to clean.  One trick that I always use when tumbling brass is cut up a used dryer sheet into four squares.  Drop the squares in with your media and brass and all of the dirt will stick to the dryer sheets instead of your tumbler and media.  Tumbling time will be about 2-5 hours depending on how much brass you have and the freshness of your media.  The brass should look shiny and clean when you get it out.  When you are satisfied with the brass, turn the tumbler off and sift the media into a small bucket or container and make sure that none is left inside of your casings.  I usually tumble all like brass together and try to avoid mixing brass because cases become entwined together and do not get fully cleaned when mixed.

 

Step 2: Sizing and Decapping

            Here is a sizing die for a .223.  Notice the decapping sticking out the bottom of the die.  This die sizes and decaps your cartridge all at once.Now that you have clean brass, you can begin sizing and decapping.  Both of these steps are achieved with one stroke of the press.  Refer to the picture on the left to locate your sizing die.  Read the instructions included with your die for setting it up into your press and install the appropriate shell holder onto your press. 

     For rifles, lay your brass out on a lube pad as shown in the picture and spray a light coating of case lube on them.  Roll them around a little bit and they are ready to be sized.  Also spray just a little bit of lubricant inside of your die.  ***DO NOT over lube your casings because bad things can happen.  A very light coating is all that you need.  Any more and your brass will dimple on the shoulders and could get stuck in your die***.  Place the brass into the shell holder and steadily pull the lever down until it reaches the bottom.  Steadily raise the arm of your press again.  You will feel some resistance as your brass comes out of die when the collate holding the decapping pin exits the neck of the case.  Inspect your case to ensure that the spent primer has been punched from the case.  If not, screw the decapping pin farther into your die and run the brass through again.  Also check your case for dimples or abnormalities.  If anything looks split, dimpled or incorrect, dispose the case and go to the next.  Shooters that use a bolt action gun may prefer to use a neck sizing die.  This type of die will extend the life of your brass but cannot be used in a semi automatic gun or a gun that is clip fed.  If you shoot the same cartridge out of multiple guns, you will need to keep that brass specific to each gun if you are neck sizing.Lay your brass on a lube pad to keep your area neat and clean.  I recommend a spray lube because it is easier to deal with.

     If you read the last article, I recommended buying a carbide die for pistols.  If you followed this advice, skip the case lubing for sizing your pistol cases, put them in the press and start punching primers.  If you bought a steel die for your pistol, be sure to lube your cases before running them through your die or you could end up with trouble.  As far as case lubricant goes, I prefer some type of spray lube.  It seems to be less messy and easier to use than the liquid form.  In addition, it is easy to control how much is getting onto your cases so you don’t over-lube them. 

Step 3: Case Trimming

     Adjust your caliper to the maximum case length and check each case to see if they are under that length or need to be trimmed.Now that you have your cases cleaned, sized, and decapped it is time to trim them back to their original factory length.  This step is usually not necessary when loading a straight walled cartridge.  So for pistols, this step can usually be skipped unless you are shooting a high pressure load.  Measure a few until you are comfortable that they will fall under the maximum case length shown in your reloading book.  If you are loading rifle ammunition, set your calipers at the maximum case length and lock them into place.  Measure each brass case that you have resized to make sure they are under this length.  For example, .223 has a maximum case length of 1.760” with a trim to length of 1.750”.  Ideally you want your cases to fall in this range, but you definitely do not want them to exceed the maximum case length.  Sort them between cases that exceed the maximum case length and cases that are under the maximum case length.  Each trimmer will be set up a little different so set yours up as instructed in the manual with the product.   Always remember to start out cutting a little long and make fine adjustments until you can consistently reach the length that you are targeting.Set your trimmer to with a case that you know the length of and make fine adjustments from there. For example, I will always use a case that is about 1.759” to set my initial trim to length and adjust my trimmer from there. After you trim a case use a deburring tool to deburr and dechamfer the inside and outside of the case mouth.  It only takes about a half a turn on each side to properly smooth the case mouth out.  After you get your trimmer set to trim to the right length, always check cases periodically to make sure that you’re trimming consistently.     Whenever I get through trimming cases I always like to send the brass through the tumbler again to get rid of any brass shavings or case lubricant left on my cases.  You do not have to leave them tumble for as long, a half hour or hour should suffice.  Once that is finished, sift the media from the cases and inspect the flash hole of each case to make sure that no media got caught in it.  If your flash hole is obstructed, use a tack or pin to punch out the object before continuing. 

