Free Seminar -Women In Hunting, with Maria Young

According to statistics from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the number of female hunters increased from almost 14% to 16.5% between 2002 and 2009. Increases were across the board in archery, firearms, and muzzleloader, with participation in muzzleloader hunting actually more than doubling.

According to research, 72 percent more women are hunting with firearms today than just five years ago. And 50 percent more women are now target shooting.

So, how does a woman get started in hunting? What are the challenges? What can you expect?

This is YOUR chance to learn at the 2015 Fall Hunting Classic:

Saturday, August 29, 3 p.m. - Maria Young, "Women in Hunting"

Iowan Maria Young does it all and you can, too!

In Maria's own words, she is a Mother, wife, huntress, and  entrepreneur. I have a passion for life and helping others succeed."  She got into hunting as a way to enjoy the outdoors with her husband. She is passing that passion on to her three daughters.

Come meet Maria and learn more about the benefits and rewards of hunting, including more time with your family!

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Choosing a Gun for Personal Protection

Springfield Armory EMPI grew up shooting guns and spending the entire fall hunting season with a firearm of some kind in my hand, so continuing to own them into my adulthood was never actually a question.  Even when kids came along and the household became busier and more crowded, we never considered getting rid of them, instead we made double sure that everything was properly secured and that accidents wouldn’t happen.  We also made a point of working with the girls so they knew the deadly consequences of mishandling weapons.  I didn’t expect them to become true enthusiast but I didn’t want them to be deathly afraid of something that’s incapable of harming anyone or anything without human manipulation.

So how does someone decide to purchase a gun for the first time?  Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to get a gun, whether it’s hunting, protection, target shooting, competition, or just starting a collection for the sake of collecting.  Whatever the reason, eventually they head off to the dealer to make their first purchase.  They walk right up to the counter with a pocket full of money and proudly proclaim to the salesperson “I want to buy a gun!”  Obviously at this point, the salesperson is going to ask “What kind of gun would you like?”  To which the answer (in a disturbing number of cases) is “I don’t know, I just want a gun!”  This person may end up with the right weapon for their needs or they may take home a .300 Win Mag Remington Model 700 with a 14x scope that just isn’t the right weapon for defending a two bedroom/one bath apartment….

If the gun is going to be used for personal defense, consider the following questions:

  • Home defense or in public personal defense?
  • Rifle (Auto-loading, pump, lever, bolt action)?
  • Shotgun (Auto-loading, pump, double/single barrel)?
  • Handgun (Auto-loading pistol, revolver)?
  • Concealability?
  • Reliability?
  • Recoil/controllability?
  • Accuracy at real world distances?
  • Stopping power?
  • Weight?
  • Durability?
  • Difficulty of operation?
  • Who’s the primary user?
  • Ergonomics?
  • State Laws/Limitations

You’ll notice that I didn’t include caliber as one of the primary criteria to be considered during the selection process.  That because you’ll decide on the caliber when other factors like recoil/controllability, stopping power, weight, and identifying the primary user are taken into account.  Take the .45 ACP for example.  It has a great deal of stopping power because of its bullet weight and velocity, but it produces substantial recoil in certain handguns which makes controllability and second shot accuracy difficult for some shooters.  While at the same time, a .22 Magnum has a smaller bullet delivering less energy on target, but because of its lower recoil and better controllability, it allows more rapid follow-on shots and potentially more rounds on target in a short period of time.  It’s all a tradeoff.

Smith & W Lady SmithMy wife also added “Is it pretty?” to the equation, hence the reason she ended up with a two-tone Kimber Aegis Ultra in 9mm.  It fits her perfectly and she’s quite happy with the gun while on the range and while carrying it for protection should she ever need it.  I’ve carried a .40 caliber S&W Shield ever since they first came out on the market and although it may not be pretty, it sure is functional, reliable, and concealable.  We just picked up a S&W Model 642 in .38 Special so I could see how much I liked a wheel gun, and so far it’s turned into a great purchase.  Now I just need to pick a holster for it.

There are a lot of different choices available to the consumer willing to spend a bit of time researching the market.  Evaluate each of the criteria and decide which one is most important to you then you’ll surely make the right choice.  Just be sure to spend money like your life depends on it….  Because it might.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

 

 

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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   

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

-Giddy-Up!!

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Think Camo Ladies!

                                                                          

SHE Outdoors makes a feminine cut clothing that is functional, rugged and durable to last out in the adventure hunt.  The material is made with the proper fit and with the right fabrics to allow comfortable movement to be out in the field. With the proper fit, it allows better movement when drawing a bow, shouldering a firearm, climbing treestands, or all the walking hunters do.  SHE offers a wide range hunting clothes to keep you warm and dry to light weight in the hot summers.

When preparing for your fall and winter needs you want to make sure you layer warm and comfortable as possible. SHE offers an insulated jacket that is waterproof, breathable and warm. The insulation is 150 grams of thermolite insulation in torso and 100 grams in the sleeves, lined hand warmer pockets, detachable hood, and adjustable drawcord hem is side pocket. To match the jacket, there is the insulated pants that are also 150 grams of thermolite insulation and knee-high side-leg zippers with exterior storm flaps.

If you are looking for something a little less, maybe for fall season, SHE offers the insulated jacket and bibs. The jacket is 100 grams of thermolite insulation, 3-pannel draw cord hood and draw cord waist. The bibs are also 100 grams of thermolite insulation, reinforced knees, mid-thigh zips with storm flaps, and adjustable elastic shoulder straps. Perfect outfit for that early spring or late fall hunts.

