Ever wished to shoot 22LR ammo with no limit to see which fits best? Here is one result!

Every firearm owner wishes they could shoot and train without limits, but recent ammo prices and availability, range fees, and other economical obstacles continuously affect the opportunity to pursue their passion.   It’s just not as simple as it was years ago, when firearms, whether for sport or hunting purposes, were considered a part of everyday life.  One solution to this is the simple installation of the CMMG AR Conversion kit.  This is a drop-in conversion bolt, with included magazine, that will get you putting .22lr downrange in just minutes!  In the desire to provide information to the consumer on this product, it was tested in a direct-impingement AR15, fitted with a mid-length gas system, free-floated barrel, collapsible stock, and EOTech sight.     

ammo

            The kit tested was the Bravo model.  Now, expectations were actually quite low, I’ll admit.  I was prepared for jams, mis-feeds, mis-fires, and failures to eject.  I had a healthy variety of .22lr ammo; everything from budget, target, hunting and the costlier premium ammo from a multitude of manufacturers.  Given my extensive firearms knowledge, I decided the only unbiased way of reviewing the product would be to have someone with a different perspective fire a few hundred rounds, while I observed, and took notes of every comment and reaction…but more importantly, I had the duty of providing plenty of loaded magazines!  With that, I elected my wife to run the actual test, which would give me a great perspective from a female’s point of view, with familiarization of the platform.

gun

            The test was begun by loading 10 rounds of every different type/brand of ammunition on hand into the magazine.  Five rounds would be fired in slow fire, and the last five would be fired in rapid mode.  The test would conclude with a re-shoot of those rounds we found borderline acceptable, or unpleasant, and those we felt were the best performers.

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            Federal American Eagle, Winchester Super X, CCI Mini-Mag all performed well, with no jams, or failures to eject.

            CCI LR22, CCI STINGER, CCI LR HP, and Winchester Western all performed exceptionally well! There were many ‘wows,’ and praise as to how smooth it cycled, over and over.  Accuracy also seemed to be slightly better with the CCI brand ammunition.  

            Remington 22 Target, Remington 22 Viper, and Remington Thunderbolt came in as the most unpleasant, in regards to smell, perceived recoil, gas blowback, and particulate that seemed to foul shooter’s face.  Recoil on the Viper was also noted as being the most intense, however, still only a fraction of the recoil of your standard .223/5.56.

            Magazines where then loaded to the max, and fired from different shooting positions, and while moving.  Not one mechanical issue was noted, and there were zero failures one could classify as ‘catastrophic’ in a self-defense, combat, or training situation.

 

            The overall impression was a very positive one.  The product was very simple to install.  Anyone with a very primitive understanding of the AR system can easily open their rifle, remove the original bolt carrier group, and simply drop the CMMG Conversion Kit right in! No tools are required.  The system is low-noise, low-recoil, and can easily reduce your investment on ammunition.  50 rounds of decent .223/5.56 will run you about $25 on today’s market; while a box of .22LR will set you back five dollars on the average, and weigh significantly less.  The round is already a proven small game load and plinkster, and in addition to the AR’s versatility plus the adaptability to smaller framed shooters, you can count on this add-on being perfect for youth and smaller statured shooters looking to spice up their training with some ‘tactical’ flavor. 

The only downside was the general foul nature of .22lr ammunition.  It does ultimately mean that you will be cleaning more often than usual, but the lower muzzle velocities will prolong the life of any profile barrel, military or commercial.

Lower priced ammunition will only result in positive outcomes; more range time, training, and most importantly; safe fun on the range that any aged and size shooter can appreciate.  The CMMG AR Conversion kit is a great tool seasoned vets can add to their training regiment, as well as instructors, parents, and significant others, who are looking to maintain that edge, teach a new student who has never handled a firearm, or introduce their family member to a lifetime of responsible shooting.

Abelardo Román

Hunting Team Leader

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Check It Out List: Range Time

Well I made a little New Year’s Resolution and it was to simply do more. I have truly been blessed with all the amazing people in my life, but unfortunately have not been able to spend much time with them. So 2014 is going to be a year of just doing more. And that of course is going to mean some more trips to the range!

Now a lot of my families own firearms and shoot, but not everyone does. So it will be my pleasure to share this passion of mine with them (and help them relieve stress, which shooting is one of the best ways to do so). Safety will of course be my first priority, but there are a number of other things to consider when it comes to going to the range, which makes it the topic of this month’s Check It Out List blog.

Range-Time Items:

Firearm(s)

Proper Ammunition

Hearing Protection

Eye Protection

Targets

Case

Range-Time Bag

Gun Tool

So let us break that down a little bit more. For the firearms, you should know what kind of shooting you are going to be doing. (Pistol practice, trap and skeet, sighting in a hunting rifle, etc.) That will also dictate the kind of ammo you are going to bring. You really don’t need to bring the shotgun shells when dialing in that new Vortex 4-16x44 on your old Remington 700. Also certain ranges have restrictions on what ammo can be fired there, so it is always best to call before hand and check.

    

I do not know of a firing range where eye and ear protection is not necessary and would not want to visit one that is lax on this. Always have a few sets of “eyes and ears” in your bag at all times. Also have a variety of styles of protection for people. It is not a bad idea to have both foam plugs and over-the-ear hearing protection. This way people can have their choice or even double up if they have sensitive ears.

A nice range-bag is great as many come with multiple compartments. This is nice for storing and separating items. Always be sure to load the right ammo with the right firearm. A gun tool is nice in case you need to make a quick little fix or such. Also be sure to have a number of targets as they will need to be replaced.

And let me dish a little on a couple pet peeves of my own when it comes to range-time.

First… if you have a number of pistols out that are different calibers; just store the ones not in use at that moment. I personally can’t stand seeing a pile of firearms along with a pile of magazines that is all next to a stack of different ammo. Somewhere you will make a mistake and try and load the wrong ammo or wrong magazine or so on.

Second… if you are taking a new shooter out for their first time: be kind. It is your responsibility as a gun-owner to ensure everyone has a safe and fun time. I was just at the range and heard a group behind me discussing rifles, so I joined the conversation. The adult male in the group was talking about having a younger girl shoot a .270Win or .30-06Sprg at the range. (Mind you this was an indoor range that goes to about 75 feet out, so not really a long-range rifle setup.) Hearing this I assumed she was a seasoned shooter as those calibers can pack a nice punch, but naw this was her first time. She was as lean as a desert grasshopper and even admitted to being intimidated by everything. And “the chaperone” was going to have her shoot a .30-06?! I don’t think so! So I had her join my fiancé and I for a quick little lesson. I took her over importance of eye and ear protection, safe handling of a firearm and proper operation of one. The firearm I had her shoot was a lighter caliber out of a heavy revolver so the kick was minimal. What do ya know? She had a great time and was much less intimidated by everything. This means that she would not be scared of guns and might even come back!