     Once you have done these three steps, you have completed all case preparation needed to load your brass.  Always inspect your brass carefully for any major dimples, splits, or bulges.  Check the rim of your cartridge to make sure that it is intact and don’t take any chances on brass.  If it looks bad, pitch it!  Brass is usually somewhat easy to come by and a trip to the local range can get you restocked quickly.  If you pick up unknown brass or are given brass by someone, always run a magnet over it before putting it in your dies.  If it sticks to the magnet, DO NOT attempt to reload it because it is a steel casing that will damage your dies.  If you have more brass than you plan on reloading immediately, put them in a cool dry place for storage.  I prefer to vacuum seal my brass that will not be loaded promptly.  Plastic sealable bags and ammo cans work great too.  Add some silica packets to the bags or cans to insure a dry climate for your brass.  Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to loading your own ammo.  Next time we will add primers, powder, and bullets to your shiny clean brass.

-Brian Eickholtz          

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CCW Class March 23/24 at Cincinnati Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Logo

We will be hosting a Concealed Carry Class on March 23rd and March24th. This class will be conducted by NRA Certified Instructors. The class times are:


Saturday March 23rd 9:30 - 7:30 - Classroom instruction in our conference room
Sunday March 24th 9:00am to 12:00 pm - Qualification shooting at a local private range

You do not have to have your own handgun to qualify, loaners will be available, but you will be required to supply your own ammunition. Cost of the class is $110. Please call 513-826-5200 to register and if you have any questions. Class size is limited.

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Offset Your Ammo Cost: Part 1

     If you are a hunter or shooter then you have probably seen an increase in the cost of keeping your guns loaded.  Ammunition prices have basically tripled over the last ten years. There are several reasons for this including high demand throughout the world for metals found in ammunition like brass, copper, and lead.  Ammunition is also an item that stays in high demand and, if you've been shopping in the last few weeks, you may be having a hard time finding exactly what you need or like to shoot with your gun.  Like with most industries, ammo is produced in batches based on what is forecasted to sell.  If more ammo is sold than anticipated and the stock runs out, it may be gone for weeks or months.  If you like to hunt or shoot waiting months for ammo to arrive is not an option.  Luckily, there is another option that will make your shooting and hunting more rewarding and cost efficient than ever: loading your own ammo.  

     Reloading is a great process to have knowledge of.  Understanding how your ammunition is loaded can be critical in making your gun shoot to its full capabilities.  In fact, a skilled loader can load bullets that will shoot much better than standard factory loads.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to learn how to do either just a little attention to detail.  The only downfall of loading your own ammo is that there is some start up expense, but this will be offset by what you save in no time.  Getting started loading your own ammo is as simple as stopping by your local Bass Pro Shops and speaking with the experts in the Hunting department.  I will provide you with a starting point and tell you what works best for me to help get you pointed in the right direction.

     There are several basic items that you will need to begin loading ammo:  a press, scale, caliper, case trimmer, case tumbler, dies, powder dispenser, and most importantly a reloading manual.  You can purchase these items separately or in one of the great kits that we offer in our stores.  Generally, I recommend people start out with a kit.  You will get most of the basic hardware you need to get started, but you will usually have to buy additional items along the way.  For example, if you are loading new brass then a case trimmer and tumbler will not be necessary because you have no case prep work to do.  However, you will want to add this to your setup down the line because having the brass is going to save you quite a bit of money as opposed to buying new brass each time.   Loading dies, which resize your case and seat bullets, are specific to each cartridge and you need a different one for each caliber you plan to load for.  If you  decide that you only want to load for .223, that will be the only die that you need.  You can purchase additional dies as necessary and the dies are universal to be accepted into any standard press.  The last and cheapest component you will need to load is a shell holder which even comes with some dies that you buy.  Finally you will need the parts for your round:  bullets, brass, powder, and primers. 

     Before buying a setup for reloading, analyze what you are loading for.  Generally you will save the most money on large or uncommon calibers.  If you are loading for an AR-15 or a semi automatic pistol that you put a lot of rounds through, you may consider a progressive press.  You will be able to load much faster but you may lose that custom accuracy that comes with loading on a single stage press.  Personally, I load my .223 and 9mm with a single stage press and I still save quite a bit of money plus I always have ammo available.  For loading straight walled pistol calibers, make sure that you buy "carbide" die sets!  This is extremely important and will save you time and money because you do not have lubricate your cases before sizing them.  I will speak more about that in the next blog, which I will walk you through the loading steps for both rifle and pistols.  I will be specifically talking about .223 and 9mm, but you can apply the information I will give you to anything that you need to load. 