SHE Outdoors offers so much more for warmer weather hunts or to use as a layering system for your rigorous hunting adventures. You can use a mid-weight out in the early morning or late evening hunts. When using SHE base layer that helps provide AXE anti-odor technology to keep your prey’s nose in the dark and to help keep comfy with-out the binding. SHE has a great line of short-sleeve shirts and long-sleeve light weight shirts to use every day also.

The full-zip vintage hoodie is a perfect fit and look for a comfortable, light-weight and yet breathable design that’s stylish. It has a double-lined hood, 2 hand warmer pockets and raglan sleeves.

http://www.basspro.com/SHE-Outdoor-Vintage-FullZip-Hoodie-for-Ladies/product/15012908211629/

No matter the conditions, year or weather SHE Outdoors has you covered. You’ll always be ready and comfortable for any hunt and whatever comes you way.

Check out our awesome selection of ladies hunting clothes at http://www.basspro.com/Ladies%27-Hunting-Clothing/_/S-12600004010

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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.

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Caliber Related Blogs:

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

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NRA Freedom Days at Bass Pro Shops- Mesa, AZ

Well it seemed like just last month when we rolled out a brand new event for 2015. Oh wait, that’s cause we did! And while we are this roll of awesome and new events, let’s keep things going with our NRA Freedom Days here at Bass Pro Shops in Mesa, AZ. The NRA Freedom Days will run from July 20th through August 2nd. On the weekends we will be having special activities. I mean the last weekend of July is the last chance to catch our Family Summer Camp, but while that comes to a close things are about to go off with a BANG!

The NRA (National Rifle Association) is one of the oldest organizations in the United States and is focused on protecting and preserving one of our oldest rights. Because of all that they do to help ensure this heritage gets passed down through the generations, we here at Bass Pro Shops are more than happy to do whatever we can to help them! That is what inspired us to create the NRA Freedom Days.

During the NRA Freedom Days we are going to be “fully loaded” with specials, savings, seminars and giveaways! We will have: 2nd Amendment Savings on firearm purchases*, Free Plano Gun Case with purchase of any handgun $300 or greater*, Triple and Quintuple Extra Reward Points on purchases of select products* and on the weekends of July 25th and 26th and August 1st and 2nd we will have some awesome and educational seminars. There will be free handouts for those who attend!*

Saturdays:

11AM- 3 Gun Competition Basics

2PM – Accessorizing your MSR

3PM- Women and Self-Defense

Sundays:

2PM- Choosing the Right Home Defense System

3PM- Gun Safety in the Home

On the weekend of July 25th and 26th we will also have our Daisy BB Gun Shooting Range going and seminars focused for the younger generations. Parents/Legal Guardians will have to fill out a waiver for participants of the BB Gun Range that are under the age of 18.

I love that a lot of these seminars are going to focus on subjects that we have not really ever covered at our store. With the trends that are happening in the firearm industry as well, I think that these are spot on! Especially the last two for each day. I strongly believe that everyone should be entitled to the knowledge and know-how to protect themselves and their families.

This is an event that you do not want to miss!

-Giddy-Up!!

*Restrictions Apply. While Supplies Last. See Store For More Details.

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Why Does Hunting and FIshing Gear Cost So Much? The Skinny or (Fatty) on FET (Federal Excise Tax)

I constantly hear that the archery industry and Bass Pro must be making huge profits on bows, accessories, arrows and components.  “I could make this part for much less” or “How can you charge so much for something that costs only a few dollars to make”?   

One of the reasons is the high FET (Federal Excise Tax) that is imposed on the hunting and fishing industries.  This tax is not only imposed on imported products but hunting and fishing products produced here in the United States of America. IRS Form 720 is not a form most taxpayers are familiar with. It is the form for FET, and it is only filed by those taxpayers - usually businesses - responsible for collecting the excise taxes. The most important use for Form 720 is for businesses that distribute various kinds of fuel; however, it has a motley array of other miscellanea, including the “Tanning Tax” from Obamacare. For the most part this FET is determined by the MSRP (Manufactures Suggested Retail Price) of an item and not the wholesale price of the product. Because taxpayers don’t see these taxes on their own tax forms, they miss out on these peculiarities. One of the most peculiar of these is a whopping 11% tax on “bows, quivers, broadheads, and points.”

Review the link below to learn more about the RULES as it pertains to archery and sport fishing.

ARCHERY & SPORT FISHING REFERENCE GUIDE

Now you are starting to get the picture.  Below is a chart that reviews collected FET just the archery industry has produced over the past few years.

As you can see $55.7 Million dollars of FET generated in 2014.  Wow!, is right, that is a lot of money, and that is not including the sales tax charged on the products your purchase.

2015 there is a 49 cent FET on each arrow shaft produced, almost $6.00 / dozen arrows.

As with most taxes, it is very complicated for the manufacture to determine what the tax will be.  Take a look at the computation formula listed in the link below.

COMPUTATION OF ARROW SHAFT FET TAX

This sounds strange at first, but it turns out to make more sense in context. The Pittman-Robertson Act is an 80-year-old piece of legislation that helps fund game conservation efforts through these taxes on hunting equipment, including bows, firearms and fishing. The key is that the funds from the tax are to be marked for purposes that benefit those who are paying the tax. This is called the “Benefit Principle."