Like most things in life, take the time to plan ahead for the little stuff. There is nothing wrong with double-checking either!

Grinnin’ Like a Possum Eatin’ a Yella Jacket! Giddy-Up!

Checked-Lists

Picnics

Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid

Day Pack

Trip Prep

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Seasons End, Maintenance Begins

Rod Slings Guest Blog by Rod Slings, Retired Iowa DNR Hunter Education Administrator

 

As the hunting seasons come to an end, it’s time again to store all your equipment. As always, safety is number one for every hunter and gun owner. Make sure your firearm is pointed in a safe direction, check to make sure it’s unloaded, then it’s ready to be cleaned. Even if you haven’t fired it, it’s important to give it a quick cleaning. Moisture, dirt, and salt from your hands can all have a long-term impact on the condition of your firearms. 

Each year, somewhere, someone forgets to unload his or her muzzleloader. Incidents can happen when you think the muzzleloader is empty and place another “load” on top of the load that was left…last hunting season. It’s never good when you’re expecting a bang and BOOM happens instead. It can cause severe injury or even death by not making sure your muzzleloader is empty before you load it up again. Powder residue will cause corrosion and have a major effect, so make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on proper cleaning.

Gun storage is very much a huge responsibility for all hunters. Make sure you use trigger locks or cable locks, and lock them in a gun cabinet or gun safe. This keeps your firearms from the curious, young and old, or even the burglar that may break into your house. There are all kinds of gun storage products available to help you be a responsible gun owner.

Opinions differ on storing “muzzle up or muzzle down” in your gun safe or locker. After cleaning oil is used in the barrel, with muzzle up the excess could run down into the end of your wood stock and cause the wood fibers to expand.  This is due to the oil saturating and working its way down where the metal meets the stock. This is not an issue with the newer composite stocks or other non-porous stocks. Muzzle down will eliminate this from occurring. No matter what, always make sure you keep the firearms pointed in a safe direction when placing them in or removing them from locked storage. Remember:  Treat every firearm as if it were loaded ALWAYS!

Ammunition should be stored in a locked container separate from the firearms. This safety practice adds another layer to your firearm storage safety protocol.

Don’t forget to remove batteries from trail cameras, range finders, GPS units and other battery-powered hunting equipment. Storage of arrows and archery equipment requires an edge of safety, too!

Until you’re ready to go target practice, shoot some trap or skeet, or are preparing for spring turkey season, these steps will keep you, your family, and others stay safe!

It’s always great to break out your equipment in the fall and have everything ready to be inspected for another Rod Slingsyear…not to have rust, corrosion, or other issues from not practicing due-diligence now. 

Always focus on safe gun handling and, please, hunt SAFE!

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Rod Slings is a partner with Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants. He was with the Iowa DNR for 35 years as a supervisor in the DNR's Law Enforcement Bureau. He is an active proponent of hunter safety and education through international leadership, instructional, and speaking opportunities for organizations such as the International Hunter Education Association, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the United Nations.

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A Fine Nine: Glock 19

So last month I introduced the topic of finding a 9mm handgun for my associate, Katie-Kins. (You can read it real quick by clicking any of the words in between these parentheses.) So for the first of these “Fine Nines” I am choosing what many consider one of the best carry options: the Glock 19.

Now this is one of the most popular carry guns out there. A quick search of “most common ccw gun” gave me to sites that had the Glock 19 in a top 10 list. (Handgun Mag and Human Events) For those of you who do not know what “CCW” is, it stands for: carrying a concealed weapon. Many states require a CCW permit in order to legally carry a concealed weapon. Arizona no longer does, but still many responsible gun owners still attend the class and acquire the permit. (Katie-Kins and my fiancé will be two such responsible gun owners and I suggest everyone else should as well.)

The Glock 19s size makes it a good concealed carry weapon as well as a practice pistol. Now let me clarify that. Many great ccw firearms are not great practice pistols. I just bought my fiancé a Smith and Wesson 642. While it is an awesome concealable firearm it will not be one that we put many rounds through each time we go to the range, whereas the Glock 19 you can shoot comfortably all day. (Heads up I will be using the information for the fourth-generation of these firearms when discussing specifics.)

Glock really revolutionized the firearms industry. The lightness of their polymer frame and the reliability and durability has proved itself for decades now. Many armed forces and police forces alike carry the Glock. It is affectionately called “Gun Tupperware” as while it may not look like much, it gets the job done. In fact they seem to always get the job done. Some firearms tend to feed and shoot specific brands of ammunition. Glocks are notorious for not being picky-eaters and seem to feed any kind of ammo with indifference.

The Glock 19 has a standard magazine that holds 15 rounds. There are options for magazines that hold 17 or even 33 rounds. The firearm is 7.36” long and 4.99” tall. It is 1.88” thick and the barrel’s length is 4.01”. This makes it an accurate firearm in a compact size.

Now for everything that can be considered good with a firearm it seems to also be able to be considered bad. There are no external safeties on the Glock 19. This means there would be one less thing that could snag the firearm while being drawn and one would not find themselves having to work a safety off in a self-defense circumstance. Both of these are positives, but for first time gun owners or even novice owners this can be intimidating. It does have the double-trigger safety though. 

The Glock 19 breaks completely down with relative ease and does not have nearly as many internal parts as say a 1911 model handgun does. Also due to their wide distribution and production, finding parts for one is easier than having a more obscure firearm.

Glocks have what is known as a “trigger reset”. This means after one fires the weapon they can slowly release the trigger to a certain point. The Glock has an audible click that helps let one know when they reach this point. It can then be fired again by squeezing backwards, but it cuts the distance for that trigger pull. I had no idea about this until my uncle showed me. The difference is quite amazing and is also a positive for the Glock.

The grip of the handle is usually what will turn people away from owning a Glock. The reliability, durability, simplicity, functionality and great price point don’t mean much if one does not like holding the thing. Just like I am pointing out all these things and more to Katie-Kins, I hope I am helping others when it comes to a decision like this.

Wise as a Tree Full of Owls! Giddy-Up!!

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Hot Shot Shooters

Hot Shot Shooters

By: Katie Cook

Hot Shot Shooters is an all woman’s firearms club that meets at Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee, Illinois. One of our goals is to teach women how to become more proficient shooters and responsible firearm owners.  Our Mission is “To Get More Women Involved!”

