When I was putting together my gear plan for the Pecos Run n Gun, I knew I’d need a speciality optic. One of the stages goes to 400 yards and my eyes have never been my strong point. Originally, I had planned on using the SMRS from Bushnell, but I wasn’t enthusiastic about packing around a pound and a half of scope so I needed another option. I already owned a Leupold Mark AR, but I felt it didn’t have enough magnification and I’d watched Nick bump the uncapped windage turret on his scope during last year’s hunting season. Subsequently, Nick missed a nice buck. Lamenting over my predicament over lunchtime tacos with my shooting buddy, I got a very generous offer to borrow a SWFA SS HD 1-6 x 24 . . .
When I reviewed the PWS Modern Musket Upper, I got some feedback in the comments that I hadn’t been fair in my ammo selection. Specifically, that I didn’t give it a fair shake with heavier projectiles. I got similar feedback from the folks at PWS who basically told me that every gun they’ve ever made has shot XM 855 poorly. So I hit up Dan for some ammo money and bought some better gun food to test. Sure enough, I got better results this time . . .
The sun was almost directly overhead, leaving no shadows in the dusty Arizona landscape. “Make ready!” boomed the harsh voice of the kind-looking rangemaster with the white mustache, khakis, and stainless steel 1911 underneath his black baseball hat.Round chambered, check. Half-empty magazine removed, replaced with its sibling, topped off with 17 rounds. I returned to low ready. “Up! Look! Press!” . . .
(This is a reader gun review contest entry, click here for more details.)
By Justin Sullivan
John Moses Browning’s quintessential handgun design has found its place in just about every major manufacturer’s lineup. Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Remington, and many others have all announced new “me too” 1911 models in the last year or so. Conversely, STI is no newcomer to this platform. A quick glance into the holsters at any major shooting competition will most likely reveal more STIs than any other single action pistol available. While they are perhaps better known for their double stack “2011” models, they also manufacture 18 different single stack designs in varying calibers and barrel lengths. The Trojan, while one of their less expensive models, is anything but ordinary . . .
(This is a reader gun review contest entry, click here for more details.)
By Roy H.
What’s better than successfully harvesting a deer? Harvesting two deer. Or three. I don’t know that I would, but I’d like the option to if the opportunity arises. And I have come across the opportunity to legally and ethically do so. That is, I came across the opportunity if I had been wielding the appropriate lead slinger at the time. This review is really more of a gear review that a gun review. The Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Hunting Rifle is a homemade concoction of all the separate components that could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve been thrown together to make a hunting rifle capable of rapid, precise, and repeatable shots where recoil has been reduced to the point that shots can be viewed through a scope without being thrown off of it . . .
By Nicholas Porter
Many people grow nostalgic for their first gun, and again when they receive their first NFA stamp. I cannot deny that that is the case with this suppressor. While it was not the first I had purchased, it was the first to come back approved due to the expedience of an E-Filed Form 4. For those who are not familiar with the manufacturer, Huntertown Arms is a small company building suppressors in Fort Wayne Indiana. Suppressors are basically all they manufacture, and they do so at a price point that easily trumps most other competitors. In fact, the Guardian 9mm suppressor in this review has an MSRP at only $349 . . .
Perhaps the biggest improvement to the basic M-16/AR-15 design was the move away from the integral hand guard in favor of a more optic-friendly “flattop” design featuring M1913 Picatinny rails adorning the upper receiver. This change set in motion a great deal of technological innovation in scope design for assault rifles. Civilian AR-15 / SCAR shooters seeking the flexibility of using both a red dot/ holographic optic for close in work while switching to magnification for longer range shots (200-600 yards) now have a number of options. Bushnell makes an excellent optic that strikes a good balance between optical clarity, weight, ruggedness, and price: the SMRS 1 – 6.5 x 24. Chris Dumm and I spent over two years testing the second focal plane (“SFP”) version of this scope on at least ten different rifles and can now give a full report on the experience . . .
By Johannes P.
I’ll never forget my first bit of formal training with firearms. I didn’t even own a handgun yet (I was borrowing the instructor’s GLOCK), and during one of the breaks, I mentioned to someone that given all of the options available, it might take me a while before I had the gun that suited my needs. The instructor overheard me and just laughed. “It doesn’t stop with the gun,” he snorted. “You’re going to end up with an entire drawer full of holsters before you find the right one. You’re gonna spend as much on holsters as you did on the gun! And you should. The holster’s just as important as the gun,” he firmly advised . . .
Varmint shooters have long known that shooting bags are a great way to stabilize rifles for peak accuracy. The best shooting bags I’ve ever used are made right here in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, by lifelong shooter Don D. Scott. I recently purchased one of Don’s “Dog-Gone-Good” bags and can now report to the armed intelligentsia.
I don’t know much about hunting ducks, but I do know a thing or two about hunting in general. And the first big lesson of hunting is that pulling the trigger is the easy part. Getting your game from the field to the table is where the real work starts. Having done a little bird hunting in my time, I know that a suitable vest is all you need to hold a daily bag limit of doves or quail in the field. Ducks though, they’re a bigger animal. For a duck, you need a strap. Specifically, a duck strap . . .
Thermal optics are amazing. Using a part of the light spectrum that we can’t see, they can turn a pitch black night into virtual daytime, showing us a completely new level of detail. The downside: they cost an astronomical amount of money if you want to use them on your gun. The cheapest option available right now clocks in at $3,500, not a small sum for those who might just want to use that tech once or twice a year for hunting. Thankfully there have been a number of companies bringing consumer-grade thermal optics devices to the market. One of the more interesting is the $250 Seek Thermal camera, designed for smart phones . . .
As depressing as I find it, I’m now old enough to remember my nighttime varmint hunting being hampered by battery life, weight, and fragility of an impressively large Q Beam spotlight. My hunting buddies and I would drive around with a spotlight plugged into the the 12V cigarette outlet of my 1988 Isuzu Trooper while a battery-powered version waited in reserve until we spotted a critter that needed shooting. Once we’d identified our target, we’d hop out and light up the Eveready fueled unit so we could shoot. The problem was that the battery on that thing lasted maybe 20 minutes . . .