The Pittman-Robertson taxes are collected at a federal level and only then allocated in block grants to the states in proportion to their land area and the number of hunting license holders. In other words, it is clearly designed to work within the hunting community. Nonetheless, it is not a perfect user fee. For example, an archery enthusiast who does not hunt will still pay the tax, and mostly end up funding the activities of his or hers bowhunting counterparts.

So next time when you start thinking that an item you are about to purchase cost too much.... Keep in mind that you are also paying unseen taxes that are being utilized for the preservation of hunting and fishing.

 

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Sporting Clays

Golf with a shotgun

Sporting clays is sometimes referred to as golf with a shotgun.  Sporting clays is a challenging sport that is shot on a course with 10 to 15 stands, with teams of competitors from 2 to 6 people.  Like golf no two courses are the same, so shooters like to go to different courses that have different degrees of difficulty.  Sporting clays is also the closest shooting sport as shooting in the field.  Skeet and trap shooting tend to have clay pigeons being thrown at the same angle and speed, where as sporting clays at different stations come out at different angles from various and different distances.  This simulates more of the pattern of birds, like dove, duck and pheasant, and there is what is called a rabbit, which is a clay that is rolling on the ground.

 

Typically everyone is going to shoot 50 or 100 shots depending on the course and competition.  Each stand will usually have 8 to 10 clay pigeons per person.  The shooter will load two shells into their shotgun, any gauge is acceptable once they enter the stand, always enter the stand with an unloaded firearm.  When the shooter is ready he will yell “PULL!”, and the person working the thrower will then either trigger a true pair or a report pair. The clay pigeons are thrown two at a time, either a report pair or a true pair.  A report pair means one clay is thrown once the shot is taken the second clay is thrown.  A true pair is both clays are thrown at once.  The shooter will then take his shots on both birds.  If any part of the clay is broken it is considered a dead bird, or a miss if the clay flies unbroken.  Like in golf you will have a score card where you mark if it was a hit or miss.  This is done until all shots are taken at the particular stand.  Then it is on to the next  stand and start over again.  Unlike golf however the player with the highest score is the winner, and has bragging rights until they shoot again.

 

This is a growing sport and now a lot of High Schools have shooting teams, and it gets youth to the outdoors instead playing video games.  It is a sport everyone in the family can enjoy, and it is a sport that the whole family can do together.  Typically 12 and 20 gauges are what are used, but for more of a challenge you can use a 28 gauge or even a 410.  It can be played with a pump, semi automatic or over and under shotgun.  There is several ranges in the area that offer sporting clays and can be a blast, pardon the expression

 

Remember always practice safety at any range you travel to, always wear hearing and eye protection.  Never enter or exit a stand with a loaded weapon, only load when you are in the stand.  You might want to consider sun block and a hat, as it does get hot and sunny in Texas.  Stay Hydrated so drink lots of water and have fun.

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Cool Calibers: 10mm Auto

I am an avid handgun shooter. Semi-auto, single-action, double-action or whatever, it does not matter to me. And caliber doesn’t really matter that much either. I’ll shoot 45ACP, 38Spcl, 9mm or whatever is available. I love it all. But for years I have been hearing about 10mm Auto. I have heard about it from fellow shooters, friends and even Ted Nugent. Yes, Uncle Ted more than approves of 10mm. But I have never gotten the chance to shoot one yet, so I decided it should be the caliber for this month’s Cool Caliber blog. Let’s start firing away, shall we?

This caliber was first developed in 1983 by shooting legend John Dean Cooper, most people call him Jeff though. Cooper served in the Marines, was firearms instructor, writer and a little bit of a bunch of other things. He is credited with having created the modern technique of handgun shooting. He served in World War II on the same battleship that my grandfather did, and came back to the service during the Korean War. Besides being a shipmate of my granddad, there are several reasons why I like Cooper. His thought-process and writings on handgun shooting are staples of education. The principles he developed also stand the test of time. And he liked the 1911 and 45ACP. I would definitely buy the guy a beer.

Back to the round though: The 10mm Auto was originally designed for the Bren Ten handgun, which was based off of the CZ 75 design. Looking at the Bren Ten you can definitely see the 1911-inspiration for the handgun. The caliber was developed to give more knock-down and stopping power for individuals than previously available. There has been a long history of criminals “outgunning” justice officials. The 10mm was developed with “the good guys in mind”.

In 1986 there was a horrific gun battle between the FBI and two armed robbers in Miami. Two agents were killed in the ensuing battle before the two criminals were stopped. Because of this the FBI and other agencies took a look at other calibers to better equip their officers with. The FBI adopted the 10mm in 1989, but eventually phased it out. There were numerous complaints about excessive recoil, which just goes to show the right caliber handgun for a person is the largest one that can be shot accurately and comfortably.

While the FBI ended up not going with the 10mm for the long-run, many others have. There is a huge group of 10mm Auto advocates. Just spending three minutes talking to one of our Hunting Associates, who owns/shoots the 10mm, he had nothing but praise about it. He did interject that your average shooter would not enjoy the caliber, but it is a serious piece of hand gunning. He also stated that a couple Texas whitetails will also agree to his statements.

10mm will fly flatter than 45ACP and has more knock-down/stopping power than most handgun calibers. It produces energy levels in between the .357 Magnum and .41 Magnum. All out of a semi-auto platform. Currently the most popular offering for a handgun chambered in this beastly round is the Glock 20. Numerous police departments and other agencies equip it or allow it as a sidearm. Denmark even issues it to certain groups that come into frequent contact with polar bears.