Several of our members took an NRA Basic Pistol Class with Bill Worth and wanted to find like minded women to enjoy shooting and learning about firearms. Bill told them to start a group. One of the ladies finally organized our first meeting. Bill sent out an email asking if we were interested in a ladies shooting club. 25-30 women showed up at the first meeting. Our first meeting was basically to ask what we wanted from this group and what we wanted to experience. A few meetings later, we brainstormed over names and voted. Some were very clever and we debated over a few before we decided on Hot Shot Shooters. Our Email list is at 50 women now and constantly growing.

All ladies are welcome and encouraged to attend our meetings and join Hot Shot Shooters. Our next meeting is Tuesday January 21St at 6pm on the 3rd floor of the range at Bass Pro Shop Gurnee.

Also check us out on FaceBook!  www.facebook.com/HotShotShooters

 

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Late Muzzle Loader Season

Both muzzle loader and late archery seasons start December 7th. Muzzle loader season runs through to December 22 and late archery season ends on January 2. “These seasons are a great way to extend your deer hunting season and are crucial in managing the state’s deer population,” said Chad Stewart, deer management biologist. In 2009, muzzle loader hunters took 18,553 deer, 80 percent of which were antler-less deer. This accounted for 14 percent of the total deer harvest. Last year, late archery season accounted for 1,598 deer, 1 percent of the total harvest. Eighty-one percent of the late archery season harvest was antler-less deer. Crossbows are legal during late archery season without the use of a disabled permit. Crossbow hunters took 182 deer statewide during last year’s late archery season. A muzzle loader and late archery license allows you to harvest one deer of either sex. If you have already taken an antlered deer, you can only take an antler-less deer. If you purchased a bonus antler-less license during firearms or early archery season and didn’t use it, then you are able to use that license during muzzle loader and late archery season.

To find out more information visit hunting.IN.gov today!

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RedHead Blackout Blind Takes Number One, Son!

So everybody likes to get recognized, right? Your child loves having their A+ papers put on the fridge. And you love showing off new business cards with a higher job title, don’t you? Well I was on my way to Florida a month ago and was reading the most recent Field & Stream. They always do a good job with their gear reviews. There are so many options for every piece of the outdoorsman’s arsenal that it is hard to make sure you get something good. Well… apparently we not only make something good in the gear review we made the best!

That’s right! The RedHead Blackout Hub Style Ground Blind took the number one spot for best ground blinds! They had four different hunters that were a range of ages and hunted in different ranges. Out of the four ground blinds tested, the Blackout was one of the two to win 5 stars. (5 Stars = Invisibility Cloak, 4 Stars = Secret Lair, 3 Stars = Hunt House, 2 Stars = Plastic Tarp and 1 Star = Piece of Sheet… pretty clever, Field and Stream. I especially liked the Piece of Sheet one.)

We took the number one slot due to it being “the best combination of value and solid construction” and that “ it was easy to put up and take down”. They also gave nods for the “large window openings” which made one of the testers state "This blind has the best vertical and horizontal range of all." Thanks!

Another tester noted that “the fabric's snug fit over the frame, as well as the interior straps and pockets, which were useful to hang or stow gear.” And a cool feature that I had no idea about came in the color of blaze orange! There are four fold-out blaze patches on the roof to clearly show other hunters where you are and that someone is home! (Nothing wrong with being just a little extra safe.)

Usually when we are off in the woods we are packing a nice little pack. (Sarcasm on little.) So having plenty of room to get in and out of a blind of any kind is always well appreciated. The design of the door makes entrance to this Narnia of a blind really easy.

The blind packs up, case included, and can be carried by a single user. It is big enough though to house a couple. Now I want to clarify that I used the term user and not hunter, because it’s not just those with bows and firearms sitting in these things. Photographers and other nature enthusiasts have learned the extreme useful blinds can provide.

So if you’re looking for a good ground blind for any reason, make sure you go with one that scored the best!

Texas Cakewalk near the Three-Legged Mare! Giddy-Up!!

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A Fine Nine: The Basics

So there has been a passion in my life that I have not really blogged that much about. (Well technically there are bunches but I won’t start on about how awesome koi-ponds and water features are right now.) Shooting has become one of my favorite activities in this world. I always had an interest in firearms growing up (watching Westerns and such) but knew I needed to be as safe as possible when it came to this stuff. Luckily a lot of my friends’ dads were able to step in and show me how to be a responsible firearm-enthusiast. Now I am currently getting to do the same for others, and it is truly awesome. Now why the long back story? Because it leads into this…

So the new girl in our department, Katie, has expressed interest in becoming a firearm-owner. She has shot different firearms a number of times, but owning a firearm is way different than operating one. She was thinking about something to use for protection and target-practice, meaning a handgun.

Now when it comes to firearms, there is a whole world of information out there. Everybody and anybody has an opinion, one way or the other. Sometimes it is well thought out, like when considering the quality of parts going into a firearm. Or sometimes not so much… “Those >BLANK< are trash and look ugly too!” (Please cite your sources when submitting such work, thank you.) Just like Ford or Chevy people, take it with a grain of salt.

But! There is some information out there that is actually truthful and should be shared. Such as when considering calibers for handguns. Many people will state that the best caliber of handgun for someone is the largest one that they can shoot comfortably. I agree with this. Anyone can shoot a .22LR very comfortably, but that does not make it a great protection choice. If the same person that can shoot a .22LR well can also handle a .40S&W with the same skill-set, I would suggest going with the .40S&W.

Now for Katie, that puts her in the 9mm crowd. That is the caliber she has stated she wants to own. This is awesome! Just knowing what you want as far as caliber is a great way to get started. Now comes the bad part… there are so many choices out there for a 9mm!!!! This can be extremely intimidating for a first-time firearm buyer. So over the next number of months, I will showcase off a firearm (9mm of course) in what I will be calling: A Fine Nine.

Now then, this blog is about the basics of the blogs themselves but also about the 9MM caliber itself. So let’s see…

A long time ago, in 1901 to be exact, a German designer, Georg Luger to be exact, designed the caliber called 9x19mm Parabellum. (Because it was designed for Luger firearms, it is known as the 9mm Luger. This is separate from the 9mm Browning, which as you can guess was designed for Browning firearms.) It is commonly called 9mm (as I have been doing for most of this blog) as well as: 9x19, 9x19mm or 9mmP (along with 9mm Luger which was listed above). Now the word Parabellum is derived from a term in Latin which means "If you seek peace, prepare for war", which is pretty much spot-on. This caliber has become the most widely used handgun cartridge by individuals and militaries alike. In fact, this caliber is the standard for NATO forces.