     For a beginner I would check out a couple of different kits and pick the one that suits your needs.  The most cost effective way to go is the Lee Breech Lock Challenger kit for $149.99.  Another Great choice is the Hornady Lock N' Load Classic Reloading Kit for $319.99.  My favorite kit, though, is the RCBS® Rock Chucker™ Supreme Master Reloading Kit sold at Bass Pro Shops for $359.99.  It combines a great press with excellent accessories that you will need to start your loading.  All of these kits come with a press, scale, hand priming tool, and several other extras.  Now go pick you out a kit and get the proper bullets, brass, primers and powder so you will be ready to load when I post my next article showing you how to put everything together.  Refer to the all important reloading manual as to what you will need if you have questions about what powder, primer, or bullets you need!

 

-Brian Eickholtz

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CCW Concealed Carry Class February 9-10 at Cincy Bass Pro Shops

We will be hosting a Concealed Carry Class on February 9th and 10th. This class will be conducted by NRA Certified Instructors. The class times are:
Saturday February 9th 9:30 - 7:30 - Classroom instruction in our conference room
Sunday February 10th 9:00am to 12:00 pm - Qualification shooting at a local private range

You do not have to have your own handgun to qualify, loaners will be available, but you will be required to supply your own ammunition. Cost of the class is $110. Please call 513-826-5200 to register and if you have any questions. Class size is limited.

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Hunters Education at Bass Pro Shops Pearl, MS

Bass Pro Shops in Pearl, MS is partnering with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks to offer our First Hunters Education class of 2013.  This class will be held in the upstairs Confernece Room of Bass Pro Shops in Pearl, MS on Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 9am - 7pm. 

You may sign up for this class by calling 601.859.3421

 

Mississippi Hunter Education

Hunter Education works. Since 1950, when formal hunter safety programs were introduced, the number of hunting and firearms-related accidents has declined dramatically nationwide. In Mississippi, we know that our hunter education efforts have reduced firearms accidents and saved lives.  The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks offers hunter education classes free of charge at locations across the state. The hunter education course includes 10 hours of instruction, including live shooting.  To obtain hunter education certification, students must be at least 10 years of age and must pass a written exam and complete a firing exercise. 

All persons born after January 1, 1972 are required to complete a hunter education course before purchasing a Mississippi hunting license. Also Effective July 1, 2000, anyone twelve (12) years of age and under sixteen (16) years of age must have a certificate of satisfactory completion of a hunter education course approved by the Department before hunting alone in this state. A child at least twelve (12) years of age and under (16) years of age may hunt without having the certificate of hunter education if the child is in the presence and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter at least twenty-one (21) years of age when hunting.

 

The Hunter Education program is designed to:

  • reduce hunting accidents
  • teach hunter ethics and responsibility
  • promote wildlife conservation
  • teach firearm safety

 Specifically, the course contents include:

  • hunter ethics and responsibility
  • history of firearms
  • rifles
  • shotguns
  • ammunition
  • gun handling
  • marksmanship
  • blackpowder and muzzleloading
  • bowhunting
  • wildlife identification
  • principles of wildlife management
  • survival
  • water safety
  • hypothermia
  • first aid
  • tree stand safety

Visit us on facebook at www.facebook.com/bpspearl

 

 

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SHOT Show 2013 Industry Outlook

As anyone who has been near a gun counter in the past 2 months can attest, the gun business is BOOMING.  My recent trip to Las Vegas to attend the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) further confirmed a thriving industry.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the SHOT Show, here is the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) description of it:  “NSSF's annual SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show) is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries. It is the world's premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics and related products and services.”

In layman’s terms, the SHOT Show is a trade show held annually in the first few weeks of January, where manufacturers debut their product lines for the upcoming year.  It is not a public event; one must be connected to the industry in one way shape or form to be allowed to attend.  The majority of manufacturers will wait until SHOT Show (or at least the weeks preceding it) to debut any new products they may be releasing for the upcoming year, so every year it creates a very exciting time in the industry.

That being said, there were very few manufacturers that debuted completely new products, instead most opted to re-configure existing product lines.  However, there were a few new products on the market that will spark some interest in the industry.  Remington debuted its new Model 783 rifle.  The 783 will fall into the line of price point guns and should compete with the Ruger American and T/C Venture with a starting MSRP of $451.  It will be originally debuted in 4 calibers (.308, .270, .30-06 and 7mm Rem Mag) and will come as a gun only (possible scope package options for the future).  Remington also released a VersaMax Sportsman, which unlike its predecessor, will not come in a hard case, will only come with 1 choke (previously 5), will not have Hogue Overmolded Grips, will not have adjustments for Drop/Cast or Length of Pull, and will have a standard ivory front bead (previously Hi-Viz).  It will also sport an MSRP of $1025 (previously $1399) and still offer all the benefits of the VersaMax, just without any extras.  The standard VersaMax will still be available as well.