This caliber almost became one of the many numerous more-obscure rounds to fade away into history, were it not for the production of the Colt Delta Elite pistol in 10mm Auto. This is considered a collector’s item, with many enthusiasts paying more than top dollar for one. And what many don’t know is that this is where the 40 S&W came from. After the 10mm was deemed “too much” they engineered it down to the 40 S&W which is the standard for hundreds of justice agencies and police departments. To those that shoot the 10mm though, the S&W stand for “short and weak”.

Before jumping the gun and pulling the trigger on purchasing a 10mm (yes, that was two firearm puns in one sentence) one should try shooting one first. This caliber is definitely not for the novice shooter. Like any decision considering caliber choice, this should be well studied and considered by an individual. All I know is that I want to try shooting one now more than ever.

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Caliber Related Blogs:

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

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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

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GLOCK 42: The Sleek Carry That Packs a Punch

If you are looking for a reliable, no-nonsense concealed carry pistol look no further than the GLOCK 42, currently in store at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton, Virginia.  The GLOCK 42 is sleek and compact, making it a great concealed carry choice for anyone looking for a no-frills carry.  It features GLOCK’s drop-safe trigger, which protects the carrier from a negligent discharge and it has stippling on the grip to help keep it firmly in hand.  This is truly a reliable, consistent, slim-line subcompact firearm that is perfect for “pocket carry” or for any shooter with smaller hands.  It has a moderate recoil, a reliable single-stack magazine and is made in the U.S.A.  While this is GLOCK’s smallest pistol to date, it uses .380 caliber ammo so it will pack a punch despite is small size.

Its length measures at 5.94 inches, with a width of .94 inches and a height of 4.13 inches.  The length between the sites is 4.92 inches, with a barrel length of 3.25 inches.  It weighs in at a mere 17.29 oz when loaded, and has a trigger pull of 5.5 lbs (with a trigger “travel” of .49 inches) which is fairly standard meaning that you don’t have to worry that this firearm might be too touchy on the trigger for somebody who may be newer to carrying concealed.  This firearm was designed for personal defense, and it does not have a safety.  Priced at $469.00, we encourage you to take a look if you are in the market for a solid concealed-carry pistol.

Once you’ve checked out the GLOCK 42, feel free to compare this pistol to similar products we carry, like the Kimber Micro Carry 380 priced at $779.00, boasting a miniature 1911 frame and a Crimson Trace Lasergrip) or the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 (which has a safety and is priced at $379.00).  Good items to pair it with might include .380 ammo, a holster, and a cleaning kit.  And, remember, that GLOCK does come with a limited, lifetime warranty; so, while you cannot put a Bass Pro “Gear Guard” on this item, you can trust that the manufacturer will stand behind its product.  In our opinion, this is a solid contender for your concealed carry weapon that will hold up to the test of time and the elements while consistently offering you an accurate pistol that can pack a big punch despite its small size.

What are customers saying who have purchased the GLOCK 42?

" I got lucky and just purchased my G42...Its a great "little" gun...a good bit larger than my TCP, but, has less recoil...very easy to shoot and accurate, as well. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 star....I shot 100 rounds of "gun show" hardball reloads....40% of the rounds "stove piped" ....I'm sure it was the quality of rounds and not the fault of the gun..my TCP had no problems with the reloads....(Hornady Critical Defense) worked flawlessly.....The size of the gun allows me to carry in my pocket without any problems. If you get lucky and have the opportunity to buy one of these great guns.....go for it......"

" I've had mine since day after Vegas show, it has shot every ammo without fail, I believe once it failed to chamber a Russian round not a brass case, carries great even though I have a Alien holster custom, I prefer to just use front pocket with a glove holster."

Would you like to learn more from the Bass Pro website?
http://www.basspro.com/Glock-42-SemiAuto-Pistol/product/1409161749/
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Optics Simplified

Shop our extensive selection of Optics at basspro.com

When it comes to gearing up for your hunt this season, there are many things to consider:  weapon of choice, caliber/gauge, decoys, camouflage clothing, calls, etc.  However, one thing always seems to raise the most questions, and coincidentally it can be the most important purchase you make that can directly affect the success of your hunt: optics.

Few things can improve your odds of bagging your trophy of a lifetime like good glass, but not all glass is created equal.  That being said, what separates a $1500 scope from a $100 scope and everything in between? Manufacturers will use certain buzzwords such as: eye relief, fully-multi coated, light transmission, exit pupil and a slew of other words; but what do these terms mean and how do they help you choose what is best for you? Once you understand these buzzwords, you can easily determine what features you need to make your scope work for you.

 

 

 

Magnification/Objective

The first thing you are likely to encounter when looking at scopes is something to the tune of 3-9x40 or 4-16x50. What do these numbers mean?  Read out loud, this would sound like "three to nine by forty" or "four to sixteen by fifty".  

The first part of the equation is what is called the magnification; and on a 3-9x40 scope, the magnification on this scope can be adjusted from 3 power to 9 power, and anywhere in between. Setting the scope to 3 power, means that your target will appear to be 3 times closer to you than it actually is, and at 9 power, it will appear 9 times closer to you.  In raw numbers, something at 100 yards away would appear to be 33.3 yards away at 3 power, and 11.1 yards away at 9 power.