The 9mm has a flat trajectory along with what is stated as moderate recoil. (Everybody is different, and I am sure a few of you just made a face at the word “moderate”.) While it was originally designed to be lethal at 50 meters, it is still effective at farther ranges.

Since the 9mm is such a popular cartridge, and does not take as much to make it when compared to say a .45 Long Colt, it remains a cheaper caliber to shoot. This is extremely important as money is a deciding factor when it comes to practicing. The old adage of: “What good is a good gun if you can’t afford the bullets?!” is actually true. Also due to the smaller size of the cartridge, when compared to let’s say a .40S&W, it means a magazine can contain a larger amount of rounds in it.

Now I will not get into ballistics, but in case you were wondering check this site out. They do a much better job than I ever could.

So until next time, Take it Easy! Giddy-Up!!

Oh and side note. So Katie is from Chicago. She asked me if she needed a pistol-license in this state. I laughed (rather hard) and let her know that this was Arizona and we do the 2nd Amendment right here. 

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Firearm Cleaning and Maintenance

There are many activities one can do with firearms, from hunting to long distance target shooting. One of the least amusing but essential things one must do with every firearm is to ensure it is properly cleaned after a day at the range and the upkeep and maintenance throughout the year. This will keep the firearm in pristine firing shape. There are some simple steps which can be taken to make cleaning the firearm a little easier.  

The first step is to learn how to field strip the firearm down to its base components in order to clean the firearm most effectively. This is easily done by looking at the owner’s manual. The manual will have simple instructions on how to not only disassemble the firearm but how to reassemble the firearm without damaging any of the components. Once the firearm is disassembled the next step is the messiest.

After the disassembly of the firearm, the owner must proceed to oil and lubricate the necessary parts. This is a step that must be taken for both cleaning and regular maintenance of the firearm. The first thing after disassembly is to clean each individual part. Often times old oil and grease residue with be on the firearm mixed with the powder that didn’t burn during the firing of the weapon. This layer of grime needs to be completely removed before anything else can take place. If the components are not properly cleaned or lubricated, the firearm can grind smaller pieces and be rendered inoperable after a time. Finding the right oil and firearm lubricant is often times a pain. One company that is regularly used because of its great track record of quality products and proven performance is the Hoppe’s. The Hoppe’s Elite Dual Pack Firearm Cleaning Products is a great package to get when looking for both gun oil and lubricant in a single package. By taking a clean cloth and adding a few drops of oil to the cloth you can oil the component parts quickly and easily. Simply run the cloth over the parts until you can see and feel a nice film of oil on the pieces. This will ensure that the pieces do not corrode or get exposed to the elements. The next step is one of the most important.

Now that the components of your firearm are all clean it is necessary to look at the barrel and start to clean it. The first thing any person cleaning a barrel needs to do is run a cloth with a drop or two of bore solvent. This solvent helps remove much of the copper, lead, plastic and powder deposits on the barrel. A great solvent is the Hoppe’s Bench Rest-9 Copper Solvent. After using the solvent running a wire brush through the barrel one to two times will help break the deposits off the walls of the barrel. As soon as the wire brush has been run through the best thing to do is run a bore snake through the barrel in order to force the last bits of the deposits out of the barrel leaving it clean enough for accurate shots.

Hoppe's Cleaning

The cleaning and maintenance of firearms is the most important and important activity associated with firearms. Knowing how to properly clean a firearm could save money with the  maintenance or replacement costs in the future. While at the same time a well cleaned rifle, pistol or even black powder rifle will shoot more accurately making the experience far more enjoyable. Follow the link to see wat Bass Pro Shops offers to keep your firearm clean and well maintaind!  http://www.basspro.com/Gun-Cleaning-%26-Refinishing/_/S-12400004002 As always have fun and happy hunting!

 

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Harvest of the Deer

As firearms season comes to a close and the deer have been harvested and processed, many people wonder what to do with the meat that now fills their freezer.  Why not try sausage?  Italian, brats, summer, breakfast, salami, bologna, the varieties are endless.  With the right tools, making sausage is not as daunting as one might think.  Whether using a hand stuffer or electric grinder, the process is actually quite simple. Add seasoning and ground pork (if desired) to your ground venison and stuff in casings. Casings range in size from snack stick size to bologna size- depending on what kind of sausage you want to make.  You may then choose to smoke your sausage or freeze uncooked until ready to use.

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Bass Pro Shops Electric Meat Grinder by LEM Products (Reg $269.99, Sale starting at $239.97)

LEM makes a wide variety of seasonings that I found to be quite good. I am particularly fond of the Sweet Italian mix.  Kits are also available that contain the casings and pre-measured packets of seasoning and cure.  With the holidays approaching, sausage is an easy and great gift for family and friends. What could be better than saying you made it yourself? 

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Sausage Kit - $69.99

 

Come in and visit with our friendly camping associates to gain more knowledge on sausage making and meat processing!    

 

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My Daisy BB Gun From Santa

Santa Mouse and My First GunI was thinking a few days ago about what Christmas movies I needed to watch over the next couple weeks and of course “A Christmas Story” came to mind (just a couple seconds before "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and "Die Hard"). 

I’ve always been able to identify with Ralphie and his obsession with having a Daisy Red Rider BB gun.  “You’ll put your eye out!” was everyone’s response including the mall Santa because they thought it was just too dangerous for a child to have. Everyone except his father of course. He knew what it meant to get your first gun even if it was only capable of killing cans or putting holes in a few paper targets. He understood that it was a rite of passage and much more than a toy.  Your Red Rider allowed you to imagine hunting Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, or even deepest darkest Africa.  It was capable of handling everything from viscious squirrels to the most dangerous Cape Buffalo and Kodiak Bear.

I still have my first BB gun and it sits alongside all my other firearms in the cabinet just like it should.  I can almost remember when my brother and I got our new guns for Christmas over 35 years ago.  Those gifts were the greatest things ever and I’m quite sure we slept with them the first few nights.  They were much loved and used to the point of near being worn out.  So much so that I’m sure my parents were driven nearly insane from the sound of “Click…..Creeeeeeek… Clack……..Pffft…Ping” of my brother and I shooting in the basement.  We had a miniature shooting range set up down there with boxes semi –full of newspaper for backstops that we could retrieve BB’s from rather than having to replenish our supply every week.  We went through reams of targets while growing up and practicing our shooting skills; and spent hours competing against each other for pretend titles and imaginary trophies.

Those first guns stoked our desire to get into the woods and fields in search of bigger game and greater challenges, while at the same time, teaching us how to take care of our possessions and of course, practice safe gun handling.  Whether it was a BB gun or the high powered rifles that came later, we were taught to treat them with equal care and respect.  We never came close to putting our eyes out (as far as anyone knows…).

