Hey Sharp Shots! Kirsten Joy Weiss here for the Texas International Firearms Festival (TIFF) at Best of the West Shooting Sports in Austin, Texas November 8 and 9. I’m getting emails asking questions about the event. “How will the ‘try and buy’ function? Will attendees need to purchase and/or supply their own ammunition to try vendor firearms? Will there be any other cost associated with this activity?” For one fee, visitors can try any gun from any exhibitor. There’s no charge for the ammo; it’s provided by the gun makers. If you want to buy a gun . . .
Hey Sharp Shots! Kirsten Joy Weiss here for the Texas International Firearms Festival at Best of the West Shooting Sports in Austin, Texas November 8 and 9. Yesterday, a few readers claimed they were tired of seeing my face in these sponsored ads. As if! So I asked my good friend Texas Governor Rick Perry to take over for today’s post. [Full press release after the jump.] There’s only one way to stop these ads: click here and buy tickets! Sales are strictly limited to 5k (per day). Once they’re gone, my work here is done. So come and shoot guns from FN, GLOCK, Taurus, SIG SAUER, Mossberg, Barrett, Beretta, McMillan Firearms, Springfield Armory, Henry Repeating Arms, Armalite, Underground Tactical and Tracking Point for one low price, ammo included. See you at the show! . . .
I like Katniss. Maybe it’s because I’m a shooter. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the woods. Maybe its because my favorite games as a kid were often survival games. This is a very small tribute to a shooter girl who knows her way around the woods and has the skills and moxie to make it. All girls should know how to shoot. Whether its bows or guns, the skills, focus, and other life benefits are invaluable. Katniss represents the confidence shooting can bring Enjoy, and happy shooting
It’s not every day you get an offer to be on one of America’s most popular TV shows, seen by 10 to 16 million viewers each week. It’s also not every day you turn them down. But that’s what I had to do. Let me fill you in. But first, a disclaimer . . .
“Don’t be scared of hanging out of the helicopter to get a better shot, you’ll have a harness.” the helicopter pilot over the blades whipping above us. “You mean this?” I held up a floppy black seatbelt, looking no more secure than the belts in the old Jetta I hoped to blow up. Well, here we go. I shrugged my shoulders internally, and locked into go mode . . .
There’s just something about a lever-action rifle. They’re ingrained in our history. They’re in every good western and even a few sci-fi flicks. The characters that preferred them are almost as well-known as the lever action itself. The rifle played a part in settling America’s frontier. In short, the lever-action is among a few gun designs that are practically built into America’s DNA. And yet, I had shot one but once . . .
Fate recently decided that I’d get the chance to shoot the gun that makes experienced shooters obsolete. Allegedly. I was at The Best of the West Range during off-hours helping lay the groundwork for the 2014 Texas International Firearms Festival. The TrackingPoint technical team rolled-up in their blacked-out SUV. RF made contact. The next thing I knew I was behind the trigger of the TrackingPoint’s Precision Guided Firearm, the .300 Win Mag XS-2. [Click here to read Nick Leghorn's review.] Well it works as well as they say it works . . .
When the wind dies down in the west, you grab the opportunity. You don’t waver, you don’t put it off ‘til tomorrow, you don’t wish it was warmer–you go. That’s why when I looked out of my snow feathered and ice crusted window to see if it was a good day for testing, the answer was yes. The crystallized pine branches weren’t moving — no wind — and thats all I needed to see. Fast forward to the range . . .
Hello TTAG. Well, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the Volquartsen to shoot as well as it should. I dirtied it up with rounds (sometimes barrels shoot better that way), but that didn’t help. I cleaned it gently with a pull through (always breech to muzzle, of course). Still didn’t shoot well. I checked for loose parts, cleaned any gunk out of the feeder…you name it. It still was off (1-2 inch groups at 50 yards). I shot other rifles to make sure it wasn’t me (too much coffee maybe?) but those rifles shot MOA or better. Compared to the sub-MOA groups Volquartsen expects from their rifles, I knew something had to be wrong . . .
Over at TTAG’s Free Fire Zone Forum reader Rokurota writes:
Greetings, Kirsten. My in-laws just purchased a 50-acre property with 42 acres of woods lousy with deer and turkey. They have invited me to hunt the land in return for meat. Trouble is, I don’t hunt and have never killed anything bigger than a cockroach. I have asked a hunter friend to introduce me to the sport. I’m sure he’ll have an opinion on a deer rifle and turkey gun. What’s yours? I’m reasonably competent with a rifle on the range. I’ve mostly shot .22LR, .223/5.56 (AR-15) and .308 (Mauser) out to 100 yards. (I am no marksman, though — I need a lot more practice before trying to take a deer.) So maybe what I’m really asking for is: 1. advice on a rifle setup and cartridge; 2. a training protocol to prepare for a first hunt, even if it’s ‘just sit there and watch your friend.’ Thanks.” Click here or make the jump to read Ms. Weiss reply . . .
While dodging thunderstorms complete with switching winds and dime-sized hail, I managed to snag a few calmer hours to test the Volquartsen properly. I shot a stack of targets with my Lapua ammo, and still no luck. The inch-sized group is still the winner for the smallest group I can get out of the current Volquartsen at 50 yards. Every other grouping was larger (around an inch and half, sometimes more). As I tested . . .
The Volquartsen has landed! I had the rifle shipped to a local tactical supply, and it didnʼt even make it out of the shop before the guys who work there and I tore into it like it was Christmas morning. Volquartsen sent the rifle cradled in a light but substantial black shipping case complete with chrome latches. Not that anyone dwelled on that detail for very long. Popping the case open, it was immediately obvious that the photos on their web site just don’t do it justice . . .
The .308 rifle isn’t ballistically efficient enough for my taste, so I really don’t follow it to be honest. I know a lot of guys who like the caliber though, and are very willing to put up with extra recoil and wind deflection. With them it’s more of an affection (like my affection for 30-06 which isn’t terribly efficient but was my first big game hunting caliber as a kid, and my grandfather’s passed down gun), rather than a “ballistic efficiency” thing. Anyway, when you say under $1000, are you talking a full rig including scope? And how far would you want it to be able to shoot accurately? The ballistics don’t matter AS much if you’re shooting closer distances (but, then….why a .308??). I know some companies who make .308s for long distance, but the rifle is more than $1000. I’m not familiar enough with companies that make factory .308s good enough for closer distance, but I’m sure there are some. TTAG readers, care to chime in with recommendations? [Click here for more Ask Kirsten Weiss at TTAG's Free Fire Zone Forum. Note: she needs more questions.]
You may recall the Volquartsen .22 rifle from Top Shot. In Season Three, Episode Seven the guys competed for marksmanship bragging rights with a Volquartsen Custom .22 semi-automatic I-Fluted Rimfire Rifle. Volquartsen equipped the psychedelic long gun with a Trijicon Accupoint 3X9 scope, a forward blow comp[ensator] and a lightweight thumb hole stock upgrade ($1554 for the rifle and $900 for the scope). Clearly, it wasn’t your grandpa’s squirrel rifle (no offense, grandpa). Ditto the rifle the company’s sending your scribe for review. Scott Volquartsen generously agreed to work with me to create a rifle suitable for extreme accuracy (i.e. trick shots). When I first visited their site . . .
In a society that often proclaims “bigger is better”—big trucks, big houses, big decks (on big houses)—it’s easy to think that size is important. When it comes to rifle marksmanship size does matter. Smaller is better. Why? Because it teaches you more. Think of beginning marksmanship as learning how to fly a plane . . .