Another important thing to consider is the magnification range, which is calculated by dividing the maximum power of the scope by the minimum power. A 3-9 power scope has a 3x magnification range, whereas a 4-16 scope has a 4x magnification range.  There are now scopes with as high as 8x magnification ranges.  The higher the magnification range, the more versatile the scope can be, but it also comes at a price.

The second part of the equation (40 on a 3-9x40 scope) is the measure of the objective lens (the one you don't look into, at the front of the scope) in millimeters, and all other factors being equal, a larger objective lens will allow more light to enter the scope, which usually results in a brighter picture.

Things to consider:

Average shot - It is very easy to over magnify your gun.  Most whitetail deer are shot under 100 yards, so a scope powered above 9 power is not only unnecessary, it can become a hindrance.

Bigger isn't always better - If 40 is good and 44 is great, it would stand to reason that 50 or more is even better, but that's not always the case.  A larger objective lens forces you to mount the scope higher to allow the bell of the scope to clear the barrel.  This works against you in two-fold, first because the farther away the scope and the bore are, the less accurate your gun will be; two, your cheek weld on your rifle stock will be compromised from having to lift your head to be able to see through your scope.

 

Eye Relief/Exit Pupil

The next thing you are likely to notice when looking through a mounted scope is the eye relief.  Eye relief is simply the distance your eye needs to be from the scope where you can see a full picture.  Most standard rifle scopes will have eye relief up to about 4", which means your eye can be as far as 4 inches away from the scope and still see a full picture.  Any farther, and you will begin to see a black shadow/ring around the outside of your picture inside the scope, conversely if you get to close, you risk hitting yourself in the face with the scope when your gun recoils after firing.  Shotgun/muzzleloader scopes can have eye relief up to 6", which helps accommodate for the extra recoil associated with these firearms, but we will discuss later at what cost this comes.

Exit pupil is a term that the majority of people have almost no clue what it is, but is a very crucial part of purchasing optics.  Exit pupil is quite literally the size of the picture that enters your eye.  A healthy human eye can dilate up to about 7 millimeters (sometimes more), and aged eyes may only be able to open to 4 millimeters or less.  Exit pupil is measured in millimeters, and is calculated by dividing the size of the objective lens in millimeters by the magnification power.  A scope with a 40 mm objective set at 3 power, will produce an exit pupil of about 13.3 mm, which is more than adequate for transmitting as much light/picture as possible to the eye.  Conversely, the same scope, set at 9 power, will produce an exit pupil of about 4.44 mm, which is going to produce a relatively smaller, darker picture.

Things to consider:

Bigger isn't always better (Part II) - If 3" of eye relief is good, and 4" is better, 6" should be great.  Once again, not always the case.  The farther away you get from your scope, the more your field of view suffers.  You want to be far enough away that you don't hit yourself, but not so far that you can't see anything but a pinhole through your lens.  

But sometimes, bigger is better -  It's hard to go wrong with more exit pupil.  No matter how good your glass is, if the picture getting to your eye is tiny, it will appear dark and tough to see.  Overpowering your scope can drastically reduce your exit pupil, and the last thing you want during that golden hour of last light is a dark picture.

 

Light Transmission/Lens Coatings:

Contrary to popular belief, scopes do not "gather" light, rather they transmit it.  The finest (and most expensive) scopes can have light transmission ratings nearing about 98%.  Great scopes will transmit up to 95% light, but the majority of scopes transmit somewhere around 90% of light that hits the objective lens. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers will list their light transmission rating, and there isn't an accepted standardized measuring system, so not all transmission ratings are created equal.

Light transmission is largely a factor of coatings on the lenses.  It seems silly, but these microscopic coatings put on the lenses are what can separate a $500 scope from a $1500 scope.  Coatings can do many things, from reducing glare,  or waterproofing and fogproofing the glass, to phase correction which aligns the different color spectrums as they move through the lenses.  The more coatings added, the more expensive the scope.  You will also hear four terms when describing how the coatings are applied to the lenses: coated, fully coated, multicoated and fully multicoated.  Coated is the lowest grade, and it means that there is at least one coating on one lens surface.  Next is fully coated, which means there is one coating on all air to glass surfaces.  The next two are the most frequent options.  Multicoated means there are multiple layers on at least one lens and as you can probably guess, fully multicoated means there are multiple layers on all air to glass surfaces.

Things to consider:

Go big or go home - In today's market, there is no reason to purchase any optic that is not fully multicoated, even budget friendly scopes are available in fully multicoated options.  

 

Tube Diameter

The majority of scopes on the market in the United States will have a 1" main tube.  In recent years, long range shooting sports have increased the demand for scopes using a 30 mm tube, and in some very specialized cases, tubes up to 34 and 35 mm.  

The importance behind tube diameter comes when you understand how scopes are built.  Inside the main tube of the scope lies another tube, called the erector tube.  The erector tube is an obviously, smaller tube, which houses some lenses and your reticle, and is how elevation/windage adjustments are made.  When the adjustment turrets on the side and top of your scope are turned, they press on this erector tube and move it inside the scope.  When you "run out of adjustment" in your scope, what you have actually done is pushed the erector tube as far as it can go in one direction.  However, if you have a bigger outside tube, you can increase the amount of adjustment available in your scope, which is decided advantage when shooting at longer ranges where "doping your scope" is required.

Things to consider:

Bigger can be better - I would guess that 95% of rifle scopes on the market still carry a 1" main tube, and it has served very well, and will continue to do so, especially in most hunting applications.  However, for those looking to stretch their shooting a little further, depending on manufacturer, a 30 mm tube usually offers about 20 MOA (20 inches at 100 yards) more adjustment than a comparable scope with a 1" tube.