The Daisy Red Rider is still on the wish list of many youngsters across the country and I can ‘t think of a better way to bring a smile to the face of a budding outdoorsman.  You might even discover the next Olympic champion shooter in your family.  Just be sure to pick up a healthy supply of BB’s and a lot of targets….You’re going to need them!

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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Scope it Out: Redfield

So hunting season is ending in some parts of the country and in other areas it is still in full swing. But either way I am sure that you have had an experience or two with some form of optics out there. So that is why this month’s Scope it Out blog may pertain directly towards you.

As we all know, you get what you pay for when it comes to optics. Those who usually start at the lower quality end to save a few bucks find themselves investing even more when finally getting to a good optics brand. This pertains directly to the brand being covered this month, Redfield.

The Redfield optics company has been around for over a century. It was founded back in 1909 by John Hill Redfield. The quality of their product built Redfield a name that was trusted by hunters and shooters alike. My best friend’s dad has an older-than-me model of Redfield scope on a Weatherby, and it is one awesome piece of glass.

Slowly but surely they began creating new products and innovations in the industry. But in 1998 they closed the doors in Denver, CO. It was the end of an era. This was not the end though for the Redfield name. Several companies bought the name and began making products. Unfortunately, none of these companies did the name any form of justice and in fact degraded it to an extent.

That was until 2008, when another great name in optics, Leupold bought the name. Since then, the name of Redfield has been building its reputation back. Also it has secured in bringing Redfield back to the United States. The products for Redfield are made next to their “gold-ring” brothers and sisters. Ask anyone about Redfield scopes and they’ll tell you something like “Its Leupold glass and warranty at a smaller price point”. Ask Leupold themselves and they’ll say something like:

Based in Oregon, the original home of founder John C. Redfield, we’ve rededicated ourselves to his vision: no-nonsense optics for everyone. Focused on that goal, we’ve made top-notch optical equipment accessible to every American hunter. With Redfield, outdoorsmen across this great land can fill their tag without breaking the bank.

What I really like is their statement of “non-nonsense optics”. I would not say their products are simple, because that kind of seems degrading but I would say they are easy to operate. Their scopes have a generous eye-relief. They come in the most common and well utilized powers and sizes.

I personally have a Redfield scope on my Remington 700 and use their binoculars. Not too long ago we had a sale on the binoculars. A good guy who happens to shop here asked me about them and I endorsed them to the fullest as long as he understood that they were “heavier”. On his recent elk hunt he found those Redfield binoculars to outperform a pair of Swarovski binoculars he had on the trip. Just sayin’.

Now I remember reading an article in Field and Stream not too long ago about trends in the firearms industry. I am pretty sure it was by Petzal, because the author was saying what he hates about certain trends and that seems to be a classic Petzal writing. The complaint was about how scopes now have these extremes names like “Eliminator” or “Destructor”. This would give Redfield a lower grade in this man’s eyes as they have names like “Revenge” and “Battlezone”, but who cares what it’s called if they work great?! (Also please note that I am not trying to insult Petzal in any way as the man is well informed and provides us readers with facts and thoughts that can put things into perspective.)

Recently Redfield has been adding a new line of products to their team. These have been directed more for the AR-15 market, but this trend has been seen in many of the other big name optic brands. I would feel safe throwing one of these on top of my AR at home.

One reason for that safety-net feeling is that they stand behind their products. Leupold is famous for its warranty and has extended those same privileges to the Redfield name. You can read the full break down of this warranty at the Support section on their website. Also on their website they have a link that will direct you to any current promotions they are running.

So whether you need a scope for an upcoming deer hunt or want a good pair of binoculars for watching birds or neighbors that may be witches, think about taking a look at and through something from Redfield.

Until next time! Giddy-Up!

Previous Sightings:

Leupold

Nikon

Vortex

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Urban Deer Zones

     Urban deer zones give archery hunters opportunities to harvest deer in defined urban deer zones, in addition to statewide bag limits. The urban deer zone season is Sept. 15, 2013 through Jan. 31, 2014. The bag limit for the urban zones is four antlerless deer, or three antlerless and one deer of either sex within an urban zone. Individuals hunting in a designated urban deer zone who are attempting to satisfy the urban deer zone bag limit must harvest an antlerless deer before harvesting an antlered deer (a.k.a. earn-a-buck). The earn-a-buck requirement only applies to the urban deer zone bag limit. The urban deer zone bag limit is in addition to all other bag limits.

     An urban deer zone license has been established to replace previous requirements to possess a regular archery, extra archery or bonus antlerless license. The urban deer zone license allows an individual to harvest one deer per license in a defined urban deer zone. Hunters attempting to satisfy the urban deer zone bag limits must have an urban deer zone, resident youth hunt/trap, lifetime comprehensive hunting, or lifetime comprehensive hunting/fishing license, or meet a license exemption.

     The provision does not override any local ordinances restricting shooting of firearms and bows. Hunters must obtain permission from landowners to hunt on their property. An urban deer zone license is needed for each deer taken. Urban deer zone licenses are already included in the resident youth hunt/trap, lifetime comprehensive hunting, and lifetime comprehensive hunting/fishing licenses. Urban deer zone licenses are not permitted on Division of Fish and Wildlife managed properties.

The urban deer zones are as follows:

  • Indianapolis – all of Marion County, Hendricks County east of State Road 267; southeast portion of Boone County bounded by State Road 267, Interstate 65, State Road 32; and the portion of Hamilton County south of State Road 32.
  • Fort Wayne – the portion of Allen County lying within the bounds of Interstate 69 and Interstate 469.
  • Vanderburgh County.
  • Lafayette – the portion of Tippecanoe County north of State Road 28
  • Lake County.
  • Porter County.
  • Michigan City – the portion of LaPorte County north of Interstate 94.
  • Warsaw – the portion of Kosciusko County within the corporate limits of Warsaw.

            Immediately upon killing a deer, the hunter must complete a temporary tag on paper that states the hunter’s name, address, sex of the deer, and the day and month of the kill. A hunter is not required to place the tag on the deer while dragging it out of the field as long as the hunter has filled out and is carrying the required information. A hunter must maintain immediate custody of and visual contact with the deer carcass unless the completed temporary transportation tag is attached. The tag must be attached to the deer before the hunter leaves the deer or loads the deer in a vehicle.

     The person who takes the deer is responsible for the delivery of the deer to an official deer check station within 48 hours of the kill, or use the CheckIN Game online system to obtain a confirmation number within 48 hours of the kill. The CheckIN Game confirmation number must be written down on the temporary transportation tag and kept with the deer until processing begins.