Winchester and Savage teamed up this year to debut a new rimfire caliber, the .17 Winchester Super Magnum.  This hot new caliber is said to deliver a 20 grain bullet at 3000 fps, and will boast similar performance at 200 yards that a .17 HMR would deliver at 50 yards.  Savage has developed an entirely new gun line to host this new cartridge with their new B.MAG, which has several features previously found only in centerfire guns, giving you centerfire performance out of a smaller package.  Savage added an 8 round rotary magazine into this new line-up, something not seen from them before, and as always their new product also features their famous Accu-Trigger.  MSRP on this gun is starting at $349.

                As I mentioned previously, there were also a few re-configurations in the industry.  Taurus has revamped their PT  111/140 (9 mm/.40 S&W) Millennium series with the new G2 series, similar to what we previously saw with their 24/7 series, just adding better ergonomics on their tried and true series.  

Springfield Armory announced that they will now be offering their popular XDs in a 9mm configuration as well.

Ruger also released a few different configurations of previous models.  There will now be an LC380 (LC9 in a .380 caliber), an SR45 (similar to the SR9 or SR40), a commander sized (4.25”) SR1911 and an LCR .22 Magnum.  Ruger also added new calibers to their American series rifle (.22-250 and 7mm-08) as well added compact models in both .243 and 7mm-08.

Usually, one can detect a certain theme that the industry is following, this year that was not the case.  Last year, it seemed every manufacturer was offering some sort of zombie gadget.  The zombie craze, while fun, seems to have run its course and although there are still a few companies offering zombie gear, for the most part I think we have successfully thwarted any potential zombie attack.  As one could predict, Modern Sporting Rifles and accessories for them are still the hottest ticket in town, and there is really no telling how the market will respond to the demand.  One thing I was able to note, was an increased emphasis (at least for me) on predator and waterfowl hunting.  Don’t get me wrong, deer hunting is as popular as ever, but it seemed to me that more people are looking for ways to extend their seasons, and the market is responding with more products to get people out in the field longer.  Mojo Outdoors even saw fit to add a Spinning Wing Crow decoy and a Spinning Wing Pigeon decoy, both sports which are gaining much favor among shotgunners not wanting to hang up their guns until next September.

Manufacturers are back up and running following their holiday shutdowns, so we should begin to see some of these new products hitting the market any time.  Overall, it looks to be another exciting year in the hunting industry!

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Turkey Ammo- Which one??

Ok, you have found the perfect spot for your Spring Turkey hunt. Your mouth call practice has paid off since you have a nice Tom strutting towards your decoys. All that is left here is to pull Mr 12 gauge up and claim your trophy. But the hunt is not finished, this is where your gear can really make or breat your outing. Your choice of choke and ammunition can be the difference between going home happy or going home hungry.

   Today we have several very good choices in 12 gauge ammunition made just for Turkey hunting. What will matter here is how to match up our barrel and choke tube with the right ammunition to get the best results. Let us start with a true Turkey shotgun.

    Most devoted Turkey shotguns have a shorter barrel length that allows better swing in tight quarters such as a hub blind or other available cover. With that short barrel it is recommended that you use an “extra full choke tube”. This will allow tighter patterns at longer shooting ranges. For this type of shotgun the best choices in ammunition are Winchester, Remington, HeavyShot and Kent. These shot shells use a conventional plastic wad that spreads at the front soon after leaving the barrel. Patterns will be very good from 30 yards out to 50 yards. You will even be able to make kills farther out then 50 yards!

    So you want to hunt Turkey, you have a shotgun, but it is not a true Turkey gun. No problem, look at both ammo and chokes to get started. Install that improved cylinder choke tube and look at two other brands of ammunition. Hornady and Federal use a different wad in their shot shells. This wad does not open at all, but rather has a cone that expands when it leaves the barrel; this cone is at the base of the wad. This allows the wad to stay with the shot load longer yielding a tighter pattern. So you need not purchase a choke tube, only correct ammunition to work with your gun. If you have a Turkey gun and want to use the Federal or Hornady loads you should buy a different choke tube, improved cylinder is best.

    Now that you have matched your gun and ammunition it’s off to the range! This part is most important; always check your patterning at your expected shooting distance. This will confirm all is ready for your hunt. Now pull the trigger on that nice Tom Turkey and start warming up the oven!