 

Parallax

Next to exit pupil, this is far and away the most misunderstood term in optics, but it happens to be one of the most important ones to grasp.  Simply put, parallax is an optical illusion.  

Consider this: you are driving down the road and look down at your speedometer, and your needle is centered directly over 60 mph.  If a person sitting in your passenger seat looks over, it will likely appear to them that the needle is somewhere around 58 mph, because they are looking at it from a different angle.  The needle didn't move, the numbers behind it didn't move, so what happened?  Parallax.

Parallax in a scope is the same concept, if I were to lock a scope down in a vise and aim it at a point on the wall, any distance away (the further away, the more obvious it becomes).  With my eye centered behind the scope, moving my head side to side would make it appear that the crosshairs moved off of my target.  Once again, the scope didn't move and the target didn't move, but if I was shooting, my point of impact would be off. Quite simply, my scope and my target are not operating on the same plane, and I need to adjust my parallax on my scope to get them working together.

On most scopes, parallax adjustment is fixed at 100 yards, which is usually fine for most hunting purposes.  If your head happens to be slightly off at 100 yards, your point of impact may only shift less than an inch or so. However, for those who frequently shoot longer ranges, there are scopes that offer some sort of parallax adjustment, which is either found on the front of the scope around the objective lens, or a third dial on the left hand side of the scope.  Either of these is usually easily distinguishable because it will have numbers, usually starting at 25 and ending at infinity, which are associated with the range of your target.  To use these, all you have to do is establish the range of your target, dial your parallax to match, and you should reduce and possibly eliminate any perceived crosshair movement due to change in head position behind your scope.

Things to consider:

Average shot - Once again consider your average shot.  Having a parallax adjustment can't hurt, but like any features, you will pay more to get it.  If you aren't going to be shooting over 200 yards anytime soon, a parallax adjustment is probably not necessary.  However, if you plan on routinely shooting over 200 yards, and especially if you plan on doing so from different shooting positions, parallax adjustment is an absolute must.

 

Optics Triangle:

It stands to reason that as a consumer, you would want to have the best of all the features.  However, as we all know, this is usually not possible.  Optics are no exception, and most questions regarding features can be answered by consulting what is called the optics triangle.  The optics triangle references three key features: magnification, eye relief, and field of view.  Every scope has these three features, but they are all in direct correlation with each other.  If you increase the magnification of your scope, you have to decrease the eye relief and the field of view, and so on and so forth.  The closer you get to one feature, the more you rob from the others.  Sometimes, magnification is the most important necessity (long range, prairie dog hunting). Other times, eye relief is more important (shotgun/muzzleloaders).  The important thing to consider is that changing one directly affects the other two.

 

 

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Set Your Sights and Paddling!

It's a Set Your Sights Weekend! We have free need-to-know seminars for the new gun owners and those wanting to know the latest and greatest! Drawing for a $25 gift card at each seminar. Enter to win either a Savage 64 F Black .22 L.R. or a Caldwell Steady Rest NXT Shooting Rest

Friday, May 1
6:30 PM Long Range Shooting: Guns and Optics for the 1,000 Yard Shot -
Sgt. Shivers and Sgt. Kerchee, Altoona PD
7:30PM - The Basics of Handgun Concealed Carry and Home Defense - Presented by Lori Ahearn, Firearms Education for Women and Men

Saturday, May 2
1:30 PM - Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle - Brandon Minton, Hunting Associate
2:30 PM - Long Range Shooting: Guns and Optics for the 1,000 Yard Shot -
Dirk Ringgenberg, retired Army sniper instructor
3:30 PM - The Basics of Handgun Concealed Carry and Home Defense - Presented by the Altoona Police Department
4:30 PM - Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle
- Brandon Minton

 

Stand Up and Paddle!

Saturday, May 2, 10:30 with Todd Robertson from the Iowa DNR!

What is SUP or Stand Up Paddling? We have paddleboards now...how do you use them? Todd Robertson, Iowa DNR, gives you a basic overview on SUP history, positions to paddle, strokes, safety, locations, transporting on vehicles...everything you need to know before even attempting the water! Todd is a well-known, certified ACA SUP instructor, Level 3 and the River Programs Outreach Coordinator for the DNR.

 

 

 

 

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Choosing a Turkey Shotgun!

Turkey season is just around the corner.  Whether you already have a turkey shotgun or are currently looking for one, there are some important things to consider- how the shotgun shoots, how comfortable you are with it, and where you will be hunting.  Many hunters will debate on everything from the best choke, barrel size and ammo till the end of time. However, it is important that hunters realize that a specialty shotgun, like for Turkey, as just as much to do with the shooter as the gun itself and there is no right or wrong answer to the argument.  The argument about shotguns can relate to the argument about beer “taste great” or “less filling!”

The most important thing is to choose a shotgun that is best for you as an individual.  The more comfortable you are shooting a shotgun the more confident you will be- thus making you a better shooter.

                That being said, factory guns are fine out-of-the-box, but a few modifications based on your individual skill and type of firearm can make things easier for you.  It is important to base those modifications on your ability and the shotgun itself and not to compare it to you buddy’s situation. For example, your buddy might have a Winchester with an extra full choke that patterns Winchester long beard #4 very tight. This does not mean that your 870 with an extra full choke will do the same.  Moreover, barrel lengths and choke restrictions affect patterns.  It is important that you do some range time to determine which ammo shoots best in your shotgun.