     The deer head must remain attached to the carcass until the tag is attached and locked at the deer check station. If the deer is taken to a check station, a permanent seal must be attached to the carcass. The permanent seal must remain attached until processing of the deer begins.

     Carcasses of deer and other wild animals that are lawfully taken should not be dumped in streams or other bodies of water or left out in the open for scavengers and others to see. Dumping dead deer and other wild animals in a waterway is considered littering and is a criminal offense punishable by a fine. Rotting carcasses in a waterway can also affect water quality for those downstream.

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Tracking Deer

On opening weekend of the Wisconsin archery season, Matt Serwa arrowed a giant whitetail. The hit was fatal, but the blood trail poor. Things got worse when, shortly after dusk, the rain came and lasted all night. Fortunately, Matt knew Kasey Morgan, a member of the United Blood Trackers (http://www.unitedbloodtrackers.org), a national organization whose members own dogs trained to find deer just like Serwa’s buck. Serwa described his buck, the hit, and the situation to Morgan on the phone that evening. The pair decided to wait until morning, then take up the trail with Boomer, Morgan’s bloodhound.

Cutting straight to the chase (or, rather, the end of it), Boomer found Serwa’s buck in relatively short order. And, according to Serwa, odds are high that it would have taken a while for him to find the buck on his own. “The rain had wiped out all the blood, and the buck went into this thick, nasty creek bottom,” he said. “We’ve tracked deer down there before, and I know where they usually like to go. But this deer didn’t go to that spot. I think I’d have found the buck eventually, but it would have taken a lot of work and a little luck. Boomer figured out the trail and found the buck in pretty short order.” (Morgan describes the hunt for Serwa’s buck in great detail in the following blog http://borntotracknews.blogspot.com)

If you live in one of the 27 states that allow the use of tracking dogs, this story is probably a familiar one. I, however, do not. Minnesota is one of 13 states that completely forbid the use of dogs to find big game (other prominent whitetail states, like Pennsylvania and Kansas, are included in this number). I’m in lock-step with the United Blood Trackers; it’s time for this number to shrink to zero.

This should be pretty simple stuff, folks. We should all strive for close, lethal, and ethical shots on game. But the reality is that, if you deer hunt long enough—whether you shoot a bow, crossbow or firearm—sooner or later you’re going to hit a deer in a spot that makes finding it difficult. And sometimes rain, snow or dense cover can complicate the picture. In situations like these, using a tracking dog is not only logical, there is no more ethical option.

I’ve only witnessed a trained tracking dog in action one time, on a Kentucky bowhunt about 5 years ago. The hunter had made a fatal hit on a fine buck, but the blood trail was sparse and the hot weather made waiting for morning an unappealing option; the meat was almost certain to spoil before we found the deer. Fortunately, a local man had a dachshund trained for such situations, and that little, short-legged wonder found the buck so quickly it was shocking. I’ve been a proponent of tracking dogs ever since, and I hope that one day soon their use will be legal nationwide.

Trailing Shot Deer

 

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Archery from a pro

Charlie and BonnieWe have many unique and talented associates here at Bass Pro- Columbia, and one of them is certainly Charlie Langreder.

You may know him as the very knowledgeable associate behind the hunting counter, but what you may not know is just how accomplished he is in archery.

Charlie has been bow hunting for over 60 years.  Archery has been his passion since he was a kid on a farm and he still has his first bow from when he was 12 years old. Now, he has a collection of 57 bows and travels the country bow hunting.

He enjoys going out West the most with his wife, Bonnie, to hunt Pope and Young Antelope. They enjoy each other’s companionship in the deer stand while doing something they both love. Charlie got his wife into bow hunting years ago and now they each have one record book kill. His second favorite animal to hunt is the white tail deer and turkeys are a close third.

Charlie still shoots competitively sometimes, but not as often as he used to. His next competition will be in January or February after hunting season.

He sees archery growing in popularity, especially with women. He thinks it has something to do with recent movies featuring the sport such as Brave and The Hunger Games.bows

“It gives hunters another opportunity to get into the woods and hunt for another season,” he said.

Among his many accomplishments are the titles 2010 Volunteer of the Year award at the Show-Me State Games and 2009 Bass Pro Associate of the Year. Charlie is also now an instructor for National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).  

Charlie's advice

Come to a pro shop because there are three important things you need to think about- eye dominance, draw length and draw weight.

The best bow to start with is the Diamond Infinate Edge 51-70lbs draw length 12-30 inch

You need patience. The distance of shot is close range so it’s a bit of a challenge. Charlie likes the challenge so he rarely shoots firearms anymore unless it’s with the kids.

If you have any questions or are thinking of getting into archery, come in and ask for Charlie!

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Safe Storage for Firearms

One of the problems many adults have with keeping firearms in their house, is not knowing the safest way to keep them from being stolen or used by their children. The safety of all peoples is always the top priority for any family or sportsman. There are simple steps firearm enthusiasts can take in order to keep their firearms and families safe.

A simple step that can keep firearms safely stored is to simply remove any rounds from the magazine or chamber of the weapon. This will keep accidents from happening even when the home owner is not around. Another quick and easy way to keep families safe is to store the firearms and ammunition separately. By doing this you put a barrier to curiosity for children and others who might be wanting to use the firearms. Another simple way to keep little hands from accidentally firing a rifle or pistol is to constantly keep gun locks on all firearms in a house. This again can will provide a barrier to children and others who might be too curious about the firearm. By keeping locks on all weapons the homeowner can feel safe having firearms in the home.

Another way to keep firearms secure is to use designated firearms safe. Personal stories have shown that when a safe is employed in a house burglars are not able to get inside the safe and in some cases give up on the house entirely when they are unable to break the safe. One such safe is the RedHead Ultra Fire Resistant 25-Gun Safe. These safes are built to protect your firearms from everything from burglars to small fires. In many cases these safes are able to keep everything inside the safe protected from any conditions on the outside. Now a good way to keep your firearms away from other forms of damage is to keep your firearms and ammunition in two separate safes. This makes sure that if something unthinkable happens your ammunition does not discharge or damage your firearms. While this might seem tedious, it will help prevent unauthorized access to both your firearms and the ammunition.