                 This can be a time consuming as well as hard on your wallet. You can save time and money by doing some research first.  There is an abundance of resources on the internet to help you determine a narrow list of possibilities for ammo selection.  However, just like a said before about listening to your buddy, the same goes here. Look for repeated patterns in what people are saying. If 10 people are saying the same thing about how a size load patterns in the same type of shotgun you have than you can take that as quantitative evidence. If only one or two people say it, than you do not and would have to test it for yourself.   From my experience, if you research enough you will find that quantitative evidence you need.

 

                One of the biggest markets for Turkey hunting as well as all shooting sports is accessories. Accessories have more to do with the individual person than performance of the firearm.  If you feel more comfortable with a pistol grip stock then go with it-if you are not comfortable then don’t.  The same idea holds true with sights.  Remember you are shooting the shotgun and not the sight. The sight is there to aid you. Therefore, the site fits your ability and style of shooting.

                Camo patterns are the latest craze in firearms.  Regardless of what you see on your favorite hunting show or how camo patterns of guns are advertised, camo is determined by where you will be hunting- period.  You should not care what a professional hunter in Texas on television says about Brush camo by Mossy Oak if you live in Indiana.  Moreover, it is important on what season you are hunting.

If you have a Realtree Xtra camo which actually represents the Fall season, it might not be suitable for spring.  So if you are going to choose a shotgun that has been dipped or you are thinking about getting your current shotgun dipped, realize that you will be limiting that firearm to a season and a specific geographical are.

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Why it Matters: Passing Down

Remember your first fishing or camping trip? The anxiousness and excitement all rolled up into one? Who took you? Do you have anyone that thinks of you when it comes to their first fishing or camping trip? When was the first time you got on a boat? Who made sure you had a life jacket and some water to drink? Have you been that person? What was the biggest rule about safety when it came to handling firearms? Who taught you that? In many aspects of the outdoors, there are hundreds of firsts. And usually for your firsts, seconds and even thirds you had someone there. Some form of mentor to show you what to do and how to do it. Maybe it was a family member, close friend or enthusiastic neighbor but more than likely someone showed you the way.

Nowadays you can watch YouTube videos, read a book or browse Wikipedia to become an expert on anything. But in no way is that the same as being shown by someone passing down a tradition to you. When it came to my first big-game hunt I had all the resources: TV, friends, online articles, YouTube and people at work. But it all clicked together out in the field as my uncle showed me hands-on how to handle a downed animal.

And that is what the outdoors is all about, passing it down. Being good stewards of the land so the next generation can enjoy it is woven into our makeup. Making sure the youth learns about firearm safety above all else when it comes to shooting is standard. Teaching people to pick up trash should be the number one rule for hikers and campers. You teach good and responsible behaviors because that is what you learned.

Many online articles will tell you how the number of hunters in America is declining. I have no doubt that this trend also includes fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts. I am sure this directly relates to the advances in electronics and other distractions. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice being able to take a few seconds to access some information but there is a time and place for that. The outdoors should not be a place, unless under emergency, for that.

In Hunter’s Education they teach you that a hunter goes through several stages in life. They end as a hunter who cares more about sharing the passion and teaching skills than any other part of hunting. Do you have to be old and gray to be at this point? Nope! Start sharing with others and doing outreach as soon as you’re comfortable and know how to.

I am sure many of you have favorite memories of learning about a passion of yours. And like I said above I am sure you had someone showing you the way. At Bass Pro Shops we hold several free events a year geared towards the youth. We know that without them, the outdoors will not be around forever. We are always proud to be a part of their memories.

-Giddy-Up!!

Previously:

Getting Outdoors Picking Up Hunting Fishing Hiking Camping Rangefinders

Physical Preparation Slowing Down

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Start this season off with a BOOM!

As seasons change and weather begins to turn favorable, there are few things more enjoyable than getting a little trigger time.  Recreational target shooting has seen an incredible uptick in popularity in recent years, and while your standard cardboard/plywood target with a bullseye taped on it is still as applicable as ever, perhaps it's time to step up your game.  I'm talking, of course, about exploding targets.  Yes, EXPLODING.

Over the past few years, there have been a plethora of new companies offering these targets, sometimes mistakenly referred to as Tannerite, which is a brand of exploding target (think Kleenex vs. facial tissue), they are more aptly described as binary exploding targets.  These targets are referred to as binary, because they come from the factory as two separate compounds, an oxidizer and a catalyst, which are completely harmless until opened and mixed together.  Once the two components are mixed, the target is now considered an explosive, although it is relatively safe in the fact that it still requires a high velocity projectile to detonate it.  While not recommended, claims from manufacturers are that the mixed binary compound can withstand an open flame and intense impacts such as being hit with a hammer or even shot with a low velocity projectile such as a pistol round, without detonating.  Most manufacturers claim that their standard rifle targets require a 40 grain projectile traveling at least 2200 fps, although I have personally been successful in using a .17 HMR in consistently detonating these targets, which usually consists of a 17 grain projectile at around 2500 fps.  That being said, I also seem to notice that a bigger gun tends to produce a bigger bang, so choose your weapon wisely!

As far as standard rifle targets go, there are offerings all the way from 1/4 lb targets up to 2 lb targets, and if you have a container large enough, you can always combine targets to make a bigger boom!  If you do decide to use a container different than the one offered from the factory, be sure that it isn't made of anything (or near anything for that matter) that could become shrapnel.  My personal favorite targets are the 1 lb and 2 lb offerings from Sonic Boom.