To keep your firearms safe and also in good working condition, storing them in the right place is key. In some cases having the firearms in the house is out of the question, but this might not be the best for the integrity of the firearm. Keeping a firearm in a shed or the garage is usually quite trying on the weapon simply because the conditions are not regulated like inside a house. When storing a firearm first take a look at the conditions where it will be staying, if the conditions are at all damp or the temperature fluctuates to wildly during the year, finding a place inside will be far better for the firearm. When storing a firearm in a safe inside a house it is always a good idea to invest in a good desiccant. These chemical blends pull moisture from the air and keep the conditions dry and moderated. A good and rechargeable desiccant is the Red Head Safe Dri Rechargeable Moisture Control. These chemicals stay in their packages and make the conditions far better for any firearm in a safe, and they keep firearms from rusting or destroying the blueing on rifles or pistols.

In the end it is up to the owner of the firearms on how they choose to store their firearms and who has access to them. Great ways to keep these firearms secure is to get a gun safe. While at the same time doubling up on safety might be a good idea, so putting some gun locks on the firearms in the safe is still a great idea. Storing your ammunition away from your firearms, while keeping your firearms unloaded in the house keeps accidents from happening. And one last thing to remember about safe storage of firearms is look at the conditions the firearm is in. If it is to moist in an area get a desiccant and make sure the temperature does not vary too wildly or the firearms finish and parts could corrode. Follow this link to see what options Bass Pro Shops has for storing your firearms safely http://www.basspro.com/Shooting-Gun-Storage-Safes-Cases/_/N-1z0ux5b Good luck on the hunt and stay safe!

RedHead Safe

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Game Changers: Fred Bear

So the past two Game Changer blogs focused on the conservation efforts of Theodore Roosevelt and The Boone and Crockett Club. This time I am going to step away from strict conservation recognition but acknowledge someone who was a real game changer in the way we go after game: Fred Bear.

Besides running animals off of a cliff, archery has been one of the longest forms of hunting. It was also a common use in warfare. In fact it was because of war that a number of advances were made in the world of bows and arrows. From the English creating their infamous longbows to the Mongol warriors of Genghis Khan needing more power in a shorter bow (first forms of recurve bows) warfare influenced bow technology immensely.

Once the advances of gun powder and firearms really took hold, both hunters and warriors seemed to step away from the bow. By the time Fred Bear was done with his 86 years on this planet, he would change all that. His name has become synonymous with archery, especially when concerning hunting.

Bear did not get into archery right away nor did he master the discipline right away. Most say that he did not pick up bow hunting until he was almost 30. As any bow hunter knows, it takes years of practice to master. He was originally inspired by a documentary about another important figure of bow hunting history, Art Young.

He began working and creating his own bows shortly after. As his skill at crafting grew, so did his skill at archery. He was able to take the Michigan state archery championship three times. Despite all of this, the man was still extremely grounded. He had what many call a “grassroots kindness” and was willing to talk to everyone and anyone about bow hunting.

His hunts and adventures took him all over the world and inspired a whole new generation of hunters. His collection was so extensive that he opened a museum which included many ancient artifacts. When the museum closed in 2003, Bass Pro Shops was more than happy to step in and acquire these timeless treasurers. At our headquarter store in Springfield, MO there is an awesome display of these items and more. (There is a nice little write-up of the area, here.)

Beyond just the trophies, Bear captured a lot more on his adventures. He was extremely successful in using film and television to bring his passion to the world. Videos of Bear taking animals ranged from deer to more exotics. Bear was even successful in taking down an elephant on a trip to Africa.

By the time he was done; Bear was a successful bow hunter, bow manufacturer, author and television host. He was a popular contributor to Outdoor Life and Archery Magazine. His company, Bear Archery is still in full swing and making what are considered by many some of the best bows out there. He was still active into his last days and it is for that reason that his name will always be remembered. When a passion like that is so strong, others can’t help but notice.

So thanks, Fred Bear. You pioneered a way of life that lets many connect to their basic roots and enjoy the outdoors in a completely different way. Your inspiration has kept the sport you love alive and has added countless people to take up a bow and the effort to protect the wilderness and animals they appreciate so much.

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Are you Prepared for Deer Hunting Season?

 

Just a few helpful tips and reminders for your deer hunting trip.

 

Deer Hunting Checklist

 

BEFORE YOUR HUNT

_____ Purchase deer hunting license/licenses

_____ Find hunting location & secure permission from landowner & surrounding landowners

_____ Read latest hunting and trapping guide for regulation changes

_____ Scout your hunting area

_____ Purchase ammunition & sight-in your firearm or other equipment

_____ Practice tree stand climbing & using your safety harness

_____ Ensure all equipment is in working order

 

WEEK/DAY OF THE HUNT

_____ Check weather and layer clothing appropriately

_____ Put on hunter orange clothing and be sure it meets requirements

_____ Pack and sharpen knife for field dressing

_____ Bring headlamp/flashlight

_____ Hunting license and ID

_____ Drag rope

_____ Temporary transportation tag and pen/pencil (fill out most beforehand)

_____ GPS/map/compass

_____ Water bottle/thermos/snacks

_____ Hunting license and ID (it’s on here twice, it’s THAT important)

_____ Ammunition

_____ Small saw or clippers

_____ Cell phone

_____ Leave hunting details with family/friends

_____ String or zip tie to affix transportation tag

_____ Paper towels/gloves for field dressing

_____ Calls or scents

_____ Tree stand and full body harness

_____ Blind and hunter orange for blind

_____ First Aid Kit

_____ Binoculars

 

AFTER YOU HARVEST A DEER

_____ Field dress the deer, drag out of woods, affix temporary transportation tag

_____ Check in deer at check station or online at checkingame.dnr.in.gov

_____ Process your deer or take to a processor

 

WHEN YOU’RE DONE HUNTING

_____ Make taxidermy arrangements

_____ Clean your gear

_____ Thank private landowner for permission to hunt land (share your harvest)

_____ Organize and put away gear for next year.

 

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=54&tab=3

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Protecting Your Percussion Muzzle Loading Rifle from Storage Problems

By Stan Godlewski

The days are getting shorter and the night’s cooler, besides making those scouting treks into the woods to locate that big buck, you probably have pulled “Old Betsy” out of the gun safe and have taken her to range.  Just as last year, you ran a clean patch down her barrel and made sure she was clean and unloaded.  After placing your target down range and dropping your powder charge and projectile in the barrel, you place a cap on the rifles nipple, took aim at the target, and squeeze the trigger and the hammer fell on the cap.  All you got was a “POP” not the familiar “BANG.’  Okay, you kept the muzzle of your rifle pointed down range for three minutes.  The dreaded “misfire.”  You placed a fresh cap on the nipple. Brought the hammer to full cock, took aim, and squeeze the trigger again and another “POP.”  You asked yourself, what is going on here.  Again you went through the same ritual with no “BANG.”  Now you have a loaded firearm and no way to discharge it.  You cleared the charge by pouring water down the bore of the rifle to wet the gunpowder and make the piece safe to pull the projectile from the chamber.  After all is said and done, your local gunsmith informs you that the problem was a buildup of varnish in the flash hole.  You ask yourself “Varnish” how did that get in there!  The simple answer is, you put there.