If you are more of a handgun, shotgun or rimfire shooter, do not despair, you aren't going to be left out of the fun!  Sonic Boom also offers a Rimfire Target, which offers a little bit better bang for your buck (pun intended)!  The Rimfire Target comes with 10 capsules to split up the mixture into smaller portions, which allow the targets to be detonated with a firearm shooting a 17 grain or higher projectile at 1000 fps or better.  This means that while the product claims it to be a "rimfire" target, lower velocity firearms such as handguns and shotguns can also set these targets off.

As always, proper eye and ear protection is always strongly recommended, as is ensuring that you are a safe distance from the target before detonating.  It should also be noted that while binary targets are currently legal for purchase in all 50 states, you should always check local laws and ordinances to ensure that it is indeed legal to set off an explosive device in your area.  Exploding targets, when used properly, can be just the thing you need to make shooting exciting again.  Clanging a steel target is always fun, but nothing says your shot is on target like a pillar of smoke and a heart-stopping BOOM!

FAQ

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Cool Calibers: 16 Gauge

With the third installment of our Cool Calibers blog I will be successful at focusing on a more-obscure and less appreciated caliber in rifle, handgun and now shotgun. I am hoping to continue this pattern for the following installments, but I might just run out of shotgun calibers to focus on. Which actually let me apologize for my incorrectness concerning this. Shotguns are measured in gauges, not calibers. Gauge refers to the diameter of the barrel. There is more to it but that is not our focus today, what is will be the 16 gauge shotgun!

The two most popular shotgun gauges are the 12Ga and 20Ga. The 16Ga sits right in between them. It was originally known as a “gentlemen’s gun” with the 12Ga being marketed and used more heavily by rural people. It is also considered a European firearm, as it originated there and has retained popularity. The gauge is perfect for upland bird which is the majority of its use.

Once conservation and wildlife agencies got their acts together in early America, bag limits and seasons were set to protect animals. This significantly reduced the number of birds hunted and protected many species from extinction. But what is a shot gunner supposed to shoot at if not birds?! That is where skeet came into play. Such shooting activities as skeet and trap provided shooters a recreational way to keep firing. Unfortunately the rules were written to not include 16Ga in them.

Because of this and the majority of shooting turning to sporting instead of sustenance, manufactures produced more of the 12Ga and 20Ga. And so slowly the 16Ga disappeared from American fields. Manufacturers of 16Ga products tried to step up their game with the quality and diversity of the gauges possibilities. Unfortunately all was too little too late and further pushed the 16Ga from American minds and gun cabinets.

I remember growing up and the 16Ga was mentioned as if it was a legend. When I learned that my best friend’s Belgian grandfather had a side-by-side 16Ga (still in Europe) I knew to look upon it would have been like finding the Holy Grail. For years I grew up listening to my friend’s father talk about the firearm, and I will tell you what: It was beautiful!

This adds to the majesty of the round. The “gentlemen’s gun” was given high praise and often handed down through generations. The nicer guns always survived adding to the “nobility” of the gauge.

A couple years back though I noticed something interesting on the shotgun ammo shelves. It was a box of 16Ga. And then I noticed some more. Yes, there has been new life breathed into this classic firearm. Manufacturers and shooters are bringing it back into the public’s conscious. The fact that you can shoot the 16Ga a hundred times and not be sore, and carry it all day and also not be fatigued makes it a great upland bird gauge.

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig

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.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.

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.

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.

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig 16 Gauge

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RangeMaxx Firearm Cleaning Seminars

What surprises me is how many times I have seen customers purchase a firearm and not also pick up a cleaning kit for it. And I know that many avid-shooters have a multi-caliber/gauge cleaning kit of some kind, but many don’t! Gun cleaning and care is an extremely important aspect of being a responsible firearm owner. Just like everything else, you have to take care of it for it to stay functional.

One of my first Check it Out List blogs was about firearm cleaning kits. And while it covered many aspects of what you need to clean your firearms, it did not cover how to. For me, this is one task that is better to be learned hands-on or visually. There are hundreds of YouTube videos on how to clean and maintain firearms. Google the firearm you own and how to clean, and there will probably be a video for that exact one! But alas, even the mighty internet is not the best source for learning this practice. So what is?

Well here at Bass Pro Shops-Mesa AZ we are going to have a day with a few seminars on Basic Firearm Cleaning and Care. This event is sponsored by RangeMaxx, who makes some excellent firearm products.

I picked up one of their range-bags a couple years back and absolutely love it! I have had no issues at all, with nothing breaking or tearing. And when I load up for the range it usually entails three to four handguns, eye and ear protection and several boxes of ammo… in other words it’s pretty loaded. (Side note, isn’t weird how much lighter a range bag is after an hour or so?!)

So here are the details:

Sunday, May 3rd

Stop by our store and come upstairs to the Conference Room where we will be holding three separate seminars on Basic Firearm Cleaning and Care. We will cover cleaning and care items for pistols, rifles and shotguns. Attendees do not need to bring anything. Please note, this is not a chance for a free gun-cleaning.

Seminars will be at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30.

 1:30– Pistols/Revolvers

2:30– Shotguns

3:30– Rifles/MSRs

After each seminar a raffle will be held for those who attended. There will be a different prize for each seminar.

We hope to see you there!

-Giddy-Up!!

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