Most novice black powder shooters coat their muzzle loaders bore with a layer of oil to prevent rust during storage.  Bass Pro Shops carries some excellent gun protections oils.  Rem Oil is just one of our many fine gun protection products that will not varnish.   http://www.basspro.com/Remington-Rem-Oil/product/60622/?cmCat=CROSSSELL_THUMBNAIL                                       

You probably stored the rifle muzzle up in your gun safe.  Now that is where the problem starts.  Over a period of time, standard gun oil can turn into a gummy like substance.  It can even cure to a solid.  To prevent this from occurring, old time muzzle loader shooters stored their rifles muzzle down in their storage lockers or gun safes.  They place some newspaper or paper towels down at the muzzle to absorb any excess oils. 

When you get to the range snap a few caps prior to loading the rifle.  You may ask, “what does that have to do with the price of tea in China.”  Well nothing, but It ensures that the shooter has a safe firearm to load.  The process goes like this.  Point the muzzle of the muzzle loading rifle in a safe direction (down range).  Point it toward the ground down range.  Pick out a tree leaf or a blade of grass.  Take the hammer to ½ cock, place a cap on the nipple, take the hammer to full cock.  Place the muzzle of the rifle near the objects and pull the trigger.  The cap should fire and cause the leaf to move or the blade of grass to dance.  Do this two more times for a total of three snapped caps.  The first snapped cap lets you know the nipple, flash hole and the rifle bore are clear.  The second fired cap burns off any excess oil from the bore and the third makes the bore nice and dry.  This process will give you confidence to load your charge and let you know your rifle is safe and will shoot.

Another problem some shooters have is a weak hammer spring “Not enough energy for the hammer to fire the cap.”  This problem is usually the result of storing the rifle with the hammer drawn to full cock.  Likewise, dry firing the gun without a cap on the nipple can deform the nipple to the point that it may not accept or hold a cap properly.  

The following links provides you with excellent muzzle loader cleaning and maintenance products.

http://www.basspro.com/CVA-Ramrod-Accessory-Pack/product/82789/

http://www.basspro.com/Thompson/Center-T17-Inline-Cleaning-Kit/product/94870/

http://www.basspro.com/Traditions-Clean-It-50-Caliber-Muzzleloader-Cleaning-Kit/product/10212981/

http://www.basspro.com/CVA-SlickLoad-Barrel-Blaster-Solvent/product/82784/

http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-Solvent-Pump-Spray/product/64558/

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A Lesson Learned About Firearms

This is a true story about firearm complacency and safety by our own Jim Young (Hunting Associate)

When I was about 10 years old I received my first firearm on a chilly Christmas morning. It was a brand new J.C. Higgins .22 single shot bolt action rifle from Sears and Roebuck. It was the kind that you had to load each cartridge one at a time then pull the plunger back to cock the rifle when you were ready to fire. it could shoot .22 shorts, longs and the powerful, venerable supersonic long rifle cartridge.

I really liked this little rifle but my propensity to get into trouble would urge me on to expand my creative talents for getting myself into a lot of hot water and to do more stupid things that normally charted the course taken by a young adolescent male just prior to discovering girls. in fact, as i look back, my propensity for doing stupid things did not diminish after i discovered girls. It was possibly exacerbated even more so, but i digress.

Of course, recalling my previous Red Ryder BB gun days, my mother, father, and older brother would increasingly preach to me about gun safety, gun safety and more GUN SAFETY!!! So much so that I had gun safety coming out of my ears and I was sick of it. i knew good and well that i was well practiced and highly skilled 11 year old rifle marksmen and no one could tell me what to do. i knew it all.

I really enjoyed cleaning and taking care of my rifle. Late one Saturday evening while watching a western on T.V. while everyone else had gone to bed, i had just finished cleaning my rifle. Having been bored by the movie i picked up the rifle , checked to make sure it was unloaded, started taking aim at things around the room and pulling the trigger. After a while i started to practice loading and unloading the rifle with a long rifle hollow point. Still leaving the round in the rifle i set it down and went back to watching the movie. Again boredom set in and i picked the now loaded rifle up .... see where i am going with this. Once more i began taking aim at inanimate objects around the room. Instead of squeezing the trigger and giving my customary "blam" or "pow" a real supersonic crack of the rifle witch to me became the shot heard round the world or at least the shot heard round the house. As i stared in disbelief i just knew my mother, father, and brother would soon be at my location having been known as incredible light sleepers. I sat glued to the couch and listen for the coming doom that would befall on me but i was not able to hear anything over the ringing in my ears, how was i to know that such a little gun could make such a loud noise, i had no idea that a little .22 could be so dang loud let alone make such a huge cloud of blue smoke. I just knew Winchester had packed that particular cartridge with the powder charge normally reserved for artillery shells, and did so just to turn what was left of my young life into a living hell!

After what seemed like hours i finally got up the courage to leave the couch and inspect the damage to my target. Sure enough there it was a nice neat little hole centered perfectly in the brass door knob that went to the closet that housed our heavy coats. the shell itself went through the door knob and the door but was not able to find the shell or its fragments. Taking inventory of the closet and its contents i was not able to find any more damage. At this point i was able to take a breath of relief even though the room was still filled with the smoke from the round.I thought i just might be able to survive the night and not be staked outside over a pit of fire ants or some other horrible torture that i was sure i would be in for because of my careless action. I think around this time i started to go though what  you could describe as "damage control" since no one had showed up to reprimand me. Many days passed then years and still no word I finally told my parents once i was grown and suffered through their consternation. Even though they were impressed i was able to change out the door knob with a replacement we had in our tool shed as well as put puddy and paint over the hole with out them ever knowing. I was as my mother called "damned lucky" and she was right. There are two morals to take from this story number ONE is gun safety, gun safety and did i mention gun safety. Don't ever allow your self to become complacent  with a firearm complacency kills. I was very lucky i didn't hurt myself or anyone in my family from a direct shot or from a ricochet bullet. Be sure to always treat you gun with the assumption it is loaded. Never take anyone's word that a gun is unloaded and safe not even your own double check triple check its always better to be safe than sorry.

The second thing to take away from this is sometimes God does smile on you when you do stupid things, thank God it was lesson learned and never repeated.

One last thing- I always wished i had kept the door knob because it would have made one heck of a show and tell piece!

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